The Stanley Cup Finals have finally started with the Canucks winning in the dying seconds of the third period on a Raffi Torres goal from Jannik Hansen and the heads-up play of Ryan Kesler. When I was at Rogers Arena last night, I felt an energy in the building that hasn’t been felt in a long, long time. Game one showed me a few things to indicate where this series could go.
Last night, I saw some good things, ,some bad things and certainly some odd things. Regardless of the strange happenings throughout the arena last night, the hometown team gave their crowds something to cheer about.
Oh, Bite me!
Alex Burrows got into a little scuffle with Patrice Bergeron last night which led into an alleged biting of Bergeron’s finger. Bergeron and Julien complained to the refs, who didn’t see the incident, about Burrows and wanted him tossed out of the series for a game or two. Who knows, perhaps Burrows was in the middle of a sentence in their chirping when Bergeron shoved his finger in Burrows’ mouth? Maybe that’s a way French-Canadians chirp at each other. Who knows, all I know is the NHL didn’t seem to think it was suspension worthy, despite what some members of the media think. Ask yourself Pierre Maguire, if Gord Miller shoved his finger in your mouth during an argument, what would you do?
After Game 5 of the Western Conference Final, the braintrust at Rogers Arena thought it would be a good idea to have confetti fall all over the ice surface after the game winning goal. I wonder if the brainiac who decided it would be an awesome idea ever put on a pair of skates? I don’t think so. It was nearly impossible for the players to skate around to celebrate the victory and it could have resulted in a potential injury to one of the players. It was a poor choice of celebration fodder. How poor? So poor that last night, I managed to take a picture of a pile of confetti atop of the cover of the walk-way of the visitors bench. Not only that, an official on the ice had to pick up a stray piece of confetti as it floated down to the surface. I am guessing the brain trust at Rogers Arena and the Canucks front office might want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Well, at least I hope.
Officiating, yet again
So 12 penalties were called in the first and second periods, but none in the third. I would say about 1/3 of those penalties called were pretty weak ( going both ways) and they should have just the teams play a little more. It would have made for a bit more of an exciting game and given it a much better flow. The NHL officials are yet again, consistently inconsistent.
Both Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo have shown why they are both up for the Vezina trophy last night. Although I am sure, both would gladly concede the regular season honour to one another to win the Stanley Cup. Thomas dazzled the crowd with his acrobatic saves and his aggressive style. For a small man, he certainly covers the net very well, and for some of the Canucks in the early goings of the first period, too well. He set an NHL record for best save percentage in the regular season of .938. He broke a record held for 11 years by Dominik Hasek (Buffalo Sabres) at .936. He also can thank a post and crossbar aiding him and his team last night. Despite the late heroic goal by Raffi Torres he stopped 33 of 34 shots by the Canucks. He also faced better scoring chances than his counter-part, Roberto Luongo.
Even though Luongo didn’t have to be as acrobatic as Thomas, he was perfect and acquiring his third shutout of the post-season, posting a 36 save effort for the night. His rebound control, and his efficient movements had Luongo help his team to this win. For those doubting Luongo in the earlier part of this post season, since Nashville, he has been stellar. Maybe just maybe, his critics might start showing him the respect, that I believe he deserves. Mr. Dangerfield, he is not.
Saw some really cool signs last night, some good, some dirty and but most creative. There was a couple of long banners passed around Rogers Arena last night that had “Go Canucks Go”
And of course, the Cup Final banner was hung from the rafters at Rogers Arena. I managed to get an excellent picture of it from my seat.
It was a great way to start the series, and I look forward to the upcoming games. I anticipate the drama that builds, the signs that come in, and the play between two very good hockey teams.