Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Simpson of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs everything is magnified. The battles, the intensity, the pressure, the energy, the excitement, they all rise to a higher level. The swings in momentum that can occur within a shift, a period and a game are often the moments that dictate the outcome of a series.
A hot goalie, or a streaky scorer can dominate a series, but there may not be a more important part of the playoffs than special teams.
All year teams work diligently to improve their special teams, understanding the importance of scoring a power play goal at a critical time, or killing off a string of penalties to preserve a lead. No series has exemplified that importance more than the Vancouver, St. Louis series.
Mike Gillis talks about his team’s 3-0 series lead in St Louis, their forward depth and Taylor Pyatt’s status.
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
There is no I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-us giddiness around the Canucks as there was only two years ago when Vancouver bolted to a 3-1 first-round series lead against the Dallas Stars.
Even on their romp to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final in 1994, there was at least as much hopefulness as expectation that the “magical” run would continue.
There is no sense of magic now about the Canucks. This is a good thing.
There are the forwards who have elevated for the playoffs, the deep, robust defence that has no weak link, and there is Roberto Luongo in goal.
The Canucks have mustered the intensity and emotion that are base ingredients in all playoff success, but have also a detached, business-like approach. Nothing personal, they’re just moving on.
from the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog,
Is there anything more tiresome or a greater waste of time than a Mats Sundin scrum? The man moved far more deftly than at any time he’s been on the ice by doging all the questions about his absence in Game 3 and the possibility of him playing Game 4.
He did make one slip however, admitting that in fact he did hurt himself in the third period not the first period (which Alain Vigneault claimed in his post-game news conference Sunday iin what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to mislead people).
“I haven’t spoken to the doctor yet today,” said Sundin after missing the Canuck practice Monday, he believed to have either a groin or hip problem. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Given Vancouver is up 3-0 in the series, it’s unlikely he’ll play Tuesday night, for if Vancouver win they will free up at least another week for him to rest whatever ails him to get him ready for the next series
continue for more on the Canucks and Blues…
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
It’s been a great series to watch. But why hasn’t it been a series?
Why is it over before it begins? Why are the Vancouver Canucks up 3-0 on the St. Louis Blues?
Two words? Roberto Luongo?
Two teams? Vancouver’s special teams?
Two tougher twins in Daniel and Hendrik?
Yes. Yes. And yes.
from Jeff Gordon of the Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
It’s over now. This was the Note’s chance to get back into the series and the home team failed.
The Blues didn’t get their must-have game. They took a good run at it, but fell short.
Now they will be relegated to playing for pride in Game 4. Now they will be fending off an embarrassing sweep on their home ice.
After entering the NHL playoffs as one of the NHL’s hottest teams, this is not the scenario they envisioned. But it is what it is.
The Canucks are the more experienced and more talented team (even with Mats Sundin sidelined) and the Blues couldn’t knock them off their game.
The Vancouver Canucks will not have forward Mats Sundin for Game 3 of their series with the St. Louis Blues with what the team is a calling a ‘lower-body injury.’
Sundin, who is averaging just over 15 minutes per game in the series appeared to injure himself half-way through the third period of Friday night’s Game 2 victory. Although he finished the game, he received a great deal of treatment following the win.
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.
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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