Alex Burrows Roberto Luongo

Alex Burrows hopes to limit his mistakes (and snacks?) in Game 2

Wins and losses tend to amplify or diminish each game’s biggest mistakes. If you take a bad penalty and your team allows a deciding goal on the ensuing power play, you might be fitted with goat horns. Yet time often washes away the mistakes of the lucky when the scoreboard favors their teams.

Vancouver Canucks power forward Alex Burrows could have been the goat of Game 1. At this point you probably already know that he engaged in that dopey biting sequence with Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron after the horn sounded on the first period. That transgression gave the Bruins a power play after Burrows received a double-minor while Bergeron was whistled for one roughing penalty.

That wasn’t the only mistake Burrows made, though. He took a holding penalty midway through the first period and a tripping infraction during a similar point in the middle frame, giving him eight penalty minutes overall. Burrows was credited with two giveaways and zero takeaways as well, according to Game 1’s box score.

In other words, Burrows took a lot away from his team without bringing much to the table in Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. He ultimately benefited from a lackluster Bruins power play and a tightly-fought 1-0 win, but the Canucks will need better things from their high-scoring agitator as the series continues.

Burrows acknowledged that he must make more intelligent decisions going forward, especially after avoiding a possible fine or suspension for that biting incident. He admitted as much to Eric Duhatschek of The Globe & Mail.

“It’s the Stanley Cup finals and I’ve been working all my life to be in this position. Obviously, with the last incident, the league’s made a decision and I’ve moved on. Now, I’m focusing on a big game tomorrow.”

Burrows took four penalties in the series opener and head coach Alain Vigneault suggested one – a goalie interference call – was largely unwarranted. The contact, in that case, did appear to be incidental and the Canucks have said they reached out to the NHL to get a clarification about why those calls are made if Tim Thomas is always leaving the crease to stop the puck.

Thomas’s counterpart, Roberto Luongo, changed his style this season, to play deeper in the net, and Vigneault implied it had to do with avoiding incidental contact.

According to Burrows, the answers were expected to come late Friday.

“At the same, I’ve got to be aware, around the net, to make sure I can’t bump the goalie,” he said. “That’s his ice if he’s already there. I have to be smarter and make sure I don’t put my team down a man.”

As much as the Bruins’ power play is struggling, it’s dangerous to give any NHL team six man advantages through two periods of play like Vancouver did. The Canucks and Bruins’ physical styles can blur the line between what is legal and illegal, but Burrows must realize that he dragged mud all over the proceedings in Game 1.

When he’s at his best, Burrows balances grit and mean-spirited play with finesse and timing. It’s not often that he hurts his team significantly, but sometimes he echoes those “die by the sword” moments less useful pests such as Sean Avery experience by going too far. We’ll see if he can approach his best level on Saturday after being far off the mark on Wednesday.

Capitals send first-round pick Johansen back to junior

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Lucas Johansen poses for a portrait after being selected 28th overall by the Washington Capitals in round one during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Washington Capitals have sent prospect defenseman Lucas Johansen, selected 28th overall in this year’s NHL Draft, back to the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League.

From the Kelowna Capital News:

The Kelowna Rockets have yet to play a regular season game with a full lineup.

That will change this weekend in Prince George when defenceman Lucas Johansen and forward Calvin Thurkauf rejoin their WHL club for a two-game set against the Cougars.

Johansen, a first-round NHL draft pick this summer, is back from the camp of the Washington Capitals, while Thurkauf returns from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Capitals confirmed the news via Twitter.

Johansen, the younger brother of NHL center Ryan Johansen, appeared in Monday’s exhibition game for the Capitals, apparently leaving a positive impression on the coaching staff.

Still, Johansen doesn’t turn 19 years old until the middle of November. He also has some growing left to do at six-foot-one-inch tall and just 174 pounds, so sending him back to junior is the logical step.

“For a first game, to have that kind of poise playing defense, you don’t see it very often,” Capitals’ associate coach Todd Reirden told the Washington Post.

