Tonight, the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks meet to open the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. It's an intriguging matchup: Boston is looking to win its first Cup since 1972, while Vancouver is looking to win its first since the franchise was birthed the same season. Boston hasn't been to the Cup final since 1990, Vancouver since a Game 7 loss to ex-Racer Mark Messier and ex-Ice Brian Noonan in 1994. The Bruins are looking to keep the Cup in the Original Six, Vancouver looking to bring it back to Canada for the first time since Jacques Demers and Montreal won it in 1993.
Bruce Cassidy, the popular former Ice defenseman and coach who has also served as an NHL head coach with the Washington Capitals, is part of the Bruins organization as the AHL Providence Bruins' assistant coach. He has been in Boston working with the "Black Aces" -- the AHLers called up to practice with the Bruins in the playoffs.
Roland Melanson, who backstopped the Checkers in 1980-81 before becoming Billy Smith's backup on three New York Islanders Stanley Cup championship teams and embarking on a long NHL career, is the Canucks' goaltending coach. He is responsible for tutoring Roberto Luongo, and some tweaks "Rollie the Goalie" made to Luongo's game have paid off for the netminder this season.
Canucks' assistant Rick Bowness has an indirect connection with Indianapolis. His father, Bob Bowness, was part of the high-scoring "Killer B's" line that led the Chiefs to the 1958 IHL Turner Cup championship, pairing with Pierre Brillant and Marc Boileau. Canada's National Post has a nice story on the Bownesses. Bob passed away in 1994 and never made it to the NHL -- although he had NHL-level talent, he was Montreal Canadiens property at a time when they were the NHL's most loaded team -- but his son is trying to fulfill his father's legacy and get the Bowness name on the Stanley Cup.
In addition, former Ice players Adam Creighton and Dean Malkoc work as scouts for the Bruins. Creighton is a professional scout, while Malkoc scouts amateur players in Western Canada. Malkoc also played for both the Bruins and Canucks during his career.
Here is the schedule:
Wednesday, June 1: at Vancouver, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Saturday, June 4: at Vancouver, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Monday, June 6: at Boston, 8 p.m. (Versus)
Wednesday, June 8: at Boston, 8 p.m. (Versus)
Friday, June 10: at Vancouver, 8 p.m. (NBC)*
Monday, June 13: at Boston, 8 p.m. (NBC)*
Wednesday, June 15: at Vancouver, 8 p.m. (NBC)*