Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune,
“We’ll get ticked off about it and get ready for the next one,’’ Jonathan Toews said.
Easy, captain. You could argue that getting too agitated too often during Game 5 made it necessary for the Hawks to play the next one. So Toews and Co. may want to find a more productive way to channel whatever anger they muster.A not-so-funny thing happened to the Hawks on their trip home from western Canada. They lost their focus and apparently their poise on a night defined by missed chances and needless penalties.
Byfuglien didn’t deserve to be put in the box on the play that left O’Brien with stitches, but Big Buff was a big disappointment later in the second period with two unnecessary penalties. A guy already cast as the series villain must avoid any temptation to mix it up enough to put his team a man down – especially after he wounded a Canuck, accident or no accident.
The Canucks’ third goal came on a power play when all Byfuglien could do was watch from the penalty box. It wasn’t just Byfuglien. Marian Hossa also committed two of the Hawks’ seven penalties.
Canucks played their best game of the series, while Chicago just could not generate the offense needed to win the game.
Luongo was steady and it was important for the Caucks to get the opening goal tonight to take the Chicago crowd out of the game.
added 10:49pm, Sami Salo of the Canucks took a shot to the groin right as the first period ended. He was taken to the hospital and no update as of yet.
The Canucks have no chance to win with the likes of Shane O’Brien and Alex Burrows - Dumb and Dumber - running around and taking cheap shots at the Hawks.
-Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald. Read more from Tim on the Chicago/Vancouver series.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Jonathan Toews looks remarkably alert at this moment, minutes after emerging from the Chicago Blackhawks’ triumphant charter flight home. This is the blessing of youth - and a sharp contrast to bleary-eyed teammate Patrick Sharp, who took the first turn at the microphone at Signature Flight Support, near O’Hare airport, where the team’s charter from Vancouver landed late Saturday afternoon.
One day earlier, Toews drove a stake through the hearts of the Canucks’ playoff hopes with a brilliant five-point performance. This afternoon, Toews was explaining why the team cannot take anything for granted heading into Sunday’s fifth game, a possible elimination game with Chicago ahead 3-1 in the series. Toews said all the right things: The Blackhawks will take nothing for granted. The final game is always the most difficult to win. Etc. etc. There is a reason why teammate Patrick Kane calls Toews Mr. Serious. There is an uncommon gravitas about the Blackhawks’ young captain that seems oddly out of step with his age, 22.
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog,
In the playoffs, your best players need to be your best players. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews had a hat trick and two assists, and that was just in the first two periods of Game 4 of this second-round series. The best you could ask for.
Vancouver’s best players were in the penalty box.
Maybe this will teach Alain Vigneault. The Vancouver coach named Toews the day before, saying it wasn’t Dustin Byfuglien who was terrorizing Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo despite a hat trick in Game 3, but Toews.
“The guy going to the net hardest for them and getting away with the most is probably Toews,” Vigneault said. “He’s pitch-forked. He’s run Louie. He’s done everything you need to do create offense. And on top of that he’s a real skilled player, so we know what we need to do here.”
Apparently not, unless the plan was to egg on his team’s Neanderthal approach.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
There is but one bright spot for Vancouver. After losing 7-4 in Game 4 to go down 3-1 in games, Vancouver doesn’t have to think about last year anymore. They have a new low point, now.
The Canucks were all out of maturity and composure. Goaltending, too. Luongo got caught slashing, whacking and trying to trip players like Dustin Byfuglien. Saves weren’t the only thing on his mind. Off his game, he wasn’t alone. But with his focus diverted, his game crumbled. Poor reads, more rebounds and another poor result. Luongo was riddled for six goals on 33 shots.
“I think right now he is the second best goaltender on the ice,” Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault said. “I think he can be better and he will be better.”
How did it feel for Luongo?
“Not very good.”
Chicago beats Vancouver 7-4 and can wrap up the series with a win at home on Sunday night.
added 12:58am, from Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail,
It was maybe the Canucks worst game of the playoffs, especially given what was at stake. There is a reason they say Game 4s are the most important in a playoff series. Statistically, the odds aren’t in the favour of any team trying to climb out of a 3-1 series hole. Which is the Everestian task the Canucks are now facing.
Especially given that the team isn’t showing the slightest signs that it has the game right now to even attempt such a massive turnaround.
The Canucks didn’t look like an Alan Vigneault coached team at all.
from Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago,
Chicago Blackhawks winger Adam Burish accused Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows and defenseman Shane O’Brien of being “clowns” for roughing up Hawks skill players during their Western Conference semifinals.
“The thing that upsets me about O’Brien and Burrows is they go and target [Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews],” Burish said Friday morning. “The clown Burrows goes after [Brian] Campbell in the middle of the ice.
“Give me a break. If you want to target someone, come find me or [Ben Eager]. You guys want to pretend you’re so tough, and yet you go and try to pick a fight with those guys. If you want to hit them and play hard, fine. But those clowns are pushing them after the whistle and punching them.”
Burish implied O’Brien acts tough only when Burish and Eager—the Hawks’ enforcers—aren’t on the ice.
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Look for Byfuglien to create room for the two young forwards tonight, and look for Kane to be his creative self with the puck. There’s a reason Kane likes to be the last one to leave the ice after the Hawks’ pregame warmups. He gives the crowd a brief show of his stick-handling ability. All of Game 4 could be like that.
Byfuglien is about as subtle as a mallet. While the Canucks look to answer with their own blunt object, Kane will kill them with craftiness. Or Toews will take over. Count on it.
Do the rules limit what the Canucks can do to move Byfuglien from in front of the crease?
‘‘Might have to bend the rules,’’ Salo said.
Sounds like obsession.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
They have to do a better job of converting on their power-play opportunities, they have to cash in on more of their chances and they have to improve their chances of doing that by putting some physical pressure on Antti Niemi.
But how much when you have no concept of what’s going to be called? To be sure, nothing has been in this series, but that doesn’t mean to say that the next two referees in here tonight won’t have an entirely different view of the very clear rules on goalie interference in the rule book.
You only have to look at the Washington-Montreal series, and Mike Knuble barely touching the pad of Jaroslav Halak with his skate, to know that anything can be called.
Roberto Luongo would not even have noticed the infraction for which Evgeni Malkin was called Thursday.
And then again, nothing can be called all, depending upon a whim or how the officials feel like making things up that night.
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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