Roberto Luongo didn’t cost the Vancouver Canucks their Wednesday night loss to the San Jose Sharks. But he didn’t win it for them, either.
So cue the calliope music and fire up the crazy carousel. Time again for: what next from those whacky Canucks? Do they switch goalies? Is Cory Schneider healthy enough to go back in net? Is either one good enough right now to beat a gritty, fast-skating San Jose side?
One game in and already the Canucks’ goaltending is a critical issue for a team that has more than one on the rise. Neither Henrik nor Daniel Sedin did a thing in the 3-1 defeat. Ryan Kesler played a man on two bad feet. The defence disappeared like a David Copperfield prop.
Luongo made some nice early saves after being given the start. (Details of Schneider’s injury and possible return remain deeply classified.) Luongo’s best came against Martin Havlat during a San Jose power play in the first period.
But with San Jose ahead 2-1 in the third, Luongo passed the puck to an open corner in the Vancouver zone, the Sharks gained control and Patrick Marleau slipped a shot home for an easy goal that clinched it.
Here’s another dilemma for the Canucks: the Sharks came in touting a more determined nature and they showed it, from Brent Burns’ size on the wing to Scott Hannan’s pugnacity to Logan Couture’s ability to draw penalties.
Being the first team to lose a home playoff game this postseason is one thing for the Canucks. Losing the way they did is far more serious. They’ve got problems and they go beyond who plays in goal in Game 2.
The best quote from Wednesday night’s NHL action came from head coach Randy Carlyle after watching his Toronto Maple Leafs lose 4-1 to the Boston Bruins. “I have never seen so many people fall down with no one around them,” he said.
Now, there’s falling down funny. (See Mike Rupp of the Minnesota Wild, who lost a skate blade Tuesday night and had to crawl his way back to the bench. He crawled so slowly he was offside on a Minnesota rush.) Then there was the Leafs’ fall-down follies, which were disastrously bad. Think of the movie Titanic with all those passengers tumbling down a titled deck as the big ship sank and you’ll get the idea.
Andrew Ference, keep your cell phone at the ready. You’re sure to get a call from NHL director of player safety Brendan Shanahan.
When Ference, the Bruins’ defenceman, dropped Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski with a first-period elbow, it may not have drawn a penalty but it drew a multitude of TV replays and an ear load of discussion. The NHL, after all, has said it doesn’t want to relax its officiating just because it’s the postseason. It wants players to be held as accountable as they were in the regular season, particularly when it comes to head shots.
So, give a head shot; get a suspension
Ference has chatted with Shanahan before, once for a 2011 hit that felled Jeff Halperin of the Montreal Canadiens (no suspension there), the other time for a 2012 incident that sent Ryan McDonagh crashing into the boards (three games for that one). If Ference gets a game or two for his hit on Grabovski – bet he gets something, even a fine – it’s likely that rookie Dougie Hamilton will be added to the Bruins’ line-up.
He’s the rookie defenceman Boston drafted with one of the two picks acquired from Toronto in the Phil Kessel trade; the other pick being Tyler Seguin.
Kessel’s Game 1 stats: no points, one shot on net. Seguin: no points, seven shots on net.
No women, the sequel
Don Cherry used his Coach’s Corner segment to clarify his position on whether female reporters should be allowed in male dressing rooms. No, he said for a second time. Why? Because guys are jerks and, “You have to have respect for women.”
Apparently, though, you don’t have to have any respect for female reporters trying to do their job. That would require a coach laying down the law to his players, which Cherry boasted he did in the mid-1970s with the Bruins. And that can’t be done again?
Don’t try and follow the logic. You’ll just hurt yourself.
The Tim Tebow to Montreal express has yet to leave the station, if it ever does. Alouettes’ GM Jim Popp, while open to the idea of Tebow competing for a backup spot at quarterback, hasn’t spoken to Tebow or his agent Jimmy Sexton and “probably will not, unless they call.”
Four months ago, a representative for quarterback Vince Young called Popp and asked if the Als would be interested in signing the former NFL star and first-round draft pick who lost millions through bad management/investments.
“They are very aware of Anthony Calvillo and know if they were to come to Montreal that (Young) would have to be a backup,” Popp insisted. “Vince Young’s goal is to get back to the NFL and if that doesn’t happen this year then he might decide to come up and give Canada a try.”
Young turns 30 later this month, hasn’t played football in more than a year and he wants good money. Good luck selling that to an NFL buyer.