Blues Brace for Arrival of Young Canucks

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Dr.Sens(e), May 12, 2007.

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  1. Dr.Sens(e)

    Dr.Sens(e) Registered User

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    (AP) St. Louis: When reflecting back five years ago, Blues captain Chris Pronger could only think the Blues are now facing a younger mirror image of themselves in their upcoming series.

    “We definitely see some similarities, which is rather unsettling when you think back to how equally naïve and dangerous we were back thenâ€, said Pronger.

    In 2002, a rebuilt young Blues squad made the playoffs after a one year hiatus as the 7th seed in the Western conference and matched up against a veteran playoff-savvy Dallas Stars squad. The Blues were led by young centerman Joe Thornton, while the Stars were lead by veteran centerman Joe Sakic.

    The Blues dispatched the Stars in a hard fought 6 games, which propelled them to 2nd round victory over the similarly favoured Los Angeles Kings before finally falling in the conference finals to eventual Stanley Cup winners, the San Jose Sharks in six games.

    “We certainly don’t want to see the Canucks do to us, what we did to the Starsâ€, said Captain Chris Pronger, who the Blues relied on heavily in that playoff run.

    Fast forward five years and Thornton is now the veteran getting ready to face a Canucks squad built around their young top center, Eric Staal with a similarly talented young pivot waiting in the wings in Evgeni Malkin. The Blues also had a young Vincent Lecavalier playing a supporting roll on their 2002 team.

    While Malkin will be in attendance at the opener in St. Louis with agent Reggie Swingstein, the Blues and the rest of the league won’t have to worry about the young Russian Star on the ice until next season.

    High Scoring or Low Scoring?

    This match-up is an interesting one in that the Blues and Canucks are the two highest scoring teams in the Western conference, yet their head-to-head match-ups were very low scoring affairs. The Blues won 1-0 at home against Vancouver, and 2-1 when visiting GM place.

    Thornton failed to register a point in both games, typically matched up against Canucks checking center Dean McAmmond.

    Rod Brind’Amour was the most effective Blues player in those games, scoring the lone game winner in the 1-0 affair, while scoring a goal and assisting on Dany Heatley’s overtime goal in the 2-1 Blues victory. But this is in many ways a much different Canucks team, as they added significant veteran firepower to their squad in the latter half of the season.

    What Canucks young GM Sean Keogh did was wheel and deal his way to adding a considerable veteran element to augment his young guns. Veterans Darcy Tucker, Miro Satan, Pierre Turgeon, Dave Scatchard and all-star defencemen Dan Boyle were just a few of those brought on board part way through the season, which makes the Canucks a much more potent playoff team than their 8th seed would indicate.

    “This is not the same team we faced twice this yearâ€, said coach Marc Crawford. “They were a young group early in the season, but they are pretty well balanced now.â€

    In fact, the average age of the team is virtually the same.

    “They might be the same age†conceded Crawford. “But you just know they aren’t feeling any pressure right now. They are super loose and ready to roll so we have to be ready for them to come flying out of the gate on Saturday€

    Game one starts today.
     
  2. Ville Isopaa

    Ville Isopaa Registered User

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    Malkin travels pretty quickly.. He just played in the semi final of the World Championships in Moscow. So he'll fly to St.Louis to watch tonights game and return to Moscow for the bronze game which starts at 4.15pm local time. Which airline does he use? Star Trek?
     
  3. Fan.At

    Fan.At Registered User Sponsor

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    he skates
     
  4. Dr.Sens(e)

    Dr.Sens(e) Registered User

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    In the Bizzaro NHL (aka the HFNHL), Malkin's Russians were eliminated in the preliminary round, all the more likely with Ovechkin and Kovalchuk in the HFNHL playoffs.

    Plus, any one of Reggie's three Concordes allows for rather speedy travel for his preferred clients back and forth over the pond as required.
     

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