When the puck drops in Vancouver tonight for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, it will be the start of a championship for either the Canucks or Bruins. New York Rangers fans across this great planet should have an easy time cheering for Vancouver, considering the long history the Bruins and Rangers have had as rival Original Six teams. Hold that thought for a moment.
I’ve been cheering for Vancouver to win the series and hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup since they eliminated the Nashville Predators in the 2nd round (my third preferred team to win it). Now after much controversy from the team north of the border, I’m not so sure now. Does a lifelong Rangers fan and native New Yorker even think about cheering for a team in Boston to win a championship? Do I want to continue hearing the (mostly) obnoxious fan base, saying Beantown is the best sports city?
A part of me really wants to see the Bruins win and it’s not because of this whole United States v. Canada rivalry. Canucks winger Alex Burrows bit a Boston player in the first game. Aaron Rome delivered a dirty, crushing hit to Nathan Horton in Game 3. And to make matters worse, a Canucks fan thought it would be funny to hang a teddy bear on a hockey stick, wearing Horton’s jersey. Not to mention that Raffi Torres should have been suspended in the Blackhawks series for another classless hit. Is this a team I want to cheer for?
What about their goalie, Roberto Luongo, who’s known for falling apart in the playoffs, criticizing the way Bruins goalie Tim Thomas plays. Thomas is well on his way to his 2nd Vezina Trophy for the league’s most valuable goaltender and bested Luongo in Game 6 after those harsh words. In fact, Luongo allowed 3 goals and was pulled halfway through the first period, finishing with an embarrassing 15 goals allowed in 2+ games on the road. Rangers fans may also be bitter towards Chris Higgins, who was a disaster with the Blueshirts, but is playing well for Vancouver.
The Bruins to me were the team to beat once they traded for Tomas Kaberle. Now the former Leafs blue-liner hasn’t been good, but the Bs play as a team and pick each other up. Certainly, the Rangers should sit in front of their television sets tonight and take notes. There are a lot of likable characters on that team, one of them being defenseman Zdeno Chara. If you recall, he ended Ryan Callahan‘s season with a slapshot breaking Cally’s ankle, but he’s one of the good guys of the game in an odd way. You wouldn’t expect it from the biggest guy in the league, but he’s a gentle giant that deserves to get a championship.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t matter to me who wins tonight. Either way, I won’t like the team that wins, so it’s just a matter of how much I could tolerate. There are reasons for each side why cheering for/against the two teams would be the best. Boston saw former Michigan defensemen Steve Kampfer and Matt Hunwick play for them this year, while Vancouver has former Buckeye Ryan Kesler. That certainly helps the Bs in this case, but we’ll see what happens. I just hope I don’t go to hockey hell for even considering cheering for the Bruins tonight.