(No photos available yet. I'll leave you to decide who was Marcellus tonight...)
Ahhhh, the rivalry. We often think that this whole "thing" with the Hawks as a recent thing, especially the younger ones. Hairpulling, fishhooking, sweater tattering line brawls will get the attention of the fans and the teams.
For me, it all started in 1982. Towel Power. I was almost 19, and remember how the Hawks became an anathema for me as a Canuck fan. When noted Hawks fan and referee Bob Myers felt the home team was flagging, and not only waived off a goal, but punished the visitors with power play after power play. Roger Neilson may not have known what he was starting, but it electrified the city. ( Richard Brodeur said afterwards that " the atmosphere in the room after we lost that game was so positive it was like we had won" ). Losing four straight to the Islanders was less painful ( and honestly, even as a young fan I knew we had no chance against that team. ) as a result of beating the Hawks to get there.
It came and went over the years, and we should all be ecstatic that the rivalry is at its zenith right now. Hockey fans in general should be as well. Its some of the best hockey seen since the lockout. Playing thirty two times and having the tally be 16-16 in the last three years does not hurt either. Who won the best of thirty three and how after the break.
ESPN ( stats )
NHL ( clips )
It is fascinating though. the amount of hyperbole and invective hurled back and forth when it is a game between these two teams. Perhaps the fact that both fan bases have clearly defined heroes and villains on each team. Guys like Alexandre Burrows and Maxim Lapierre are counterbalanced by Dave Bolland and Daniel Carcillo.
The heroes, well, we all have our outlooks on who and why, but even there, while there is grudging respect, there is opposing heroes that are thought villains. Henrik Sedin forever enraged Hawks fans when they clearly misunderstood his context when commenting about the Hawks being "lucky". Though he has to be given at least some respect by them for his skills as a player, there is no doubt that this is their reaction to any mention of his name.
The same with Jonathan Toews here. Of course it is always prefaced with respect and love for the Olympics play, and of course is more begrudging in regards to the way the man always brings it on the ice. But that is tainted by his steadfast refusal, unlike ( somewhat surprisingly for some ) his teammate Patrick Kane, to give the other team any credit whatsoever. We know you are a "competitor" JT, but when you have lost seven of the last ten games between the two, don't you think at least a superficial tip of the New Era cap would be warranted?
Hawks Heroes and Villains ;
Hero - Jonathan Toews. For all the kvetching about his attitude and whatnot, the man can play the game when he is enthused. He came to play tonight. Hard on the puck all night, his play in the Canucks end was solid. He had a goal and was solid in the face off circle all night. Won the two way player battle tonight.
Hero - Marian Hossa. The guy with the girl name ( not that there is anything wrong with that ) was a beast all night. His play caused the Toews goal, and the Montador one. Three assists, and he was hard to handle all night.
Villain - Dave Bolland. Nothing new for this douchebag. Not that he did not have a decent enough game in the faceoff circle and what not. But the man has zero class. Look asshole, Frolik was bumped by Edler in the slot. He slid into the boards and that is too bad, but you never go to the ref and point at the other guy and ask for a penalty the way you did.
Hero - Duncan Keith. Not so much on the scoresheet. He only had an assist and 3 blocks. But he was very good at getting his stick to pucks on shots and passes, and clearing rebounds in front. He worked well with Montador, who also had a solid game.
Hero - Corey Crawford. He made some big big saves when he had to, but the two guys above helped him out a lot too. There were two odd man rushes in the first where open tap ins into empty nets were there for the taking, and were denied by the stick of a defender or the goalie. He was better at rebound control than his counterpart tonight as well.
Canuck Heroes and Villains ;
Well, there is not that much to find positive in a 5-1 beatdown, but let's see what we can see.
Hero - Jannik Hansen was pretty solid in his extended stretch of Sedin play. Two shots on goal and I am disagreeing with the stats guy that says he had no hits, as I saw him clobber Keith in the third. Too bad that did not happen earlier. Still learning the Twins a bit, but was part of the solution more than the problem tonight.
