Monday, May 11, 2009

Congratulations to the Blackhawks

Congratulation to the Blackhawks. You were the hungrier team in this series. Good luck against your next opponent in the West Final.

It is looking like you will play against the Wings next, and since I can't think of a team I love to dislike more, I will be cheering for you. I also hate Pronger, so if you draw the Ducks, I will root for you as well.

If you were just a hockey fan watching this game, this game was exciting. Unlike the trap hockey we saw in the middle of the series, this game had goals and was it ever exciting. I was so nervous throughout the entire game, the emotions were just killing me. I thought that with Shane O'Brien getting his first goal as a Canuck, something was going to go right for the Canucks. I'm not going to pick apart the faults of tonights game, because it shouldn't have come down to this one, but it was frustrating to watch 7 goals go in on Luongo. In the end though, it's just a game

At the beginning of the year, the Canucks were not even predicted to make the playoffs. We came out strong in the beginning of the season, and when Luongo went out with an injury, it was accepted that our season may be over. The boys persevered and weathered through games missed by Luongo. Going through a 9 game losing streak had people jumping off of the bandwagon like lemurs only to bounce back with a strong stretch drive to the playoffs that helped them get the NW Division title. We swept the St. Louis Blues in the first round and met a better team in the second.

I am impressed at the Canucks for what they did this year. They have had 2 members of the Canucks family that met their tragic end too soon in their young lives. I have been impressed so far about the transformation that Gillis has brought in as the new GM, this summer should be an interesting one for him.

I am still proud to be a Canuck fan.

This summer will be an interesting summer for the Canucks with many big contracts coming up during this year (the Sedins/Ohlund) and looking forward to next year (Luongo/Kesler). The Olympics will be in our city next year and everyone will be pumped for that as well.

After 2 years of no playoffs, it's nice to have had the feeling back in the city. So I'm looking forward to next year, and for how the rest of the playoffs will play out.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Go Big or Go Home

This is it. Game 6 in Chicago. The Blackhawks are up 3-2 on the series and can close the deal tonight.

After a more exciting Game 5, the Blackhawks won 4-2. Why? Because they wanted it more. They were the hungrier team and really showed how badly they want to win the game. And the Canucks took dumb penalties at bad times during the game.

*As an aside, the fans that threw the garbage on the ice, they were ridiculous. That was just plain stupid.*

The Canucks will have to play the best game of the series tonight if they want to have a chance at winning. They still need to get their top line to show up because so far in the series, the Sedins and Burrows has all but disappeared. Nice Houdini act boys, but now is the time to show up. Someone should remind the Sedins that if they want that big contract, they may want to put a huge night tonight.

Great video I found from a Vancouver fan named Parksy...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Game Five Preview: You Can't Win With 15 Shots

Game 5 tonight in Vancouver. I pray for action, the kind of action that delivered through hits and shots on net. Game 4 was terrible. I can sit through a game of boring hockey if my team will win, but they didn't. Instead some kid from Maple Ridge that now the majority of the city has disowned (for this series at least) gets the game winner. 15 shots on net Canucks? You can't win with 15 shots.

So tonight I will be at the game again. I am not sitting in my regular section, because I have paid regular %&$#*@# ticketmaster price. Street price people. Overpriced. I could buy seasons tickets for the Lightning for this price, of ONE freakin ticket. So for the love of all things holy, please let this be a good game. After the lockout, I thought I would never see trap hockey again (save for Minnesota because they can't seem to change) until Thursday night. It's good there was tacos where I was to keep me busy.

Back to tonight. Neither team has been able to string together a couple good games. Tonight could change all of that. Keys for the Canucks will be to SHOOT THE GODDAMNED PUCK! Coach AV has said that need to shoot more in Game 5. They also need to register more hits. Chicago had 41 to the Canucks' measly 22. Seabrook landed more than all of the Canucks D men. The other key to tonights game that the top lines that are expected to score have to show up tonight. When Johnson is your best player on the ice, and Hordichuck is your goal scorer, there is something wrong. Mats Sundin, I won't complain about your slow skating or the refusal to backcheck, but when you don't even win faceoffs, well you were useless in Game 4.

Since I feel bad about being so pro-Canucks, here are a thought about the Hawks:
-The need to stay out of the penalty box, the hooking calls for Kane will have him benched in the 2nd again. Speaking of Kane, he needs to step up his game, I was hoping to see more from him.

