BOSTON – The Bruins obviously have an experience edge over the St. Louis Blues when it comes to the postseason, and more specifically, the Stanley Cup Final.
Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask have all been there before twice, and hoisted the Cup in 2011 after their epic seven-game series against the Vancouver Canucks. This will be the first time for the St. Louis Blues in the Cup Final since losing to the Bobby Orr-led B’s way back in 1970, so that alone illustrated the disparity in experience.
It won’t be the end-all, be-all for the Black and Gold, obviously, but Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy expects that level of experience to play into Boston’s favor and in the idle moments leading up to it after 11 days between the conference final and the Cup Final for his team.
“I’d hope it will be an advantage for us. I can’t speak for St. Louis. I do believe those guys have been great. I’ve said it more this week that right now with this downtime, I think a lot of young guys aren’t sure how to approach it. Even some guys that have been around," said Cassidy. “So they have been a great deal with this particular [time leading to Cup Final] about staying focused, being selfish with your time and getting away from the rink and relaxing.
“Once the puck drops, they’ll obviously do their thing when it comes to helping the young guys, but that’s when our team will just be playing hockey. I think the biggest value I’d assume this week. For me, it means a lot. I talked to Zee [Chara] and Bergeron after the scrimmage the other night. The last two guys to leave, of course, and the two most accomplished guys. They’re taking this very seriously and I think the team feeds of those guys. If they’re focused then we need to be focused. So it’s just a trickle-down effect, which helps us.”
Certainly, there is something to the ability to hyper-focus on the task at hand and block out the potential distractions from the media, the hype or the general attention paid to the Cup Final, and it stands to reason the B's might be better at it with their veterans having been through it a couple of times before.
Once the puck drops, it will equal be parts experience, roster depth, overall talent, physicality, puck luck and any number of other factors where the two teams are pretty equal on many levels. Still, the Cup Final experience is an area where the Bruins hold a distinct advantage over the Blues and should leverage that for everything it's worth when it comes to deciding an ultimate winner for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
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