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Thursday, April 15, 2010

OT: NHL Playoff Thread

I estimate that only 10-12 Primates care about the NHL Playoffs, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: the NBA playoffs and Pavement’s discography.

Cabbage Posted: April 15, 2010 at 03:44 PM | 1758 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   301. Grunthos Posted: April 29, 2010 at 11:40 PM (#3518064)
Eh, this is good after the fact justification. How many years do they need learning losses?

Thus, the word "seems." I live in DC and pay attention to the Caps, but I'm hardly what you would call a fan. The fans will use that same line of thought to grasp at straws. From where I sit, I think it's simply what is most likely true for this particular squad. You don't have to play stupid when you're young, but the Caps (for all their talent) don't have a ton of maturity and are needing to learn the hard way. Some teams do take more than one year to get it knocked into their heads. Be glad yours isn't one of them.

Also, nitpick: I fail to see how the Hawks are significantly younger. They appear to have almost the same age distribution as Washington. And last year's Hawks would be properly compared to last year's Caps.
   302. Yardape Posted: April 29, 2010 at 11:51 PM (#3518071)
The Penguins are now guaranteed a spot in the finals since the rest of the teams are all mediocre at best. Well the Flyers would be good if Carter and Gagne weren't hurt.


Yeah, I don`t see this. Halak will probably come back to Earth somewhat, but then the Penguins aren`t nearly the offensive threat Washington is, so he probably doesn`t have to be as good. Montreal had a poor season overall, but when they managed to put Halak, Markov and Cammalleri on the ice together, the difference between them and Pittsburgh isn`t so great. The Penguins are definitely the favourites in the East now, but they needed overtime in Game 6 to get rid of Ottawa - and Montreal, Philly and Boston are about the same as Ottawa. Pittsburgh`s chances of reaching the final have to be less than 50%.

Just saw a replay of that no-goal... totally bogus call. You're right, Gaelan. Thing about the Habs is that for as long as I can remember, they've always gotten the breaks and the bounces. Just one of those things, I guess. I just shake my head. The hockey gods always smile upon them.


The funny thing is, on a Canadiens blog I read, the commenters were convinced that the refs were favouring the Caps, because the NHL wanted the Ovechkin-Crosby showdown (and Gary Bettman hates Canada).
   303. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: April 30, 2010 at 12:36 AM (#3518098)
Agreed with Moses' 285. The thing with goalies -- and I'm not sure whether this is backed up statistically -- is that outside of a very top few, most seem very dependent on their defense. The example I usually point to is Craig Anderson. For a couple years in Chicago he was pretty much an afterthought. Both he and Leighton got some time, but neither was really in a position to be evaluated properly, seeing that the defense at that time was an absolute joke (Alexander Karpotsev? Steve Poapst as a first or second unit guy?). So when Anderson was eventually dealt (or claimed off waivers), not much was thought of it.

Regarding the Huet signing, I think the worst thing about it was that they knew that they had a load of young players who -- before Huet's contract ended -- were going to need new contracts. To pay that much for a non-elite goalie was -- IMO -- pretty reckless.
   304. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 30, 2010 at 12:43 AM (#3518101)
Goalies in the NHL are a lot like running backs in the NFL. At lower levels, starting from college and more and more as you move further down, they exert tremendous influence over the game. At the highest level, though, virtually everyone good enough to play in the league is good enough to put up average-plus numbers if given average-plus teammates (offensive line), and other than a very few (two or three) super-elite, they're more or less fungible.

Case in point: Marc-Andre Fleury. He is an average-to-below goaltender, interchangeable with forty other guys. He's paid like a superstar, and in the end the Penguins will likely lose Evgeni Malkin because of it.

On another subject, the Penguins are now favorites in the East, but still no better than 35% or 40% to win it. The talent gap is just not that large.
   305. Papa Squid Posted: April 30, 2010 at 01:03 AM (#3518106)
The funny thing is, on a Canadiens blog I read, the commenters were convinced that the refs were favouring the Caps, because the NHL wanted the Ovechkin-Crosby showdown (and Gary Bettman hates Canada).


No doubt. If the positions were reversed -- Montreal trailing 1-0, score an apparent equalizer that is called back on a call like that -- it would be a HUGE, HUGE story, like the Sedin goal last week that was called back. The conspiracy nuts would have a field day. But, because it went Montreal's way, not much of a whisper. I suppose that's a testament to Washington fans and media taking the upset fairly well?
   306. Yardape Posted: April 30, 2010 at 01:21 AM (#3518107)
Goalies in the NHL are a lot like running backs in the NFL. At lower levels, starting from college and more and more as you move further down, they exert tremendous influence over the game. At the highest level, though, virtually everyone good enough to play in the league is good enough to put up average-plus numbers if given average-plus teammates (offensive line), and other than a very few (two or three) super-elite, they're more or less fungible.


I agree with this, though I`m a late convert to this way of thinking. A goalie is the most important player on the team; it`s just hard to predict which goalie is going to be the best next year. Outside of a top two or three, as you say. Luongo, at least prior to this season, had consistently been very good. Vokoun, too. But beyond that, there`s a lot of fluctuation.
As a Montreal fan, the only downside to beating the Caps is that it might lead the team to give Halak a huge contract. Now, I like Halak, and I want to keep him, but the diffference between Halak and Carey Price isn`t that great, so they shouldn`t spend too much money on one over the other.
   307. Kurt Posted: April 30, 2010 at 01:23 AM (#3518109)
I suppose that's a testament to Washington fans and media taking the upset fairly well?

I suppose it depends on how you define "taking it well". Based on online chats the last few days, nobody around here seems to be in any mood to make excuses, blame the refs or play the "learning esperience" card mentioned in 301. More like get rid of Semin and Green, fire Boudreau, etc. I wonder if the Caps bubble has burst a bit, and whether we might not see quite so many people turning out for the Minnesota Wild in December the way this year went. Especially after Strasburg goes 12-1 and the Nationals win 90 games this year.
   308. scotto Posted: April 30, 2010 at 01:33 AM (#3518114)
Wow, San Jose is putting an early hurt on the Wings.
   309. scotto Posted: April 30, 2010 at 01:35 AM (#3518116)
A goalie is the most important player on the team; it`s just hard to predict which goalie is going to be the best next year. Outside of a top two or three, as you say.

See also Thomas, Tim.
   310. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: April 30, 2010 at 01:41 AM (#3518120)
Wow, San Jose is putting an early hurt on the Wings.

I laugh, picturing my father sitting in his living room trying not to call me complaining that they are screwed now that they got a three goal lead. Then Cleary scores, and another puck almost squirts into the net. Maybe now I should call to be sure he isn't dead.
   311. scotto Posted: April 30, 2010 at 01:56 AM (#3518131)
I regretted that post about 1:30 after I made it.
   312. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: April 30, 2010 at 02:22 AM (#3518142)
Turns out he's at the game so he only tried to brave the elements and call me to talk over the noise in the arena at 3-2.

Terribly predictable play, however. Since 3-0 they have been killing a penalty the entire time, even when they have 5 skaters. So old, it is.
   313. JL Posted: April 30, 2010 at 01:03 PM (#3518302)
Terribly predictable play, however. Since 3-0 they have been killing a penalty the entire time, even when they have 5 skaters. So old, it is.

Funny game. I missed the SJ three goal tsunami, but the rest was clearly a Wings game. The worst part was the penalty called to give SJ a 5-3. I am not a big fan of the current trend of calling a diving penalty on an actual infraction, but that one sure seemed to fit the bill. Of course, the better decision for the Wings would have been to keep the stick down and away from the face, so no use crying over it.

