Friday, May 14, 2010

West




A few thoughts on what has passed and what is to come from the Campbells.

San Jose was both good and lucky to beat the Wings, which is fine, you have to have some luck after all. Except for Detroit's only win any game could have gone either way but if I were the Wings I would rue three events which cost them the series imo.

There was the seventy nine seconds in game one where San Jose scored three goals. If that seventy nine seconds doesn't happen or if San Jose scores one goal instead of three then Detroit's chances of coming out on top in that game are far higher.

The Couture goal to tie game three. An absolutely atrocious goal to allow by Jimmy Howard. Maybe the Wings don't hang on anyways if he saves that but we'll never know. Wings win that game and they're down by one instead of three.

The overtime winner in the same game. An absolute clusterfuck by the Wings. Not sure when Thornton and Marleau jumped on but either the Wings were not aware that they had come on (mistake) or they ignored this fact completely. Thus Ericsson dropped the puck to Williams and then charged the net. Not an awful play if a) someone covers for him and/or Williams hits the net.

Neither happened and so the puck ringed around to Thornton and he and Marleau were away on a two on one that ended up with the puck in the net and the series basically over.

A lot was made of the monkey being lifted off of the Sharks' back. By my eye Thornton had an excellent series. He was aggressive and the Wings didn't seem to have an answer for him. I didn't find that Heatley played any differently and as for Marleau I have been one who has felt that he has played well in playoffs past anyhow. Thornton was the guy who really stood out though. Before the series I opined that he would get outplayed by either Datsyuk or Zetterberg and he was not.

As for Chicago and the Canucks the fact that Kesler was playing hurt certainly damaged the Canucks' chances as did the absence of Mitchell but then again Chicago is missing Jonsson and Hossa most certainly if playing hurt as well imo.

The Hawks were simply the better team. They certainly looked far better than they did against Nashville and if the idea is to get better over the course of the tournament then they are on track. Moving Byfuglien up thanks to Campbell's return and increasing effectiveness really made a difference as did improved play from Versteeg and Bolland and Patrick Sharp has shown why he may be one of the last guys that they might want to move when they cull for the cap this summer. He's a terrific player.

And of course Chicago's depth is what did it for them against Vancouver and may do it for them against San Jose as well. Its a shame that they are going to have to lose some of these guys and of course that is the nature of the cap but no other club can run out such quality forwards. The fact that Brouwer was a scratch for most of the last series speaks to that. With him in the lineup the top nine is Toews/Kane/Byfuglien/Brouwer/Sharp/Hossa/Ladd/Bolland/Versteeg.

Vancouver could not match that and most likely San Jose will not be able to either. Throw in a fourth line that will included three of Kopecky, Burish, Madden and Eager and I think that Chicago's depth up front will carry the day. Niemi has been good enough (and at times great) and as mentioned before Campbell's return has solidified the back end.

I think its going to be a great series and I think Chicago takes it in six. Too deep, too fast, too good.

10 comments:

R O said...

Too deep, too fast, too good.

That's what she said :-D

If I had to make an even-money bet then I would absolutely take Chicago, although I suspect the game lines will be close enough that San Jose will be the better bet.

That said, I'd like for San Jose to make the Finals, for a number of reasons. To embarass the TSN panel for one.

And Thornton is dumb as a tack but he's just not as unlikeable as some of those Blackhawks. Kane and Byfuglien look like world-class dinks on the ice, I have had to wash my hands two years in a row now for cheering for them (the alternative - cheering for the Canucks - is unacceptable though).

Plus the Shark Tank goal horn is pretty sweet, and that "shark jaws" thing that they do at the start of the game is just absurd yet funny. Although the CHI anthem singer is top-notch too.

These things matter because I doubt we will see much in the way of good hockey in theFfinal. It will be utter domination for the Western side, and likely we'll see The Shell from whoever comes out from the East. It will be a snoozefest Finals I imagine, unless we have double-digit goal games from the West.

macaotim said...

Hockey...blahblahblah...

Something about Thornton... loser...blahblahblah...

Oilers still suck...blahblahblah.

How's the fucking dog already.

I liked the roast beef thing (lots of gravy I hope). I still suggest a big ass marrow bone. You can get a raw one from the butcher. You can have the butcher cut the knuckle in 4 and the straight bone part in 2-3. Freeze it raw and serve it to him in the backyard after a thawing (don't cook, or the bone gets brittle=vet bill). Gnawing on these things must tap into the primal instincts or something.

Word verification: pignat

Maybe you should buy the dog some pignats to chew on!?

HBomb said...

Chicago/Philly final. I picked the Hawks to win the Cup preseason and pre-playoffs, and I'm not changing horses mid-stream on that one. Hawks over the Sharks in six.

