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I came up with this a little earlier and posted the screencapture to my deviantart account, but I'll link them all here. Let's start with the Youtube video: And the screencapture: And now the main part of the whole ordeal, I got this going after so many people tried to say all hipchecks were illegal as a result of this ruling, and they commented on Ballard and Hamhuis as frequent hipcheckers. They also brought up Raymond's hit which is less defensable, but I wanted to clear the air about hipchecks and I'm using the video above as a clear cut comparison. You can use the screenshot as a more obvious reference than pausing the video as I ask below. ================================================================================== To play along with this post, please pause the video and go to the 15 second mark (the closeup of the intial contact on Hamhuis' hipcheck). We'll be using that as our reference point going forward. This is also a good time to note the camera angle isn't level with the play, it's up higher, basically from the stands area. Hopefully I haven't caused any Bruins fans to disagree yet. You can see Hamhuis' head appears slightly lower than the stripes on Lucic's jersey, which are at the top of or above his hips. If you consider that camera angle I talked about before, his head must be closer to level with those stripes and at least level with his hips. Obviously his head is attached to his torso, so that's where we're going next - stay with me on this. His torso isn't quite parallel to the ice - his shoulders are slightly higher. They are also angled towards Lucic meaning that's more the initial point of contact than the hips. That doesn't make it *not* a hip check, as he's still travelling towards him with the hips like he's angling into his path going backwards to initiate the contact (pretty much the definition of a hip check). Let me know if you disagree with that assessment. You can see the back of his sweater is actually in contact with Lucic's elbow (now, no one start calling Lucic a monkey and say his arms hang lower than a regular human's, that's not true or nice). Stand up and put your arms to your side - are your elbows above or below your hips? Lean forward a little even, like Lucic is doing, and then keep leaning down until you can finally get your elbows at your hip level. For me, that's maybe halfway towards being bent over 90 degrees at the waist and Lucic clearly isn't bent over even halfway. Now, if you can, bend over 90 degrees and you'll find your elbow is almost at your knees when you let it hang down. Take it easy coming up, I don't want anyone passing out from being lightheaded. If you look at Hamhuis' left arm at the 15 second mark as well, you'll see it's hanging mostly down (maybe 45 degrees out from his body at highest) from his side, versus parallel to his side and perpendicular to the ice. His elbow is about the same level as Lucic's trailing knee (don't forget that camera angle, and note Hamhuis has his knees bent, otherwise his elbow would be higher compared to Lucic). His knee closest to Lucic is also only a little lower. Just using your eyes on that one, no exercise. Remember when I had you bend over about half way before? Now bend over to almost 90 degrees and put your arm out a little from your side and let you hand hang down. One more step, bend your knees like Hamhuis has in the paused video. Where is you elbow in relation to your hip, above or below? For me it's lower than my hip, which is level with my tricep. No worries, no more exercise after this, unless you consider thinking exercise. Alright! For those that stuck with me, congrats, you're really a trooper. Your last task is think about where Hamhuis' hip (the lowest point that would make contact in a hipcheck) must be if his elbow and knee are lower than his hip, and his elbow is level with Lucic's knee, and Hamhuis' back is touching Lucic's elbow and his head is above or at least level with Lucic's hip? If you've done the math right (and you are a human that isn't horribly disproportionate to the average), you've figured out that his hip is at worst in full contact with the thigh. Remember, that's his lowest point of contact and much of the contact was with the lower part of his torso (top of the hips and under the ribs). Now, there's a super secret step, but it doesn't require a decoder ring, and it's all on you. Repeat the above steps we just went through with the 31 second mark of the video and post your results here. I'll send the first trinket I can find in my desk (ooh, a deck of playing cards) to the winner!