Howard is worrying me a bit. I thought he was very good this season with a chance to have some great seasons over his career. He has not played that way so far in the playoffs. I hope it is just rookie nerves, but I am concerned.
   314. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: April 30, 2010 at 10:14 PM (#3519076)
The dive by Setoguchi to get that 5-on-3 was shameful. Man, I hate diving so much. I just posted this in the comments of the Sharks blog on the Murky News web site, so let no one say I am biased in my views on the matter:

I don’t think there are any teams left that don’t have players who dive. It’s the worst part of this game, by far, and I dislike anyone who consistently does it, Shark or not. And Setoguchi is a joke. Some embellishments have crept into Thornton’s and Marleau’s games as well, but Setoguchi is the worst on the team and I wish him to be off of it as soon as possible if he is going to keep it up. If he really doesn’t have that rep in the league like he thinks it’s because he’s not a good enough player for anyone to notice.

I disagree that hitting the ice was a natural thing on that play last night, and I still could never see that he definitively got the stick in the face. He may well have, but I think it may have just been high on his chest.
   315. scotto Posted: April 30, 2010 at 11:29 PM (#3519133)
Scratch that comment.
   316. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 02, 2010 at 11:21 PM (#3520412)
It felt like two-thirds of today's game was played in the Canadiens' end, yet the Canadiens were never even really in trouble. Dominating defensive performance, and converted a couple of Penguins mistakes into goals.

On one hand, it sure seems like the Penguins are soundly outplaying the Canadiens, but on the other, man, I don't know how in the hell they're going to crack that defense. They did it with four power play goals in game 1, but that probably won't be happening again, and Fleury's as bad as ever.

It seems like every year there's one low seed that plays great defense, gets great goaltending, upsets a couple of high seeds and then runs out of gas and gets crushed in either the conference finals or the Cup finals. 2009 Hurricanes, 2008 Flyers, 2007 Senators, etc. It looks like the 2010 Canadiens may be that team. The Penguins are better, but I won't be shocked if the Canadiens drop them in six and then get destroyed in the conference finals by the Bruins/Flyers.
   317. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 02, 2010 at 11:21 PM (#3520413)
Double post.
   318. Langer Monk Posted: May 03, 2010 at 12:57 AM (#3520476)
It looks like the 2010 Canadiens may be that team. The Penguins are better, but I won't be shocked if the Canadiens drop them in six and then get destroyed in the conference finals by the Bruins/Flyers.


At this point, I wouldn't be shocked if they get to the Cup Finals only to be torn apart by the Western opponent. I think after an expected long series between Boston and Philly, the winner may not have the gas to deal with this defensive performance.

Of course, it wouldn't be the NHL playoffs if we could predict any part of it.
   319. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 03, 2010 at 01:46 AM (#3520540)
The Penguins also have, in addition to shaky goaltending, the problem that if Matt Cooke is your best winger, that means Matt Cooke is your best winger.
   320. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 03, 2010 at 02:28 PM (#3520819)
The Blackhawks defense on Saturday was a total joke. Sure, Niemi probably could have made another save or so, but he was constantly put in bad spots and the Canucks had way too many chances in close. On the other end, I'm not going to denigrate a 36 save performance, but I don't think Luongo was *that* good. He gave a ton of juicy rebounds and the Hawks just kept missing. Some credit for that goes to the Canucks' D, but the Hawks still had plenty of chances and failed to capitalize. Kane whiffing on the open net early kinda set the tone.

I haven't read any of the stories since then, but I'm guessing we'll see some more line juggling. And I bet there's a couple of people calling for Huet, but I don't even think that's crossed Q's mind.
   321. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 03, 2010 at 03:05 PM (#3520853)
I wouldn't be feeling too terrible about things if I were a Blackhawks fan. All the bounces went the Canucks' way, the game kind of got away from the Blackhawks; it happens. Look what happened to the Canadiens in game 1 a few days ago--and they came right back and shut the Penguins down in game 2.

Plus, they're playing Roberto Luongo and the Canucks in the playoffs. That's, to put it mildly, a reason to be optimistic. And the winner will very likely get the Sharks in the conference finals.

I still expect the Blackhawks to play for the Cup.
   322. JL Posted: May 03, 2010 at 08:08 PM (#3521211)
Howard is worrying me a bit. I thought he was very good this season with a chance to have some great seasons over his career. He has not played that way so far in the playoffs. I hope it is just rookie nerves, but I am concerned.

Howard is no longer my concern, it is the rest of the team. Some really bad play (with a sprinkle of bad luck mixed in) and the Sharks playing well. I really don't like what I have seen in these last two games.

On one hand, it sure seems like the Penguins are soundly outplaying the Canadiens, but on the other, man, I don't know how in the hell they're going to crack that defense. They did it with four power play goals in game 1, but that probably won't be happening again, and Fleury's as bad as ever.

I swear I was watching a Caps/Habs game yesterday. The exact same thing happened then. Here it was the Pens controlling the puck but never really getting much of a scoring chance.
   323. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: May 03, 2010 at 08:19 PM (#3521218)
Plus, they're playing Roberto Luongo and the Canucks in the playoffs. That's, to put it mildly, a reason to be optimistic. And the winner will very likely get the Sharks in the conference finals.

I still expect the Blackhawks to play for the Cup.


I agree with this, although I wouldn't go so far as agreeing with your last sentence*. I was pretty annoyed with the announcers saying midway through the second that the Hawks were getting "dominated". If anything, the Hawks outplayed Vancouver in the first and were extremely unlucky to go into the first intermission down 2-0. Vancouver's first goal was completely innocuous -- that shot easily could have been blocked by Sharp. Instead it gets through and beats Niemi. The second goal seemed to do the Hawks in -- give up a goal right before intermission, and from then on the Hawks just didn't have it.

*I thought this series was a coinflip going in, so Vancouver taking the first game tips the scales a bit.
   324. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 04, 2010 at 04:58 AM (#3521775)
Feeling better now, Blackhawks fans?

If you put a gun to my head now, I would predict the Blackhawks to beat the Bruins for the Stanley Cup. Man, that would be an interesting Finals.

Finals matchups I'd like to see:

1. Blackhawks v. Penguins
2. Canadiens v. Canucks
3. Blackhawks v. Bruins

Finals matchups I do not want to see:
1. Anything involving the Flyers
   325. Yardape Posted: May 04, 2010 at 05:33 AM (#3521781)
It seems like every year there's one low seed that plays great defense, gets great goaltending, upsets a couple of high seeds and then runs out of gas and gets crushed in either the conference finals or the Cup finals. 2009 Hurricanes, 2008 Flyers, 2007 Senators, etc.


Ottawa may have got destroyed in the Finals, but I don't think they fit here. The 2007 Senators were a 5 seed with 105 points - 8 behind conference-leading Buffalo.

The Penguins are better, but I won't be shocked if the Canadiens drop them in six and then get destroyed in the conference finals by the Bruins/Flyers.


I think this is underselling the Canadiens. As Puck Prospectus keeps noting, they've been one of the better teams in the East since Christmas. The Flyers had the same number of points as the Canadiens. The Bruins had just three more. Any one of those three teams reaching the Cup Finals would seem to fit the underdog/longshot criteria. And I suspect no matter who wins the East, they'll get ripped up by the Western team. To my mind, the Sharks, Hawks, Canucks and Red Wings are the four best teams left.
   326. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 04, 2010 at 02:34 PM (#3521951)
Feeling better now, Blackhawks fans?

