Please Burr, may I have some more?
I Watched This Game is a recurring feature on Pass it To Bulis, chronicling the observations and insights of two people who watched a hockey game.
Another day, another Canucks loss, and what an anxiety-inducing sixty minutes this one was. The Canucks made it close a few times, but they could never tie the game back up. And let's be clear, right off the top: the Canucks lost this game. I'm going to moan about reffing later on, but this game was lost where the Canucks have earned every playoff loss: on special teams. Theirs wasn't working, the Blackhawks was. So let's get into it:
- As I said, this game was lost on special teams. The Blachawks went 2-for-7 and we went 0-for-4. How the Blackhawks were given seven power plays to our four, I'll never know, especially considering I know that the refs and I were watching the same game.
- Speaking of which, can you believe that goaltender interference hasn't been called even once in the losses? Not once. Two of tonight's goals were the direct result of goaltender interference. It's a great strategy, interfering with the goalie so he can't make the save... but it's against the rules, isn't it? I guess not.
- I'm reading all over about how great Dustin Byfuglien played last night, and yes, he was very, very good, but it's also pretty good to be an excellent basketball player if you're not expected to dribble it. Byfuglien's great game was unencumbered by any rule enforcement whatsoever. His hat-trick goal was a clear-cut case of goaltender interference, and his after the whistle runs directly into Luongo need to be called. So does the stick slash, specifically, and the fact that he was the instigator for nearly every scrum. But, if he's allowed to run around and play a game outside of the rules? Then yes, he's going to have a great game.
- How infuriating that, after all the garbage the Blackhawks were starting, Alex Burrows was the player who took a reputation call? I don't want to keep harping on refereeing, but, come on, man.
- The Canucks lost their composure tonight. I lost my composure. Any sane man is going to lose his composure when he realizes basic rules aren't being enforced. But you're going to hear a lot of about the Canucks losing their composure, and they did. I also lost my composure that time a boss mocked my mother's cancer. A lack of decorum will typically lead to a lack of composure.
- Enough sour grapes. The Canucks had more energy tonight, they were faster than the Blackhawks, but they seemed offensively out of sync and it cost them.
- I thought Kevin Bieksa played another sloppy game. He needs to stop being the direct cause of goals against. That's bad defending. Let's hope he gets things sorted out for game four.
- Roberto Luongo's rebound control has been a problem all playoffs. Before last night, he had five good games in a row, but almost every goal has been a result of him not being able to hold onto a rebound. Yes, sometimes you can't help it, but we need you to do that, big guy.
- I thought Kyle Wellwood was fantastic tonight, but all of his stickhandling and puck control needs to result in more than a drawn penalty. I've been hot and a cold with Welly all year, because he needs to produce in order to be effective. He tends to wow us without doing much of anything.
- Her'es hoping Alex Burrows' goal gets him going. He needs to start running Niemi the way the Blackhawks are running Luongo, but he hasn't been nearly as effective this playoffs as he was during the regular season. But how can you not be motivated after last night's trainwreck? I am confident that Burrows will show up on Friday.
- Don't panic, Canucks fans: we were down 2-1 last series and we won in six. In fact, that series and this one have unfolded almost identically. The special teams problems, the net-crashing, the offensive defenseman playing lights out. But we all know the Canucks adjusted and sorted it out in game four. Plus! Losing last night's game means that it's not unfolding the same way as last season's Chicago-Vancouver series, so at least we won't have to hear about the "startling similarities" to last year. This one's a whole different bird. Don't panic, Canuck nation, we've been here before.