VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) -  In what could be an attempt to take the spotlight off his players and the team’s goaltending situation,  Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis has criticized the officiating in their opening round series with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Gillis said that the Canucks would have won Sunday’s game if there “was a level playing field’.  He’s particularly upset over the penalty ratio in the series.  Gillis points out that in the series to date, Chicago  has been awarded 59 percent more power plays than Vancouver.

Gillis also feels Sunday’s hit by Chicago’s Bryan Bickell on  Kevin Bieksa was at least worthy of a charging penalty.  There was no penalty on the play.  There are reports from Chicago that Bickell had wrist surgery today and is out as much as three week.

Player not panicking

 Last week, it all seemed so simple.  The Vancouver Canucks were one game away from eliminating the defending Stanley Cup championship winning Chicago Blackhawks from the NHL playoffs. 

Now, the club is just one game away from being turfed themselves.  Game 7 in the tight series goes Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.

Many fans have already hit the panic button, but it’s not quite the same in the locker room.

News1130 Sports Director Ann Schmaltz has been travelling with the team during the post-season, and says the players thought they played well. 

“It was an overtime goal that just got by [Roberto] Luongo.  It wasn’t a spectacular goal, these things happen late in the game.  But I think the team put forth a solid effort.  The team doesn’t show any panic, they’ve just got to stay focused and battle hard.”

If the Canucks don’t win, the club would join a select group of teams that have choked after winning the first three games of a series before being knocked out.

“It’s happened only three other times before in NHL history.  It happened last spring when the Boston Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead and the Philadelphia Flyers came back.  Nobody, in this city, thought we would have a seventh game.  And now the pressure is on the Canucks because Chicago can say, ‘You know what?  We weren’t supposed to be here,’” says News1130 Sports reporter Rick Dhaliwal.

Canuck Nation believes

There were feelings of disbelief and dejection as the Blackhawks pulled off a win last night.  But despite the heartbreaking loss, Canucks fans still believe the team will capture the series.

“We owned that overtime.  If we can play like that at home on Tuesday, I think we’ll be OK,” said one man.

Another added, “I think we’re going to take it.  I think it’s going to be a close game but what’s done is done and let’s look forward to the next game.”

“I’m pretty confident.  Let’s face it, we’ve come this far and we’re still a really good team,” one fan explained.

UBC Clinical Psychologist Dr Kenneth Craig says it’s hard not to focus on the losses looking ahead to the next game.  But that would be self-defeating. 

“It’s what a psychologist would describe as ‘catastrophizing’ or dwelling upon the negative. Good athletes have a great capacity to anticipate success rather than focus on bad things.”

He adds fans need to support the team now more than ever, to give them the confidence boost they need.