Over the next couple days will be doing our usual series preview extravaganza. Anyway, a couple notes before we get started:
-We'll be doing our fifth episode of Live From The Five Hole tomorrow, with guest to be determined. Look for it late tomorrow night or Friday morning.
-The schedule has finally been released: Game 1 Saturday, Game 2 Monday, and going every other day after that. Nothing official is booked yet, but if I were you in the Chicago area I would block off the Friday night Game 4, as we'll probably be hosting something somewhere.
-Before this series gets started, I am going to see if I can't head off some unpleasantries that will probably come up. There will be Canucks fans coming here to participate, and I know some of you will head off to Nucks Misconduct as well. We like the guys at NM, and they always help when asked. I know passions run high and sometimes that spills over, and it's hard to resist being baited by the straight-up trolls who will likely invade our space. But we're better than that, so all I ask is that when you get vitriolic you are first and foremost clever and funny. I'm not asking you to be polite and turn the other cheek, but we demand a certain level of humor and wit here, and you're all capable. So leave the "You suck" and "Burrows sucks cock" sentiments for the idiots around (though the latter is very true). That's all I ask.
-A word on the Caps: When they visited the UC, the boys at Japers Rink participated in the Q&A I run in every Committed Indian. The first question I asked them was about whether or not the Caps had run into goalies having career games against them because of the amount of shots and possession they usually have, like the Hawks have seen a few times this season. Their reply was no, they hadn't, because the Caps had so much scoring talent that they always broke through. Well, now you have, kids. Enjoy.
Right, let's get to it. We usually go by position, so that means there's only one place to start:
#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks
Apr 04, 1979
|2009 - Roberto Luongo||68||3899||40||22||167||2.57||1915||1748||.913||4|
You can break down this series in any number of ways or look at any number of factors, it really is going to come down to is Roberto Luongo finally going to become the playoff killer he's advertised and paid as? Or is he going to be the whining, whimpering, stone-handed bitch we saw last spring? Evidence from the first round is ambiguous at best. The numbers overall, .893% and a GAA of 2.92 are not going to make you pause for one second. Bob was straight up bad in Games 3 and 4, even getting pulled in Game 3. He didn't have much to do in Game 5, as the Canucks put up 7 on the other end. But he was magnificent in Game 6, keeping a badly outplayed Canucks team in it long enough for Jonathan Quick to die of exhaustion in the 3rd period Vancouver to see it out.
You know this series means so much to Luongo. Last spring may have been the nadir of his career, and like the rest of the team he's been eying redemption since that game ended. But there's no question the Hawks are in his head, and no one knows if he can get them out. When Luongo gets rattled, his glove hand has all the speed and softness of Hellboy's, but he can't use it as a weapon. Remember Versteeg and Jordan Fucking Hendry beating him to that side easily during the blowout in March. The Hawks are moving Buff back to forward for the sole purpose of getting Bob off his game. Buff or others will probably get a goalie interference call or two during the series, if for no other reason than the officials will get tired of listening to Roberto and the rest of the Canucks bitch about it. But will Bob be more concerned with drawing calls and complaining than stopping pucks? Anyone who claims to know for sure is lying through his teeth, and even those are false.
Last spring, Luongo had two very good games in Games 3 and 4. But that was when the defense in front of him did their best job of shielding him, and they still lost one of those. He was ok the rest of the series, and obviously awful in Game 6. I don't think anyone would disagree that Luongo will have two really good games in this series. But the Canucks have to win both of those. He hasn't proven that he's going to be a stud for a whole series yet, and I don't see why he would start now. Though I used to be worried that this series would mean more to Vancouver, I'm starting to think it may mean too much to them. Luongo is certainly teetering on that cliff. He still scares me, because I can't shake the feeling that one day he's going to get it right. But his play since the Olympics has been "meh"-tastic, and I wonder if someone can just turn it on when they want. Especially if they never have before. Make no mistake, if Luongo is anything less than really good for the whole series, Kesler and Burrows can go sample some of BC's legal weed together starting in two weeks. And then the buttsex, of course.