Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Game 7 Means Goosebumps

Wednesday night is the end of hockey season (unless your kid is like mine and playing in a summer league). The Stanley Cup will be awarded when the Vancouver Canucks take on the Boston Bruins in Vancouver.

It marks the first time since 1993 that the Cup will be given out in Canada (that year, Montreal beat Los Angeles in five), and the Bruins are aiming to be the first team since the New York Islanders in 1982 to skate the Cup on Canadian soil (the Islanders beat ... Vancouver).

No analysis needed here. It's going to be a grinder, probably low-scoring. Allow a soft goal, and you're doomed. Take a dumb penalty, you're doomed. Fumble a puck in your own zone, you could be doomed.

Penalty minutes will be low. The referees will do everything in their power to "let the players decide the outcome." Hooking, holding, interference, maybe even high-sticking will be let go. Just don't shoot the puck over the glass or get caught with a bad line change. That stuff won't be let go.

In the end, someone's captain -- either Henrik "Thelma" Sedin or Zdeno "No Insulting Nicknames Given Because He Could Kill You With His Bare Hands" Chara -- will hoist the Stanley Cup. If Vancouver wins, expect Henrik to hand the Cup off to brother Daniel, or embattled goalie Roberto Luongo, or mega-tough and highly-respected Manny Malhotra. If Boston wins, Chara really only has one choice for his handoff, and that's goalie Tim Thomas.

(We know forward Nathan Horton made the trip, and it has to be assumed that he will be on the ice with a jersey on if Boston wins. I don't see any way he plays. Too risky. And while it would be a corny moment to see Chara hand him the Cup, Thomas is still the obvious choice.)

And in the end, something special will happen. Maybe it's a relocated franchise treating an increasingly loud and boisterous fanbase to the Stanley Cup on home ice.

Maybe it's the underdog losing Game 5 5-0, facing elimination twice, and going on the road to win Game 7.

It could be the longtime superstar who never got to touch the trophy finally getting his chance.

No matter what happens, it will be a goosebump moment for hockey fans. It will be a special night.

The Stanley Cup has a way of doing that to people.

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