[Editor's note: John Horn and Mark Atkinson were friends at Bishop's University. But then Mark went to Nova Scotia and John moved to Vancouver. Sporadically, they kept in touch over the years, but - fortunately for you, the noble readers of the Daily Gumboot - their friendship has re-discovered itself thanks to hockey. More specifically thanks to the fact that Mark loves the Boston Bruins and John loves the Vancouver Canucks. Sure, after this series they can never be friends again. But the point is that you will benefit from their being
nemesises nemeses nemesoulmates nemesi each others' worst enemy! GO SPORTS!]
Re-Cap of Before
Mark: That was more impressive than the 8-1 win. Marchand backing up his pestering by dropping the mitts, the fact that it was a shutout, and Tim Thomas actually chucking dukes instead of just body checking. Strolled into Boston Vancouver Pizza with the same crew as game 3, and got the same result (I might have to start paying for their drinks so they’ll keep coming, seems to be good luck). Everyone with half a brain knew Bobby Orr was coming out to kick off the game, but bringing out the Horton #18 flag just set the crowd, and apparently the team, into a frenzy! I knew then and there that this game was ours for the taking. I should offer congratulations to Henrik Sedin on finally getting a shot on goal in the finals, it only took him 9.5 periods, guess he leads by words and not example eh? 8 Mins left in the first and the guy who gets bumped up to replace Horton scores the first goal, I might have even peed a little when that happened. Canucks revert to there tried and true tactics of faking being hurt in the second period with Burrows and Sedin both embellishing a smack to the face, neither of which drew a call (ever read the boy who cried wolf?). Bruins score two and you know that with the way Timmy Thomas (we’re close, I call him Timmy) is playing that there is no coming back from 3-0 in one period. One more for good measure in the 3rd and the Canucks staff is thinking of bringing their golf clubs with them to Beantown on Monday.
John: The best team in the NHL is being beaten by a goalie and his minions of ragamuffin thugs. Not to mention said minions’ classless fans. The Canucks were beaten in every way on Wednesday. They were punished physically, emotionally and mentally – I mean, the way Marchand dusted off his hands as he skated by the Canucks’ bench after clothes-lining Erhoff and under-cutting Daniel was the kind of thuggery that happens when, first, a team can’t penalize said thug by making him pay on the power play and, second, this is what happens when a team can’t do the first thing or match physicality with physicality. Luongo was rightly chased from his goal – he let in some weak ones – but Keith Ballard and his brothers on the back line need to (and hopefully have been doing) some pretty serious soul searching. I loved how Ballard jumped on Marchand after his antics, but it was too little too late.
If one thing summarizes Game 4 it’s this: The Boston Bruins won every single battle for loose pucks.
This was unreal and is unacceptable.
Another unacceptable thing is that when Boston Bruins slash, punch, clothesline, taunt, slew-foot, hit-high. hit-late, run-the-goalie, and goon-it-up, the world calls it “old time hockey” – but when the Canucks to any of that – or fall down when they get hit in the face with a stick – it’s dirty or faking. You can’t have it both ways, world outside of Vancouver. The last unacceptable thing(s) I’ll mention are the ridiculous penalty calls on a Sedin (even I can’t remember which one) for slashing and Mason Raymond for hooking/slashing/cross-checking, whatever it was – utter crap. Also, goal number two came on a post-slew-foot turnover. Sure, Keith Ballard should’ve gotten the heck up and then not danced with Henrik Sedin next to the goal, but it was still a ridiculous non-call. At the end of the day, though, Vancouver needs to score on the power plays they have – six chances are more than enough to put Boston away.
Predictions: Game 5
John: I predict that Vancouver fans will be the worst. It’s already happening. The thing I like about your fans, Mark, is that they’re level of player loyalty is pretty high. From what I understand, no one was panicking during the Montreal or Tampa series – like, not the same way so many of Vancouver’s fans were freaking out during the Chicago series. Anyway, the people who are calling for Luongo’s head and yelling about the Sedins and Kessler need to know that this isn’t what the players need to hear right now. I predict that there will be an unfortunate air of nervousness and tension in Rogers Arena and this disappoints me to no end. Paying between $2,000-$6,200 for a ticket means that you should be yelling like it’s your last day on earth. Because, if fans don’t back the team, it very well could be.
