Kevin Bieksa's pounding of Michael Ferland offers small consolation in Canucks loss to the Flames

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      After only three games, Canucks fans are already riding the emotional roller coaster that is the NHL playoffs.

      There was the stomach-sickening defeat in Game 1 when Vancouver blew a third-period lead. They lost on a goal with 30 seconds remaining.

      The Canucks came roaring back in Game 2 with a stellar performance against the Calgary Flames, breaking a seven-game playoff losing streak at Rogers Arena.

      Calgary's only response to being thoroughly thrashed was starting a brawl with 77 seconds left on the clock in the third period. Another high for local fans came when the league fined Flames coach Bob Hartley $50,000—a story that the Straight's Mike Usinger described so eloquently.

      Just when it seemed like the Canucks were ready to take charge of the series, things went horribly wrong. They looked sluggish and somewhat timid in Game 3, losing 4-2 last night in Calgary.

      Canucks defender Kevin Bieksa tried to salvage some pride by punching burly Flames rookie Michael Ferland in the head a few times at 18:54 of the third period.

      The fight erupted spontaneously when Bieksa discovered that Ferland was beside him in a scramble for the puck.

      Ferland, a fifth-round draft pick, was a mediocre minor leaguer for the Abbotsford Heat and Adirondack Flames in the past couple of years. He shouldn't be rattling the Canucks, but he seems to have gotten under their skin with his chippy play.

      Bieksa's pounding of Ferland might have felt good for a minute or two, but it did nothing to erase the final result. And judging by Ferland's grin in a televised post-game interview, he doesn't appear to be suffering any long-term consequences.

      In fact, all the attention that he's receiving will probably guarantee that he has a job with the Flames for the following season.

      At the very least, Bieksa showed that someone on the Canucks will stand up to Hartley's goonery.

      But after three games in this increasingly rough series, some fans might be asking themselves, "Where's Tom Sestito or Zack Kassian when you need them?"

      In case you're wondering, Kassian suffered a back injury, described as "back tightness", on March 17 and his status has been listed as "day-to-day" ever since.



      betty henderson

      Apr 20, 2015 at 10:15am

      Thanks for this. At least SOMEONE mentions Hartley's Goonery. He obviously has no respect for his ,or the opposing teams Players safety. Encouraging Ferland and his reckless, and out of control violent behavior, is a Dangerous Road to be heading down. Ferland is going to seriously injure someone, or get himself in big trouble with Player Safety OR get injured himself. Ferland just loses it and refuses to quit after Refs. warnings. Refs. better be vigilant because there will be NO limits to where Hartley will push his Players. Don't anyone say I didn't warn them. Ferland sees himself in an avenging Angel role, assigned by his Coach, to wreak havoc. That's NOT Hockey. That's just CRAZY.

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      Apr 20, 2015 at 11:03am

      "Pounding" is a pretty liberal assessment.

      PS - your hypocrisy is showing: "Calgary's only response to being thoroughly thrashed was starting a brawl with 77 seconds left on the clock in the third period." Then: "Canucks defender Kevin Bieksa tried to salvage some pride by punching burly Flames rookie Michael Ferland in the head a few times at 18:54 of the third period."

      The Canucks got owned... and their response was the same as Calgary's two nights earlier. Get off your horse... it's all goonery, and the Canucks are on the same low level as the Flames.


      Apr 20, 2015 at 11:42am

      WOW!!! That is the most biased and incorrect assessment of a sequence i have ever read. Fighting a guy when he doesn't know he is in a fight and then running behind the linesman after the player fights back, that's Canucks hockey and has been for a decade.

