Not much to say here that hasn’t already been said. The Canucks are a joke. On the WCS Playoff Preview podcast I had the Canucks beating the Kings in 7. If I had any balls I would have picked the Kings. The Kings aren’t a normal 8 seed. They struggled to score all season, but the Jeff Carter trade gave them the added ammunition they needed. They are the perfect type of team to beat Vancouver. Great goaltending and great skaters throughout the lineup…but most importantly…they are tough. The Canucks always struggle with team that play hard, legal, tough hockey. The Kings followed the blue print that the Blackhawks and Bruins designed. If you play physical and frustrate them with goaltending, team defense, and skating the Canucks have enough guys that will just flat-out quit. They proved it again against LA.
This is going to be a very active summer for the Canucks. It probably starts with the firing of Allain Vigneault. The coach must set the tone and create the culture for team, he has failed to come up with a formula that wins in the playoffs. After the coach is fired, the Canucks will most likely look to move one of their two goalies. It’s become pretty obvious that the Canucks trust young goaltender Cory Schneider more than veteran Roberto Luongo. However, even though the Canucks would rather keep the younger Schneider it may be impossible to unload Luongo given his baggage and more importantly his long-heavy contract. Schneider would fetch a greater return in the trade market, but the Canucks need to decide if the locker room and Luongo’s psyche is strong enough for him to take back the starting job with no issues. The Canucks have some holes to fill throughout the rest of the roster, but that may be tough to do considering their cap situation. The Canucks have $55 million committed to 17 players for the 2012-13 season and will need to replace/re-sign Sami Salo, Mason Raymond(RFA), and Sami Pahlsson. Which is tough to do when you are carrying the bloated contracts of David Booth and Keith Ballard. Both of whom make over $4 million per season.
Long story longer…the Canucks championship window with the core of the Sedins, Kesler, and Luongo is rapidly closing(if it hasn’t shut already). Things appear as if they will get worse before they get better. The Canucks have benefitted in the regular season greatly by playing in the NHL’s worst division year in and year out. The Avalanche and the Oilers are on the rise, and if realignment goes through then the Canucks are in real trouble. Could be another 40 years of rioting and walking in the desert for the fans of Vancouver. Keep shining those President’s Trophies though. As a Blackhawks fan, I’d love to have an ash tray that looks as nice as that.
PS: As the Kings-Canucks series began winding down, I found myself hoping the Canucks would come back. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but the Canucks are a better round 2 match up for the Blackhawks than the Preds would be and I still love that rivalry.
Follow me @WindyCitiSports
Can we just fast forward to October? The summer sports scene is brutal now that the NHL and NBA are done. Baseball just isn’t doing it for me these days. Maybe because Chicago is like a black-hole of baseball talent. Is it me or was baseball better when guys were roided up? The Blackhawks schedule is out for 2011-12 and these are games that I won’t be putting on StubHub.
Saturday October 15th vs Boston Stanley Cup champs roll into town very early in the season. Marchand and Seguin will probably still be hung over and worn out from all of their paternity hearings. Great chance for the Hawks to announce their presence with authority as they begin to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Thanks for beating Vancouver and everything, but I hope they did those engravings in pencil…
Sunday November 6th vs Vancouver There is NOBODY I love beating more than Vancouver. Hopefully Luongo will be in net so I can dance to Chelsea’s Dagger all night. The Hawks nail Luongo, nail him right in his mind.
Friday December 2nd vs Islanders The Islanders are my darkhorse team to make the playoffs this year. They have a good thing going with Tavares, Grabner, Okposo, etc. They are an entertaining team to watch. Hawks better put on the foil for that game because the Islanders aren’t shy about throwing down. The game should have lots of talents and some fireworks.
Wednesday December 21st vs Montreal I love a good Original 6 match-up and the fact The Habs don’t come to the UC every year disappoints me. Both teams can really skate and it will be a battle of French-Canadian goalies.
Friday December 30th vs Detroit The crowds for the games over Christmas break are usually extra rowdy. College kids come home and drink and get a little excited. “De-Troit Sucks” will be said so loud that they could probably hear it in Michigan. Couple that with this being a Friday and right before New Year’s Eve and this might be the best party game of the season.
Monday January 2nd vs Edmonton Similar to the Islanders, the Edmonton Oilers are an exciting young team. Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle are great entertainment. Should be a high scoring game.
