Friday, May 14, 2010

An Absolutely Smokin' Hot NHL Playoff Collectible!!

hockey inspired pipe carving. All carvings by Andrew of Salt Spring Island

by Lisa Ovens

In keeping with the hockey art photo theme I have going on this playoffs...

Just stick it in this pipe and smoke it! Being an Island Girl at heart (no, not New York Islanders - I grew up on an island surrounded by other islands on the South Coast of British Columbia) I have always been a fan of beautiful and quirky Salt Spring Island, and the various delights found there. I mean isn't the Chevres (soft goat cheese) from Salt Spring Island Cheese Company  absolutely divine?

Well the above wood pipe resembling the most revered trophy in all of pro sports is another delight to behold. Smoke or no smoke, it would be a sweet hockey collectible to add to your collection

Hand made on beautiful Salt Spring Island, BC , this pipe is made of pure Canadian Maple just in time for the playoffs! Perfect one of a kind gift for a hockey fan!
Click here to buy the ultimate hockey fan smoking device and 21 other creations.

The unique pipe collection also includes an Olympic inspired Torch pipe...

And a nod to the film, The Big Lebowski...

The Dude Abides...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pens/ Habs Game Seven:There’s No Crying in Hockey

by Jan Snyder

Pens Lose Game 7
Montreal wins series

However, there is room for a tear or two for the old Arena. Somehow this loss bookends Mellon Arena’s many years. The Pens lost the first game played there and now have lost the last ever. Lots of memories over those many years. I’ll always remember going to games with my Dad, my Mom, my brothers, my sister, my daughter, my son, my son-in-law, and with all my friends, especially Karen and Pat, and all the fun we always had, win or lose. I will treasure those memories of watching #66 work his magic, #68 and his flowing locks, and of course enjoying the current crop of Penguins.

As this wacky playoff season goes on, the number eight seed advances in the east. Pittsburgh starts their offseason after powerhouse teams like New Jersey, Washington and Buffalo started theirs. Odd turn of events all the way around.

But let’s hand it to Montreal and especially to Halak. He’s proved now that he’s the real deal stopping the best players on Washington and Pittsburgh. P.K. Subban will be fun to watch for years to come and we know how good Hal Gill can be, but we prefer seeing him do what he does when he’s on our team. I agree with the announcers who said Pittsburgh didn’t lose, Montreal won. Very true as they played a team game and did what they had to do all the way through the series. How many times did I jump off the couch, thinking Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Gonchar, etc. had scored a “sure” goal, only to watch Halak gobble up the puck?

Losing possession of the Stanley Cup is hard, but makes us appreciate how lucky we were to have it for one season. The Pens will come back strong next year in their new home and will want to start with a win and a winning season – maybe another Stanley Cup season?

This may sound strange, but I am jumping on the Montreal bandwagon. I am, as Lisa will attest, a proponent of having as many Canadian teams in the playoffs as possible. After all, it’s their game, so they should be participating. Since they are the only team from Canada left, I will now be their fan. I can’t root for Boston or Philly (that would be impossible, not to mention sacrilegious), so if I want an eastern team to win the Cup, it may as well be the one that knocked out my team from the tournament. Congrats, Montreal!

And in the west – no Pens fan wants to watch Marion Hossa hoist the Cup, so we’ll be pulling for the Sharks.

The boys had a great year and gave us many more exciting memories. Watching Sid fight until the final game for the scoring championship was one. Now they can get some rest and be back in the fall, on a really fresh sheet of ice, ready to rock us again!

Thanks, Pens, it was a great run!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Canucks vs. Blackhawks Game Six: Canucks Eliminated, Lisa says "Go SHARKS!"

Blue Canuck by Lisa Ovens

by Lisa Ovens

To help ease the pain of watching my home team, the Vancouver Canucks lose game six, 5-1, I cleaned my bathroom. And I phoned my brother. But I didn’t reach for a cup cake, so, uh, that’s a good thing.

Same day (May 11th) same game (game six) same team doing the eliminating (Blackhawks) Geez, who writes these scripts? For some reason, and I haven’t put my finger on it yet, but after this year’s “Annual Blackhawks eliminate Canucks Event” I don’t feel as bad as I did last year. And judging by the looks and comments from the post game Canucks, it didn’t seem to hurt them as much as it did last year.

