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Check out a sampling of what media types are saying about the Canucks being on the brink of elimination – down 0-3 to the Los Angeles Kings – in their NHL first-round series:
Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times says the series borders on “historic” for a Kings franchise that hasn’t tasted playoff success since the halcyon days of Wayne Gretzky:
“The Kings have won one playoff round, in 2001, since that (1993) famous run to the Stanley Cup Finals by Wayne Gretzky and friends. They pulled within one game of doubling that total with Sunday’s 1-0 victory against the Canucks at Staples Center on Sunday night, taking a 3-0 series lead against the league’s best team. One game from creating a new talking point in Southern California, a post-Gretzky talking point.”
Bob McKenzie of TSN says it’s fitting that Dustin Brown, whose name was front and centre in a lot of trade rumours this season, has played a heroic role (athough more of a villainous one for Canuck fans) in this series for the Kings. McKenzie felt Brown’s booming hit on Canucks captain Henrik Sedin was a clean one:
“It was just a good hard hit that set the tone for the Kings and signaled they are going to take no prisoners when it comes to the Vancouver Canucks, and with Dustin Brown coming back and scoring the Kings’ goal, it was almost fitting from his perspective.”
Mark Spector of Rogers Sportsnet says the Canucks’ inability to score is confounding.
“What’s the mood of this Canucks team right now?
“What do you think?” Kevin Bieksa fired back at an innocent reporter (wasn’t me!) post-game. “We’re down three-nothing. It’s not very good.”
That was as overt as the negativity got however, in a dressing room that still has plenty of leadership. They’ll get a day off Monday, go back to practice Tuesday, and play for the young Kings on Wednesday the part of that heavyweight champion with his back on the ropes.
“We still have to learn how to win, right?” offered Kings coach Darryl Sutter. “You don’t get nuthin’ for three.”
It is confounding for Vancouver, a team that clearly knows how to win, but can’t figure out a path past Jonathan Quick and the Kings. They’re outshooting L.A., out-chancing them for two games, yet somehow the team that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2001 has more guile than one that won three series’ only last year.”
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star is also stunned by the Canucks’ futility.
“Vancouver, meanwhile, can’t get it going without Daniel Sedin, which would be an excuse if not for the fact they couldn’t get it going on the attack with Daniel Sedin in the latter part of last spring’s Cup final either. All that talent up front and nobody can find the net, while the players acquired by GM Mike Gillis in trades along the way this season – Zack Kassian, David Booth and Sammy Pahlsson – have added nothing to the attack.
Barring a spectacular comeback by either club, we’ll soon be looking at the changes coming in both cities. In Pittsburgh, it will be whether its time to move on from the trio of Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Jordan Staal. In Vancouver, there will be questions about head coach Alain Vigneault, and which of goalies Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo will be moving on to a new home this summer.”
Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post presents “Five Ways the Kings have Destroyed the Canucks.” Not surprisingly, Fitz-Gerald points out special teams has been a big part of the L.A. arsenal.
“Special teams: Los Angeles is one of only three teams in the playoffs (with Washington and Boston) that have still not allowed a power-play goal. And the Kings have not been as angelic as that statistic might suggest — playing short-handed 14 times in three games against the Canucks, among the most of any team in the playoffs. (Vancouver has been short-handed 20 times, most often among teams in the playoffs as of Monday.”
The series isn’t over, but it’s close enough to being done that James O’Brien of NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk is looking past Game 4 and gauging the Kings’ chances of make a long Cup run.
“Looking up at the higher seeds, you can’t blame the Kings for not feeling too intimidated. The St. Louis Blues got back into their series with the San Jose Sharks, yet Los Angeles brings virtually the same strengths to the table as the Blues. It’s unlikely that Los Angeles would be all that intimidated by the thought of facing the Phoenix Coyotes in the semifinals, either; in fact, the biggest worries could come if they face either the Nashville Predators or the Detroit Red Wings.”
And Daniel Wagner of the Vancouver Sun’s Pass It To Bulis blog found a nugget of optimism in the fact that even though the Canucks are down 0-3, the losses haven’t been as ugly as those suffered by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“Here’s the crazy thing: it could be worse. The Canucks could be the Pittsburgh Penguins right now, who were also favourites heading into the playoffs and also are down 3-0 in their first round series. The difference is that the Penguins are getting blown out of the water and their games are turning into absolute gong shows as the team seems to be coming completely unglued. They’re exploding so badly that the reverberations of their explosion went back in time and inspired a Monty Python sketch.”