Canucks and Beyond
J.J. of the Canucks Hockey Blog attended the game last night. After it was over, I phoned him up while he was trying to navigate his way safely through the post-game celebrations on Georgia Street. Here is the recording of our phone call, posted on The Crazy Canucks podcast site. It was nearly 1 o'clock in the morning and we're both pretty exhausted, but we thought it might be fun to share the emotions right after the game ended. P.S. I had my stats wrong on the call, arguing with J.J. that Luongo had stopped 66 shots and not 76. Foolish me... underestimating J.J. But I blame Yahoo! Sports boxscore... it said 66 right after the game, dammit!
I'm watching the game with a pizza on the sofa, not blogging it tonight, but I hope everyone has fun. Did anyone else get chills with the opening Canadian anthem? The crowd singing? The towels waving? Wow. Playoff hockey rules. Updates later. Update 8:05pm PT: Daz is liveblogging. Sorry, I'd forgotten... Go Daz! Update 11:20pm PT: Heading into the 3rd overtime now. It's only the FIRST game of this series, and I already question my sanity for being a hockey fan. Yeah, sure, it's fun... but it's still going to fking kill me. And one more thing -- losing both Alex Burrows and Matt Cooke is like a nightmare. Oh, and one more thing -- I'm thinking both Brad Moran and Brandon Reid would both look pretty good against Dallas. I feel a need for speed... Update 12:28am PT Halfway through the 4th damn overtime, I finally figured it out, why this is happening. These teams played 4 games this year scoring approximately 1 goal a period total (approximately; don't argue with me). But with 8 goals in three periods tonight, the world no longer made sense. And my point? We're heading for a 5th OT, people, and then it shall finally end. Eight periods will bring things back to the average of the season. (Sorry. This is the kind of analysis you get after 4 periods of scoreless-yet-terrifying hockey...) Update 12:33am PT Canucks win! (Ignore all that bullshit I just wrote at 12:28am... thanks.)
We’re back in the saddle with everyone on the horn in this episode. And what else is there to talk about other than the start of the first round of the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs? The Canucks are up against the Dallas Stars for the first leg towards a march for the final round. Record as of this episode: 49-26-7 Northwest Division Champions Final Western Conference Standing: 3rd We look at a variety of things to look forward to with the oncoming series with Dallas. There is the comparison of the two teams, breaking down the goalie match ups, keys to winning, and how we all envision the games unfolding. Towel power is rampant in Vancouver and there is lots of neat things to discuss in regards to that.Countdown to Gametime: 2hr 37min and counting. (Should be awesome, as long as no one else tries to pick up a cracker before the puck drops...)
From Grant Kerr at the Globe & Mail:
The Vancouver Canucks experienced an unexpected blow without playing a single game in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Defenceman Brent Sopel, acquired at the trading deadline from the Los Angeles Kings for added depth, was ruled out of Game 1 on Wednesday against the Dallas Stars due to back spasms. The Canucks instead will use another journeyman, the often under-rated Rory Fitzpatrick, who was second on the team in plus-minus ratings during the National Hockey League regular season. Fitzpatrick was plus-12 for goals scored at even strength when he was on the ice. Fitzpatrick will be partnered with Lukas Krajicek until Sopel's back improves. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault made light of the situation following the morning skate, saying [he] hurt his back Tuesday when bending over at home to pick up a cracker.Ummmm....
The Rawk the Puck! voting has started. Go vote for the best songs representing each match-up in the playoffs. The panelists for the competition will throw in their commentary on Monday, and we can all see the winners.
There’s some KISS, some Cult, some Dead Kennedys… No doubt this will predict the actual on-ice winners of the first round with perfect accuracy.
I was working on this complex analysis of all the first round playoff matchups when I suddenly remembered my name isn't "Bob McKenzie." So this is what you get instead.
Last week, Steve Lepore was nice enough to ask me to contribute a short assessment of the Canucks to Sports Fan Magazine, as they prepare to head into the playoffs. It's just been published today in his Western Conference Playoff Primer (and you can also find the Eastern Conference Playoff Primer published yesterday). I'll reprint my words about the Canucks here, and hopefully post something more in-depth tomorrow.
