Monday, June 6, 2011

Stanley Cup Finals - Game Three

Alexandre Burrows has killed the Bruins in the past two games. In game two, he tallied three points including the game winning goal 11 seconds into overtime. This is a guy who many say should have been suspended for that game as a result of the "biting incident" with Patrice Bergeron. We all knew that he would have a bullseye on his chest when the Canucks came to Boston tonight for game three. The Bruins responded by activating Shawn Thornton and sitting Tyler Seguin. This was Thornton's first action since game two of the Eastern Conference finals that took place on May 17th.

Tonight's game got off to a scary start when Aaron Rome (VAN) delivered a high hit on Bruins forward Nathan Horton. He laid motionless on the ice for several minutes until he was carried off by a stretcher. Rome got a 10 minute game misconduct, which means that the hit will be reviewed by the league. The hit itself was not dirty. If you watch the feet of Rome before the hit, there was no way he could have avoided it because he made up his mind to hit him before he passed the puck. If Horton held the puck instead of passing it, the result would have been different. Was it dirty? No. Was it a blind side hit? I will give you that. Horton's head just hit the ice. Yes the hit was a bit high and a bit late, but it looked worse only because of the result. It is playoff hockey and stuff like that happens.

The hits came heavy and often from both teams after Rome's hit on Horton. The teams were clearly still caught up in that moment. There was only 19 total shots in the first period and no goals were scored. The second period was a continuation of the first period as far as the physicality was concerned. There was a total of 55 hits in the first two periods of tonight's game. The second period also produced four goals by the Bruins. Andrew Ference took a slap shot at the top of the zone and buried the puck into the goal. The special teams of the Bruins contributed to the goal scoring as well. Mark Recchi scored on the power play to put Boston up 2-0. Recchi is the oldest player to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Finals. Brad Marchand scored an unassisted goal on the penalty kill and David Krejci added another goal before the end of the period. Boston had a 4-0 lead heading into the final period.

Before I comment about the third period, I want to say that I respect the game of hockey very much and the athletes that partake in this sport. The third period of tonight's game made me regret being a fan of the game. This was one of the most childish, unnecessary, disgusting, out of control periods I have ever seen. What was most disappointing about it is that it took place on the game's biggest stage. 98 penalty minutes that included seven 10 minute misconducts (Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton, Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference for the Bruins and Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin, and Alexandre Burrows for the Canucks).

The Canucks wanted the Bruins to play their game and they succeeded. Recchi and Lucic stuck their fingers in the faces of Vancouver players as a reference to the "biting incident." That is not retaliation to the Rome hit. That was the Bruins response to the NHL for not dealing with the problem. Why do you think Thornton was activated tonight? He hit Burrows just seconds into his first shift. As far as the stuff that takes place after the whistle, that is being childish and unprofessional. After all of the antics that took place tonight, the slate should be wiped clean and play with the mentality of winning. There comes a time where sportsmanship has to come into play.

Obviously in between all of these penalties were some power plays for both teams. Daniel Paille scored another short-handed goal to put Boston on top 5-0. Mark Recchi added another goal to his streak of points that he has going in this series. Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder each had goals as well. Two power play goals and two short-handed goals for the Bruins in the game. That is how you respond; you have to beat them on the scoreboard. The Bruins won game three by a score of 8-1. Game four will be Wednesday night at the TD Garden.

Gold Star: Zdeno Chara (2 assists, +3 rating, 4 hits)...he was productive on the power play and solid on the defensive end. He brought the physicality and responded to the antics Vancouver was pulling but he did it the smart way.

Black Star: Tomas Kaberle...his passes were there but he seemed to disappear as the game went along. The type of game that the third period turned into was not his style of play.

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