It’s been two days since the Stanley Cup went to the Boston Bruins and here I am trying to muster up some words to explain what exactly happened. I’m not going to really discuss the monstrosity that occurred in Downtown Vancouver as it’s been discussed to death. No matter what people will say, the image of Canucks fans, the organization, and the people of Vancouver will all be severely tarnished. It’s an incredible tragedy all over a hockey game.
I congratulate the Boston Bruins for winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. They were the better team in this series and it showed in the goal total. Their power play was still poor but better than Vancouver’s — which says little given their disastrous series on the PP — but their penalty killing was aggressive and it led to 3 shorthanded goals. Tim Thomas managed to concede just 8 goals (1.14 GAA) en route to a deserved Conn Smythe Trophy. He was sensational and outplayed Roberto Luongo.
Onto the Canucks. It was a wonderful ride, I enjoyed almost every minute of it, but you cannot win the Stanley Cup when:
- You get outscored 17-3 on the road. Every game when Boston scored first the Canucks folded and next thing you know Luongo’s goal was deluged. This is not blaming Luongo (he should not be a scapegoat), but the entire team just wilted when they fell behind in Boston. And what’s alarming is they got off to good starts in all of their road games yet never got the crucial goal.
- Christian Ehrhoff is on the ice. Ehrhoff is an unrestricted free agent and as far as I’m concerned he’s unemployed. He’s absolutely terrible from the point and pretty much never shoots on net. Another pet peeve of mine is his constant puck bobbling along the blue line which causes Vancouver’s attack on the PP to re-set. When he isn’t firing wide all the time he fails to hold the line time and time again. Occasionally he’s caught flat-footed on defense and it’s no surprise he was Vancouver’s worst defenseman in the playoffs with a -13 rating. Goodbye, Errorhoff.
- The injuries catch up to you. Dan Hamhuis, Mikael Samuelsson, Mason Raymond, and Manny Malhotra all missing playoff time was just too much for this Canucks team. As great as they were prior to game 1 of the SCF, the likes of Aaron Rome, Tanner Glass, Jannik Hansen, and Keith Ballard were clearly out of their depth against the Bruins.
- The top 2 lines disappear. Daniel and Henrik Sedin each with just 1 goal, 0 points, a -5 rating for Alex Burrows after his winning OT goal in game 2, Ryan Kesler with 1 point and a -7 for the series, it all fell apart for the top half of Vancouver’s lineup. They didn’t show up and actually the 3rd line of Raffi Torres, Jannik Hansen, and Maxim Lapierre was responsible for 4 of the Canucks’ 8 goals in the SCF. Not good enough.
- Your goaltender becomes a sieve. Coming into game 1, Roberto Luongo had an identical GAA with Tim Thomas in the playoffs. Obviously things changed after game 4 in Boston and he was pulled twice in the series and four times overall in the post-season. I will not really put much “blame” on Luongo for game 7 as others would but games 4 and 6 really show why people are not convinced of his abilities even when he manages great shutouts like in games 1 and 5. I think Luongo tends to get rattled when scored on early and it definitely showed in game 6. Unfortunately for Luongo, the offense was so bad that he would’ve had to have performed as well as if not better than Tim Thomas at the other end for Vancouver to remain competitive in any of their defeats.
- You can’t score on the power play. Boston had more goals on Vancouver’s power plays than Vancouver themselves. The #1 power play statistically in the regular season just vanished right before our eyes.
There will be a lot to ponder over the offseason and hopefully Vancouver will remain a strong favorite to win it all next year. They had a tremendous season but it still hurts to get blown out at home and unable to finally end the Stanley Cup curse.
GO CANUCKS GO and let’s win it all next year.