With the Stanley Cup Finals set to begin on Wednesday, June 1 at The Garage, Vancouver has a distinct advantage over Boston in two areas: their power play and overall team speed. So far in these playoffs, Boston's power play is clicking at a paltry 8.2% (5-for-61) compared to Vancouver's 28.3% (17-for-60) efficiency. Boston scored 0 goals in their first-round series against Montreal, 2 goals against Philly in Round 2, and 3 goals in their schizophrenic series against Tampa. And if you've seen many Bruins games since their trade for Kaberle, you'll know that his presence hasn't blended well with the rest of Boston's first unit — which generally includes Chara, Lucic, Horton, and Krejci. Most of the time they look dysfunctional, and although Chara may disturb Luongo in front of the net, I'd rather have him there than unleashing bombs from the point with Lucic and Horton banging around and sniffing for rebounds. The sheer fact that Boston has advanced to the Finals in an era where special teams usually play a decisive role in winning and losing is a remarkable testament to their 5-on-5 play, their collective resolve, and their good fortune. Vancouver, on the other hand, had the best power play in the regular season at 24.2%, and it's continued to be efficient throughout their playoff run, accounting for a lot of clutch goals. And since we're talking special teams, both penalty-killing units have been mediocre at best. The Canucks have killed 80.6% (58-for-72) of their short-handed situations, while the Bruins have killed 79.4% (50-for-63) of their penalties. Vancouver's other distinct edge is their team speed. When you think of getting in on the forecheck, as both Boston and Vancouver like to do, the Canucks have burners like Kesler, Raymond, Hansen, Torres, Burrows, and Lapierre who should wreak some havoc on Boston's blueline. Chara is obviously solid, but expect Torres to take a run or two at Chara, while the rest of the Canucks forecheckers should focus on hammering the other guys: Seidenberg, Kaberle, McQuaid, Ference, and Boychuk. Like Boston's forwards, their defense has size, but they're not the most mobile group, so Vancouver's game plan will be to use their speed to hit, cause confusion, and force turnovers. In contrast to Vancouver, Boston has very few speedsters. Despite the imposing size of guys like Lucic and Horton, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Chris Kelly will be key to disrupting Vancouver's quick and efficient breakout. If Boston is too slow to get in on the forecheck, though, Vancouver's slick passing and collective speed could help them accelerate the tempo, which is something Boston will want to slow down. Boston's toughest test so far in the playoffs was against Montreal, when Thomas played very well (unlike the Tampa series where he was pretty shaky), but Montreal's team speed and skill, along with an efficient power play, gave the Bruins all they could handle. It wasn't a good match-up for Boston, and although they squeaked through, Vancouver boasts a deeper, a more experienced, and a much tougher line-up than the Habs. So what about Boston? Where do they hold the advantage? Let's say that in goal, Vezina finalists Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo are a wash. Both are capable of playing at an elite level, and both have their bouts of inconsistency. But Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, and Nathan Horton are Boston's biggest difference makers, and their presence raises a few vital questions for the Canucks: 1. Will the Sedins and Burrows be able to win their fair share of puck battles to gain control in the offensive zone? 2. Will Chara, Lucic, and Horton succeed in causing chaos in and around Luongo's crease? And if so, how will Luongo handle the disturbance? 3. Boston has had a more balanced offensive attack in the playoffs than in the regular season with the emergence of Marchand, Seguin, and others. But Vancouver has more depth on their third and fourth lines, so the real question is whether Kesler, Raymond, Higgins, Bieksa, and Hamhuis can control the Krejci-Lucic-Horton line and prevent them from taking over games. In the lone regular- season game between the Canucks and Bruins, this line took over a tightly-contested affair that was played at the Bruins' speed. X-Factors: With the news that Manny Malhotra may be ready to play (and possibly even in Game 1), will he play his third-line role right away and be assigned to the Krejci line? Or will he begin on the fourth line, leaving Kesler and company to deal with Boston's best line? Either way, the Malhotra storyline will be fascinating to follow, because whatever role he plays should be galvanizing for Canuck fans and an emotional boost to the whole team. For the Bruins, Tyler Seguin has only played 7 games in the playoffs, but he has 6 points. If Boston is going to win, they'll need Seguin or Michael Ryder or Rich Peverley to give the Bruins the balanced scoring they've enjoyed through three rounds.