Harvard sleep doctor may have helped Bruins beat Canucks in Game 7 of 2011 Stanley Cup Final

Dec 20 2017, 5:56 am

Sorry to ruin your Wednesday, but some news came out today about how the Boston Bruins won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

Don’t blame me, blame Tal Pinchevsky of ESPN who reported today that the Boston Bruins reached out to Dr. Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, on June 14, 2011 – the day before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

It’s intriguing – and somewhat unbelievable – that the Bruins waited until Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to look to a medical professional for help with when to sleep.

The home team had won all six games of the series up to that point, so Boston was looking to shake things up.

From Pinchevsky’s article:

Czeisler suggested that the Bruins prioritize their pregame nap before Game 7. But the time change would force the team to choose between a pregame nap and a morning skate. Could the Bruins really cancel practice the morning before one of the biggest games in franchise history?

Boston canceled their morning skate – Tortorella style – and you know the rest.

The Bruins probably would have won either way, we’ll never know, but it’s interesting that they thought about contacting a sleep doctor, of all things. Then-GM of the Canucks, Mike Gillis, was the first in the NHL to talk openly about sleep science, and the first pro team to hire Fatigue Science in 2008.

Would the Bruins have ever thought to ask a sleep doctor if not for Mike Gillis? Should the Canucks have been more secretive about their use of sleep science, the same way that NHL teams nowadays are quiet about their use of advanced stats?

The Bruins beat the Canucks 4-0 in Game 7, which included an empty net goal. In some ways, that score flattered Boston, who were outshot 37-21 by Vancouver. Hockey is a game of inches and momentum, so we’ll never know how history would have been altered if the Canucks could have slipped a puck past Tim Thomas early in the game. Maybe the pre-game nap helped Thomas.

You may now resume your Wednesday.


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