Editor’s note: Say hi To Victor, a great new addition to the TSM author list!
Round two of the playoffs started last night with Vancouver battling Chicago or if you buy into the marketing of the series, it’s the wily-veteran Canucks taking on the young-inexperienced Blackhawks.
Before I get into the game itself I was super-pumped to be watching the game on CBC. If there is one thing the government hasn’t screwed up is playoff hockey. The commentators are great, they have the legend Don Cherry (love him or hate him) and Ron MacLean is the best in the business. Playoff hockey without gimmicks. No media between benches. No player or coach interviews during breaks in play.
Early on it looked like the nine-day rest since sweeping the Blues took its toll on the Canucks. They failed to register a single shot on a four-minute man advantage early in the first. Things got rolling in the late stages when some former Maple Leaf content (Mats Sundin and Kyle Wellwood) set up Pavol Demitra for the lone goal in the opening frame. Vancouver went on to score two more in the second and looked to have things wrapped up…right? If you watched any of the Calgary-Chicago series you know the answer to that one.
The Blackhawks stormed out in the third completely taking the air out of GM Place with three straight goals. 20-year old Patrick Kane had two of them. Vancouver looked totally out of it until Blackhawks defenceman Cam Barker opened the door to his own personal doghouse. He turned the puck over in the offensive zone pinning four of his teammates in Vancouver’s end and the Canucks broke out on a four-on-one. You don’t need to re-read the last line you read it correctly. Four-on-one. To top it off there was less then two minutes to play. Sami Salo pocketed a juicy rebound, Ryan Johnson found an empty net and the game is over. Vancouver wins 5-3.
The more I think about it, the more the end of the game looked like a classic rope-a-dope. The wily Canucks tricked the inexperienced Blackhawks into a false sense of confidence and pounced when the time was right. Maybe those guys in marketing are actually on to something.
Oscar worthy quote-of-the-night – “Hockey Scrum Dog Millionaire” – CBC commentator on the vast amount of post-whistle activity
Runner – up – Jeff Marek on Anaheim’s Corey Perry “Ducking Suspension”
Scott Oake is a pro, but I just don’t get his comment at the end of the game. During the post-game wrap up with Marc Crawford he commented on the fact that Chicago didn’t call it a night trailing by three and facing Roberto Luongo. Come on Mr. Oake, no one likes a quitter.
Kyle Wellwood’s night – two assists, 7-0 on the faceoff, 20 minutes of ice-time, two sticks to the face equally eight minutes worth of power play time, one chipped tooth and a pint of blood.
Cam Barker won’t be flying solo in the doghouse. He’ll be joined by fellow defenceman Brain Campbell. With Nikolai Khabibulin pulled for the extra attacker, Campbell left the blue line to go into the corner. Puck jumps over his stick, Vancouver scores and Scotty Bowman is NOT impressed.
This is my first post for Toronto Sports Media. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to reading your comments!