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Three thoughts before Game 2

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  June 4, 2011 06:49 PM

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Checking in from auxiliary box 517 high above the ice here at Rogers Arena, where the Bruins will try to secure a split with with the Canucks in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight, and I'll continue to wonder why Vancouver fans refuse to acknowledge that Colin Campbell played for their team. (Yep, still bludgeoning that angle.)

While the Zamboni does it's thing on the ice and Chicago's "Saturday in the Park" blares over the P.A. system, here's a hat trick's worth of pregame thoughts.

1. Alain Vigneault is a riot in a Belichick-like way, and I know that makes no sense whatsoever. The attempted explanation: When it comes to injury information, such as the status of Manny Malhotra and Dan Hamhuis entering tonight's game, he makes it pretty clear he'd rather loan Ryan Kesler to the Bruins for the rest of the series than give away any information that may benefit the opponent.

Which, of course, makes all the sense in the world, just as it does for Belichick and the Pats. The difference is that Vigneault is upfront about his stonewalling, and he does it in a pretty amusing way.

This morning, after the Canucks' skate, Vigneault came to the media room, sat down at the podium, laughed, and said, "Go ahead, ask the question."

Reporter, knowing exactly how it was going to go: "Guess it's my turn. Will Manny play tonight?

Vigneault: "Game-time decision."

Reporter: "And Dan?"

Vigneault, smiling: "Game-time decision."

Later in the press conference, Vigneault, who also admitted it took him three years to tell the Sedins apart, explained why he puts up his roadblock on the information highway:

"At the end of the day, at this time of the year, when there's this much at stake, you don't want the opposition to know something, to be able to exploit something," Vigneault said. "It's as simple as that. During the season, we share everything, try to be as open as we can. But we don't play the same team two nights in a row."

As frustrating as it can be for the media -- whether here or back at Gillette Stadium, where every one of the 16 games on the schedule matters -- Vigneault's approach makes sense.

2. The Bruins' inept power play -- they've converted 7.5 percent of their man-advantages this postseason -- has been a punch line in the papers here in Vancouver, where the Canucks (25 percent conversion) make it look so easy that there's suspicion of telepathy. The low point for the Bruins may have come during yesterday's practice, when observers couldn't recall afterward seeing the Bruins score once during their power-play drills. (No doubt Claude Julien would look at this as a tribute to his penalty kill.) So here's a foolish fearless prediction: The Bruins score not once, but twice on the power play tonight. Zdeno Chara gets one on a rebound that lands on his stick, and Mark Recchi nets the other, because while he looks two strides slow these days, he's built up a reservoir of good karma with the hockey gods during his 23 NHL seasons, and it's only appropriate that his scoring drought ends at the same time that the power play comes to live.

3. If you wish, consider this fearless prediction No. 2: Bruins 4, Canucks 2. Roberto Luongo, who comes across as far more relaxed and confident now than he did during the Olympics, reverts to his occasionally jittery ways, Tim Thomas stands on his head, flops on his stomach, and uses every other trick in his unorthodox repertoire to stone the Canucks, and we have ourselves the proverbial pivotal Game 3 come Monday.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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