Definitely. I wasn't one of the people looking for a ledge to jump from though. I will admit to thinking "Oh ####, here we go again" early on. And for most of the 2nd period it sure felt like they were going to break through at any second. The Hawks came out a little flat for the 3rd, after dominating the last bit of the 2nd, but they thankfully righted themselves. I was actually more impressed with Luongo's play last night than in game 1 - fewer big rebounds and a number of really tough saves - but he got beat too many times, and like I said after game 1, the Hawks were bound to capitalize if given that many chances again.

What is it about this Hawks team where they look better offensively shorthanded than with the extra man? It's not just last night, this was a recurring theme all year. They very nearly had a 2nd straight SH goal, and had a good chance after Luongo stuffed Sharp on the breakaway. As I was one of the few who didn't think Niemi struggled that badly in game 1, I was glad to see him rebound nicely. I can't hold that 5 on 3 against him.
   327. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: May 04, 2010 at 02:45 PM (#3521964)
The Blackhawks played with a sense of urgency last night - I haven't seen them fight that hard for the puck on a consistent basis in a long time. One hopes that they can bring that with them into Vancouver - they need to win at least one there, and they won't have the crowd on their side.
   328. scotto Posted: May 04, 2010 at 02:52 PM (#3521976)
Those were two very good hockey games last night. I wish that the NHL went right to playoff mode instead of having a sleepwalk season.
   329. JL Posted: May 05, 2010 at 01:13 PM (#3522980)
Howard is no longer my concern, it is the rest of the team. Some really bad play (with a sprinkle of bad luck mixed in) and the Sharks playing well. I really don't like what I have seen in these last two games.

So Howard is back to a concern. He has allowed to many questionable goals. The game should have never made it to overtime. Plus, the guys in front of him seem a bit sluggish. They are not playing poorly, just not as hard as they need to. I wonder if that push to get to the five seed in the West is finally catching up to them.
   330. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 05, 2010 at 04:09 PM (#3523212)
I meant to respond to this earlier, so here goes:

Also, nitpick: I fail to see how the Hawks are significantly younger. They appear to have almost the same age distribution as Washington. And last year's Hawks would be properly compared to last year's Caps.

Here's the Caps ages you posted:

Semin 25 (yes, I know he just turned 26... sticking with HRef season ages here)
Ovechkin 24
Green 24
Schultz 23
Backstrom 22
Varlamov/Neuvirth 21
Alzner 21
Carlson 20


Hawks:
Keith 26
Seabrook 25
Brouwer 24
Ladd 24
Bolland 23
Versteeg 23
Toews 22
Hjalmarsson 22
Kane 21

Mix in guys like Hossa (31) and Sharp (28). Maybe not all of those guys are part of the core (Ladd or Brouwer or even both will most likely be a salary casualty this offseason). I guess when I said younger, I'm really thinking Toews/Kane and yeah, you're right it's pretty rare to have guys that young play as mature and composed and as well as they have. I think just about any team would be lucky to have either core, but at this point I'm glad I'm rooting for the Hawks version.

---

As for tonight, the Hawks really need to get off to a good start. They did in game, but didn't get the bounces. I'm hoping for a split up there, and I think it'll be easier on me if they win game 3 vs game 4. I don't want to see the same pattern we saw in the Nashville series or even last year's Canucks series (both went dead in games 1 and 3, squeak out a win in game 4). I think Toews got outplayed in game 2, and he took a lot of criticism early in the Preds series, but finished strong. Hossa's goal scoring is off so far, but he's been doing so much else it's hard to be too critical of him. I don't think Seabrook will ever have as good of a game as he did in game 2 (+4, 1 G, 2 A on the tying and go ahead goals). I'm curious to see what the play is for the 6th defenseman tonight - they played alternating with 5 and moving Buff back and forth from offense; it'd be nice if someone in the Chicago media would get something out of the team for what happened to Johnnson.
   331. John DiFool2 Posted: May 05, 2010 at 04:16 PM (#3523222)
The Red Wings are committing so many bonehead moves (crap line changes, turnovers, horribly bad penalties, pinches which backfire, badly) that any comparison to their 2 title-winning teams is purely coincidental. The 2002 team in particular was the most fundamentally sound hockey team I've ever seen. This one isn't.
   332. JL Posted: May 05, 2010 at 10:38 PM (#3523829)
The Red Wings are committing so many bonehead moves (crap line changes, turnovers, horribly bad penalties, pinches which backfire, badly) that any comparison to their 2 title-winning teams is purely coincidental. The 2002 team in particular was the most fundamentally sound hockey team I've ever seen. This one isn't.

I agree. They have been very sloppy far too many times.

The management warned in the beginning of the year that this was a rebuilding year. I think I lost sight of that in the injuries and the rush at the end of the year. I hope they are right and the team fixes itself.
   333. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: May 06, 2010 at 05:03 AM (#3524178)
I have to say that I was disappointed that games one and two didn't have a lot of chippiness, but boy did game three make up for it. Byfuglien taunting the crowd after his second goal was wonderfully hilarious. Also nice to see Burrows finally get sent off for all of his post-whistle antics.
   334. zack Posted: May 06, 2010 at 01:35 PM (#3524297)
I've been impressed with Hossa (who I seriously disliked) in the playoffs. He doesn't have much to show for it, but he's working harder than pretty much everyone else out there and getting pucks that he has no business getting.

And I have the exact opposite view of #333, I'm already not looking forward to how chippy the rest of the series is. Give me 60 minutes of hockey, not 60 minutes of hockey and 20 minutes of bullshit posturing wasting my time. If I were commissioner, every time you touch someone after a whistle, you're sitting a game.
   335. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 06, 2010 at 01:40 PM (#3524301)
Now that was a fun game. Niemi absolutely stood on his head that first period. It almost was a replica of game 1's first period, but with the Hawks and Canucks switching places. I'm shocked the shot total was so close - it sure felt like Niemi had to stop twice as many as Luongo. The 2nd goal Niemi allowed was pretty weak - even though it was an odd man rush, the puck was shot right at him and went under his arm. But Toews and Hossa were absolutely outstanding and the forecheck was unbelievable all game. As Keith said, I really enjoyed Byfuglien's celebration, but know how much that would piss me off if I was a Canucks fan.

Speaking of Canucks fan, stop booing and throwing crap on the ice. We're going to have to see a diving penalty soon, it looked like the Canucks were playing soccer last night. I can understand them being upset about goalie interference on the 5th goal, but Luongo comes so far out of the net it's impossible to avoid bumping him (not that anyone on the Hawks is trying to).

I do think both teams got away with a bunch of after the whistle stuff, and I'm ok with it it they keep letting it go. Then again, I don't know how Shane O'Brien didn't spend half the game in the box. And Burrows is a ####### punk.
   336. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 06, 2010 at 01:42 PM (#3524302)
I've been impressed with Hossa (who I seriously disliked) in the playoffs. He doesn't have much to show for it, but he's working harder than pretty much everyone else out there and getting pucks that he has no business getting.

Agreed, I'm glad he got that goal last night. That shift he was running around hitting guys and diving after losing his helmet was beautiful.
   337. JL Posted: May 06, 2010 at 05:28 PM (#3524626)
I've been impressed with Hossa (who I seriously disliked) in the playoffs. He doesn't have much to show for it, but he's working harder than pretty much everyone else out there and getting pucks that he has no business getting.

I agree. I have been impressed with how hard he works where ever he has been. Even though he did not always have the results, I always thought he worked hard while at Detroit and Pittsburgh. I actually like the guy.
   338. Cabbage Posted: May 06, 2010 at 06:03 PM (#3524690)
The Return of Buffy the Luongo Slayer!

