“What counts in sports is not victory, but the magnificence of the struggle.” – Joe Paterno
By Rich Lindbloom
Is there a more magnificent struggle in sports than Game Seven in a NHL playoff series? Is the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat ever more clearly defined?
The intensity, danger and will to survive reminded me of the 1979 movie The Warriors. The Cliff Note’s version of the movie is a gang called The Warriors gets stuck on the wrong side of town and has to pass through a lot of enemy turf to make it back to Coney Island. They have run ins with the Turnbull AC’s, The Orphans, the police, the Baseball Furies, the all-female gang called The Lizzies not sure if they were Thin or not, The Punks, all the while trying to dodge some very pissed off Riffs. As the female DJ who is tracking their progress through the “city streets that aren’t so pretty” notes, “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.” A quick glance at the picture above will give you a good idea of their struggle blending, as they tried to make their way back to safety. I’m pretty sure the dude on the left with the hat and the bat is not looking for a baseball game. I think his name was Vermin’.
By Brad Vandenberk
There is not a lot that needs to be said heading into this Game 7 between the Hawks and Kings. Momentum has been on either side this series, but the Hawks are riding a 2-game winning streak coming back from a 3-1 series deficit.
The Kings are no strangers to a game 7 on the road, as well as how you can build momentum coming from behind in a series. The Kings are looking to make history. With a victory, they can be the first team to win their first 3 series in game 7 on the road. It’s time for the Hawks to prove to their fans that this team does smell of a dynasty and use all your experience and get a win.
Corey Crawford played a huge game in LA on Friday night and hoped to keep that in this game. At the other end Jonathan Quick had his follies last game when Ben Smith banked one off the tenders skate and in the net. Kris Versteeg worked his way back on the ice replacing Sheldon Brookbank.
I Don’t Need No Doctor
By Rich Lindbloom
Back in the late 1960’s and early 70’s there was a band from Essex, England known as Humble Pie. They were led by the unique vocalist and guitarist Steve Marriott, and a young Peter Frampton. (And yes Peter, after friday night’s game, I do feel like you do!) Their album Rockin’ the Fillmore more than likely contributed to my substantial hearing loss.
By Jon Fromi
The Chicago Blackhawks completed a comeback for the ages Wednesday night, lasting through a tease of the winning goal in the final minutes. Brent Seabrook ended Chicago’s Western Conference semifinal with the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth minute of overtime, giving the ‘Hawks a 2-1 victory.
Full disclosure, folks. Due to a work commitment I made three years ago (see how careful planning pays off?) I was about 500 miles away from my usual seat in front of my television when the puck dropped at United Center Wednesday night.
So…instead of taking in the culmination of a classic series, I was in a theater watching people contort their bodies in ways that would absolutely finish off Dave Bolland’s back. As I have another full day of Missouri wonders to take in, this is what I surmised while I was supposed to be asleep.
Ain’t but three things in this life worth a solitary dime, Old dogs, children and watermelon wine. – Tom T. Hall
By Rich Lindbloom
Our family has fostered quite a few four legged beasts for South Suburban Humane Society. It’s messy, time consuming and as my daughter would put it, “This house smells like a kennel.” And then she’d pick up one of the critters and talk to it as if the puppy could understand her. “Come here my little Do-Do head or Taco bird, you’re just a little fatso,” and many other endearing terms that emanate somewhere from the soft spots of her heart. I’m fairly certain the puppy has no idea what she’s saying, but the tail wagging like a wind shield wiper in a downpour would seem to indicate the beasts seem to know they’re loved. (Can you imagine a dog without a tail? So much is communicated with so few words.)
Scroll down the main page to see period by period details of Game 7.
Corey Crawford was phenomenal and the only reason this game was ever close. One incredible, determined individual short-handed effort by Blackhawk captain Jonathan Toews miraculously extended this game to overtime with less than two minutes to play in regulation. Roberto Luongo made a lot of good saves (31 in all), but also gave a bunch of rebounds. This happened to be one his teammates in front of him didn’t get to first, a rarity on Tuesday night.
Game 7 lived up to the hype and then some. Vancouver dominated, then flirted with disaster, the Hawks hung in there but the better team definitely won in the end.
Alex Burrows scored both Vancouver goals. On top of those, he was also awarded a penalty shot 21 seconds into the third period off a Duncan Keith tripping infraction but was stopped by Crawford. A score at that time would have put the Canucks up two goals.
Toews’ short-handed tally was his lone goal of the series (1g, 3a, -4, a team-worst plus/minus). Crawford allowed 16 goals in the series, finishing with a .927 save percentage and 2.21 goals against average.
After losing the first three games of the series, the Blackhawks made a valiant comeback in attempt to pull off the upset. Sure, the pressure was off by Game 4, and Alain Vigneault’s Canucks took their double foot-stomp off the gas mid-series, but the defending champions showed their character and would not go quietly. In the end, this amounted to one great series.
Vancouver now moves on to face Nashville in Round 2. San Jose will matchup with Detroit. The Western Conference obviously will have a new Finals representative this year. Detroit will attempt to make their 3rd Finals appearance in four years. Vancouver has been there twice (’82+’94) before. San Jose and Nashville have never been. For the Predators, this is their first time advancing past the first round.
