Canucks and Beyond
Grant Kerr at the Globe & Mail would like to argue: "Stars starting to fear overtime" He has a point.
The Dallas Stars are winning the majority of face-offs against Vancouver, plus running into Canucks netmninder Roberto Luongo with alarming frequency. Still, the Stars haven’t managed to snap the bend-but-don’t-break aura of the Vancouver team in these playoffs. The Canucks lead the tight best-of-7 Western Conference quarter-final 2-1 after winning twice in overtime. Sudden-death is the bane of the Stars as Dallas is 1-9 in overtime since 2001. For some reason, the Canucks don’t crack in overtime. They even killed off a two-man disadvantage for 39 seconds in the second overtime in the opener which went four extra periods before Vancouver scored. The Canucks seem to be getting under the skin of the Stars. Vancouver changes forward line combinations in mid-game, sending the Dallas coaching staff a message that this won’t be a predictable series.I love, LOVE it when media coverage starts breaking into that tone where one team starts to sound almost mythological. And I especially love it when they're talking about the Canucks. But of course, if Dallas wins the game tomorrow night, the talk of "auras" and "getting under the skin" all turns back to the Stars and against the Canucks. But that's okay; it's fun for the moment. Which is why I like to point out comments like these on the Dallas News boards after the game last night. Texas Self-Hatred -- The Gift That Keeps on Giving:
Not liveblogging this thing, just drunk and on the internet at the same time... Note #1: not blogging this whole thing. just when I'm particularly motivated Note #2: not actually drunk; just... prepared. Pre-Game: Just noticed that Stars supporters are PROUD of their we-can-go-from arena-football-to-nhl-playoff-hockey -in-1-hour-and-28-minutes! Goddamn, I bet that ice is awesome... First Period 18:00? -- Opening couple minutes, we almost get scored on. (a negative). We get a powerplay (positive? negative? it could go either way... see pre-game) 17:00 ?-- Sorta grateful to see the Canucks take a penalty promptly. I feel better about 4-on-4 at this point, frankly, than having extra players. Never seems to HELP very much.
"We've pretty much played three games and he's shut them out the last two. He's been a stud all year long." -- Dallas Stars Captain Brendan Morrow
1. The injuries Vancouver sustained in and before game one were a huge factor. Cooke and Burrows in particular are high energy players, which would have helped. And Kesler isn't an easy player to lose either. 2. The effort Vancouver's skaters put into that game didn't come close to meeting the needs of a playoff game. They'd have lost a regular season match with that level of play, much less a contest this intense. It's understandable to some degree... their emotional, exhausting win in Game #1 would have been difficult to follow up. 3. Vancouver's power play needs to get out of it's funk. Period. Dallas has taken 14 penalties in this series, 28 minutes in the box, and Vancouver has scored only once with the man advantage. Fixing this has become a do-or-die issue, if you ask me. 4. Marty Turco doesn't suck. He made some great saves and was better than good all game. He deserves credit for that.BUT While this series is heavily reliant on goaltending, that game was not a goalie vs goalie struggle. As I said numerous times early in the season, when your team can't score at ALL (which was frequently the case with the Canucks, from October to December) no goalie in the world -- even G.O.D. -- can win a game. He has to make big saves, but he also has to trust that his team will bail him out when he can't. He certainly bails this team out often enough himself. Tonight's effort will require that extra effort, by Luongo and the rest of them. While the injuries remain an issue (although Alexander Burrows is back, I'm glad to say; plus rookie call-up Jannik Hansen was very good under the circumstances), I have no doubt they'll bring more intensity to the game in general. P.S. The ice will be an issue as well. The price for playing a playoff game in Dallas:
The Canucks could get worked up over the ice tonight. An NBA game precedes their late game and the arena is hosting an Arena Football League game on Monday before Game 4 goes Tuesday. "I'm not sure it'll be ice -- it could be a lake out there," said defenceman Willie Mitchell, who played for the Stars last spring. "It will be terrible."Stupid Texas. Updated 1:32pm PT: From the Vancouver Sun,
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault is hoping he's found his Ex-factor. 'Ex' as in 'experience'. In an effort to invigorate a Canucks team that too often looked flat during Game 2, Vigneault has put together his Vet Line, pairing up Trevor Linden and Bryan Smolinski — his forwards with the most playoff experience. He's lined them with Jan Bulis. "They're two of our most experienced players," Vigneault said. "We have so many guys who this is their first playoff series, that we need these guys to show us the way a little bit.Fine with me.
