CAMPBELLVILLE, Ont. - British Columbia will forever have a place in his heart, but Luke Schenn believes the Boston Bruins will defeat the Vancouver Canucks to capture the Stanley Cup.
The Bruins forced a seventh and deciding game in the best-of-seven series with a 5-2 win in Boston on Monday night. The dramatic Stanley Cup finale will be played Wednesday night in Vancouver.
"I want to cheer for Vancouver but a part of me says Boston," the Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman said Tuesday from Mohawk Racetrack, where he served as the guest drawmaster for the $1.5-million Pepsi North America Cup. "I think (Boston) has kept it pretty close in Vancouver and I think they're going to pull this one off."
The Stanley Cup final has been dominated by the home team, which has won all six games. That would seem to bode well for Vancouver, which captured the President's Trophy after posting the NHL's best regular-season record.
Certainly, Vancouver has won all three home games in the series but all of them have been very tight. The Canucks won the first and fifth games by scores of 1-0 and needed overtime to earn a 3-2 victory in Game 2.
But the Bruins have dominated Vancouver in Boston, not only winning all three but outscoring the Canucks by a whopping 17-4 margin.
Schenn spent his junior career with the Western Hockey League's Kelowna Rockets before being selected fifth overall in the 2008 NHL entry draft by the Maple Leafs. And in three short seasons, the six-foot-two, 235-pound Saskatoon native has firmly entrenched himself as one of Toronto's top defenceman despite being only 21.
However, he also has fond memories of playing with former Leaf defenceman Tomas Kaberle, who spent parts of 11 seasons in Toronto before being dealt in February to Boston. Schenn said he has kept in touch with Kaberle since his departure for Beantown.
"A little bit here and there because during the playoffs you don't to bug the guy too much," Schenn said. "He's obviously got a lot on his mind and I'm sure he has a lot of people bugging him.
"After playing with him for two-and-a-half years it would be nice to see a guy who works so hard be able to win."
Schenn has yet to experience the NHL playoffs since joining the Leafs but said he's learned plenty watching the action on TV.
"You dream growing up as a kid about playing in the NHL playoffs," Schenn said. "I want to get there so bad and it's such a great challenge but every player playing at the professional level wants that challenge.
"The big thing is how spectacular these guys compete in the playoffs ... that's something everyone can learn. Obviously you have to experience it and go through it but there's nothing easy about playing in the playoffs."
But Schenn will do much more this summer than prepare for the next NHL season. He will celebrate Canada Day in Afghanistan with Canadian troops serving there and isn't the least bit concerned about possibly being in harm's way.
"I'm sure it will be all safe and taken care of," he said. "I'm just excited about going there and see some of the troops."