Kukla's Korner

Canucks and Beyond

Game 7—An Olympic Event for Luongo

After some thought about how Roberto Luongo is likely to be handling the pressures of game 7, given the highs and lows he’s gone through in this series, my final estimation is that he’s probably not even thinking about the past games of this Stanley Cup Final series anymore.  (Or I should say, if it was me, I wouldn’t be thinking about them anymore.)

Because for Luongo, this is much like a 2010 redux for the Gold Medal, one game takes all. And given how that turned out for him, on his own home ice no less, it’s probably a pretty inspiring way to approach game 7. 

Furthermore, judging by his record on home ice during these 2011 Playoffs, home is a great place to be.  Let’s consider the numbers:

  • —In 13 home games, Luongo has allowed 23 goals. That’s 1.77 goals per game.
  • —Luongo has had all 4 shutouts on home ice, including two against Boston
  • —Luongo has recorded a .978 SV% against the Bruins on home ice.

Home is where the heart is, and where the optimism flows.

Of course, game 7s (especially given the Canucks anemic offense in this series) have a way of being decided by unpredictable bounces, so there’s no doubt that it’s anybody’s game. But Vancouver and their goalie have a lot of positives on their side.

Final Thoughts:

In Vancouver on Friday, I was repeatedly asked by different media to defend the team’s fans, the so-called “bandwagon jumpers” who were trying to sell their tickets to game 5 after the poor showing in Boston.  My answer then—as now—was that it was a non-story. Yes, lots of people were freaking out and selling their tickets, as is their right. But plenty of other people stepped in to buy those same tickets.  And when you’re talking about a price drop of $1,500 per ticket down to $1,100 per ticket, that’s hardly a “bandwagon fan” showing.  That people put out these astronomical dollars for a single 3 hour burst of entertainment, astonishes me every day.  (Same with the fans in Boston, and other cities, where maybe the tickets weren’t quite as high, but still BIG money for the average person.)

Hockey fans in these playoffs have all done their teams proud by stepping up and paying these kind of bucks, and I hope the NHL gets down on their knees every day and thanks their gods for it.

Secondly, I want to repeat something I wrote yesterday.

[Whatever] happens, this has been one hell of a series, with all its highs and lows.  People often expect their teams to be perfect all the time, but I’m not one of them.  For one thing,  that doesn’t sound like very entertaining hockey. And for another… well, it’s the lows that make the highs so awesome.

If the Canucks lose tomorrow but play a great game, I’m going to be disappointed but grateful. And I’m not going to forget that this team actually gave us a show all the way to the 15th of June. The fans of 28 other teams in the NHL would have killed for that.

And if the Canucks win?  How sweet it will be, after so much adversity.  If they had rolled through this series like they did the first two games, it wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting.

Of course, now it’s a thousand times more terrifying... but that’s part of the fun, right? wink

Go Canucks!!

Filed in: playoff hockey, vancouver canucks, | Canucks and Beyond | Permalink
  Tags: hockey+fans, olympics, roberto+luongo, stats

Comments

GZ Expat's avatar

It’s been 17 years since the fans of the Canucks have ever had a sniff at watching hockey this long in a season.  In so many years past, my playoff beard has been a manageable scruff and this year, its just a nasty mound on my face.

For all the faults in yesterdays game…the approximately 5 minutes in which the team forgot where they were and dropped 3 goals quickly to the Bruins…it was a tie game.  The Canucks became aggressors in the game and dictated the pace for long stretches. I hang my hat on that…

Also, the injuries are so obvious for so many players.  Kesler can hardly skate.  He starts somewhat strong, but by the 2nd period, he is having trouble turning corners and getting his body into an opponent to fight for position.  Henrik clearly has a problem with his leg and he too cannot seem to turn and push off on a rush up the ice.  Erhoff can’t shoot the puck because of the shoulder…Edler is a every-other-game player (depending upon the quality of drugs) with the back that he had surgery on.  And, you could go on…

Add to all of that…the fact that despite the NHL saying that they consistently call games throughout the year, the game has dramatically changed the further into the playoffs the teams have gone.  A skating, puck control team like the Canucks have struggled to adjust to the ‘new NHL’ of these Finals.  The amount of allowed stick infractions, holding, obstruction just makes me shake my head.  And, it reminds me of Mario Lemieux when he called the NHL a ‘garage league’ for its complicity in creating the dead puck era..  The officiating in this series has given me chills from time to time.

It all comes down to this…one game…you can’t ask for anything better.  The Bruins have done a good job of adjusting to the officiating…of taking advantage of a shaky Canuck team in Boston…but they have yet to prove themselves in Vancouver.

Posted by GZ Expat on 06/14/11 at 05:10 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Great comments, especially noting the obvious Canucks injuries. Certainly noticeable in both Kesler and H. Sedin. And your assessment of Edler is bang-on… every other game.  And that works out well for tomorrow. smile

The officiating has been one of those things I mostly think of as “it is what it is.”  Clearly guys like Burrows and Lappy aren’t going to get breaks on the close calls, and I doubt they’d expect to. Even I don’t expect them to.

The only time I’m really cringed at the refs during this series was in Game 6.  I can accept that close-calls are never going to go the Canucks way in this series, but the blatant stuff i.e. the Sedin-punching nonsense late in the game, and the ridiculous penalty that came out of that, is pretty baffling.

That said, I have hopes that game 7 is a fair fight by the players on both sides, and that the refs—as much as possible—just stay out of the way.

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 06/14/11 at 05:59 PM ET

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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? smile

Email: am@kuklaskorner.com

Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]