Jan 232014
 

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(source: nhl.com)

Vancouver Canucks (26-16-9)
Nashville Predators (22-22-7)

Only 5 NHL teams have scored less goals than the Nashville Predators so far this season. So of course they shored up their defense; yesterday, the Preds traded defenseman Kevin Kline to the New York Rangers for defenseman Michael del Zotto.

del Zotto is regarded as an offensive defenseman. He posted 9 goals and 37 points in his rookie season and set career-highs of 10 goals and 41 points a couple of years later. However, his production has slipped since and he has just 2 goals and 11 points in 42 games this season. He joins what is already a formidable defense core in Nashville with Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Seth Jones.

Now, if only they can put the puck in the net.

The Canucks aren’t without their own problems on offense. They’ve only scored 7 goals in their last 6 games, and when you think about it, it’s actually quite amazing they won 3 of those games, including their last 2 games against the Alberta teams. Some people will have you believe that Luongo is the worst goaltender on the planet, but quite simply, the Canucks don’t win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday and Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday without Luongo’s 0.952 save % in those games.

This is the second of three meetings between the Canucks and Predators. The Canucks have won four straight against the Preds dating back to February 22nd last year, including their most recent meeting on December 3rd. Ryan Kesler played Superman that game, as he seems to always do against the Preds, scoring a pair of third period goals to carry the Canucks to a 3-1 win.

Who’s Hot

The Preds’ Roman Josi has 6 points (2 goals and 4 assists) in his last 4 games.

Who’s Out

Henrik Sedin (ribs) still remains day-to-day. Mike Santorelli, Andrew Alberts, Ryan Stanton and Jordan Schroeder are all out. Schroeder, though, will play for the Utica Comets this weekend on a conditioning assignment.

Jan 222014
 

Sans Torts and sans Hank, the Canucks went into Edmonton last night and took on the Edmonton Oilers.

Despite not having their coach or their captain, the Canucks did okay. For starters, Kellan Lain played more than 2 seconds, and in fact, on his second shift if the game, scored his first career NHL goal. Roberto Luongo stopped 28 of 29 shots, and Zack Kassian scored the game-winner (and drove the Oilers players nuts all game). On the other hand, the Oilers offered little resistance, which, I suppose after a week like last week is a welcome change.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 222014
 

Kellan Lain takes on Kevin Westgarth of the Calgary Flames

Photo credit: canada.com

Love em’ or hate em’ no one can deny the pure entertainment value of a good old-fashioned dust-up. Young and old, alike, left their seats on Saturday to take in a few minutes of rock em’- sock em’ hockey as the Canucks and Flames unexpectedly erupted into a brawl seconds after the opening faceoff. Was it neccesary? Probably not. Did it make the league and the teams look bad? Probably. But we all know this league isn’t a morality convention – it’s a business. And until something can usurp the popularity of fighting, we’re sure to see a few more of these situations in the future.

The Canucks have struggled all year to find an identity that works for them and as of late, the identity seems to be that of the tough guy. Players like Tom Sestito and Zack Kassian have climbed to the top of the penalty minute leader rankings and the Nucks’ penalty killing has been put through the ringer. Only time will tell if this identity sticks but it isn’t the first time we’ve seen the boys frustrations boil over into chaos.

As I’m sure all of you have seen clips of Saturday’s brawl replayed ten times over, I chose to exclude that moment from the list, but here are 5 other memorable brawls from the Canucks past:

5) Vancouver vs Edmonton: A regular season game with no real meaning, this brawl erupted in the closing minutes out of Oiler frustration. Highlighted by a Gagner-Kesler tilt, this one involved some unexpected combatants.

4) Vancouver vs New York: A classic and tense conflict that foreshadowed a heated Stanley Cup Finals. Mike Keenan and Pat Quinn may have been the most heated people in the rink.

3) Vancouver vs Colorado: Forever a black mark on the Canuck franchise, this night infamously ended the career of Steve Moore. Todd Bertuzzi seeks retribution for his fallen comrade Markus Naslund, through a brutal sucker-punch and an ensuing pile-on.

2) Vancouver vs Boston: The follow-up to the heated series a year prior, this game had been marked on both teams’ calendar for months. An entertaining and spirited brawl that reignited this rivalry and helped keep it burning to this day. On a sidenote, I loathe these Boston commentators – note their undying bias.

1) Vancouver vs Chicago: The moment that started one of Vancouver`s great modern rivalries. This one had it all: the Burrows hair pull, Ben Eager fighting Kevin Bieksa, Dustin Byfuglien punching Luongo in the face- just classic.

Jan 212014
 

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(source: nhl.com)

Vancouver Canucks (25-16-9)
Edmonton Oilers (15-30-6)

This is the third of five games between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers, the Canucks won the first two games (4-0 and 6-2). Roberto Luongo has stopped 40 of Edmonton’s 42 shots.

