THE FAR SIDE OF THE POND: It’s Not the Size of the Fight in the Dog, it’s the Size of the Brain in the Dog

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05/06/2010 1:05 PM - By Chad Huebner

THE FOLLOWING TAKES PLACE BETWEEN 8:30 PM AND 11:15 PM.

EVENTS HAPPEN IN REAL TIME.

(I always wanted to pull a Jack Bauer. And now, without me prattling on about how important this game is to both teams, let’s get to the highlights.)

1ST PERIOD

Either the fans are waving white towels, or they all have hankies to dry their teary eyes when the ‘Hawks beat up on their favorite team. Wishful thinking.

At least when we sing the National Anthems, we have one singer for it. Vancouver seems to go with the two-man system. They guy singing “O, Canada!” looks like Ron Jeremy in a tux. Very classy. He actually stops singing for part of the song, and the entire stadium chimes in, in perfect pitch to boot. I always say we can take some pointers from Canada on how to do a perfect National Anthem.

Big Buff is playing on the same line with Kaner and Toews. He brings a bit of physicality with a pretty good job of redirecting long blasts from the blue line. It seems to be Coach Quenneville’s M.O. to put a bruiser with Kaner and Toews.

And the stupid ‘Hawk penalties keep happening! There’s yet another too many men penalty. Shouldn’t line changes be something the players should be able to do in their sleep? I’ve never seen them make so many fundamental mistakes. Focus, guys!

But Marian Hossa bails out the ‘Hawks by carrying the puck to “LUUUU’s” doorstep and drawing a penalty. He seems to get it.

HOOOOOORAY! Another ‘Hawks goal off of another juicy rebound. “LUUUU!” can’t corral the puck, and a fierce scramble results in a point-blank tally by Versteeg. ‘Hawks are spending a lot more time in the Canucks’ end than the first two games of this series.

WHOA! A Canucks’ breakaway foiled by Niemi doing a gymnastic split. He keeps getting better with every challenging save. He’s becoming the rock on which the ‘Hawks can build a solid foundation for these playoffs and the future. Hall, Espo, The Eagle. . . “Antti-Goal” Niemi?

Errr, get the puck outta there! ‘Hawks can’t get the puck out of their zone, and thus, must draw a penalty. I don’t feel too badly about this penalty as I have for the other head-scratchers. ‘Hawks are blocking shots and mucking up the neutral zone. Wait, usually the other team does those things!

And another WHOA! moment as Niemi makes phenomenal, back-to-back saves. I’m stunned, folks. We’re usually envious of other clubs who get such great goaltending. This stuff doesn’t happen to us.

The bad news to this is that it means the Canucks are spending way too much time in our zone. They’re circling the net like lions hunting a pack of gazelle. Hey, I figured it would have been too cliché to write about sharks circling a piece of chum.

Not much to report at this point. More Canuck attacks, more incredible Niemi saves and some pretty good shot blocks on second and third chances. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Uh-oh, a Canuck commits a no-no: Ryan Kesler trips Sharpie. And once again, “LUUUU” is all butterfingers when it comes to rebounds. Maybe his glove is slippery from the tears he cried last year? Anyway, Big Buff gives the ‘Hawks just their second PP goal in nine attempts in the series.

Usually, a ‘Hawk will score later on in the game after he draws a penalty. This time it’s the opposite, as Big Buff gives the Canucks PP No. 3 of the period. Maybe the ‘Hawks thrive on these PK situations. That seems to be the only explanation I have for that.

And finally, we have a bit of a fight in this series. Right after a faceoff, Dave Bolland and Daniel Sedin of the Sedin Sisters get into a row, or a scrum, if you prefer. Both sit in the penalty box and, you know, will feel shame.

I haven’t heard the crowd chant “LUUUU!” too much tonight. That’s because he can’t even hold onto the puck for an easy save. Zing! Yes, even I’m getting caught up in the hatred for the Canucks (rhymes with @#$!s).

Now the Canucks are playing like idiots with a too many men call of their own. ‘Hawks will begin the second with a lot of PP time. This is by far their best first period of the series. Maybe there’s something about this series where the road team just comes out flying in the first? Well, I hope that’s true, because then the ‘Hawks will be up 3-1 before they come back home.

2ND PERIOD

This doesn’t happen too often. How does one react when one’s team is up 2-0 after one? Restrained glee?

But not all is well as the ‘Hawks come out playing a sloppy PP, while the Canucks take a page from the ‘Hawks and play a fierce PK. Meh, we’re still up 2-0 after all of that.

Good to see Coach Q keeping Burish and Eager together on a line. I hope this is a permanent situation, especially since Madden almost had a nice tip-in goal thanks to a sweet chip-in pass by Eager. Brutality with a scoring touch. It’s like having LT in his prime carry the football down the field for a TD.