Wednesday January 18th vs Buffalo Shockingly, at least to me, the Buffalo Sabre fans travel about as good as any fan base in the league. They are kinda cute in a way. Trying to get their little chants going whilethe Blackhawks are smashing their faces in all over the ice. The Sabres are kinda soft in my opinion, but their fans are good people. I always enjoy hanging with them at the West End before hand.
Friday March 9th vs New York Rangers Chicago vs New York, always a good rivalry. The Rangers have a nice young core of guys that I’d like to see in person like Steppan and Dubinsky, and also plenty of guys to hate like Sean Avery and Marian Gaborik.
Sunday March 11th vs Los Angeles This could be a big match up in terms of seeding for the playoffs. I feel like LA may finally take the next and win the Pacific division so the Blackhawks could need a few points to lock down the number 1 seed. LA also plays hard and fast. Going to be a good show.
Sunday March 18th vs Washington This could really go either way. Saint Patrick’s Day…on a saturday followed by what will probably end up being like a noon start for the Blackhawks game. I am thinking that maybe I just won’t sleep and keep the party going through the end of the game. Hannge Uppe basement until 4am. Try to find some other party until like 6am. Head over to Nookies on Wells for an omelette bigger than my head. Take a shower, throw the Hawks sweater on and start heading towards Madison. If I fail at sprinting that marathon…there’s a real good chance I miss this game entirely. Ovechkin will be a blur regardless.
Call it Karma, a higher power, or whatever you want, but clearly there is a God…and he is a sports fan. The NHL and NBA Finals proved this beyond a doubt. Two teams who cried, flopped, took cheap shots, and were led by fraudulent superstars made it all the way the championship series before God stepped in and said enough is enough. The Universe wouldn’t allow teams like the Miami Heat and the Vancouver Canucks to win a championship. There were times these series where I thought I was watching the sequels to “Angels in the Outfield”. Dirk’s improbable shots going in. Thomas’s improbable saves. It was amazing. The Bruins and the Mavericks saved America.
These Finals showed the world two “superstars” who have no class and no character. Lebron James and Roberto Luongo. So similar in so many ways. Epic failures define their careers. Former captains who just completely and utterly failed their teams, their cities, and themselves on the biggest stages possible. They are basically the same person. They are…LuBrongo. I’d love Lubrongo to become like an urban dictionary definition of an epic failure.
follow me @windycitisports
After Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, I did a post on why I hate the Canucks. Well, one post on this subject isn’t nearly enough. This series has brought to light everything that is wrong with Vancouver. Every time I feel like I have reached a point where I can’t hate them any more than I already do, the Canucks baffle me and reach a new low. I was always acutely aware of their on-ice act. Whining, chirping, diving, flying elbows to the head, hair pulling, biting(well biting is a new one, but not shocking coming from scum like Burrows) etc were all to be expected when the Vancouver Canucks were on the schedule. However, I had no idea that they were this smug and this arrogant.
I am paraphrasing here, but these are some direct quotes from the Canucks after their Game 5 win:
“Look, it doesn’t matter that I gave up 12 goals in games 3 and 4…I am better than Tim Thomas. I would have saved that one he let in. It was an easy save. I am not going to sit here and keep giving Thomas compliments when he hasn’t said one nice thing about me all series. Tim Thomas is my hero and it really hurts my feelings.”–Roberto Luongo
“If I had a time machine, I’d still launch myself into Nathan Horton’s skull. Wouldn’t change a thing. It was only two seconds late and he shouldn’t have been looking at a teammate when trying to get ready for a return pass. Its Horton’s fault I tried to give him brain damage. I am the victim here. The NHL isn’t consistent with their punishments. I mean Burrows bites a guy and gets nothing, and I try to decapitate a guy and I get 4 games? How is that fair?”–Aaron Rome
“The fact that the Sedins haven’t scored one point and are like minus 23 combined for the series, doesn’t mean that they aren’t playing well or that Chara is shutting them down completely.”–Elaine Vigneault
If those three direct quotes didn’t convince you that the Vancouver Canucks are not only gutless, but also smug and arrogant maybe the story the Boston Globe is breaking will do the trick. Not only did the Canucks plan a parade that would take place after Game 5 victory, but they also tried to sell the broadcast rights to the event. So basically the Canucks just thought they could roll over the Bruins when it took them 6 games to beat Nashville, and 7 games to beat the Blackhawks. Arrogant. Hey guess what Vancouver…nobody wants to watch your stupid parade that’s 40 years in the making(that probably won’t even happen). America hates you, the rest of Canada hates you, Sweden probably hates you, so you’ll probably end up having to put it on Vancouver Public access TV or something. Maybe U-stream.