Thoughts:
- Niemi played very well, but probably would have given up a goal or two if the Nucks had ever managed to elevate the puck
- The Nucks are NOT dead. They did an excellent job maintaining possession and creating chances -- the defense and goaltending just sucked.
- Mixed thoughts on that last goal. Buff and Kane might have been pushed a bit, but Buff didn't seem like he was going to slow down. Luongo was pretty far out, and the puck was in there first. Lou might have been trying to dive a bit. All in all, just sour grapes. Glad to see Buff get the hat trick.
- Trash on the ice is highly uncool, and I am not sympathetic at all.
- Nucks played some dirty hockey in the third. Someone, I think O'Brien, raked his stick across Buff's face, and Daniel's cheap shot on Bolland was mighty lame that late in the game.
- Hossa's played like this most of the series, and its gone unnoticed. Really impressive stuff.

A fun game, but Vancouver is still very dangerous. Unless they're truly rattled, this will be a long series.
   339. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: May 06, 2010 at 06:51 PM (#3524724)
A fun game, but Vancouver is still very dangerous. Unless they're truly rattled, this will be a long series.

I agree with this. I'm not one for sports radio, but I listened to a bit of the post-game on WGN as well as some coverage on NHL Network this morning, and on both shows the host essentially said that Vancouver -- while maybe taking one more game -- was done. As Moses alluded to, the Hawks could have been down big after the first period if not for a big period by Niemi and some luck. I like the Hawks' chances at this point from a simple probability perspective -- they've just gotta split two of four -- but the series is far from over.
   340. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: May 06, 2010 at 07:30 PM (#3524749)
I listened to a bit of the post-game on WGN as well as some coverage on NHL Network this morning, and on both shows the host essentially said that Vancouver -- while maybe taking one more game -- was done.

The Chicago sports media has been pretty schizophrenic when it comes to the Blackhawks this year. Three days ago, it was the Blackhawks who were done - after all, they barely beat the lowly Predators, and they got pounded by the Canucks in Game 1. Now they're going all the way.

The NHL playoffs are long and grueling (to win the Cup, you have to play at least 16, and as many as 28 games), and while it's hard to maintain perspective, that's what you've got to do if you're going to maintain sanity. One game is just one game.
   341. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: May 06, 2010 at 08:16 PM (#3524788)
Speaking of Canucks fan, stop booing and throwing crap on the ice. We're going to have to see a diving penalty soon, it looked like the Canucks were playing soccer last night. I can understand them being upset about goalie interference on the 5th goal, but Luongo comes so far out of the net it's impossible to avoid bumping him (not that anyone on the Hawks is trying to).

From Gillis (cries tampering over anything, schedule whining) down to the players (Burrows-Auger, Kesler, Luongo whenver there's traffic) to the media (East Coast bias always out to get them) to the fans (all of the above, plus pointing lasers in goalie's eyes), Vancouver is the whiniest organization in the league, and I sure hope the Hawks can get it done.

The official website had to post a warning in the forums today to stop using racial slurs against Byufligen.
   342. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 06, 2010 at 08:28 PM (#3524803)
A fun game, but Vancouver is still very dangerous. Unless they're truly rattled, this will be a long series.

I think this goes without saying. But Dewey has a good point. The media has been so hot and cold. When I ran out to lunch, I heard Barry Rozner on The Danny Mac show and he said the series was over because Luongo was totally ###### in the head (well, he said he was shitting his pants, but same difference).
   343. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: May 06, 2010 at 08:38 PM (#3524811)
When I ran out to lunch, I heard Barry Rozner on The Danny Mac show and he said the series was over because Luongo was totally ###### in the head (well, he said he was shitting his pants, but same difference).

The media in Chicago continually makes me laugh. Most of them essentially ignored the Hawks for about a decade, but now that they're good again, every writer and radio host thinks they know what they're talking about w/r/t hockey. "If the Hawks just played with more 'heart' every night, they wouldn't lose a game!" "Burish and Eager's return to the lineup was the reason the Hawks have won the last two." I know it's pretty much their job (particularly the radio guys) to spew whatever comes to mind (even if it doesn't -- in most cases -- make a lick of sense), but it's nonetheless rather comical.
   344. Shredder Posted: May 06, 2010 at 09:17 PM (#3524838)
Vancouver is the whiniest organization in the league, and I sure hope the Hawks can get it done.
This is why I want Vancouver to lose in the most soul-crushing way imaginable. Something like a game seven that goes into overtime where Vancouver has a series winning goal disallowed, then Chicago scores on a clear kick-in, or high stick, or on a power play after an awfu call. I want something to happen that will make every Canuck fan's head literally, and I mean literally, explode. F*** those bunch of crybabies. The "Referees Suck" chant that they had going last night was music to my ears.
   345. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 07, 2010 at 06:43 PM (#3525695)
I like to think I'm not someone who tends to over-analyze player's quote. And I don't really care that much about guys running their mouths. But this quote:

"Chicago's not a better team than us, they're not playing better than us"
---Roberto Luongo


sure is either mistimed or just dumb.
   346. JL Posted: May 07, 2010 at 06:52 PM (#3525704)
sure is either mistimed or just dumb.

I always interpret these types of quotes as the player (Luongo) trying to convince himself and/or his teammates that they can win. It may be silly to say, or be quoted on it, but I don't take it at face value.
   347. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 07, 2010 at 06:57 PM (#3525707)
Sure, neither do I. If the Blackhawks need that type of motivation, they're not winning the series. If it helps him, great. If he needs to say it for his own sake, that's not good for him.
   348. Random Transaction Generator Posted: May 07, 2010 at 07:03 PM (#3525720)
Which performance was more demoralizing for Nabokov?

- last night's demolition by Detroit
- Team Canada destroying him in the Olympic quarterfinals
   349. JL Posted: May 07, 2010 at 09:37 PM (#3525869)
Which performance was more demoralizing for Nabokov?

- last night's demolition by Detroit
- Team Canada destroying him in the Olympic quarterfinals


Allowing 5 goals on 9 shots is pretty ugly. Unfortunately, I am sure he (and the Sharks) will bounce back.
   350. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 07, 2010 at 09:39 PM (#3525872)
Bounce back is a relative term. Win this series? Yes. Win the next series (regardless of the opponent)? Meh, we'll see.
   351. thread killer Posted: May 07, 2010 at 09:51 PM (#3525884)
I am not ready to sound the alarm yet but if the Sharks lose Game #5 and head back to Detroit then I would not feel confident of a Game #7 win in SJ.
   352. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: May 07, 2010 at 10:07 PM (#3525898)
tonight should be interesting, if im the hawks i want no part of fighting or any cheap shots if i can help it, let vancouver spend time in the box
   353. JL Posted: May 08, 2010 at 02:38 PM (#3526573)
tonight should be interesting, if im the hawks i want no part of fighting or any cheap shots if i can help it, let vancouver spend time in the box

I only saw pieces of the game, but the Hawks appeared to play well. Four goals is a bit much to give up, but I think they and their fans have to be pleased with the game and effort.
   354. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: May 08, 2010 at 04:30 PM (#3526639)
The Vancouver Canucks last night- woof. I haven't seen a team completely implode like that in a long time. Dumb penalty after dumb penalty, Canuck players trying to needlessly pick fights (like Sedin's crosscheck of Versteeg that led to a PP goal for the Hawks), etc. They became completely undisciplined. I don't like to use cliches like these, but the Hawks are definitely under the Canucks' skin.

Then after the game Alain Vigneault basically throws his team under the bus, saying they don't deserve to advance. I mean, that might be true, but it's still probably not something you should be talking to the press about.

