Top 10: Big Bad Bruins Bruising

Not since Game 7 in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals have the Boston Bruins come back to Vancouver. It was a much anticipated game and was the biggest topic when the Canucks schedule was released in the off-season. Anyone who lives in the 604 who say they didn’t think it was that big a deal, book an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon and get your nose sawed down, liars.  There was a lot of material to pick through about Saturday night, so where do we start?

Bruins come to visit Rain City. Iginla and Kesler have at it early in the first period.

Bruins come to visit Rain City. Iginla and Kesler have at it early in the first period.

  1. Dan Cloutier’s Ghost: Jannik Hansen scores on Tuukka Rask from just past centre ice.It took a strange deflection off Chara’s stick and into the back of the Boston net. Rogers Arena erupted and soon “TUUUUUUKKKAAAA” was being chanted.  
  2. Mount St. Tortorella Erupts: In the second period, after the tying goal, Canucks coach decides to give a “pep talk” to his team and get them going. It worked.
  3. Workhorse: 39 saves out of 41 shots on goal effort from Roberto Luongo. This was after shutting out the Oilers the night before.
  4. “Barbwire” Taunt Moment: Brad “Barbwire” Marchand had the taunt of the night. Kissing your ring finger and a “Raising the Cup” blurb would have made Vincent K. McMahon happy. There is life after hockey for the Stanley Cup “Champian”
    "Barbwire" Brad Marchand kissing his ring finger as a poke to the Canucks and their fans at Rogers Arena.

    “Barbwire” Brad Marchand kissing his ring finger as a poke to the Canucks and their fans at Rogers Arena.

     

    Looks like he could make a great 'heel' in the WWE. How about that spinner belt, Brad?

    Looks like he could make a great ‘heel’ in the WWE. How about that spinner belt, Brad?

  5. Tonka Tough: Jerome Iginla dislocates his ring finger in a first period fight with Ryan Kesler and came back in the second period to play the game. He also got in a short altercation with Canucks Dman, Dan Hamhuis, later on in the game. I have always liked Iggy and Saturday showed why he is my all-time favourite Kamloops Blazer.

    Iginla's ring fingers appears to be dislocated. Tough as nails, he came back and played the rest of the game.

    Iginla’s ring fingers appears to be dislocated. Tough as nails, he came back and played the rest of the game.

  6. St.Michael: Mike Santorelli keeps adding more depth to his game. He is proving to be a gem of a pickup in the off-season with the way he has played here in Vancouver. He was a huge part of the Canucks win on Saturday night.
  7. Bear Hunter: He does it in the off-season and he did it here on Saturday with a beauty of a tally. David Booth responded with a “this is why we signed you” type of goal after Torts’ blowup at the bench. We need to see this more consistently. He’s too talented of a player to not play like this. This goal was the catalyst for the 6-2 on slaughter of the evening.  
  8. Old School Mentality: This is in a good way. Bruins Coach, Claude Julien, came out and publicly chastised Brad Marchand in saying those antics will not be tolerated. He also said of Marchand to be too good of a player to act the way he did.
  9. Library is Closed: On Saturday night, the vibe was electric! THAT is how Rogers Arena should sound like each and every night. Well, as close to it as possible. It’s too bad, and often times too hard, when you play teams like the Oilers and Flames.
  10. We’re Going Streaking: The Canucks have now won 7 in a row. They have caught up 9 points on the San Jose Sharks and have moved into 6th place in the Western Conference. If they can sustain the level of play and keeping finding ways to win games, expect to see them in the post season.
Even with being the hottest team in the NHL at the moment, the Canucks are still looking up from 6th place in the Western Conference. However, the team is getting contributions from the most unlikely of sources (or so what thought at the beginning of the season) like Mike Santorelli and Brad Richardson. There were many positives to take away from the Bruins game, but as Kevin Bieksa has pointed it, it was two points, not a Stanley Cup. So it is time to move on and focus on 2013/2014 and not 2011.
In conclusion, the Canucks are undefeated in December and aren’t looking to slow down any time soon. I am hoping it continues, because their play of late has been, “beyond good” (Thanks, Milan).
Justine Galo

 

Canucks beat Bruins 4-3 in Boston; Millions of Canucks fans lose their minds.

