Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ice escape Portland with a split

UPDATE - Here's a link to OregonLive which has four videos on the hits.

The Highlites are here.

UPDATE II - I'm now hearing that Fraser will play Tuesday, though I haven't confirmed it yet. Without any real confirmation of injuries in the playoffs I guess time will tell.

Matt Fraser and Kevin King had a pair of goals each; Max Reinhart, Cody Eakin and Steele Boomer scored the Ice in a wild, sometimes breath-taking and sometimes heart-stopping, 7-5 win in Portland over the Winterhawks tonight to tie their best-of-seven series 1-1 headed back to Cranbrook for Game 3 Tuesday night.

After a style of game Kootenay likely wanted to get into in the first, the teams traded goals and gone was the wide-open firewagon hockey the Hawks thrive on through one period.

Then all hell broke loose or, more accurately, the bigger, badder Hawks went crazy. A double minor on Brad Ross on two separately plays could've succinctly turned the tide in the series. The question now is which way did it turn?

The four minute minor for roughing and kneeing - separately - took out Matt Fraser on the play. Fraser was on fire and had two goals at that point in a 2-1 Ice lead.

Big Taylor Jordan checked Steele Boomer from behind and drew a five-minute major and a game misconduct and gave the Ice a long, 5-on-3. They score twice to turn the game on it's ear and spark their anemic power play on goals by Reinhart and Eakin to give the Ice a 4-1 lead.

The Hawks weren't done when they took another two penalties in succession and Kootenay cashed in again, twice, on goals by Boomer - nice deflection - and another by Kevin King to make it 6-1.

The Hawks got another major - this time for a blindside head shot on Rintoul by Ryley Boychuk but couldn't extend their lead and actually gave up a shortie in the last minute to Bartschi.

A 6-2 going into the third and Kootenay got into penalty trouble of their own, the Hawks made it 6-3 with Ismond in the box and then Taylor Peters and Joe Morrow scored 13 seconds apart to cut the lead to 6-5 with a whopping 12 minutes left.

Some great saves by Lieuwen and a better defensive game plus an empty-netter got the Ice out of Dodge with a split, barely.

Thoughts...

The Hits - Okay, I'm being objective here and have the benefit of video replay, as the WHL will when their review all three majors the Hawks took. All three will generate a second look by the league but only one, in my opinion, will get more time. The Ross knee-on-knee, though devastating, likely won't be it. He dragged his knee but he suffered an injury on the play too. It might mitigate the suspension if he's out anyway... The check-from-behind from Jordan - though dangerous - will be covered by the call on the ice... Boychuk's blindside hit to the head however - if the league sticks to the bar set on the Boomer-Grbavac hit in the Eastern Conference Final - should be two games. Rintoul didn't have the puck, though he might've been the last to touch it, but Boychuk connected with the head. The NHL's 'hitting zone' notwithstanding, it should be an easy call.

The Penalties - Kootenay stayed out of the box tonight for the most part - Ismond in the third and the four-on-four with Reinhart and and Leipsic didn't help things - and found success. The Hawks, well, Kootenay was 4-7 with two Majors and two five-on-three's.

The Near-Collapse - Face-it, if the Ice didn't pull this one out the possibility of Kootenay recovering from it would've been remote. Home-ice or not. That's why I though the Ross call could be so pivotal. Does Kootenay recover from the loss of Fraser? Do they rebound from a near loss? Probably on the latter, on the former I don't know. Those are big skates to fill. The Winterhawks seemed unfazed by a 6-1 deficit.

Hell, is it even worth mentioning the penalty-shot that Lieuwen stopped on Sven Bartschi in the second before things went sideways for the Hawks? I think so. It was key and it was a bad call. Tripping yes, but not a freebie...

The Flow - Great first period and what I thought this series would be like. The Hawks played into the Ice defensive game and generated little in the way of offensive chances. What happened in the second I don't think I've ever seen before.

Their best game - So, it's tough to gauge whether or not Portland's played their best game but I wonder when the Ice will put one together. They've played about 3.5 good periods of hockey.

How big was the TV timeout halfway through the third? Kootenay had used up their timeout after Portland's 4th goal during the pre-collapse and somehow managed to stem the tide after that. Dan Russell nailed it when he said Kootenay played better in the last 12 or so minutes with a one-goal lead then they did in the first 8 minutes with a 6-2 lead.

