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Advanced Nutrients President on Vancouver Canucks & NHL Stanley Cup Finals

Advanced Nutrients President and co-founder Robert Higgins and his wife Sharon. Advanced Nutrients President and co-founder Robert Higgins and his wife Sharon.

With Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals only hours away, many hockey fans are still bewildered by the 8-1 Boston Bruins blow-out in game three. The Vancouver Canucks dominated Games 1 and 2, and then got walloped badly. What happened, and what’s going to happen in game four of the Stanley Cup finals?

By Robert C. Higgins, with Chris Jefferson

With Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals only hours away, many hockey fans are still bewildered by the 8-1 Boston Bruins blow-out in game three. The Vancouver Canucks dominated Games 1 and 2, and then got walloped badly. What happened, and what’s going to happen in game four of the Stanley Cup finals?

We put that question to business innovator Robert Higgins, president and co-founder of Advanced Nutrients. Higgins (no relation to Vancouver’s #20, Chris Higgins), is a former competitive hockey player, and he and his entire family are passionate fans of the Canucks.

Higgins and many of his Advanced Nutrients colleagues are at every Vancouver Canucks home game during the finals. Here’s what Higgins said when we asked him about the 8-1 loss, and the games to come…

The Boston Bruins were bested in the first two contests with Vancouver, so they returned back home knowing they had to do something. They had seen why Vancouver is among the league-leading teams in many categories - most goals for, fewest goals against, penalty killing, power play - and the list goes on and on.

These are the seats Rob and Sharon are in every time the Canucks hit the ice.These are the seats Rob and Sharon are in every time the Canucks hit the ice.

So in Game 3, the Bruins knew they were going back home two games down, in a very tough edgy market with unruly fans who demand and expect dominance by brute force. The game starts pretty much like Game 2 had finished - the Canucks were easily out-skating and out-passing their foes, looking like champions well in control of their destiny.

But five minutes into the first period, and everything changes dramatically. That’s when a hard hit fell the Bruins’ second-leading scorer, Nathan Horton, who is painstakingly taken from the ice on a stretcher and off to the hospital. 

We find out later he has a severe concussion and will not play another game in this year’s finals. Neither will Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome, the Canuck who threw the hit on Horton. The NHL handed him a four-game suspension; he’s out for the remainder of the finals too.

The incident has rekindled debate about the NHL’s “blindside hit” and “head shot” rules, which seek to prevent concussions. But NHL officials say Rome was not being accused of violating those particular rules…he was only being charged with a serious “interference penalty.”

With Rome removed from the game, the Canucks played a man short for a five-minute major penalty, and were crippled by having only five defensemen instead of six. Even so, they staved off the Bruins’ best efforts; they killed the penalty and then took over the rest of the first period, easily controlling the flow of play and maintaining excellent puck possession. But there was also a problem for the Canucks in the form of penalties that were given with questionable reasons.

The first period ended and the Bruins went into the locker room to learn the fate of their fallen comrade. They spend their break strategizing about what to do about it, and they used this immense, vengeful anger to pump up their team.

You could see the way they hit the ice in the second period bent on smashing bodies as often and hard as they could. The Bruins intended to do whatever they needed to win the game for their injured player, who is gone for the season.

Some people would say that the Bruins’ retaliation was to be expected, but what was not expected was that the refs made no useful effort to control the hard hitting, hacks, slashes, illegal hits and punches thrown by the Bruins.

Instead, the refs handed out brutal penalties to the Canucks who were trying to defend themselves. And the refs made some really bizarre calls, like issuing a Canucks’ star like Daniel Sedin a 10-minute misconduct.

The Canucks got scored on early in the second period and then accidentally put a puck in their own net, which fed the Bruins, who stormed the now-shellshocked Canucks. It was like a feeding frenzy.

Seeing that their players were being beaten up and the refs doing nothing, the Canucks’ coaches began pulling some of their marquee players off the ice to protect them for future games. This made it exceedingly difficult for Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, a Vezina Trophy candidate, to stop pucks as wave after wave of angry Bruins took liberties with the besieged Canucks.

All in all, Game 3 was dirty, unfair, and nasty. It should have been better controlled by the refs, who finally resorted to just throwing player after player out of the game.

In the next games, the Bruins will rely on their depth and their brutality, making up for the loss of their number two scorer. The Canucks need to concentrate on what they know how to do well: out-skate and out-work the Bruins.

Game 4 should see a focused, hard-skating Vancouver team. I’m looking for the Canucks to show us why and how they are the number one team in the NHL, and bring themselves within one win of the Stanley Cup!

Even Boston Pizza loves the Canucks.Even Boston Pizza loves the Canucks.

Even Boston Pizza loves the Canucks.

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Highlights of Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins.
Last modified on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 16:48

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