My favorite book as a young man ( I was 12 when introduced to it ) was The Hobbit, and the other works of J.R.R Tolkien. The imagery the man could invoke in a young imagination was addictive, and while Lord of the Rings of course followed, it was the Hobbit and the wonderful culmination of the story in The Battle Of Five Armies, that stoked the fires of imagination ( sorry, thats all we have until Peter Jackson is done. We're waiting Peter...no pressure ).
One of my favorites of all the bloggers in Vancouver has been Harrison Mooney for a while now ( and not to blow smoke you know where dear sir, but you have a way with words that invokes imagery. Not like the man above of course. But it is hockey, not ,orcs (though Carbomb reminds me of one), wargs, dwarves, elves, and men! ).
While reading his excellent lead up article from his new gig at the Yahoo salt mines, I saw a ready made Recap, and a way to link to a few of my favorite things. Lazy? We'll see, they are good questions. Thanks Harrison...
Besides, Hawk / Canuck games usually live up to the hype. Let's see how they did in answering the "Five Battles..." after the break.
Well, damn. That was entertaining, and satisfying on so many levels for the Canucks and their fans. Note to NHL, do NOT take penalties right now on the Canucks. Their power play should have Sweet Georgia Brown playing on the broadcasts.
Now, onto answering Harrison's fine five points to consider.
Point #1. Carcillo vs. Good behaviour ; Mr Dan Carcillo played a little out of his shoes tonight. He sure tried to be effective, and he threw some big hits and got involved when he could. But let's check that stat line a bit closer. Five penalties for twenty one frigging minutes. He was penalized for ; high sticking on Ballard on a play that took his team off their own power play in the first. But it was not him that gave the lethal ( 5 for 6 ) power play chance after chance. That was Brian Bickell. All Carbomb did was have a fight with Aaron Volpatti in the second, and put in some of his 10:51 TOI on the power play. ( He had 3:26 on the man advantage! ). No, it was in the third where his special brand of play cost the Hawks. Not that it would have mattered the way the penalty kill for the Hawks was playing compared to the very good PP for the visitors, but after a chance on a wraparound ( was credited with 1 shot, I am guessing that was it? ), obviously, in the eyes of the officials, he went to far, falling on Luongo to make his point after the puck was long frozen. Maybe Lui was playing out of his shoes at that point. Maybe Carcillo got a little hard done by with a "reputation" call A misconduct, and 2 minors compared to Aaron Rome's one was the tally, and it led to the game's last goal. So. Overall, Carbomb blew up, and was not on his "good behavior". Thanks Dan!
Point #2. Ryan Kesler vs. Jonathan Toews ; Well, Captain Serious did have 5 shots to the KesLord's 1, but they were pretty well mirrored on the stat sheet besides that. Kesler was an even, had 1 shot on net, one miss, a hit and a takeaway, while winning 13 of 24 draws. Almost half of his TOI was on special teams. 5:36 of #beastmode on the PP. Seriously. How he did not get a point somehow, while being a Bull in front of the net. played a hand in a bunch of that PP success...and 4:11 of a PK that was perfect on five opportunities. Johnny T'? Well, he did have the 5 shots, and a block, a hit, and a takeway, while having a respectable 12 of 22 success in the circle. But only Micheal Frolik had more time on that PK as a forward for the home team. Honestly though, the way they were throwing it around, even a couple JT's on the PK would not have helped. Even though they were not head to head as much tonight, give this one to KesLord on the judges' scorecards due to the general awesomeness of the power play and his no points contribution there.