Okay humour me, does Carruth remind you of Todd Mathews, temperament-wise? Discuss...

The Cost - The one disclaimer I'll throw out there on the Boychuk hit on Rintoul is that the latter somehow returned. He was out on the ice, clearly, and returned in the third period about halfway through. It was a calming effect... As far as I know however the WHL hasn't adopted the 'quiet room' regulations and such for players after such an incident but Rintoul left the game and returned. I don't know if he went to any other room but the dressing room. For Matt Fraser, he's on crutches - as per Cam Moon's between the benches reporting during the third - and I'd wouldn't bet on him returning. Best case scenario: Charlie Horse and he's back for game five. Worst Case: ACL, done for season. The Prayer Vigil starts tomorrow....

Winterhawk coach Mike Johnston was hot about the calls but you'd never know. He let on a bit in the post-game about the calls and talked about the Martin hit on Bartschi late in the game against the end boards. The beauty of replay shows Martin hitting Bartschi cleanly, shoulder to chest. Give him credit though. Many coaches would've went off about those calls. He didn't. Though he tried. “Bartschi got blindsided,” Johnston said in the post-game news conference. “That should have been at least a five-minute penalty, for sure, 100 percent. On our top player, and it wasn’t called.” Video of it is above. On the Rintoul hit he also kept his cool but obviously didn't like the decision. "He (the referee) explained Rintoul he had a concussion, and then he’s back playing right away,” Johnston said. “It wasn’t an elbow; it wasn’t a high hit. It was a very clean hit with the arm down. Maybe Rintoul didn’t see him coming, but there was no concussion, as (the officials) were saying on the ice.” It'll be interesting to see what the league rules on the hit.

Give Shaw a few kudos now. Mooner between the benches is giving fans some real drama and news, without the league sanitizing it. Shaw caught all of Knoblauch's time-out talk after the Hawks 4th goal. Good Stuff. The post-game showed live is big-league. I like it.

Jeff H. also mentioned that back in December in Kootena's 5-3 win they played in front of less than 1700 fans. Tonight there were a shade under 11,000. Mind-boggling.

Lots to digest over the next day or two. Game Three goes Tuesday. Hollick's got 2300 or so for each game so far sold on his blog. Let's hope that show will kickstart a few sales. As long as Ice fan's tickers' can handle it.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bill Wilms is realy bugging me with all the comments about Portland's skill. Are the Ice chopped liver?
The way he talks the series should be over now. Is he from Portland?
But kudos to Shaw for their product regardless. But I sure wish they would tape delay the games in Cranbrook this week. 4000 butts in the seats would sure be nice.

Jeff said...

Don't take it personally. The Winterhawks are loaded with NHL first round picks and signed players. They also have two sure-fire NHL 1st rounders in Morrow and Rattie. Kootenay's close but not in the 'sexy' realm Portland is. Last I looked however 'sexy' didn't win championships. Just easier to pick out.

Make no mistake however, Kootenay needs to play the d-game to death on this team. Prize fights like the one tonight they won't always get away it.

Cup Half Full said...

Okay. Listen up everyone. We've some serious business to attend to. If you all watched the game and watched the interview with Cody, these guys need us behind them on Tuesday and Wednesday. This was one scrap of a game that our team fought for. You heard Cody say they look forward to coming home and having their fans behind them. We have to do this. This looks like it might be the toughest series yet and our team needs us behind them big time. So get out there, spread the word and let's get this done. These home games may be the most important ones this year for us fans to show our support for this team. Besides, this is the WHL Championship, the fight for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. What more motivation does this town need. Come on hockey fans; let's just do this. You saw the numbers in my previous post. We need to do much, much better than that. Remember this is OUR team and they are working their butts off for us; let's return the favour. Let's blow the roof right off the Plex! GO ICE GO!

Anonymous said...

I agree, we have to starting banging their D, just like previous series. No time to change our game plan now.

Anonymous said...

First off the Martin hit on Bartschi was clean as all video replay will show. The hit on Rintoul was straight shoulder to the chin. If Johnston thinks that just beacause the guy keeps his arm tucked to deliver a hit he should look at the Matt Cooke hit on Savard. The hit on Boomer was just straight from behind. It was a reckless play, the guy made no attempt to pin Steele or slow down he just nailed him in the numbers. And finally the Ross play. He has a previous history of suspension and this was just a stupid play. The league probably won't suspend any of them but what do you do...

