Remember on the last day of the season when I told you I had written that wrap in my head seven different times? This is the complete opposite. I'm not sure what to say, what to feel, any of it. On the one hand, the Hawks I, and all of us, have begged to see the entire season have come out to play at the very last, couldn't cut it any closer minute. It feels like house money at this point. On the other, there's such a long way to go. But I can't stop those of you who are daring to dream. And I can't stop those who want to point out how much is to be done yet. Which one am I? I have no idea.
But isn't Sunday night going to be an occasion? Before this series, we made it about the Canucks' gray matter. It looked to be totally different the first three games of this series than it had in the two previous years. Now it's positively dripping out their ears. The confident, swaggering unit that was physical but structured, fast but controlled, lethal, and confident, is now none of those things. Instead of taking hits when they were there they ran around to get them and left their neutral zone more exposed than Lady Gaga's lack of talent. And when you expose the neutral zone to the Hawks, you're gonna be proper fucked. Instead of checking legally the Canucks have once again gone the dunderhead route. Edler and Bieksa have completely lost their minds, when they're not eating it from Troy Brouwer (sidenote: I expect the league to fine Edler for his chickenshit elbow on Brouwer, but I would be struck down with shock if he gets suspended. I mean, it was behind the net which we all know is Thunderdome, right?). And their goalie may be broken again, though Vigneault has already said in the postgame presser that he's starting Game 6. And I expect him to play well there too, though I don't know why.
What encourages me the most is that the Hawks swagger, or strut, or bluster, or swank, whatever you want to call it, is back. I don't know if we've seen it all season. But you can see it oozing out of their pores right now. They honestly believe they have the Canucks right where they want them. And that's what also worries me. This team far too often made the mistake of believing that it just had to show up to get the win. Does this new found team without doubt make that mistake again? Or do they keep doing the things they've done to get here? I don't know. Do you?
One suspects the Canucks will return to a very simple game on Sunday, one that the Hawks have used the past two games. It's going to be a chippy, bone-crunching event, and I don't think there'll be a lot of goals. And the Hawks are still just one high-sticking, one bounce off some guy's ass, one missed clearance from planning Campbell's wedding. But now, they're just one game away from having the Canucks in the same position. And I know who's mental makeup I'd wager on if it gets there.
-That's the most active Jonathan Toews has looked all series. I still think he's hurt, and it's not quite the folly of man we've become accustomed to. But he just watched Marian Hossa join the party, the Hawks just have to hope that Captain Marvel doesn't Spinal Tap Drummer implode before Game 6, such will be his determination.
-Ah right, Duncan Keith won a Norris last year. With stuff like that. Sorry, I had forgotten.
-It's funny, because it could have all easily gone the other way. Brian Campbell did his Bieksa impersonation no more than 16 seconds into the game and headed to the box. The Canucks of the first three games would have made him pay. But with a crucial Hammer interception and one save, and there went that chance. Once the Hawks cashed in on theirs, you could feel the air go out of the building. Like, in a hurry. Sounded like a fucking whoopi cushion.
-One of the Hawks problems this year was turning off when giving up a goal, and giving up another one within in a minute. They've turned that around the past two games, and it's decided both. Rinse, lather, repeat.
-Canucks fans have been quick this series to applaud Ryan Kesler's performance, and he's probably my favorite non-Hawk, but I just don't get it this round. He's been lauded for his work on Toews, but from the first three games the Sedins skated against Toews the most. And however that's worked out, this is a 40-goal scorer who isn't even threatening right now. And now that the Sedins have returned to their springtime freshness shell, can the Canucks afford that?
-Alex Burrows continues to be, and will always be, an utter embarrassment.
-And now the supposed quiet leader is losing his rag, as Dan Hamhuis (he's got dis, remember) went in high on Bolland. Sadly, Bolland went a little silly but it didn't end up costing anything.
It's a wrap and an Indian I honestly thought I wouldn't get to write. But I'm much happier to be wrong and have more work to do than the opposite. It's the heat, and the love, let's keep this train a'rollin....