Posted on: June 15, 2011 12:41 am

Video: Johnny Canuck faces latest challenge

Meet Johnny Canuck, one rugged, determined and resilient man.

Those Canucks sure love their hockey, huh?

I must admit, it's an interesting and fun video that's making some serious rounds on YouTube. And the makers of the video get serious props for the characters representing the Rangers and Islanders, even if the Isles scene looks more like something out of Friday the 13th.

Although I am trying to figure out why the Canucks are represented by Paul Bunyan. The Canucks -- on the ice, that is -- could use Bunyan's super strength for Game 7 against Boston.

Question of the day: which Canucks fan video is better, Mr. Johnny Canuck or this song about the boys from Vancouver?

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: June 14, 2011 10:03 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 10:33 pm

Horton (and his gear) make trip to Vancouver

Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton is in Vancouver and his equipment hung from his stall for Tuesday’s practice at Rogers Arena,  but coach Claude Julien said not to read much into that.

“That's something the guys wanted to do,” Julien said. “They wanted him to be part of our group here. Until the third game of the Final, he was a big contributor to our hockey club. If the doctors would let him, he would play tomorrow and we all know that that's the way he feels right now.”

Horton suffered a severe concussion in Game 3, a collision that resulted in the four-game suspension of Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome. He returned to TD Garden on Monday night where he received a standing ovation when he was shown on the video screen.

Julien said Horton, who the Bruins said last week would miss the remainder of the playoffs, still has not been cleared by doctors to return.

“He wants to play so badly, he would be willing to play through that,” Julien said. “So when a guy has that approach and has that will to want to do that for his team and teammates, the least you can do is honor him in your own way.”

Horton would likely be allowed to don his gear and join the Bruins for the team’s on-ice victory celebration if they win the Cup, not that the team will cop to thinking that far ahead. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said the team is just happy to have Horton around .

“He's a positive guy,” Thomas said. “His joy for the game and life is kind of like a little kid, and that's a great thing and I personally feed off of that. So I was happy to see him today.”

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: June 14, 2011 9:42 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 10:34 pm

Canucks GM: Boychuk used 'can opener' on Raymond

Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis questioned the collision in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final that left Mason Raymond, one of his top forwards, with a serious back injury.

“I didn't see the puck around him,” Gillis said Tuesday. “I thought the Boston player [defenseman Johnny Boychuk] used a can opener and drove him into the boards with enough force to break his back. That's what I saw.”

No penalty was called on the play and no disciplinary hearing was scheduled by the league. The collision occurred seconds into Monday’s game, a contest won by the Bruins, 5-2.

The team announced earlier Tuesday that Raymond had suffered vertebral compression fracture and would be out three to four months. Gillis said Raymond was in the hospital as of Tuesday evening and could remain there until Wednesday as he gets fitted for a corset to stabilize his spine.

“It wasn't a chipped vertebrae or cracked vertebrae,” Gillis said. “It's broken through the belly of his vertebrae, so it's a very serious injury. You never want to see any player on any team have an injury like that.”

Raymond fell awkwardly into the boards and remained on the ice for a few minutes. Despite the back injury, Raymond skated off the ice with assistance. Gillis said he didn’t know why Raymond was not strapped to a headboard and stretchered off.

“I'm unsure,” Gillis said. “I think because he began to move his feet and he had feeling. We wondered about that as well, but I haven't had the chance to ask [trainer] Mike [Burnstein]. But our trainers are excellent trainers, so I'm sure they felt there was no risk at that point because of what he was saying and what he was doing on the ice.”

Gillis said the team is hopeful that surgery won’t be required.

“He's going to face a long, hard recovery,” Gillis said. “We've been told it's going to be very challenging for him and he's going to be in a difficult position for some time.”

Beyond Gillis, many in Vancouver thought the league should have given Monday’s collision as much scrutiny as the Game 3 check that led to the suspension of Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome. Rome was given a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct on a check that left Boston forward Nathan Norton with a severe concussion.

In that instance, the league said the fact the Horton would miss the remainder of the playoffs factored into its decision to ban Rome.

“I'm not in charge of supplementary discipline, so I'm not the right person to ask about that,” Gillis said.

Jeff Tambellini will likely be re-inserted into the lineup to replace Raymond as Canucks coach Alain Vigneault will have to shuffle the lines. Raymond, who had no points in the Finals, was playing wing on the team’s second line.

“For us, injuries and adversity have been part of our daily routine throughout this season and we faced every one of them head on,” Vigneault said. “It's very unfortunate for Mason not to be able to play in the seventh game, but the guys that we have available are going to jump on the opportunity.”

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: June 14, 2011 7:33 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 9:18 pm

Game 7 breakdown: Bruins vs. Canucks

Time: 8 p.m. ET


Road to Game 7

It’s probably more accurate to call this "Home to Game 7."

This is the sixth time since the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final format was implemented in 1939 that the home team has won each of the first six games. (The home team won Game 7 on three of the first five instances.) Not only has the home team won each game of this series, but each game has followed a specific trait: one-goal games in Vancouver and blowouts in Boston.