To sum it up quickly right here, right now in no particular order: yes, we missed a player like Willie Mitchell, we blew it in games three and four on the composure front, people played hurt, Luongo tried and looked great at times, and then stunk it up on others, the Blackhawks are a good team, Byfuglien ran over Edler who doesn't return to play, the one goal we got from O'Brien was sweet, all hale Sami Salo for playing after the testicle injury from game five, why couldn’t we win at home where lots and lots of winning occurred all year, oh how this sucks, especially for the fans in the stands who cheered even when it was 5-1, but I believed, and who says you have to ever stop believing.

In the West it’s a no brainer, I ‘m jumpin’ on the San Jose Shark bandwagon in the Western Conference Final. As I pointed out in a recent column, the San Jose Sharks and the Vancouver Canucks were the last two competitors in the Semi Finals that haven’t won a Stanley Cup. Let's see the Sharks get closer to the promised land. Like I’m going to cheer for the Blackhawks- not!

My mother passed away before the beginning of the regular season, and I made it through my first Canuck season without her as my game buddy. I know wherever she is, she’ll be a little sad that the boys came up short again. And then she’ll say let’s look forward to next season.

And I shall :o) because I am crazy. You have to be a little crazy to follow this team.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Game Seven, Smoke Monster and Bobbleheads

Pens Lose Game 6 in Montreal
series tied 3-3

by Jan Snyder

Things were looking up. Hal Gill couldn’t play, Spacek hadn’t played in awhile. The Pens were up by a game in the series – just needed that one more win in Montreal.

Turned out to be easier said than done. The crowd, which more and more reminds me of the smoke monster on Lost, upped their decibal level (which I didn’t think was possible) and it wound its way around the Bell Centre creating so much cachophony that we could barely hear the announcers.

Cammelleri got the scoring started quickly in the first and brought the fans an encore in the second, scoring his second of the night. Sid finally broke through with a goal and Letang rang up another power play goal.

At just about the time we thought Spacek would fold, he scored instead to end the second period. The third featured two power plays for Montreal and one for the Pens but neither team was able to connect. Lapierre scored a nice goal putting Montreal up 4-2, but the Pens never go easily.

Guerin scored to make it 4-3 with a couple of minutes left, but although the Pens gave it the old college try, they couldn’t get another puck past Halak to tie it up.

Lisa talked about how she hoped the Canucks used up all their bad luck. Tonight was a similar deal for the Pens, as they hit three, ding, dong, ding, three posts in one period! A quick whistle in the first caused a goal by Geno to be called back and all our bounces tonight were bad ones.

Sooooo, back to Pittsburgh for a Game Seven! Such drama – who would have expected it in the second round? But Pittsburgh fans can be loud too, especially in a huge game like this one will be. They remember the celebrations last year, they remember walking down the streets after these big wins honking car horns and screaming, Let’s Go, Pens! They remember that sunny parade day as Sid hoisted the Cup for everyone to see. And so does the team. Game Sevens are fun, nerve-wracking, but fun! We can do it!

Let’s Go, Pens!

Random thoughts

• The other Eastern semi- final is just as crazy. After Boston went up 3-0, they now let the Flyers creep back into the series and it now stands at 3-2. Boucher, the Flyer goalie, went out in this game. We’ll have to see if he can come back for the next game.

• The beardless Canucks pulled out a big win at United Center on Sunday but will need to do the same on Tuesday, but like the Pens, they will be back at home to do it.

• This afternoon on NHL Live, E. J. Hradek was talking to Joe Thornton’s bobblehead. The whole thing was hysterical as E. J. shook “Joe” to make it look like he was answering his questions. Maybe I’m just easily amused, but I was laughing out loud!

• Wow, at the World Championships in Germany, they are playing hockey in soccer stadiums that hold 77,000. Team USA isn’t doing too well, but we’ll have to see how it goes.

Canucks/ Blackhawks Game gets interesting

Canucks win game five 4-1
Blackhawks lead the series 3-2

by Lisa Ovens

A clean shaven Roberto Luongo tamed a beast within tonight, helping his team win game five in United Center 4-1. I really like writing a line like that. We are going to game six.

The Vancouver Canucks did not become unglued in this potential last game of the season; especially during the penalty kill and the times when four different players need medical attention. Composure means everything right now.

A two goal night from Kevin Bieksa, another great effort from Kyle Wellwood, and everyone else taking care of the little things. Yay... first goal from Christian Erhoff in the first minute of the game! A major plus to have in the vibrant "Mad House", against a tough team to beat in the Blackhawks.

