|Kevin Weekes on M&M: Canucks ‘looking to have a goalie snap on you’||06.10.11 at 1:37 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada and NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning to discuss the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Weekes, a former NHL goalie, spent much of the interview talking about Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas. Regarding the question of whether Luongo should be starting Game 5, Weekes said he supported the decision to go back to Luongo.
“Roberto’s your No. 1 goalie. I believe you have to give him the chance,” he said. “There’s no question. I believe you’ve got to give Roberto the chance to play. But I will say this: I think it’s going to be a very short leash.”
The Canucks have criticized Thomas for coming out of his crease so far and so frequently. Weekes suggested that Luongo should learn from what Thomas is doing.
“There’s times when you need to be out of the blue paint, you need to face shooters down and be aggressive and take away that angle from them,” he said. “And Timmy Thomas has done an excellent job of that. That’s a real good element of his game.
“Roberto, I think, needs to come out and challenge a little bit more, use his size to his advantage. It’s one thing to say you’re 6-3, but when you’re just a foot above the goal line at 6-3, that’s an awful lot of net for a shooter to see. And if not, your reflexes need to be razor sharp that game and so precise that you leave yourself with no margin for error.”
Weekes was quick to point out that the Bruins defenders deserve part of the credit for Thomas’ success, specifically pointing to Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg.
“I think the B’s D corps has been a lot nastier and doing a better job of protecting Timmy, which allows him to be more aggressive,” Weekes said. “And full marks for the B’s forwards, too. They’ve done a good job of collapsing down low as well. Vancouver is going to have to remedy that. As I said coming into this series, the most important real estate on the ice, fellas, is right in front of both nets, at either end. For the most part, Vancouver controlled that in Games 1 and 2. There’s absolutely no question, hands down, the B’s dominated both those spots in Games 3 and 4.”
In the Vancouver defensive end, Weekes said the Canucks have not been impressive of late.
“The Vancouver defenders — especially the forwards, and the D, for that matter — they haven’t really done a great job of protecting Roberto Luongo,” he said. “To me, Boston has been able to swing this series also because they’ve been hungrier around Vancouver’s net. And they’ve done a better job in the neutral zone, which has been Vancouver’s strength all year. So, if you combine those things — they’re outworking them, the B’s are, in and around Luongo, he’s not getting the protection that he needs, and the fact is he hasn’t made as many big saves as he did in Games 1 and 2 — that’s a pretty overall picture of why the B’s have come back and tied this thing up.”
Weekes broke out in laughter when the topic of Thomas’ check on Henrik Sedin from Game 3 was mentioned.
“I call him the everyman. He’s somebody that everybody can relate to,” Weekes said of Thomas. “He’s a blue collar cat. I love the way he plays. I think his style of play is the most entertaining. It reminds me the most of Dominik Hasek, which is the ultimate compliment. And also, I think it’s a perfect fit for the B’s.
“Timmy’s a lot of fun. He’s having fun out there. And honestly, he’s a very calculated guy. And that play … I agree with him. I thought it was a great play. It’s not necessarily a play that I would have even thought to have made when I played, but I thought it was pretty ingenious move by Timmy.”
As for the slash to Alex Burrows‘ knee in Game 4, Weekes explained why he supported Thomas.
“Alex Burrows and a couple of the Vancouver Canucks are trying to tap the knob of Timmy’s stick,” Weekes said. “There’s nothing more annoying as a goalie — and in a sense, more dangerous — then when a guy tries to tap that stick out of you from the top, where your tape is, where the knob of your stick is. A lot of guys do that silliness in practice, and there’s nothing that gets you more annoyed, because your stick, essentially as a goalie, is like your tail for a kangaroo. It’s your balance point. It’s your center of balance, it’s your feel. Once somebody disputes that, especially if you’re in a crouch to make a save, it’s easy for you to fall, it’s easy for you to blow an ACL or an ankle.
“Vancouver has done that several times. And again, just speaking from practice, when guys do that, that’s when you’re looking to have a goalie snap on you. I think it’s a dangerous play when guys do it. I don’t like when guys do it. … I fully understand how and why Timmy was ticked and exactly why he responded the way he did. It was just a matter of time. Those guys were playing with fire at that point.”
Weekes is sticking with his prediction of a Canucks victory in the series, but he said that only will happen with a change in momentum. “Unless Vancouver regains their mental strength, then how can you say Vancouver’s going to win?” he acknowledged, adding: “Now we’ve got ourselves a great series. What more could people be asking for? This is unbelievable.”
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