ITC said...

Hey Jeff, don't forget Bartschi, he will probably get picked ahead of both Rattie and Morrow. Portland does have an impressive collection of high end players in there lineup. But I like our chances if they get back to there game plan. Hopefully Fraser isn't hurt as bad as it looked.

Jeff said...

Yeah, I didn't forget about him - how could I? Four goals in two games - Sometimes I confuse the Swiss forwards. Bartschi isn't drafted and will be the top pick out of Portland this year in the NHL (probably top 5-7) Draft but Niederreiter hasn't done much in the first two games. Bartschi plays like he's already drafted, that's how good he looks.

JB

Anonymous said...

A few of those calls were warranted, especially the calls on Ross and Jordan although I think a boarding call would have been the right call on Jordan though. I will disagree on the Boychuck call. The Ice player had just had the puck when he was hit. Boychuck didn't bring his elbow or shoulder up to make the hit. The ref's positioning was horrible for making that call.

Take all those 5 on 3 minutes away and the Hawks were the better team tonight. Hawks will take this series because as you mentioned they have more talent. The only position that you may have the advantage is goalie because Carruth plays with too much emotion as witnessed last night.

I think it will go 7 games and we will be able to witness 2 more great home games.

GO HAWKS

Anonymous said...

Whether or not he brought his elbow/shoulder up or not it is a hit to the head. I realize that boychuk is huge but he has to get low and be responsible for his body. recklessness and disrespect for other players on the ice is a big reason why concussions are up. Whether or not Rintoul got a head injury or not shouldn't effect how a violation of the rules is dealt with.

Dylan said...

The only way that's a blindside hit is if Rintoul is a cyclops with tunnel vision.

You're better than this.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say it was blindside i said it was a blatant hit to the head. Shoulder to the chin.

Jeff said...

It's a blindside, plain and simple. And it's a blow to the head. This couldn't be a more cut and dry case for suspension because of a blow to the head/blindside.

Anonymous said...

So players can skate with their head down and not be responsible for getting hit. That is a Joke.

Pretty soon hockey will be no check and they can all skate around looking at the ice and not fear getting hit.

Players are responsible for their own safety as much as their opponents.

Anonymous said...

When a player has his head down go shad and deck him just don't make contact with his head. It's very simple. Why are the Portland fans having such a hard time accepting the rules of the game?

Jeff said...

Actually no, it's the hitter that are responsible. Players are taught from a young age that if they see the numbers, don't hit them. As the intiator of contact you are always responsible.

It's questionable about Boychuk's intent as I don't think he clearly went at him to hurt but the result is clear.

Anonymous said...

So, when Rintoul's head is down in front of him and HE runs into Boychuk's scapula/ribcage with his head as Boychuk brushes by him, that's a shot to the head and a "blindside hit" by Boychuk?

I once backed into a light pole with my car when I was looking the other direction. I guess I got blindsided. Maybe I should sue the pole.

ITC said...

Anonymous, watch the replay. Rintoul doesn't skate into Boychuck. Boychuck clearly targeted Rintoul's head. I might not call it a blindside hit, I wouldn't call it an elbow, but it was pretty clear as to what his agenda was. Boychuck's motion was going straight up to Rintoul's head, not even trying to stay level with his shoulder. I've watched it probably 60 times now (I love PVR). They put rear view mirrors in your car so you can look the other way while avoiding backing into light poles by the way.

fightstrap50 said...

post of the year and also in the running for quote of the year:By the 16th and anonymous(i may add) poster in order here we go:

"So, when Rintoul's head is down in front of him and HE runs into Boychuk's scapula/ribcage with his head as Boychuk brushes by him, that's a shot to the head and a "blindside hit" by Boychuk?"
end quote.

Let me get this right here, its now Rintouls fault for skating into Boychuck while Boychuck was what, skating to the bench for a line change maybe? Are you serious man? now you dont think that Boychuck was even going for a hit?

Love how you caps lock "HE" for Rintoul and even look up a medical term of a body part somewhere near where an elbow or shoulder may be tucked next to when going for a headshot/cheapshot. see what I did there? I used "/" to make my story sound better too.

