Stanley Cup final: Boston Bruins prove era of the superstar is gone (+video)
The Boston Bruins rallied to tie the Stanley Cup final series, 1-1, Saturday because of a strong game from their supporting cast. That is a hallmark of the NHL's new 'Bruins Era.'
There is a saying in hockey that always sprouts at this time of year: "Your best players need to be your best players."Skip to next paragraph
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That is to say, if you have a team with Wayne Gretzky, chances are, you'll need Gretzky to be your best player to win a Stanley Cup. If some fourth-line guy who has fewer teeth than fingers is playing better than Gretzky, that's not a good sign.
And it makes sense. On the Pittsburgh Penguins, there is no doubt that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are the two celestial lights around which that constellation of stars swirls. Reggie Jackson might say their sticks stir the drink.
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Well, when the Penguins were swept by the Boston Bruins last round, they were dreadful.
And now, with the Stanley Cup final tied at 1-1 heading to Boston Monday night, the Chicago Blackhawks must wonder if Superman is still stuck in his phone booth. Patrick Kane, who once wore a cape during the shootout competition on all-star weekend, has seemed to shrink before the Big Bad Bruins, skirting on the edges of play, pushed to the areas of the ice where there is least resistance – and where he is very little threat.
Marian Hossa, too, has been largely anonymous so far. The Blackhawks need both to be among their best players over the next (potentially) five games.
But then, what about the Bruins?
On one hand, the Bruins' best players have been their best players – emphatically – this postseason. The Bruins' first line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Nathan Horton has been the best line so far in these playoffs, and by some distance. Lucic scored twice in Game 1 of the final.
But that, in itself, is telling. None of that threesome would likely even be on the Penguins first line. For the Blackhawks, arguably at least four forwards are all bigger offensive stars than any of the Bruins top 3 – Kane, Hossa, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Sharp.