                                  Matts Sudin ay United Center does a Luxury box interview

One thing that was a bonus was the vision of "Lux Box Matts" Sundin at the game.. In my opinion he made a difference to this team last season, and some might say his best venue was in the room. I don’t know yet if he spoke to the group, but I hope he did. Leadership has to come from many sources sometimes, and I sure Matts would have brought it tonight.

Ouch! Tweet! No Bucket! Tweet

Sami Salo took one for the team. The rumor is something ruptured, but according to a Jason Botchford tweet, Salo’s testicle is not ruptured.

Earlier tonight tweeted that the Canucks went helmet-less during the pre game warm up but had no explanation as to why at "tweet time". Here’s why, according to Shane o’Brien via The Province Sports...

...He even made sure the Canucks went without their helmets for the pre-game warm-up to keep everybody loose. "I've been pumping it all year," added O'Brien. "Ryan Johnson then said something and as soon as the twins went on board, everybody had to go no bucket."

I liked that. Let’s hope my theory posted earlier about this series continues to be right!!!!

Time to run...until tomorrow...Go Canucks!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Two of these teams are not like the Others...

by Lisa Ovens

Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks.

Can you figure out which two teams are different than the others and why? The answer is below this mini Don Cherry Suit Fest...

The two different teams are the San Jose Sharks and the Vancouver Canucks. What they have in common goes beyond the finned, ocean dwelling creatures on their sweaters. Neither of these teams has won a Stanley Cup.

Based on the last few cup winning teams, it's a good thing for the Canucks and the Sharks that Marion Hossa doesn’t play for either of them...

Red Wings: one  Penguins: one
Marion Hossa: nothing

The San Jose Sharks are now one step closer to making the Stanley Cup Final after knocking out the Detroit Red Wings last night. We can't say the same for the Vancouver Canucks, as their Stanley Cup Final campaign is on the ropes, down three games to one against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks need to win three more games this week to stay alive this post season. Today is the first day of three possible judgment days. If the Canucks can't win game five for themselves, maybe the could win one for their moms.

Happy Mother's Day everyone :o)

GAME DAY: Canucks vs. Blackhawks Game Five

          Imagine all the rituals, superstitions and lucky objects in action right now in Canuckland

Canucks lost game four 7-4
Blackhawks lead series 3-1

by Lisa Ovens

According to’s playoff stats: teams have trailed 3-1 in a best-of-seven series a total of 229 times and have come back to win the series on 20 occasions or 8.7% of the time. And three of the twenty belong to the Vancouver Canucks (1992, 1994 and 2003). In fact, the Canucks have the most success at this than any other team! What’s bothersome is why we have to wind up in these predicaments in the first place.

                        A Wondertwin wonders did we wind up here again?

The most recent successful series comeback was the 2003 playoffs, the opponent: the St. Louis Blues. The Blues were a very good team, and at the time had the record for most consecutive playoff appearances out of all pro sports (at the time it was something like 23 years in a row qualifying for the playoffs). The Canuck/ Blues rivalry had been heating up all season long with the two teams split for wins, and the final outing was considered “the game of the year” in the press.

For the Canucks, that first round series was off to a horrible start because they lost game one (6-0) at home. I was there and it was a heart breaker. They did nothing right and were completely owned by the Blues. They managed to barely win game two, but then lost the next two on the road in St. Louis. With the Canucks on the ropes for game five at home, I decided to bet on the Canucks to win the game. I could have made that bet with many people because nobody believed the team would win. I went to the game, and sure enough they won. Back to St. Louis for game six and they won again. Home to Vancouver for game seven and they won the series.

So what happened to create that glorious turn around? Well the pressure was off for sure. I remember seeing a clip of the team strolling into GM Place on game day and they were loose, smiling and relaxed. But something else was going on over at the other bench worth noting: the flu was spreading around the mighty Blues team.

Today the Canucks are waist deep in a nasty team melt down and it’s already a game up over last year’s Blackhawk series melt down (we had two wins at this point last year and were eventually dispatched from the playoffs after game six).

So what can Canuck nation hope for this time around?

The Blackhawks might not have the flu, but the Orcas can hope for some three alarm hangovers...

Maybe the fun, young Bhawks, tickled pink after taking both games in Van, went out and tied one on Saturday night in Chicago. Let’s face it; those boys have to be thrilled that they’ve made fools out of the Canucks and their fans, and they did it so, so convincingly. What fresh faced group of young guns wouldn’t grab a limo, lots of beer and take their shirts off in celebration?

