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Stanley Cup Finals Full Of Twists And Turns Into Game 5


It's been a terrible couple of weeks of sleep for sports fans. The NBA just concluded an epic seven-game final with games going on until midnight. For hockey fans, the Stanley Cup Finals have been every bit as exciting and sleep depriving. Three of four games so far have gone into overtime.

The Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks are tied now at two games apiece. And tomorrow, fans can look forward to another late night when the teams meet again in Chicago.

Joining us now from Chicago's United Center is Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports. He's also the editor of the hockey blog Puck Daddy. Greg, welcome back.

GREG WYSHYNSKI: Pleasure to be here.

BLOCK: And how tired are you? This has been a thrilling series, but it's been sure keeping everybody up late.

WYSHYNSKI: Well, it's sort of a tradition in the National Hockey League playoffs, the war of attrition of overtime. Fans and media both go into these games knowing that there's a chance that we could be here for a very, very long time.

I don't think many people thought we'd have triple overtime in Game 1 like we had in this series, but it's one of the things that makes the Stanley Cup playoffs unique. You know, there's no shootout like there is in the regular season. There's no four-on-four hockey. It's two teams, five-on-five, playing until everybody drops.

BLOCK: It's interesting, these two teams - the Bruins and the Blackhawks - are so-called original six teams, right, both in the original NHL franchises. How would you describe the different styles of play for each of these teams?

WYSHYNSKI: The Boston Bruins are your blue-collar, lunch pail team, or at least they fancy themselves that way. They are brutal. They like to hit you and hit you hard. Zdeno Chara, their man mountain, 6'9" defenseman is an intimidating player. They have other guys in the team that really check hard. And teams always talk about the physicality of this series when they're about to play the Bruins. So that's their style.

The Blackhawks don't have a lot of guys who hit as hard as the Bruins do. They're more of a speed team, puck possession team, able to be a little more creatively offensively than the Bruins.

So it has been a contrast in styles and that's why we're 2-2. I mean, we've seen one style win two games and one style win the other two games. And now, we'll find out which - whose kung fu is better, I suppose, in the last three games of the series.

BLOCK: Di you say man mountain, Greg?


WYSHYNSKI: I did, in fact. If you see the man, he can catch planes with his hands. He's a very tall gentleman. He's one of the reasons why the series, I think, is so compelling because you do have on the other side of the equation - for Chicago, players like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa - real offensive superstars in the National Hockey League. And on the other side, you have this giant, grizzled, looking like King Leonidas from the move "300," Zdeno Chara, who has the wingspan of a pterodactyl and is able to intimidate any scorer coming down the ice to face him.

And so it's those kinds of conflicts and contrasts that really make the series so compelling. And in Game 4, where the Blackhawks got new life in the series, they were able to take advantage of Chara and they scored five goals with him on the ice, which is sort of unheard of from one of the best defensemen in the world.

BLOCK: Well, do you want to look ahead to Games 5, 6 and potentially 7?

WYSHYNSKI: I think the Bruins win Game 5, and I think they win Game 6. But that's mostly because I picked them to win in 6 before the series, and I don't want to look like a moron.


WYSHYNSKI: It's a very close series. It can go either way. I will say this: that Chicago is certainly playing with a lot more confidence right now than they had maybe previously in the series. And that Game 4 performance, I think, was every reason why.

BLOCK: That's Greg Wyshynski with Yahoo! Sports. He edits the hockey blog Puck Daddy. Greg, thanks so much. Enjoy the rest.

WYSHYNSKI: My pleasure. Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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