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A lasting image of the final will be Brad Marchand's use of Daniel Sedin's face as boxing speed bag late in Game 6. Asked to explain why he punched the NHL scoring champion Converse All Star Leather Black Monochrome
VANCOUVER Halfway through the Stanley Cup final, as the earth shifted beneath their feet when officiating standards went retro, the Vancouver Canucks probably knew they were in trouble.
"I don't think the team in the final was reflective of all the work we had done," Gillis said, referring to Canucks who were missing (Dan Hamhuis, Mikael Samuelsson, Aaron Rome) or playing hurt (Ryan Kesler, Christian Ehrhoff, Henrik Sedin, Chris Higgins, Kevin Bieksa).
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six times, Marchand said: "I felt like it."
The most watched final in league history made it pretty clear the Canucks were at least three players short of matching the Bruins on toughness.
Gillis won't make excuses for Canuck demise
As for other personnel, Gillis said he wants to re sign potential unrestricted free agent defencemen Bieksa, Ehrhoff Converse Shoes Chuck Taylor 2 and Sami Salo, and retain restricted free agent forwards Jannik Hansen and Max Lapierre.
In his post mortem with the media on Friday, Canuck general manager Mike Gillis agreed that refereeing standards changed in the final, and that his depleted team struggled to adapt but he made no excuses and no promises to alter Vancouver's blue print.
Word at the rink was Canuck management wanted a meeting with National Hockey League hockey ops officials after the first two games in Boston to find out why the whistle signalled open season.
Gillis figures there isn't much wrong with a team that claimed the Presidents' Trophy by daylight and then won 15 more times in the playoffs, coming within Wednesday's 4 0 Game 7 loss of bringing Vancouver its first Stanley Cup since 1915.
By the way, for those lobbying for Gillis to find an exit from Luongo's 12 year contract and make Cory Schneider the starter, that's not happening, either.
Gillis is a manager of the year finalist, and Converse Children
The Canucks may not have beaten the Tampa Bay Lightning, which lost the Eastern Conference final to the Bruins in a seventh game in which no penalties were called, but they would have made for an entirely different style of Stanley Cup final.
Gillis said he believes in Luongo.
He makes a good point.
Toronto Maple Leaf GM Brian Burke voted for him.
"We designed our team around the current rule book, around the current method of playing games. We were the best team in the league this year. I'm not going to plan a team around competing against one specific team in this league. I'm not going to build the team around one set of circumstances. At some point, if you keep knocking on the door, you're going to break through and face a different set of circumstances."
No one will say if such a summit occurred, but the first three penalties of Game 5 went against Vancouver, so if the sides met it seems the NHL didn't dig what the Canucks had to say.
He likes his team, which has five individuals up for major NHL awards next week in Las Vegas.
So the Canucks are right not to panic now.
His answer should have been: "Because I can."
The Canucks were built to play a certain way, and we're certain it wasn't the way the Stanley Cup was played.
At the very least, a fourth line in Vancouver would be helpful.
"To go out and say we need to do 50 different things, I don't feel like we do. I think this is a team that's a competitive Stanley Cup team, and I think we proved it this year.
The Bruins won the Stanley Cup going away.
Canuck stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin couldn't get any pucks past playoff MVP Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo couldn't keep nearly enough of them out of his net, so Vancouver wasn't going to win no matter how the final two games were called.
No, Gillis indicated, he won't be pulling Moose Dupont out of retirement and swinging a trade for Trevor Gillies in case the Canucks face the Bruins in another Stanley Cup.
So, while everyone on the West Coast wants to see Marchand punched in the face six times, minimum, maybe we should give Gillis the benefit of the doubt that this Vancouver team pending free agency could win the next Stanley Cup.
But it is risky, too, to feel that every piece is already there and all Vancouver needs to do is merely keep the players it has. No great team stands still.
They were clearly the better team.
"We were missing significant players. It's not an excuse; the better team on the ice won that series.
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