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Kevin Bieksa admits the Canucks wanted to face Tampa Bay in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
1 month ago
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Vancouver Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa said the quiet part out loud during the most recent Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on Saturday night.
The longtime Canuck rearguard admitted that he, along with many of his former teammates, wanted to face the Tampa Bay Lightning instead of the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
“In 2011, we wanted Tampa Bay,” Bieksa told Elliotte Friedman, Ron MacLean, and Kelly Hrudey in a panel discussion near the end of the nationally televised broadcast. “Tampa Bay and Boston went to Game 7 [of the] Eastern Conference Final, we watched it.
“We wanted Tampa Bay. We wouldn’t admit it, and I’m probably the first person that’s ever admitted it, but just looking at the two different styles, we thought we matched up against Tampa better.”
Who knows how things might have played out differently if the Lightning had ended up beating the Bruins in the decisive seventh game of that year’s ECF. Would there be a Stanley Cup banner hanging at Rogers Arena in Vancouver?
In reality, the Canucks ended up going the distance against Boston in the next round before falling 4-0 in Game 7 to lose the series. To this day, the 2011 Canucks are the most recent Canadian team to come within one game of the Stanley Cup.
Bieksa, now 42, had five goals and 10 points in 25 games during the Canucks’ long playoff run that year. In Game 5 of the Canucks’ Western Conference Final series against the San Jose Sharks, he scored the winning goal in double-overtime to send the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Canucks originally selected Bieksa in the fifth round (No. 151 overall) of the 2001 NHL Draft. The Grimsby, Ontario product appeared in 808 career games over parts of 13 NHL seasons with the Canucks and Anaheim Ducks, racking up 63 goals and 278 points; he added 10 goals and 30 points in 86 playoff contests.
Having made the playoffs only once since trading Bieksa to Anaheim in 2015, the Canucks will look to change their fortunes when they enter the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs as one of the Western Conference’s top seeds later this month. They currently sit in first place in the Pacific Division with a 47-22-8 record and 102 points through 77 games.
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