They don’t. Now that that’s settled, I, like others before me, can speak of many other things.


EXPECTATIONS


I spoke earlier
of how these Blackhawks just aren’t the same as the ones who beat the Canucks two years in a row. For length reasons, I cut this paragraph from that article before it was posted:

A lot of folks talk about the boost in confidence the Canucks will get from beating the ‘Hawks, but that would be really hard. The Canucks are expected to win. They’re facing a team that’s inferior on paper, in the standings, and on the ice to the Blackhawks teams they’ve faced before, and to the team the Canucks are, now. They’re the odds-on favorite, and because they’re expected to win, and win soundly, there’s no way to beat expectations, barring a sweep. It’s far more likely that they’ll perform as-expected, and since when does meeting expectations boost your confidence?

So I guess I’m saying the situation here is pretty sweet.

RAFFI’S ATTITUDE

The NHL has ruled that Torres’s hit on Seabrook was legal, and then explained it. That’s just dandy. I’m more concerned with whether the hit was dangerous — it was. This upsets me.

When I look at that hit, I, like Vigneault, think of Getzlaf’s hit on Dan Hamhuis. I think about how Dan Hamhuis was left with a concussion, and considered retiring completely, because concussions could not only end your career, they often negatively affect your life long after your hockey career is over.

I think about Markus Naslund and how little I like Steve Moore. What bothers me about the Moore hit isn’t whether it was legal, it’s that it was a predatory hit with zero regard to the safety of the player.

So was Torres’s hit on Seabrook.

I wasn’t pleased with the way Torres responded after his hit on Eberle:

“I don’t think there is anything to be made of it. It’s a good, clean hit. [...] I haven’t heard anything but positive feedback [...] if [people] thought it was dirty they would tell me.”

The league did tell Torres — the message coming in the form of a four-game suspension — but he didn’t stop. He still went after a player who — like his teammate Dan Hamhuis — has a history of concussion problems. He still hit the guy in the head. Seabrook could have seriously been hurt. So what was Torres’s reaction?

He showed no concern. He got angry that the refs called a penalty. Then he got out of the box and hit Seabrook again. I’m going to take some flak for this, but even in the playoffs, I’m saddened and angered that a Canuck player would have this attitude. If Torres is going to show such disrespect and disregard for the safety of players, he can go play for the Flyers.

POOR SCOTT

John Scott never saw another shift after his penalty on Lapierre. It was a bonehead move, but you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy when he’s blamed not just for the goal scored on the ensuing power play, but the next goal scored almost a minute after. Scott didn’t have a good game, but neither did a lot of Blackhawks. Blaming him seems silly.

Besides, he took a run at Lapierre. Maxim Lapierre is well-known as being very tempting to take a run at. And Lapierre is a full six inches shorter than Scott. He’s only 6’2″ — barely big enough to see with the naked eye. Scott didn’t even see him, see?

“I didn’t even see him,” Scott said of Maxim Lapierre. “He just went down and sold it pretty good. He’s got to call it. He’s known for diving and embellishing stuff. I think it was a bad call but he has to call it.”

Also in Scott’s defense, Lapierre does have a reputation for embellishing, as well. He made a dumb mistake, or was victimized by Lapierre’s dislikeability, but he certainly shouldn’t be blamed for the loss.

TOEWS NOT CONVINCED

Jonathan Toews is apparently frustrated that everyone thinks the Canucks are a good team. From his post-game comments:

“We’re not exposing them for what they really are. I think a lot of people outside this locker room are giving them too much credit. [...] We know that we can be a better team and we just haven’t shown it yet. “

It’s hard to know how to react to these comments. Does Toews really believe the Canucks are just overhyped pretenders who’ve been getting a little luck? One might think he’s trying to be optimistic that the ‘Hawks can still take this series, but he’s not saying “We’re not as bad as we’ve appeared in this series,” he’s saying, “They’re not as good as we’re making them look.” That’s hardly a message of optimism.

I hope he doesn’t really think that way, or if the Blackhawks lose this series (which seems like it might be within the realm of possibility), he may take it really hard.

PLAYING TO GO DEEP

I mentioned earlier that Alain Vigneault is prepared for a long series, but the way this series is going actually has a much larger benefit. While he clearly recognizes the difference between playing for one win and playing for four, it seems he’s going beyond that and playing for sixteen.

One can’t forget that in the three playoff outings the Canucks have had under Vigneault, the team has suffered one injury or another and the Canucks’ depth was always tested. That sorta sucks. Keeping the Sedins playing 30-35 second shifts may not rack up all the goals in the Chicago series, but they’ll be well-rested for the long haul.

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4 comments

  1. Wisp
    April 19, 2011

    Qris, not that I don’t disagree – I didn’t like Torres reaction on the hit either – but don’t you think it’s a bit unreasonable to expect Torres to know Seabrook’s full injury history before making plays?

    That said, I don’t know if he’s being careless about the opposition, but I think he’s getting frustrated. He needs to be more zen. I really hope he smartens up tonight, and has a bounce back game.

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    • Qris Johnson
      April 19, 2011

      Are you kidding, wisp? Do you think teams don’t study each other’s rosters intensely during the playoffs? No question both teams know who’s an injury risk and where.

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  2. Chinstrap Joe
    April 19, 2011

    I think that Torres is playing a little scared right now. He was brought in on a one year contract to add some third-line grit with some goal scoring.

    Aside from a hot streak early in the season, he really hasn’t done much scoring – leaving only a game of grit. His contract expires at the end of the playoffs – the chances of the Canucks picking him back up for his goal production are slim.

    I think that he is overcompensating by trying to be extra gritty – thinking that the big check will make the difference. Raffi is a likable guy – but I agree that he needs to tone it down a little. Maybe he needs a trip into the Zen Room that Burrows and Kesler had last summer…

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  3. Doc
    April 19, 2011

    While I too think that the hit was a little dangerous given Seabrook’s injury history, I think that he himself has to bear a big part of the responsibility for his safety on that play. Look at the video, the Canucks shoot the puck in deep and he goes after it. Now, Seabrook has to at least THINK that someone might come the other way on the forecheck yet he goes behind the net, looking away, without even glancing up to see if someone is comming. I think the hit itself was clean. If Torres hadn’t just come back from suspension and Seabrook hadn’t suffered 2 concussions this year, we wouldn’t even be discussing this.

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