VANCOUVER, British Columbia — There were a lot questions about pressure, nerves and sleepless nights. Some wondered about the growing hate between the two teams, the contempt and scrums after whistles.
There were questions about who takes Mason Raymond’s spot in the Canucks lineup, and how much of an emotional lift Nathan Horton is, seeing that he traveled with the Bruins to Vancouver.
Of course, some wanted to know how Roberto Luongo, who doesn’t speak to the media on game days in the postseason, was feeling.
Here’s a look into the minds of the Bruins and Canucks as they prepare for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night in Vancouver:
Coach Alain Vigneault: Obviously coming to the rink, if you’re not a little bit nervous, safe to say it’s probably not normal. I think both teams, players, coaches, everybody, will be a little bit nervous. You just got to manage those nerves and go out and enjoy the moment and play. I think that’s what we’re going to see.
I know how hard this journey is, not just to get to the Stanley Cup Final. I’ve said many times how privileged I feel to be one of the 30 head coaches in the National Hockey League. It’s a tough business to get into, it’s a tough business to stay in, and I was out of this business coaching in the NHL for six years so it took me a long time to get back at it.
This is my fifth year in Vancouver. I knew what was at stake this year. I knew I was in my window of opportunity, and to get a chance to play for the Cup, to get a chance to play in the seventh game for the Stanley Cup, I’m real excited. Doesn’t it show?
Defenseman Kevin Bieksa: This is what you want in a Stanley Cup Final, two teams that hate each other.
We realize obviously what’s at stake, which means you have to be focused every time you’re out. Every shift could determine the outcome of the game. But at the same time, we’re playing the game of hockey so the rules are the same and the ice is the same and the pucks are the same. So you’ve got to go out and play. You can’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Winger Daniel Sedin: What I said was if we put our best game on the ice, I like our chances. That’s the way it’s been all year. When we play our best, we’re a tough team to beat. We show that at home. We like our chances.
If you don’t believe that in this room, we’re screwed. So everyone, we believe in ourselves here, and it’s no different now. We should be proud of what we’ve done this year so far. Taking this to a Game 7, home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup finals, what else can you ask for?
Center Ryan Kesler: It’s all about enjoying the day. Every day you don’t wake up playing for the Cup, Game 7. You know, it’s awesome.
Coach Claude Julien: There is no doubt that everybody is excited about this opportunity. But like you said you got to stay the course. I think it’s served us well. Our group right now seems calm and focused and ready to do the job. Our team if it gets stressed out has never performed well so I don’t expect us or I don’t want us to go out there stressed out. I expect our team to go out there excited and determined to do the job. So far I haven’t seen anything different than that.
[Red Sox manager Terry Francona] made that effort to reach out to me and called me and
just wished me all the luck. He said he admired what our team had done this year, and you know he’s the first guy to say, ‘I’m not the most knowledgeable hockey guy’ and he enjoys what we’ve done so far. And certainly he’s on our bandwagon for sure.
Winger Milan Lucic: [It’s] just staying in the moment and not thinking too far ahead. Going out there and laying everything on the line. I said the other day, you know, have no regrets. That’s something that has always stuck with me and [Wednesday] is no different. You’ve got to go out there and leave it all out there. I know I could give you every clich in the book but it is true you know, it comes down to one game here. And there is a long time to rest and to heal after a game like this. So there should be no reason why you cant leave everything on the ice and empty the tank.
Tough guy Shawn Thornton: It will be unbelievable. It has been all year. I expect
nothing but the best from everybody on this team for Game 7.
I’m sure some things will be said. I don’t know what yet, but words are words. Everyone has to show up to play. It’s action [Wednesday night]. Say whatever one likes, but it’s playing that counts.
Pressure is five kids, no job.
Rookie center Tyler Seguin: I don’t feel nervous right now, no. I think I know what I need to do. Our team knows what we need to do and we need to do it.
I think both teams will come out banging. Obviously we want to match their intensity, so that’s our mind-set going in and what we want to accomplish.