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BOSTON (CBS) – Ten years ago, fans of the Bruins and Blackhawks had similar complaints about their team’s old-line management.
It was a common sentiment in Chicago that the Blackhawks would never return to glory until the death—that’s right—the death—of owner William Wirtz, who held an iron grip over hockey in the Second City… and his wallet.
Then something happened in 2007: Mr. Wirtz actually died. Longtime number-two son Rocky Wirtz gained control and hired marketing genius John McDonough away from the baseball Cubs as team president. With a new outlook, and a new willingness to spend on player development, the Hawks were on their way.
Likewise, Boston hockey fans had complained about the penurious ways of owner Jeremy Jacobs. The Bruins moved away from general managers steeped in their team’s glorious past, hiring Harvard grad Peter Chiarelli away from Ottawa in 2006 to, finally, lead the Bruins forward.
Read: Stanley Cup Predictions
The rest is history.
In 2010, Chicago won their first Stanley Cup in almost 50 years.
In 2011, Boston won their first Stanley Cup in almost 40 years.
Two years later, they meet for the first time in the finals.
As with most sports predictions, anyone who thinks they know what will happen on the ice over the next few weeks doesn’t know Geno’s East from Bertucci’s.
The Blackhawks have superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, but the Bruins just spent a week locking up Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins.
The Bruins have goalie Tuukka Rask, who’s playing like a much younger, European version of Tim Thomas. The Blackhawks have Corey Crawford, who split the job in the regular season , but has kept up with Rask stop-for-stop in the playoffs.
The Bruins seem to have momentum after winning nine of their last 10 games. The Blackhawks have been less than consistent, but at their best, every bit as good as Boston.
One edge for Bruins could be their physical style. The Blackhawks have been outhit in 15 of 17 playoff games. The Bruins were also outhit by the Penguins, but they were busy skating over, around and through Pittsburgh.
(Thanks: 98.5 The Sports Hub, WGN, ESPN, Fox Sports, Comcast Sports Chicago)
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