Tag Archives: Roberto Luongo

2012 NHL Playoffs Preview: Round 1 – West

Just a couple quick notes before we get to the match ups:

To check out my feelings on the Eastern Conference playoffs go here.

Last night was the NHL Draft Lottery and the Edmonton Oilers got the right to choose #1 overall for the third year in a row. The poor Columbus Blue Jackets can’t even win a lottery at 88% odds… at least the have the All-Star game next year.

Vancouver Canucks (51-22-9) vs. Los Angeles Kings (40-27-15)

Yawn! The Vancouver Canucks again dominate the regular season garnering the best overall record in the NHL and will soon enough be Canadian residents only rooting interest in the playoffs. Daniel Sedin, the Canucks leading goalscorer, has been sidelined with a concussion since March 21st.  He has been skating lately so it is still to be determined whether or not Wonder-Twin Powers will be activated anytime soon in Vancouver. The bigger controversy in Vancouver surrounds goaltending. Roberto Luongo is notoriously soft in pressure situations and his backup Corey Schneider has been seeing a larger load this year and dominating in that role. It will be interesting to see how long a leash the Canucks apply to Luongo or even if they have enough cajones to start Schneider outright. Either way, I still think Vancouver has enough guns and talent to get by the Kings in the first round. As short as a week ago LA was sitting in control of the 3rd playoff spot but after a wild and wooly finish to the season LA has been leapfrogged by San Jose and Phoenix to be left with the unhappy task of facing the Canucks in the first round. At least they’re in for a short flight home and LA residents can refocus on the Lakers.

Continue reading 2012 NHL Playoffs Preview: Round 1 – West

2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Finals Preview

Finally, after 82 regular season games and 14 playoff series we have finally reached the promised land. THE STANLEY CUP FINALS BITCHES!! Whose pumped besides this guy?!?!? …and Canada???  This year we have the pleasure of watching the ‘President’s Trophy’ winning Vancouver Canucks vs. the defensive minded Boston Bruins battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Looking at how the two teams arrived to the promised land, it’s hard to make an argument for the Boston Bruins to win this series.  With the exception of their round 2 series (which is more telling of the Flyers than the Bruins), Boston has just been lucky enough to survive seven game series against far less talented teams in Montreal and Tampa Bay when compared to Vancouver.  Their offense has been anemic at best and their special teams are just flat-out terrible. Boston’s power play unit is about as useful as nipples on the Bat-suit. Thanks Joel Schumacher!!

Anyways, Boston’s only saving grace is that they have two of the best at their positions protecting the net, big bad Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas. I know the plus/minus stat is garbage in the grand scheme of things, but I’ll go ahead and inform you Chara is boasting a +11 in the playoffs. Tim Thomas is certainly doing his fair share in carrying the team with a 2.29 GAA and .929 save percent average. If Boston is going to have a shot at this, they are going to need to have Tim Thomas stand on his head and get a shut-out or two.

So, with that all said, I’m going with Vancouver in 5 for their first Stanley Cup win.  The Sedin twins are just unstoppable and showed it in the conference finals against San Jose. Ryan Kesler appeared to find his game at the end of the series, so I would expect for him to carry that over to the finals.  Not to be forgotten is Roberto Luongo, who will be the toughest goaltender the Bruins have faced in the playoffs. Sorry Boston, maybe next year it will be your turn……… after 40 years of coming up short.

So Canucks in 5, and Henrik Sedin wins the Conn Smythe.

"Hey Girl."

2011 NHL Playoffs: Western Conference Finals Update

Looking at this series it should not be a surprise to anyone that the Canucks are up on the Sharks 3 games to 1. While I can’t deny that the four games have been interesting to watch, I do have to say they have been interesting for all the wrong reasons.  Looking at the series on paper one would expect to see exciting, fast paced and well executed hockey games coming from both ends of the ice, but that’s not what we’ve seen.

The perks of being in the ‘Sin Bin’

What we have gotten in four games is wonderful opportunity to watch both teams decide to take turns parading players in and out of the penalty box, and watch the other team capitalize on the bone-head plays. San Jose started this cycle in game 2 when they decided to try to combat Vancouver’s high-powered offense with over the top physical play, and earn 51 penalty minutes led by Ben Eager. By the way, congratulations to Mr. Eager for earning my coveted  ‘Douchebag of the Conference Finals’ award with the celebration of his goal, and follow-up taunting of Luongo when his team was still down by 4 GOALS!! Stay classy Eager.