“So, it’s fun to watch, how he goes about the game. Certainly, I think it’s helped growing up in the family that he has and being around some of the players he’s practiced with. I think he has some special tools, in terms of his ability to slow down the play and see some things that other players don’t. He’s looking like an outstanding draft pick for us and a real great prospect moving forward.”

Shaw suspended three preseason games for boarding Connor Hobbs

TAMPA, FL - JUNE 02:  Andrew Shaw #65 of the Chicago Blackhawks speaks during Media Day for the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 2, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

The National Hockey League has suspended Montreal Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw for three preseason games for boarding defenseman Connor Hobbs of the Washington Capitals in an exhibition game Tuesday.

Shaw was given a major penalty and a game misconduct on the play, as he slammed Hobbs “through the numbers, with speed” from behind into the end glass, as per Thursday’s video from the NHL outlining the suspension.

From the video: “It is important to note that Hobbs is never eligible to be checked by Shaw on this play. From the moment Shaw arrives at the faceoff dot, he sees nothing but Hobbs’ numbers. Hobbs makes no sudden movement just prior to contact that turns this hit from a legal hit into an illegal one.

“The onus is on Shaw to ensure that he can deliver this hit in a legal fashion, minimize the force, or avoid this hit completely. Instead, he hits forcefully through Hobbs from behind, driving him dangerously into the glass.”

In a bid to land a gritty forward to their lineup, the Habs acquired Shaw from the Blackhawks, who had been dealing with a cap crunch, during the NHL Draft. He later signed a six-year contract extension with Montreal.

Despite another concussion, Clarke MacArthur doesn’t plan on retiring

OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 26:  Clarke MacArthur #16 of the Ottawa Senators looks on prior to a face-off in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Montreal Canadiens during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Canadian Tire Centre on April 26, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens eliminated the Ottawa Senators by defeating them 2-0 and move to the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Clarke MacArthur suffered yet another concussion after being hit by Patrick Sieloff during a scrimmage over the weekend, but the veteran Ottawa Senators forward doesn’t plan on retiring.

Last season, the 31-year-old MacArthur played in only four games for the Senators due to concussions. According to the Ottawa Sun, he suffered four concussions in an 18th-month span.

Despite this latest concussion, MacArthur is still, at least publicly, planning to work toward a return to game action, saying in a post on Instagram that he was “encouraged” by how his body has reacted following this most recent incident.

“First off, I want to thank the team and its fans for all the support after the unfortunate incident on Sunday. To me, it was simply a hockey play that ended in a hit causing me to suffer a concussion, a play that could happen at any point,” MacArthur wrote on his social media page.

“We have been encouraged by how my body had reacted in the days since the injury and the team has been great to give me all the time I need to rest and recover. I will continue to consult with doctors and my entire support group, but I felt it important to let everyone know that my intentions are to work towards returning to the ice soon.”

Related:

Senators focus on MacArthur’s safety

Schwartz (hand) suffers scare at Blues practice, but Hitch says ‘he’ll be fine’

St. Louis Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz celebrates after scoring during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
AP
Leave a comment

You couldn’t blame the Blues for freaking out a bit today when Jaden Schwartz left practice after an apparent hand injury, and didn’t return.

It was last October, of course, when Schwartz fractured his ankle during practice, an injury that required surgery and sidelined him for 49 games.

Thankfully for St. Louis, it won’t be deja vu.

From the Post-Dispatch:

Coach Ken Hitchcock said Schwartz was fine but would miss some practice.

“He’ll need a couple days off, but he’s a lot like Fabbri,” Hitchcock said. “He’s probably not going to skate this weekend in any of the games but he’ll be ready to go next weekend.

“He’s day to day. He’ll be fine.”

Signed to a five-year, $26.75 million extension this summer, Schwartz will be a big piece of the Blues moving forward.

He’s coming off a good playoff run — 14 points in 20 games — and the club is hopeful he can build on the goalscoring form shown in ’13-14 (25 tallies) and ’14-15 (a career-high 28).