Road Trip

The Canucks have to happy to get out of the insane asylum that the city of Vancouver has become. I have to write a separate column covering the mountain of stupidity we’ve ascended (most of it is courtesy of the media) or else this one would be too long. In my opinion the circus off of the ice is as bad if not worse than the three ringer on the ice. I know if I were the Canucks, I’d more than pleased to get on a plane and return to the “Mad House” that is United Center. I’m sure it will be calmer there for them, if you can imagine that!

Mikael Samuelsson Makes a Difference...

This guy won a Stanley Cup in 2008 with arguably the best team, top to bottom, over the last 20 years. Could he possibly have some magic Red Wing dust left on him to sprinkle around the Canucks locker room? Could he have some words to say that explain how a successful team like the 2008 Red Wings would deal with the Canucks current woes?

We’ve Used Up ALL the Bad Everything

Could it be that the Canucks have gotten everything bad that any hockey player could ever imagine happening out of the way in these last three games, leaving the team with nothing but good stuff on the horizon? Is it possible that Daniel Sedin has no more potential for taking penalties, because he’s already spent his quota for round two? And Roberto Luongo has realized he’s way overdrawn at the goals allowed bank and will madly start saving them again?

Will the pucks grow tired of bouncing the other way?

Is the entire team finally done talking and ready to just shut up and play?

The clock is ticking...GO CANUCKS!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Defense Never Rests

by Jan Snyder

Pens Win at Home, 2-1
Pens lead series 3-2

Game Five in Pittsburgh! Billy Guerin is back in and Letestu is too. Fedotenko and Ponikarovsky are out; would those personnel moves make a difference?

Starting much like they left off the other night, the Pens and Canadiens battled right from the drop of the puck. Mike Rupp slapped a puck that hit Halak on the side of the head and left him a little groggy. The Pens tried to take advantage of that and kept firing shots at the goal, but with no luck.

With just a little over two minutes left in the first period, the Pens went on the power play. Making up for what happened in the last game, Kris Letang scored, assisted by Geno and Gonch. The Pens decided to then play a little game amongst themselves called “Let’s See Who Can Check their Guy the Hardest”. Bodies were flying!

Montreal then got its own power play but couldn’t score. In one great sequence, first Halak made an impossible save, and then Fleury did the same at the other side just as the period was ending.

In the second period, the defense went into action, as Gonchar scored assisted by Orpik. Geno was on a mission and although he didn’t score, he did everything but. He was everywhere, even at one point, imitating Sid’s dance behind the net. Seeing his parents in Mellon Arena again was a nice treat and having them there seemed to give Geno some extra jump in his step!

Then the real nerve-wracking part of the game started. With just a couple of minutes left, Montreal went on the power play and threw everything they had at Fleury. After he stopped several bouncing pucks, one got through him and the score was 2-1. Could the Pens hold them off? They tried to score again, but struck out on three attempts at empty net goals! But even with that, they were able to successfully defend and wrap up game five with a big win.

Again the goalies were the story, but Pittsburgh’s defense got a big assist in the win. Sid worked and worked, but still couldn’t score and in fact, was one of the ones who missed an empty net! Since Hal Gill was injured in the game, we’ll see if Sid can come out firing (and less impeded) on Monday back in Montreal. Guerin again made a better door than window in front of Halak and Letsetu had an assist.

The Pens need just one more game in the second race to four…


Random Thoughts:

• Sorry those guys dressed up like green beans (instead of human bein’s) in Vancouver have got to go! They are adding nothing.

• Quite a comeback last night for the Flyers. They live to play another day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Habs/ Pens Game Four: It’s As Simple as 1-2-3

by Jan Snyder

Pens Lose 3-2 to Montreal
series tied 2-2

What a first period! There they were – the Pens of last year, the holders of the Cup, playing like crazy, buzzing like bees around a hive! Staal was back, somewhat unexpectedly, everything was right with the world! Even though Montreal scored first as Pyatt snuck the puck through Fleury’s legs, that was okay because shortly after, Max the Superstar Talbot, scored for the Pens. Hal Gill was called for a penalty and we took advantage as a loopy goal went in off Kunitz and gave Sid an assist. The score was 2-1 as the period ended and things were lookin’ good.

What a second period! The Pens started with a power play, then the Habs had a power play but neither could score. Each team worked hard for the full twenty minutes, but there was no scoring. Instead there were plenty of opportunities for the Pens to score, but Halak and the defense kept them off the scoreboard. I was starting to squirm, thinking we needed one more, as Letang missed an open net and others came so close but couldn’t find the back of the net.