Anyways, so this series is now a best of 3. I hope both teams can put together a decent watchable game tonight. As per usual, I'll be bringing the Wooo to GM Place (and the Shark Club maybe before?).

ps. It's mothers day tomorrow, don't forget. Game reaction post will clearly be late.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I know everyone's missed my un-biased posts.

Well, ok, or not. I've been having to prepare the heathens in my classroom for AP exams, so I haven't had the energy to really do much of anything, but I have been watching the series (with the exception of the one last Wednesday that directly conflicted with my annual chance to go watch the Cards pound the Braves), and I've been enjoying the series. Definitely the more fun of the 2 in the West. I do have some legit questions for people, though, since I'm currently out of "the loop" with folks who really care about this series.

It's been back and forth, and all kinds of yin and yang. Question for the 'Nucks people - the 5 goal flub from Luongo was an aberration, I know. Was that a wake up call to get people out of the crease? A lot of the goals tend to be dirty ones against him that he can't see.

Also - Hawks peeps. Khabby. Not good record against the Canucks. Have you heard anything about a potential Huet-substitution? I'm actually a pretty big Khabby fan, but I admit, Huet fascinates me in as much that he seems completely bat-guano crazy.

Tonight? Well, Hawks lost last night, and a split seems to be the trend in this series, so I'm giving the Hawks the edge. BTW, someone tell Bobby Hull to not be a curmudgeon, huh? What happened to this guy?

Game Four: Preview

Game four in Chicago. The Blackhawks have started each game trailing the Canucks and last game it hurt them. The Canucks are up 2-1 in the series and this game really is a "must-win" for the Hawks. It's hard to make come backs ever game, and the last game showed that they can't do it every time.

In game 3, the Blackhawk fans were taken out of the game with 3 goal lead that the Canucks put up. Taking the home crowd out the game really neutralized the home ice 'advantage'. They plugged up the neutral zone and didn't allow the Hawks to really break out. They will have to play another game of simple hockey to win this one.

The Blackhawks will come out fast in game 4 and I expect they will be trying to establish an early lead. The first 10 minutes of the game may dictate the outcome of the game. If the Hawks can come out and score first then they can get the crowd into it. If the Canucks score first and take the crowd out of the game, they may be able to win this game on their defensive style of play. The Hawks are going to have to try to stop the conga line to the penalty box in the first period in order to give them a chance at a win tonight.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Playing the Perfect Road Game

2 days ago in Vancouver, the sky was falling. Injuries to Salo and Demitra, the loss of the home ice advantage, a loss on Saturday and going into one of the loudest buildings in the NHL was a recipe for disaster. The Blackhawks were poised to take control of the series. With a win, the Hawks would have put the Canucks in a "must-win" situation on Thursday. Maybe it was them focusing on hunting down the Canucks instead of playing the game, but the Hawks just wasn't able to do it last night.

Vancouver set the tone that they would not be pushed around by a cross check on Kane in the opening few minutes. The Canucks scored first again from a nice pinch from Bieksa, to a pass from Kesler to Raymond in the first period. Kane took a late lazy penalty to start the Canucks on the powerplay in the 2nd. Bernier was finally able to bang in the puck to make it 2-0. Quenneville must not have been pleased, because Kane's TOI dropped in the 2nd period to 2:56. Henrik Sedin gets another goal that trickles through Khabibulin that puts the Canucks up 3-0. Daniel then follows that up with dumb penalty on a puck that was destined for icing. The icecapader Campbell gets a goal on the powerplay but in the end it didn't help.

The game had the Canucks look like they were reverting to pre-lockout hockey. Trap. Trap. Trap. They took the time and space away from the Hawks who looked like they just didn't have room to move. Though it may not have been as exciting of a game to watch (as compared to some other games), but it got the job done.

Dumb penalties:
There's a difference between taking a good penalty and a dumb penalty.
-Good penalty? Vaananen's cross check on Kane - sets a tone for the Hawks that the Canucks won't take them hanging out in Luongo's kitchen.
-Bad penalty? Kane's lazy hooking call. Daniel Sedins dumb tripping call.
Players seem to be able to kill off the good penalties. Penalties that result in goals always seem to come from the lazy hooking or tripping calls. It's hockey karma.

