NHL Playoffs 2012 : Five Reasons the Kings Sweep the Canucks

Canada’s lost sons, the Vancouver Canucks may be getting their leading scorer in Daniel Sedin back in the lineup after quite an absence. Having lost their last six playoff games, a seventh loss means the Canucks will be golfing a tad earlier than they had planned.

While the Canucks put up a great effort in Game 3, they were unable to solve Jonathan Quick or put the clamps down on either Mike Richards or Dustin Brown.

This team is still extremely talented, and figures to come out firing on all cylinders. Problem is, they are still going to be swept tonight, and here’s five reasons why.

5. Dustin Penner is alive

The last time I saw a Dustin Penner play this way in the playoffs was when he was wearing a Duck sweater. Let’s just stop talking there #badmemories.

mmmm.... pancakes.... OW MY BACK!!!

4. Roberto Luongo is still Alain Vigneault’s man.

Easy enough to figure out right? Lu is still the man for head coach Alain Vigneault, despite the fact that Schneider has been superior than the over-rated Luongo. Vigneault claims to have already made his decision, but is not ready to claim his starter as of noon Wednesday.

3. Ryan Kesler and Dustin Brown

After winning over some critics last year with his play in the postseason, Kesler has reverted back to the same whining, diving antics that often detracted from what tremendous skill he did have.

All the little things this guy does on the ice are no good when he’s flopping around and allowing his emotions dictate his actions. He’s been held without a goal for the last 16 games, and it’s clear the Kings are completely in his head.

Dustin Brown

I’ll admit, I’ve said my share fair of barbs when it comes to the Los Angeles captain. I’ve called him overrated, a poor leader, and a choker, but not this year. After being dangled at the trade deadline, GM Dean Lombardi has certainly lit a fire under the captain.

He’s had an up and down year so far, but is putting it together when it counts. With four goals in the series, he has the same amount of goals as the entire Canucks roster.

2. Special Teams and Defense

Once one of the strongest teams in the NHL, the Canucks just aren’t the same on defense and the power play / penalty kill anymore.

The Kings have racked up five of the team’s nine goals via special teams, which also includes two shorthanded scores.

Alex Edler has also made some horrible mistakes this series, just a small snapshot of what exactly is wrong with the Canucks blueline.

1. Jonathan Quick

And you were expecting???? Quick has quietly joined the elite ranks of NHL goaltending this year. In stark contrast to his performance against these very same Canucks two years ago, Quick looks dominant and in the zone.

He’s allowed four goals in three games, and with four in his last 11 games he’s got as good of an Conn Smythe argument as anyone in the NHL right now.

Best of all? the Canucks don’t seem like they believe they can solve Quick, especially after Game 3 where Vancouver clearly outplayed LA but failed to get the job done.

Yes, the fourth win is the hardest. Yes the Canucks will be fighting for their lives. Yes this is uncharted territory for the Kings.

No, none of this sways my pick of LA sweeping Vancouver out of the playoffs

If you own a business in Vancouver, now might be the time to sell.


Riot Watch 2012 : Kings look to sweep Canucks in Game 4

The Los Angeles Kings ( and Dustin Brown ) look to put the finishing touches on their first round, and doing it in epic 8th seed style.

Assuming Los Angeles does sweep the President’s Trophy winners by winning in Game 4, it’ll be the first sweep in franchise history, and yet another disappointing finish to the Vancouver season.

The casual fan may look at the 0-3 hole, and spout the normal cliche sayings, about taking it one game at a time, about living in the moment, about taking care of business.

Yes, there will be experience on the ice Wednesday night, even the kind that knows how to come back from a 0-3 hole. Why is that so rare you ask? Only three NHL teams have overcome 0-3 deficits to win a best-of-seven playoff series, and there’s 2 guys that know just how to do that for the Canucks.

Sadly, they are wearing the wrong colors as it’s Kings’ forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, who accomplished the feat as Flyers just two years ago.

Why yes I am basking in the warm afterglow of Vancouver’s epic meltdown, because after leading the NHL yet again for the majority the season, the Canucks have self imploded after just 3 playoff games.

Why do I hate the Canucks? Why doesn’t everyone is the better question. Being perceived as a bunch of arrogant divers doesn’t help their image. But the way the team quits or folds like oragami while being portrayed as elite or acting as though they are elite is what rubs the casual fan the wrong way.

Which makes it all the more delicious that the Kings have completely untracked the Canucks, and while the meltdown isn’t as complete as say… the meltdown against the Blackhawks two years ago, it’s still plenty bad.

Dustin Byflugien couldn’t be prouder… unless of course his name was Dustin Brown, captain of the Kings who has scored 4 goals in the series… the same number of goals scored by the entire Canuck team so far.

He’s also been throwing his body around a little… care to ask Henrik Sedin?

The Canucks are hoping that superstar Daniel Sedin will be healthy enough to play, but this team looked beat in Game 2. If they hope to stave off elimination, the big question will be… who is Alain Vigneault going to turn to in net?

While common sense may dictate that Schneider get the nod again in net, as he did in Game 3, my vote is for Roberto Luongo.

And why not? in this tale of regular season success gone wrong, who else would make the perfect poster boy for President’s Cup failure?

Maybe the better question is, will Vancouver riot after being swept out of the playoffs? Will Vancouverites have the common sense to not trash their own city and pride after their beloved Canucks are swept?

Common sense says no….. they will not be doing that again… because we all believed them last year right? 😉

I was going to say something witty and clever here, but words somehow escape me

This actually hurts to say… but… Go Kings.

NHL Playoffs 2012 : Byron Bitz spins the NHL Wheel of Morality!!

Vancouver Canucks right wing Byron Bitz was suspended for two games today for his hard hit along the boards Wednesday night on Kings wing Kyle Clifford.

Yes, just 24 hours after their latest disciplinary gaffe, the NHL felt as though there wasn’t enough outrage or backlash to suffice. In order to restore balance to the universe and raise the fans’ level of scorn for the league and it’s haphazard method of discipline, the NHL sent Byron Bitz to the ever popular Wheel of Morality.

Wheel of Morality… turn turn turn

Here is the play in question : Bitz was given a 5 minute major and suspended for 2 games.

Let’s compare that to this play, where Shea Weber not only punched Zetterberg in the back of the head with a sucker punch, but grabbed his head and slammed it into the glass Hulk Hogan style.

Zetterberg avoided injury, although his visor was cracked from the hit and cheap shot from Weber. The fact that he was not injured was taken into account in the decision not to suspend Weber, said Brendan Shanahan, the league’s chief disciplinarian.

Clifford was wobbly after the Bitz hit, and was escorted off the ice, but was skating and had his wits about him just moments after the hit, whereas Zetterberg laid there crumpled to the ice for several moments.

I’d like to recall another dirty play from the playoffs a year ago, when Bobby Ryan was suspended for 2 games after stomping on the skate of Nashville defenseman Jonathan Blum.

Blum was not injured on this play, no penalty was called.

Let’s see… Weber called for penalty, no injury, no suspension. Bitz called for a major, no injury, 2 game suspension, Ryan not called for penalty, no injury, 2 game suspension.

Want more NHL disciplinary fail? Look here at an article I wrote a year ago following the Rule 48 implementation.

I have a funny feeling I’ll be writing a few more of these kinds of blogs before this postseason is through. Stay tuned.