So, time to begin to really look at the team we'll come to loathe over the next couple weeks. Pretty easy to push forward back, i.e. start from the forwards on back, just so I can quote Temple of The Dog, as the last part's probably the easiest. So, what will we see from the Vancouver front-men?
#22 / Left Wing / Vancouver Canucks
Sep 26, 1980
#33 / Center / Vancouver Canucks
Sep 26, 1980
#14 / Left Wing / Vancouver Canucks
Apr 11, 1981
This is the top line, and it is far more imposing than the one the Hawks just got done with. There are a couple things Hawks fans should not focus on when it comes to this triumvirate. The first is that the Sedins are not playoff performers. While their history is not glittering, these two combined for 9 points in four games against the Blues. Now, St. Louis is hardly a juggernaut, and don't possess the checkers the Hawks do. But the creepy twins have a taste for it now, and to expect them to just disappear is probably a wish.
The second thing Hawks fans should not get too wrapped up in is making Burrows pay for his hilarious and sorority girl antics against Keith last time the Canucks were here. Burrows offers so much more than being a douche. He had three goals in the first round, to go with 28 in the season, and does all the dirty work for the Sedins, allowing them to concentrate on what they do best, i.e. being really weird. You'll hate this guy within minutes, if not already, but he's a real danger.
#17 / Center / Vancouver Canucks
Aug 31, 1984
#13 / Center / Vancouver Canucks
Feb 13, 1971
#38 / Center / Vancouver Canucks
Nov 29, 1974
This is the Canucks second line, assuming Mats can be removed from the casino or the OBGYN. Mats missed the last two games of the Blues series, and the general feeling I got from reading the Canucks boards is that Canucks fans weren't all that sure it was an injury that warranted that. Sundin has been a passenger for most of his time out West, and as long as the Hawks don't totally ignore him, I don't see any reason that would change.
However, that's negated by the player who scares me most in this series, and that's Ryan Kesler. The next captain Canuck wasn't all that much of a factor against St. Louis, with only one point, and even on +/-, Corsi, and Behind The Net. But that's probably an aberration. This guy will either be assigned to making Captain Marvel's life hell, or provide secondary scoring, each of which he can do, and well. The series may come down to if Toews can outplay Kesler, and it's no easy task.
Demitra is old, and that's about all there is to say about that.
#42 / Center / Vancouver Canucks
May 16, 1983
#21 / Left Wing / Vancouver Canucks
Sep 17, 1985
#18 / Right Wing / Vancouver Canucks
Mar 31, 1985
This is another solid unit, though they only managed 3 points in the first round. They're not the checking line per se, as Kesler draws a lot of those duties, but they will be asked to do their fair share of it. Bernier has never quite lived up to the hype his size caused, yet he's only 24 and has shown flashes this season. Wellwood, according to the Leafs, ate himself out of Toronto, and was sent down briefly earlier in the year by Vancouver. He eventually popped up with 18 goals, and has been effective. This is where the Hawks forward depth really starts to show, as the Hawks 3rd unit looks to be a bit better than this.
From there, the Canucks will roll out nutcase Rick Rypien, who will hit everything in sight, and Jannik Hansen and/or Darcy Hordichuk.
So, upon looking at this, and knowing full well that I'll infuriate a Canucklehead reading this, I'd say the Hawks have the edge at forward. Yes, Vancouver's top line is scary, but that's what Pahlse is for. Looking at the 2nd lines, D. Ladd Soul is a better line than Kesler, Statler and Waldorf, and the Pahlsson-Buff-VERSTEEG! combo was probably the Hawks best line against Calgary. If Pahlse can reenact 2007 vs. the Sedins, the Canucks look short on scoring, and we'll have every chance. Easier said than done, I'm 'fraid.