I may have mentioned this earlier, but the refs need to start swallowing their whistles. Salo's "interference" of Ladd last night was just a solid defensive play. They've been calling really weak hooking penalties too.
   355. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 08, 2010 at 05:12 PM (#3526662)
I only saw pieces of the game, but the Hawks appeared to play well. Four goals is a bit much to give up, but I think they and their fans have to be pleased with the game and effort.

Indeed. I still am not completely sure how the first goal went it, but Niemi didn't play well. He was better than Luongo, but then again, so was I last night. The PP hasn't looked good in a long time, and it looked unstoppable last night.

The Vancouver Canucks last night- woof. I haven't seen a team completely implode like that in a long time. Dumb penalty after dumb penalty, Canuck players trying to needlessly pick fights (like Sedin's crosscheck of Versteeg that led to a PP goal for the Hawks), etc. They became completely undisciplined. I don't like to use cliches like these, but the Hawks are definitely under the Canucks' skin.

And they still got away with a bunch of #### on Byfuglien. An early high stick, Luongo tripping him, and several other cross checks. Like you said, the Canucks have lost this series mentally. They're spending all their time trying to punish Buff and forgetting to play defense on anyone else. They're scoring plenty of goals to be winning, but they can't stay out of the box and they can't stop the PP.

I may have mentioned this earlier, but the refs need to start swallowing their whistles. Salo's "interference" of Ladd last night was just a solid defensive play. They've been calling really weak hooking penalties too.

I agree on that call (and I think there was a weak holding call on Hossa too), but like I said above, they're still letting a lot of #### go. The Canucks earned every other penalty and plenty more. I'm tired of the Canucks fans ######## about the officiating, as if that's the reason they're getting their asses handed to them. The Canucks planned to play dirty, told every they were gonna play dirty, and they got caught playing dirty. I am amused there were no goalie interference calls; though it wasn't close to happening on any of the goals for either team.
   356. zack Posted: May 08, 2010 at 07:16 PM (#3526756)
That was the most bush league game I have ever seen.
   357. nick swisher hygiene Posted: May 08, 2010 at 07:25 PM (#3526766)
refs were an absolute joke in Montreal-Pittsburgh game 4, too; when Don Cherry is siding with the Habs, you know things have gotten pretty embarrassing....
   358. Gaelan Posted: May 08, 2010 at 07:54 PM (#3526796)
I agree on that call (and I think there was a weak holding call on Hossa too), but like I said above, they're still letting a lot of #### go. The Canucks earned every other penalty and plenty more. I'm tired of the Canucks fans ######## about the officiating, as if that's the reason they're getting their asses handed to them. The Canucks planned to play dirty, told every they were gonna play dirty, and they got caught playing dirty. I am amused there were no goalie interference calls; though it wasn't close to happening on any of the goals for either team.


This is an embarrasing post. The Canucks are getting raped by the officials.
   359. Papa Squid Posted: May 08, 2010 at 07:58 PM (#3526811)
I'm tired of the Canucks fans ########


That's what Canucks fans do. It's in their nature. They complain about everything. Travel is unfair. Officiating is unfair. Media coverage is unfair. In the immortal words of Owen Nolan, "Boo hoo!"

This is a fanbase that rioted after losing Game 7 of the 1994 Cup Finals.

This is a fanbase that will mock Leafs fans by saying "Plan the parade!" after a Leafs regular season victory and then turn around and ACTUALLY plan a parade after winning a first-round playoff series.

The Canucks have never won a ####### thing. And I hope it stays that way.
   360. nick swisher hygiene Posted: May 08, 2010 at 08:05 PM (#3526822)
it's weird to me how hated the 'Nucks are. not contempt, but hated. most hated unsuccessful team in pro sports?
   361. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: May 08, 2010 at 08:12 PM (#3526828)
Bounce back is a relative term. Win this series? Yes. Win the next series (regardless of the opponent)? Meh, we'll see.

If the Sharks win this series and lose the next one it will have absolutely nothing to do with any leftover psychological problems preventing them from bouncing back after losing 7-1 in Game 4. If that sort of thing was a problem for any team, let alone the fragile Sharks, they wouldn't be where they are now after scoring on themselves to lose in OT against Colorado to go down 2-1 in that series.
   362. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 09, 2010 at 01:24 AM (#3527120)
This is an embarrasing post. The Canucks are getting raped by the officials.

Thanks for the input and the counterpoints. Did Daniel not earn his 2 penalties? Did SOB not earn his? Burrows? Raymond hook was blatant. So was Alberts (although Kane did grab Alberts stick first). Do you not think that the Nucks got away with anything?

Are the fans not constantly booing? How many Ref sucks chants did we hear the last 2 games? Did they not throw crap on the ice both games?

Did you see any of the quotes from the Canucks after game 3? Did you not see them target Buff all night? Millbury had it right - if you're gonna hit him, might as well try to hurt him. Otherwise, you're just giving the Hawks PP. Besides, I didn't say they're perfect, I said they should make more calls.

So please, tell me what was embarrassing about this post.
   363.   Posted: May 09, 2010 at 02:06 AM (#3527148)
Did Daniel not earn his 2 penalties?


Not really, no.
   364. Random Transaction Generator Posted: May 09, 2010 at 02:14 AM (#3527151)
it's weird to me how hated the 'Nucks are. not contempt, but hated. most hated unsuccessful team in pro sports?

I'm guessing you aren't Canadian.
There is no team that is hated more that succeeds less than the Toronto Maple Leafs.
None. Anywhere. In any sport.

A team this pathetic would usually get some sympathy from fans of other teams. Like how people respond to the Pirates or Clippers or Lions.

Not the Leafs. Their failure for the past 40+ years brings nothing but joy to all other fans in Canada.
When the Leafs are even briefly successful (1992-93, 1993-94, 1998-99, 2001-02), fans of other Canadian teams scream bloody murder (about favourtism, usually).
   365. nick swisher hygiene Posted: May 09, 2010 at 02:25 AM (#3527154)
naah, grew up in Canada--at this stage I just feel contempt for the Leafs (and "this stage" started in the 90s). but it's true I haven't lived there in a while, so I'll defer to your judgment....
   366. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: May 09, 2010 at 02:42 AM (#3527161)
Not really, no.

So pushing Seabrook into his own net from behind when the puck isn't anywhere close is not a penalty? And it's about time one of the Sedins got penalized on their post-whistle antics. It was hilarious that he broke his stick cross-checking Versteeg, and then held his broken stick up as some type of defense.
   367.   Posted: May 09, 2010 at 02:57 AM (#3527169)
The first penalty was borderline; the puck wasn't there, but Seabrook sold it hard. The second penalty ridiculous. A little shove with the stick that happens hundreds of times in a typical game.

Anyway, this has been an insanely frustrating series but it's been their inability to kill penalties that has killed them. By far the lowest PK% in the playoffs.
   368. Papa Squid Posted: May 09, 2010 at 05:40 AM (#3527222)
There is no team that is hated more that succeeds less than the Toronto Maple Leafs.


This is true. The Leafs and their fans take enormous amount of crap from non-Leafs fans. Vancouver, especially, is galling. With one more loss to Chicago, their streak will hit 40 years. And yet, if you're a Leafs fan in Vancouver, they will shower 1967 on you. At least, there are Leafs fans that exist that have seen the Leafs win the Cup not once, but multiple times. They're pretty old now, but they exist. No Canucks fan has ever seen their team win the Stanley Cup. 1967 is sooner than never.