Blogger's Opinion (From Alanah at Canucks and Beyond): The Vancouver Canucks have been an enigma to both hockey fans and sport writers all season. The Northwest Division Champions endured some radical roster changes in the off-season, but acquired the most desired goalie in the NHL last summer in Roberto Luongo who has been as good as advertised. If one thing sums up the Canucks fortunes this season - playing some of the best hockey in the NHL during the second half - it's Luongo. His talent and confidence combine to make him a force to be reckoned with. And the ways he's been known to get in opposing teams' heads makes him a threat before he even gets on the ice. But Vancouver has other assets heading into the post-season not to be overlooked. First is, to my mind, one of the most under-rated defensive groups in the NHL: Willie Mitchell, Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo and Mattias Ohlund will frustrate the best snipers in the Western Conference. Add in the scoring dominance of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, some ingenius coaching, a top-rate penalty kill and a few x-factor players (i.e. Jeff Cowan: playoff superstar?!) and Canucks' fans have reason to feel optimistic. While a consistent powerplay has been elusive and team-toughness is sometimes questioned, I think the Vancouver Canucks are perfectly capable of surprising others in their quest for 16 wins heading towards June.So there's a teaser of my opinion. Thoughts, anyone?
Some things going on around the hockey blogosphere. (1) Rawk The Puck is on again. Originally started by Chris Young at the Toronto Star, Mike Chen is now carrying the torch so that myself and some other bloggers and writers (including Chris himself) can make fools of ourselves once again. Be sure to check it out -- we'll need your votes throughout the playoffs. (2) Jibblescribbits is a sad Avs fan. But he's got the idea to start a playoff fantasy game. Pick your team, email it in, and have fun! (3) The Crazy Canucks released an episode from 2 weeks ago. Having had a chance to spend time together behind the scenes at GM Place, myself and the whole podcast crew enjoyed the open practice. Hopefully it'll get you in a playoff mood, Canucks fans! *photo is of Rebecca and I (I'm the one in glasses; Rebecca's the one looking like a model!) while doing The Crazy Canucks podcast at GM Place
Vancouver Canucks vs Phoenix Coyotes -- 2pm PT Sportsnet The Northwest Division Champion Vancouver Canucks (I'm going to say it like that a lot today) take to the ice in another mid-day road game, ending their 82-game season in Phoenix. So now The Northwest Division Champion Vancouver Canucks are about to play one of the most meaningless games possible. But I don't care because... The Northwest Division Champion Vancouver Canucks are heading to the playoffs. Okay, now onto things that are sorta pissing me off. Angry Because I Don't Know: First, does anyone know about Kevin Bieksa and the "wearing a cast" comment from CBC last night? I don't. Nothing, in fact, so perhaps we'll all find out at the same time when Beesak does or does not skate onto the ice for warmup in about three hours. (Ron MacLean's comment about Beesak's cast can be seen near the end of this video segment from Satellite Hotstove last night.) Angry Because I Think I Know: Joe Thornton is the Devil. Don't tell me this didn't occur to anyone else yesterday. (Well, I know it occurred to The Yankee because we were chatting at one point and every time he tried to say "Thornton" he started twitching and reeling off the F-word.) Personally, it took a while to really get pissed about Bruiser's performance yesterday, but now I'm wondering about his wicked hit on Bieksa (not saying it was dirty, but did it cause some kind of fracture?) and then particularly watching his hit on Matt Cooke. Yes, I also heard the commentators insist "clean hit, blah blah blah," but it sure looked like 'intent to injure' to me. (I've gotta try and find a video clip...) Meanwhile, let me put it this way... if Cooke throws that hit on Thornton (impossible, given that Cooke is smaller than Thornton's f*&king skates, but whatever...) is there any chance in hell that the NHL's mainstream media and San Jose's fans aren't screaming about how the "NHL must protect the Superstars!"? Coach Alain Vigneault's comment in response to the hit rings dead-on to me: "Thornton is an all-star player, and obviously he gets a lot of leeway, and he gets a lot of decisions going his way." And if the situation were reversed, Cooke would be under review right now, possibly even suspended. I'll admit to being pretty biased here -- and I've defended Todd Bertuzzi from criticism plenty of times when he made similarly-borderline hits -- but I still say that Thornton's hit was dirty. Feel free to argue. ______________________________ Note: Despite my criticism, I'm really glad the Canucks don't see the Sharks in the first round of the Playoffs. Win or lose, that team would've left us looking like a pile of bleeding corpses.
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]