December 10, 2012

Latest cancellations wipe out Bruins' return to Vancouver

By Jesse Connolly

Zdeno Chard led the Bruins to their sixth Stanley Cup championship in team history in 2011. (Getty Images)

It was nearly a year and a half ago, but for Bruins’ fans, it’ll always feel like yesterday.

On June 15, 2011, Boston triumphed in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, defeating Roberto Luongo and the Canucks by a score of 4-0 at Rogers Arena. With a pair of goals from both Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, the Black and Gold put an end to a 39-year championship drought.

The heated, back-and-forth series filled with bad blood also made every upcoming contest between two clubs in different conferences and on opposite coasts a must-watch affair for the foreseeable future.

Given that, the fact that their lone scheduled matchup for the 2012-13 season was a victim of the latest cancellation of games makes it even easier to feel miserable about the NHL lockout.

Instead of seeing the Bruins return to the place where Zdeno Chara lifted hockey’s Holy Grail to previously unseen heights on Dec. 29, fans throughout the Hub of Hockey will have to wait until – barring an unforeseen Dec. 31 start – at least 2013 to see their next live NHL broadcast, and even longer for these two foes to once again clash.

There will be no visit to the home of the Green Men for your beloved B’s, no chance for you to make timely jokes about the Sedins (or Luongo, if he’s not traded by then), no opportunity to once again verbalize how much you appreciate Alex Burrows biting Bergy and poking the bear.

Instead, the rematch between the last two teams standing in the 2011 postseason will be game No. 35 erased by the NHL’s work stoppage for Boston, who saw six more games lopped off their calendar on Monday.

Five of those six games would’ve come at TD Garden, including a visit from the defending champion Kings on Dec. 17 and a contest against the Capitals – who bounced the B’s in the first round this past spring – on Dec. 22.

Those are both marquee matchups in their own right, but neither can hold a candle to seeing the Bruins return to Vancouver, where they made their long-suffering fans throughout New England and beyond the happiest they’ve ever been in the last four decades.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.