Watching the ineptness of the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final was eerily and scarily familiar to the flaccid performance by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. No sustained offensive zone time, physically outworked, inability to get to the net, seasoned stars making uncharacteristic mistakes and a completely impotent power play – sound familiar Penguin’s fans? And as much as the fans and media of both the Blackhawks and Penguins are ripping their coaches and underperforming stars, there is one common denominator here, the Boston Bruins. So before we fire the Hawks coaching staff mid-series or banish Jonathan Toews back to Manitoba, let’s review some of the things the Bruins have going for them in this series:
Throughout the series, the Bruins defense has been relentless. The Blackhawks have had almost no odd-man breaks and are having difficulty getting to the middle of the ice in the offensive zone resulting in almost no one-on-one looks against Tuukka Rask. They also can’t sustain any in-zone pressure. Like a teen boy getting under a bra for the first time, they are in and then right out.
Honestly, the Hawks have barely tested Rask, but when they have, Rask has been solid. He is just one of several strong Finnish goalies in the NHL. Maybe the Blackhawks are intimidated by his profile photo used by NBC. It looks like the mug shot of a guy who just exposed himself outside of a school. Seriously, someone get him a new photo.
Though he’s been quiet since Game 1, Milan Lucic is a beast on skates. At 6’4” and 220 lbs, he is a linebacker on skates. He has the size to put you through the glass and enough finesse to hurt you on the scoreboard. At twenty-five years old, he already looks like a grumpy forty year old. He’s definitely one of those guys who started shaving in elementary school. Appropriately enough, Lucic reminds me of Ben Affleck’s character in Dazed and Confused.
Who? He sings the National Anthem for the Bruins. While he is also a walking mug shot for someone who just exposed himself outside of a school, how can you not be inspired by his National Anthem finale?
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