McKenzie: Blackhawks' Keith showing he's a leader

Bob Mckenzie
4/20/2011 2:43:46 AM
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Some thoughts from the NHL on TSN on Tuesday night:

If you're a fan of the Vancouver Canucks you aren't going to be inspired at all, but if you are a fan of playoff hockey you can't help but be inspired by what Duncan Keith did in Tuesday's game.

At the 5:37 mark of the first period he had a shift where he kind of lost his mind. He interfered with Raffi Torres and could have received a minor penalty on that play, followed that up by taking a cross checking penalty, and, based on his actions, could have received six minutes in total.

He goes to the penalty box and everyone is talking about how undisciplined he was and with your head you can agree with that thought.

It's more of a Braveheart moment if you look at it with your heart or you're a fan of the Blackhawks. He was so intent to go after Torres and send the message that his team is mad and they aren't going to take what he did to Brent Seabrook lying down.

It could have blown up in their face with a bunch of penalties and a powerplay goal, but it didn't, and when he scored and did the triple whirl on the fist pump it was a great playoff moment. Keith is a leader.

Sharks a much deeper team this year

4-0 lead for the Los Angeles Kings in Game Three, and the San Jose Sharks are nowhere to be found.

They're saying 'Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle have zero points in the series and are minus players. Dany Heatley hasn't scored since the first minute of the first game. Same old Sharks, they're not going to get it done.'

But then they get a goal: Thornton wins the faceoff, Boyle gets a nice slap pass, puts it over to Marleau, and the next thing you know they are on the board.

But the reason these Sharks are different is what we saw the rest of the way. And that is Ryane Clowe with two goals, that is Logan Couture, that is Joe Pavelski. They've got so many more weapons now that they're not a one-dimensional team.

But when things are going bad, there isn't anybody in the world who doesn't look right away and say 'What does Thornton have, what does Heatley have, what does Marleau have and what does Boyle have' and until that goal, they had nothing.

The little things that win hockey games

Faceoffs. Heading into overtime they were decidedly in favour of the San Jose Sharks. In fact they've been killing the Los Angeles Kings at the faceoff circle for most of this game. Offensive zone, defensive zone, it doesn't matter.

Joe Pavelski is 78 percent in the offensive zone, 75 percent in the neutral zone. Joe Thornton 57 percent in the offensive zone, 90 percent in the neutral zone.

All the way down the line they are a much better faceoff team than the Kings. They're deeper at centre.

Duncan Keith (Photo: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
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