VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 18: Ben Eager #55 of the San Jose Sharks goes to the penalty box after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for standing over goaltender Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks (not in photo) and taunting him in the third period in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 18, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.The Canucks defeated the Sharks 7-3. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
I guess they sure will be "suffering enough" in Northern California hockey circles to be writing it all down. Ben Eager and his Sad Songs tonight sure did say so much. They said that if the man would just shut up and play, he would be a player we might be scared of in this series.
But his antics were the main reason his team was out of it. Keep taking the dumb penalties Benny ( does that make Clowe one of the Jets?) . The comments in the post game interviews were pretty funny. I don't really think Mr. Bieksa much cares what you think of him Mr. Eager. You cost your team a game tonight, and your coach says you are in the next one. Keep it up, and hockey fans everywhere will start calling you Ogie Ogglethorpe.
It is just fine with this Canuck fan if the San Jose coach wants this guy in the line up. Though maybe the coach should wait until the NHL discipline office gets done with him first. Oh yeah, the Canucks still outhit the supposed bigger team 43 to 35, and had 10 takeaways to only 4 for the "desperate" team.
With all the talk, boasting of hitting more, and tear filled eyes while muttering about the calls, the San Jose Sharks continue to totally ignore one absolute certainty that is making the biggest impact on this series. The Vancouver Canucks are just faster than the team from San Jose. All this talk of the Sharks just needing to be in quicker on the defenders, or just having to hit them more, was just that, talk. They tried. They got burned. Next game plan for Friday guys?
Tough for gingers, those Twins huh? ;
It seems the hue and cry that was in the air after the series versus the Preds should be just about done by now. The Sedins are back to driving the bus. Tonight, Daniel showed that a little thing like a possible suspendible offense, running him from behind, is not going to work either.
How did Henrik Sedin do tonight? Well, in 31 shifts and 19:27 TOI ( 4:59 PP ), he accumulated 3 assists, mostly of the Sedinery variety. A +1, with 2 shots on, and 2 missed, as well as 1 takeaway. He went 5 for 21 in the circle, but that was not as bad as it looked, because the team won back a lot of those pucks. Joe Pavelski was a big part of that tonight as well, going 15 of 24 in that self same circle. 9.3/10.
Daniel Sedin? Well, for me, bouncing right back up after being run from behind by Eager may have meant his team only got a minor power play instead of the five minute variety, but I loved it. It does not mean I do not think that should be a suspension of maybe a game ( which I am torn about. Eager does more for our team when he is on the ice! ), but its good to see a guy pop right back up. He made them pay in other ways anyhow. In 29 shifts and 21:02 TOI ( 5:26 PP ), Daniel had 2 goals. He was a +1 with 4 shots. He had a takeaway. No way in hell I am blaming him for that weak call on him for cross checking Dany Heatley. Might be time for the Sharks to stop whining about "embellishment" though. 9.6/10.
Alexandre Burrows just works hard every night. Sometimes he gets on the score sheet for it, sometimes no. But he just leaves it on the ice most every night. You cannot complain about that! Tonight, in 26 shifts and 18:19 TOI ( 2:24 PP / 1:25 PK ), Mr Everything had 1 assist and was a +2. He had 5 shots on net, missing one more. 1 takeaway as well. But it was his team high 8 hits that gave the Twins room and helped him make an impact. 9/10.
Ryan Kesler is STILL a Badass ;
So, in a game where the Canucks put up a touchdown, our leading playoff scorer Ryan Kesler, is kept off the score sheet. It was not for lack of trying. In his 32 shifts and 20:55 TOI ( 5:18 PP / 1:40 PK ), he finished a +1. His 3 shots on net were dangerous, as were the 2 others that missed, for that matter! He was marked down for 3 hits, but it was his 18 of 23 draws that was pretty impressive too. A sub 9 mark to give him something to shoot for...8.7/10.
Tonight, it was his line mates that helped out. Chris Higgins, for instance. He is just a smart hockey player. The play on Bieksa's goal, where the cameras caught him at the bench until the Sharks guys went off ( and where he went to his blue line, took the break out pass and fed a streaking Bieksa perfectly ) was wicked smart. In 26 shifts and 14:23 TOI (2:16 PP ), he certainly filled up the score sheet. 1 goal, 2 assists, and a +2. 2 shots, 1 missed, and 1 blocked. 3 hits and 2 takeaways, in addition to winning the 2 draws he took, is good enough for me. 9.8/10.
Mason Raymond seems to be getting better every game as well. In 26 shifts and 15:05 TOI ( 2:42 PP / :13 PK ), he had a goal and an assist, was a +2, and used his speed to keep defenders chasing all night. 2 shots, and 2 hits fill up his tally nicely. 9.2/10.
Damn, this third line kicks ass! ;
Maxim Lapierre is not Manny Malhotra. He is quickly getting almost as much love from the Canuck faithful though. No matter what Ryane Clowe says! In 23 shifts and 15:12 TOI ( :41 PP ) He had no points and a +1. 6 of 14 in the circle. 1 shot, and missed 1. Blocked 1, and 2 hits, plus 1 takeaway is not the most impressive line. a 10 minute penalty in the last 10 seconds was actually a good thing though, standing up to Eager's douchebaggery. Maxim's game was all about the pressure his line put on all night, even without results. They were mostly in the SJ end this evening. 9.1/10.
Raffi Torres is fast becoming the playoff performer we heard he was in '06. Tonight, our very own Raging Bull had another productive night. In his 25 shifts and 14:46 TOI ( :41 PP ), Raffi scored a goal. He was a +1. His 3 shots were matched by 3 misses, but he also had a takeaway and 3 hits ( and made defenders get rid of the puck quicker out of fear all night ) His penalty was a roughing one, and eager took one back, so let's not blame him for that. Should get a thank you card instead! It's Eager. 9.15/10.
