11:55 AM EDT, April 22, 2011
The Blackhawks will not practice today. The Vancouver Canucks, I believe, were being tended to by all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.
Or should we be calling them the Vanquitter Canucks after the way they’ve rolled over easily the last two games?
Or maybe the Panicouver Canucks, what with the fire drill going on in places where the players’ brains and hearts used to be.
Then again, the way this comeback is unfolding, the way one team is halfway to accomplishing an epic choke, maybe we should call them the Vancouver Cubs. I mean, if you didn’t know better, you’d think Roberto Luongo is Alex Gonzalez (not Steve Bartman because Bartman at least got a glove on the ball).
Admit it, Hawks fans: You’re giddy. You’re imagining the improbable four straight wins after those first three losses.
Can’t blame you. I’m the same way after the Hawks utterly destroyed their stupid and heartless opponent for the second consecutive game and forced Luongo to make the skate of shame for the second consecutive game.
The Canucks had a burst early and drew a power play, but got nothing. And then the Hawks got everything.
They raked the Canucks in every area --- power-play, penalty-killing, even-strength, loose pucks, board battlesm you name it --- prompting memories of last spring’s dominance. Duncan Keith had two goals and four-point night. Marian Hossa scored twice. Yes, THAT Marian Hossa, the one who was MIA the last two weeks and had scored only three goals in 26 Hawks playoff games before Thursday night. Hossa’s power play goal at 5:54 of the first period beat Luongo to the glove side. Same goes for his second goal. About half the Hawks’ goals have gone that way in their two wins. It’s so obvious that even the people in Panicouver should be able to see it.
The Hawks were faster, tougher and better, just like the Canucks were in winning the first three games. Doesn’t that seem a long time ago?
The Hawks looked like the puck-possession version of the Globetrotters again. They have played that way since Brent Seabrook got that cheap shot from Raffi Torres or since they went down three games, take your pick. Perhaps they finally got mad and motivated, or perhaps they relaxed to their default setting of a skating-passing game when they had nothing to lose.
The Canucks, meanwhile, are paralyzed. The’ve played tight and bad. They are unwilling to do whatever it takes to get the most difficult win. The Canucks didn’t want to skate unless they could throw a cheap shot in Game 5. Stupid and dirty must be two of their four major food groups. Vancouver turtled again, even earlier than in Game 4.
I guess the Hockey Gods don’t like quitters. Heart, brains --- do the Canucks have anything when it matters, or just in the regular season?
It could all go bad for the Hawks at home in Game 6 on Sunday. It has gone bad at home during this season, especially in the third period. That would be a killer. Jeez, after the last two games, losing this series would be a killer. It’s like the Canucks made the Hawks to get out of the chair and bring the leather belt with them.
But I know it could go bad because that’s what happens in the Stanley Cup playoffs. It happened to the Canucks justlikethat when they were playing as brilliantly as the Hawks have the last two games, scoring 11 of the last 12 goals in this series.
So, this isn’t a free pass to the second round. There are still two games to go. But I’m giddy over the way the Hawks are turning Vancouver into the Can’yuk-yuk-yuks.