DROP THE PUCK. I am ready for blood. Rise up Boston. Bruins 4, Nucks 1. So it was written, so let it be done.
follow me @windycitisports
Boston Bruins +150 @ Vancouver Canucks -170
This line scares the absolute hell out of me. Anybody who saw the last two games would never have spit out a line like this. That makes me think Costa Rica knows something I don’t know…but then I realized that is impossible because I don’t think they even have the internet down there.
My biggest fear is that the Canucks will play Cory Schneider. Not only do I think that Schneider is just the better goalie, but he is also mentally stable. The Bruins would still have the edge in goaltending obviously, but not a 12-1 edge that they have enjoyed the past two games. Even if Costa Rica knows that Schneider is the starter, is Schneider and home ice really worth -170 on the moneyline? I don’t think so. My gut tells me Elaine will stick with the Veteran grease ball goalie with all the mental problems, but Luongo will have a short leash.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Sedin are terrible. They are like -32 combined in the series so far and I don’t think Henrik has a shot on net. Chara and the Bruins team defense has completely shut them down and Marchand is getting under their skin like only Dave Bolland has been able to do in the past. The Canucks are a gutless team and home ice won’t change that. Give me Captain America Tim Thomas and the rest of the Boston Bruins.
For more gambling picks go to www.youronlinesportsline.com
follow me @windycitisports
I am not going to sit here and say I told you so, but I totally did. The Canucks are a joke. The softest team in the league. Unworthy of being in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Canucks are a classic “fake tough” team. They will push you and try to get under your skin by diving, chirping, biting, throwing head shots, and complaining. If you stand up to them and push back at them they will completely crumble. The Bruins took it to the Canucks physically and they whimpered away.
NHL Network was really rushing to the defense of the Canucks last night. “Kesler must be hurt. Luongo has vertigo. Burrows is menstruating, blah blah blah”. Truth of the matter is that this is just who the Canucks are. They are a group of cowards who barely beat an injury depleted Blackhawks team in a rebuilding year. They just suck.
Now I even think Vancouver is delusional. Bieksa called Tim Thomas “leaky” in the post game and said that they were showing him too much respect. Yeah, real leaky goalie in net for the Bruins. The Canucks have scored under 2 goals in three of the 4 games and on top of that Thomas has more hits in the series than the Sedin Sisters combined. Showing him too much respect? How, by trying to slash the stick out of his hand and running him every chance they get? Burrows even tried to fight Thomas. Who fights a goalie? Burrows is pathetic.
The only chance the Canucks have to salvage this series is to start Cory Schneider, but even the Boston native Schneider sounded like he wanted to part of the Bruins. “None of the goals were Roberto’s fault. He deserves to be in there for game 5.” Come on now, Cory. You went to Phillips Andover and graduated from BC with honors in 3 years, you’re smarter than that. Luongo’s legs were more open than Lindsay Lohan’s on the Peverly goal. Ryder’s shot looked like a peewee shot it. The only goal that wasn’t on Luongo was Peverly’s second goal. Other than that Luongo was responsible. Maybe Schneider doesn’t want to alienate his hometown team. Maybe he is afraid of the Bruins. Maybe he is just as delusional as the rest of teammates.
This series is over. I originally predicted the Bruins winning in 7 games, but now I don’t think it will take that long. Long live the Original 6. AMERICA.
PS I love Milbury in between periods. Calls the Canucks “smug and arrogant” during game 3 and has the line of the year when he referred to the Sedin Sisters as “Thelma and Louise”. Just perfect. If NBC could replace Pierre McGuire with Darren Pang it would be the greatest hockey broadcast crew ever assembled.
follow me @windycitisports
That felt great. The Stanley Cup Finals has displayed to the greater hockey world what the Vancouver Canucks are all about. They love to chirp, they play dirty, the dive, they bite, and they throw gutless blind hits to the head. Finally, somebody besides the Chicago Blackhawks has the sand to stand up to the Canucks and punish them for disrespecting the game of hockey. Now the Bruins have discovered the final piece to the puzzle that will let them beat Vancouver. If you punish them physically, out work them, and frustrate them…the Canucks will lose their cool, take dumb penalties, and quit. Luongo looked completely rattled for the last 40 minutes.
