Every week, we'll provide a handy recap of, and accompaniment to, the latest episode of "Quest for the Stanley Cup," the NHL docuseries about the playoffs, available exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+. The sixth episode for the 2020 playoffs is titled "Invest in the Process."
Describe this episode in 10 words or less
Drinking bubbles from the Cup, then finally leaving the bubble.
Dallas Stars coach Rick Bowness in the post-Game 6 handshake line. The episode assumes that you know he served as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to his stint with Dallas, because that adds so much depth to him congratulating them on their Stanley Cup win. Like telling Brayden Point he's "a hell of a player and a hell of a person," having Steven Stamkos tell Bowness that he loves him and having Victor Hedman tell him he was sorry for eliminating the Stars.
The new QUEST FOR THE STANLEY CUP features Braydon Coburn introducing the @TBLightning starting lineup with a scary label for each player, like "this guy has a woodchipper but no f-ing trees!" pic.twitter.com/3jCLt3KOE2— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) October 5, 2020
Defenseman Braydon Coburn played in only three games during the Lightning's run to the Stanley Cup, but this show reveals the work he put in behind the scenes. Namely, an epic job at reading the starting lineup in the dressing room like a 1980s WWF superstar, with such player descriptions as "straight from hell itself" and "this guy has a woodchipper but no f---ing trees." Incredible.
Best humanizing of Corey Perry
The episode gets some nice behind-the-scenes moments with Perry's wife, Blakeny, who did her time in quarantine and joined him in the bubble. We see them play some pingpong together and she explains how the Stars forward who fans love to hate is really a sweet guy away from the ice.
Best 'inside hockey' moment
Bowness pulling Anton Khudobin in Game 6. It's such a rudimentary play in an NHL game that we rarely think twice about how it happens, so it's cool to see how much communication goes into it. As Tampa Bay took a penalty, Jamie Benn asked if the pull would happen immediately. Bowness told his team exactly what time to expect the pull. When it was time, Bowness excitedly told the bench, "I'm pulling the goalie" before screaming, "NOW!" to Khudobin. Cool stuff.
"I love this bubble! I can stay in this bubble forever!" -- Stars forward Tyler Seguin after their Game 5 double-overtime win. After their Game 6 elimination, Seguin said, "[The bubble] definitely sucked and we're all looking forward to seeing family and friends now."
Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk reveals that Hedman is extraordinarily superstitious, and he has a role to play in servicing that neurosis. "Every morning on game days, I come grab a coffee for me and a coffee for Victor. We started doing it in Toronto. It's worked. There were two or three times that I messed up and forgot and we lost those games," he said. So it's off to the Tim Horton's truck in the bubble for Shattenkirk, before delivering the Game 5 brew to Hedman.
Best drink from the Cup
On a previous episode, we met Lightning forward Barclay Goodrow's parents, who were in the bubble and had an emotional reunion with him. Inside the dressing room after Game 6, they both drank from the Cup. Good form from Janice Goodrow to chug from the chalice while holding another beverage.
Patrick Maroon. What a character. We get to see him goofing around in a Sportsnet interview, talk about making history in winning back-to-back Cups on different teams, have him mic'd up on the ice in Game 6 and then watch him interviewing teammates on the charter back to Tampa with the NHL films camera.
This is a really terrific episode that managed to sum up the bubble and the Lightning victory pretty well. But perhaps a little less time spent on Game 5 -- considering we knew the outcome of the series in Game 6 -- and a little more time on the uniting of players and their loved ones on the tarmac in Tampa. Those scenes, albeit brief, were really moving.
Perfect symbolism for the end of Stanley Cup Playoffs bubble life
They really should have put one of those sleeping masks on the Cup.
Any lingering questions after watching?
Will this really be the last time the Stanley Cup is lifted inside a bubble? Let's hope so.