Hello Everyone!  Enjoying the summer?  In today's post I am going to talk about one of the most heated games last season.  Rivalries in sports are nothing new, especially in hockey.  With the sport being as physical and fast as it is some players are literally on a team as an "enforcer, physical presence" to intimate players on opposing teams.  In the NHL some rivalries have been going on since the 1920s, the Orignal 6 always have it in for one another (watch Episode 1 of Hockey Talk with Courtney for Original 6 info) and then you have  rivalries like the always heated always entertaining matches between the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks in the west and the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers in the east.  Someone once told me that contemporary hockey rivalries are hard to come by in today's hockey.  The way the schedule works a team like Los Angeles plays San Jose 6 times a year but plays Montreal only once. A Los Angeles /Montreal rivalry doesn't seem that possible.  The Vancouver Chicago rivalry became epic a few years back when for two seasons in a row Chicago beat Vancouver in round 2 of the playoffs.  Then in round 1 of the 2011 playoffs Vancouver was in and they were playing Chicago!  in the 1st round and Chicago only made it into the playoffs because Minnesota beat Dallas in the last regulation game of the season.  If Dallas won, Dallas would have made the playoffs.  Minnesota's win bumped both teams out and Chicago was in, and epic it was.  Vancouver won games 1,2 and 3, Chicago came back to win games 4, 5 and 6.  Game 7 was at home for Vancouver and what a game it was.  I had the lucky opportunity to be at the game.  Alex Burrows drew 1st blood and it was a 1-0 game until Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored with less then 2 minutes left in the 3rd period.  OT it was and again Burrows scored and it was a 2-1 finish, Vancouver won but the rivalry continues.  It only gets hotter and hotter. 

That 1st round, unknown to everyone, was the start of a fantastic run for the Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final.  The Boston Bruins also went on a wild run as well.  To make it short Vancouver won games 1,2 and 5.  Boston won games 3, 4 and 6.  Game 7 was in Vancouver and Boston ended up winning.  Zedno Chara held up the Stanley Cup and another rivalry began.  Because in the Final round of the Stanley Cup one team from the western conference plays one team from the eastern conference, the following year the teams only play each other once.  For Vancouver and Boston that game happened on January 7th 2012.  In an awkward move, the NHL game was played at 1:00 in the afternoon EST, 10:00am PST.  Vancouver fans were ready to go.  Personally, I joked the game was so early because we all knew we were going to see fights, penalties and a game that wouldn't end in 2 hours or so.  This game could have gone all day.   Chris Higgins of the Vancouver Canucks had the best comment about the game "I felt like that game was never going to end" he joked to cameras post game.
Bruin Nathan Horton & Canuck Dale Weise. The loyalty of these teams is infectious.
Now I don't need to sit here and get into detail about why this game was so intense.  It was the Stanley Finalists at it again.  Vancouver wanted revenge and a win, Boston wanted to beat Vancouver and rub it in their faces a little.  Nobody was winning a Stanley Cup after this game but man it was fun to watch!  Here are some interesting facts about the game:
1)Backup goalie hot shot Cory Schneider got the start for the Vancouver Canucks while #1 net minder Roberto Luongo sat on the bench.  Personally I think Cory getting the start has nothing to do with Lou but Schneider is from just outside Boston, in Marblehead.  The Canucks only play  in Boston every 2 years and this was what I feel a nod to Cory and a silent thank you for all your hard work, play a game in front of your friends and family.
2) Dale Weise who wasn't even on the team in the Finals showed his loyalty to Vancouver dropping his gloves in the most epic hockey fight of the game with the one and only Nathan Horton.
3) When the brawl broke out in the 1st period, it ended in 48 penalty minutes being handed out, the penalty box was a hotter place to be then the player's benches and Vancouver born Boston Bruin Milan Lucic was out of the game.
4) By the end of the 1st period a total of 62 penalty minutes were handed out.
5) This game had everything including one of the most exciting moments in hockey the "penalty shot".  Bruin Daniel Paille was awarded a penalty shot 23 seconds into the 2nd period but he was denied by the Schneid!
6) Hot Shot Rookie and former Canuck but now a Buffalo Sabre Cody Hodgson assisted the 2nd goal for Vancouver and scored the 4th.
7) Cory Schneider stopped 36 of 39 shots and Timmy Thomas stopped 32 of 36.

All in all in was a great game to watch.  Full of suspense, stakes and good old classic hockey.  Below you can watch all 4 Canucks goals.  Plus I have included game highlights.  Also when I was searching for game highlights I came across some very funny videos by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert that are just too funny for me to pass up.  Although I can appreciate and respect Boston as a team for some of the things they do, they are an extremely physical team with a bad track record.  I had to include these.  Doesn't matter which team you cheer of,r these comedians have done a great job of making everything the Boston Bruins do look thuggish!  Enjoy X