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      goonery = nhl

      Apr 20, 2015 at 12:57pm

      I sure enjoy hockey when hockey is being played , was exited about too fast , skilled teams van. and cal. playing . THEN we get this fight club mentality , this gang mentality , that slows the game & makes the players look like bullies and this coaching that sends people out to fight , such boring low brain function crap . Should be 5 game misconduct for fighting or intent to injure and more if needed ,then if you really need to injure someone then you'll think twice and if you can't control yourself get some help because you obviously have real problems and should play hockey .
      The best hockey in my opinion is the fast skilled hockey they play in the olympics and world jr.s , this warring , fighting B.S. is not a game I respect or care to watch . They call it old time hockey ,well look at how screwed up the old time world was , only the white men had rights and smoking was perfectly fine and violence against woman was not even a topic , so shut up about that idiotic notion of nostalgia.
      I want to watch hockey not this violence , not these beatings or stick attacks , it really should be stopped .

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      Apr 20, 2015 at 1:09pm

      Ferland is in the Canucks heads right now. That is clear. Hartley is a friggin wizard when it comes to head games and he is performing amazing bench management, throwing the right guys out there in certain situations. Bieksa spent the 1st part of his shift trying to start something with one of the flames skill players (Hudler ??). Hartley then sends Ferland out to challenge Bieksa. Bieksa backs down off the draw...but later jumps Ferland when he is vulnerable. To me....its gutless. And to any other fan who has played the game at any high level, they would agree that if you cant square off and fight a fair fight. You are a classless pretender, feel free to throw Bieksa in the Dion Phaneuf category everyone. Cowardly and the biggest pretender in the league.


      Apr 20, 2015 at 1:41pm

      Of course this is biased, it's a Vancouver based paper. You go over and read certain articles in Calgary's neck of the woods and they state Ferland taught Bieksa a thing or 2.

      The bottom line is, if your going to play like a player like Ferland does, expect to get your butt kicked. Who was it on the Canucks who played somewhat similar?? Cooke? He couldn't back his play up with his fists. Ferland is no different, he got dropped on 2 punches.

      Will he learn? Probably not, but he best be careful because somebody will inevitably come along and flatten him when he isn't looking jeopardizing his career. He is only 22 so he better re-think his play before it's too late. He's young and ambitious, I get that, but practically all NHL players have potential to lose their cool and make stupid hits.

      Ferland is doing his job at the moment, but IMO, his job shouldn't go to the point where he risks his career with dangerous play.

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      Apr 20, 2015 at 2:00pm

      I'm enjoying having playoff hockey here again in Vancouver. I've become quite impressed with our new coach Willie Desjardin. I think he's done a tremendous job this season. I'm also an Eddie Lack fan, but I have to be honest. As much as I like his effort this season, and I think he's played extremely well at times, he's just not quite as reliable as I would like to see.

      If Eddie was capable of shutting the door on the competition, we wouldn't be talking about how great Kevin's fight was.

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      Apr 20, 2015 at 3:33pm

      Amanda, Ferland was dropped by 2 punches that were thrown when he wasn't looking. Bieksa had plenty of chances to fight him before that, but didn't. We'll see how much the whining starts when someone drops him with a couple cheap shots.

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      Apr 20, 2015 at 3:48pm

      Ferland was offered to fight 2 times by dorsett but was scared to own upto his chicken s**t actions so beiksa just was alil forward about it

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      Carlos Mendoza

      Apr 20, 2015 at 5:03pm

      Yeah, Bieksa is a real hero. The guy has been a middling defenseman for 10 years and Canucks fans think he's Bobby Orr.

      Every team has grinding, slow defensemen like Bieksa. EVERY TEAM. He's an average player. Or at least, he was an average player. He's below average now. But for some reason, for years everyone has thought he was some sort of star.

      Now he jumps a rookie who has been standing in front of him for three games, doesn't actually do anything to him—doesn't hurt him, doesn't scare him, doesn't intimidate him and doesn't even piss anyone off, and it's a real statement. Sure. What a statement.

      The only statement he made is "this rookie is killing us, and I sure as hell ain't going to go face to face with him, so I best jump him and pray for the linesman when he gets up".

      The last part worked.

      The Canucks are finished. The team is in a serious decline. Even if they do beat the Flames this, their chance to win it all -- which they had for a few years -- is long gone. They are done.