The Vancouver Canucks went into the lab Wednesday night in Pittsburgh to try out a litmus test – their pH indicator (ie. acidity to you chemistry boys and girls) in the National Hockey League.
The boys from the coast failed their Stanley Cup litmus test against last season’s finalists, the Penguins, with a 3-1 loss. The hockey chemistry boys and girls know there are 3 or 4 litmus tests during the season to determine if they have the pH “stuff” to make it to the Cup final.
The Penguins star bird Sidney Crosby ‘helped’ Canucks like Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa and Roberto Luongo determine if they’re ready for the “show”. The way Crosby froze Luongo and fired a snap shot, low to the stick side, on a first period breakaway reminded Luongo of the difference between a Crosby and a Mason Raymond, the Canucks developing, speedy forward.
After the game, Canucks’ captain Henrik Sedin talked about the difference between a good team and a great team; great teams, said the reigning league MVP, aren’t satisfied with a .500 road trip, which is what his team finished their five-game road trip with after the loss in Steeltown Pa. (2-2-1). What Sedin realized himself, and didn’t say publicly, was viewing at ice-level how Crosby -like Muhammad Ali, Reggie Jackson and Joe Montana in their respective sports- could raise his game as high as necessary to get the win.
Sedin, his brother Daniel and the aforementioned Luongo - who still can’t figure out when an opposing player goes behind his net at full speed with the puck, he’s usually coming out the other side of his net (as Maxime Talbot did by stuffing it inside his goalpost on the Penguins’ winning goal) – weren’t the only ones who were checking their litmus tests after the game. All the Canuck players were.
The Canucks are back in Vancouver now and with little spare time before their next test of fire…it’s this Saturday against the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks. Back to the laboratory for litmus paper boys?