But on to the game. The Sedins are going to be huge. And so is Chris Higgins. I don’t know if it’ll be the hits, the goals, the puck possession, or Daniel getting on Henrik’s shoulders and fighting Zdeno Chara. But something is going to happen and these players are going to play like the guys that got us here and not like dudes skating on terrible ice in an arena where the hate crimes were higher than the temperature…in Fahrenheit. I also think that Keith Ballard is going to be a difference maker. And that’s all I’ll say.
You look like you’ll fill out an XL Canucks t-shirt nicely, buddy. Have you been working out?
Final score: 4-1 Canuckleheads!
Mark: I’ve been bragging up home ice advantage for the past two games, and tonight is no different. I figure the Vancouver faithful will be out in full force and scream extra loud to show the boys in blue and white that they still love them. Too bad for them that they’ll be shut up by half way through the first period. We’re on too much of a roll right now. I haven’t seen the offense AND defense clicking like this all season long, it’s ridiculous. The Sedins, both of those aliens, aren’t doing jack squat, and Luongo is just bad, as voiced by the drunken Masshole below on the way home after the 8-1 drumming in game 3. Maybe he can do some head and shoulders ads in the off season with those pretty locks of his to supplement his income. If you guys score first, I’ll be back to sweating like I did during the first two games in Vancouver. If we get the lead at any point, even if we get the lead and Vancouver comes back to tie it up, we will still emerge victorious. Bruins 5-1. I said it, 5-1.
[INSERT TRASH TALK HERE]
John: Welcome back to the Pacific Northwest, pal. Here, we have real ice. It helps our hockey players move like hockey players and not like oafs. Speaking of which, in order to deal with your fans and players, I’ve made some calls to some big characters from The Princess Bride who are ready to put your rabble in their collective place.
Seriously, though. Once we get back to hockey we’ll reveal Tim Thomas for what he is. A great goalie who played two great games and who is ripe for a fantastic error that will cost you kids the game. Oh, and the red light will light on more than one Canucks power play, my friend. Finally, you’re crappy ice gave your goonish, overachieving team a lot of lucky bounces. You’ve had your turn with luck, and now it’s ours. Remember I told you this when the first garbage goal finds its way past Timmy.
Good luck, good sir. You’re gonna need it.
Boston Vancouver Pizza will be a place of celebration tonight!
Mark: Before last night’s Mavericks win, the Boston Bruins had more points in 24 hours than Lebron James (12-8). I said it after the first two games and I’ll say it again: You squeaked those first two wins out by the skin of your teeth. One with the clock ticking down and one in overtime, both by one goal. We embarrassed you so bad in games 3 and 4 that your grandchildren will wake up with nightmares. Luongo has about as much confidence in his game as Tiger Woods does right now, and you don’t just come back from a public shellacking like that with ease. Canucks keep diving, and we keep hitting. Not only are you not getting the calls any more, I would wager that someone on the Canucks gets an unsportsmanlike for faking being hurt at some point in the next two games. I’m heading to my hometown of Bridgewater tonight (think Merville on steroids), meaning I will be watching the game at a house party surrounded by friends and not one Canuck fan. That positive energy combined with the fact that a case of beer at home costs as much as 3 beer at the bar, will make me even more of a jerk during the game. I do not envy you John Horn, if you have to watch the game on Monday night knowing that you’re down 3-2 and heading to Boston because the garden is going to a literal zoo if that happens. Best of luck chummmmmmmmmp.
[Editor's note: Mark Atkinson is responsible for all swearwords associated with this blog post. His comparison of Bridgewater to Merville is also 92.5% accurate, even though he has never been to Merville. Well played, Mark].