As I sit in the comfort of my own living room, watching drunken hooligans ransack downtown stores, I was finally able to relax myself enough to type this up. I, like most of you, truly believed this was THE year. A President’s Trophy, a Clarence Campbell Bowl, a franchise record for points in a season, a William M. Jennings Trophy, an Art Ross Trophy, and Hart, Selke, Vezina, and Adams Trophy nominations. The highest scoring team in the regular season. The highest scoring defensive corps in the regular season. Let’s not forget that home teams in Game 7s of the finals were 12-3, and the whole trend of Stanley Cup wins after hosting Olympics in Canada. But quite simply put, it was not meant to be.
The Vancouver Canucks will get a chance to scratch a 40 year itch if they can find a way to win game 6 in Boston tonight. The Stanley Cup is in the building, and for only the second time in franchise history, the Canucks have a chance to carry it home.
We’re now through four games of the Stanley Cup final and the Vancouver Canucks have scored precisely five goals on Bruins netminder Tim Thomas. Of those five goals, only four of them were meaningful (the late goal in game 3 was scored in garbage time). Everyone is blaming Luongo right now (and there is validity to that blame), but they are not going to win this series unless they can score more goals. So this begs the question: how do the Canucks solve Tim Thomas?
Late last night I received an email from my friend Darin. Darin is a die hard Canucks fan, about as die hard as you can get. He watches every game, analyzes every play. He loves the Canucks. But he also takes losing pretty hard. He last ranted this hard during the Chicago series last year. He was remarkably quiet during the first round this year, but after last night, he needed to rant.
With all the hoopla surrounding the Aaron Rome hit (and the subsequent suspension) on Nathan Horton, a few stories have been overshadowed. Everyone has had a chance to hash it out by now, so it’s time to move on to the big stories heading into game 4.
The NHL ruled on the Aaron Rome hit today, giving him a four game suspension. It’s the longest suspension in NHL Stanley Cup Final history and one of the longest in NHL playoff history. I was extremely surprised with the decision, because it lacks precedent. In my mind, it warranted a two game suspension.
I’m not sure if Alex Burrows has a widely used nickname yet, but I think we should call him “Big Goal Burrows”. Other players score more goals, but no other Canuck has as much flare for the dramatic, scoring big goals when his team needs it the most. His biggest goals are some of the biggest in franchise history!
Manny Malhotra was back on the ice practicing with the Canucks on Friday, doing line rushes with Victor Oreskovich and Jeff Tambellini. He has been cleared to play, so presumably he will play in game 2. We have seen this movie before of course, when Malhotra was cleared to play, but didn’t in game 1. But assuming that Malhotra doesn’t experience a setback between now and the pre-game skate, we will see him in the lineup for game 2.
The Stanley Cup freaking final is about to start and you’ve heard all the background stories by now, so I’m going to take a different approach to get you ready for the series. Enjoy five videos that will get you pumped up:
Great news from the Canucks today, as it was revealed that Manny Malhotra has been medically cleared to play hockey again. Media outlets aren’t saying when he’s going to play, but I will. He will play in game 1. I base this on the fact that Cody Hodgson is getting very few minutes on the 4th line right now, and the fact that Malhotra has been skating for weeks. He should be in decent game shape. So if he’s medically able to play (which he is), he’ll play.
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