What a third period! The Pens came out like the Energizer bunny as his batteries were wearing down. Where was that fire from the first two periods? Give Montreal credit – they took full advantage and scored two quick goals about ninety seconds apart and went up 3-2. So the Pens had some work to do and they set to it. When Geno got loose and came in on the breakaway, I was sure he would tie things up – but, no, not so much as he missed and Halak flung the puck up ice. They worked and worked right to the bitter end, but couldn’t come back to tie it up.

What a game! Even though we came out on the bad end of this one, it was one terrific playoff game. Halak was good, Fleury was good. The Pens were better in the first part of the game, the Canadiens were better in the second part. Nobody said it would be easy to defend the Stanley Cup!

Now back to Pittsburgh for game five. Home, sweet, home with the series tied at 2-2. Come on, fans, show your support, be as loud as the fans in Montreal (but don’t throw trash on the ice) and help the Pens get that third win! We can do, they can do it –


Random Thoughts:

• How odd is it that Miroslav Satan, who won the Cup last year with the Pens, has scored three game-winning goals for Boston? Love the phrase, Miro the Hero!

• Detroit isn’t going down easy. Quite a statement tonight scoring seven goals.

• I was pulling hard for Lisa’s Canucks last night, but they broke the pattern of doing what the Pens did. Now they have to win tomorrow night to get their series to 2-2 as well.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blackhawks/ Canucks: Game Three

by Lisa Ovens

Blackhawks 5 Canucks 2

Blackhawks lead the series 2-1

Seen Around Town:

Former Canuck defenseman, Mattias Ohlund was spotted having a bite to eat with current defender, Alex Edler at Urban Fare in Yaletown today. This meet up appeared to have no effect on the Canucks 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Also spotted near Yaletown...a grey whale made a rare appearance in the waters off GM Place, home of the Vancouver Canucks. Some optimists saw this as a good omen for the boys wearing the Orca crested jerseys.

The Coast Guard tracked the whale, concerned for its safety. According to spokesman Dan Bate, "A crew from Kitsilano was tasked to keep an eye on it and ensure there was no interference from other boaters."

If only the NHL officials and the Vancouver Canuck defense corps could do the same for Canucks net minder, Roberto Luongo, ensuring no interference from the opponent's showboater (see video).

The Game...
There's not enough Heineken and chocolate cupcakes in the world to help me get over this game! It was like the Canucks played right into the Blackhawks hands. This was frustrated play after frustrated display. This outing was a frightening reminder of last season's round two series with the Bhawks. And we all know how that one turned out.

The Vancouver Canucks threw everything at Hawks goaltender, Antti Niemi without so much as a ladle getting knocked out of place in his kitchen; messing up Niemi is something Canuck fans want to see after witnessing the much hated behemoth BHawk, Dustin Byfuglien wreak havoc in front of Luongo, and potting a hat trick in the process. Byfuglien scoring a hat trick...oh the horror, THE HORROR!!

Last series against the LA Kings, we heard the name, Doughty too much from the broadcast booth. This time it's Byfuglien! Come on Canucks...less Byfuglien and more, ooh pick a Nuck defender name, anyone, more all of them, more Sedin, more Samuelsson, more Kesler, more Burrows!! Last series our penalty kill struggled. This series our power play is pathetic. Come game four, these special teams must be firing on all cylinders - the Canucks have no choice at this point, if they want to get to the promise land (Oh by Canuck nation standards, the promise land actually means the Western Conference Finals, a place we haven't seen for 16 long years).

And before I leave this post in search of cupcakes and Heinekens, I should address the on ice officiating and the rule surrounding the controversial fifth goal scored by the Blackhawks...

NHL rule #69.

"Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal."

When the NHL officials were studying this rule at reffing school, well, it just didn’t sink in. Too busy giggling about the number “69”?

One first period intermission moment of "WTF" proportions...
The Green Men announced on twitter that they would not be attending tonight’s game but will be present for game four on Friday, which in turn was announced by Jeff Marek on HNIC’s I- Desk segment. Well thank freaking God we were enlightened by this vital information! But you know what this means now...if the Canucks win Game Four with those two green body suit clad clowns hamming it up for the visiting team's sin bin occupants, the world as we know it will be changed for ever.
Go Canucks...may you be the comeback kids we fall in love with, over and over again!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pens/ Habs Game Three: Geno’s Back!

Pens Take Game 3 by a Score of 2-0
Pens lead the series 2-1

by Jan Snyder
What a game! The atmosphere in Montreal was just as we thought it would be. Sometimes I think the crowd is just one big fan – they react as one all the time, good or bad. They are awesome.