-The Canucks defense really stepped up their game last night, in particular Bieksa and O'Brien
-Duncan Keith played a terrible game
-Patrick Kane only played 14:22 (with only 2:56 in the 2nd period)
-Nice punch from Burrows on a Hawk player on the bench, and then the stick back in the face of Burrows
-Havlat seems back to being Havlat again, otherwise known as invisible. Someone should tell him that isn't good for contract negotiations.
-Campbell got nailed in the boards when O'Brien read his little ice capade spin-o-rama move and just crushed him

Ice capades, you just end up looking like a retard.
-Photo from

Next game
: Thursday in Chicago, Canucks are up 2-1 in the series.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Game Three in the Windy City

So after 2 games in Vancity, the Hawks have taken home ice advantage. After outplaying the Canucks in Game 2, the sky is falling in Vancouver. A guy at my work is already wanting to sell his tickets to game 5. Bandwagoners. It's not like the Canucks are down 3-1 in the series, no, we have a split. Ok, so we have now lost the home ice advantage, and yes we are now going into one of the (recently) loudest buildings in the NHL, but whatever, it's called adversity. I didn't sit through games at GM Place during their 9 game losing streak to give up on them after 1 loss. The Canucks were on an 8 game winning streak before Saturday night, something had to give. Even Boston and Detroit lost, only the Caps are up 2-0 in their series. The parity from each of the series' and the numbers from that Crovechkin match-up has Bettman grinning ear to ear these days.

What else makes Mr. Bettman smile? Celebrity bandwagoners

Obviously it would be great for the Canucks to win both road games, but realistically I would like for them to steal one on the road and come back home even.

Game 2 the Blackhawks just outplayed the Canucks. The Canucks scored two goals, on the powerplay, lost a D man and then just decided to pack it in. By the time the Hawks scored twice in the 2nd period, the fans started to revolt. If only I had called security on the fan nazi sitting behind me earlier. Just a heads up, if you behind me at a game, DON'T tell me I have to cheer or try to rally the troups to join your dumb chants, it ain't happening. If being down 5-2 doesn't motivate the players to score goals, your scratchy bitchy voice ain't doing it.

Looking ahead, the Canucks have gone to Chicago without Sami Salo who can be arguably one of the Canucks' best defencemen. Besides the fact we will miss his rocket of a shot from the point, his defensive pairing with Mitchell will be shaken up. Ossi Vaananen will draw into the lineup to replace him, but it won't be the same for the team that has been weak on their play in the defensive zone.

In other injury news, Demitra didn't practice today, which led to speculation that he is also injured from the hit with Campbell. In a perfect non-injury world, Pyatt would draw in to replace Hordichuk on the 4th line, but instead he might move on to the 3rd and Raymond moving up to the wing on the 2nd. All this remains to be seen tomorrow, and Pyatt playing is purely speculation on my part, but since there was an almost loss, and then a loss, I can't see why you wouldn't play him if he's ready.

To the Chicago fans, man Seabrook is playing like he's superhuman. I only hate because I'd love him on my team.

Luongo issued a challege for the guys to "step up as a team" and I think they will. Maybe Vancouver won't see a win tomorrow, but a good game would make up for the fact that we gotta skip out of work early to catch the 5pm start.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Game 2: Preview

Game 2 tonight peoples. I'm psyched because I'm going to the game. Woooo!

Ok, so word on the street is that some of the Hawks have the flu, not just the 'had too much to drink at an unnamed bar in Vancouver, *ahem r-...*because I just turned 21' sick, but the actual flu. This is perhaps the reason that captain Toews had diminished ice time in Game 1, or maybe he's hurt.

While we are on the injury speculations, The Province is saying that maybe Mats Sundin is also hurt. Is is the hip, knee, groin, MCL (according to the Globe and Mail) or maybe just the fact that he is old and falling apart? Who knows.

Khabibulin still hasn't beaten the Canucks since January 26 1998. The Canucks have now won 5 straight playoff games and are now 16-1-1 at home. Sick.

Chicago needs to improve in the faceoff circle tonight, they only won 24 out of 64 for a success rate of 38%. Kyle Wellwood won all of his 7 draws.

But after game 1, we know all those stats mean nothing. You can be up 3 goals, and then have the Hawks attack and tie up the game. I hope the Canucks have learnt their lesson: You can never let up on the Blackhawks. The Hawks have a lot of confidence that came out of the loss from Game 1, they realized that they COULD beat Luongo. I think we'll see a strong Blackhawk team tonight, and not so many penalties coming from them.

Eager may not have gotten a suspension for this, but this is a long series and you just became public enemy number 1 for Canuck fans.

