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Stanley Cup: Blackhawks-Bruins
The Blackhawks are one win away from a Stanley Cup championship thanks to two goals from Patrick Kane in Game 5. However, injury concerns to a star player on each side -- Patrice Bergeron for Boston and Jonathan Toews for Chicago -- create an interesting sub-story to Game 6. What impact will the injuries have on the series? Will Chicago wrap it up in Game 6 or will the Bruins bounce back and treat sports fans to another Game 7?
Aren't Game 7s grand? Sure, you've got similar stakes in, say, the final match of a five-game series, but there's something about Game 7s that excites fans and causes sportswriters to break out the purple prose. Hockey fans are spoiled for choice tonight, as both the Rangers-Capitals and Bruins-Maple Leafs series are tied at three games apiece. Hockey Game 7s have a different tenor than those from other sports -- they seem more like wars of attrition than the titanic personality clashes of the NBA playoffs, or the nervy percentage plays that make up baseball's postseason -- but they're all a blast to watch.
Rangers or Capitals?
The Capitals would seem to have the advantage in this matchup, as the home team has won in every game in this series.
Bruins or Maple Leafs?
This series returns to Boston for Game 7, although the normal home-ice advantage seems to have been blunted, as both teams have been able to take games on the road.
Selfish act or principled stand?
Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas wasn't with the Bruins when they visited the White House to be honored as Stanley Cup champions. Thomas explained his political objections on Facebook.
Is there a right time to speak out?
Whether it's visiting the White House or the recent controversy about the MLB All-Star Game in Arizona, should athletes make political statements?
Is Thomas still the best goalie in town?
Thomas was also notably absent in a weekend showdown against the Rangers, as the Bruins opted instead for Tuukka Rask (above, left).
The old joke, "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out!" isn't going over as well anymore. In fact, a young hockey fan might not even get it. Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke certainly isn't laughing. The former head disciplinarian for the NHL is upset that fighting is down and suspensions are up. He thinks self-policing is the way to go. Agree?
A change for the better?
Hockey is evolving and the speedy skaters with abundant skill are pushing out the intimidating enforcers with fists clenched. Is this a good thing?
Last of the breed?
Brandon Prust and Zenon Konopka are tied with 11 fighting majors each which leads the league. Does that make either the best enforcer in the game?
More fights means less punishment?
The NHL has been busy lately handing out suspensions for cheap shots. Burke believes making players back up their actions would cut down on punishable acts.