Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail,
In the perennial sky-is-falling world of Canucks Nation, the home team entered Game 3 of its Stanley Cup series against the Blackhawks on the verge of elimination.
It mattered not that the series was tied one game apiece heading into it. It was the way in which the Canucks had frittered away a lead in Game 2 and lost that had convinced many in their fan base the series was over.
The Monday night setback in Chicago had conjured up horrible memories of last year’s playoff match-up between the two teams when the Canucks had a chance to take a 3-1 series lead in Game 4 only to blow a 1-0 advantage in the last two minutes of the game and lose in overtime. According to legend, the team never recovered from the loss which is why its season was over after the next two games.
Those who believed Wednesday night’s game was somehow a must win are surely jumping from buildings today, or at least plunging off the nearest bandwagon after their team went down to defeat and now trail – yes, trail – the series two games to one.
from Rick Morrissy of the Chicago Sun-Times,
It might seem like a silly discussion after the Hawks jumped to a 2-0 first-period lead in a 5-2 victory over the Canucks in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals. But it’s one of hockey’s strange quirks that come playoff time, teams discover the pacifist within.
When the Hawks’ Dave Bolland and Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin received roughing penalties after a scuffle late in the first period, it was the first time officials had called roughing in this series.
Sequined twirler Johnny Weir might actually survive an NHL playoff game.
First off, I am old-school and thought Dustin Byfuglien went a little too far with his goal celebration (2nd of the night) tonight. (let the video run to the end)
But what I think doesn’t matter, so what do you think?
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Is there another team in the NHL that complains as much as the Canucks?
The newspapers here on Wednesday were filled with stories of the Canucks getting all worked up about how Blackhawks forwards such as Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Adam Burish and Ben Eager treated goalie Roberto Luongo in Game 2.
Ladd elbowed Luongo, Byfuglien bumped him, Eager and Burish gave him a snow shower.
“O’Brien disgusted by Hawks’ crashers,” read a headline in the Vancouver Province.
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.
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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