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.

This is the only time you will see Marchand look down on a player.

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.

The Rematch: Version 2.0

The two combatants from the 2011 Stanley Cup Final meet up for the one and only time this current season. The Vancouver Canucks made their way to the TD Garden in Boston to try and get some redemption in a building that they did not perform well during their visits of last June. This wasn’t for the Stanley Cup, but it was for pride and more so, a little revenge. The Canucks had to come out with a lot more gusto than they did in their previous meetings.

Canucks back in June with a 4-0 defeat at TD Garden during the SFC.- Photo Credit: CTV.ca

After the Stanley Cup Final, many of the Canucks critics brought up the team lacked some testicular fortitude and did not fight back the Big, Bad Bruins. They were criticized that their game wasn’t suited to win a cup (Oh really? Detroit, anyone?) This game would be a measuring stick to see what the Canucks have learned from their Stanley Cup experience in June.

The game itself was more than what many expected between these two teams. The atmosphere at TD Garden was electric. The Bruins and the Canucks entertained the crowd present, the ones watching on TV and I couldn’t keep up with my twitter feed to save my life and that was only the first period! There were fights, lots of chirping and even an ejection (later on rescinded).

The Canucks won this contest, but it seems they will never win the respect of other NHL fans, some media and others around the league, no matter what they do.

Hamhuis and the Canucks win in Beantown. -Photo Credit: Times Colonist

The Good

• Well it’s safe to say winning the game was a great way to leave Boston, since this team hasn’t done so very much in recent memory. A task that is definitely easier said than done.
• The power play accounting for all the goals. The biggest problem for the Canucks during the final series was they weren’t drawing the penalties, even the obvious ones, so they couldn’t put their power play to work.
• Cody Hodgson had one hell of a game. I really see a lot of good things coming from this kid, and I only see him growing. That Calder trophy race is starting to look more like Cody could seriously be a part of it.
• The Canucks out hit the Bruins 24 to 17 in the contest. A stat that many out there thought they would be beaten. Keith Ballard led the way with four hits, giving Alain Vigneault more reason not to bench him.
• The “push back”. Although the Canucks aren’t exactly the most ‘physical’ team in the league, they showed they weren’t going to be pushed around and off their game.

The Bad
• The blue line, for some reason, with the exception of Ballard and Alberts, seemed a little off today. Bieksa looking disinterested in that Marchand play resulting in a goal. Edler looked horrible on the non-call icing play that resulted in a Peverley goal.
• The second period. I am not sure what it is about this Canucks team and their seemingly troubled middle stanza. I always make a joke about the Canucks taking their “second period siesta”, but that didn’t change in this very important game.
• Playing to the whistle. You’d think the Canucks would learn by now that they aren’t going to get the calls a lot of the times that they should, so why stop playing until you actually know what the call is going to be? Pay attention to the game boys.

The Ugly or at times, The Confusing

• The first period melee between the two teams when Thornton decided to go after Burrows whom I’m assuming chirped at the Bruins bench with undoubtedly some ‘choice words ‘ words. It resulted in Milan Lucic jumping in, being thrown out of a game and left the Canucks with very few forwards to be eligible on the ice for a good amount of time.
• The Sedins on a penalty killing shift. I know it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t very pretty and in all honestly, I was a little nervous. The Sedins? Killing penalties?
• The clipping play of Brad Marchand on Sami Salo. Sami Salo of all people! We, as a fan base, have bets, which game he is going to be injured or if he will injure himself in the off-season. He didn’t need to be helped with a dirty play like that.

The game lived up to all the hype that happened prior through the media, the fans, and the crazy twitter feuds between both fan bases. It had everything and then some. It had all the fixings for a great serving of “hockey gumbo” but the biggest thing that has confused this blogger and social media enthusiast was…why wasn’t it on a marquee time slot and nationally televised in both Canada and the United States? CBC? NBC? WTH?