Jannik Hansen came into the Canuck line up in the playoffs against Dallas in '07, so he knows what its all about. His skill gets questioned occasionally from the outside, but no one can question Beaker's will. In 24 shifts and 14:39 TOI ( :26 PP / :28 PK ), he had an assist, was a +1, with 1 shot and 1 missed. He had 3 hits, and his 10 minute penalty was another of those last second variety, where it was more about standing up to attempted bullying, rather than hurting the team. 9.15/10.
Did I see a 4th line in the 3rd period? ;
Maybe it was partially the score. I think it was just as much the fact that the Moose Line was able to handle the extra work. Hell, I saw them out versus the Thornton line in the 3rd period! I know part of that was the score, but lets not belittle it. Cody Hodgson's line had a good night, even if they were all a -1 each. The rookie centre had 12 shifts and 6:43 TOI. ( 1:31 PP...late ) He had 1 shot, blocked 1, and went 5 for 8 in the circle. Every day, he gets a little better. 8.75/10.
Victor Oreskovich was also a -1 in his 13 shifts and 8:36 TOI ( 1:46 of garbage PP time ), he was credited with 1 shot and 1 hit. That does not tell the whole story. The 4th line pressed their counterparts hard. Wrecker's speed showed on numerous shifts, forcing the Shark defenders into mistakes. 8.74/10.
Jeff Tambellini did not score a goal. He did not make a breakaway saving speed rush like his last game. But in 11 shifts and 7:14 TOI ( 1:31 late PP ), he had 2 hits and a takeaway. Their line all got -1 each because Eager got a late goal, but that minor lapse should not keep him out of the line up again. 8.75/10.
Blue line scoring? Damn Skippy ;
Tonight's star was Kevin Bieksa, obviously. Tonight, Juice played 23 shifts and 18:55 TOI ( 2:16 Pp / 1:32 PK ). Other guys played more. Helluva impact though. He had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. A +2, a goal, an assist, and a fight he did not go looking for, but sure finished. 1 shot on goal ( ahhh, the ol' 100% shooting %! ), 1 block, 5 hits, and a takeaway filled his score sheet. His goal was awesome, he is awesome, and I don't care if others got more points. He gets a 10/10 from me for his whole game. Maybe its an easy score. Don't care!
His partner Dan Hamhuis is just as important to Juice's success. In 29 shifts and 20:12 TOI ( 2:37 PP / 1:25 PK ), Dan had 3 assists, and was a +2. 2 shots on net, 2 missed, and 4 hits, along with his steady and smart, most the time, play in his own end. 9.25/10.
The big minute guy tonight was Alexander Edler. Tonight, he had 30 shifts and 24:13 TOI ( 5:08 PP / :21 PK ), and finished a -1 with an assist. 5 shots on net, none missed. 2 blocks, 2 hits, 1 takeaway, and a team high 3 giveaways.8.5/10.
His partner Sami Salo did not put in as much time on his 29 shifts. 18:25 TOI ( 2:19 PP / :28 PK ) An even, with 2 shots, a block and a giveaway. I did not notice Sami much tonight. I guess that is a good thing right? 8.51/10.
Good old Christian Ehrhoff. He gets guff sometimes for his play in his own end, but man, what a play on the Torres goal. He was mainly with Rome again tonight, though some of his 29 shifts and 22:54 TOI was spent with Edler ( mainly on the power play, and just as a power play would end. He has 6:08 on the PP! ). 1 assist and a +1, with 2 shots, 1 block, and 2 hits. 9/10.
Aaron Rome is not known for his offense. But his goal tonight was a smart play down low, reading the play, going to the right spot, and making his chance count. In 22 shifts and 15:21 TOI ( 1:20 PP ), he had that goal, was a +2. Scored on his only shot, but missed another. He had 2 blocks and 3 hits, but his early minor did cost a goal. 8.99/10.
Are we really going to view EVERY goal against through a microscope? ;
Roberto Luongo. Lets see, he had to make less huge saves than the guy at the other end. He made some good ones when it was needed. The first goal was a nice move by Couture on a solid power play rush. The second was one of those scrambley ones. Perhaps he could have gotten his glove on it faster. The third was, to me, goalie interference, but I honestly think the refs did not care that much at that point. His defenders could have did better at boxing out Eager. 8.5/10.
Is that the best the Sharks have got? They could have very well scored on an Eager shot off the post early, and maybe the game has a different slant with an early 2-0 lead on the road. But I honestly think it would not have mattered. I will say that the Sharks seem like they have not learned enough, or are just not disciplined enough, to go to the Stanley Cup Finals.
A few examples? Well, Eager obviously, calling Bieksa a "phony" for not just standing there and letting Marleau punch him in the yap. Eager again, for what may just get him suspended tomorrow, a run at Daniel Sedin in which he said he was going to do it, and then did it. Oh, that was Daniel's fault for turning for a puck there. The Clowe comments about Lapierre, calling him a "coward" for shaking the gloves and not dropping them, while forgetting to mention it was selfish of him to even try to fight there, are a bit more understandable, though still sounded like an excuse to deflect from the fact that the guy that vowed to be a badass had 5 hits, yes, but only 1 shot and a -1.
Through it all, the Canucks just kept skating and ignoring that noise. Its something they have talked about doing, and have done, all season long. If the Sharks don't get more mature, they will be out of the playoffs pretty quick. Game 3 should be interesting, to see how they play, if nothing else. Its definitely not over. But the Sharks need to STFU and just play the game.