Denver Colorado Avalanche coach Bob Hartley has played Game Seven of the Stanley Cup finals at least 100 times, if only when he was growing up as a kid. He imagined himself to be former Montreal goaltender Ken Dryden or former Canadiens defenseman Larry Robinson.
"I won many Stanley Cup games in the streets, many Game Sevens," Hartley said Friday, the day before the Avalanche play the New Jersey Devils to decide the cup winner. "It is ironic that tomorrow night (tonight) is going to be Game Seven against (Devils coach) Larry Robinson."
Hartley and his childhood friends tried to make their games realistic.
"I had a mask exactly like him (Dryden)," Hartley said. "I remember we had a tape recorder and we had that CBC (Hockey Night in Canada) song at the start da-da-da-da-da-da and that pumped us up."
Hartley the historian
Hartley also said "he is a big historian" who has spent his entire life enjoying hockey lore.
He dropped this nugget of hockey trivia: the last two teams to win a Stanley Cup finals Game Seven, the 1994 New York Rangers and the 1987 Edmonton Oilers, also played host to the NHL All-Star game during those seasons. This season's All-Star game was played in Denver.
"I will let you make your own conclusions," he said.
Unfortunately for Hartley, the All-Star game in Edmonton was played in 1989, not 1987. The NHL shut down that season for Rendezvous '87, a two-game all-star series in Quebec City against the Soviet Union, and there was no All-Star game.
Can't spell Roy without 'O'
Patrick Roy is the first goaltender to have two shutouts in the Stanley Cup finals since Montreal's Gump Worsley in 1965. Colorado's 4-0 victory over New Jersey in Game Six Thursday was Roy's 19th shutout in a playoff game, extending his record.
The record for shutouts in a single finals is three, by Clint Benedict of the Montreal Maroons in 1926 and Frank McCool of Toronto in 1945. Benedict owns the career record of eight shutouts in the finals, four more than Roy and several other goalies.
Nerves of Borque
Ray Bourque isn't nervous about Game Seven, even if it is the first time in 22 seasons he has been this close to the Cup.
"I believe we are going to get it done," said Bourque, who predicted the Avalanche would win Game Six at New Jersey to keep the series going. "I am excited but I am not nervous because I just go out and do my best. If you get nervous, you start thinking too much and that's when you start making mistakes ... (with) 22 years worth of it, you just know what you have to do and you just bring it out."