Leafs fans are mocked for celebrating first-round playoff victories. But fans of all Canadian teams celebrate playoff wins. What was the Red Mile? The celebrations in Montreal after Game 6 to force Game 7 (and then Game 7). What was the Blue Mile? Sens Mile? The Vancouver mayor asked for extra funds from the province to police the post-game playoff celebrations. But it's only stupid if Leafs fans do it.

There's a ridiculous double standard when it comes to the Leafs vis-a-vis the other Canadian teams. But that's OK. It will make ultimate victory -- whenever it comes -- all the more sweeter.

A team this pathetic would usually get some sympathy from fans of other teams. Like how people respond to the Pirates or Clippers or Lions.


This is probably because, other than the late-Ballard Era, the Leafs are never as bad for as long as those teams. Even missing the playoffs five straight seasons, this is the first time the Leafs are a bottom-five team since the early-90s. But, thanks for acknowledging the modest success -- most people just say 1967 and assume the Leafs have been terrible the entire time.
   369. Langer Monk Posted: May 09, 2010 at 05:53 AM (#3527228)
With one more loss to Chicago, their streak will hit 40 years. And yet, if you're a Leafs fan in Vancouver, they will shower 1967 on you.


It's been now 17 years since any one could break out the "Nineteen Forty" "Nineteen Never" back and forth chant at a Rangers-Devils tilt.

Shame that. So much more inventive than either "You suck" or the sing-song chant of the goalie's name.
   370. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 09, 2010 at 09:57 AM (#3527250)
It's interesting that Vancouver is so despised when the city proper is a great place to visit.

As for Penguins/Canadians, I don't see what folks are talking about. Particularly since the Canadians are beating the h*ll out of Crosby and the refs are letting it go nor do you see anything in the media about the team or player complaining.
   371. JL Posted: May 09, 2010 at 10:49 AM (#3527255)
If the Sharks win this series and lose the next one it will have absolutely nothing to do with any leftover psychological problems preventing them from bouncing back after losing 7-1 in Game 4. If that sort of thing was a problem for any team, let alone the fragile Sharks, they wouldn't be where they are now after scoring on themselves to lose in OT against Colorado to go down 2-1 in that series.

The Sharks are a good team. Hockey is funny, in that I believe Detroit outscored them for the series, yet lost 4-1. And is was deserved. SJ was just a bit better all around and Thorton seems to have figured out what it takes to do well in the playoffs. Plus, they don't goon it up like any team with Chris Pronger.

I am now hoping for Chicago to play either Boston or Montreal in the finals (I am a sucker for an Original Six matchup), but would not be surprised if SJ made it.
   372. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: May 10, 2010 at 06:50 PM (#3528493)
It will make ultimate victory -- whenever it comes -- all the more sweeter.

I admire your optimism. I've dialed my dreams back to seeing the Leafs make the playoffs again.
   373. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 10, 2010 at 09:03 PM (#3528632)
I think the Canucks last night played like the team I was afraid of coming into the series. They outworked, outplayed, and outclassed the Hawks. If they can repeat that tomorrow night, the Hawks are in real big trouble.

Luongo was perfectly solid, and really wasn't challenged with many tough chances. The offense was very deliberate. The Nucks are destroying the Hawks in faceoffs, and that's helped them control the puck. At some point, the Hawks have to stop trying to instigate (and I'm disappointed in Q and Eager) and just outwork the Canucks. Both teams are very talented and very skilled, so I would love to see a game where both teams play good hockey at a high level for the whole game. We really haven't seen that yet - not for extended stretches.
   374. The Original SJ Posted: May 10, 2010 at 09:26 PM (#3528650)
This is an embarrasing post. The Canucks are getting raped by the officials.

waaaaay late on this, and I didn't see game 4, but I thought Chicago got ALL the breaks in game 3.

Luongo was getting tripped and slashed on multiple occasions without a call.

Quite frankly, I don't see how they can put an emphasis on goalie interference, waive off that Caps goal in game 7, and let the Hawks get away with the #### they pulled on Luongo.
   375. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 10, 2010 at 10:02 PM (#3528690)
The only thing lamer than complaining about officiating the day after, is complaining about it 2 games later! Come on! The NHL said it should have been GI on the 5th goal in game 3. And I agree I don't understand why the calls were so different (perhaps after round 1 they said it was being called too tightly, who knows?).

The closest game in the Chicago/Vancouver series was game 2. I don't think any game has been decided by the officiating or a blown/missed call. So in my mind, that sort of tempers the outrage. Last night was the tightest called game of the series, and they still missed a number of calls both ways, while at the same time calling a couple of borderline ones each way. But that's how it goes.
   376. Cabbage Posted: May 10, 2010 at 10:14 PM (#3528699)
It's interesting that Vancouver is so despised when the city proper is a great place to visit.


That's part of the reason why hating Vancouver doesn't feel very naturally to me. Great place. I mean, I can hate on the Cardinals all the live long day because they're rivals with the Cubs AND I had to spend 4 years in that miserable excuse of a city.

When the only redeeming thing I can say about a city is that there was cheap and abundant parking downtown, you know they've got problems.

I think the Canucks last night played like the team I was afraid of coming into the series. They outworked, outplayed, and outclassed the Hawks. If they can repeat that tomorrow night, the Hawks are in real big trouble.


BUT They didn't seem to outchance the Hawks. Vancouver hit their shots, Niemi seemed a bit soft (but I was drinking so I'd have to go verify), and Lou played very well. If you Monte Carlo'd the game a thousand times, I expect the teams to come out pretty even.

'course, that's why they play the games. I'd much rather see the Hawks outwork the hell out of the 'nucks and remove any chance of a few breaks giving the game to Vancouver.
   377. The Original SJ Posted: May 10, 2010 at 10:23 PM (#3528704)
The closest game in the Chicago/Vancouver series was game 2. I don't think any game has been decided by the officiating or a blown/missed call.

don't you think slashing and tripping the goalie has an impact beyond the immediate play?

I am a sabres fan, I have no dog in this hunt, other than to say the officials have sucked all playoffs, and I can't imagine them improving going forward.
   378. The Original SJ Posted: May 10, 2010 at 10:25 PM (#3528706)
and I am not complaining many days later, this is the first time I have checked in, and there is a high Chicago contingent here, just thought I would provide an unbiased perspective.
   379. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 10, 2010 at 10:50 PM (#3528726)
I told you in the lounge when we talked about it last week that it went both ways (the GI didn't, but the tripping and what not did; Luongo got away with a pretty blatant trip of Buff early in game 4, so he evened the score on that one).

Of course it has an impact, so does hitting after the whistle and holding and anything else that isn't called. There just isn't one moment that anyone can point to and say "That changed the outcome of the game" like one could do with the Habs/Caps game 7. The officating is not what caused either team to win or lose any of the games; unless you count the Canucks imploding and giving up 4 PP goals in game 4 as the refs fault. And if you do, well then, there's nothing we have worth discussing.

the officials have sucked all playoffs, and I can't imagine them improving going forward.

Indeed. But I don't think there's a bias going in any one direction here. Every team is getting screwed, at some point the teams have to move beyond it (I'd say the same for the fans, but I know that's a pipe dream) and win in spite of it. I haven't seen anything in this series to make me believe that the Canucks are being deprived of their chances of winning.
   380. nick swisher hygiene Posted: May 11, 2010 at 01:09 AM (#3528872)
370--It's not folks, Harvey, jest one lone Habs fan....who thinks Crosby is a nice kid who's halfway to turning into a whiny ##### who think the refs are paid to protect his special ass.
   381. Greg K Posted: May 11, 2010 at 10:46 AM (#3529117)
I realize it's because of all the Blackhawks fans in this thread, but it's crazy no one's talking about the Montreal/Pittsburgh series. Last night may have been one of the best hockey games I've ever watched. I thoroughly enjoyed Crosby's post game frustration jab too.

