Canucks and Beyond

Are the Canucks Beatable? (By Chicago, that is...)

04/18/2011 at 5:49pm EDT

Jonathan Toews say ‘yes,’ of course, as this video from this morning’s skate shows, and explains:

“They’ve got weakness just like any other team, and it’s up to us to expose them and we just haven’t done a good enough job of that.”

On the other hand, Chicago’s media isn’t too optimistic. At least not ‘4 games in a row’ beatable. Or four periods, for that matter. So, will having Dave Bolland back really help? (Well, yes, but…)

Tony Gallagher is concerned:

And you have to be a little bit scared about tomorrow night. Imagine a scenario whereby the Hawks throw Dave Bolland into the lineup and he starts messing around with the Sedins the way he did last year. Then one of the Canucks D or somebody else steps up and corks the guy, he coming off a concussion playing in a game where perhaps he shouldn’t be? What then.

“I think we have to treat him like any other player out there,” said Henrik Sedin Monday when this scenario was floated past him. “I don’t know whether he should be playing or not, that’s for them to decide. But he’s a good player and we’ll have to play him like anyone else.”

Not sure I’m scared, really. Nor do I think the team should be. Sedin’s exactly right… play him like any other player. He’s a factor, but hell, at least he ain’t Dustin Byfuglien. :)

Bottom line, I think Vancouver has shook off its demons when it comes to the Blackhawks. Ballard is a factor, but not one the Canucks should change their game for.

One thing brought up today is whether the Canucks might seriously consider keeping Torres out of the game tomorrow night, which actually hadn’t even occurred to me. From Elliotte Friedman at CBC:

Can they play him?

Right now, Torres is in the Matt Cooke position with the NHL. No doubt Vancouver GM Mike Gillis called hockey operations to complain about Torres becoming a target, because it’s clear he’s under surveillance. He took two penalties on Sunday night, the second of which Chicago converted into a game-tying goal. And, in what is potentially a Stanley Cup season for Vancouver, that’s a huge risk.

Gillis and Alain Vigneault must be weighing that heavily. Mason Raymond seems less comfortable in the middle, and putting Cody Hodgson back in allows Raymond to go back to his natural spot with Jannik Hansen on the other side.

For Vancouver’s players, the mood is understandably lighter. Gallagher’s observation today:

Alex Burrows, Chris HIggins and Mikael Samuelsson blew off optional practice to shoot hoops. Higgins not bad. Alex should stick to puck.

No one should be cocky, and I hope the Canucks aren’t—for as much as this series is probably in the bag (god, I hate saying stuff like that, taunting the hockey gods, but still, it seems somewhat safe), in one or maybe two games. But it’s just one series, and against a team that seems to have been circling the drain since game 1. So there’s a lot more (and tougher) work to come.

Still exciting, though…. 16 wins needed, 13 more to go.

It’s a lot, sure… but it’s obviously better than being a Chicago fan right now. :)

Go Canucks!

P.S. Thanks for the emails I received after the comments fiasco in my earlier post today providing the updates on Raffi Torres. I’ll write everyone back as soon as I have a minute. I greatly appreciate the civility of the feedback, though. :)

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