Boston forced the decisive game -- the 16th Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final history -- with a 5-2 victory at TD Garden on Monday. This will be Boston’s third Game 7 of these playoffs; the second for Vancouver.

"It's tremendous for the city and the organization and not too many people counted on us being at this point right now," said veterans Bruins center Mark Recchi, who will be playing in his 11th career Game 7 overall. "We came to play and it's coming down to one game. This is what we dream of, when you're little kids playing street hockey."

The crowd noise Recchi likely envisioned as a youth won’t come close to matching what the Bruins will face in this real-life Game 7. The Canucks fans, hungry for the team’s first Cup in the franchise’s 40-year history, will not only pack the arena, but the surrounding streets in a sea of blue and green.

"This is playoff hockey at its finest," Canucks forward Manny Malhotra said. "We have worked all year long to have that home ice advantage. [The team is] really looking forward to playing in front of 18,000 crazy Canuck fans."

The crowd is as good of an explanation as any why both teams play so differently on the road.

The Sedin twins had three points in Monday’s loss, but have yet to have a breakout game in the series. Henrik netted his first point (a goal), while Daniel had two assists for his second and third points of the Finals.

The Bruins have been bolstered of late by rookie Brad Marchand, who became the fifth rookie in league history to score nine goals in a postseason after another tally in Game 6.

In Net

Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is the only player on either team that performed consistently in both buildings. You can’t fault him for 1-0 losses in Games 1 and 5 and the other loss at Rogers was a 3-2 OT decision in Game 2. He has a more-than-respectable .946 save percentage in Vancouver. Combine those marks with his play throughout the playoffs --- at TD Garden and elsewhere --- and Thomas looks to have the Conn Smythe locked up.

"I'm going to try to embrace that opportunity and take the same attitude that I've taken throughout the whole playoffs," Thomas said. "Hopefully, that will get me through that one last game to get to the goal that we've been shooting for all year long."

Thomas has yet to find himself on the bench, outside the need for an extra attacker late in game. His counterpart in Vancouver hasn’t been so lucky.

Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo lasted all of 8:35 in Game 6. He surrendered three goals on eight shots and was replaced by Cory Schneider for the rest of the way. It was the second time in the series Luongo was yanked and, truthfully, he should have also rode the bench as the Canucks fell, 8-1, in Game 3.

But Luongo has been a much different goalie at Rogers Arena where he is 3-0 with a .979 save percentage and two shutouts.

"It’s the Stanley Cup Final," Luongo said. "It’s one game, winner take all. I’ve been in those situations before, I know how to handle it and I’ll be ready for it."

Despite Monday’s implosion, Luongo is expected to get the start. He won his biggest game of his career in -- the gold medal game as Team Canada edged Team USA in last year’s Winter Games -- in the same arena. His status of a big-game goalie has taken a few hits in recent weeks, but he could erase those doubts with a solid performance Wednesday.

Injury report

Nathan Horton, the Bruins’ most clutch player through the first three rounds, was forced out minutes into Game 3 after a controversial collision with Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome, who was ejected and later suspended four games. Horton was taken off on a stretcher and spent the night in the hospital with a severe concussion. He returned to TD Garden to watch Game 6, but he won’t see game action until next season.

Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was shaken up a bit as he missed several minutes in Game 6, but he re-entered the game and is expected to play.

Second-line Vancouver winger Mason Raymond will be out of action for three to four months after he suffered a vertebral compression fracture. Raymond fell awkwardly into the boards in the opening seconds of Game 6 and was helped off the ice.

The Canucks have also been without defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who went out with an undisclosed injury in Game 1 of the Finals.

Our picks

A.J. Perez: I’m going to ditch my pre-series pick and take the Bruins. Boston has been in every game in Vancouver and maybe, just maybe, they can find some of the mojo they play with at home and bring it with them north of the border. It won’t take much since Thomas has kept the Canucks honest. An early goal by the Bruins may be all that will be needed to rattle Luongo’s psyche. The Bruins need not only to get some traffic in front of Luongo, but they also need to find the shooting lanes to make the screens pay off. The Bruins and the Lightning played one of those rare contests with no penalties in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals and I don’t expect this to be a special teams battle. That’ll be a good thing for the Bruins, even though they did score twice on the power play in Game 6. I expect a low-scoring game, one where the Bruins will prevail for their first Cup since 1972.

Brian Stubits: Before the series, I picked the Bruins to win a Game 7 on the road. Why change now? They have been the better team in this series, in each of the six contests so far. Vancouver can't say the same. Thomas has played extremely well in either location while Luongo has been downright awful in Boston, including Game 6. I understand he will be more confident heading into Game 7 at home where he has been stellar, but you have to wonder how far down his confidence is to begin with. I fully expect the Canucks to come out hitting hard and try to establish a hard-hitting tempo from the opening faceoff. As has been the case in all the games so far, whoever scores first will go a long way in dictating the result and I think Boston is the team playing better all-around, Daniel Sedin guarantee or not.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 2:21 pm

Daniel Sedin guarantees victory, then backs off

VANCOUVER --- The Vancouver Canucks’ Sedin twins have been fairly anonymous through the first six games of the Stanley Cup Final.