Prediction: I'll say Canucks win this one since they have the magic when playing at home.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Game start time scheduling...

When the playoff schedule for Round 2 first came out for the Canucks/Blackhawks series I was pumped.

The home games for Game 1 and Game 2 in Vancouver start at 6pm PT (8PM CST) which is an hour earlier than our usual start time. Some people in Vancouver complained about the earlier start times. Now I see how if you work in the 'burbs (anywhere you have to cross a bridge to get to Vancouver), get off work at 5pm, it may be impossible to get into the city (and find parking) and be at GM Place in time for the anthem.

But at the same time, it could be worse. Some broadcast rights holders wanted the games EARLIER at 4pm for the weekend games and 5pm for the weeknight games. Fans in Vancouver already had that happen when the Leafs came to play back in November. CBC wanted it to be on HNIC and Leaf fans apparently can't stay up for the late game of the double header for their team so the game was at 4pm PT. Vancouver fans and radio personality of the TEAM 1040 were pissed. Changing local start time because of viewers in the east didn't want to stay up to watch their team did not bode well for people in the west. We don't like realizing that the east has more pull than the west with regards to viewership. Whatever, we got over it.

I'm not against the 6pm PT start and I understand why this works.
1. Games that start at 8pm is a great time for Chicago fans, it is only an hour later than a normal home game start
2. On some nights, it is the only late game on TV, 9pm ET not too late of a start time for people in the East watching CBC or Versus. If there is a quadruple over time that means that you only have to stay up till 3:30am as opposed to 4:30am.

Games in Chicago will be 5pm PT. Yes this time sucks, but I'll get over it. Just need to come up some good excuses for why I have to go home early for Tuesday and Thursday. *cough cough...swine flu?*

So I found it peculiar today after I printed off my tickets for game 5 and wondered why the game STARTS at 7:30pm PT. The Caps/Pens game will be at 4pm PT followed by the Canucks/Blackhawks in the double header. The 2nd game of the double header normally starts at 7pm.

WHY does this one start at 7:30pm?

Will people in the East want to stay up, hear the networks fill the extra 30 mins with analysis and still watch the late game? Why do the networks (CBC and Versus) think this will draw viewers in to watch the late game? Or are they betting on the Caps/Pens game to go to overtime?

I suggested to someone that I think that there will be a PR release sometime after this Saturday's 6pm game with a change in start time for next weeks game. Just a move to 7pm, so that CBC and Versus can offer a double header without a huge space to fill between the games. Someone bet me $20 that this won't happen, I wonder if I should take it?

Game 1 Recap: Canucks WIN

Am I a little late with the 1st game recap? Yes. But after last night, well I was not able to hammer this thing out after the festivities, and a thing called work got in the way today, but better late than never.

What a 1st game. The first period for the Canucks showed what not playing for 9 days would do to a team, the turnovers and sloppy changes were prevalent. The Blackhawks on the other hand were taking penalties like they were free candy. That gave the Canucks 7 power plays in the opening 40 minutes, not a smart move. Thanks in part to the face of Kyle Wellwood and its affinity for errant sticks, the Canucks drew 8 minutes of penalties just based on his baby face alone. If you were watching the CBC broadcast you got to hear the lovefest about Welly from McLean and Cherry after the game, Cherry even wrote down Wellwood's stats. Maybe next time he should write down the #3 in the blue sweaters name, trust me, it's not Bieska.

In the 3rd, after Kane spent the last few seconds of his 4 minute penalty in the box, he came out to show why he is such a great hockey player. The goal started building the momentum for the Hawks, and a dumb penalty from Hordichuck put them on the power play. Kane gets another clutch goal to get the Hawks within one. What were the Canucks sitting back in the 3rd period? Did they feel that they had the game locked up up 3 goals? From watching the Calgary/Blackhawk series, I think we learnt that they can score 3 goals pretty quick, in fact they can do it in 1:49. You could just watch the sequence of the plays that happened, the chasing around of the hawk players leading up to the Bolland goal looked like it happened in slow motion. Tie freakin game.

With two minutes left in the game, Barker decided to pinch which ended up not working out and left Walker to be the lone defenceman. The Canucks were on a 4-2 from a great feed from Wellwood to Raymond, Bernier got the puck on net, and Salo put in the rebound. 4-3 with just over a minute left and Johnson gets and empty net goal to end it at 5-3.

Khabibulin hasn't won a game against the Canucks since 1998 and that didn't change last night. Next game Saturday night.