Villain - I love our coach. I am an AV fan, and one of the reasons why is that he rewards hard work with ice time. But I did not understand the need to move Cody Hodgson down the line up in the second. He barely saw the ice, and while I like Dale Weise, his hands are not going to replace Silent G's. He only ended up with about a minute or two less TOI than Lapierre and Booth, but that kind of disjointed things more than it helped jolt the team. That line was not killing it tonight anyhow. I just thought Godson has done enough in this early season to earn the benefit of the doubt after the bad shift we all saw.
Villains - The new second line. Where to start. Ryan Kesler was beasting at times, and did not get any help from the refs ( first I saw it I thought it was a dive, but that faceoff with Mayers, I think it was more he got surprised. It did almost look like a head butt to the chest by Billygoat Mayers as well though ), but you could sense the frustration still in his game. Alexandre Burrows was running around without a purpose too many times. You can see flashes with that line, and they should still stay together, because I think there is something there. But tonight was just not their night. Chris Higgins had 4 shots ( Kesler 2, Burrows 2 ), but was also a -2 like Kesler. They each took a minor penalty tonight. Not good.
Hero - Kevin Bieksa. Yes, he was jumping a bit too much, and got caught a couple times. But he was also the only defender to finish a plus (+1), blocked 2 shots, had a takeaway, and was dangerous jumping up all night. Its funny he did not get credited a shot, only two missed ones. The game might have ran out a little different had he not hit the post. Naaaahhhh, it probably would have turned out the same. Juice still had a decent enough game though.
You get the idea, I could go on and on, but let's not go totally negative after a loss. Sure, the team is back to .500, and other teams have games in hand on the Canucks. But I do still believe in this team. They just did not get a break early, and the Hawks were better tonight. It does not mean that they ARE better, but they were tonight. Corey Schneider had a rough night late, but kept them in early. That first period was solid. Its the second that was once again a horror show for the home team. Upward and onward. I am sure the experts at TEAM 1040 will bat this one around like a cat with a mouse for a few days anyhow to remind us anyhow!
Stop right here if you do not want to see the ref inspired rant to follow. This rant is a personal opinion and in no way reflects the opinions of the management... ( though it probably does reflect the opinions of the fans in the arena tonight. They seemed as incredulous as I was at the proceedings )
I have really tried to dial back the ref baiting this year. But consider this a one time exemption from the pledge I did make to do do so.
Are you fucking kidding me Brad Meiers? Are you the bastard spawn of noted Hawk lover and Roger Neilson hater Bob Meyers? That penalty you called as time expired was a middle finger to the fans booing you right? Its a shame when it is not called down the line. Maybe there is something to this "rep" bullshit, or maybe some of these bastards just have some favorite teams. But give me a fucking break. Here is what I caught from my viewing of the HD broadcast. I know we miss some of the stuff. Good thing we have you and Ian Walsh on the case. Here is what you missed.
Judgement call my ass. Too many men is too many men. You anal assholes call that penalty on guys that just get their one skate on the bench and have the other touch the puck, let alone the two in the first period. JT clearly playing the puck with the guy he is replacing standing right beside him. Its a penalty. Call it. The hook on Henrik Sedin at the line, the breaking of Hansen's stick on a scoring chance, those are almost automatics, and while I thought the broken stick merited a call, I was OK with "letting them play". But then you did not. What are people supposed to think when it is so arbitrary and there are two clear standards at play? I mean, Kesler's penalty was a pretty easy trip to call. But the stick from Burrows that gave the Hawks a huge 2-1 goal was something you let the Hawks do all fucking night. It did not even impede the play in the slightest. Its a penalty in the rulebook. Guilty. But in the context of this game, where you let other stuff far worse go, that was a bullshit call Brad.
So, either let them play, or call it tight. But don't just ignore shit from the other team and call weak ass penalties like the one on Burrows on the other. Fucking Montador has a Sedin in a two handed bearhug in the corner and it was right in front of you. How in the fuck is that not a call? At least you did not buy the tacky dive Corey Crawford tried on Daniel Sedin. Because you are, after all, professionals right?
Assholes. You cannot tell me the Hawks did not deserve at least one minor tonight. I am sure Barry Rozner will call it great coaching or some such shit. How "disciplined" the visitors were. Yeah right.
Thank you. End of rant. I promise to not do that very often, but you have to let it out sometimes!