I should have made mention of this stufff a week ago... my apologies to these websites for not getting to it sooner. #1. GoCanucks.ca has been giving away a free Canucks jersey with every playoff win. That means tonight someone's winning a jersey, dammit, so get over there and sign up for a chance. #2. Japer's Rink wants "The View From Your Playoff Seat." Send them your photos of enjoying the game -- be it at the arena or at home, at the bar, or even if you're stuck at work. They'll post the photos all during the playoffs. A great idea, I think... Email photos to: Japers.Rink.Photos@gmail.com
Paraskavedekatriaphobia: newly defined. Or just watch the movie:
Like game one, I'll be on the sofa tonight, experimenting with the best offerings that the BC Liquor Board has to offer. But don't mistake that for some kind of party good-time -- after the 7 period trauma of Wednesday, I would argue that alcohol is freakin' medicinal for this series. About tonight's game, I would also argue there are greater concerns tonight than the Dallas Stars. (yeah, like I'm really worried about Marty Turco....) Much bigger issues, like: Cookie & Burrows on mandatory vacation; Kesler-Being-Punished-By-God; the new kids in town. Not to mention a radical new theory that perhaps Tommi Santala is our "secret weapon" (sweet geezus, thank god for beer...) and so on. I'll add updates during the game when/if my sanity allows. To follow the game online, check out the Yankee Canuck for some liveblogging action. (But be prepared: he's watching it on the Versus broadcast, and that yankee really, really doesn't like Versus...) Lastly, I see that Isabella is worried someone out there is trying to turn us into Winnipeg, whereas Zanstorm is eager to make it so. I'm sorry to say I have no opinion on the 'sea of blue' issue... let's just win this fu#$ing game. Go Canucks!
Friday the 13thOn G.O.D.*, Kelly Hrudey pontificates about the effects of quadruple OT. (And he would know. After his own classic 7 period thriller in 1987 -- which he won -- Hrudey went on to get chased from the net his next game in the series. They lost.) How might Luongo be feeling now?
From Grant Kerr, Globe & Mail,
Ryan Kesler's return to the Vancouver Canucks was short-lived, reduced to seven periods of playoff intensity. The gritty centre who missed the last 34 games of the regular season returned to the lineup Wednesday and played extensively during a 5-4 decision over the Dallas Stars that went four overtimes. Kesler, 22, played 39 shifts covering 27:51, spending considerable time killing penalties, but was lost again, this time with a hand injury from blocking a shot. The Canucks indicated Thursday that Kesler will require surgery on a finger and will out of the lineup at least four weeks.Holy crap. One playoff win is nice... but now we're down THREE players?!
From the Dallas News, I see that their beat writer Mike Heika deals with some Texas anguish:
Mike Heika: Hey folks, it's a cloudy morning here in Vancouver and the world doesn't look quite as beautiful. Hmm, is that because of lack of sleep or because the bottom fell out? Well, let's get on to the questions and see if we can fix this thing. bbs: Mike, I felt like the Stars could have come away feeling positive about their performance last night – i.e. Luongo can be beat – yet it would be hard to be upbeat about losing that one. Most of the articles I read quoted mostly Turco. What was the attitude in the room last night? Mike Heika: They were disappointed. It was a hard game to lose. But at the same time, I thought several players felt they proved a lot to themselves. Mattias Norstrom was absolutely confident. Stu Barnes was calm and methodical. Brenden Morrow looked like he was ready to go out for Game 2 right there. I don't think this was the punch to the gut that it was to the fans. I feel sorry for you guys. Back in the old days, you'd stay up and win and be tired but giddy at the office the next day. This is brutal. You put your heart into the game and then lose, and I think that is mentally crippling.read more.... I do love pain and suffering... when it's happening to someone else. I know, I'm sort of evil. Note: It's an interesting Q&A otherwise, as well. Heika is generally fairly knowledgeable about the Canucks as well as the Stars.
Faithful Canucks' fan PuckHound61 in the KK Forums, mentions this:
The Vancouver Canucks have called up Nathan Smith and Jannick Hansen from the Manitoba Moose, according to Team 1040 radio in Vancouver. Looks like Burrows and Cooke wont be ready for tomorrows game.The same information is also being discussed on the Canucks Forums. Nothing against Hansen and Smith, but I'm a bit underwhelmed at the choices. Plus I bet Tommi Santala probably isn't too pleased. And aside from everything else, I'm a big fan of both Burrows and Cooke. I'd like to see them back, and fast. P.S. Just wanted to add a "hallelujah" that Ryan Kesler is back. Despite all the time off, he didn't look out of place at all last night. Update 3:26pm PST: From the Manitoba Moose Press Release,
This is the first recall to the National Hockey League for Hansen. The 21-year old native of Harlev, Denmark has appeared in 72 games so far in his rookie season with the Moose where he has scored 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points and 38 penalty minutes. Hansen was originally Vancouver’s ninth round choice, 287th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Smith, 25, appeared in one game with Vancouver during the regular season after he was recalled March 12/07. He failed to register a point versus Minnesota on March 13/07. Smith has appeared in three games in the NHL with Vancouver in his career, none in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Strathcona, AB native appeared in 72 games this season with the Moose where he has scored 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points and 76 penalty minutes making it the most productive season of Smith’s five-year pro career.
About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]