Four Pens players were “at home” – Dupuis, Talbot, Fleury and Letang are all from the area and had to be charged up to be at home for a playoff game in Montreal. They all played well, but Fleury was outstanding.

The Penguins were wounded, without a wing, as Bill Guerin couldn’t play. In the first period, each team had a power play chance with no results. For a period with no scoring, it was quite exciting! Lots of action, blocked shots, hard hits – a real playoff game.

Right at the end of the second, the Pens were buzzing and we sensed something might happen, but even with a power play, nothing came the Pens way. And still the Montreal “fan” kept up its constant chants and singing, urging their team on.

Just as the second period ended, Hal Gill was called for holding on Crosby! Yay!! No score in the second, but with almost the entire power play left in the third, Geno made the difference. He had promised to play “100%” better and he was true to his word. The Pens got set up, Gonchar slapped a pass to Geno, and with Sid screening Halak, the puck found its way into the net! Whew! That was a relief. Still lots of time left, but we’d broken through and broken the tie. This really felt like a 1-0 game and I was so happy that it was the Pens that had the 1 on their side of the scoreboard.

As long as Fleury continued to play the way he had for two periods, the Pens had no worries. Fleury seemed determined to stop everybody and every puck tonight and he did get the shutout, but not before Pens’ fans stood as Cammalleri fired a shot that seemed like it would get through – but no, the brick wall go in the way and the heart-pounding save was made!

All that was left was for Dupuis to score an empty net goal very close to the end of the game. The Pens are now up 2-1 in the series and will have to do much more of the same on Thursday night to contain those pesky Canadians.

Fleury won the Battle of the Goalies tonight, stopping 18 shots, while Halak stopped 23. The Pens found a way to win, had the will to win, and showed everyone they learned a lot from bringing home the Cup last season.

Tonight I realized that I really don’t “enjoy” these games while they are in progress! I can’t sit still, I get heartburn, I scream at the TV – doesn’t that sound like fun? And yet I wouldn’t miss a game for the world and after they are over, I realize I did have a good time, despite myself!

A very bright spot today was the news that Jordan Staal skated with the team. He wasn’t really participating, but the very fact that he can get a skate on so soon after surgery seems like good news to me.

I’m ready for more heartburn and another headache on Thursday night – whatever it takes, I’m ready!


Random Thoughts

San Jose has the series 3-0 against Detroit. How is that happening? I still won’t count the Red Wings out, but 3-0 is hard to come back from for any team, including them.

Boston has two games on Philly, heading into Philadelphia for the next game. I’m enjoying this series too, and I hope it goes seven games, overtime each game, so that if the Pens get through to the next round, their opponent is exhausted!

• Lisa and I have talked about the parallel playoffs the Pens and Canucks are having. According to the “pattern”, Vancouver will win tomorrow!

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Heart Going Boom, Boom, Boom...

Blackhawks earned their surf n' turf tonight

Game Two: Canucks 2 vs. Blackhawks 4

series tied 1-1

By Lisa Ovens

Before I take off my Canuck colored glasses I will say this: If there was one difference between games one and two in United Center, the Canucks were by far closer to winning game two than the Blackhawks were to winning game one.

Loved the first period, with two fast goals from Mason Raymond and Mikael Samuelsson. But, heart rates jumped up in Vancouver city during the second period as the Blackhawks started getting their foot hold on the game. Going into the third with only a one goal lead had me screaming from the sofa, “Gotta get another one quick boys, and show those kids who’s in charge”. The Canucks had there chances on the power play, but couldn’t convert: the Sedins not looking like their usual wondertwin selves.

Last three minutes of the game and I’m on the phone to Jan Snyder in Texas: “I can’t take this right now” I yelled. But the Blackhawks pressed enough to get a short handed goal, and those just sting! As did the empty net goal at the end of the game. Final score 4-2. Still on the phone with Jan, we discuss the similarities between the Pens and Nucks as they travel along their playoff paths. I felt better after talking to Jan.

Canucks goal tender, Roberto Luongo did what he could to keep the team in the game with multiple big saves. On the Bhawk side, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith have definitely picked up their play. I was wondering when those two were going to get their act together – yikes!

                         a windy evening in Vancouver shall cool us down

We got the split as the series moves to Vancouver for Wednesday’s game three, BHawk fans got something to cheer about tonight, and my heart rate finally appears to be back to normal.

