Saturday, March 04, 2006

Character Builder?

Canucks 5 at Blackhawks 4 – 3-Mar-06

Well you certainly got full value for your ticket. The Chicago Blackhawks stormed out to a 3 – 0 lead at home to the Vancouver Canucks before the first period was one half over. Then Ryan Kesler when down hard and was carried off the ice with what was clearly a left leg injury. The Vancouver faithful, self included, were ready to write the game off. If not the season. In a tight playoff hunt what expectations can one realistically carry if your team can’t even spank the dismal Chicago Blackhawks? Then it happened.

The Canucks started to come on. The shot totals started to even out. Some runs were taken at the Hawks players perhaps in response the Kesler situation. There were fights: Burrows and Keith; then Brookbank and Barnaby. The Hawks took undisciplined penalties. Big Bert scored; a pretty one on the power play at 9:29 Beteruzzi (21) from Naslund and Baumgartner. A little over a minute later, still on a power play, Carter (23) from my brother Daniel and my other brother Henrik. The scoring play featured more undisciplined activity by Barnaby. You started to think “yup we’ve got their number. They’re on the ropes.”

Oh but your Vancouver Canucks! Not ones to take the direct route to a win, more anguish and excitement were to follow. With only 14 seconds left in the second period the defence is caught up ice and the forwards can’t catch Hilbert and Calder on the back check. Allen is left alone to deal with the two on one. Auld gets a piece of the initial shot, the puck bounces around and ends up in the net. Four two. Interesting. Time for a pop and consider doing the dishes as a more fruitful pursuit.

I think the third period showed why the Hawks firmly planted near the cellar of the Western Conference. Wow more and more undisciplined play. The Canucks took advantage of it. This time put Hilbert in the box. Have only 3 seconds left on the PP and Henrik (15) pots one from his brother Anson and (huh) other brother Morrison? – Oh yeah power play with all those missing defenseman and B Mo and Park have been taking turns on the point. Morrison (13) hits the score sheet again. This time from Cooke and Nassy. Tie game. McCarthy made some nice rushes. Nassy did a lap in the offensive zone. Even Bertuzzi carried the puck to the net with the determination that you felt this game was going to be won – it was just a matter of who would bring it home.

In a way the game tonight and last night in Nashville reminded me of the ’94 Canucks. Back when Bure and Trevor were in their prime. On any given night the bounces may not have gone their way yet but it was just a mater of time. Given long enough anyone was beatable. Teams never beat the ’94 Canucks: the games ended before Vancouver had scored more goals than the opponent.

Back to the present. Some weird carry over of penalties into the overtime frame. You needed a degree in advanced math to figure out who would play how many and when. There was 5 on 3, 5 on 4 and 5 on 5 all in the 4 on 4 overtime. The play was representative of the Nucks’ out shooting the Hawkes 7 – 2. Yet nothing was settled. I hate the shoot out, but it worked in our favour tonight. Naslund scored his first every SO goal and the goalies won all the other battles. Canucks 1 Hawks 0 or Canucks 5 Hawks 4 on the official score sheet. Phew 3 hours 21 minutes to get two points from the Blackhawks.

The win vaulted the Canucks back into first place tied with the Flames. Both one up on the Avalanche. Edmonton and Anaheim also won. In the tight Northwest five points separate third seed Vancouver and eighth seed Edmonton. Anaheim remains three points out of eighth spot.

Next up, oh heck, those damn St Louise Blues. Could someone tell Jackman and crew they are out of it and they should be playing dead. Or did we indeed see a character builder on this last road trip? Will Vancouver return home and play the Blues like the last place team they are. Sunday night PPV, 7:00PM in the Garage.


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