After a disquieting Sabres loss, we turn our broken hearts to the Ducks-Canucks game, where we find ourselves faced with an ever-growing fondness for the Ducks. This is so… wrong. But you can’t fight city hall, nor can you fight thinking Ryan Getzlaf is dreamy enough to make it worth cheering for his team.
– We have a panicky moment of snafu with WordPress, and our attentions are drawn from the first three minutes of the game as we try to figure out the best alternative form of word processing. We are terrible problem solvers.
– Neale says of a doubled-over Mitchell on the bench, “Let’s see what he got hit by,” and Boomer barks, “Two Ducks is what he got hit by.” One of those offending Ducks is Brad May; we are ashamed of our favorite professional sports league that it let him continue to play in this postseason after that sucker-punch in the first round. His presence on the active roster at all makes us hope the Ducks are ashamed of themselves, too.
– Vancouver gets a PP and the broadcasters suggest this is such a rare occasion it should be interesting to see what they do. Pookie, dripping with sarcasm: “They’re going to skate three guys instead of five.” Well, two uneventful minutes later, we find out that Vancouver does exactly the same thing with the power play as they do at even strength: not score.
– It seems Alain Vigneault must be a big fan of IPB, because after we complained in the last game about his monochromatic dressing scheme, he has turned himself out smartly tonight. Black suit, white shirt, white tie with black polka-dots… nicely done.
– A dark, dark pall still hangs over IPB thanks to the specter of a Rangers win. Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but if the Rangers and Senators end up in the Eastern Conference Final we’re going to be doing the unthinkable: cheering for the Western Conference in the Cup Final.
– CBC’s twinkle wipe, once you notice it, is quite possibly the most annoying thing going in televised hockey these days. You know the one we’re talking about: between replays they have a blue CBC screen and little twinkly stardust music that wipes from live action to replay, then back again from replay to live action. It starts innocuously enough, but the more they use it the more it just twinkles its way along your nerve endings with all the charm of a painful hangnail.
– Sami Salo gets called for high-sticking and some ever-classy fans on the glass animatedly give the officials the finger. Cute.
– Our gentle pocket of New Jersey idyll is being rocked by a cinematic thunderstorm, with streaking lightning and crackling thunder. It is quite distracting, in that we are constantly concerned the power will go out and we’ll miss some hockey. Not cool, weather!
– We find that our burgeoning like (“love” is way too strong a word) for the Ducks makes it much, much easier to ignore the loathed Pronger, Niedermayer and Giguere, but much, much harder to ignore how much we loathe Selanne.
– Naslund gets the better of our new Duck honey and scores. Even though Getzlaf was clearly the guy skating around with his head up his ass while Naslund got open to tap in Ohlund’s rebound, we’re much more comfortable blaming Nieder and Giggy.
– CBC gives us some stats to show how little the Ducks use their fourth line compared to Vancouver’s use of theirs. Really, you have to wonder what Brian Burke thought loading up with meat-fisted goons was going to do to help his team in the playoffs. Carlyle clearly isn’t comfortable with those guys on the ice, so now he’s stuck trying to win in the post-season with three actual lines and a handful of albatrosses holding down his bench.
– We are shocked – shocked! – to hear from Keith Jones during intermission that Brendan Morrison hasn’t been good in the playoffs so far. The Brendan Morrison?
– Pahlsson gets a shot from the slot and Luongo makes a quick pad save. Schnookie narrows her eyes at Pando’s competition for the Selke and growls, “I don’t like Pahlsson.”
– Brendan “The Brat” Morrison fails to score on a 2-on-1 that is defended by Nieder. He then looks up at the jumbotron to marvel in disbelief how he could possibly not have scored there. Perhaps, Brat, it’s because you’re really not that good.
– Teemu manages to make his face explode on a high stick and draws a double-minor while the Ducks are already on the power play. Before too much longer, though, the Ducks get nailed for too many men. The announcers choose this moment to declare this is “by far the best game of this series.” Wow. It’s been that good so far?
