In Vancouver, Mike Gillis cried to the media about the quality of officiating in the series between his Canucks and the Blackhawks.
In Chicago they laughed at the expense of Roberto Luongo and the Canucks, fuelled by the Danny Mac Show’s anthem One Win Away – Luongo’s Tears.
To deflated Vancouver fans Luongo’s struggles against the Blackhawks are no laughing matter, but at least one writer couldn’t help but laugh at the hilarity and gamesmanship of the Chicago faithful. What can I say? After watching the Canucks lose three bitter games in a row at the hands of the ‘Hawks the rest of Vancouver and I could use a laugh.
It seems Mike Gillis could use a little cheering up as well.
Following an interesting game of officiating in game six Mike Gillis made his dissatisfaction heard in a press conference Monday.
“We directed 85 pucks at their net, if we had any power plays whatsoever it probably could have been 100,” said Gillis. Going by the box score the Canucks did in fact enjoy two power plays during game six, however two high sticking calls are a far cry from justice.
“We’ve had the best team during the regular season and that was the best game they’ve played last night during the whole year.”
Gillis maintained a positive view of his team while politely blaming the officials for his team’s struggles in the past three games.
“I’m confident if we play the same way tomorrow evening and it’s a level playing field that we will win the game.”
After being asked to expand on the “level playing field” Gillis broke out some snazzy statistics for the Vancouver media.
“In the series to date Chicago has had 59% more power plays than us.”
“First two games of the series were pretty well even, 5-4.“
“Last four games of the series Chicago has received 69% more power plays.”
“Last four games of the series when the series is close, one or two goals, Chicago has received 100% more power plays than we have, plus a penalty shot.”
Gillis truly did his homework before shooting his mouth off about the officiating in a series that has created a potential collapse for his Canucks.
Have the Chicago Blackhawks had a significant edge in power plays over the Canucks? Yes, Gillis’ numbers state just that. However with the stakes and emotions at such a high level, am I really surprised the Canucks GM found a way to go to bat for his team while restricted to the confines of a press box come game time? Of course not, Gillis is simply earning his playoff gamesmanship wings.
Remember when Mark Recchi called out Max Pacioretty late in the season just a day before the big rematch between the Canadiens and Bruins? Recchi didn’t actually believe that Pacioretty was a faker, or was embellishing something as serious as a concussion simply to gain a large suspension for Chara. Recchi “wanted to take the heat off Z for a day” and did just that, shifting the story from Chara versus the Habs to Recchi versus the world- it worked.
The Bruins crushed the Habs 7-0, leaving the Boston faithful wondering “Max who?” after the beat down.
Just as Mike Cammalleri knew Recchi was demonstrating the art of gamesmanship before our very eyes, GM Mike Gillis knew what the veteran skater was doing and took notes from the Recchi, mastering the craft for his own playoff performance.
“I’m not sure how you explain that discrepancy but we are going to be very hard pressed to win hockey games if throughout an entire series when the score is tight they get 75% more power plays than we do and that’s just the reality.”
Looking at strictly the numbers Gillis is right to claim that the Canucks have had a disproportionate number of power plays compared to the Blackhawks, however the numbers never tell the whole story.
In the NHL Playoffs, power plays are earned, not deserved.
So don’t pay attention to Henrik and Daniel Sedin, the leaders of the Vancouver Canucks who are a combined -13 in the last three losses to the Blackhawks. It’s not their fault the Blackhawks are ruining their plus/minus with all those power plays! And don’t mention the league wide pressure on Luongo’s shoulders that to date has caused him to collapse like a house of cards, his struggles are because of excessive power plays!
Just listen to Mike Gillis, because it’s all on the officials now. Or it will be, until Gillis turns around like Pauly Shore in his post-game presser tonight with an emotionless speech that could be summed up in one word.
About the Author: Kevin Vanstone is a long time sports fan and Canucks die hard from White Rock, British Columbia. He is currently attending the University of Victoria pursuing a Writing degree, and in his spare time writes about all things Canucks hockey as well as news and notes from around the NHL.