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Vancouver’s loss is the NHL and hockey fans’ gain

Jun 14, 2011, 12:03 PM EDT

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As strange, stunning and memorable as Patrick Kane‘s overtime Stanley Cup-clinching goal was last year, there were at least a handful of hockey fans who were sad when it happens. That group wasn’t exclusively made up of Philadelphia Flyers fans, either; many of us simply wanted to see a Game 7 in a series that was quite a bit closer (and a lot more fun) than expected.

My bet is that you’ll see some variation of the statement “Simply put, there’s nothing like a Game 7” approximately 1,000 times if you read enough about Wednesday’s contest. As maddening as cliches can be sometimes, it’s true that Game 7’s tend to be the most fun, even if the games don’t always live up to our wild hockey expectations.

Yet when you think about the 2011 NHL playoffs, it would only be fitting if tomorrow’s game ends up being unpredictable and thoroughly entertaining. From an unbelievable first round to a strange second one and some great conference finals contests, hockey fans have often been spoiled by this lengthy postseason. Every single round of the postseason featured at least one series that went a full seven games; it makes you wonder how the 2012 playoffs will top this. (Hopefully this isn’t a sign that Mayans were correct that we simply won’t see another postseason, right?)

One almost wonders if there is a small part of every Canucks fan – probably located far, far from their damaged hearts – that is half-glad this happened. Obviously, they don’t want their team to lose, but it extends the party and the speculation and the excitement for two days. It also gives them one more home game to latch onto before the long wait begins for October.

With the NBA finals further in the rear view mirror and little else but baseball to distract casual fans, this should be one of hockey’s great chances to captivate the sporting public. Who knows what kind of “product” the two teams will churn out. It could be a carbon copy of the other skin-tight games played in Vancouver or the pressure/randomness of a Game 7 could dictate a blowout for either side.

The biggest hope is that the teams decide it, rather than the officials or some other outside factor. Despite the Canucks’ unexpected belly-flopping in Boston, both teams fought hard to get this far and each team is worthy of the Stanley Cup.

Hockey fans – from casuals to diehards – are worthy of a great final game, too. Stick with us as we try to stoke the flames of what should be a fascinating Game 7.

  1. abrienza428 - Jun 14, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    Not rooting for either team really, but I for sure am rooting for overtime!

  2. nolanorth - Jun 14, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    WOW O’Brien, you almost wrote a unbiased article until you slagged the Canucks again.. I guess you hockey writers on this site are truly riding Florios co-tails..

    The only things worse in this series then the ref’s was the sad reminder of the Americans broadcasters and reporters turning the finals into a we against you mentality. Just like the rest of the world, we think your sad.. Try enjoying the game, you’ll get a lil more respect!

    • savoirlaire - Jun 14, 2011 at 4:31 PM

      Co-tails? WTF kind of pidgin language do you speak, knothead?

      • tommytd - Jun 14, 2011 at 8:34 PM

        Tell him it’s you’re not *your* while UR at it. He must be a Canadien.

    • thorisbc - Jun 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM

      You are absolutely right on! I live in Minnesota and as such could be expected to not be much of a Canucks fan, but even I am sick of the disgusting bias being perpetrated by the American media in general. NBC’s coverage of the game is patently pro Boston and Versus (ComCast) is even worse! I can only wish we could get the great coverage the Canadians get on CBC where its not about the city, its not about the nationality, its only about the love of hockey. After all is said and done, here in America, its not about the love of the game, its once again all about the greed. Which is the bigger market? Which market can we squeeze the most revenue out of? Sickens me.

      BTW, Rome’s hit was most definitely a moronic move; he was head hunting and got what he deserved. Boychuck’s, while not worth of suspension definitely warranted a call, but that too seems to be tainted by greed. The NHL (Betman) likes game 7’s and would dearly love to keep the American market watching the NHL. If Vancouver had won in 5 or 6, NHL revenues would suffer a huge set back. So we even have to suffer bias by the referees. I absolutely LOVE hockey, but the crap we have to endure to watch it down here is way hard to handle.

      • SteveBeans - Jun 14, 2011 at 6:33 PM

        Right. Your theory makes sense. Gary Bettman rigged the series to go 7 games to keep the American market happy, but why not have two American teams in the finals? Oh wait, let me guess, he orchestrated this elaborate scheme to have an American AND Canadian team in the finals in order to gain BOTH markets, then made them go 7 games! Genius!

        Good thing Bettman took over this year to scheme up something to brilliant. Oh wait, he’s been commish since 93? Why didn’t he have both countries in the last few finals?

        Ugh… now I’m confused again. How does your conspiracy theory work again?

      • tommytd - Jun 14, 2011 at 8:36 PM

        Hey if you’re that disgusted, STOP WATCHING. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head. Turn on the golf channel or something….

