Enough of the busy banter and wasted efforts on the Stars fan. The question of Monday nights game was, who will advance? The answer? Trevor Linden and Roberto Luongo answered it for everyone. Of course it was the Vancouver Canucks that were going to come through for their fans. Now, bring on the Ducks.
No one in Vancouver is going to openly admit that the Canucks are the favourite in this series. Anyone that does is thinking with thier heart and not their mind. On the other hand an honest hockey mind will not pick the Ducks in a walk. This morning I had the pleasure of listening to Ducks GM Brian Burke on a local radio station and to quote him he said "the Ducks will have to bring their workboots" he continued on to say that he "still has respect for the offensive skill that the Sedin's bring" and finally he "fears Markus Naslund".
After they struggled through the first round the twins and Naslund do not seem like the offensive juggernaut that we all expected, however, they will always be a threat. Surely the Ducks will attempt to have one of Pronger, Niedermayer or Beachemin on the ice at all times while the Sedins are on the ice. If the Sedins thought playing against the Stars pairing of Zubov and Sydor was tough, they are in for an even bigger challenge in this series.
As for Markus Naslund, I honestly am speechless when it comes to his play, the lack of production is only the begining. Beyond the lack of production, you have to look at the lack of effort, maybe even further into the lack of interest. I know that the Canuck faithful may get on me for that comment but throughout the season Markus has only shown signs of the player that he once was. I feel for the guy, what ever it is that is bothering him, I want Markus to succeed, I want Markus to succeed in a Vancouver uniform. Maybe the success of the first round will get him going, maybe he just needed a boost, if Markus can pick up his game then the Canucks may actually be an serious offensive threat in this series.
Breaking down the Canucks second round opponent is very similar to the first round. All three teams were in the top 10 in goals against average, separated by a measly total of .07. The Ducks had the league's thrid best power play while the Canucks came into the post season with the leagues best penalty kill.
The stats could go on and on, in the end the game is played on the ice. Is Anahiem rested? or have the Ducks been away from the rink too long? Is Vancouver tired? or are the Canucks going to run off momentum? All that there is to say really is, bring your workboots, respect and fear to the rink.