Game Three Wed. May 5th, 2010 6:30pm PST
Game Four Fri. May 7th, 2010 6:30pm PST

My heart going boom boom boom
"Son," he said "Grab your things,
I've come to take you home."
-lyrics from the Song Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel
He also writes about the wind in that tune, too ;o)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Game Two Pens/ Habs: Hal Gill Gives Sid His Fill

Pens lose Game Two by a score of 3-1

by Jan Snyder

Last year at this time, we Pens’ fans were praising Hal Gill and his shutdown abilities against opponents. This year - not so much. Last season, Gill kept Ovechkin under wraps to some extent and did the same to other forwards in other series. This season, he kept Ovechkin under wraps again, so well, in fact, that Montreal was able to knock Washington out of the playoffs.

Now Crosby gets his turn to play against the much bigger defenseman. In this game, Gill did his job well, getting Crosby ticked off in the process and keeping him off the scoreboard. Not that Sid didn’t give as good as he got, but the battles with Gill didn’t help him score or set up plays.

Maybe that’s not all that went wrong today. The power play was sorely missing Jordan Staal. A new group has to learn to work together without his big physical presence in the mix. Staal is so big on the penalty kill too, and his absence might have played into the power play goal Montreal scored. He’s missed not just on the power play and penalty kill, but on the third line. That didn’t go too well today either. And Geno, although active, wasn’t able to contribute any goals nor much defense.

Could it be some kind of passive aggressive movement by the Pens against playing in the afternoon on NBC? The Pens don’t do well in these games, although they came out strong this particular afternoon, but that intensity didn’t last even through the first period.

Well, no excuses. The Pens lost and the Canadiens won.

The returns of Jordan Leopold and Tyler Kennedy boded well it seemed, but although each player did his job, there was no scoring from them. The line that did produce the Pens single tally was the determined trio of Cooke, Talbot and Dupuis, who worked like little demons throughout the game.

As the second period ended, the Pens finally saw their first power play chance, closely followed by two more in the third period, but all three looked disjointed and yielded nothing but frustration.

Let’s talk Halak. He looks like he is getting back on the road to being the goalie he was against Washington. He made some big stops today, as did Fleury, but so much is riding on Halak’s play that Montreal has to be thrilled with what he did in today’s game.

Mike Cammellari was the biggest difference maker for Montreal on the scoreboard, as he netted two goals. Their first went to Brian Gionta.

So now the Pens jet to the craziness that is the Bell Centre. I love the fans’ enthusiasm, their singing, and their “refereeing”, but I like it a lot more when we aren’t the opponent. Will they still feel any goodwill for Sid who just earned Canada a Gold Medal a few short months ago? Will they remember he played juniors in Quebec? Will they recall that he taught himself French to be able to communicate there? Will any of that make a hill of beans difference to them? Oh, no, no, no! They will sing-song Fleury’s name, furiously cheer on their team, and raucously sing Ole, Ole, Ole.

The Pens won’t let all that get to them though and will be ready for Game Three.

Let’s Go, Pens!!

Random Thoughts:

• Well, the Canucks made themselves unwelcome guests in Chicago, didn’t they? The blowout was a surprise. We’ll see how the rest of the series plays out.

• Good for Marc Savard! After missing two months or so because of a concussion suffered at the hands (or shoulder) of Matt Cooke, Savard played in his first game yesterday. All he did was win the game for the Bruins in OT! Great way to come back. That overtime period was intense and frenetic with both teams having great scoring chances before it ended.

• Last week, three of my good friends, none of whom would know a hockey puck it if hit them in the head, and I were trying to find a day to get together for dinner this upcoming week. One of them couldn’t do Monday or Friday, one couldn’t do Wednesday. I was hanging back on the emails to see what would happen. I finally had to weigh in and ask if they could wait until I saw the Pens’ schedule for the second round. The last email said, “If the Pens don’t play, we can go Tuesday or Thursday.” Of course, the Pens play both of those days this week. When I found out, I told them to go ahead without me; I’d miss them, but would catch up next time. Being great friends, they changed plans to lunch, which of course I could do! Even though they don’t “get it”, they put up with me and my hockeymania!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Game One Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Canucks win 5-1 Lead the Series 1-0

by Lisa Ovens

After six days of non stop analysis, including plenty on Dustin Byfuglien’s butt, the marquee Round Two rivalry began at United Center in Chicago Saturday night. However, the bloodbath everyone was expecting didn’t materialize, unless you call a 5-1 win for the road team a bloodbath. The Canucks played a pretty good game, with all four lines scoring, the defense doing all the little things well, and solid goaltending from captain, Roberto Luongo. How the heck do you pick the three stars when everyone delivered a fine performance? And the other pressing question... what happened to the Blackhawks?

