Entitlement and Discipline

In one of the hardest fought series with two of the most physical teams I’ve seen together in a final in a very long time, the better team won. Undoubtedly Vancouver is a very talented team and will perhaps one day win their cup.

Today is not that day.

This day is the day that the best team – the Boston Bruins – showed the heart of a champion in every single way. Discipline. Hard work. And determination. Home ice or no home ice, they were not to be denied.

If Vancouver wants to become a champion like Boston, they need to go through the same growing pains the 1980′s Oilers did when they lost to the Islanders.

Sometimes it’s about the mentality, not about the talent.

Of course you need to believe in your goalie to win. But after a game like that, after a press conference like that, Vigneault needed to put the message out to his team.

When I heard Vigneault felt he didn’t need to say anything to his team, it screamed of entitlement.

The same entitlement that has plagued them throughout the playoffs. You see, Vancouver was talented enough to beat every single one of the teams they faced in four games.

They really were talented enough. But in the end, they lost. But why did they go to 7 games against Chicago and Boston? 6 games against Nashville?

They simply have no heart.

In a Game 7 when all the marbles are on the line, Luongo displayed some of the least compete and determination of any Stanley Cup final goalie I have ever seen. That’s because he thinks he’s Ken Dryden and not John Vanbiesbrouck.

Boston has heart, and a lot of it. After games 3 and 4, they tuned down their retaliation. They tuned down the hooliganism with the fingers and the dirty plays.

Claude Julien and Chara made sure of it.

Do the Sedins and Vigneault have that kind of control over their locker room? Sure doesn’t seem like it. When you have guys like Hansen, Burrows and company out there not playing to retrieve the puck but playing to injure other players.

When the game was 1-0 or 2-0, it was their chance to get back into it. They chose to take the other road instead. The rest is history. Congratulations to Tim Thomas (I’ve been a fan for a very very long time!) and the Boston Bruins on their Stanley Cup win.

If the Canucks can keep their core together, get rid of the dirty players and bring in some heart, maybe I could cheer for them some day. Until that day, I’ll be glad to watch their city riot in response to a cup that was promised – but not delivered.

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Before I say too much about Game 7, I just wanted to point out a little tidbit on the CBC website written as a side article. Dan Marouelli took my thoughts and said it in the most concise and effective way, as captured here.

The wrong call, by Tim Wharnsby

The Bruins came out on top, but the final score of how the referees fared was a loss in the eyes of former NHL referee Dan Marouelli, who worked four Stanley Cup Finals (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003) and 187 playoff games during his 28-year career.

“I was disappointed in how [the game] was handled,” Marouelli told CBCSports.ca. “I think that were a number of fouls that were missed or [the referees] chose not to call them. I didn’t think they did their jobs very well. And I’m not one to criticize the officials.

“If you go back and look at some of these calls that were missed, some of them were of a serious nature.”

Marouelli pointed specifically to three incidents that were non-calls – Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara was hit without the puck on his own blue-line by Vancouver’s Chris Higgins; the Alex Burrows high hit on Rich Peverley behind the play and the spear to the leg of Johnny Boychuk by the Canucks’ Jannik Hansen.

“It was a Game 7 and … usually the team that was most disciplined were the ones to win the Cup. I didn’t see a whole lot of discipline this entire series. It affects the integrity of our sport when these type of fouls aren’t called.

“If that’s the way the National Hockey League wants to go, from what I used to do for a living it was all about upholding the integrity of the game and I think it affects the integrity of the game when those types of calls aren’t called.”

This is one of the better subscriptions on the series. I’m waiting to hear Greg’s Game 7 analysis.

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