There was something for everybody in Game 1. The Canucks got within three wins of the Stanley Cup. The Bruins played Vancouver even up, even outshot them, in a strong road game. The officials stamped their mark upon the series early, although not in a good way which leaves room for the complainers. Both squads’ penalty kills held up under a lot of work and both goalies made big and little stops throughout.
The result of all that is that fans of both teams still have high hopes – Canuck supporters feeling 40 years is finally long enough to wait for a parade, Bruins fans expecting, maybe, a return to the top, 40 years since their last huge playoff failure.
Only Mark Recchi, of the 73 players listed by the teams’ current rosters, was even alive when this quest began.
So, it will be a big, big deal for whichever team prevails here.
It is probably good, for bars and souvenir sellers as well as fans, that no trend became evident early.
Both fan cadres will still believe their clubs can be victorious.
A dominant performance by either team might have quelled hope in the hearts of one side’s supporters and brewed complacency – never good for the sports business – in the souls of the other club’s followers.
Even for those of us not particularly enamoured of either team, the tension is attractive. Hockey at a high level, with the result still very much in doubt, should keep everybody interested to the end.
It’s hard not to hope for the Canadian side, and I lean that way. The Canucks play attractive, high speed hockey in front of a goalie that keeps the stress adrenalin flowing, and it has been a while since a Canadian team brought the Cup, originally intended to reside in the trophy case of the Canadian champions, home again.
It’s not that hard to feel for the Bruins, either.
Many locals are Boston fans who have been disappointed so often by Bruins teams that seem to get so caught up in the euphoria of beating Montreal they can’t focus to go further.
That, and good guy Creston native Johnny Bucyk is still the Bruins’ all-time leading scorer and a Boston hockey icon.
Whichever side triumphs, we will all have happy and sad friends – and then, finally, summer will be here.