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Chi/Van, Round III: Luongo Is A Cat, But Not In A Good Way

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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.

Found this pic after I wrote the Luongo cat-parison. Made me so happy. MREOW!

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.

Credit where credit is due: If you're a pest, but also happen to weigh 230 and have capable hands, you'll probably have some success.

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:

Off Ice Interview

JUST Off The Ice Interview

Comments

22 Responses to “Chi/Van, Round III: Luongo Is A Cat, But Not In A Good Way”
  1. Nathan says:

    ” 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. ”

    That is something that all season I’ve been exasperated aboutall season, I watch the guys who should be ‘watched’ by refs, and they continually turn their eye. I’m talking about the Carcillos, Ruutus, Neils, Holmstroms, etc. who make a living making ‘accidents-on-purpose’ that are clear to anyone watching on tv or in the stands. These guys must be eagle-eyed, as they live to show up the refs. And maybe more importantly many of these type of guys create injury danger while doing so.

    (I love these coloured box/shape things on the right side of our comments, they’ve really interested me the past two days)

  2. jtbourne says:

    Haha, I’m interested that people are so interested in those. I figured, it’s not like anyone is really chuckin’ up gravatars (they may come up anyways, I dunno), but I was sick of the little silhoutted gray dude that’s usually there. This creates them using your email provider, or some nonsense like that.

  3. jtbourne says:

    Oh look gravatars do come up. What a bonus!

  4. Justin says:

    Byfuglien is actually more like 260. just a beast.

    I actually thought VAN was the far dirtier team last night, sticks and hands up high at all times. Chicago just played right through that (and a crappy 1st) and took the game over with those secondary guys you mentioned. I thought Hossa (who I can’t stand) and Sharp looked real solid too.

    Nice review of the B’s/Flyers game. ;)

  5. jtbourne says:

    Haha. I ran out of steam today.

  6. Nadeau says:

    GO HAWKS GO!!!! I just hate how the canuck fans plan a parade route after winning game 1 of the series… I guess I should be used to it by now though they have been doing that since 82′ OOOOOPS!!!

  7. Joe G. says:

    Byfuglien’s been a topic of conversation in Chicago for the past two seasons, due to his inconsistency, especially with his physical play. You can’t teach size and skill, and you’re either born with the “nasty” gene or your not, and Byfuglien lacks that nastiness on a consistent basis. He doesn’t have to be Cam Neely, but at least a John LeClair-type of game would be nice.

    It brings up a question to me. Do you tolerate the inconsistency during the regular season for performances like last night? You see what he did last night, and it’s like a tease, and all the “what ifs” start getting thrown around. If he doesn’t do it on a regular basis to this point, will some day the light bulb goes on and he gets it? I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head where that’s happened. These are the kind of players that drive me nuts, guys that waste talent.

    Not to get capologist on here, but the Hawks have a lot of decisions this offseason, so do they keep Byfuglien, or try to make a deal with someone who sees his potential that may never be realized?

  8. Mike P. says:

    wow..he said “got raped”? Too funny. I missed that

  9. jtbourne says:

    Joe G, great question.

    As you said, “you can’t teach size”, and when he chooses to play like last night, he’s a force every team out there would kill to have in playoffs. If I’m Chicago, YES I tolerate his inconsistency for this in playoffs. You have more than enough talent there to get a good seed from the regular season anyways, and as you may have noticed, the Toews and Kanes are easier to shut down in gritty hockey than your boy Moose there.

    Just my opinion, but I think Chicago needs him, Burrish, etc. No lightbulb will ever come on (as a former streaky/inconsistent player myself, a head case is a head case man. Take the good with the bad.)

  10. Irishska says:

    in answer to your question, I believe the Color Guy was Darryl Reaugh (sp?). “Razor” is the Color Guy for the Stars on Fox Sports SW. it wouldn’t surprise me to hear him say that, honestly.

  11. wychwood says:

    Gravatars totally work! I like the little randomised things as well, though.

    I’m grateful you listened to the guy who called you on the “rape” thing, even if you do think it was an over-reaction. It’s a word that gets tossed around so much it really trivialises the whole concept, which sucks. That kind of behaviour from you is one of the things that started me reading your blog regularly – you have female readers, and you act like you actually think they are equal human beings. That’s pretty damn rare, unfortunately. Between that and the homophobia in hockey stuff, I was really impressed.

    Big Buff – the Vancouver radio guys were like “oh yes, he is known as Big Daddy”. I was just boggling at that *g* – I mean, *where* is he known as Big Daddy? In Team 1040′s head or something? It would be hilarious if it were true, though. BIG DADDY.

  12. GBCK says:

    *Editors Note: pro player speaking

    Nathan, without Big Buff, Carcillos, Ruutus, Neils, Holmstroms, Avery’s, etc. there would be very few in-zone goals scored (like after a cycle as opposed to off the rush). Goalies are enormous these days and pads are even bigger. If a goalie is square, in position, and can see, there is literally nowhere to shoot. And I don’t mean like you look up and see net, then if you put it in the right spot he has to make a save, I mean you look up and see just goalie, where if you don’t move or pass your shot will hit him, even if he makes no move at all.

