The 2011 Stanley Cup Finals: A View from Sports Illustrated

3 minute read

The morning after the seventh and final game of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, LightBox spoke with Sports Illustrated about photographing championship hockey and editing on deadline.

“The action of hockey is tricky,” says Steve Fine, the Director of Photography at Sports Illustrated. “Hockey is different from the other sports in that it is pulsating action and not linear. The players are moving at you and from side to side simultaneously.”

Great hockey photos are the result of equal parts patience, photographic skill, and behind the scenes preparation. The overwhelming number of photographers covering the Stanley Cup Finals combined with a limited number of shooting positions at each venue provide a challenge for SI hockey photographers. Accordingly, SI photographers and editors must work to the last minute with the NHL to ensure the best possible coverage of the event.

“In total, we had four photographers shoot the Finals—Robert Beck, Lou Capozzola, David Klutho and Damian Strohmeyer,” says SI’s NHL picture editor Claire Bourgeois. One SI photographer shot at ice level through one of eight shooting holes cut in the rink’s glass; the other SI shooters photographed from positions higher in the arena, even in the aisles next to fans. Additionally, each photographer tethered cameras throughout the arena, triggering them wirelessly from their shooting positions. These cameras allow for over-ice photos and other unique angles—shots that would otherwise be close to impossible to take.

SI editors in New York began receiving images from the game minutes after the puck drops. As photographers fill their memory cards, runners carry their cards to an on-site transmitter, who then sends the images electronically to Fine and Bourgeois.

“The images arrive in a constant, live stream. We begin editing almost immediately for our Big Ticket app and for our website,” explains Bourgeois. Editors continue culling images through the night for the print magazine and other SI products. Ending the night at 2 a.m, Fine and Bourgeois have edited more than 32,342 images (shot over the course of seven games) to a group of 2,700 selects.

For Sports Illustrated editors, the best hockey photos are those that not only capture a sense of the game’s speed, but also the skills, emotion and passion that the players bring to the ice every night. In this year’s high-stakes finals, emotions lay very close to the surface, yielding photographs of both dramatic excitement and utter disappointment.

To see more outstanding pictures, download SI’s “Big Ticket” app – a showcase of amazing sports photography.

Previously on LightBox: A View of the NBA Finals from Sports Illustrated

Fans and Canucks players erupt in cheers after Alexandre Burrows (14) scores the game-winning goal 11 seconds into overtime in game two of the Stanley Cup Finals.Robert Beck—Sports Illustrated
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis (2) flips Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic (17) with a hard check during the 2nd period of the first game of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.David E. Klutho—Sports Illustrated
Vanouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (1) makes a save through traffic during game five.Robert Beck—Sports Illustrated
Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin (22), right foreground, and forward Henrik Sedin (33) celebrate teammate Alexandre Burrows's (not pictured) goal at 11 seconds of overtime in game two.David E. Klutho—Sports Illustrated
Bsoton Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (44) tackles Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows (14) after Burrows got into a tussle with Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) during game four.Lou Capozzola—Sports Illustrated
Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows (14) and Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron (37) in a scrum late in the 1st period of game one. During the melee, Burrows allegedly bit Bergeron's finger.David E. Klutho—Sports Illustrated
Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference (21) checks Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler (17) into the end boards during the 1st period of game six.Damian Strohmeyer—Sports Illustrated
Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand (63) celebrates his short-handed goal in game three.Lou Capozzola—Sports Illustrated
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa (3) gets caught in the middle of a scrum in front of the net during game six.Damian Strohmeyer—Sports Illustrated
Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron (37) crowds the crease of Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (1) during the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals.David E. Klutho—Sports Illustrated
Boston Bruins players come off the bench to surround goalie Tim Thomas (30) after the final horn of game seven.Robert Beck—Sports Illustrated
Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) carries the Stanley Cup into the locker room in Vancouver at the end of game seven.Robert Beck—Sports Illustrated
Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) showers forward Mark Recchi (28) with champagne in the locker room after game seven. Recchi announced his retirement after 22 NHL seasons immediately following the Bruins victory. Lou Capozzola—Sports Illustrated

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