|Canucks trying not to get too excited about being one win away||06.12.11 at 4:48 pm ET|
The Canucks are trying to stay as level-headed as possible leading up to Monday’s Game 6, but they know it’s going to be difficult given the fact that they’re one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.
“I think it’s natural to be excited,” captain Henrik Sedin said. “We’re in a great spot. We’re one win away from winning it, so we’re excited. But we know if we get out of our comfort zone and start getting overly excited, it’s going to take away from our game. That’s a key for us, to come in here tomorrow and play the way we have all year.”
Forward Christopher Higgins said it will be crucial for the Canucks to strike a balance between thinking about the Cup while also focusing on the game at hand.
“I think you have to think about it,” Higgins said when asked about the possibility of lifting the Cup. “That's what you're playing the game for. But there's a lot of hard work, and you still have to play the game. You still have to do the right, little things out there.”
Three of the Canucks’ top players — the Sedin twins and goalie Roberto Luongo — have won an Olympic gold medal (the Sedins in 2006 with Sweden and Luongo in 2010 with Canada), but they all said winning the Cup would be even bigger.
“Both Louie and us played in the Olympic finals and that’s obviously a big game, too, but as a hockey player, this is what you want to win,” Daniel Sedin said. “It’s the toughest thing you can win. You work so hard with your friends and teammates to get to this point. We’re going to enjoy it. Hopefully we can put a better game on the ice tomorrow and we’ll be fine.”
“They’re both unbelievable, but very different,” Luongo added. “The Olympics is a very short tournament. This is a two-month grind, probably one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do. In the end, if you come out on top, it’s the most rewarding thing that you can probably do as an athlete.”
Roberto Luongo has certainly created quite the buzz these last few days. After the Canucks’ 1-0 win in Game 5, he took a jab at Tim Thomas by saying Maxim Lapierre‘s game-winning goal would’ve been an easy save for him because he would’ve been in his crease. Then on Saturday, Luongo complained that Thomas hasn’t said anything nice about him while he’s been pumping Thomas’ tires all series.
Maybe Luongo got bored with all the back-and-forth, or perhaps someone told him it was best not to say anything else, because on Sunday Luongo said he was done talking about his comments on Thomas.
“I know we’re in the Stanley Cup Final and everything is under the microscope and going to get blown out of proportion,” Luongo said when asked if he regretted making those comments. “My whole comment, I don’t think was a negative comment.
“But at the end of the day, I’m one win away from winning the Stanley Cup, and that’s all I really care about right now. All that other stuff is noise to me and doesn’t really affect what’s going to take place for me tomorrow night. To be honest with you, I don’t really care.”
Canucks forward Christopher Higgins agreed with Luongo that the media has made too much of everyone’s comments.
“Certain little things are blown way, way out of proportion and way over-analyzed,” Higgins said. “I think that’s been the case for a lot of things that have gone on this series.”
|Ryan Kesler gets maintenance day||at 2:35 pm ET|
There has been plenty of suspicion this series that Canucks forward Ryan Kesler is playing with some sort of injury. The Conn Smythe candidate has been hit hard a number of times and hasn’t looked 100 percent the last few games. The injury theory gained a little more traction Sunday when Kesler, who ranks second on Vancouver with 19 postseason points, wasn’t on the ice for practice.
As expected, though, coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t going to divulge any information about a possible injury. Maintenance days are very common, so the coach assured Kesler’s absence was just that.
“He’s fine,” Vigneault said when asked about Kesler’s absence. “Just giving him a day off, that’s all.”
Defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who has missed the last four games after injuring himself on a hip check in Game 1, was also absent from practice. It appears unlikely that he’ll be back for Game 6.
|Alexandre Burrows has little to say about diving||at 2:22 pm ET|
Alexandre Burrows has been viewed as a villain in the Stanley Cup finals ever since he bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron in Game 1, and since then, he’s added to it by reinforcing his reputation as a “diver” — one who embellishes plays in an effort to draw penalties.
