Just Another Regular Game .. Or Not (JARGON) is a new feature to this blog. These posts will feature the best (and worst) of the regular season performances by the Canucks, in anticipation of the playoffs.
If only Canucks fans saw this headline in June. Instead, we have to settle for this in January. This game began at 1PM Eastern, which meant a 10AM start for Canucks fans on the west coast; but for those that got up for this early match, they were in for a treat.
Before the game started, I bought into all of the “this is just another regular season game” talk that the Canucks themselves were saying. I also felt that I was over the Stanley Cup Final – I told myself I had made peace with it, and that the Bruins were the better team that day in June. Not 4 minutes after the start of the 1st period, all of that was out the window. The scrum at 3:54 was ridiculous. Burrows may have tapped Thornton on the skate heading to the bench, to which Thornton may have slashed Burrows. Which was followed by a Burrows spear to Thornton’s midsection. Which was followed by Thornton lunging at Burrows right in front of the Canucks bench. Which resulted in a good old fashioned melee, in the middle of a yard sale.
At that moment in time, all the pre-game talk of “Just Another Regular Game” was right out the window. It was obvious for the rest of the game that this was far more than just another 2 points for these teams.
How the Canucks won, and How the Bruins lost
After that 1st period scrum, the Canucks were somehow rewarded with a 2 man-advantage for a whole 2 minutes, and Milan Lucic was given a game misconduct for leaving the player’s bench. Lucic still had one foot on the ice, so it is doubtful that he will be suspended. Ryan Kesler opened the scoring at the end of this power play, Canucks Nation breathed a huge sigh of relief.
The game was won by the Canucks and lost by the Bruins on the strength of special teams. Before the game, there was a lot of talk on @Team1040 and the #Canucks hashtag about the concept of team toughness, and the Canucks formula for success – using their skill level, and making teams pay by scoring on the power play. This is the same formula that failed last year in the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins as the Canucks absorbed a lot of punishment, but failed to score.
At the end of the game, there were 107 minutes in penalties. The Canucks were 4-for-11 on their power-play opportunities, and the Bruins were 0-for-7. The Canucks power-play was finally able to connect, and their penalty killing was top notch as well, even when Kesler, Burrows and Hamhuis took turns in the box. #NotAsDirtyAsItSounds
#Coho4Calder is in full effect
Remember you heard it here first. Cody Hodgson was named the first star of the game according to NHL.com, and for good reason. Hodgson had the first assist on Burrows 2-2 goal, taking a Bieksa pass on the left boards, walking in from the circle and snapping a shot. I didn’t see the Burrows deflection, but Hodgson showed his hands from that spot.
There was no doubt about the 4-2 goal (and eventual game winner) from Hodgson. A perfect slap shot on the run from the top of the right circle, top shelf right below the bar. Again, no secret that me (and my kids) love Coho, and this beauty only makes our love stronger. Again, #NotAsDirtyAsItSounds
I thought I was over it, but …
I found myself yelling a little more often at the TV for the game, and was definitely feeling the emotion of this one. It is obvious that the players for both teams felt the same way. Both sides were right into it, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the Canucks fight back a bit, and answer the bell when they had to.
It was tough to watch Brad Marchand’s low bridge hit on Sami Salo. It will likely be a suspendable hit, my guess is 4 games for that. It was dirty. Maybe it was a hip check attempt from a shorter player, but it was far too low. It was a rare 5 minute major for clipping, and a game misconduct for Marchand, which is the correct call. Salo lay motionless on the ice, while most of Vancouver was screaming at their TV sets.
Certainly Canucks Nation had to wonder what could have been – if Raymond, Hamhuis and Kesler were healthy, or if Weise was on the team, or if there were a few more penalties called in the final. You know .. if Marchand was called for roughing for punching Daniel in the face, or if Seidenberg was called for cross-checking Henrik in the back 5 or 6 times in a row.
These are (arguably) the two best teams in their respective conferences. If they should meet again in the final, it would be another amazing series.
Alright, so I’m not over it. You’re not either.