So they're still at it. Bruins fans and the anti-Canucks people out there along with a good portion of the media are still insisting upon making this a bigger story than it needs to be. Forget the fact the Bruins have now violated a league rule 3 times in their last 3 games by squirting fans or opposing players with water bottles. An alleged 'pinching with teeth' is another chapter of 'Why The Vancouver Canucks are the WORST THING EVER!!!!'. I know the Bruins are loving every minute of this, as it's been able to keep the focus off their lack of discipline and things like the dirty two handed chop to the ankle of Henrik Sedin by Chris Kelly as Andrew Ference is cross-checking him. The Bruins are no doubt going to ramp up the dirtiness in Game 2 to try and get their kickass power play on the ice.
The Canucks will also need to move past the hiccup that was their PP in Game 1 and get back to what they have done at a near historic pace this post season: make their opponents pay for taking penalties. They're going to have to get a little bit more separation from the Bruins penalty killers, and move the puck quickly so they can get Thomas scrambling.
There's going to be some lineup changes tonight, with Dan Hamhuis listed as day to day after tweaking something on that monumental hipcheck he threw at Milan Lucic (which by the way was neither late nor low. I get it Bruins fans, it's a shock to see big Looch get schooled like that, but that's no excuse for not understanding what a hipcheck looks like. And while you're at it, you might wanna get John Kerry a copy of the rule book and CBC's feed). It could also see the return of Manny Malhotra to the lineup, as we mentioned in an earlier post. It's more likely he will be in for Game 3, but I wouldn't rule it out.
It appears as though Coach Alain Vigneault is leaning towards starting Andrew Alberts tonight, but as he's showed us so far in the these playoffs, trying to guess what he's going to do can be a frustrating endeavor. I do find myself scratching my head when I see people claiming that this is going to tilt the scales in a major way towards the Bruins however. Yes, the loss of Hamhuis would hurt the Canucks, but not nearly as bad as some are making you think. If they really believe this, they haven't been paying attention to what the Canucks went through with their D this season. It's almost like they only paid attention to teams on the other side of the continent or something...
The Bruins did an okay job of keeping the Sedins at bay in Game 1, and should see if they can try and use the last change a little more effectively in game 1 to try and get away from the defensive pairing of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. This strategy worked against the Sharks and could allow the 1st line to get the time and space they need. You have to wonder if the Bruins don't try and shift a bit of the focus away from one of the lines to try and contend with the Canucks 3rd line. Maxime Lapierre, Jannik Hansen and Raffi Torres were the best line on the ice Wednesday night, and could take this series over unless the Bruins find a way to deal with their combination of speed, size and tenacity.
Another thing the Canucks will be keeping an eye on is Tim Thomas leaving his crease to initiate contact with Canucks forwards. He was successful in drawing a penalty in Game 1, and they have more than likely drawn this to the attention of the officials. I suppose we should all be keeping an eye on Brad 'Goodnight Mrs. Kallabash' Marchand, if he should end up in the penalty box. Marchand went off on the Green Men today, calling them 'stupid'. Honestly Brad, I don't know what's more stupid: the fact that you don't get these guys don't talk while doing their schtick, or the fact you're focused on a couple fans as you prepare for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. That my friends is a sign this Bruins team, despite having the 2000 year old man in the lineup, lacks the maturity it takes to win the Cup.
WAACH 'Cast's Classic Album Of The Day: IRON MAIDEN- Powerslave
Album #5 from these NWOBHM legends stands today as one of their most revered. Classic songs here, along with some of the finest and most memorable art to ever grace an album cover. I had a chance to see them when they did the tour with this album's original stage set, and it was incredible. Iron Maiden continue to kick ass today as they did in the 80's, and their millions of fans worldwide prove that.