Roughly 9 months ago, we began with 600 men, their coaches, and assorted members of respective front offices. The ranged in age from 18 years old to 43, from places as diverse as Southern California to the Russian tundra. But each was united by a single hope: that when the last horn sounded, they'd be the ones standing around a shining silver trophy, and some other guys would be waiting to shake their hands.
After a tense, electric game 7 in which Dwayne Roloson and Tim Thomas both put on some of the best goaltending performances I think we've seen in the playoffs in the past several years, we are now down to two teams. The Boston Bruins will take on the Vancouver Canucks in what promises to be a very fun Stanley Cup Finals.
Wednesday can't get here soon enough.
Over at JAHL, Tapeleg has a tale of two game sevens, talking about last night's Eastern Conference final, but also intertwining it with the Central Hockey League championship, which took place last night.
In case you missed it: Steven Stamkos isn't so pretty anymore. (Warning - Graphic violence!)
Most fans may not remember Bill Masterton, the only player to ever lose his life in an NHL hockey game, though you've probably seen or heard of the trophy which bears his name. But new evidence is leading doctors to re-examine why he lost his life, and what might be done to make sure it never occurs again.
This will not shock Jackets fans who knew him well, but Manny Malhotra is, indeed, a god damned warrior. Manny was cleared for practice, and if all goes well, could potentially get the OK to return to the ice during the finals.
Over at PHT, they ask if the Bruins are just like the Canucks, only slightly less so.
And some Bruins fans are already getting their smack talk going with a nice bit of verve.
Apparently not only does a group have interest in bringing the NHL to Seattle, but the NHL might have some interest at their end, too. It's worth noting, though, that Key Arena is historically an impossible building to watch hockey in. Even the minor league and major junior teams that once shared the building with the Sonics moved out and built their own facilities. If this were to happen, a new arena would be a must.
Consider yourself the outdoorsy type? The Jacket Backers and Arch City Army are joining up for a pre-season camping trip in September.
For the AHL fans, here's a look at the winding road Binghamton had to take to make it to the Calder Cup finals.
With a 3-1 win over Kootenay, the Missisauga St. Michael's Majors will be taking on former CBJ coach Gerard Gallant and the Saint John Sea Dogs (plus CBJ prospect Mathieu Corbeil) for the Memorial Cup on Sunday.
Last but not least, remember....don't mess with the Johan.
Have a great weekend!