Canucks and Beyond

Toothless Buffalo Sabre Tiger Balm

01/19/2007 at 7:38pm EST

See, Tiger Balm coach Lindy Ruff had a nice press conference with the referees last night, and methinks we’re about to spend a crap load of time in the freakin’ penalty box.

“I don’t think the game is being called as tight as it was,” Ruff said Thursday. “Before, as soon as you put a stick on somebody it was a penalty. Now, you’re getting a free tug at times. You’re getting a free paw at times… I think there’s games where the whistle has been put away.”

Yeah, sure. Aside from the fact that I have no earthly idea about how ANYONE can bitch about a LACK of penalties these days, I think the timing is just lovely. For one thing, the Sabres are on a skid. Surely it’s a temporary one, but a skid all the same. Would the Ruffmeister like a few extra powerplays to help snap that skid? Well, that’s a no-brainer.

Every time someone even thinks to bitch about how clutching/grabbing/breathing-too-loud are no longer being called in the game, please just do me a favor and watch any Canucks game. (They’ve got some badly outdated ones on Google—check ‘em out, any random game should work.) Or to make it even easier, just think to the very first penalty of last night’s game, against Markus Naslund for hooking.

Was that a penalty? Well, hell, maybe you could find a way to get excited about it. I can’t. I can barely see it now through my pre-alcoholic haze. Naslund’s stick is up at the waist of some wonder boy, which lasts for all of a tiny portion of a second, and the whistle blows. Wtf?

Well, okay—call that a penalty, but don’t tell me the refs are letting anything slide. That’s just stupid. I bloody well wish they’d let stuff slide…

The other problem—which hopefully won’t be an issue —is that Roberto Luongodidn’t take the morning skate today, which is fairly unusual for him on a game day.

Anyway, I’m not too worried about that. For one thing, I can’t see Luongo taking tonight off, the last game before the break. He’s going to want to finish off this streak in style, and take down another top team in the Eastern Conference. Unless his injury from earlier this week is a factor, I say he plays.

Besides, Globe writer Grant Kerr lied to me about Luongo’s game-day status the other day... and you can’t fool me twice, Kerr!
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Update 5:00 pm PST: Apparently Kerr DOES fool me twice. (Dammit!) Okay, so it turns out that Luongo is out and Dany Sabourin is in. Go backup goalie! Only his 4th game played with the Canucks? Oy….

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Note: for legitimate, intelligent Canucks commentary, don’t forget these fine folks: Canucks Hockey Blog, The Chief Canuck, Yankee Canuck, Stick in Rink, etc. There’s others, but I’m intimidated enough by these guys for today. Enjoy!

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