Then came Daniel Sedin’s proclamation after the Canucks fell to the Boson Bruins, 5-2, in Game 6, setting up Wednesday’s decisive tilt.

"We're going to win Game 7," Daniel Sedin told the Vancouver Sun.

But hours before the decisive game at Rogers Arena, Daniel said he didn't meant for it to be a guarantee.

"That was probably me being excited and the words came wrong out of my mouth," Daniel said. "What I said was if we put our best game on the ice, I like our chances. That's the way it's been all year. When we play our best, we're a tough team to beat. We show that at home. We like our chances."

The home team has won each of the first six games of the series and the Canucks have baffled the Bruins' offense here, so there is some reason for confidence.

"If you don't believe that in this room, we're screwed," Daniel said. "We believe in ourselves here, and it's no different now. We should be proud of what we've done this year so far. Taking this to a Game 7, home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup finals, what else can you ask for?"

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault was hardly upset at Daniel, who led the league in scoring with 104 points this season.

"What did you expect him to say?" Vigneault said. "Come on, we're in this to win. Daniel is one of our leaders on our group and he believes in the group and he expressed it. I think it's a normal thing to do at this time."

-- A.J. Perez

Posted on: June 14, 2011 12:35 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 12:51 pm

Canucks' Raymond out after fracturing back

BOSTON --- Vancouver Canucks forward Mason Raymond suffered a  vertebral compression fracture  when he collided awkwardly into the boards seconds in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

The team announced Tuesday that Raymond will be out three to four months. These types of back injuries often do not require surgery.

Raymond spun into the corner boards after he got tangled up with Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Replays showed that Raymond’s legs and tailbone took most of the impact with the boards.

Raymond lay on the ice for several minutes before he was helped off by two teammates. He was later transported to an area hospital.

Raymond had no points in the series, but was a fixture on the Canucks' second line.

"Obviously, Mason is a large part of our team," Canucks forward Manny Malhotra said. "To lose a guy early in the game, it changes so many things, as far as how the process goes on the bench and changes. Playing with different wingers and that shuffling happened early, so I think that is a huge blow for any team, especially with such a good player like Mason."

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: June 13, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 3:18 pm

Have Canucks begun planning victory parade?

You have to give the Stanley Cup Finals this: there is no shortage of drama.

From "biting" fingers to one-goal contests, goalie critiques to the latest: parade planning.

Word started spreading late Sunday and into Monday that Vancouver was beginning the process of planning a parade for the Canucks. This seems to happen every year in every sport and the other team and its fans become incensed at the hubris of their competitors. After all, you can plan a parade on the fly because they're so easy to assemble (I hope you get that sarcasm).

At this point, the origin of the story is simply "NHL sources." The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa cited them when saying the league rejected Vancouver's bid to sell broadcasting rights for the parade.

As I said, this happens all the time in sports. It happened most recently with the Miami Heat after Game 1 and infamously happened in 2006 to the Mavericks against the Heat. Both times, the teams "planning" lost the championship series.

But much like the criticism of Roberto Luongo's comments about Tim Thomas after Game 5, I really think there's not much here. There's nothing wrong with getting ahead of the eight ball. But it does create another layer of intrigue and can be added to what I'm sure is a full poster board of material in the Bruins locker room.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 2:00 pm

Horton, Nash expected to attend Game 6

BOSTON --- Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton, who was taken off on a stretcher after a violent collision in Game 3, is expected back at TD  Garden to watch tonight’s action.

“He's doing better and hopefully we see him here tonight,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.

Horton returned to this building briefly for Game 4 where he presented Rich Peverley with a retro Bruins jacket, a token that goes to who the players feel was the MVP of the game. Julien said while Horton has progressed since last Monday’s incident that resulted in an overnight stay with a severe concussion, Horton still will not be back this series.

“He's been around, but . . . right now, he's still dealing with those concussion issues as we speak,” Julien said. “He popped in quickly this morning just to say ‘hi.’ I have the impression that he's going to be coming to the game tonight as long as he feels good, and that can vary as the day goes on.”

Minus Horton, who had been the team’s second-leading scorer when he was forced out, the Canucks have reshuffled their lines. That continued in Game 5 as the Bruins tried unsuccessfully to find some offense in a 1-0 loss to the Canucks. And at this time of year it’s hard to replace a guy who has scored three game-winning goals, including in overtime of Game 7 in the first round against the Montreal Canadiens.

“It just goes to show that everyone’s going to have to do a little bit more,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic, one of the players moved around by Julien. “He’s scored some big goals at some key times and that just goes to show that everyone’s going to have to do a bit more and everyone’s going to have to step up here and fill in for the void.”

Beyond Horton, the Canucks are expected to have a VIP spectator of their own: Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash. Nash is Vancouver forward Manny Malhotra’s brother-in-law.

“It really doesn’t make any difference,” Malhotra said. “There is going to be a lot of family here for a lot of different reasons. It’s nice that he’s here.”

-- A.J. Perez
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com