It’s been more than twelve hours since I got to see guys who I’ve watched their whole careers lift the Stanley Cup. Patrice Bergeron, has been through so much to get back into playing form. The story of Tim Thomas is the type of life of drama that Hollywood would kill, die, steal and cheat to craft. Then look at Zdeno Chara, he’s been to the mountain top and might never have been there had fans in a certain Canadian city had their way. In this series, here are the giants, the first rank of heros, but it was truly a battle every man fought.
Brad “I felt like it.” Marchand. He felt like scoring twenty goals in the regular season when most expected him to spend the season in Providence. He felt like earning his way off the fourth line. He felt like scoring five shorthanded goals dwarfing all other rookies in that stat. He felt like scoring another shorthanded goal in the playoffs. He felt like scoring more goals as a rookie than Mario Lemieux. He felt like being sixth in scoring in the playoffs. In a thick RFA crop, you just have to wonder how much attention he’s going to get from other teams.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;
A third round pick of the Islanders, one of the pieces of the great Senators run, and then discarded. He comes to Boston and has certain chowderheads in the media blame him for the quality of the teams built around him. Never was his value more apparent than when he was out in the Montreal series. In the finals he played against the Sedins and made them afraid to go to the net, made them afraid to go to the corners.
Dennis Seidenberg, like Brad Marchand he had an enormous coming out party that lasted twenty five games. He had the unenviable task of being “the other guy” playing with one of the leagues best. Don Sweeney, Hal Gill, Kyle Mclaren have had that job here in Boston in the past, and performed well for years at a time. Seidenberg was unreal. He led all players in the post season in blocked shots. No player spent more time on the ice in the post season than he did. Like the guys who have played opposite Bourque and Lidstrom, he got to be “the better option” as a corner to go to or a lane to drive. It didn’t work out well for players who wanted that sad of the ice as they ran into the 172nd pick of the 2001 entry draft from Schwenningen Germany.
Patrice Bergeron looked like he’d have fought the entire Canucks roster one at a time, its not his comfort zone. In game seven he picked up the dagger, hamstrung, blinded and heart stabbed them then gave it a good twist. With five points in the series you large minutes, and faceoff domination its easy to see his impact. The fact that he had to come back from a concussion suffered in the closing moments of the Philadelphia Flyers series. Neither of his game seven goals were the type people ooh and ah over, but both show the type of player he is. Always ready, never giving up no matter what burden is played on him. The heartshot was the shorthanded goal, but having the hands, vision and timing to toss the that first goal in is just part of the package.
Tim Thomas. The scariest thing in the world about Thomas is that he doesn’t know how to give up or back down. He’s more athletic, more precise, and every bit as hungry as he was the first time he was brought up. He started the season as the backup. In game two a continent and a lifetime away from where he is today, Tim Thomas started his season with a shutout. Through the marathon that is the the regular season he led all goalies in GAA and Sv% first to last. He finished the regular season setting records. He then topped those numbers. Lecavalier, Cammalleri, Carter, St Louis, Van Reimsdyk, Stamkos, Sedin are some of the guys who’s frustration litters his path to the Cup. Two shutouts against the top offensive team in the NHL in the Stanley Cup Finals. Eight total goals allowed to the top offensive team in the NHL.
Claude Julien, was exactly the coach this collection of players needed. Love him, hate him it doesn’t matter. He outfoxed his old friend and former defensive partner on the other bench, and did it with class.
The rest of the team was tremendous as well, I’ll be covering each one in later posts. Thanks again to the whole Bruins organization for a season I’ll never forget.