In anticipation of tonight's opening game of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks, Marc conducted a brief interview with Sean Zandburg, an editor at Nucks Misconduct, which is SB Nation's Vancouver blog.
NOTE: Marc couldn't post this because, as a student at Alabama, he's without power right now. The Tuscaloosa area has been devastated by the incredible tornadoes which swept through the region yesterday. Please consider donating $10 to relief efforts by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999 using your phone, or head over to the Red Cross Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter for more information.
Follow after the jump for the scoop on how the Canucks survived a strong challenge from the defending Stanley Cup champs, and what the mood of the Vancouver fan base is like heading into the second round...
Q: Take us through your series with Chicago . It seemed like a different team showed up for the next three games once you guys were up 3-0. What happened? And how were the Canucks able to win Game 7 after three straight losses?
A: Well, the Canucks took advantage of a snoozing Hawks team in the first 3 games. Plus, Roberto Luongo was sensational. But as soon as Raffi Torres destroyed Brent Seabrook the Hawks woke up. The Canucks could not kick it into another gear over the next 2 games and were embarrassed in Games 5 and 5. Chicago was given golden opportunity after golden opportunity. The Canucks found their groove back in Game 6 but barely fell short. Couldn't finish on their chances. That same problem arose again in Game 7 but thankfully Alex Burrows ripped a rolling puck over an exceptional Corey Crawford for the OT winner.
Q) For us Predators fans who have never had the experience, what's it like as a fan being in an overtime Game 7?
A: Stressful. Drunk. Lots of screaming and cursing. Sitting on the edge of your seat in quiet panic. All of those things. It's pure hell followed by unadulterated bliss if you win.
Q) Nashville and Vancouver are in almost identical situations with our goaltenders: Vezina candidates during the regular season, who hit some rough spots during the post-season, but finished strong. Do you see Luongo's play in Game 7 carrying over into the second round?
A: I'm not on board with the Luongo disdain. Sure he got yanked but he was hung out to dry in Games 4 and 5. I have liked his play. He will be fine against the Preds.
Q) What do Canucks fans think about the Predators, and what's the general feeling about facing them in the second round?
A: I don't have many feelings about the Predators. No hate yet. I don't know your team well enough except that they are well-coached and get scoring from several players throughout their roster. It's that scoring depth that Nashville has that concerns me. I've seen enough solid outings from Pekka Rinne to know that he's going to be huge for you guys. So to me it's all about respect right now. That will soon change.
Q) What individual match-ups do you think favor Vancouver ? Any that favor Nashville ?
A: Huh. I don't know, actually. Given the scoring depth you have I'd say the coach plays line 1 vs line 1 etc etc. Head to head. However I'm sure you'll have Smithson and some other guys draped all over the Sedins though.
Q) Any other thoughts on the series?
A: It's going to be a physical affair. A new rivalry is born! I think the games will be close and that the series will go at least 6. It will be intriguing seeing O'Brien and Hamhuis playing against their former teams. It will be annoying seeing Carrie Underwood's stupid facial expressions during a hockey game. It will also be annoying watching Mike Fisher kill penalties because he's so good at it!