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May 14, 2011

Murph’s take on Round 3

I caught up with Dan Murphy, of Sportsnet fame, to ask his opinion on the Vancouver Canucks Round 3 match up against the San Jose Sharks.  A reminder to Canucks fans that you can win tickets to games 1 & 2 of this series on Sunday, May 15th!

Cactus Club Cafe: Almost more concerning then there lack of point production is Daniel and Henrik’s +/-. They are tied for last place in the playoffs at -8. What do you think it will take to get this line going?

Dan Murphy: I’m not as concerned about the twins as most people are. In my opinion Daniel and Henrik, with the exception of games four and five in round one, haven’t been that bad. Yes the plus/minus stat does not look great but that can be a misleading stat sometimes. Take game five against the Predators for instance, the twins were a combined dash-seven, but all of that was on Vancouver’s defense. Edler, Bieksa, Ehrhoff and let’s throw Samuelsson in there on the shorty all contributed to the Sedin’s minuses in that contest. I believe they’ll have a little more room to operate against the Sharks and you’ll see more Sedin like numbers.

Cactus Club Cafe: Does Kesler remain to be the hero and the deciding factor in most of Vancouver’s wins in this series or do you think other players will step up? If so, who?

Dan Murphy: Obviously if Kesler plays in round three the way he did in round two, the Canucks have a great chance of advancing. It won’t be easy on Kesler in this series as San Jose is the best face-off team in the league and is very deep at centre. Regardless of match-ups, Kesler will be in tough against Joe Thornton, Logan Couture or Joe Pavelski. The thought is that the Sharks will try to put Jumbo Joe head to head with Kesler and that would be a fine battle between two very good two-way centres. As for who else needs to step up? I’d like to see a little more from Mason Raymond.

Cactus Club Cafe: San Jose’s style of play is much different than Nashville. What will the Canucks have to change in their game when preparing for San Jose?

Dan Murphy: There is no question there is going to be more flow in this series than the last. It will resemble the Chicago series I believe as the Sharks like to push the pace offensively. San Jose has so many weapons up front and all of them want to put up numbers, so look for their forwards to blow the zone any chance they get. Vancouver’s defence will have to be aware that the Sharks may cheat a little bit – something the Predators never did – and if they do the Canucks good take advantage with some turnovers in the neutral zone.

Cactus Club Cafe: Niemi has been solid for the sharks, but not invincible. What weakness(es) do you think he has that the Canucks should look to exploit?

Dan Murphy: I’m starting to wonder if Antii Niemi is going to be this decade’s Chris Osgood. A goalie who doesn’t get a lot of respect yet just keeps on winning. Niemi can be an absolute disaster in goal sometimes however he always seems to get the job done. Talking to the Canucks, they aren’t willing to give Niemi much of the credit for last years loss to Chicago – saying it was the rest of the Blackhawks that did them in. Niemi is beatable no doubt and the Canucks will be looking to exploit his weaknesses which are said to be 5-hole and on backhands.
Some great insight from Murph! See him answer questions and keep you posted during the games on Twitter. We are so excited about the Canucks run this year that we have installed TV’s & projectors in each of our restaurants so that every seat in the house has a view of the game (not just lounge seats, but restaurant too!). Go Canucks Go!