The Canucks got some pay back, the Bruins were still big, bad and bullying, but who outside the two regions really got a good look at it? I guess we’ll have to see if these two teams meet again in the finals.
Justine Galo

Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

For all the marbles: Canucks and Bruins Stanley Cup Final Preview/Prediction

I’ve been running this site since 1996 so I have yet to have the privilege of covering a Stanley Cup Final. Years of hoping and waiting have finally ended, and here we are with the Canucks in the finals for the 3rd time in their 40 year history. It’s been an exhausting playoffs and it seems like forever since they started. The NHL’s brilliant plan to wait so long to start the final haven’t helped but here we sit on the verge of the biggest playoff series in Canucks history.

So here we have it, our last preview of the playoffs, as we take a look at the Canucks and Bruins, for all the marbles.

Canucks and Boston - Photo Credit: Richard Lam/Getty Images

Canucks and Boston - Photo Credit: Richard Lam/Getty Images



If the NHL wanted two of the best teams in the NHL, they certainly got it. That said the two teams are built very differently. Vancouver built on depth and speed and the flexibility to play multiple styles. The Bruins are built on toughness, hard work and solid defense. The Canucks have proven over the course of the regular season and in the playoffs that they can play any style you want to, and they attempt to dictate what style their opponents play as well. Can the Bruins play multiple styles and adapt to a faster Western Conference? They did in the only meeting between the two clubs this year, leaving Rogers Arena with a 3-1 win.

The keys to the series:

The Canucks are the favourites in the series and with good reason. We all know they ran away with the President’s Trophy and have been picked by many to win it all. To beat Boston, the Canucks are going to have to use their speed to make Boston’s defenders chase them. Puck movement, getting to open spaces quickly and efficiently will be crucial to Vancouver’s success.

The defensive pairing of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg will be assigned to contain the Sedin twins who returned to form against the Sharks. The Bruins have strong penalty killing led by Chara and goaltender Tim Thomas and if the Canucks are to be successful their five on five play has to be better than it was against San Jose where they did most of their damage on the power play. They have to generate more shots at even strength, more quality chances, and get Tim Thomas moving in the net.

If the series becomes a parade to the penalty box the Canucks chances are likely increased, as long as that parade includes both teams. The Bruins power play has been brutal in the playoffs and that’s being kind. The Canucks however have been very effective.

For Boston to win they need to control the Sedin line. The twins struggled to find space against Chicago’s Seabrook and Keith and Nashville’s Weber and Suter. They thrived against the Sharks who don’t have a defensive pairing of the ilk of Chara and Seidenberg. But the Bruins will also need to pay attention to Ryan Kesler, who will have used the lengthy break to get as close to 100% as possible and who almost single handedly led the Canucks against Nashville. Kesler may revert to a defensive role again, concentrating on shutting down the Bruins big line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton. But the Bruins roll four lines consistently, and the Canucks may be forced to do the same if they want to keep fresh legs out there. With Vancouver’s fourth line a revolving door, Alain Vigneault may have to find a trio he can stick with and give them more minutes. That will require relying on some youth, particularly if Manny Malhotra can’t get the green light to play.

Both teams sport pests that will attempt to get under the oppositions skin. The Canucks Torres and Lappiere will counter Boston’s Brad Marchand.

The biggest battle however will be between two Vezina finalists in Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas. In three career starts against Vancouver, Thomas has allowed just one goal. Not a large body of work, but it does indicate what impact Thomas can have in a seven game series. Luongo has been solid after a speed bump against the Hawks and despite some untimely goals at times has played a huge role in the success of his team. His performance in game 5 against San Jose was one of his best ever.

Both teams will attempt to get traffic in front of the net and the Bruins have the bigger bodies to do just that. The Canucks defense will have to be at their best to allow Luongo to see the puck as much as possible. The Bruins will have to contend mostly with Kesler and Burrows who will see a lot of Mr. Chara and will have to pay the price. The Canucks have generated fourteen goals from their defence to Boston’s eight and whatever team can get their back end involved will have a great advantage.

If you’re into stats, here is a nice little package compiled by James Mirtle at the Globe & Mail. By the numbers this could be an incredible final and a very competitive one. It could go down the wire but for some reason I just have a gut feeling the Canucks are a team of destiny. They have been the best team in the league almost from start to finish. They have demonstrated they can play any style they need to and in my opinion they are deeper than the Bruins.

The Bruins will put up a tough fight and the games will be close. But I think the Canucks find a way to win this series in six games and win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history and what an incredible end to an amazing 40th anniversary season that would be.