– After a stop by Luongo draws a whistle, Pookie makes this horrified declaration: “Rob Niedermayer has an ‘A’?” Schnookie responds: “Well, that explains why the Ducks are never going to win anything.” That and Sean O’Donnell, who still owes Devils fans a Cup from 2001.
– The Brat takes an extravagantly obvious tripping penalty and tries to act all horrified that he was fingered for it. Schnookie, after watching the replay: “Why are the fans all het up about that? That was pretty blatant.” Pookie: “They’re just angry they have Morrison.”
– Oh for God’s sake. Because The Brat wouldn’t be The Brat unless he was making us miserable, he scores on an amazing move on another 2-on-1 defended by Nieder. Pookie, who has been nodding off, says, “Why did that have to be one of the few times my eyes were open?” After the replay, she adds, “And it was Morrison??” It might be time for her to go to bed.
– We’ve sat through three intermissions and one between-games show on VS tonight, and it is only now in this fourth intermission that we notice Keith’s hair, despite his snazzy tie, looks like he’s a 50′s comic book character whose coif is drawn with a few frenzied pencil scribbles. That or an animal pelt.
– We are seriously, seriously troubled by this talk throughout the NHL about altering the overtime format in the playoffs. This is just so… awful. It is baffling to us why the NHL would want to mess with the one thing it gets good press for in the mainstream media. Multiple playoff overtimes set the NHL apart from the rest of the sports world, even in the minds of non-fans who know next to nothing about hockey. We understand the concern that the quality of play declines as the players get increasingly fatigued, but there is nothing else in any sport that can compare to the intensity and drama of the game just going until a goal is scored. As fans we are endlessly frustrated by the league’s constant need to “fix” its product; there is only so far a devoted fan can watch its sport get screwed up in misguided attempts to attract new viewers. We are very afraid that if the NHL adopts gimmicky “solutions” to playoff overtime, we might not be able to swallow it.
– Pronger beats Luongo on a soft shot through traffic from the blue line. We are pleased to see the Canucks lead cut in half, but Pookie also adds, “Fuckin’ Pronger.” But still. WOOO!
– How many weeks have we been watching the playoffs on VS? How many times have we seen that “Battle For The Bull” commercial? And how little attention have we actually paid to it? Is that a contest to win a bull? We’re not sure our property is zoned for rodeo bulls.
– This game is like the effin’ Brendan Morrison show. We don’t like that boarding call on Getzlaf — we feel like there was clearly white space visible between Getzie’s stick and The Brat’s back the entire time during that replay. (Pookie’s initial response to the play: “Morrison just drove himself into the boards because he was upset none of the other players on the ice have asked him for his autograph yet.”)
– Oh, it’s time for us to pick the three stars of the game! CBC’s graphic is subliminally trying to get us to vote for The Brat with the way they casually offer the example “Canucks 7″ in their instructions how to vote. You know what, CBC? It won’t work on us.
– The Ducks are shooting willy-nilly on a power play midway through the third, and Luongo is making saves willy-nilly.
– Holy crap! A Teemu Selanne sighting? Through gritted teeth and tight smiles (we’re still learning to like this team, mind you), we have to admit, that was a seriously nifty job he did picking that puck out of the air to tie this game up with five minutes left.
– Rob Niedermayer must be the slowest skater on earth; Luongo leaves a huge-assed rebound right in front of a wide-open net, and Baby Nieder suddenly does his “molasses going uphill in January” impersonation and gives Luongo several weeks to beat him to the puck.
– Willie Mitchell keeps us guessing — is he supposed to be good? Is he one of Vancouver’s top D-men? Because he takes a penalty with under four minutes left in this game. The Ducks don’t take advantage, though, so we head back to the VS studio with all those wacky haircuts and ready ourselves for overtime.
– We vow to stay up just for a few moments of what Bill Clement ominously calls the “first” overtime (sadly, work does beckon in just 8 hours), and the Ducks prove they want us to like them — Moen scores on a huge, meaty rebound. WOOO! As the Ducks happily skate off the ice with a 3-1 series lead, we can only imagine Morrison hurries off to text votes for himself to be named CBC’s first star of the game.
Final score: Anaheim 3, Vancouver 2