As we told you yesterday, the Nashville Predators have complained about the Canucks famed ‘Green Men’ and the NHL has taken action to curtail some of their actions. Most notably they won’t be allowed to touch the glass next to the penalty box.
It was revealed during the second intermission of yesterday’s Canucks game on Hockey Night in Canada that the NHL has told the Green Men to knock off some of their antics beside the opposition penalty box. Apparently they’ve been told to not touch the glass. What’s worse is that Glenn Healy agrees with them!
We’re now two games into the Predators-Canucks series and it’s become clear that goal scoring will be at a premium. Both teams have combined to score 2 goals each in 8 periods of hockey. A series for the ages? Not likely… So where has all the goal scoring gone? Well, in game 1 it was the Nashville Predators who failed to show up and rode the coattails of Pekka Rinne to keep them in the game. In game 2, it was the Canucks’ turn to fail to show up through 60 minutes, putting up a pathetic 15 shots on goal. Meanwhile, Roberto Luongo stood on his head for 59 minutes, before letting in a stinker from behind the net.
One of the great things about this year’s Canucks has been the way the players have absorbed each other’s best qualities. Malhotra’s faceoff skill, Ballard’s hip checks, Sedin body positioning, and Bieksa’s tenacious yet positionally sound defence have been picked up by the entire team. The stud in the shared skills stable though is certainly Kesler’s sizzling every-inch-matters brand of intense puck pursuit. Even twinkle toed Mason Raymond has turned into a fore checking menace!
The biggest game the Canucks franchise has played since game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup finals did not disappoint on Tuesday night. It wasn’t easy, but the Canucks finally got their revenge over their arch rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. It took good goaltending from Roberto Luongo, a smart defensive corps and a gritty effort by their forwards to edge the Blackhawks, 2-1 in overtime.
I’ve been to two game sevens now. My record stands at .500, but both times, a flair for the dramatic has kept Canucks fans’ hearts pumping non-stop, clammy hands clenched, and knees and feet shaking uncontrollably. My first game seven was in 2004, when the Canucks played the Flames (the game where Matt Cooke scored shorthanded with five seconds left, only to have the Flames respond on the same PP in OT), but that will have to wait for another time. My second, was tonight.
For the first time in the Canucks-Blackhawks Trilogy, we will have a game 7. And it will happen in the most improbable way. As you must know by now, the Canucks have squandered a 3-0 series lead and now face elimination on Tuesday night.
Dear Hockey Gods, Please forgive me. Check that, please forgive us. By “us”, I of course mean Canuck Nation. As a whole, we mocked the Chicago Blackhawks when we were up 3 games to 0. We began to ask Theo Fleury to eat his words, after he predicted a first round exit. And of course, I wrote a blog urging fans to get their brooms ready. As sure as it seemed, we have clearly upset you (the hockey gods). It’s the only way to explain two blowout losses in games 4 and 5 and a crushing overtime defeat in game 6.
Frankly, I’m amazed at the amount of debate over which goalie should start in game 7 for the Canucks-Blackhawks series. Currently on the Team 1040 website, their poll shows 53% in favour of Luongo, 47% in favour of Schneider.
In advance of game 6 in Chicago, the Canucks must find some way to re-find their form, just as the Chicago Blackhawks did before game 4. Chicago was inspired by their fallen teammate, Brent Seabrook, and used it as a rallying point. Well then, Alain Vigneault, I have something for you. Check that, I have something for the bulletin board.