Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
They made Roberto Luongo, by and large, look ordinary in the Vancouver net, and at even strength controlled the tempo. Their defencemen fearlessly ventured deep into Canucks territory or fired long stretch passes through the neutral zone. Their forwards won all of the small races for the puck, and made Vancouver seem a bit tentative, a bit slow, back on their heels, reacting.
The really striking part, though, was the Blackhawks’ poise.
Young teams, with the bulk of their roster dipping a toe for the first time into the postseason, are supposed to be at least a little bit intimidated, and franchises that make great leaps forward during the regular season often fall back in the playoffs.
But as the folks in Calgary already know all too well, this is a special group of Hawks, apparently not the least bit shaken by the situation or by unfriendly surroundings.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The more you see the Vancouver defense, the more ordinary it looks. And now the Canucks might be without defenseman Samu Salo, who apparently hurt his back scoring his power-play goal two minutes into the first period. Salo left the game and never returned.
Kevin Bieksa acts all tough, but Dustin Byfuglien blew by him much of the night like he was one of those orange practice cones.
added 11:59pm, The Versus version of the save can be watched below…
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
In Game 1 against the Canucks, the lessons included the importance of staying out of the penalty box and the knowledge that Vancouver’s star goaltender Roberto Luongo can be beaten. The Hawks scored three times in the third period against Luongo, a furious comeback that fell short when Sami Salo took advantage of a defensive miscue and won it for Vancouver with just over a minute remaining.
Now the Hawks look ahead to Game 2 on Saturday night at General Motors Place with a better understanding of what they must do to bring the series to Chicago tied at one game apiece.
Lesson No. 1: limit penalties.
The Hawks spent much of Thursday’s first period killing three penalties, including a four-minute double-minor, high-sticking infraction against Andrew Ladd.
“We have to stay out of the box,” Ladd said. “It killed most of our momentum at the start of the game. Confidence in terms of knowing how we need to play and what we need to do to be successful against these guys can help going forward.”
from Steve Rosenbloom of Rosen Blog at the Chicago Tribune,
One line of hockey thinking is that the first game of a series is the easiest to win because teams don’t hate each other like they will.
This should’ve favored the Blackhawks in their second-round deal with Vancouver that began Thursday. If they could steal a road game, they would take the home-ice advantage they rightfully deserved after finishing the regular season with more points than the Canucks.
It also should’ve favored the Hawks because they blew into British Columbia with momentum from a big road win in Calgary that closed out the Flames and were facing a team that had been off for more than a week after sweeping St. Louis.
And look at that, the Hawks got a power play two minutes into the game. A chance to take a lead, get a jump on stealing home-ice, and punish a team that wants to hit them the way Calgary did.
So much for that.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
What kind of shape is Mats Sundin really in?
Well, we’re about to find out.
“He’s a target,” promised agitating Chicago Blackhawks winger Adam Burish. “If you asked him, he’d know he has a target on his back.”...
“They’ve got to understand that they’re going to have earn their space,” said Burish, fresh off of driving Jarome Iginla to distraction in Chicago’s six-game victory over Calgary in Round 1. “They have to earn every inch of ice.”
from George Johnson at ESPN,
Hockey is back in the City of Big Shoulders. In a major way. And we who worship at the shrine of Elmer “Moose” Vasko could not be more ecstatic.
From the emergence of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane as Teen Beat heartthrobs to the icy excitement generated by the Winter Classic at venerable Wrigley Field, to the updating and reimagining of a franchise languishing in neglect, this is indisputably the Year of the Hawk.
Hey, they’re young, they’re fast, they’re audacious, they’re fun. No denying it. And although nothing’s perfect—you cringe a little at the money shelled out for softie defenseman Brian Campbell and playoff backup goalie Cristobal Huet, and the fact that they’re into that really annoying “Don’t step on the logo” nonsense in the dressing room and fence off the big Hawk on the carpet—there’s no doubting we’re over the moon to see the Chicago Blackhawks returned to their rightful place.
“I’ll guarantee you one thing, they won’t be getting to Louie as easily as they got to [Miikka] Kiprusoff, and we’ll take it from there. Actions speak louder than words.”
-Shane O’Brien of the Vancouver Canucks talking about the Chicago Blackhawks. More on the series from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province.
from Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Winning a road playoff game and closing out a wounded team to avoid a Game 7 are steps in the maturation process that the Blackhawks can cross of their list after their Stanley Cup playoff series-clinching 4-1 victory over the Flames late Monday night. But the more players talked afterwards, the more it seemed those goals weren’t all they were playing for. Young or not, this was about showing people that the Blackhawks have officially arrived.
‘‘We want to be more than a fun team to watch,’’ Adam Burish said. ‘‘We wanted to show that we’re a good hockey team. It’s more than just filling the building and being OK. We want to be a great team. We want to go deep in the playoffs. We want to show people. That was the edge we had tonight.’‘
added 8:10am, Scotty Bowman was on Fan590 this morning and said the key of the series was Chicago shutting down Jarome Iginla. Bowman also talks, about the Canucks, San Jose/Anaheim and a few other topics.
Click to listen to the interview.
With a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks advance to the 2nd round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Ducks will travel to Detroit for games 1 and 2 while the Chicago Blackhawks will visit Vancouver for the first two games.
Since Chicago defeated the Flames in Calgary tonight, I wonder if they will just stay in western Canada and then make the short flight to Vancouver instead of goin back to Chicago and then quickly heading out to Vancouver.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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