Not much can be said about the shellacking the Canucks gave the Blackhawks last night. It was the kind of ass-kicking that speaks for itself, really. All four lines and a defenseman got in on the scoring. There were no goats. There’s really nothing to harp on. Just like in the Kings series, Luongo could do a better job of freezing loose pucks when they’re right in front of his face, but it’s tough to fault the guy after posting a .973 save percentage.
I’d love to be able to pat myself on the back for some solid predictions, but I chose to take issue with fan-bashing instead of doing a series preview. Out at the bar on Friday night, however, I told whoever would listen to me that Michael Grabner would have a big series, and that I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Raymond – Kesler – Grabner line reunited at some point. After all, those three have speed that not even the Blackhawks can match. I didn’t expect him to be scoring from the fourth line, but it was a nice surprise. Really it might have been the best showing Vancouver’s got from their fourth line all season.
It was Grabner’s first career playoff goal, scored in the same building and on the same goalie that he notched his first NHL goal. Throughout his young career he’s been infamously streaky and inconsistent — a reputation not entirely deserved, but a reputation all the same. In his time with Manitoba, however, he proved himself as a Big Game player. It’s safe to say the Blackhawks are Vancouver’s biggest rival right now (you could even make the case it’s one of the league’s best rivalries), and it’s a promising sign that he seems to elevate his game in the United Center. Do we have a future Chicago Killer on our hands here? Maybe. Maybe not. But isn’t it nice to think so?
It’s so nice to be on the winning end of an effort like that. It was the biggest Game 1 curb-stomping I’ve seen since the St. Louis Blues stunned the Canucks 6-0 in the opening game of the 2003 playoffs. If anything, that series should remind us not to count our chickens quite yet. Vancouver went on to beat the Blues in 7 games, with Dan Cloutier in net. Take solace in that, Antti Niemi. Sometimes, bad goaltending can be overcome.
But enough about the game. I’m pretty sure you all saw it for yourselves. Now for something you haven’t been keeping an eye on: My playoff beard!
Look at that thing! I am at a bit of an advantage, in that I last shaved about an hour before Vancouver clinched a playoff spot (on the back of a Michael Grabner hat-trick, no less). It gave me a 10 day head-start on the actual playoffs. I should stop telling people that, as it seems less impressive — not that having a beard is at all impressive in the first place. It can be, though. If the boys can stay alive for another round or two, I might end up looking like Scott Niedermayer. Now THAT would be impressive.
And speaking of awesome dudes with rockin’ beards, there’s this:
With Iron Man 2 just a week away, Marvel’s firing up the hype machine on Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. Yes, you read that right. Kenneth “The Master of Shakespeare” Branagh is directing a big budget comic book extravaganza. Verily, I doth not lie. That’s Chris Hemsworth (Kirk’s dad in Star Trek‘s opening sequence) as the Norse God of Thunder. Why why WHY do I have to be more excited for a movie that’s more than a year away than the one that opens next week? I guess it’s because I already know what Iron Man 2 will be like. I’ve already been treated to two hours of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. But Thor? Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, no less? That, my friends, is a journey into mystery.
I’ll close things out before I get too nerdy (too late?), but here’s something awesome and Iron Man related. In an effort to cross-promote Iron Man 2 and its all-ACDC soundtrack, seeper did a little demonstration of something called architectural projection mapping. Think the digital projection during the Olympic ceremonies, only crank the cool to 11 and project it onto the side of a castle. Even if you don’t like ACDC, I urge you to watch this. It’s just that awesome.
I think my eyes would melt if I saw that in person.