They seemed befuddled by the thought of playing hockey. Or maybe they were not expecting the Canucks to be as good as they were tonight. I am sure that’s not too hard to do, because I think that’s what the Canucks were thinking last year at this time. The Blackhawks are a great team, and their coach is no slouch. Changes will be coming for Monday. It’s also possible a kitchen sink will be added to the line up, too.

And I think they should change up that pre-game song if they are making a list of what to change for Monday night’s tilt. Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold is a great song if you want to outplay the opposition at a slow motion air guitar contest. Not that I want to see the BHawks have an extra edge...

Go Canucks!!

Here’s To Team Canadas and Original SIXY!!

hockey art. artist on left, mark gaskin. on right, lisa ovens

by Lisa Ovens

Two Canadian based NHL teams advanced to Round Two: cue the “All Canadian Stanley Cup Final” talk. Yeah, a Canucks/ Canadiens final would be kind of neat, but, it would only last four, maybe five games, making it dull, and fan created damage to the losing team’s city, Montreal would be in the millions.

Four out of six Original Six teams are vying for a place in the Eastern or Western Conference Final. It’s Original Sixy, Original Sexy!

The Series

Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Canadiens dropped the first game to the Pens. But the hab fans’ red jerseys sure stood out well in the Igloo’s White Out, if that means anything! The Habs were the last Canadian based NHL team to win the Stanley Cup (1993). It was their twenty-fourth Cup celebration. Unfortunately that stat will remain unchanged.

Hey cute and cuddly Penguins, What’s up with you and only playing Canadian teams this year? First you knock out the Ottawa Senators, you’ll most likely send the Canadiens packing next. The only thing that will be standing in the way of you and the last Canadian team to tussle with will be either a blip of flyer Orange or Bruin yellow. Be afraid, Canuck fans, the Penguins are gunning for us!!!

Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Vancouver Canucks

Chicago is the runt of the original Sixy litter. They’ve been around forever but have only won three Stanley Cups. The Blackhawks bandwagon has quickly filled up over the last couple of years for two reasons: sucking for years plus high draft picks equals some great young talent to mold, and the death of owner Bill Wirtz and the stingy managerial ways.

I guess as far as playoff rivalries go this year, the Hawks vs. Canucks has the freshest of bad blood. There’s a laundry list of incidents from the 2009 Playoff’s round two. The BHawks won that series in six, and this time around, we can expect the Canucks will be on the warpath, righting as many wrongs along the way. The Canucks will find a way to win the series, but it’s going to be a rough ride.

Detroit Red Wings vs. The San Jose Sharks

Let’s face it: The Detroit Red Wings are the Original Sexy of the Original Sixy! The eleven time Stanley Cup champions (four wins since 1997) have brought out the Wing Envy of many. And here’s a cool snippet of history: The first woman to have her name engraved on the Stanley Cup is Marguerite Norris, president of the Detroit Red Wings in 1954/ 1955 season. I am going to quote myself from my round one prediction: “It's hard for me not to pick the Red Wings to win this series. They just know how to deal, those Wings. They deal with everything so well; whatever the storm, they deal with it. They are by definition, Retrosexual Men.

The San Jose Sharks, as rested as they are, don’t have the “deal with it” trait to the extent the Wings have, even though the Sharks won game one of this series. But you go ahead and try your darndest, Sharkies!

Boston Bruin vs. Philadelphia Flyers

When I think of the Boston Bruins I often think of Don Cherry and Bobby Orr. Now I think of Tuukka Rask and Milan Lucic. But can these two guys and the rest of the B’s win a sixth cup for this Original Sixy born in the year of the Rat? If you think Tuukka Rask is a cool name with all that U and K action, check out this former Bruin name: Dit Clapper (Aubrey Victor, given names) Dit Clapper played 20 seasons (1927-1947) wore number five and after Yzerman and Bourque, is next on longest serving captain on the NHL list.

The Philadelphia Flyers have not met the Bruins in the post season since 1978. Both teams are going to be playing a “so you think you’re tough” kind of game in this series. Which ever team is left standing could be easy pickings in the Eastern Conference Final for the Penguins. The Flyers have had the longest lay off this post season (nine days), and because of that I am going to give the Bruins the edge.

First’d I do? I picked the Pens, the Canucks, the Flyers and the Wings to win round one. Four right out of eight!!