    A few weeks back Justin wrote that Duncan Keith even with his rocket shot would score 2% of his shots from the blue line if he wasn’t moving and there was no one in front of the net. I would bet my first born on the under on that 2%. On top of that, if a goalie ever lets one in in that situation, it’s a save that should be made and just wasn’t. I for one love the cat and mouse between a net front guy, the goalie, and the ref. Its like a little kid seeing just how far he can push his parents before he gets the spanking. Its definitely game within the game type stuff that adds to my enjoyment. Check out how big Bobby Lu is in this pic and where the puck is. He’s on his knees and his shoulders are just under the cross bar. Somebody’s going to need to take his sight line away or its never getting past him.

    http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Edmonton+Oilers+v+Vancouver+Canucks+DQyiQ0caGXol.jpg

  13. Joe G. says:

    Justin, I agree with that. If it allows me to see the team I cheer for carry a Cup around at the end of the season, why worry about his play in the regular season? I think it’s the things us fans struggle with as far as expectations go. The whole thing with you’re getting paid a ton of money to play the game a lot of us would give our left nuts to have as a profession, and you should earn it every night. That’s just not reality for every player.

  14. ms.conduct says:

    “And I don’t mean like you look up and see net, then if you put it in the right spot he has to make a save, I mean you look up and see just goalie”

    God that makes me wanna go strap the pads on and frustrate some shooters. If only I were 6’13″ like Bobby Lu.

  15. Nathan says:

    GBCK,

    I was just talking to referees not seeing them do the illegal accidentally-on-purpose things they do in front of the goalie, in the neutral zone, wherever. Like Mr. Bourne said, these guys have reputations for solid reasons, and when they get away with these things, they are showing up the refs, making them look stupid. They have reputations because they repeatedly do the same thing and it seems they rarely (or at least not nearly the right amount) get called on it.

    Regarding your first paragraph, yeah, of course it’s extremely hard to score on them from far out, and that’s the reason a net-front prescence is needed. Watch a fellow like Ryan Smyth, he’s one of the best, AND he has full respect for the goalie, just as he does the rest of the players out there. I’m not saying remove players who stand in front of goalies, I’m saying call players on fouls, especially those who base their game on it/do it with regularity.

  16. Char says:

    Crowding/screening/plonking your big butt in front of a goalie is certainly part of the game, and to be expected. But guys like Carcillo cross the line. They’re hacking, slashing and running the goalie. Not the same thing at all.

  17. Mike says:

    How bad does Chara feel after lobbing that sucker pass leading to Krejci’s injury? Oops.

  18. neil says:

    “don’t you protect the goalie early by calling a penalty and making it clear he’s to be left alone?”
    I agree Bourne, and once again, I am completely baffled by the decisions of the NHL refs. Cherry had a great compliation on CC tonight of 4-5 cases of goalie interference JUST from game 3 of the CHI-VAN series, none of which were called, and BFG gets his hatrick by shooting the puck on net and pushing the goalie three feet backwards. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Canucks deserved to win that game, and I’m not saying BFG isn’t going his job and doing it well. But something just doesn’t make sense there. You’ve got Samuelsson getting called for goalie interference for bumping into Quick when he’s over a foot out of his crease, but then the Hawks spend an entire series running one of the best goalies in the league and the guy has to have his head knocked off to get a call (BFG hasn’t taken a single goalie interference call all series). I’m not asking for a call for every one of the 5 cases Cherry showed, but how can you possibly justify not making a single one of those calls, and going 3 games in the series without calling goalie interference ONCE? I have a hard time believing the NHL refs are truly THAT incompetent, but I also have a hard time imagining that the refs have said “ok, Luongo sometimes dives and he yells at us a lot, so let’s put the whistles away and let the Hawks do whatever they want to him”. So I’m conflicted… what is the most likely explanation there?
    In my opinion, the reffing in the playoffs has been so f-cking awful that it is far more likely the refs are just shitty at their jobs. Game three in SJ-DET was an absolute debacle. The first period in Game 4 of the PIT-MON was similarly embarrassing for fans of the NHL.
    Personally, I think this stuff becomes more apparent simply because people are watching the games more often. I find the reffing in the NHL to be consistently bad throughout the regular season, and I’m not surprised in the least to see that it is still awful in the playoffs. It’s a little confusing, sure, but certainly not surprising.

  19. Richie says:

    Although I’d never advocate any kind of sexual violence, the expression “goalie got raped” has become common parlance for the guys I play with. It usually refers to me getting absolutely no help from the D, and is one of those things that suddenly makes everyone feel awkward and self-consious when there’s a new guy there and somebody says it…..

    As for seeing only goalie, I must not be doing it right since the above mentioned statement is when guys are all alone to pick spots which they usually do…….

  20. Frank Rekas(TheRatTrick.com) says:

    I’m die hard Hawk fan and was concerned after the first game, but since coach Q smartened up and put Big Buff in front of Louie, things have changed. Now Vancouver has lost their composure and could lead to losing the series.
    Luongo in my mind is overrated, and it’s beginning to show. Again
    Great article though. And yes, Buff is BIG!

  21. Meg Jarrell says:

    LOVE the videos of you from ’07 camp! But it was a little odd watching ads for recliners from Bob’s Furniture waiting for them to boot up. If that’s the best sponsor the Isles can attract, I think it’s time to leave The Island….

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