Today in Chicago the Bruins and Blackhawks met with the media for media day on the eve of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Find out which Blackhawks star wore number 68 as a kid, which Bruin and Blackhawk are close friends and who almost got traded to Boston for Andrew Raycroft.
Let’s take a look at some quotes from media day
Heading into the Stanley Cup the Bruins are playing their best hockey of the year. Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville acknowledged that.
“They’re playing well, they’re on a big roll right now and they’ve got a lot of options. You know they check well, they’re a very patient team, they’re positionaly strong in all zones and they got some guys who can make plays and some good point shooters as well. So we want to make sure that we play our game to our strengths but recognize we need to be at our best here in the series.”
As I am sure you know by now, back in 2006 the Bruins traded goalie Andrew Raycroft to the Toronto Maple Leafs for goalie Tuukka Rask, but at media day we learned it almost wasn’t Rask coming to Boston.
“It was like Tlusty[Jiri Tilusty] or Rask for Raycroft and there was a lot of discussion at both ends about it and it was decided it would be Rask from Boston’s end and I think they tried to come back and flip that and take the other guy” Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli told the media on Tuesday.
Everyone remembers the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs where the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in the finals, but what you may not remember is that in the opening round of the playoffs in 2011, the Canucks defeated the Blackhawks who at the time were the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp says he was rooting for the Bruins.
“Yeah I kind of had mixed feelings” said Sharp. “I had a couple of friends on the team so I was happy for them, I was happy they beat Vancouver because Vancouver knocked us out that year and we had a rivalry with them.”
Speaking of 2011, Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron says being here in 2011 helps them a bit here in 2013 in regards to knowing what to expect.
”Yeah I guess you know a bit more of what to expect, but at the same time you know how hard it was in 2011 and it’s going to be the same thing if you want to achieve your goals. I guess it’s a little different but it’s the same feeling.”
The Bruins will be faced with the difficult task of trying to get pucks past Blackhawks Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks goalie says he feels great as the Stanley Cup Finals approaches.
“Yeah I feel really good right now and you know obviously as a goaltender you want to have zero goals every game, but that doesn’t happen but that’s what we prepare for and that’s what I work hard for everyday and that’s to be perfect” said Crawford. “But right now I feel good and our team is playing really well. We are scoring goals and playing well defensively.”
The Bruins haven’t seen the Blackhawks since October of 2011, but Jaromir Jagr has had the chance to take on the Blackhawks when he began the season with the Dallas Stars.
“I did twice, me personally in Dallas” said Jagr. “I know everything about them. They beat us 8-0, I know everything. Well when we played them in Dallas I thought they were the best team in that Conference for sure. They play different hockey for sure, they’re quick and so talented up front but very quick on defense. I think that was a huge difference compared to other teams. Everyone can move the puck on defense so we have to be careful of that.”
Growing up in the country of Slovakia and eventually playing in the National Hockey League together helped Zdeno Chara and Marian Hossa become close friends, but both admit when on the ice friendships go out the window.
“Well we called each other after we joined the finals after the last game. You know just a quick phone call about different stuff. He will play his way; I’ll play my way and after two weeks will be back to friends again” said Hossa.
“Yeah we know each other for many years from back home” added Chara. “Obviously we cannot ignore that we know each other and each other’s families and we both know our jobs right now are to play for our teams and compete and do whatever it takes to win games.”
Growing up as young hockey player you can’t blame Jonathan Toews for idiolizing Jaromir Jagr, Toews said he wore Jagr’s 68 during summer hockey.
“Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. He was probably one of my favorite players as a kid. I think I wore number 68 when I was playing summer hockey a couple of summers I guess and I had his Koho Jagr stick and all that and I looked up to him as a young kid. I was probably nine or ten at that age and now here I am getting the chance to play against him In the Stanley Cup Finals. So that’s pretty amazing to see.”
Of course there had to be a Tim Tebow question this afternoon and Bruins defensemen Torey Krug is excited about Tebow signing with the Patriots.
“You know I haven’t even thought about it too much. Obviously he’s a great competitor and the city of Boston will love him and I am looking forward to see what he can do.”