Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
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.”
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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