June 10, 2011

BECAUSE THE BRUINS OBVIOUSLY CAN'T BE BEATING THE CANUCKS AT THEIR OWN GAME:

Canucks must stop playing the Bruins’ game (Justin Bourne, 6/10/11, Puck Daddy)

The Vancouver Canucks, when not playing like those balloon punching bags with sand in the bottom as they did in Boston, tend to create their offense in a more highlight-reel friendly fashion. At their best, the Sedins make the game look almost elegant, and the team's wealth of skilled defenseman are able to quickly transition their forwards to create a flashier brand of play.

If Vancouver is going to have any hope of winning this series, they have to rediscover that identity.

They've been trying, and failing, to play Boston's game so far.

It's something coaches preach when things aren't going as planned — "we want to play our game," "we want to dictate the style of play." It sounds like general advice, but sticking to your team identity is relatively important when you've spent the past two games getting curb-stomped in every conceivable category. The Canucks look rattled — any time you're utterly infuriated it's a little difficult to focus on making a dainty backhand saucer pass.

Vancouver seems to have forgotten (and kudos to their opponent for getting them to this point) that you can still play physical without playing like a fool, and losing track of that starts with moron moves like biting a guy's finger. Call it karma, but that seemed to be where the Canucks started to switch their focus to the unimportant, petty side of hockey.

Having a pest on your team is effective at times, but it often throws off your own squad as much as your opponent's. Thanks to that, Boston is smart to let Vancouver get caught up in the stuff Bruce Arthur detailed nicely today — biting, slewfoots, and slashes — as long as the Canucks don't turn their focus back to playing actual hockey.

In a sense, the Bruins have been executing a magician's illusion — a little sleight of hand here, a little distraction there, and while the Canucks are looking in the wrong direction, they're deftly slipping the series in their side pocket with the other hand.

They just deserve credit for getting a great team off their game.


Of course, the problem with this analysis is that it was in the first period of Game One, on home ice, that Alex Burrows bit the Bruins best player and four minutes into the second period of that game that their defenseman Dan Hamhuis injured himself throwing a hit at Milan Lucic's knees. It doesn't fit the preconceived narrative, but looked at objectively isn't it possible that the Canucks are a dirty team--hardly unusual in NHL history for gifted skaters to be dirty--and the Bruins the better team?


Posted by at June 10, 2011 1:08 PM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« WHICH POINT IS THAT ON THE HOCKEY STICK GRAPH? | Main | HAZY DAYS OF SUMMER (profanity alert): »