Sunday, August 31st, 2014

The Bruins: Game Five

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It wasn’t quite a repeat of game one – because Boston was better and Luongo had to be outstanding – but close enough. Tim Thomas was brilliant again but the better team again got the only goal. As a result, the Vancouver Canucks are within one game of the Stanley Cup.

This is despite the fact that Boston has outscored them 14-6 and the fact that in 23 games the Canucks have been outscored 60-56. I’ll bet it has been a very long time since the Stanley Cup Champion did not have more goals than the teams they played against along the way. In four games (all losses, of course) the Canucks were outscored 24-2. In the other 19 games the Canucks won the goal differential 54-36 (and won 15 of the games.)

The Canucks put their game on the ice last night and when they do that, they usually win. They were faster and more physical and won most of the game’s shifts. They got the better of the chances, if not the shots.

Other random thoughts:

1) I don’t like the “embellishments” any more than anybody else. Not only are they bush, they are proving to be counter-productive costing far more calls than they have gained.

On the other hand, the after the whistle pokes, spears and slashes are every bit as bush. Lapierre looked ridiculous after taking the jab of the stick from Chara, but why is the jab okay? The Bruins think Henrik’s right ankle is sore so they all give him a little whack every chance they get. Not hard enough to be worth a penalty but hard enough to notice. Diving may show a lack of respect, but the officials have earned every bit of that disrespect.

2) How many times does Roberto have to redeem himself? I couldn’t believe the racket about Schneider starting game five. Luongo was the only possible choice.

3) What about that Chris Tanev, eh? I think he’s got an excellent chance to be a star in this league. He doesn’t have much of a shot, but he’s so good with the puck, I think he’ll figure out a way to produce points. “It was a blast,” said Tanev. “A lot of fun.” You have to love that attitude.

What on earth is Mike Gillis going to do with Keith Ballard?

4) Tim Thomas will probably win the Conn Smythe almost no matter what happens the rest of the way. None of the Canuck candidates have stepped forward in this series so even if they win, I think Thomas will get the nod.

The other Bruin I picked out as very good last night was Patrice Bergeron.

5) Sometimes Alex Edler plays like he’s the best defenseman in the league.

One more time. Just once. Go Canucks.

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Comments

14 Responses to “The Bruins: Game Five”
  1. Magicpie says:

    What on earth is Mike Gillis going to do with Keith Ballard?

    Trade him, hopefully.

  2. Dean says:

    As much as I agree, that Thomas probably wins the Conn Smythe even if the Canucks win, I have to hope that if the Canucks win tomorrow night with a shutout, especially if the Canucks finally truly solve Thomas and light him up a bit, that Lu would get the Conn Smythe.

  3. Roberto says:

    On the other hand, the after the whistle pokes, spears and slashes are every bit as bush. Lapierre looked ridiculous after taking the jab of the stick from Chara, but why is the jab okay? The Bruins think Henrik’s right ankle is sore so they all give him a little whack every chance they get. Not hard enough to be worth a penalty but hard enough to notice. Diving may show a lack of respect, but the officials have earned every bit of that disrespect.

    Hear, hear. Although, I can’t help but think that the Bruins wouldn’t be doing – and getting away with – this garbage, if the Canucks would make them pay for the calls that are made by scoring on the power play.

  4. snafu says:

    Edler. Salt in the wound, Tom. Wings should get a royalty payment from Vancouver. ;)

    I watch each game not knowing what to expect. Going into the series, I was convinced the Canucks could sweep Boston, believing only Thomas would keep them in it. Then the two meltdowns occurred in Boston. For the life of me, I couldn’t make any sense of it.

    I was glad to see Vancouver re-assemble and re-establish themselves, but I’m with you that the embellishments and after-whistle extracurricular activities detract from both teams’ characters. I fear it’s a mentality that might take root as players and coaches may believe it works. It will work for one of these teams regardless, so are we stuck with a new twist in the evolution of the game? Maybe it’s a mark of too much officiating during play, and not enough after the whistle. When the league tightened things up too much, it left them open to abuse, the phantom penalties that players knew refs were all too eager to call. Why not make it easier for them?

    • Tom says:

      Edler. Salt in the wound, Tom. Wings should get a royalty payment from Vancouver.

      I think you’ll feel a lot better about this supposed theft of Edler from the Wings if you decide to let it go before he wins a Norris.

      I watch each game not knowing what to expect. Going into the series, I was convinced the Canucks could sweep Boston, believing only Thomas would keep them in it. Then the two meltdowns occurred in Boston. For the life of me, I couldn’t make any sense of it.

      Who can? In a perverse way, it does show how good Vancouver really is. In this series, the Sedins haven’t scored, Kesler hasn’t scored and the power play has disappeared completely. They should be getting wasted, but they are up 3-2 and although their wins were close, the Canucks deserved to win all three.

