When your team is fighting to win its first Stanley Cup in franchise history, it’s time to pull out all the stops. Sometimes that means going with “outside the box” strategies to get every little edge.
Game 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals will take place in Vancouver Saturday night (at 8 p.m. ET on NBC), but the Canucks made the decision to sleep at an area hotel instead of their own beds Friday. If you’re a Canucks fan with a devious plan to upset the Boston Bruins’ sleep schedules, you might want to make sure that the home team isn’t staying at the same locale.
While the “act as if you’re on the road when you’re at home” plan sounds silly, it actually makes a lot of sense. Professional hockey players probably deal with a lot of long-lost cousins and reemerging grade school friends looking for tickets during typical games, but one can only imagine the kind of requests they receive during a championship round. It makes a lot of sense for the Canucks to opt for the low-distraction route, even if it’s easy to imagine a collective group of hockey wives and girlfriends with their hands on their hips in disagreement.
Head coach Alain Vigneault wouldn’t offer a comment regarding this policy, but a few Canucks players divulged some details about the plan to NHL.com.
“We did it Game 7 (of the Chicago series), Game 5 (of the San Jose Sharks series) and for all the Finals games,” he said. “There’s so many people in town, everyone’s trying to limit as many distractions as we can. Everyone gets a good meal the night before and it keeps it really simple for everybody.”
Added back-up goaltender Cory Schneider in his blog for NHL.com: “It simulates what life is like on the road where there’s nothing to focus on but hockey. Some guys want to be around their families, but I think there’s some peace and solitude in staying in the hotel that helps get them ready. We’ve had a lot of success doing, it so we’re sticking with it now.”
The decision to sleep away from home while the series is in Vancouver, we’re told, came from the Canucks’ leadership group.
“The day before a game, it’s not a big deal, we just get together and focus for the game,” said captain Henrik Sedin, who to no one’s surprise is rooming with twin brother Daniel. “We’ve done it for some games and other games we haven’t, so it’s more on a game-to-game basis.
“So far we’ve done it for series-deciding games and in the final we’re doing it for every home game.”
The plan seems to be working out well at the moment; they’re 3-0 in the games Tambellini mentioned. Come to think of it, maybe the Bruins might want to steal that idea when the series shifts back to Boston. They were 24-12-15 in road games and 22-13-6 at home during the 2010-11 season, after all.
Something tells me that hotel managers in hockey markets across North America would love for this strategy to catch on throughout all of the NHL …