Go Habs!

(and this coming from a Leafs fan)
   382. zack Posted: May 11, 2010 at 01:58 PM (#3529167)
I love watching Gionta and Gomez play together.
   383. WayneG Posted: May 12, 2010 at 03:16 AM (#3530097)
A team this pathetic would usually get some sympathy from fans of other teams. Like how people respond to the Pirates or Clippers or Lions.

This is probably because, other than the late-Ballard Era, the Leafs are never as bad for as long as those teams. Even missing the playoffs five straight seasons, this is the first time the Leafs are a bottom-five team since the early-90s. But, thanks for acknowledging the modest success -- most people just say 1967 and assume the Leafs have been terrible the entire time.


It's hard for any non-Leaf fan to have sympathy, especially in Canada, because we get the Leafs shoved down our throats 12 months a year. Doesn't matter if the Leafs are good, medicore or terrible, CBC hockey coverage is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as very pro-Leafs, and while TSN coverage is generally balanced you have panel shows like OTR that lead every night with Leafs banter.

It's not about the team anymore, there aren't guys on the current roster you'd point to that elicit the strong negative emotion from other fans. The early 2000's teams had a bunch of guys that made that team easy to dislike: Quinn, Domi, Tucker, Belfour, etc.
   384. Yardape Posted: May 12, 2010 at 03:57 AM (#3530112)
It's hard for any non-Leaf fan to have sympathy, especially in Canada, because we get the Leafs shoved down our throats 12 months a year. Doesn't matter if the Leafs are good, medicore or terrible, CBC hockey coverage is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as very pro-Leafs, and while TSN coverage is generally balanced you have panel shows like OTR that lead every night with Leafs banter.


At the end of the regular season, with three Canadian teams in the playoffs and another with the worst record in the NHL, TSN.ca`s lead story was "YourCall: Was the Leafs` season a success?"

Now, of course, asking whether the second-worst team in the NHL had a successful season is pretty stupid in its own right, but to pick that moment to put up a front-page story on the Leafs...that`s why they`re hated. But given that Toronto has over 10% of Canada`s population, I doubt it`s going to change soon.
   385. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: May 12, 2010 at 04:40 AM (#3530124)
I'm glad the Hawks won, but the after-the-fact post-game analysis this series has made me gag. On NHL Network, Weekes actually said Luongo played poorly tonight. Were we watching the same game? First goal was superb by the Hawks, perfectly placed re-direct by Brouwer, and bad D by whoever the Canucks back-checker was (Wellwood?). Same goes for the second goal -- brutal turnover followed up by pretty terrible defense by Shane O'Brien, essentially allowing Versteeg to curl-and-drag to the center of the ice. Third goal maybe could've been saved, but it's tough to put a breakaway goal on the goalie. Ditto for goals four and five, which were half breakaways.

Vancouver was pretty unlucky with the Edler injury, but damn did they shut down in period two. What did they have, two shots?

San Jose vs Chicago should be pretty epic -- they finished one point apart in the standings, while the Hawks had a 13 goal edge in goal differential. I'm a lot more comfortable heading into the WCFs this year than last year. Even so, this series is likely another coinflip.
   386.   Posted: May 12, 2010 at 05:58 AM (#3530148)
Luongo's game was a microcosm of his season. He was phenomenal at the beginning, but then fell apart. None of the goals were particularly "bad," but he's the top paid goalie in the league (or something,) and needs to make those saves. After the first period, I think the Hawks literally scored on 100% of their scoring chances. That just can't happen.

Prior to the third goal the Canucks were actually controlling the play and putting some pressure on; that Bolland goal against the flow was a back breaker, and exactly the kind of goal Luongo is paid to stop.

Overall though, the defensive injuries just caught up to the Canucks. It's tough to stop the Hawks with 3.5 NHL defensemen ...
   387. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: May 12, 2010 at 04:04 PM (#3530360)
I'm glad the Hawks won, but the after-the-fact post-game analysis this series has made me gag. On NHL Network, Weekes actually said Luongo played poorly tonight. Were we watching the same game? First goal was superb by the Hawks, perfectly placed re-direct by Brouwer, and bad D by whoever the Canucks back-checker was (Wellwood?). Same goes for the second goal -- brutal turnover followed up by pretty terrible defense by Shane O'Brien, essentially allowing Versteeg to curl-and-drag to the center of the ice. Third goal maybe could've been saved, but it's tough to put a breakaway goal on the goalie. Ditto for goals four and five, which were half breakaways.

I disagree here. His defense definitely let him down on goals 2-5, but I think all of them were stoppable. He made a couple of saves earlier in the game (one on Buff and one on Sharp) that were tougher than any of those 4 goals he gave up. It's easy to make excuses for a bad goal or 2, but in an elimination game on home ice as the captain and big money guy (as Shock pointed out), he absolutely has to play better than that. He looked amazing in the first period, and then #### the bed. Again, the blue line deserves some blame, with the depleted caveat. Luongo has now given up 7 and 5 goals in elimination games to the same team. He deserves every single bit of criticism he's getting. He was outplayed by a rookie goaltender that very few people believed in before the playoffs, both in the series and especially last night.

The first period was amazing, both teams looked great. 13/12 shots, and a number of huge saves by each goalie (and another great stop or two by each teams' defensemen). But the Hawks really took it to the Canucks in the 2nd (so I disagree with Shock's analysis there; until that PP, the Canucks only had 2 or 3 SOG that period). Early in the 3rd is when I thought the Canucks were really controlling things and the Hawks couldn't do much of anything. After the SOB goal, I really thought the Canucks had a great chance to tie it up. So as much as the Bolland goal sucked for the Canucks, the Kane goal is what ended their season. Luongo went down a little quick, and as Eddie O pointed out, he moved his stick to open the 5 hole and Kane put there perfectly.

BTW, CSN in Chicago didn't give us a replay of the Samuelsson penalty. What happened there? They mentioned he got a misconduct and a double minor, but never explained them (the box score says hooking and cross checking). For Canucks or non-biased fans, any complaints about the officials last night? I think it was a very clean game, and I didn't see many missed calls either way. I was surprised the Canucks didn't get a single penalty until that stuff at the end, and both of the Hawks penalties were obvious and bad mistakes.

---

In previous posts, I've been snarkily dismissive of the Sharks, but that was in jest. They're a deep and very talented team. I don't care if the Wings weren't as good as previous years, beating Detroit is more than enough to deserve tons of respect from Hawks fans. I don't think their defense is as strong as the Hawks, but both teams have a lot of other similar strengths/weaknesses (high scoring, possible goaltending questions, etc). It should be a wide open and high scoring series. The Hawks did fairly went against the Sharks this year (including that embarrassing one in SJ around Thanksgiving). There hasn't been a lot of bad blood between the teams previously. So I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully the Bruins can close things out tonight (and I'll be rooting for Montreal, but expecting Pitt to win). Regardless, should be a fun round coming up.
   388. scotto Posted: May 12, 2010 at 10:10 PM (#3530960)
I think it was a very clean game, and I didn't see many missed calls either way.

It's funny, I was thinking about that a little bit, and especially when there was that wild scramble in front of the Vancouver goal in the 2nd? period, with about four Vancouver plus Luongo and four Blackhawks just beating the #### out of each other, swiping at the puck and pads flying everywhere. I saw at least (technically, if you were to get all poopy-diapered about the rules rather than adopt a more reasonable stance) two interference, a couple of cross checks and at least one slash in the space of maybe 5 seconds. For the next five minutes I tried to pretend that I was a strict-constructionist and call everything I saw and I saw about a penalty every minute or so.