Get real man its a good series without the goon garbage that portland chose to perform, and if you cant realize what happened I feel sorry for you.

Kudos to the refs for calling the garbage! good job guys.

Fightstrap50

GO ICE GO!!!

Alan said...

Hard to believe there are any Portland fans who are stupid (or maybe just biased) enough to think Boychuk's hit not only doesn't deserve a suspension, but wasn't even a penalty.

Come on....I'm a neutral observer of this series and that was a big time cheap shot. Boychuk targeted Rintoul's head AND he threw his shoulder into the hit. That is 100% the kind of hit that the game is trying to rid itself of.

Nothing less than a 2 game suspension will be appropriate for Boychuk IMO.

Anonymous said...

I think the Ice were lucky to get the win in game two. The 12 minutes of 5-3 was completely un called for and one sided.

Look, had we not gotten that lucky we would be coming home 2-0. Watch out the Hawks are coming and coming hard.

We will probably end up going back to Portland down 3-1 if the refees let both teams play.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, Just curious, what's your definition of "blindside"? Sure looks to me like Rintoul is facing in Boychuk's direction when he takes the hit...in fact it looks like he glances right towards Boychuk then turns his head back towards the puck and attempts to reach for the puck right before getting hit. It was this action that brought his head down and into the hitting zone. I'm calling BS on the "blindside" statement.

Anonymous said...

Looked like Boychuk was trying to do as much damage as he could on the hit.Check his penalty minutes over the last couple of years.Goon numbers.No need for it.

Anonymous said...

Was Boychuk trying to lay a hard hit on Rintoul? Yes, he absolutely was. Does that mean he was targeting his head? No, it absolutely doesn't. Take another look at the replay, Rintoul glances over in Boychuk's direction and then reaches back out towards the puck...if he doesn't do that then it's just a glancing blow...

Anonymous said...

this blog is so much better than Andy's Winterhawk blog....

good to see an actual discussion and differant views.

that is what sports is supposes to do.

nice work

Brian in Sherwood

Anonymous said...

Call it like you will. Still looks like he meant to do as much damage as pssible. If it was not a big thing refs would have let it go. He should get a game or two. Need to put a stop to the head shots.

Anonymous said...

By the way ...

Riley Boychuk is NOT a goon just because he has penalty minutes does not mean he is a goon.

Boychuck's problem was he is 6'5" and the officials bought he had a instant concussion.

that is the refs problem. Keep your head up!


brian in Sherwood

Anonymous said...

Open your eyes. Goon hockey by the three most penalized players on the team. Kick them all out.

Anonymous said...

Good to see the WHL woke up and proved that all of you have some things to learn about the game of hockey (including you Jeff). No suspension for Riley.

Anonymous said...

Riley got off. Still doesn't mean it was a clean hit.How many players have to get hurt before they take action?

Anonymous said...

The biggest complaint from game two is how uneven and inconsisten the calls were. Early in the game The Ice players did a couple of things(blatant penalties) after whistles were blown and nothing happened to them. The refs gave the appearance that they were going to let the chippy stuff go but then as soon as Portland started to do stuff in the second period the whistles came out. I didn't mind so much the calls on Portland as I did the lack of calls on The Ice. As for the Boychuk hit, not sure why people can't see it but the video CLEARLY shows Boychuk's shoulder makes contact with the top of the chest/shoulder of Rintoul and that is why there is no suspension of Boychuk as there shouldn't even have been a penalty. I understand why the refs called an elbow as it appeared that is was an elbowing penalty during live action. I just hope that the refs call an even and consistent game for the rest of the series. That way the players can decide the games and not the guys in stripes.

Anonymous said...

Long after the whistle in the first period, the Ice crosscheck one of the Portland players right to the deck. No Call. Refs lost control right then and there.
On the replay on the Ross minor (which I could not make out what it was he did, we see Mr. Rhinehart deliver a perfect cross check right in front of the ref. No Call. The Ross/Fraser collision was just wierd. I think Ross was looking at the bench while Fraser was looking for a possible pass. It appeared that both of them expected to just glide on by. Sorry to see those injuries, especially if serious.
But if Rintoul got concussed in the Boychuck hit, the Penguins need to have Crosby sign in with the trainer for the Ice! If they can beat the Bruins and Bergeron there. No one can argue with the CFB call on Jordan-