Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bruins vs Canucks - Bite Me Again Will Ya

Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins promised to be an interesting game.  Games 1 and 2 were tightly-checked, well-goaltended matches featuring a Vancouver goal with just seconds left in regulation of a 0-0 tie (Game 1) and a Vancouver goal with just seconds elapsed in overtime (Game 2).  To make matters worse of the Bruins, the overtime goal in Game 2 was scored by Alex “Biteman” Burrows, who alongside Max Lapierre, taunted the Bruins with biting remarks throughout the beginning of the series.  The Bruins felt it necessary to inject a little bit of life into the team and activated tough guy Sean Thornton.  My guess is that Lapierre and Burrows weren’t going to be taunting anyone while Thornton was out there.

I would not Walk Around Like This Today
Now everyone knows that the Hartford Whalers were (and still are) my team.  I’ve also chosen to root for the Chicago Blackhawks so I don't look quite as foolish rooting for a team that doesn't exist anymore.  This game means nothing to me personally, but it would be nice if all of the  bandwagon Bruins’ fans coming out of the woodwork would shut up one way or another (and not the diehard fans who have called up 98.5FM all year or the folks on Twitter who have stuck around the team forever).  I think I win either way – either Vancouver shuts the fans up, or Boston goes into parade mode again.  Interestingly enough, I think I have tainted Bruins' fever for  C and G as they both choose to go to bed, or watch baseball, over watching the Stanley Cup featuring THEIR team. 

Period 1.  The game is on Versus tonight, so I immediately start cursing, since I have no idea what channel Versus is.  After much consternation, we finally we get to the game just as the play by play guy remarks, after a Thornton hit, that the heroes in this building tonight aren’t wearing white, they are wearing black. such poetry for the NHL! 

Oh Man!  It didn’t take long for the fireworks to start.  Just as Nathan Horton passes the puck past the Canucks’ blue line, Vancouver Defenseman Aaron Rome plows his shoulder into the chin of Nathan Horton.  I can’t tell if the hit is a blindside or not, but Horton looked to have been knocked unconscious almost immediately, as he falls backward and bangs the back of his head on the ice as he falls.  10 guys administer to Horton as the Bruins’ fans start making plans to sack the Canucks’ hotel later tonight.  I don’t think fans are going to appreciate the Vancouver Green Guys as much after that.  To add insult to the Bruins injury, they are given a 5 minute major power play.  I’ll bet you a million dollars that it will still be a scoreless game 5 minutes from now.

(5 minutes later) See?  Right again.  You can check the Evernote timeline on that previous remark if you want.  After a stopped puck, we are at least entertained by a hilarious sequence between Lapierre and Mark Recchi where Recchi, after a little shove from Lapierre, responded by intentionally sticking his fingers in Laperre’s mouth baiting him to take a chomp.  Suffice it to say that that was a little juvenile from a 43 year old guy.  Lapierre’s face is priceless (“Why is this man - old enough to be my Father - sticking his fingers in my mouth like a 3 year old?”).  C asks me why Recchi did that.  When I spent most of the First intermission explaining it to him, he still looked confused.  Apparently, this is even stupid to a 9 year old.  The First Period ends in a 0-0 tie.

Period 2.   As I’m wondering why Messier’s Leadership Award nominees were all shown checking, clutching or grabbing, Andrew Ference breaks the tie with just 10 seconds gone in the Second Period.  Just 4 minutes later, Mark Recchi’s pass through the crease is deflected into the Canucks’ goal by a Vancouver Defenseman.  2-0.  On the Power Play, even.  I look around for signs of Armageddon.

Thomas is playing exceptionally well to his credit, making difficult save after difficult save.  Tuukka Rask just stares blankly out at the ice, wondering how it came to this.  Before I start to think of a pithy Rask tweet, a Lucic slashing penalty leads to a shorthanded breakaway goal by Brad Marchand.  I see that he used the same move that I used to when I played dorm hockey back in college – passing it to yourself off the boards (walls in my case).  If another goal is scored, you have to wonder if there is going to be some sort of beat down by or to Sean Thornton.  Neither team looks especially pleased with the other right now.

4-0! David Krejci with a goal off a Ryder rebound.  The rout is on.  Even after a disturbing high stick by Johnny Boychuk leads to a double minor a couple of minutes later, Vancouver still can’t score.  4-0 lead after two periods.

Things I’ve learned so far.  Chara is not very good on either end of the ice.  The Bruins are feeding off some energy – maybe Thornton.  The Sedin twins are not as good as I thought and actually they're both kind of sissy.

Period 3.  After a Chara giveaway, Henrik Sedin is alone in front of the net.  Thomas pushes him down to the ice like he was 8 years old.  This game is over if the Canucks can’t score on that kind of chance; maybe they should just start some fights to set the stage for Game 4.  And almost on cue, another scrum breaks out led by the Biteman, Alex Burrows.  This time, he resists chomping on Lucic’s fingers as Lucic tries to stick them into his mouth.  Burrows looks hungry though.  Time to get the Fava Beans and Chianti!  Thrown out of the game at the 11 minute mark are Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg.  We have to be approaching a record for most penalty minutes in Stanley Cup history.  I mean who fights this much going for the Cup? The ensuing power play for the Canucks leads to another shorthanded goal by Daniel Paille.  5-0.

As the period starts to drag on, I start to get nervous for some reason.  Despite a goal from Janik Hansen, the Canucks look lost out there right now.  Roberto Luongo for some reason remains in goal, despite the Bruins scoring another three goals in a 90 second span late in the Third Period.  This is a sequence that only a Bruins’ fan could love; for the rest of us, it’s like a horrific car crash that we can’t help but stare at.  If this were little league baseball, the mercy rule would have been implemented.  It’s just sad to watch.  Luongo’s save percentage of .789 has to be some sort of record, too.

After 20 more excruciating minutes, the Bruins mercifully win 8-1.  This game was great to watch for the first couple of periods.  Not one but two “fingers to the face” taunts made for high comedy.  The rough play of Game 3 will definitely lead to hard charging Game 4.  There could still be four more games of this.  Good Lord.

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