But that's hockey. The forward encroaches on the goalie's space. The defenseman tries to get him the hell out of there. Cross-checks, slashes, trips, hooks and interferences galore take place in front of the net when the play's off net. You don't call ticky-tack. You let them play until it's enough.
   389. zack Posted: May 12, 2010 at 11:42 PM (#3531081)
Man, the Penguins look sluggish and incompetent.

Glad to see Orpik get burned on that net dancing/boarding crap.
   390. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 13, 2010 at 12:16 AM (#3531107)
The Penguins are just spent. The Ottawa series was rough, they're very banged up, and their goaltender is still a liability. If they'd survived Montreal, they wouldn't likely have survived Philadelphia/Boston.
   391. zack Posted: May 13, 2010 at 12:22 AM (#3531113)
Maybe so, but the habs are far, far more banged up, and they played a much tougher first round.

The east teams are lucky that the by far two best teams remaining have to play each other in the conference finals.
   392. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: May 13, 2010 at 12:45 AM (#3531127)
Refs spend entire games chasing their bad calls with more bad calls to try and balance the scales, then one of them sets up Kunitz perfectly to give the Pens a chance and calls two Habs penalties after that. I doubt he's pro-Penguins, but he's definitely a tool.
   393. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 13, 2010 at 01:08 AM (#3531151)
Maybe so, but the habs are far, far more banged up, and they played a much tougher first round.


Yes, but people don't realize the Canadiens are, and have been for months now, better than the Penguins.

Yes, that's a retraction of my earlier statement. I got off my lazy ass and looked it up. The Canadiens are in fact the second-best team in the Eastern Conference, and their beating the Capitals and Penguins is no shock.

Especially without Jordan Staal, the Penguins are really just not very good. They have the best player in hockey, and a very weak supporting cast, and much of it is playing hurt now. It's a mild upset that they managed to take the Canadiens to seven games (and somewhat because the Canadiens are hurting too, as mentioned).
   394. nick swisher hygiene Posted: May 13, 2010 at 01:52 AM (#3531172)
Zeth--Yup: the one guy for Puck Prospectus has been all over this; he picked Habs in 6.

A poor, and whiny, performance by Sid, but he's young, and will mature: fans of flightless birds without external genitals still have much to look forward to.....
   395. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 13, 2010 at 02:15 AM (#3531183)
Yeah, Crosby will mature, but aside from the three big centers, the Penguins are an old team with very little young talent. The careers of Bill Guerin and (probably) Sergei Gonchar ended tonight; the Penguins tenure of Matt Cooke very likely ended tonight (Cooke is a good player, but someone, probably the Capitals, is going to overpay him), and Evgeni Malkin is leaving soon. Marc-Andre Fleury's contract is going to cause them cap problems for years to come.

I'm not saying the Penguins are doomed, of course; they have the best player in the world, and they can pretty quickly retool and should remain contenders, if they get hold of some young talent and preferably a better goaltender. They're probably stuck with Fleury because of his contract, though, for better or worse.

I can't help but wonder if someone out there might not be enticed to take Fleury's contract because he has a 'Stanley Cup pedigree' and all that nonsense. I suspect someone might, if the Penguins are willing to accept nothing in return except for dumping the contract (i.e., a 3rd round pick or whatever). I would, were I running the Penguins, spend the summer trying to find a taker for Fleury's contract, as quietly as possible.

The Penguins will almost certainly be contenders throughout Crosby's prime--but I suspect the 2007-2009 Penguins were the best Penguins team Crosby's ever going to play on.
   396. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: May 13, 2010 at 03:03 AM (#3531199)
Just saw the highlights of the Habs/Pens game. Now those were some weak goals given up by MAF. The first one in particular must have been an absolute deflator.
   397. Papa Squid Posted: May 13, 2010 at 03:22 AM (#3531208)
Especially without Jordan Staal, the Penguins are really just not very good. They have the best player in hockey, and a very weak supporting cast, and much of it is playing hurt now. It's a mild upset that they managed to take the Canadiens to seven games (and somewhat because the Canadiens are hurting too, as mentioned).


I didn't think the Pens were all that good last year when they won the Cup! Remember, they were 10th in the Conference as late as mid-February, before turning it on and getting hot in the playoffs. That said, through the first six games, the Pens were clearly the better team (I think they outchanced the Habs 2-1 something like even-strength and tied) and it was a little unlucky for them that the series was tied. They sure picked an inopportune time to have a bad game, though.

IF the Habs are indeed the second best team in the Conference (and I don't for a second think this is true), then I believe that says more about the Eastern Conference than it does about the Habs. I just don't think the Habs are a very good team, regardless of who they beat to get here. This is a team that clinched its playoff spot by tying the 29th best team in the league. A little worse OT/SO record, a puck bounces the wrong way, and it's the Rangers that play the Caps in the first-round.

I thought the 2008 Habs were the worst #1 seed I've ever seen. And this year's Habs are the worst Conference Finalist I can remember -- yes, even worse than the Oilers that one year post-lockout. In about two weeks, they'll be the worst Cup Finalist since the post Original Six expansion.

It's funny. For a baseball site, where the idea that Billy Beane's #### doesn't work in the playoffs is generally understood, there sure seem to be a lot of sweeping statements about qualities of teams based on these short series. So much of playoff hockey comes down to how banged up you are vis-a-vis your opponent, how hot your goalie is, and just general puck luck.

The hockey gods have smiled upon the Habs. They are truly blessed.
   398. nick swisher hygiene Posted: May 13, 2010 at 03:54 AM (#3531222)
Mr. Squid Father: some educational reading material for you:

http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=546
   399. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: May 13, 2010 at 03:57 AM (#3531224)
397: That's a point I'd been meaning to bring up. In hockey's playoffs, it strikes me as rather difficult to differentiate between \"#### happens" (i.e. luck) and your more common post-game justifications (team X was simply better, team X "wanted it more").

Going back to NHL Network again, one of the analysts just mentioned how their GM did such a fantastic job of adding "proven winners" like Moen and Gill last off-season. Yet as little as a few months ago, all I seem to recall was the Habs getting ripped for going after "soft" players like Cammalleri, Gionta and Gomez.

I'll defer to folks who have seen the Habs more than I have, but my distant view is that:

1.) Despite being the eight seed, they are probably somewhat better than the eighth best team in the East. IIRC, they've been pretty excellent since Markov returned* from injury, and that spans a decent chunk of games (enough to constitute a big enough sample size? I'm not sure.). Overall, though, I'm not sure how much this is saying, as outside of Washington, the East was simply not very good.

2.) Montreal has obviously had a good amount of luck on it's side. I simply don't see how allowing the opposition to spend so much time in your own zone (it's gotta be nearly 2-to-1 over both series', right?) is a winning strategy, even if you are keeping them to the perimeter. You're just asking too much of your goalie and defense. Furthermore, Montreal is now 3-0 (or 4-0?) in elimination games, right? I'm not going to completely dismiss "clutch", but you know things are going well when you're able to pull off three or four of those in a row.

*I try to follow the conversations at Behind the Net and PuckProspectus, but I haven't found a decent primer on what the stats mean. In other words, I know what WAR and wOBA tell me, but I have no idea what, for example, Corsi is telling me. Anyone have a decent link that gives a good breakdown (not just on Corsi, but on statistical analysis in hockey in general)?
   400. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: May 13, 2010 at 04:03 AM (#3531227)
i am really hoping that the Habs win the Cup.They're the Canadians. They shouldn't go too long without winning the Cup.
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