Point #3. "To say Roberto Luongo has had his struggles at the United Centre is an understatement..." ; Indeed Harrison. Hands up who thought we were in for a long night after that first "snack goal". Hell, we should start a new category on Snack Goals, and call that a "MFing Snacker". You have to love Cheech on the broadcast trying to find a "touch" in there by Rome ( as a goalie, its a reflex to fulfill that adherence to Goalie Guild bylaws huh Mr Garrett ? ), but that was just a bad goal. He admitted as much afterwards. But it was how he handled it. The "LUUUUUUUUUUUU"s were so loud and mocking, you just had to smile and love Hawk fans. His team stood in there and produced for him, and were forcing a lot of shots to the outside, but there was plenty of goaltending brilliance to make the UC calm down. That second goal was as much a solid play by Marcus Kruger, and a rebound where both Ballard and Lapierre could have got there a bit quicker. His response to a Hawk reporter ( I am betting Rozner, he sounded bitchy ) about "tell us what happened on the Frolik goal..." was "I'd rather talk about the other 38 saves...", but obviously said for humour as the room erupts. ( he also said "it was a knuckler I should have had”" ) The save on Leddy at the end of the second was awesome. He kept the UC quiet, gave the Hawks no momentum to go into the room with, kept the score 4-2, and was a very good goaltender tonight under the usual klieg light intensity of a visit to the UC overall. Weebles wobble but they don't fall down. And as always, it is a team game, and his guys did a great job around him on rebounds, moving guys or getting sticks all night long.
Point #4. Kevin Bieksa vs. Anyone ( but preferably those weaker than him ) ; Juice did pretty good tonight, all things considered. The Hawks at their best use their speed and puck control down low to make defensemen look foolish. He had a giveaway ( though not on the scoresheet linked above ), and made a couple rushed plays on the puck, but he was mainly awesome as an even, with 2 shots, 2 blocks, a hit and with 3:29 of his 21:03 TOI ( not even close to the most as is the norm for him on some nights. Alexander Edler was at 26:23 ). But it was "THIS" that put paid to the sly allusion of Mr Mooney of picking his spots ( I thought Viktor Stalberg wanted that fight last year, in much the same way Patrick Marleau wanted to fight in the playoffs ) with a knockdown, drag it out battle at the end of the second with Jamal Mayers. He got tagged, and scored the telling blow. He also played lockdown on the blue line after that with a variety of partners from Ballard, to Hamhuis, Rome, and Alberts. AV kept his forward lines clicking along pretty much all night. Rick Bowness had the blue line pairings in the blender, and it was fine. So, a positive for the Canucks again on the scorecard. It may be a sweep of the 5 points Harrison raised!
Point #5. David Bolland vs. The Sedins. Not tonight Rat. I know, the power plays were not where you could do your dastardly deeds unnoticed, but the Twins produced a goal for Jannik Hansen 5 on 5 as well versus your line. Your 2:47 on the PK was not particularly daunting, though you did get Daniel with a hit that took out his brother as well on one of them. The 2:56 on the PK of your 15:07 total TOI was frankly inept ( though it was less than the Carbomb got out there ), and the 6 of 16 draws cannot please Joel and his moustache. 1 shot, 1 missed, and 1 block. I may have missed it, but I did not even see a slewfoot or slash to a Sedin knee all night long. What's up Bolly, feeling sick? The Sedins and Hansen, on PP and 5 on 5, produced, combined ; 3 goals, 8 points, and 12 shots. Wonder Twins powers activate! Shape of...a "snow shower" ( what's the big deal guys? Both on the Kane penalty and the one Bolland would have got called on if Bickell did not run Daniel, the snow was barely over his pads. Don't tell me the Hawks players succumbed to some Swedish "gamesmanship"? )
Of course, we Canuck fans are pretty giddy about this one, and probably hope that the team played sooner than Thursday versus the Kings in California. I hear they are going to play Pebble Beach at some point of those three days off. team building should be a ton more fun after a game in which every line looked good. Cody Hodgson made another line ( the third tonight ) better with him on it. David Booth had his best game as a Canuck, scoring the first, and his first, goal. His -2 was as extraneous to his performance as Ballard's -2 was. The snack goal, and a great play by Kruger. Yes, maybe they could have handled the second better, but both players were beast along the boards, underrated on the breakouts, and strong and engaged all game long. Booth had 4 shots, and Ballard another hip check and strong play with most everyone he was paired with.
And, as always, there is Aaron Rome. A goal and assist, 2 hits, strong in front of the net all night. The Cult of Rome grows stronger every day as more realize his special crunchy brand of goodness.
Lastly, I cannot decide, which PP would go better with Sweet Georgia Brown? Some choices here.