NHL.com Game 7 highlights after the jump
Overtime lasted 5 minutes and 22 seconds. The Canucks persevere and advance past the Blackhawks on an Alexandre Burrows’ bullet after a turnover at the Hawks’ blue line.
Vancouver survived an early scare when Burrows went to the penalty box 24 seconds into overtime for holding Duncan Keith. The ‘Hawks managed just one shot during those following two minutes up 5-on-4 and then the play belonged to the Canucks for the eventual final three minutes.
The game and the Blackhawks season ended when Chris Campoli failed to clear a puck up the left side wall inside the Hawks’ zone. Campoli tried to clear a bouncing puck but Jonathan Toews was kneeling on the ice ten feet in front of Campoli near the boards inside the blue line so it appeared Campoli chose to clear the puck up and over Toews instead of along the boards where Toews was prone. But unfortunately for Campoli and the Hawks, Burrows gloved the puck down and broke clear towards Crawford and Burrows fired a bomb clear by the Hawks’ netminder.
Vancouver wins the game 2-1 and the finishes the Blackhawks season 5:22 in to overtime of Game 7.
The Canucks now move on to meet Nashville in the second round. Which means San Jose and Detroit will meet once again in the Western Conference Semi-finals.
Burrows had both Vancouver goals. He also had a goal, his only other of the series, in Chicago in Game 6. In 40 career playoff games, Burrows now has 10 goals and 17 points. He finished with 3 goals and 3 assists in the series. Five of those points came in games six and seven.
Burrows, Luongo and Crawford, in that order (1-3) were named the stars of the game. Crawford had to be much better than Luongo tonight but its hard to argue those given the outcome. Just a fabulous performance by Corey Crawford to keep the Hawks in a game they really had no business being in.
Luongo made 31 saves to Crawford’s 36.
Both teams went 0-2 in four minutes of power play time a side. Although the Hawks did strike with the shorty to tie the game late in regulation with Duncan Keith in the penalty box.
Another terrific game surrounded by high drama that goes beyond your typical Game 7 hype. Luongo and the Canucks finally solve the Blackhawks. Given where this series was after Game 3, it is a minor miracle there was even a seventh game, but you Canucks’ fans have Alain Vigneault’s bench management in game 4 for that.
That Blackhawks leading goal scorer in the series was Duncan Keith (4), followed by Sharp (3) and Ben Smith (3). Toews’ lone tally was the big short-handed one in this one. Hossa’s two goals in Game 5 were huge in the Hawks’ 5-0 rout to close the series’ gap to 3-2 but he was largely invisible the rest of the series. Patrick Kane (1g, 5a), Michael Frolik (2g, 3a) and Dave Bolland (2g, 4a) were the other major point scorers.
I’m sure we’ll be hearing about quite a few injuries on the Hawks’ side in the next couple of days. Sure, they were a factor but its also highly probable that Vancouver is dealing with injuries as well. Had Dave Bolland been healthy from the start of the series the outcome may have been different, or it may not have. Vancouver was clearly the better team in five of the seven games and its no injustice that they’re moving on. The Canucks’ regular season record was no joke. They were the more consistent and potent team in every aspect during the regular season as they were here in this series. The Blackhawks could have easily checked out in Games 4 or 5, but they didn’t. A few players had coming of age type moments in this series; namely Michael Frolik and Ben Smith. The Hawks pushed back when they could have folded; they responded with character, like champions, albeit wounded, over-matched former champions.
Many decisions lie ahead in the coming months and there should be some different faces on the team next year. The regular season cannot be ignored, but given this team’s body of work and the challenge it faced in the opening round, and where the team stood in this series nine days ago, no one should say this season ended on a sour note.
The Blackhawks battled hard but they weren’t good enough. Not this year.
Why not? I guess Canucks fans will truly never suffer enough.
After a mostly dominant game, the Canucks get both a penalty shot opportunity and a late 3rd period power play (with Duncan Keith the Hawk going into the box) and not only did the Canucks not put the game away, but they surrendered a short-handed goal to tie the game and extended it to overtime.
Jonathan Toews with an amazing individual effort to beat two checks carrying the puck to the goal after a Canucks neutral zone giveaway. The sequence started with Toews losing a neutral zone draw to Chris Higgins. Toews got the puck from Seabrook and drove hard towards Luongo, dishing to Marian Hossa whose shot was stopped, but rebounded to a falling Toews for the put-in.
Duncan Keith’s attempt to stop an Alex Burrows breakaway on the opening shift of the period resulted in a Burrows penalty shot that Crawford stopped. Burrows also drew the late period hook that sent Keith to the box for the Vancouver power play that the Blackhawks’ captain turned the tables on.
Corey Crawford has been nothing short of incredible. He’s stopped 34 of 35 shots he’s faced. 12 of those coming in the third period.
Chicago really has no business extending this game to overtime. A fact the Rogers Arena crowd recognizes as they went eerily silent after the Hawks’ short-handed goal and the Canucks inability to respond afterwards. Some anxious moments ahead in Vancouver.
Shots going into OT are 35-31 in Vancouver’s favor. The Canucks are outhitting Chicago 40-17.
The Blackhawks have yet another life in this series. The Canucks mentally must be reeling.