Chi/Van, Round III: Luongo Is A Cat, But Not In A Good WayShareThis
Just out of curiosity, who was the colour guy on VERSUS last night? (And why is “VERSUS” written in all caps? Is it an acronym?)
Its not that the colour guy was bad, but I’m pretty sure you can’t say a player “got raped” on a play (In reference to Patrick Sharp taking the zone between two Canuck defenders). I literally used that phrase once and once only on this blog (I said a guy who had five points “raped the scoresheet”), and some dad or uncle or both wrote me some horrorifyingly personal story so I’d stop using the word so casually. And indeed I have. In retrospect, it seems like a gross overreaction by that guy, but I’m glad I stopped using it. Of course, in the early days of this blog, I took negative reader comments a lot more personally, and immediately changed it to “mauled the scoresheet” (rawr). Anyway. That just seemed like suspect phrase-ology from ol commentatey-pants, there.
Bustin Dyfuglien or whatever his name is wreaked havoc on the Canucks crease last night (And by “wreaked havoc”, I mean Luongo looked like my cat when he lays on his back to chew my hand after every rebound. Stay low in your butterfly after shots for f***’s sake, you’re massive). You could feel like game unfolding for the Hawks as the Canucks dominated the better part of the first period, got ample opportunities to score, and made Niemi look like a stud.
The Canuck’s Jannick Hansen had two plays in particular that made me go “ugh” (as a guy openly rooting for the Canucks - a team I spent my youth disliking, only to recently realize I dislike every other Canadian team more, and I should probably try liking one), because certain saves make a goalie feel like they’re really on top of things in a game. Once they get those big, solid saves under their belt early, its like they’re playing with house money. They’ve already bailed the team out, so they can really start laying down some big bets. And Hansen was the dealer dropping blackjacks on Niemi.
One play, he got a puck from behind the net and had it on his forehand, all alone facing Niemi, who came out aggressively to cut down the angle. Hansen goes flat-footed, and pulls a hockey-school wrist-shot into Niemi’s pillows like it’s pre-game warm-up, instead of pulling it to his backhand to a completely vacant net. Bees and dogs can smell fear, apparently, but I think I sniffed some out of ‘ol Jannick on that one myself. “ohcrap I better shoot this soon”
Clearly, he went to the bench and gave himself a stern talking to, because on the next shift he gets a breakaway, and forces a deke to his backhand that Niemi was so far over on it hits him mid-pad. Couldn’t tell if he was going inside post or five-hole, whiiiich is never a good sign on a deke. This was followed immediately be a nasty move in front by Daniel Sedin (starts facing away from Niemi, gets the puck and does a neat pull to his forehand thingy) needing to raise the puck one foot to score, trying to flip it up, but being oddly unable to. And herreeee come the Hawks.
(He’s right on top of Niemi, but if I can hit the cross bar with the puck on the goal line, I’m thinkin’ a Sedin can too)
The most effective guys for Chicago were the secondary, more aggressive names, like Byfuglien, Bolland and oddly, Hjalmarsson (while Kane and Toews actually looked 21 and 22 years old, respectively). Which, of course, is scary for the Canucks – you didn’t put a game away with ample opportunities at home, and you’ve yet to see the best from your opponent’s stars.
Lastly on Byfuglien and Luongo – Clearly Big Buff (sounds like a childrens character) has the goalie’s number, but here’s what I don’t get. If I’m a referee, I know who Dustin Byfuglien is. You know that after every whistle he’s not getting bumped into the goalie; you know it’s intentional. If you don’t want to have some difficult calls later in the game or series (“should we count that or was it goalie interference?), don’t you protect the goalie early by calling a penalty and making it clear he’s to be left alone? This grinding, frustrating “oops, did I trip into the goalie?” “oops, did I stop a second late and get bumped onto the goalie?” should be insulting to the refs. You know those aren’t accidents, right? If you don’t police this, the teams have to, then you have 90 facewash scrums per game because nobody wants to sit five minutes of a playoff game.
Anyways, enough on that series. Sorry for the clear Vancouver bias – I really do like Chicago, I just want Vancouver to step up this year.
Congrats to the B’s on taking down the Flyers in Philly, but the loss of Krejci (broken wrist) hurts. Looks to be a fun coupla Conference finals shaping up!
I was poking around looking for clips of me on TV yesterday for a bit of a video resume, and found a couple of me at Islander camp (Islanders TV still had them on file). I’m just a tad jacked up in the second one, but if you care to hear me speak during my first NHL camp, herreeee ya go: