BOSTON, MA — There may be some animosity between the Bruins and Canucks – an intense, seven-game series that ends in the winners hoisting the Stanley Cup and the losers going home will do that – but as hockey teams, they’re not so different from each other.
Despite the 3,000 miles of continent that separate them, Bruins head coach Claude Julien sees plenty of similarities between the teams’ seasons – most prominently, the “Stanley Cup hangover” that seemed to plague both teams in the fall.
“When you play until the end of June, you’ve [only] got a couple of months, and the effort and everything that you put into the playoffs, let alone the series” can make it hard to get going when the first game rolls around, Julien said. “In talking to some of the Canucks people and looking at what we experienced here, guys just weren’t ready to start the year. Their heads weren’t into it.”
While those first weeks may have been agonizing for fans, the Bruins and Canucks found their groove much faster than many Stanley Cup contenders do. For instance, the Chicago Blackhawks struggled for “probably half a year” in 2010, Julien said.
“They had new faces coming into their lineup, so it was probably even a bigger challenge for them,” he said. “That’s certainly, for me, why I would assume the struggles took a little longer compared to ours.”
The Bruins and Canucks have since risen to the top of their respective conferences – a good way to reassure anyone still worried that they’ve long since shaken off those Cup hangovers – and there should be no worries that this afternoon’s game will be anything but full of energy.
“There’s a special feeling,” said Julien. “There’s history behind us from last year’s playoffs, and I think everybody’s looking forward to it.”