May 032010
 

It appears the Chicago Blackhawks won’t give the Vancouver Canucks any credit for the Canucks’ 5-1 win in Game 1. Like Cam Cole (Vancouver Sun) said this morning, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

The Chicago Blackhawks have done the autopsy on their 5-1, series-opening turkey against the Vancouver Canucks and have come to the conclusion that it was all their own fault. Or that’s the story — and they’re sticking to it.

Like Seinfeld’s buddy George Costanza says while breaking the news to the soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend: “It’s not you, it’s me.”

“I think all the goals were self-inflicted wounds last night,” head coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday, a day of rest for both teams, though the Hawks expended so little energy in the opener, it’s hard to believe they needed it. “It was what we did that generated their offence.”

“It’s not about what they did, it’s about what we didn’t do,” said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews.

There was more — mounds of quotes, piled upon one another, at least a dozen variations on the theme of “It’s only one game” and “We expect them to come out hard in Game 2″ and the like — but the basic truth of it, from the Chicago side, was that the Blackhawks’ Game 1 effort blew, in the Windy City, and an attitude adjustment is in order for tonight’s sequel at the United Center.

If the Blackhawks aren’t going to say it, I will.

The Canucks were the better team on Saturday night. The Canucks skaters won the puck battles and were more effective and efficient than Chicago; the Canucks’ defense did a better job of clearing the crease in front of their goaltender; and Luongo was better than Niemi. All four lines scored, and that’s no small feat against a Chicago team that allowed the 5th least number of goals in the NHL.

Here are the stats from Game 1:

VANCHI
EVPPSHTOTALEVPPSHTOTAL
SOG2440282313137
BLOCKED102113103013
MISSED4307113014
TOTAL3891484419164

On the whole, the Blackhawks did generate more chances than the Canucks in Game 1, and perhaps that’s why they refuse to credit the Canucks. But let’s look at a further breakdown of these numbers:

1st PERIODVANCHI
EVPPSHTOTALEVPPSHTOTAL
SOG130013125017
BLOCKED30141203
MISSED10014105
TOTAL170118178025
2nd PERIODVANCHI
EVPPSHTOTALEVPPSHTOTAL
SOG840128008
BLOCKED71086006
MISSED03034004
TOTAL158023180018
3rd PERIODVANCHI
EVPPSHTOTALEVPPSHTOTAL
SOG300338112
BLOCKED01013104
MISSED30033205
TOTAL6107911121

It’s easy to see that the Blackhawks only outchanced the Canucks in the first period when they were on the powerplay, and in the third period when the Canucks already had a five-goal lead (and even then most of the Blackhawks’ chances came on the powerplay). As we know, of course, Luongo held the Canucks in the game in the first period, and then the offense took over.

Despite what the Blackhawks players say, the Canucks deserve full marks for winning Game 1. Though to be honest, I don’t mind them continuing to underestimate us.

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