I could be wrong, but I think this has been the oddest Stanley Cup finals that I’ve ever watched. The shocking difference between home and road games, the goal differential collapse of the Presidents’ Trophy winners, and the general nastiness and bizarre refereeing all leave me shaking my head.

There are a lot of different things I’d like to make mention of, but nothing really worth a whole post, so after the jump some reflections on the latest game and the series in general.

If there is one myth that I would like to see disappear immediately, it’s the notion that Tomas Kaberle never shoots. Yes, he makes a lot of passes, but he actually shoots a fair amount for a defenseman – among defensemen he ranked 40th this season, 24th last year, and has consistently been in top-pairing range since the NHL lockout. He scored 28 goals between 2005-07, but has had a low shooting percentage (and not a lot of goals, as a result) over the last few years.

Roberto Luongo’s up-and-down performance is more than a little disconcerting. His overall save percentage is still excellent (in the same range as Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist), because more than any other goaltender in this playoff he has alternated between hot and cold, allowing 4+ goals on six occasions, while holding the opposition to one or fewer goals on seven occasions (including four shutouts). His ability to rebound is exceptional, but even if he ends up winning the Cup I think his painful game losses to Chicago and Boston will keep his reputation from being much improved.

The hit that injured Mason Raymond early in the game was every bit as bad as anything we’ve seen in this series. Nobody seems to have a decent video of the incident, but the lateness of Johnny Boychuk’s follow-through is evident even here:

Maybe I’m just being sentimental, but I think Don Cherry has been in fine form for CBC during these finals.

I can’t find a video now, but for me the most interesting moment of tonight’s game was the ‘scrum’ (for lack of a better term) between Daniel Sedin and Brad Marchand. I know some have and will take it as an example of the gutlessness of the Canucks, but Sedin’s discipline while being repeatedly punched by Marchand was exemplary – he didn’t dive, he didn’t retaliate, he stood there and took it, the way a guy who wants a power play to help his team win a hockey game does. It didn’t help; he ended up looking weak and got a penalty anyway, but as far as I’m concerned his lack of reaction was to his credit.

One of the CBC commentators during the game suggested that the impact of the referees on this series had been slight, but I don’t feel that way. Sure, they’ve let the players play, but the result has been a plethora of nasty slashes, cross-checks, late hits and hits on players without the puck. This was probably going to be a nasty series anyway, and the task of policing it is far from easy, but I can’t help but feel that the laissez-faire approach of the referees has contributed to the tone of the play, to the diminishment of both teams.

Finally, one last thought on tone and the CBC commentators – Craig Simpson suggested that late in a lost game, it would be sensible for a Canuck player like Raffi Torres to run Tim Thomas in order to throw him off his game. It’s not a comment unique to him – every fan-base in the league has fans who take the ‘win at any cost’ approach to its logical conclusion. There must be boundaries, though, and this is one of them.

Comments (15)

  1. Roberto Luongo chokes again. geesshh. I was really hoping that the canucks will play like they did on game 5.

  2. I’m glad I had it on NBC last night – sounds like the CBC team (except for Grapes, who’s enjoying something of a mini-renaissance at the moment now that his idiotic Ford commencement speech is far enough in the rear view mirror) was in fine – read: terrible – form.

    American fans may inexplicably hate Doc (and they’re stuck with Pierre for the moment), but he’s at least a neutral voice. And for someone like me without any stake in the series, that’s important.

  3. Well Mr.willis my thought exactely Mr. Bowchuk hit needs a police investigation never MIND the NHL
    Mr. Boychuk what were you thinking the guys head was almost touching the ice long before
    he hit the boards so what kept his head up here with the follow through it’s funny how tough and stupid you guys are at home I think Boston should be investigated for some use of performing drugs it’s not normal My first thought spinal injury POLICE INVESTIGATION NEEDS TO happened here. Mr. Boychuk and you didn’t let up a bit, shame on you and hope
    that the Police investigate this.

  4. Doc has been fine other than mixing up Peverly and Seguin too much (49/19), but he has not been neutral all the time. Since it is Canada vs USA I guess he can be a little more nationalistic rather than two USA teams. And I’m American, so I notice it too…Cheers.

  5. That Boychuk play is a harmless incidental collision that happens ten times a game. It just went wrong, mostly because Raymond was trying to hold his stick.

    Now that Edler icing play hit, that was vicious.

  6. Derek – agreed, he’s not been neutral (although he’s about at the same level as he is when calling Devils games for the national feed), but it’s not as blatant as the HNIC coverage. I don’t remember it being NEARLY this bad during the Sens / Oilers / Flames years – is it just that Vancouver is the biggest market, or that they’re the favourite?

    (Don’t anyone go arguing that the Sens were favoured against the Ducks. Seriously, people.)

  7. How can you see D.Sedin showing “discipline” when he’s got popped in the head 5-6 times. The game was practically over anyways he should of given him 1 smack at least or one of his teammates should of come to his aid. It was quite comical and embarrassing I thought for the team and Sedin.

