Canucks: Choke hold nearly sent Eddie Lack over ledge

 

 
 
 
 
Calgary Flames #25 Brandon Bollig crashes intoVancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack  in the second period of the Game 2 of the Western Conference quarter final of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at Rogers Arena, Vancouver April 17 2015.
 
 

Calgary Flames #25 Brandon Bollig crashes intoVancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack in the second period of the Game 2 of the Western Conference quarter final of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at Rogers Arena, Vancouver April 17 2015.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, Vancouver Sun

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VANCOUVER – There is choking in sports and then there is being choked, which Vancouver Canuck goalie Eddie Lack explained happened to him Friday in Vancouver’s 4-1 playoff win over the Calgary Flames.

Flames winger Brandon Bollig managed to land on top of Lack during a second period skirmish and he didn’t get up quickly enough to Lack’s liking. The Canuck netminder responded with a few blocker punches to Bollig’s kidney area.

“I kind of lost it a little bit because Bollig kind of had me in a choke hold and that usually doesn’t happen,” Lack said Saturday prior to the team’s departure for Calgary. "So I lost it a little bit but I took a minute and I tried to focus on my breathing and everything.”

The Canucks and Flames are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven first-round Stanley Cup playoff series that continues Sunday night in Calgary. Game time is 7 p.m. (Pacific time) and it will be shown on CBC.

Lack understands that the Flames will be crashing his crease in an attempt to distract him. He claims he is prepared for that, and anything else the Flames might throw at him.

“When stuff like that happens, sometimes you kind of have to just mark your territory but I’ve moved on and I’m ready for the game tomorrow,” said Lack, who has a save percentage of .943 in the series. “I’m just going to play my game and stay in my bubble. If they think they can get to me -- you know what? – it’s good. I was just trying to focus on the next shot. That’s what I’ve been doing all year and that’s what I’m going to keep doing here.”

Lack was asked if he knew about Battlin’ Billy Smith, the New York Islander goalie of the early 1980s who regularly used his stick, or other paraphernalia, to keep intruders out of his crease area.

“No, no, but I heard Rollie played with him,” Lack replied, referring to Canuck goalie coach Rollie Melanson, Smith’s backup for three of the Islanders’ four Stanley Cup wins. “He didn’t realty have to explain it to me. I saw some old Dan Cloutier stuff. It’s kind of the same thing, right?”

Cloutier, a former Canuck netminder, was tougher than a night in jail and managed to get involved in a few scraps during his days in the league.

The matter at hand is not fighting, however, it’s winning Game 3 in Calgary and putting up with what should be a noisy Saddledome crowd. It will be the Flames’ first home playoff date since 2009. If the fans begin chanting Lack’s name, it likely won’t be out of fondness but rather to mock him.

“Maybe I can pretend it’s complimentary,” Lack smiled. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere in Calgary. We’re all looking forward to going there and it’s a great series so far. We have to be ready to play from the start.”

Canuck head coach Willie Desjardins rejected the notion that Lack might develop into another Billy Smith, or perhaps a Ron Hextall, also a goalie known for, shall we say, his aggressive tendencies.

“I don’t know how you can even compare them,” stated Desjardins. “I don’t know where that comparison would come from. If you look at Eddie's career, there is nothing in his career that would insinuate that. But Eddie plays hard and he’s played well. He’s been really good for us in this series.

“If you look at how he played (after the Bollig incident), I thought he played better. If he plays better, that’s what we want.”

Desjardins understands there is a certain amount of animosity between the Canucks and Flames dating back to last year’s line brawl at the opening faceoff on Jan. 18, 2014. Of course, John Tortorella was the Canuck coach then, not Desjardins. Bob Hartley was behind the Flames’ bench both then and on Friday night.

“I think there was dislike last year if you look at what happened with the teams,” Desjardins said. “There were things going on and I think this re-fuels itself. That’s something you would expect out of the series. You wouldn’t expect any less in playoff hockey.”

epap@vancouversun.com

 
 
 
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Calgary Flames #25 Brandon Bollig crashes intoVancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack  in the second period of the Game 2 of the Western Conference quarter final of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at Rogers Arena, Vancouver April 17 2015.
 

Calgary Flames #25 Brandon Bollig crashes intoVancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack in the second period of the Game 2 of the Western Conference quarter final of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at Rogers Arena, Vancouver April 17 2015.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, Vancouver Sun

 
Calgary Flames #25 Brandon Bollig crashes intoVancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack  in the second period of the Game 2 of the Western Conference quarter final of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at Rogers Arena, Vancouver April 17 2015.
Calgary Flames #79 Michael Ferland is knocked to the ice in front ofVancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack in the second period of the Game 2 of the Western Conference quarter final of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at Rogers Arena, Vancouver April 17 2015.
Sam Bennett #63 of the Calgary Flames falls to the ice while trying to crash the net of goalie Eddie Lack in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on April, 15, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Yannick Weber #6 of the Vancouver Canucks and Joe Colborne #8 of the Calgary Flames battle for position while Dan Hamhuis #2 and Derek Dorsett #51 of the Vancouver Canucks and Mikael Backlund #11 of the Calgary Flames look for the puck.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack and #2 Dan Hamhuis look for the puck while pressure by Calgary Flames #18 Matt Stajan and#19 David Jones in the third period of the Game 2 of the Western Conference quarter final of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at Rogers Arena, Vancouver April 17 2015.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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