Before the Stanley Cup Finals Started I gave the Citizens four Locks of the Century. In those bets, I went 3-1. Let’s recap:
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Before the series I said: “Burrows sucks. I don’t know how else to put it. The guy rides on the skirts of the Sedin Sisters and get points almost by default. Chara will be smashing them in the face all series long and I don’t see that line being a big factor. Kesler will be skating against the Krejci line most likely which means Bergeron will have plenty of space to score. Bergeron is without a doubt getting more points than Burrows.”
I am not even all that proud of this one to be honest. Burrows sucks and is completely gutless, and now everyone knows it. He had 3 points in the series, all of which game in game 2…a game for which he should have been suspended. So in my mind he really had 0 points. Complete non-factor. Bergeron, meanwhile was one of the Bruins better players and leaders in the series. He is a terrific hockey player. He has great character, plays two-way hockey and does all the little things right. By my count he finished with 5 points, and his performance in Game 7 will go down in Boston folklore. I think Bergeron will be thought of much like Dave Roberts, David Ortiz, Teddy Brushci, Ty Law, etc. Maybe not the best player on the team, but a guy who had spectacular moments that will be remembered forever. Its a little ironic that perhaps the 3rd goal of Game 7 which completely locked up the Cup appeared to go off the hand that Burrows bit. Karma is a bitch. Play with some class next time, asshole.
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Before the series I said: “I am really confused by this one as well. Chara will most likely be parked in front of the net on the Bruins powerplay which will give him more opportunities to score than normal. He is also good in the transition game and should pick up a few assists when he isn’t murdering the Sedins.”
Again, picking an underdog that never should have been an underdog is nothing to write home about…but its nothing to sneeze at either. Erhoff finished the series with a grand total of…drum roll please…1 pt. Erhoff’s performance was…err–off. 1 pt in the series and a +/- rating of minus 7 for the series. Way to step up in the Stanley Cup Finals, real solid performance. Meanwhile, when Chara wasn’t smashing Thelma and Louise’s faces in, he was contributing on offense as well. He didn’t spend as much time in front of the net like I thought he would, but he still managed to chip in 4 points and was a +5 for the series. Great performance by an elite defenseman and a strong leader.
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Before the series I said: “Ryder is good for a one big game a series, but he doesn’t get the minutes required for him to out score Bergeron for an entire series. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Seguin takes a few shifts from Ryder as well. Take Bergeron.”
Well if I was going to miss on one bet, I am glad it was the one involving two Bruins players. Full disclosure, I have never been a big Michael Ryder fan, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Ryder played a terrific series and finished with 6 points to Bergeron’s 5 points. Ryder used his size and great shot to be a very effective player for the Bruins. They probably couldn’t have won the Cup without him. Props to Ryder.
Exact Series Pick
Bruins in 7
Before the series I said: “My heart says Bruins, my head says Canucks, and my balls say Bruins. Usually when my balls and heart agree it’s a recipe for disaster…but I don’t care. Bruins in 7. Suck it Canada.”
I am quite proud of this one. The Bruins were big underdogs in the series. Vancouver had home ice advantage, had just come off an easy series against a soft San Jose team, had the best record, Vezina finalist in net, Hart Trophy Finalist, Selke Trophy finalist blah blah blah…I didn’t care. All of those awards are for the regular season, and they didn’t have a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate on the roster. Something deep down inside told me that the Bruins had enough sand to win this series and I have never been happier with a winning pick in my life. As Barry Melrose said last night on SportsCenter, it was will over skill. The Bruins simply had too much heart, pride, grit, and character to lose to this gutless Canucks team. This was a classic series and good won out over evil.
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That felt great. The Stanley Cup Finals has displayed to the greater hockey world what the Vancouver Canucks are all about. They love to chirp, they play dirty, the dive, they bite, and they throw gutless blind hits to the head. Finally, somebody besides the Chicago Blackhawks has the sand to stand up to the Canucks and punish them for disrespecting the game of hockey. Now the Bruins have discovered the final piece to the puzzle that will let them beat Vancouver. If you punish them physically, out work them, and frustrate them…the Canucks will lose their cool, take dumb penalties, and quit. Luongo looked completely rattled for the last 40 minutes.
Last night’s game was an absolute beat down. The Bruins physically and mentally dominated the Canucks from the second period on. I feel vindicated by this series and I am 100% on the Bruin bandwagon. The Bruins are the opposite of Vancouver in so many ways. They have tough guys who are confrontational, but they are more than willing to answer the bell when challenged. I love the way they play. Even Tim Thomas got into the hitting game last night when he checked one of the Sedin Sisters.
The Bruins most likely will not score in abundance like they did in game 3, but they need to duplicate the level of intensity they brought for the duration of the series. They are still trailing and they must continue to attack Vancouver across all 200 feet of the ice surface. I was completely wrong about Shawn Thornton. I wanted Seguin in the lineup and I undervalued what Thornton brings to his teammates with his toughness and energy. Thornton is just flat-out scary and the ref tossing him out of the game mid way through the 3rd period may have save somebody’s life.
I have one final thought on last night’s game. Game exemplified why I love hockey and the NHL more than any sport. The NHL has an element of frontier justice. Burrows was a punk(and a difference maker) so Shawn Thornton smashed him early in the game to set the tone. Burrows takes a swipe at Tim Thomas late, so Milan Lucic turns into hockey’s version of Wyatt Earp and doles out the punishment immediately behind the net. No other sport or league has this mentality of self policing and standing up for your teammates. I can’t wait for Game 4 as I am sure the hatred between the teams is about to boil over.
Bruins in 7
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Vancouver Canucks +105 @ Boston Bruins -125
The Bruins are coming home after having their hearts ripped out in consecutive games in Vancouver. The Bruins have played much better than I thought they would and definitely deserved better in Game 2. Alex Burrows getting 2 goals and an assist in a game for which he should have been suspended for biting has got to be a bitter pill to swallow.
The Bruins essentially played the Canucks even in both games and are a good bounce or two away from maybe being up 2-0 heading home. The Boston Bruins have too much pride to bow out in 4 games and they will use their crowd made up of 18,000 guys from “Southie” to push them over the top.
It’s also time to give Seguin some bigger minutes. Skate him with Bergeron’s line every once in a while. He could give the Bruins an added dynamic and it could also keep the aging Mark Recchi more fresh if he takes a few shifts off during the game.
This is a must win game for the Bruins and they have the sand and the skill to get it done at home. The Sedin Sisters will fold like always in the face of a hostile environment. Bruins and the under tonight.