Hey, is that Guy LaFleur flying down the ice with the puck? Nope, it’s Hossa with his helmet knocked off. He gets off a great backhand-to-the-forehand shot that would do the Flying Frenchman proud.

It figures that out of all the different shots the Canucks were taking this game, the first one that would go in the net for them would be a tip-in that rolls past Niemi. So much for his third postseason shutout, but he clearly needs a better effort from his teammates the rest of the way. Canucks are constantly aggressive, while the ‘Hawks look like they’ve let their collective foot off of the gas pedal.

More “BOOOOOOs” than “LUUUU” from the fans, as they think every time their “stalwart goalie” falls down it’s because he was mugged by one of the ‘Hawks. Refs are for the most part letting the teams play their rough games.

Canucks want to play rough, but they’re starting to also play foolish. Alex Burrows starts something with Brian Campbell, and goes to the box for an instigator call. ‘Hawks make ‘em pay with another Big Buff PP goal!

You know, Canucks, you’ve actually played pretty physical for the most part this series. Whenever you knock one of our guys down with a clean hit, that kind of effort speaks more than what Burrows tried to pull.

Wait, what am I doing, giving the enemy advice? If you guys want to tussle, fine, go ahead. We’ll keep padding the score more often than not.

More idiocy from the guys in blue and green. Sharpie draws the fifth PP for the ‘Hawks. Cinco PPs en Cinco de Mayo, muy bien! No goal de PP? Eh, no problema, senores y senoritas.

(Boy, eight-plus years of Spanish in junior high and high school really paid off.)

Damn, I was really looking forward to the ‘Hawks going into intermission with another two-goal lead. But Burrows partially redeems himself for his lousy penalty with a goal that bounces off of Niemi. At least both of the Canucks’ scores were hard-to-come-by efforts. But while the ‘Hawks remain in control, this gives the Canucks a chance to regain their composure.

3RD PERIOD

Another new twist to this series: ‘Hawks have a lead after two periods against the Canucks. A lead after three would be even sweeter, of course.

Another ‘Hawk, Big Buff this time, loses his hat. He looks better with his helmet on, though.

First big “LUUUU” chant I’ve heard tonight, and it was well-deserved as he stopped Brian Campbell, who made a nice deke move, at the last absolute second. A Niemi-like pad save gives the Canuck fans some new life.

I know the Canucks are going to play super-aggressive at both ends of the ice, but I hope the ‘Hawks don’t do what they’ve done quite a bit all season and that is sit on close leads in the third, and not take the puck to the net. This’ll be a losing formula against the Canucks more often than not.

A big-time scrum in front of “LUUUU”. . . and only Big Buff gets sent off? C’mon, refs, it takes two to tangle. There were quite a few blue jerseys in the middle of that fight club. Yet another solid PK effort, though. It’s been the ‘Hawks’ saving grace all postseason.

Maybe they should rename Luongo “The Great Rebounder”; this goal courtesy of his pads, which Hossa slots it home, for just his second postseason goal (though he’s got a great combo going with Sharpie when they’re on the same line). Meet the new “LUUUU!”, same as the old “LUUUU!”

Did I say the ‘Hawks looked like they were going to sit on the 3-2 lead? Umm, well, I’ll put a buck in the “I’m Wrong Again” Jar. Canucks have really eased off their physical play, so things are starting to open up in the neutral and Vancouver zones.

Now, it looks like the ‘Hawks are up 5-2, but this goal might need another look-see. It’s not so much shot in as it was pushed in by the collective force of Kaner, Big Buff and a couple of Canuckleheads. “LUUUU!” gets shoved into the net, which luckily doesn’t come off its moorings. Replays show it was a pretty good goal, and yes, Big Buff will get his first postseason hat trick. He’s been the man down low that the Canucks have no answers for.

The whole goal wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for some determined forechecking by Toews, who dug the puck out from the side boards and kept it in the zone so Kaner and Buff could shove it down the Canuckleheads’ throats. The Captain need not score every goal, just fight for the chance for his team to score.

Ahhhhhhh, time to kick back and relax a bit. No way the ‘Hawks are that lazy to give up a three-goal lead with less than four minutes to go.

And “Alexis” Burrows gets thrown out of the game for one fight too many. Wahhhhhh! For some reason, Shane O’Brien goes after Marian Hossa for seemingly no reason. Someone needs to teach the Ca*ucks (hint: place an “f” where the “n” should be) how to fight. Are any of the Hanson Brothers available for some lessons?

Anyway, such stupid play just gives the ‘Hawks a PP with a little over three minutes to go. In other words, GAME OVER. Better put this dog down. 

Remember; e-mail me at chadhuebner1972@yahoo.com for anything on your mind. Best responses and/or questions will be answered publicly.







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