May 28, 2011, 12:10 AM EDT
To some, calling a third seed and strong division winner an underdog might seem a bit absurd. Yet when you get right down to it, that’s the most accurate way to describe the Boston Bruins as they head into the 2011 Stanley Cup finals against the Vancouver Canucks.
While many pundits will try to isolate their sporadic struggles as signs of weaknesses, the 2010-11 Canucks have been one of the most dominant teams in recent memory. They ran away with the Presidents Trophy and have taken less games to advance in each successive round (7 against Chicago; 6 against Nashville; 5 against San Jose.) It could be some time before we see a more complete team in the salary cap era. The Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler trigger an attacking offense, Kevin Bieksa and Alex Edler power a deep defense and Roberto Luongo remains a truly elite netminder.
Speaking of elite netminders, Tim Thomas is the first goalie to be arguably the league’s best in both the regular season and postseason in quite some time. After breaking Domink Hasek’s single season save percentage, he hasn’t dropped off much with a 92.9 save percentage in the playoffs.
Thomas ranks as a big, flopping, unorthodox hurdle to the Canucks’ first ever Stanley Cup victory, but Zdeno Chara is an imposing obstacle in his own right. Chara and Dennis Seidenberg have been a strong top duo for Boston, but their defensive depth will come into question against a deep Canucks attack. The Bruins will need continued brilliance from their top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton along with steady contributions from Patrice Bergeron and other offensive players if they hope to make this a close series.
The preceding paragraphs capture our expectations for the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, but what do you think will happen? Could the Bruins pull off a significant upset or will the Canucks finally raise the Cup for the first time in franchise history? Let us know by voting in the poll.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT
Spent last year as Marc-Andre Fleury’s No. 2 in Pittsburgh.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:25 PM EDT
Will be expected to provide a steadying presence on Colorado’s blue line.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:23 PM EDT
Former Ranger gets a nice deal on the opening day of free agency.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:18 PM EDT
Big d-man sticks for one more year in the ‘Peg.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:12 PM EDT
Chuck Fletcher takes care of business early on July 1.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:11 PM EDT
Led all Vancouver d-men with 11 goals.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:51 AM EDT
“I really didn’t get any indications of anything negative in exit meetings.”
Jul 1, 2015, 11:48 AM EDT
All the signings from what promises to be a busy day.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
One year, at $575,000.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT
Once again it’s him, Jonas Hiller and Joni Ortio in goal.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT
The 35-year-old cashes in on a productive “last chance” season.
Jul 1, 2015, 10:54 AM EDT
Coming off a productive season, in which he scored 14 goals in 47 games.
Jul 1, 2015, 10:38 AM EDT
“He came on to the scene with Columbus last year with maybe not a lot of fanfare, but I think he impressed people.”
Jul 1, 2015, 9:53 AM EDT
Which will keep him in Anaheim through 2018.
Jul 1, 2015, 9:39 AM EDT
Chicago acquired him in the Brandon Saad trade.
Jul 1, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT
Carolina plans to buy him out.
Jul 1, 2015, 8:06 AM EDT
That keeps them in a position to match a potential offer sheet.
Jul 1, 2015, 7:13 AM EDT
Wednesday’s collection of links.
Jun 30, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT
David Poile has made the 35-year-old an offer and given him a deadline.
Jun 30, 2015, 9:59 PM EDT
But this isn’t the first time such a scenario has been reported.
- Avalanche sign veteran d-man Beauchemin for three years 3
- Neely was ‘surprised’ that Hamilton didn’t want to sign with Bruins 6
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 24
- NHL, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Vegas 32
- Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone 63
- Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose 25
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago 91
- Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames 19
- Sharks get Jones from Bruins for first-round pick and unsigned prospect 42
- Hurricanes to buy out Semin 15
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (91)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)