In game 3 it was Vancouver’s turn to try to show how physical they could be. Needless to say this led to 32 penalty minutes, and allowing 2 power goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. And then there was second period of game 4 – San Jose decided to do what they do best and ‘Go San Jose’, for lack of a better term. Three ‘five-on-three’ situations and allowing Vancouver to score 3 power play goals in 1:55. All I could say was “Woooooooow” and feel bad for Melanie Wilcox. Sorry Mel.

So that brings us to tonight’s game 5 in Vancouver. Whose going to win?? What team is going to show up at each end? I’d place my bets on the Canucks to finish the Sharkies off  tonight. The Sedin twins are pretty much having their way with the Sharks defense combining for 34 points in the playoffs, and Kesler seems to finally be coming alive in the series.

Metro-Detroit Native (Livonia) and member of the 2010 USA Olympic Men’s Hockey Team – Ryan Kesler

To make matters worse for the Sharks, they’ll be taking the ice with hurt Joe Thornton. With so much of their offense in these playoffs coming thru the play of Captain Joe. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, he brings tonight.  If San Jose is going to have a chance looks for Clowe and Marleau to step up and fill Jumbo Joe’s shortcomings, and Neimi will need to stand on his head.

Prediction: Vancouver for the series win tonight. And boom goes the dynamite!

2011 NHL PLayoffs: ‘Canucks vs Predators’ – After 2 Games…

The only reason why this series is tied 1-1 is due to the amazing play of Pekka Rinne. In game two the dude flat-out robbed Vancouver with some spectacular sprawling Hasek-Style saves, denying several would be goals, two of them in overtime.

After two games it’s quite clear that the Canucks is the far superior team. Nashville’s offense has been anemic at best, while their power play has been down right awful. Every Nashville pass and entrance into the offensive zone was more painful to watch than an episode of Scrubs… That’s right I said it. I f–king hate that show. “Oh look I’m an awkward doctor just trying make sense of this life I’ve chosen…” Blah blah blah – Who cares.

Anyways, going forward I think Nashville can possibly steal one more game on the back of Rinne at best, but it’s doubtful. I fully expect Vancouver to come out in game 3 and finally flex their regular season muscle.

Still saying Canucks in 5 (or 6).

2011 NHL Playoffs – Round 2: Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators

Well if i knew this series was going to take place a week ago I would say Vancouver in 4, but we all saw how they almost blew a 3 game lead last round. But to be fair, teams 4 thru 8 in the Western Conference were pretty much all the same anyway, so dwelling on Chicago being the #8 seed isn’t completely warranted.

So, with that said this series is going to be decided by Roberto Luongo and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne, both of whom are up for the Vezina Trophy this year.

Prediction: If Luongo gets his head out of his ass, I’d say the Canucks will move on in 5…… or 6 if Rinne stands on his head one night.

Detroit’s Winged Wheels vs the San Jose Sharkies

Once again, these two western conference power houses meet, making this THE SERIES to watch for the second round. Both teams are pretty much dead-evenly matched offensively, with all three lines having consistent, solid production in the first round. Detroit put up at least 4 goals in all four of their first round games, while San Jose was able to orchestrate one of the greatest comebacks of all times in their game #3. The only real difference between the two here is that Detroit put up their 1st round numbers without the help of Henrik Zetterberg who will be returning for the second round.

When it comes to defensive play and goaltending, Detroit has the edge. While to date Jimmy Howard has only proven to be serviceable at best, its who is surrounding him that gives them the edge. Having Nicklas Lidström (one the greatest defensemen of all time) and Pavel Datsyuk (whose up for his 4th straight Selke Trophy) in front of you makes your goaltenders job just a little bit easier.

Dan Boyle is a "Man's man"

As for the Sharkies, Niemi’s first round performance was a hell of a long way away from the 2 shutout, .910 save percent average. and 2.64 goals against average playoff performance he gave Chicago last year. Being pulled twice in three games (with one of the times being in the first 10 minutes of the game), having .864 save percent, and averaging a 4.00 goals against, up against an inferior team in the Kings.

That does not bode well for the Sharks.

To make matters worse, Neimi doesn’t have much support from the defense in front of him, since the San Jose defensemen are really forwards in disguise.

I’m looking at you Boyle

Prediction: Wings in seven. Sorry sharkies, but better luck next year.