The Flyers though? Truth be told, I had them coming out on the east in the pre-season, but I had more or less given them up for dead by mid-March. However, when they did make the playoffs, I looked at their goal differential and thought they were a good candidate for a first round upset of New Jersey. Didn't think they'd get this far though.

They might have Pronger and Carcillo, but they also have Carter and Gagne (two personal favorites), plus some other good players (Richards and Coburn for instance). More importantly...they're NOT the damn Habs! Flyers in seven, as Halak turns back into a pumpkin and the Habs Cinderella (read: lucky) run ends abruptly.

The finals are going to be a pasting, no matter what - Campbell bowl winner over the Wales trophy winner in five, MAX.

Coach pb9617 said...

I don't know bud, San Jose is playing so well. This will be the first series where the Malhotra/Couture line and the 3rd pairing will have to work though and I think that will be the ultimate decider.

If Couture can keep winning his battles, this could go seven.

Black Dog said...

Derek/R O - I could see San Jose winning it, don't get me wrong, have to pick someone though ;) and if the Sharks were to do it I wouldn't blink an eye, they're quality

As for the douche quotient I know a lot of folks who hate Thornton and Marleau but I don't mind them or most of the players for both clubs. Kane is certainly a punk (and I don't rate him as highly as a lot do btw - he gives a lot back imo) and they have some world class trash talkers which usually pisses me off.

But they are my old club so I have a soft spot for them and I would never cheer for any of the newer markets against an original six franchise, especially one that is nearly fifty years dry.

Black Dog said...

Tim - I'll see if I can track one down.

He's not doing badly. I mean he's dropping weight and he's not comfortable but he's not in a lot of pain quite yet and he's managed to rebound some so he's getting around a bit better. Giving him these treats loaded with glucosamine and they have made a huge difference.

Just taking it day by day right now.

macaotim said...

Glad to hear the news is pretty good. I was going to suggest glucosamine or other holistic alternatives, but being a hockey blog, I though raw meat would be better...less chance of being cyber-harassed by thick-skulled neanderthals!

My wife's dog passes away a little over a year ago...she read your post and we looked through pictures of the old guy with my dog. We were all sad and teary-eyed remembering how beautiful a friend he was...then I clicked an mpeg...I had forgotten we took it...had him chasing my pup around and humping the neighbors dog...sentimental moment over!

Give the old guy a pat from us.

R O said...

As for the douche quotient I know a lot of folks who hate Thornton and Marleau but I don't mind them or most of the players for both clubs. Kane is certainly a punk (and I don't rate him as highly as a lot do btw - he gives a lot back imo) and they have some world class trash talkers which usually pisses me off.

Yeah, Pat, Kane and Toews are just on a different level from each other by the looks of it. I mean you will get dinks like Traktor and that teenage Habs fan FPB who will salivate all over the point totals of Kane but damned if they couldn't create a team that would finish lower in the standings, year after year, than the 09/10 Oilers.

More to the point: Toews looks to be getting closer and closer to a complete player, terrifically hard on the puck and he doesn't give much back. Kane isn't so bad once he makes it in the offensive zone, he tends to try to do too much though, even when there aren't any plays to be had.

Still he is terrifically skilled, like all incomplete players of his calibre. Like Malkin, Kovalchuk, Heatley, Lecavalier, Spezza... you name it. He ought to play in the East. In this series I suspect he and Heatley will try to outdo each other in the "giving it back" department.

Still, Kane is but a boy in hockey terms, maybe there is hope for him yet. Although it gets less and less likely with each passing day that he will reinvent himself.

In the real world though, he is a man, albeit a young one who shouldn't be begrudged for sowing his oats. Still, he's got the vibe of ignorant arrogance that radiates from newly pubescent teen. Even at twenty, one has to know that if you piss on someone you'll get splash-back.

Black Dog said...

Good stuff Tim.

R O - Yeah my take would be the same. Anyone who watched the Olympics can see the difference between the two. Toews was one of the best forwards in the tournament, all the while matched against the world's best.

Kane's a guy who's going to do a lot of good things in the offensive end and he's going to make a difference on the PP but I've seen way too many instances this spring where he's made that soft little dinky pass and its ended up going the other way. Spezza is a great comp, actually.

Hard to say how he'll turn out but he's got a big contract and the team has been doing pretty well so my guess is he will stay the course, no incentive to change his game quite yet.

Bruce said...

I mean you will get dinks like Traktor and that teenage Habs fan FPB ...

Nice drive-by. Why don't you attack those guys in a forum or a thread where they are at least around to defend themselves.

Personal comments degrade the quality of blogs, even an exceptionally good one like Pat's. Can't you make your point without taking shots at other commenters?

You're going to give Calgary fans a bad name. :|