The Spirit of ’70 and ’72 is once again loose in the land.
Nothing like shooting texts back and forth during a sporting event. These comments don’t rise to the level of a phone call, of course. Not in the 21st century. And the result is an interesting stream of consciousness.
After our podcast Wednesday, hockey savant David Desmith and I continued our conversation via this medium. See an annotated transcript here, and our jumping off point was Michael Ryder’s goal that made it 2-0, at 11:11 of the second period. The Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, a keen observer of the game in my view, had this to say about that tally: “Ryder ripped off a wrister from the top of the left wing circle, right in front of a stick-checking Sami Salo, and the gargantuan [Canucks keeper Roberto] Luongo fanned at the shot with his big left catching glove. Nothing but net. And nothing but a sinking feel for the Western Conference champs. Cup-winning goalies have to make that stop.” I texted Desmith with this:
Hal Phillips: Big goal, soft goal
He didn’t respond until the Bruins had made it 3-0, on a goal from Brad Marchand two minutes later. This would not have happened if Marchand hadn’t clearly tripped Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard just prior — a fact that neither the Versus announcing team (nor Dupont) cared to comment on. Desmith, a Canadiens fan, was hardly so silent.
David Desmith: Two bad goals vs. Luongo. The third one was a gift from unconscious referees. No way should that slew foot behind the net have gone unpunished. Very bad refereeing again tonight in my opinion. Interference and goalie interference all over the place, mostly by Boston. As long as the refs let that kind of shit go on, Boston will have an advantage. Refs in the NHL are so much worse than they were 20 years ago — and there was only one ref on the ice then.
HP: Marchand got away with one, no doubt.
DD: And possibly a crucial one. There’s no excuse for a play like that not getting called. None.
HP: Fair enough but they’ve been given four penalties, the Bruins just two. What ratio would u call fair, 5:2, 6:2? I think 5:2, the Marchand trip shoulda been called; but it’s on Vancouver for doing nothing with four PPs.
DD: No argument there. But if the slew foot gets called and Vancouver scores on the PP, it’s a 2-1 game rather than 3-0. Refs never want to affect the outcome, but non-calls do affect things — just as penalties that are called affect things. Refs need to call everything. That’s the only way the game will get back to being the kind of game you and I admire.
HP: Assuming the Nucks score on a power play is a big “if”. They’ve caught some lame PP flu from [Bruins power play “specialist” turned anchor Thomas] Kaberle. They’ve had no jump, 5 v. 5 or 5 v. 4…
DD: Agreed. But they can’t score on a PP they don’t get. Vancouver is intimidated. The Garden will do that to you. V needs to score at least 2 in this period or the mo will definitely be on Boston’s side.
HP: They score one and Bruins sphincters will tighten right up
DD: Maybe. That’s why that third goal was such a huge gift.
The third period begins and Sedin is quickly called for a slash. Boston’s Rich Peverly puts the game out of reach with a goal at 3:27. Luongo is pulled in favor of Boston College product Corey Schneider.
HP: The Sedins are minus-11 in this series? Are u kiddin me?
DD: Euro-chokers… Another bad call. They really want the Bs to win don’t they? Luongo’s done. Two horrible games in a row. Very surprising.
HP: Why is that surprising? First time past the second round for him, he nearly threw up in his mouth vs. Chicago, Bruins shot everything at his chest in Vancouver…
DD: U could be right. I’ve just seen him play so many superb games. In the playoffs, too. But maybe he’s not a playoff guy when it counts.
HP: Remember the Olympics? He was awful. They won in spite of him.
HP: Don’t want to get triumphal but look how the B’s lost those two gamex away from home, and look at the way the Nucks have laid down here… I say that’s telling
DD: Could be. Objectively, I’d say Boston’s in the driver’s seat now. Personally, I hope V wins the next two.
HP: Well you’ve been consistent in your distaste for the black and gold. You’re entitled… But a lesser team drops two opening games like that and doesn’t come back and spank the “best” team in hockey, 12-1, in the next two. Boston has to feel pretty good about their chances to win 2 of the next 3.
DD: Indeed. Boston has been impressive all year. It’s why I knew they’d beat Mtl, why I knew they’d be in the Finals, and now they’re here fighting hard. I do give them credit — and there are even some Bruins I admire: Luke, Bergeron and Thomas. But it’s Neely’s team and he’s a total waste of oxygen.
DD: And, most Bruins fans are Neanderthals.
DD: I feel bad for Canucks fans. Their team has disappeared.
DD: Do you start Schneider next game? I would.
At this stage, the game begins to degenerate into a chaotic venomfest, similar to the third period of Game 3. Marchand starts the first fracas by taking a triple minor (!), holding, tripping and roughing Henrik Sedin in the corner at 17:33. Ballard retaliates and the Bruins Adam McQuade draws a game misconduct.
DD: Typical Boston crap. THAT is why I hate the Bruins. Mtl never resorts to such shit. It’s shameful.
HP: Pushing them to the edge. They took the bait. Now they’re pulling the goalie to score a single goal.
Another fracas at 18:09, involving Alexandre Burrows (cross-checking), Ryan Kesler (roughing) Zdeno Chara (roughing), even Bruins keeper Tim Thomas (slashing). Kesler and Chara earn game misconducts. Replay clearly shows Vancouver winger Burrows, the guy who bit Patrice Bergeron in Game 1, attempting to slash the stick out of Thomas’ hands. Thomas retaliates by slashing Burrows, seemingly unprovoked, 10 seconds later.
HP: Uh oh. More fun
DD: God I hate Boston. Animals like that should never wear Cup rings.
HP: Did u see who started it? The Biter
DD: Thomas started it with the slash. He’s gotten away with that the whole playoffs. Again, poor refereeing leads to bad hockey. And the fans love it.
HP: No, no. They showed it on replay. The Biter slashed Thomas’ stick out of his hand; that came first
DD: How could Thomas slash him if he didn’t have his stick?
HP: He slashed it out of his hands. Thomas picked it up. Where’s the mystery… Don’t you get the impression that the Nucks just don’t do this sort of thing well? The goading and intimidation? They’re out of their depth
DD: I’ll have to watch that highlight. It’s about time someone did to Thomas what’s he been doing to everyone else… They’ve gotten sucked into playing Boston’s game. The way these games are being called isn’t helping them. It’s almost like they have no choice
HP: Agreed. It’s not entirely honorable nor is it the Bruins fault the game is being called the way it is… But if Van scores a couple PP goals, isn’t Boston chastened and tone it down, out of necessity?
DD: Sure. But that doesn’t mean that refs shouldn’t call everything that’s a penalty. Why are there rules if the refs can just call only what they want? V could’ve had 10 PPs tonight.
HP: So I’m watching the highlights and NO ONE said Marchand tripped Ballard before the third goal. Why not?
DD: I’m watching the CBC feed. Knowledgeable hockey people saw it and commented on it. Still V sucked tonight and the Sedins in particular. Bad calls or no, they didn’t deserve to win.
That is indeed the bottom line: The Canucks are halfway to pissing away this series, and their once-vaunted power play is the reason why — that, or the Bruins’ now-vaunted penalty kill wins Game 5 Friday night in Vancouver. Should be a Dusey.