  8. AC wrote ” How can you see D.Sedin showing “discipline” when he’s got popped in the head 5-6 times. The game was practically over anyways he should of given him 1 smack at least or one of his teammates should of come to his aid. It was quite comical and embarrassing I thought for the team and Sedin. ”

    You know, I think it made Marchand look like an imbecile. He knows the Sedin wont fight back and he punch him 8-9 times like the douche he is.

    I dont remember any cup winning team givins that many cheap shot, slash , cross check in recent years. Boston is not even playin a tough game, they are playing a dirty game. Is this what the NHL wants to show?

    How come in the NFL, in the Superbowl, Refferee will call a holding penalty, face mask pull etc.. even if it means that it might cost a team the win, while in the NHL, the refs dont call anything i the finals cause they dont want to “interfer” in the game. But by not calling penalty, arent they already doing so?

    The recent finals showed emotions, grits and effort while this year we are seeing a disgrace to the game by Boston. It is not the kind of hockey we want to see, if there is a scrum after the whistle, Refs needs to call it.

    Like our friend Marchand that punch 8 times Daniel et the nuggin and they BOTH got penalty???? WTF is that?

    This is how Bettman wants the NHL to be sold? a goon show?

  9. Why not suspend Boychuck? wait the onesides refs are time and again against the canucks. Hope that they win game 7 cause they play real hockay and no this cheap dirty hack slash thing that the bruins call hockey!

  10. Honestly some of these posts are ridiculous .

    The boychuck hit was nowhere near a cheap shot! It was a typical play whe they both go to the boards finishing a check. A lot of times you can’t even see if the puck is with you so to say oh the puck was gone so that’s a cheap shot well that’s ridiculous. This one instance the puck got knocked away. Raymond went awkward into the boards and it was a freak play. Compare it to the Rome hit where he purposely went high and late and knew where the puck was.

    That is the difference in ruling on the two plays.

    As far as saying Boston is making the series a disgrace I think you people are being sore losers. Most Canucks fans tend to be is way they feel like they have a sense of entitlement. At any rate it’s been pretty obvious how much acting diving and selling the Canucks have been doing and that there is the reason for a lot of non calls. Instead of diving and acting and taking cheap shots they should play like they did in game 5 when they were physical and playing hockey.

    This has been one of the best finals in recent history, very exciting hard hitting and high scoring.

    OH and if you want a police investigation? Would it be one like the disgraceful play Vancouver had bertuzzi make that ended someones career? Maybe we should go and look at that.

  11. The Boychuk hit was not as vicious as Rome’s, but he took a player in an extremely vulnerable position into the boards, long after the puck was gone, and crunched him, on purpose, and caused a severe injury.

    If he just finished the check late, and didn’t push into Raymond therby not hurting him, that may have been understandable given the game. But he didn’t, and is just as deserving of suspension as Rome. It wasn’t dirty, but it was vicious and unnecessary.

    As for how dirty the Bruins are playing – the Canucks started that and have no one but themselves to blame. Face it Canucks fans, the Bruins have had a much cleaner run up to this series. The Canucks have been dirty and cheap shotting from the get go. Vancouver started it with the Bruins and we’ll see if they have the jam to finish it.

    No pity party for the Canucks is warranted. Next time they might think twice about playing dirty with a bigger tougher team. Not a bright strategy.

  12. Jason,

    Now wouldn’t that be something….a police investigation when a play suffers a serious injury. Yep your right it happens in Vancouver!!! MaC had to take responsibility for slashing Brash on the side of the head with his stick.

    Typical play? I really don’t think your are suppose to touch a player that doesn’t have the puck…I think they call it interference. Apparently that was what got Torres a penalty on Seabrook, and the puck was inches from his stick. Similarly, it was the same issue with Rome… interfered by giving a late hit when the player didnt have the puck. However, it was not an issue with Chara on Prev. or Boy. on Rammond. I think if you injure a player by infraction of the rules you sit as long as they do…..then we can watch hockey with out the NHL deciding games.

    Sedin….I agree…MVP regular season and a rookie is aloud to punch him six times in the face? The NHL has told us that they want the game to be based on skill….which is why we dont have enforcers anymore. However, they have shown there is no credibility to the league that they design. They have endorsed the gooning by not penalizing the team that violates the rules instead they give booth teams a penalty.

  13. Merchant;

    Should definetly sit for his poor judgement and lack of sportsmanship. The game was already in the bag for Boston. It was nothing more than an attempt to intimidate with physical violence…….

    Dont want my kids watching the NHL……thinking that this is sport?

  14. John,
    Maybe you should go read what Kerry fraiser thinks about the whole thing on tsn.ca. Maybe interference that’s it. If this was the other way around you wouldn’t say anything. Sedin is a known diver that’s why there was no call. They are the epitome of soft euro players and I for one would be sick to my stomach if he was my captain. Leaders and true captains lead by example… Not disappearing acts.

  15. Not to mix up both topics I forgot to separate them

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