Canucks-Bruins Rivalry Resparked by Chara’s Comments

Another chapter was added to the historic 2011 Stanley Cup Final rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins, thanks to allegations made by former Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. On the popular “Games with Names” podcast, he claimed that the Canucks were practicing what order they would hand the Stanley Cup off in if they won. According to the former captain, this was used as bulletin board material and helped the Bruins win the 2011 Stanley Cup. Here is a look at the series of events that have happened since the comments were made.

Chara’s Comments

While Chara claims that the Canucks were practicing handing off the Stanley Cup, there were some details that were not clear. During the interview, he said they saw the Canucks do this, heard the Canucks did this, and thinks they heard the Canucks did this. This has sparked plenty of debate in the Vancouver market and has Canucks fans discussing the 2011 Final once again.

Zdeno Chara Bruins
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins, Dec. 2, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

This isn’t the first time a former Bruin has made comments about the Canucks’ 2011 team. Months after the Final, Mark Recchi called the Canucks the most arrogant team he had played against during his 22-year career. This was another incident that caused debate in Vancouver as the wound was still fresh from the loss.

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In 2020, former Bruins once again took shots at the Canucks, this time during a Zoom reunion. Milan Lucic called out Vancouver’s play claiming they would constantly dive and complain to the referees. Even a decade later, it is clear that players from that Bruins team hated the Canucks and don’t mind throwing shots at the organization.

Canucks’ Response

Since the interview aired, multiple former Canucks have come out saying the story is untrue. First, Jannik Hansen rebuffed the story on Sportsnet 650 radio, followed by Kevin Bieksa on Hockey Night in Canada, who called the comment “One of the dumbest things we’ve ever heard.” He also pointed out that if this incident really happened, it would have been reported at the time, not over a decade later. Based on all this evidence, it is easy to conclude that it never actually occurred and that someone in the Bruins organization made up this story to try and motivate the team.

Bieksa also made the point that this was a shot at the leadership group he was a part of. There is no way that a team led by Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who also refused to touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl because their goal was a Stanely Cup, would be practicing celebrations after winning two games. Even if players were joking around and discussing what the handoff order would be, it is hard to believe that, based on the roster, someone wouldn’t have stepped in and shut down the discussion. This is just another one of the many reasons why this story does not seem plausible.

Rivalry Resparked

In most markets, Chara’s comments would have gone unnoticed or undebated, but not in Vancouver. Canucks fans are a proud market and still, to this day, believe that the 2011 team was screwed out of a Stanley Cup. Whether it was the national media being against them, the unprecedented Aaron Rome four-game suspension, the Johnny Boychuk hit on Mason Raymond, or the overall officiating of the series, some fans in Vancouver will always feel like the Canucks were robbed of a championship. That is why when former Bruins or really anyone brings up 2011; fans get very defensive.

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In the end, no amount of debate will change the outcome of the 2011 Final. The Bruins won in seven games, period. If players want to go on podcasts and talk about their Stanley Cup, they are free to do so, but they need to have all the information before making wild accusations with no evidence. Overall, this is just another chapter added to one of the most heated Stanley Cup Finals the NHL has seen in the past 20 years.

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