Schneider, Alberts recall Boston roots

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- For Canucks goalie Corey Schneider and defenseman Andrew Alberts, playing the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals will hold special meaning.

Schneider grew up in Marblehead, Mass., and played three seasons at Boston College, making the NCAA championship game twice. Alberts, who played four seasons at BC, was drafted by the Bruins in the sixth round of the 2001 draft and played three seasons for Boston from 2005-08.

For Schneider, who grew up a Boston sports fan cheering for the Bruins, the opportunity to be part of a Stanley Cup final in Boston will be a dream come true.

“When I grew up it was kind of the [Cam] Neely, [Adam] Oates, [Ray] Bourque era, and Andy Moog too,” Schneider said, then focused in on Bourque.

“I ended up playing with his son Chris and got to meet him personally so that was really cool. I remember him hoisting the Cup [while playing with the Colorado Avalanche] and all the controversy of whether he was going to bring it back. But it was a good move by the Bruins organization to give him a shot at winning it. For such a great player to go a full career without winning it would have been a shame.”

Schneider said he really appreciates the passion of Boston sports fans and is proud to be one himself.

“It’s a great sports town, whether it’s the Bruins, the Celts, the Red Sox, the Patriots, they’re very passionate and borderline obnoxious, but that’s how we like it,” Schneider said. “Boston fans take a lot of pride in that and making it a hard place to play and a hard place for visiting teams and fans to come to. At the end of the day, it’s a great town that supports their teams as well as any I’ve ever seen.”

Alberts likened the passion of Canucks fans and the team's Stanley Cup futility to that of Red Sox fans before the Sox finally broke their 86-year World Series drought in 2004.

Both Alberts and Schneider have kept tabs on the Bruins through the playoffs and know they’re in for a tough test.

“You could see all year long that they were always in the mix, they were always one of the top teams in the East,” Schneider said. “They kept to their system throughout the season and never really faded too low down the stretch. We always saw them as a real good team and they came into our building and beat us. They had our attention early on and we’re not surprised to see them here.”

Alberts agreed with his fellow Eagle and current teammate. He also is happy he is playing his former team, although any opponent in the finals would have been just fine.

“I was watching, but I was like whatever happens, happens. They had some great games there,” Alberts said. “Obviously the Montreal series was exciting, and then the Tampa series was great too. They’ve been up and down a bit, but they’ve kept at it and found a way to win.”

As a goalie, Schneider is impressed and inspired by what Tim Thomas has done this season after so many doubted him.

“Timmy Thomas is just a great story,” Schneider said. “I remember hearing his name back when I was in Boston and to see where he’s come and how hard he’s worked is pretty incredible. I have a lot of respect for him.”