Halfway through the Stanley Cup final, as the earth shifted beneath their feet when officiating standards went retro, the Vancouver Canucks probably knew they were in trouble.
Word at the rink was Canuck management wanted a meeting with National Hockey League hockey-ops officials after the first two games in Boston to find out why the whistle signalled open season. No one will say if such a summit occurred. But the first three penalties of Game 5 went against Vancouver, so if the sides met it seems the NHL didn't dig what the Canucks had to say.
The Bruins won the Stanley Cup going away. They were clearly the better team. Canuck stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin couldn't get any pucks past playoff MVP Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo couldn't keep nearly enough of them out of his net, so Vancouver wasn't going to win no matter how the final two games were called.
A lasting image of the final will be Brad Marchand's use of Daniel Sedin's face as boxing speedbag late in Game 6. Asked to explain why he punched the NHL scoring champion six times, Marchand said: “I felt like it.” His answer should have been: “Because I can.”