Ray Ferraro on M&M: Roberto Luongo is ‘the Bob Stanley of Vancouver’
|06.10.11 at 5:08 pm ET|
Former NHL player and current Vancouver radio host Ray Ferraro joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday afternoon to talk about the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Ferraro was a guest before Game 3 of the finals and has seen the Canucks fan base get much more worried since Boston knotted the series at 2-2.
“It’s a cloudy, gray day here in Vancouver,” Ferraro said. “While everybody seems to want to to believe, they’ve clearly seen that a team that they’d only seen one time in the regular season is a hell of a lot better than they thought. And you guys know, you see somebody in a short sample and you make this instant evaluation. They’re not fast enough. They’re not going to be able to hit our players.”
Added Ferraro: “They found out the game can change in a hurry. And you don’t get to be one of the final two teams by not being very good. I guess the way I would sum what I’ve seen this is that just like in life there are different ways to do the same thing. The Bruins go about it one way and the Canucks go about it a different way. And one way’s not better than the other, it’s just different. And here we sit tied 2-2.”
Former Bruin and current TV analyst Mike Milbury recently joked about Henrik and Daniel Sedin, calling them “Thelma and Louise.” When asked if he thought the identical twins needed to become tougher, Ferraro said it’s not going to happen.
“They can’t. You can’t change who you are,” he said. “The Sedins aren’t going to physically challenge anybody. I think one of their biggest problems is that they’ve gotten involved in a little bit of the extracurricular stuff. Boston’s pushing them around and they’re trying to push back. There’s no point in it. There’s no point for the Sedins. The push back has to be being stronger on the puck, winning a puck battle and when you get a power play, hurt the Bruins that way. They’re not going to hurt them physically. Mike calling them ‘Thelma and Louise’ of course it sounds great and it’s great TV, but ask him if he was coaching if he’d want the back-to-back Art Ross Trophy winners on his team. I hope he’d say yes. If not, he’d be, well, on TV.”
Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo has taken a lot of heat for allowing a dozen goals in the last two games. Ferraro said he is not the only one to blame.
“As far as Luongo, he’s the Bob Stanley of Vancouver,” Ferraro said. “When Bob Stanley went 15-1 [for the Red Sox] back in ’78, people were talking about the one loss. It’s like it was never enough. Luongo has had a fantastic statistical season. Outside of a couple of starts in the playoffs, he’s been terrific. And you can say the same about Tim Thomas, that outside of a couple of starts, he’s been unbelievable in the playoffs, but there’s been a couple nights where he hasn’t been Thomas like. Well, Luongo’s happened to come on a night, on two nights where the team in front of him was god awful. You can point at Luongo if you choose, but I said that this morning to the fans here, you can point at him if you choose, but I’m telling you, you don’t give up 12 goals in two games because your goalie is bad. You give up 12 goals in two games because your team sucked. And they had it handed to them in back to back nights in Boston.”
Ferraro compared the series to the Canucks-Blackhawks opening-round matchup.
“It was different,” Ferraro said. “In Chicago this was the absolute most hated enemy that the Canucks could have. They were bounced from the playoffs two years in a row and it was a dirty, chippy type of series both years in a row. I mean these teams play in the preseason and it looks like someone going to chop someone’s head off. They’re just nasty series. That’s the way a rivalry gets to a next pitch, is you play in the playoffs.”
He added: “I’ll give you an example. I thought Canucks fans were going to hate Brad Marchand after one game. Well it took them to Game 3 to hate him because that’s when he really made his presence felt in this series. And I know that Marchand brings, by his own admission and I guess his own fault he puts himself in some spots where people talk a lot about the extra stuff he does, the chippiness. But man, the guy can play. He’s a really good player. And the Canucks I’m sure would love to have a player like Marchand on their roster.”
The city of Vancouver will be buzzing Friday night, Ferraro said.
“There’ll be 70,000 people out on the streets tonight watching the game,” Ferraro said. “They have these big monitors up. That’s in the downtown. In the suburbs they have these venues set up where they’re getting 15,000-20.000 people congregating to watch the game. There is nothing that goes on that can rival it. On Saturday UFC 131 is here and the last time it came to Vancouver which was last year right around this time, they sold out in 23 minutes. There’s still tickets available for Saturday. Nobody has even realized that the fight’s coming up because everybody and everything is Canucks.”
Of Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, Ferraro said:
“Even though he has been so brilliant, they have to tip their hat to Tim Thomas. In my opinion, impossible guy not to like. He conducts himself off the ice in a real professional way. You can see he’s got a little wit to him, kind of underneath the veneer of, ‘We’ve got to do our job,’ and all those quotes that you hear. And then he goes on the ice and how can you not notice how hard he tries and how he plays every game? He’s my favorite goalie in the league to watch. Part of it because you never know what he’s going to do. Part of it because I love the backstory of him getting to the NHL and the way he got there and the commitment of his folks, the story of selling their wedding rings to getting him to a goalie camp. I love the backstory to it.”
Asked about Ryan Kesler’s health status, Ferraro replied:
“He pulled a groin, hamstring, hip flexor something or other, and of course as you guys know you can never get the story, in Game 5 against San Jose. He came back and finished the game and actually scored the goal that sent it to overtime in Game 5. He has not looked the same since. He’s a terrific skater. He’s not found a way to use his speed on the ice on a regular basis. But he’s out there 20 minutes a night and they need more from him. I will say I think he had a terrific year, 41 goals this year.”
Ferraro said Kesler and the rest of the Canucks need to focus on their style of hockey.
“After the season last year where they were eliminated, the general manager, Mike Gillis, spoke to him and asked him, ‘Look, just concentrate on what’s going on between the whistles, and don’t get tied up in slashing people all over the place,’” Ferraro said. “I think the Bruins, to their credit, part of their game plan is to drag these guys into the trenches a little bit. And the Canucks have willingly gone there. The problem is that’s not the team the Canucks are.
“The Bruins can play like that, they do play like that. They floor check you to death. The Canucks are now so worried about, I don’t know this, I’m just saying this, they’re so worried in showing everyone how tough they are, they forgot to battle for the puck. They’re getting really good at slashing but they’re not getting really good at winning the puck.”
While playing with the Hartford Whalers, Ferraro encountered a similar situation.
“The reason I know this, from a personal standpoint, when I played we had a series of games in what was then Quebec against what was then the Nordiques in the Adams Division,” Ferraro said. “And they made a big deal of saying our team in Hartford wasn’t that tough. Well we showed them. We took about 90 penalties in five games, and they throttled us. But we showed them how tough we were. What’s the point? The point is to win. At this time of the year that’s all that it’s about. It’s being the guys with the smile on your face in the handshake line.”
Ferraro will be in Boston for Game 6 Monday, when one team will have a chance to take home the cup.
“You bet I will be there,” Ferraro said. “And I will tell you, to the people that are there who have never been around when the Cup’s in the building, there’s something a little different about it. It’s like the whole building is different. The anticipation that somebody might win the Cup that night is incredible. I thought it was just an unbelievable atmosphere in Games 3 and 4 in Boston. I had a great time.
“Hell, I was a Bruins fan growing up, and to see Bobby Orr out on the ice in Game 4, there’s not many guys that I don’t have anything to say to them because I can’t think of anything, he’s one of them. You know, I’m like a 10-year-old: ‘Hi, Bobby! Oh my god.’ “