NHL Playoffs: How Cory Schneider's Injury Could Have Been Prevented

Eric SylvesterContributor IApril 25, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 24: Cory Schneider #35 of the Vancouver Canucks dives to make a save against Dave Bolland #36 of the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 24, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The dust is settling on Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks, but the drama is sure to carry over into conversation tomorrow. 

Michael Frolik's penalty shot goal to tie the game early in the third period was one of the most dramatic moments of these playoffs thus far. Adding to the story was Cory Schneider's injury on the play, forcing Roberto Luongo to face the hostile Blackhawks fans again in the Madhouse.

This never should have happened.

Yet again in this series, Vancouver's defense gets beat for a breakaway that never should have been conceded. The puck is in Chicago's defensive end with all five Blackhawks in front of the blue line. How Vancouver doesn't pick up Frolik is beyond me. But mistakes and miscues happen; no defense is perfect.

Still. The shootout goal and Schneider's injury NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED.

This is Michael Frolik. The same Michael Frolik that scored 11 goals this year.

Frolik is a left-handed shot who was attacking the net from the right side on his backhand. Dan Hamhuis, while beat, had the inside track to the net. This meant that a backhand-forehand move by Frolik, if not stopped by Schneider, has a good chance of being at least disrupted by a poke-check or stick lift from Hamhuis.

Instead, Hamhuis left his skates and took down Frolik from behind, guaranteeing the inevitable penalty shot.  

This makes no sense to me at all. Why would you allow Frolik to up his odds by giving him a clear look at the net rather than a contested, off balance, restricted breakaway where he's stuck on his backhand?

Make no mistake about it: tomorrow's headlines will be filled with talks of the penalty shot goal, the overtime winner, Schneider's injury and Luongo's choke. But the real story lies with Dan Hamhuis and his decision to commit a diving trip rather than force Frolik to make a move in a contested situation.

If Hamhuis stays upright, gets his stick in the forehand shooting lane and makes Frolik beat Schneider on his backhand (where Schneider is already in a good position to make a save), the penalty shot never happens, Schneider's injury never happens and chances are Vancouver maintains their 3-2 lead.


I'm willing to bed Dan Hamhuis doesn't get much sleep tonight.