This was about as close as it can get. Most people said it would go seven games and, if Vancouver didn't fall asleep at the wheel for games five and six, they would have been dead wrong. But it took the full seven, it took a classic Vigneault rant and it took the rise of the "Captain" (don't sweat it Nazzy, the love is still there for ya too) to put this series to bed and help the Canucks move to the second round.
What'd we learn? As much as we wanted to see otherwise, Marty Turco is a tough son of a bitch. Granted, our offensive threats can often amount to nothing more then the buzzing gnats that surround an elephant's eyeball on a dry afternoon, but three shutouts isn't a mistake. The guy is elite, period. If people feel like hanging another early exit around his neck, they're out of their minds.
In no specific order, we also learned: Nagy is a pathetic punk (and an expensive one at that), Morrow is a gritty player who reminds me of Matt Cooke with more skill, Modano can disappear and suddenly reappear to own a game (game six specifically), Klemm is certainly no Zubov, Hagman is a goof, Boucher is good but is not having a Norris trophy year I don't care what Beezer thinks and Dave Tippett shouldn't be fired or, if he is, he should resurface in Atlanta after Hartley gets the boot.
To return to an earlier point, most people thought this would take seven games. Many thought Turco would best Luongo's inaugural cup run. It was close enough, but since hate trying to guess the future and find series predictions as mentally stimulating as a Family Circus cartoon, I feel it's my job to single out two people who went above and beyond the call of suck:
Jeremy Shaffer Roenick (Shaf is a good name actually). It’s bad enough that he just edged out a monkey with his predictions, but not surprisingly, it was his mouth that messed this one up, "I'm sorry, Canadian hockey fans, Modano is the way to go and you know I'm picking the Stars to win against Vancouver." That’s adorable and maybe you guys can talk more about it over 18 holes this week, but for the record Shaf, Modano still only had two points in seven games. Linden, by comparison, had two points in game seven alone and five overall in the series. If you ignore game six and hitting goal posts in game seven, Modano was barely noticeable. Have fun losing to the monkey in the upcoming round.
Jean-Jacques Taylor. Alanah keyed in on this guy yesterday. Prior to game seven he decided it was time to make the mother of all predictions and guarantee a victory for Dallas. A bold call considering, when reading his bio, I see not an inkling of anything Stars or hockey related in his background. But why bicker about that? So does he own up to it this morning in yet another riveting column? Sort of; he makes a very minor two word mea culpa before suggesting…(wait for it)…that the Stars be "blown up". Amazing what passes for hockey coverage in America; I guess I should be happy that the Dallas Morning News even bothers to have someone covering hockey.
Bottom line is that this was a great series. The Stars could have easily won it; they figured out a way to blatantly expose Vancouver’s weaknesses and it was quite painful at times. To see the Canucks not even show up in game six was insulting. But give them credit, when they did show up, when they did get their forecheck going and when they did learn to properly play Turco (not just in net but also when he stick handled and moved the puck out of the zone to the Dallas defense), the Canucks were very solid. And got enough done for the win which just extends their streak of getting things done both the hard way and in the ugliest way possible.
Lastly, I have a bet to myself to own up to. I did keep the drinks and liveblog part easy enough, but now comes the third component - four Vancouver wins at 25 a pop is 100 bucks to the North Texas Food Bank:
I’ll take a closer look at the Ducks/Canucks series tomorrow.