Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Never mind that everyone who had an opinion about this series believed it would be a long, drawn-out affair. It just seems there’s a little too much history involved with the Blackhawks and, in the larger sense, the last 40 years with the Canucks, for the faithful to feel entirely comfortable with Game 2’s change in direction.
“They upped the ante,” was Shane O’Brien’s terse and not inaccurate assessment of the loss.
Back to you, Henrik.
“I think it’s a totally different feeling in the dressing room and on the bench,” said the NHL’s leading scorer in the regular season. “Last year, we got rattled at everything: referees, opponents, everyone.
“This year we stick to our game plan and even though we weren’t successful in the last game, there were a lot of games in the L.A. series where we stuck with it and came out on the winning side.”
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
The Hawks did find out what happens when Luongo gets knocked down.
He gets up. And then he makes saves.
He did it so often and so consistently in Monday’s second period, it was like he was a machine, one that couldn’t be broken or discouraged.
The Hawks air bombed his crease with slashes, elbows, and pucks. They ran him. They bumped him. They landed on him. They pelted him. Ben Eager and Adam Burish made good on a pre-game gave promise a give him an ice shower. Through it all, Luongo was unflappable, and unbreakable, looking nothing like the fragile goalie who struggled his way through the final two months of the regular season.
Luongo never lost his composure or his focus until the very end. He made glorious saves.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Byfuglien and the Blackhawks acknowledge that they need to disrupt an on-his-game Luongo more in Game 2 of their Western Conference semi-final on Monday, but the way that NHL officials are calling goaltender interference in the playoffs makes that more difficult.
“I think it’s a little stupid that they’re calling it so strict now that it’s playoffs,” Byfuglien said. “Even in other series, I know they’ve called a few guys for just standing there.”
Byfuglien, who weighs nearly 250 lbs., said he has been called for interference because he is simply a big body, but added that, in totality, the officials have been fair with him. But whether the Blackhawks power forward, who might move to defence, has occasion to pitch a tent in Luongo’s crease is a matter of some doubt heading into Game 2.
from Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail (Monday edition),
To the surprise of no one, members of the Chicago Blackhawks awoke yesterday morning to find there was still life on earth. And because there was they were forced to drive to the rink and watch lowlights from their 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1.
We won’t know until after Game 2 tonight what kind of students the Chicago players make. But certainly those Hawks marched in front of the media here yesterday were making the right sounds, which included admitting that perhaps they hadn’t shown their Round 1 opponents the deference they deserved.
“Maybe there was a little bit of disrespect [for Vancouver] going into the series,” coach Joel Quennville conceded.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
Hold the coronation.
The Chicago Blackhawks may have as good a chance as anyone to be the next great young team in the National Hockey League, but then, that’s what they said about the Washington Capitals. And the Los Angeles Kings.
As those noted hockey analysts, the Gershwins, would say: it ain’t necessarily so.
After several days of absorbing the local love for disposing of a pack of pesky hounds from Nashville, the Blackhawks ran into quite a different herd Saturday night at the United Center. Not that they didn’t know in advance that the Vancouver Canucks could light it up offensively if you let them — they just didn’t expect to be 40 minutes into their Western semifinal series and already down 5-0 with 22,184 fans sitting in stunned silence, and starting goalie Antti Niemi on the bench licking his wounds.
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog,
All we heard about leading up to Game 1 of the Blackhawks’ second-round playoff series against Vancouver was about bad blood, but all we got from the Hawks was bad hockey.
This had to be their worst game of the season. Their dumbest, too. And weakest. They got outskated, outhustled, outfought—out-everythinged.
Every Canucks line was better than every Hawks line. Heck, every Canucks line scored.
The Canucks came into this year’s series intent on attacking the Hawks. They did exactly that. They took the Hawks’ puck-possession game and killed them with it. Faster and better. Smarter and tougher. If there’s any other way to indict the Hawks, they’re guilty of that, too.
from Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks feel they have got some good preparation for Chicago goalie Antti Niemi in the first round of the playoffs.
That would be playing against the L.A. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who’s about the same size, gets low to take away the bottom part of the net and in is in his first NHL playoffs.
The Canucks are also hoping to see the same proclivity for giving up juicy rebounds that Quick exhibited, some of which allowed Vancouver to light up the Kings goalie for 21 goals in the six-game series.
“We’ve talked about him having a lot of the same tendencies as Quick,” said Canucks defenceman Shane O’Brien.
“That should help us going in here, but he’s had a great season and obviously won the first round. We’re going to have to make life miserable for him. We’re going to get as much traffic as possible in front of him and get pucks to the net and challenge him. We’ll see how he deals with it.”
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog,
One of the things the Canucks regret from last year’s second-round bouncing by the Blackhawks—besides losing, obviously—is having the style of game dictated to them, not by them.
Vancouver players recalled trying several different approaches, especially in the last two games at the United Center, but the truth is, the Canucks had one approach: running around their own zone screaming for mommy to make it stop.
The Hawks owned the puck, the Canucks’ blue line and the Vancouver zone. Hat trick. Which, coincidentally, is how Patrick Kane ended the series and thus began Vancouver’s year of unrequited grudge that gets taken to the alley this weekend.
And while the Canucks harbor old, ill feelings, they are vowing a new approach: attack, attack, and when in doubt, attack.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
One year later, the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks meet again in the second round. Vancouver’s 2009 playoffs came to a crushing end in Game 6 at the United Center when Chicago exploded for seven goals on Roberto Luongo in a night few in the Canucks organization will ever forget.
This postseason, Chicago and Vancouver return to the second round with one thing in common: Both believe they’re one step closer to challenging for the ultimate prize this time.
The Blackhawks and Canucks were both picked by many to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup finals, both clubs winning their respective divisions. Because of those high expectations, one team will be thoroughly disappointed with a second-round exit. It’s Stanley Cup or bust.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Getting traffic to the net has been a stratagem in the NHL playoffs ever since the rover was taken out of the game. It was a factor in the Kings-Canucks series. It’s been a factor in every series played this postseason. And it will continue to be a factor when the Canucks meet the Blackhawks.
The question, of course, concerns the extent to which the Hawks will go to make Roberto Luongo’s life uncomfortable and given the history between these two teams and what’s already transpired in the playoffs, that’s an interesting question.
“I thought the Chicago series last year was the most I’ve ever seen for guys going to the net and falling on the goalie,” said Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa. “[The Kings’] Ryan Smyth goes to the net hard but he’s an honest guy. He doesn’t whack at the goalie after the whistle.”
Which implies the Blackhawks do but we’re saying that, not Bieksa.
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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