I really didn't feel like writing this morning to be honest. No, I am not all ready to swing from the rafters over Monday night's game, just low on energy. And as I sit down and prepare to discuss tonight's game, I realized something. I really don't need to come up with something new. I can just take things I've said before about the Canucks being in the situation they're in; needing a crucial win. They would be wise to revisit things in their past that worked as well...
A win, and they go home for a best of 3 with home ice advantage. A loss, and they're really in trouble. The question remains: Can the Vancouver Canucks pull together and defeat the Vancouver Canucks tonight? Doing so will help them defeat the Los Angeles Kings.
The Canucks last couple games have been a how to manual of self-abuse, really. The things that this team did so right all season long seem like a distant memory. They may as well have happened in '94, that's how far removed this team looked from it the last few nights. But a solid, 60 minute effort that includes discipline and the 'win every shift' mentality should get them back on track. Simplify the game plan, amplify the effort. Be Willie.
I know it's not easy, but the Canucks and we as fans need to tune out the garbage: thoughts of conspiracy; taunts from 'professional' journalists, as well as bloggers and opposition fans and the past. None of that matters. Live in the now, man! 1 game will radically change this series. You can sit there and howl about injustice (and it was, let there be no doubt about it), or you can cheer this team on. It's your choice.
In a playoff full of surprises, this is the least shocking:
Imagine this: The highly touted Chicago Blackhawks suddenly struggling to a team they consider beneath them, after talking all season long as though the 82 games were just a formality until their coronation. After a 4-1 loss to the Predators, the Hawks media and fans let loose on the team, accusing them of things some of us were saying last season already. The sense of entitlement the team has been emanating has been downright nauseating at times. I have likened them to the early 80's Oilers: young, insanely talented, but also unnecessarily arrogant, disrespectful and cocky. The 82 Oilers got exactly what they deserved when they were unceremoniously dumped in the first round by the LA Kings, and a first round loss to the Predators could be the best thing to happen to Chicago. A little humility goes a long way. In the meantime, it's rather enjoyable to see someone else's fanbase throwing players under the bus.
Not terribly shocked to see the Sharks tie up that series at 2 a piece last night. Does this mean they may be able to break this curse? I'm not a gambling man, but if I was, you wouldn't even catch me in the same time zone as that one. I am not ready to declare it over until it's over, simple as that.
One thing that needs to be made clear: some of us complaining about officiating in this year's playoffs aren't just applying that to the Canucks/Kings series. That first goal in the Detroit/Phoenix game just reeked. No way in hell did Todd Bertuzzi touch that puck. Why has the officiating, which has been horrible all year, seemingly turned up the suck now that the playoffs are here? Games are being directly affected by blown calls. I predict that this year's Stanley Cup finals will feature a blown call that will make the Brett Hull winner for the Stars a few years ago mild by comparison.