Last night’s game was an absolute beat down. The Bruins physically and mentally dominated the Canucks from the second period on. I feel vindicated by this series and I am 100% on the Bruin bandwagon. The Bruins are the opposite of Vancouver in so many ways. They have tough guys who are confrontational, but they are more than willing to answer the bell when challenged. I love the way they play. Even Tim Thomas got into the hitting game last night when he checked one of the Sedin Sisters.
The Bruins most likely will not score in abundance like they did in game 3, but they need to duplicate the level of intensity they brought for the duration of the series. They are still trailing and they must continue to attack Vancouver across all 200 feet of the ice surface. I was completely wrong about Shawn Thornton. I wanted Seguin in the lineup and I undervalued what Thornton brings to his teammates with his toughness and energy. Thornton is just flat-out scary and the ref tossing him out of the game mid way through the 3rd period may have save somebody’s life.
I have one final thought on last night’s game. Game exemplified why I love hockey and the NHL more than any sport. The NHL has an element of frontier justice. Burrows was a punk(and a difference maker) so Shawn Thornton smashed him early in the game to set the tone. Burrows takes a swipe at Tim Thomas late, so Milan Lucic turns into hockey’s version of Wyatt Earp and doles out the punishment immediately behind the net. No other sport or league has this mentality of self policing and standing up for your teammates. I can’t wait for Game 4 as I am sure the hatred between the teams is about to boil over.
Bruins in 7
follow me @windycitisports
Vancouver Canucks +105 @ Boston Bruins -125
The Bruins are coming home after having their hearts ripped out in consecutive games in Vancouver. The Bruins have played much better than I thought they would and definitely deserved better in Game 2. Alex Burrows getting 2 goals and an assist in a game for which he should have been suspended for biting has got to be a bitter pill to swallow.
The Bruins essentially played the Canucks even in both games and are a good bounce or two away from maybe being up 2-0 heading home. The Boston Bruins have too much pride to bow out in 4 games and they will use their crowd made up of 18,000 guys from “Southie” to push them over the top.
It’s also time to give Seguin some bigger minutes. Skate him with Bergeron’s line every once in a while. He could give the Bruins an added dynamic and it could also keep the aging Mark Recchi more fresh if he takes a few shifts off during the game.
This is a must win game for the Bruins and they have the sand and the skill to get it done at home. The Sedin Sisters will fold like always in the face of a hostile environment. Bruins and the under tonight.
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals was the perfect example of why I hate the Vancouver Canucks. They are a gutless, euro-trash, team of divers and whiners. The sequence at the end of the first period was disgusting. Scrums are just part of hockey, but the Canucks can’t even do that right. Hamuis and Bieksa both try to take on Chara at the same time. Trying to goad the big guy into taking a penalty, knowing full well that neither of them would ever have the guts to actually throw with Chara. Bieksa looks real tough when he jumps rookies from behind like Viktor Stalberg or when he challenges finesse “star” players like Patrick Marleau. He would never fight somebody who is actually tough or bigger than him. Bieksa is gutless. Chara would have made Bieksa’s face concave.
Burrows is complete scum. Everyone is talking about the biting incident, and for good reason. However, I thought him grabbing the visor of Bergeron was also just another example of the type of play that makes Burrows a gutless rat. I was thrilled that he got 4 minutes for biting, and then another two for slew-footing Tim Thomas from behind later in the game. Burrows has been this type of player his entire career, and I hope his actions are finally catching up to him. He is the west coast version of Sean Avery.
The diving by the Sedins and by the Canucks as a whole was disgusting. They are just the worst. The Canucks have no integrity. Hockey is a game of honor and the way the Canucks play the game is an affront to the tradition and soul of the game itself. They are unworthy of winning the Stanley Cup. I hope the Bruins can find a way to create more quality chances than they had in game one. They will need more sand and net presence to win the series. Tim Thomas did everything he could. I still like the Bruins in 7…nothing from Game 1 suggests the Bruins can win the Series, but I believe the Hockey Gods will intervene and prevent this team from winning.
PS: Ryan Kesler is the only Canuck I respect
follow me @windycitisports