      • thorisbc - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:22 PM

        Dude … love hockey hate golf. If you could read through your own Rose (Boston) tinted glasses you would see that. But perhaps I presume too much … ah like you can read.

  3. jensen2401 - Jun 14, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Steve, I’m guessing you didn’t see the San Jose-Vancouver series. Loaded with bogus calls. As a Boston fan, you should have noticed the lopsided penalties in Game 6 of the Tampa Bay series though…why do you think that was? So Bettman could squeak out one more night of ad revenues. Boston should have won Game 6 in that series and it was the refs that made them wait until Game 7.

    • SteveBeans - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:19 PM

      Are you being sarcastic? If not, have you even checked the stats before posting that? In game six of Bos-TB, Boston had 5 PP’s to TB’s 4. You make it seem like Boston had 0 and TB 8.

      There is no statistical proof that there is any type of setup by the league to force this series, or force a game 7. If it were ad revenues, why did they allow Boston to sweep Philly (or the other sweeps), and in the decisive game 4, they gave Boston 5 PP’s to Phillies 3. Boston also had more in game 3 as well.

      You mentioned SJ-Van, but again, if it was about ad revenue, no way that series just goes 5 games. And again with the penalties, through the series, Vancouver had 24 PP’s, SJ had 22. You may not agreed with what was called, but there was no clear favoritism in any way.

      If people are going to come out with theories, at least had shreds of evidence backing them up. Nothing worse than a theory that can be debunked with 2 mins of searching on google. On top of it, the logic doesn’t sit. Ad revenue makes almost no sense due to tv contracts already bought and paid for this year, next year and 9 following years. Ticket sales, yes, but that’s benefits a team more than the league.

      Maybe the Vancouver owner was paying off the refs to force max Stanley Cup home games? He also paid his players extra to tank in Boston. Yay, I came up with a silly theory of my own!

      • thorisbc - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:18 PM

        OK Beans… lets look at the stats.

        Teams in Playoffs Ranking in Penalty Minutes (p.min/game):

        Playoffs Season
        Anaheim 18.2 14.4
        Boston 16.3 13.6
        Buffalo 15.6 11.7
        Chicago 10.9 9.0
        Detroit 11.4 9.2
        LA Kings 14.2 11.7
        Montreal 7.7 13.4
        Nashville 10.1 8.8
        NY Rangers 12.4 13.1
        Philadelphia 15.7 13.6
        Phoenix 10.2 10.5
        Pittsburgh 11.7 16.9
        San Jose 15.2 11.4
        Tampa Bay 11.5 11.0
        Vancouver 18.0 11.5 Whoa??? What gives???
        Washington 9.3 11.3

      • cannonblast14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 1:43 AM

        @thorisbc, Majors have a big thing to do with it. Not all of them send the other team to the pp. If you want to look at stats, throw away majors that do not lead to PP and throw away coincidentals.

  4. SteveBeans - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    What are you trying to prove with that? Vancouver has been the 2nd most penalized team in the playoffs (18 mins/game) between Boston and Anaheim. Sorting them alphabetically doesn’t change that.

    • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:22 AM

      Stevie Boy … look at the stats. You’re correct sorting them alphabetically does change anything; DUH!!! You were all about stats before. Vancouver is now showing more than a 50% increase in penalty minutes per game. Its as if Vancouver suddenly decided it would be a great idea to get more penalties per game. Yeah that’s the ticket, go from the highest scoring team in the league to the most penalized so so they can spend all our time killing penalties and less time on offence. Well either they made that decision or someone else made that decision; the law of averages say SOMEONE made that decision.

      And Cannonblast, even if we follow your flawed logic, do the math. I only makes a 3% difference in Vancouver’s penalty minutes per game. And I say flawed because of incidence like the Sedin’s coincidental penalty in game 6. He was clearly taken down and yet he is called for diving. And then NBC’s announcers use THAT as an example to illustrate how Vancouver has been more guilty of embellishments than Boston. Like I said, sickens me. I love this game (I hate golf) and I watch because it is a great sport. It is hard to see it abused by greed.

      • SteveBeans - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:25 AM

        Ahh, your list confused me. I see, the 2nd number was regular season?

        As far as your comment

        “Yeah that’s the ticket, go from the highest scoring team in the league to the most penalized so so they can spend all our time killing penalties and less time on offence”

        Yes, that’s going to happen when Vancouver plays dirty and the national spotlight is on these games. You can play dirty in a reg season game and move on. In the playoffs, you have to play that same team the next few games, and things get much more chippy because of it.

        When that happens, the refs don’t want fights every 2 mins, so they start calling a lot more penalties to take control. That’s happened quite often in the Bos-Van series.

        Have you even been watching these games? Most of the calls going against either side have been relatively fair. The one bad call I can think of was the Sedin trip, but Marchand was called for the very same bad call earlier in the game.

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