This post will make me sound like a Vancouver fan. I am not, although I did marvel at the play of the Sedins and Kesler in earlier series. I am a sports fan who likes to see games determined by the athletes and not by the referees.
I just wanted to say how unimpressed I was with Vancouver in the finals. If I was a fan I would be disgusted with their inability to adapt their game to a hot goalie.
I don't agree. Vancouver had tons of great chances and carried the play for much of the first part of the game, but every bounce seemed to go Boston's way, and when they didn't Thomas was just too good. Sometimes there IS no cure for a hot goalie (see Roy, Patrick). The first few Boston goals I don't recall that Luongo had much of a chance on. The goal where Bergeron (?) slid Luongo into the net, the refs should have found some way to disallow that. How is the call of a goal not reviewable ?
Then let's talk about the refereeing. Boston, it seemed, had carte blanche to hack and slash and cross-check, after the whistle and in front of the refs all through the series. Before the whistle, Chara seemed to never stop slashing the back of the Sedin's knees. Whistle blows, there's either Seidenberg or Chara throwing a brutal cross check to the Canuck's best players. How does one miss a cross-check or slash thrown by a moving mountain of a man ? Interesting how all that went away once they were playing for the Cup. The "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty on Daniel Sedin at the start of game 6 when Chara totally took him down was a joke: it looked like an attempt to make sure Boston didn't go short-handed their best defender at a crucial point in the game.
Is there a single non-judged sport in which the referees can affect the outcome of a game as much as in hockey ?
If I was the Vancouver coach, seeing how the series was being called, I would have sent in a scrub - they were certainly forced to play with a few - to run Thomas hard late in a couple of the games that were already out of hand. I even heard a commentator call for a "speed wobble" on Thomas. They weren't getting the calls and they had to do something to rattle Thomas. That was on the coach. After the Bruin's firing pucks at Luongo during the pre-skates, the Canucks should have unloaded a bunch at Thomas.
I was surprised at how brutal Vancouver was on the faceoffs. It seemed like they lost 75% of them. At some point Vigneault should have given up on Malhotra. He couldn't win anything this series.
Anyways, the league got what they wanted, I'm sure: a Stanley Cup in one of the US' biggest cities, smack dab in ESPN's backyard (what a bunch of Boston homers they always are), instead of putting it the farthest removed point from the US' biggest media centres, in a country where hockey needs no growth.