Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Luongo has stopped 55 of 56 shots in this series, and if you include Vancouver’s final three regular-season games, he’s allowed only two goals in the last 145 shots fired at him. When a goaltender is this bulletproof, he emboldens his entire team.
That’s why it was comical to see all of the Canucks’ posturing and taunting in the first two games, especially near the end of Game 2. The Canucks haven’t outplayed the Blues; the Canucks just happen to employ the world’s hottest goaltender at the moment. And they’re riding him. Basking in his glory.
That’s the unfortunate part of this match-up from a St. Louis perspective: in Round 1, the Blues came up against an opponent that’s just as hot as they were. And that team, Vancouver, has the one NHL goalie sizzling at a higher temperature than the Blues’ Chris Mason.
from GZ Expat of Nucks Misconduct,
I love the expat life. I love the job…I love the cultural experiences we endure and learn from. I love the food…the weather. I don’t love the crowds, nor the pollution. Every now and then you are surprised with the life that it brings you, like coming home and finding the neighborhood kids (Dutch, Danish, French, Filipino, American, Australian) in front of the house playing a hearty game of road hockey.
But there are challenges, and trying to follow my favorite team from 5,000 miles away has been an ongoing challenge for me the past 5 years. Here is a list of some of the challenges and triumphs that I find and use to get my addiction of Canuck hockey fed…
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
St. Louis Blues’ coach Andy Murray had every right to be furious at the end of Friday’s 3-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks; it appeared the actions of his player would cost Murray $10,000.
When Brandon Crombeen dropped his gloves at the final horn and attacked Kevin Bieksa after the Canuck defenceman cheaply tripped up the Blues’ winger, he could have been assessed an instigator penalty, which in the last five minutes of a game carries an automatic suspension for the offender and $10,000 fine for his coach.
Instead, referees Chris Rooney and Brad Watson assessed only a double-minor for roughing against Crombeen, which means he’ll be playing in Sunday’s Game 3 that St. Louis must win to stay in the first-round playoff series. Bieksa was penalized for tripping, and there was a secondary altercation between Canuck Steve Bernier and Blue Barret Jackman that drew fighting majors.
from Teryy Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Alex Burrows sits beside Roberto Luongo in the Vancouver Canucks dressing room. And he plays on the same line as Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
When you’ve recently played for the Baton Rouge Kingfish, Columbia Inferno and the Greenville Grrrowl in the ECHL, this is the kind of stuff you don’t even dare dream about.
When you are a bigger name in ball hockey than an actual hockey, playing on the No. 1 line on a top team in the Stanley Cup playoffs and sitting beside the great goalie/captain is pretty heady stuff.
“I was making $425 a week and living the dream,” said Burrows when he came off the ice for the morning skate prior to Game 2 of the series against the St. Louis Blues.
from Jeff Gordon of The Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
It’ll be tough for the Blues from here on out. They needed to win a game at Vancouver to have a realistic chance in this series, but they lost both.
The Canucks prevailed 3-0 Friday night, scoring a couple of classic playoff goals (Mats Sundin and Alex Burrows) plus an empty netter (Henrik Sedin). Chris Mason played well for the Blues, but not well enough.
Vancouver goaltender Robert Luongo was remarkable, robbing David Backes and Andy McDonald with especially outrageous saves….
An inch here, a bounce there and the Blues could have won this game and pulled dead even in this series. They put together offensive flurries in this games, as did the Canucks.
The Blues did a great job on faceoffs in key situations. That helped, but not enough.
The Blues frustration boiled over at the end, when the Blues dropped their gloves and got busy. The game ended with a major fracas.
Such is the nature of playoff hockey.
read on and below, watch the scrap at the end of the game…
from Jeff Gordon of Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
While the Blues are asking their D-men to play bigger-than-expected roles, due to the loss of Erik Johnson and Eric Brewer, the Canucks are deep and experienced on the blue line.
The Blues will try to beat that smoothness out of them with vigorous body checking, but Vancouver has more toughness than fans may realize.
To sustain pressure in this game, the Blues will have to fly. And they can’t expect the Canucks to take as many undisciplined penalties as they did in Game 1, since that was a point of emphasis in the team’s preparations.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
After Game 1 Canucks coach Alain Vigneault complained that the St. Louis Blues weren’t just skating through Roberto Luongo’s crease and bumping into him a couple of times, they were spraying him with (gasp!) snow.
“I’m embarrassed to talk about that. It’s ridiculous. Nonsense,” said St. Louis winger Keith Tkachuk. “There is no way our game plan is to go out and try to spray their goalie. You have to stop on the puck - just in case he tries to play it.
“You can tell the game has changed over my 17-year career, when you complain about something like that. As opposed to runnin’ someone from behind or starting a brawl.”
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Curiously, during a 2-1 win in Game 1 of their playoff series against St. Louis, the Canucks did not announce a sell out as per usual. The GM Place atmosphere Wednesday was excellent, but some sections of the lower bowl may not have been too flattering on television (when the white towels weren’t waving).
Generally, the Canucks make a big deal of their consecutive sell-out streak, 257 and counting.
A team spokesman said that the video scoreboard flashed 18,630. He said loud crowd noise pre-empted a formal announcement. Another source said the Canucks did not want to announce attendance because the empty seats were so obvious.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
After Game 1 of the Canucks-Blues Western Conference quarterfinal, there shouldn’t be any confusion over what constitutes a penalty in this series.
That’s because, apparently, everything constitutes a penalty. Lay a stick on a Blues defenceman, Henrik Sedin, off you go. Use your arm to ward off a Canucks forward, Jay McKee, and you sit in the box and feel shame. Mill around a scrum too long and you’re liable to be sent off for public loitering. And none of your lip, young man, or you get 10.
At least that’s what it felt like on Wednesday night. That’s also the way it looked as the refereeing tandem of Chris Lee and Dan O’Halloran handed out minors like they were Reese’s Pieces on Halloween night. In the first two periods of a competitive but not particularly violent postseason game there were 11 power plays between the two teams: seven for the Blues, four for the Canucks.
Now, we can argue if that’s an appropriate total for a Stanley Cup playoff game. And there was plenty of arguing Wednesday night. But it’s also pointless because these are the terms of engagement in the new NHL.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
You’ve heard teams jinx the deal by announcing the parade route before they’ve actually won the Stanley Cup.
But this has to set some sort of record.
The Vancouver Canucks open their Western Conference quarter-final against the St. Louis Blues here tonight. And defenceman Willie Mitchell already has the parade route mapped out.
“Put us on boats and take us around the seawall of Stanley Park and then end up at the Convention Centre,” said the native of Port McNeil on Vancouver Island.
“That would be the ultimate. It would be really, really cool,” Mitchell said after practice yesterday.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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