A matter of mind: Keep an eye on goaltender Roberto Luongo and how he and the Canucks react if the Bruins score a goal, especially if they light the lamp early in the game. (Kathleen Hinkel/Icon SMI)
By Stu Hackel
It’s Game 7 tonight, one last contest for the silver bowl named for Fredrick Arthur Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston, the 16th Earl of Derby KG, GCB, GCVO, PC. Yes, that was his official title when, as Governor-General of Canada, he donated the trophy as a challenge cup for the country’s top amateur hockey team in 1882. The Stanley Cup is now the most famous and storied trophy competed for by professional athletes in North America. Players on both the Bruins and Canucks, regardless of their country of origin, have played their entire lives for a chance to have their name engraved on it.
That includes Tim Thomas, the Bruins goaltender from the hard-bitten industrial town of Flint, Michigan, who has distinguished himself above all others this spring. “When we’re in the garage or driveway playing as a kid and you’re fantasizing,” Thomas said on Tuesday, “well, I was Stevie Yzerman, which doesn’t make sense for a goalie, but you’re saying to yourself, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, you’re not saying Game 6, you know? So this is really, you know, what every kid dreams about.”
Dreams are important and no one achieves greatness without them. But it will be transforming those dreams into desire and then execution that will likely carry the evening in Vancouver. The team that plays better and tries harder should be the one that skates with the Cup. Of course, as we’ve seen all spring, anything can happen in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and we fully expect one final bizarre chapter will be written in the story of this year’s very bizarre tournament.