      I was glad to see Vancouver re-assemble and re-establish themselves, but I’m with you that the embellishments and after-whistle extracurricular activities detract from both teams’ characters. I fear it’s a mentality that might take root as players and coaches may believe it works. It will work for one of these teams regardless, so are we stuck with a new twist in the evolution of the game?

      Its easy to do away with the chippiness. After a couple of slashes after the whistle that are too marginal to call, warn both benches that the next one isn’t going to be too marginal to call.

      Contrary to the popular wisdom, I don’t think any of the Canuck divers expect to draw a penalty. I think they are doing it to show up the referees, to show their disrespect. What are they supposed to do? They could retaliate – give as good as they get – except that ends up in a Boston style game, not a Canuck game. The other alternative is to ignore it – best, but that means you keep getting little, annoying whacks and spears. Lapierre isn’t going to get a call, but nobody else is getting a call on any of these type of fouls either.

  5. James Mirtle says:

    Ballard should meet up with Komisarek and start a support group. Gets in their heads after a while.

    • Tom says:

      At least Komisarek is still in the top six. Ballard is now clearly number nine on the Canuck depth chart. He’s been really good about it, but he’s got to be ripped up about it. He’s surely better than he’s played this year. I think I’ve seen him play about a dozen excellent games – all of them from before he was a Canuck. I have no idea how a guy like him could forget how to play.

      The Canucks got away with having $4.2 MM in dead weight this season, but its hard to imagine them doing it again. Its also hard to imagine how Gillis gets rid of the contract.

      • Mike says:

        Do the Canucks consider bundling Ballard with Schneider in a deal that brings back nothing significant? The only way I see them trading his contract is to sweeten the pot. You’d give up a lot by trading Schneider for no real return, but you’d be getting back a lot of cap space for a long time.

        In this scenario, the question becomes: how much of a drag is Ballard? Could you still get *something* in return if he’s traded with Schneider?

        • Tom says:

          I’ve been saving this idea for a post nearer to the draft, but I think that’s a solution for the Canucks. Trade Ballard and Schneider for a couple of draft picks, or a player and a pick (since if Ballard goes, the Canucks will have some cap space.)

          Ballard would be overpaid even if he’d had a good year, so he will be hard to move. Coming off a bad year… He is a better player than he’s been in Vancouver, though. He can’t get the kind of role he needs here.

          Still, Schneider for cap space sounds good to me.

          I know that conventional wisdom holds that producing talent is the big key under the new CBA, but it is really hard to see how it pays past the franchise player type picks. The Canucks have already given away Grabner (ironically, to get Ballard) because they were going to lose him to waivers anyway. Next up is Schneider.

          • Tach says:

            “I know that conventional wisdom holds that producing talent is the big key under the new CBA, but it is really hard to see how it pays past the franchise player type picks. ”

            But doesn’t the Schneider-Ballard package as an example show how valuable getting good players can be aside from having them play for your own team? Schneider’s contract is a net plus asset and it looks more like Ballard’s contract is a net minus. The Canucks can package them together and get a legitimate future asset in return, draft picks or prospects plus cap space.

            If you aren’t drafting and developing young talent, not only do you have to rely on market level contracts, when you make the mistakes inevitable in that process, you can’t move the dead weight. The detritus beginspiling up until you end up like the Flames or Rangers and have to use up assets to clear cap space, or just pay millions to guys to play in the AHL.

          • Mike says:

            I agree with Tach, in that this situation just illustrates another benefit of home-grown talent. We won’t benefit from Schneider’s play on the ice, but we’ll benefit from having developed that talent by allowing us to field a better team.

            So, with that said, how do you break this down? I look at it this way: you have 3 options-
            1. Keep Ballard, hope he gets a little better, trade Schneider for value. You pretty much have to accept that either Bieksa or Erhoff goes, and you can’t get any pricey value because you can’t fit it. More likely to trade for picks and prospects, maybe a depth skater. High risk medium reward.
            2. Trade Ballard with Schneider for a skater, but you can’t afford too much here unless you lose either Bieksa or Erhoff. Med risk low reward. Med risk because you gamble on free agency, Low reward because I don’t see us getting a better player than Erhoff, even if it’s a 2nd line forward.
            3. Trade Ballard with Schneider for pick/prospect, use cap space to keep both Erhoff and Bieksa. Med risk medium reward. Still medium risk because you can’t guarantee Erhoff and Bieksa sign, but you’ve got a good shot. Reward is status quo, which given our current position, is pretty good.

            Personally I don’t include 4. bury Ballard in the AHL, because the Canucks gain more in the long run by being a class organization that treats players right.

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  1. [...] week, I took Tom Benjamin to task for his commentary on the Nathan Horton hit. But he nails it when it comes to the Lapierre / Chara idiocity: 1) I don’t like the “embellishments” any more than anybody else. Not only are they bush, [...]



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