Burrows was penalized for diving as he tried to sell a slew foot from Milan Lucic late in the first period of Friday’s Game 5. In the third period, he took a cross-check that went uncalled, a potential sign that refs may be done participating in the game of did-he-or-didn’t-he when it comes to him diving.
Asked about his embellishing Sunday, Burrows had little to say.
“I don’t read you guys, so I could care less,” he said.
Asked whether he thinks he’s alone in trying to sell penalties or whether the Bruins do it as well (as they have at points), Burrows was just as quiet.
“I have nothing to say about that,” said Burrows.
Burrows chose not to comment directly on whether he feels referees are now ignoring him.
“The refs have a tough job to do already. It’s the Stanley Cup final,” Burrows said. “It’s not easy to make calls, and obviously my focus is if they call it, great. If they don’t call it, that’s their decision. I am supporting their decision. I’m going to forget about it and get ready for my next shift.”
With all that’s been made of the way Roberto Luongo has spoken about Tim Thomas, the biggest question is why Luongo’s doing it. Is he playfully joking around (as he was — no matter what you hear anywhere else — when he made his pre-series comments about Thomas playing the way he did when he was five years old), or is he intentionally taking jabs at the man who seems a shoo-in to win the Vezina and a safe bet to win the Conn Smythe?
Luongo’s recent comments came as a surprise here to this scribe, as he spent the day before media gushing with praise for Thomas. The talk of him pumping Thomas’ tires is correct, but why then, would he make the punk move of saying he would have saved Maxim Lapierre’s game-winner?
He can’t plead ignorance or claim it as a misunderstanding, as he’s as well-spoken and well-intentioned a guy a media member will deal with. What he says, he means, and it’s hard to imagine Luongo “accidentally” dissing another player when it seems that clear — and especially amongst all the talk of Thomas’ positioning.
One man in the Bruins’ locker room has some perspective when it comes to Luongo’s intentions, and though he claims to have not heard Luongo’s comments, Gregory Campbell said Sunday he can’t imagine his former teammate in Florida talking a mess with any malicious intent.
“I don’t know him as that type of person. I played with him for a year. I’m sure he has a lot of pressure on him as well, and he’s had to face a lot of critics in these playoffs, especially the last couple of games of late. Knowing him, I don’t think that’s his personality, but to be honest, I don’t really care. I don’t think Timmy cares either. It’s not going to affect our hockey club one way or the other.”
Campbell and Luongo played together in the 2005-06 season with the Panthers and briefly the year before, when Campbell played two games.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas finally got in on the fun Sunday, providing the media with the closest thing he’ll give to partcipation in a war of of words with Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. Thomas has allowed a minuscule six goals in five games of the Stanley Cup finals, yet its been Luongo’s opinion of his style that has made the most headlines. After saying he would have saved the Maxim Lapierre shot that won the game for the Canucks in Game 5, Luongo noted Saturday that he has praised Thomas without hearing anything back.
Said Luongo Saturday: 'I've been pumping his tires ever since the series started. I haven't heard any one nice thing he's had to say about me, so that's the way it is.'
Thomas responded to Luongo’s comments Sunday after the team’s practice, saying that he as a goaltender respects other netminders, though he had some fun with the way he went about it.
“I guess I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires,” Thomas said with a grin. “I guess I have to apologize for that.
“I still think I’m the goaltender on the union side and I stick with all the other goalies. In being one and knowing what it takes to perform at this level and with this amount of pressure, I understand to a certain extent what every other goaltender is going through.”
|Bruins hold one last practice||at 11:40 am ET|
Assuming the B’s would not skate on Tuesday should they win Game 6, the Bruins held what it is most likely their last practice of the season Sunday at TD Garden. All parties were present, with Jordan Caron the fourth man on the second line with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. Rich Peverley skated with the first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
All eight defensemen were there as well, including Steven Kampfer and Shane Hnidy.