After snapping a 3-game losing streak on Saturday night with a rambunctious 3-2 shootout win over the Calgary Flames, the Canucks look to stay on the winning track tonight against the Edmonton Oilers. They’ll try to do this without coach John Tortorella, who was suspended by the NHL for 15 days after trying to get to Flames coach, Bob Hartley, in the Flames’ dressing room during the first intermission last Saturday. They’ll also try to push through without captain Henrik Sedin, who was the league’s Ironman and had played 679 consecutive games, but will miss tonight’s game with a suspected rib injury. Hank, who is officially listed as day-to-day, hasn’t missed a game since missing 4 games during the 2003-2004 season.

The Oilers are currently on a 4-game losing streak. They’ve lost 9 of their last 11 games and have allowed 45 goals against during that span. Sitting in 29th place in the NHL, they’re 3 points ahead of the last place Buffalo Sabres but have played 4 more games.

Who’s Hot

For the Canucks, Ryan Kesler got both a goal and an assist in the Canucks win against the Flames on Saturday.

For the Oilers, Jordan Eberle has goals in consecutive games.

Who’s Out

Besides Torts and Hank, the Canucks will be without Mike Santorelli, Ryan Stanton, Andrew Alberts and Jordan Schroeder.

For the Oilers, Nail Yakupov missed the previous game and Ales Hemsky has missed the past two. Philip Larsen and Corey Potter are also out.

Jan 212014
 
John Tortorella tries to get into the Calgary Flames dressing room.

John Tortorella tries to get into the Calgary Flames dressing room.

On Monday, we found out the fate of Vancouver Canucks Head Coach John Tortorella for his attempt to enter the Calgary Flames dressing room last Saturday night.  The NHL suspended Tortorella for 15 days without pay.

While some Canucks fans commended Tortorella’s actions as loyal, passionate, and justified, the NHL didn’t agree, calling Tortorella’s actions “dangerous and an embarrassment to the League.”

Assistant coach Mike Sullivan will take over the reins for the next 15 days.  In the meantime, Tortorella is not permitted to have any interaction with the team prior to, during or after games..

I asked the Twitterverse what Tortorella should do during his suspension.  The replies came flooding in, expanding the expected top 10 list to a top 20 list.

Thus, we proudly present to you the Top 20 Things that Tortorella Should Accomplish in the Next 15 Days:   

20. Score 4 goals.  – submitted by @BuckFoston_

19. Think to himself “Phew! Now I have time to finish that afghan I’ve been knitting!”  – submitted by @b_cmack

18. Make friendship bracelets for Bob Hartley.  – submitted by @Dawn_Retel

17. Map out a route in the ducting from the Canucks room to the visitors room. Nobody will expect an aerial attack.  – submitted by @kylenryan

16a. Attend Flames games in seats behind the bench with posters.  – submitted by @DCanuckgurl

16b. Buy tickets behind the bench of every Flames game.  – submitted by @bmah03

16c. Attend every Flames game.  – submitted by @JamesLawnsocial

15. Go to the next Flames game dressed like this.  – submitted by @wbborg

Tortssword

14. Perfect his baking skills and make the team Fight Club-themed cupcakes.  – submitted by @forevercanuck

13. Wooooo saaaah!  – submitted by @emilsirakov

12a. Yoga.  – submitted by @elmeebaterina

12b. Practice yoga to find inner peace.  – submitted by @DXenophontos

11. Sweep Aquilini’s driveway.  – submitted by @Mikem84

10. Do Cabo San Lucas round trip for $500 or so.  – submitted by @THogg21

9a. Plan the BEST Super Bowl party.  – submitted by @sedinitronic

9b. Go out and buy a stash of Marijuana for the Super Bowl.  – submitted by @DRushton11

8. Walk around downtown like the Fonz signing autographs and taking pictures with all the happy fans.  – submitted by @madhipcheckz

Ayyyy

Ayyyy

7. Anger management appointments.  – submitted by @number_1_dunner

6. Hunt Hartley. He can bring Booth with him.  – submitted by @kesrows

5a. Hang out at the Saddledome by the Calgary locker room with a tent until Hartley mans up.  – submitted by @funkmaster_dunc

5b. Get some ninja skills so he can get into the Flames area with stealth.  – submitted by @hawknut888

5c. Booby trap the Flames locker room in Calgary.  – submitted by @paulalmeida22

4. Sew a Bob Hartley voodoo doll.  – submitted by @river975mike

3. Finally catch up with The Walking Dead.  – submitted by @lizzmoffat

2. Go on vacation with his buddy Larry Brooks.  – submitted by @cpjohnson88

1. Start a @ChickenShitBobHartley parody account.  – submitted by @JustinTillyer

 

Bonus:  Make a guest appearance on one of your songs.  – submitted by @Rozzy80

Can you imagine if we got Torts to sing about Torts?

 

 

Jan 192014
 

Coach John Tortorella of the Vancouver Canucks is upset at coach Bob Hartley of the Calgary Flames.

Photo credit: cbc.ca

Some highlights and some lowlights about last night’s 3-2 shootout win against the Calgary Flames.

  • Before we get into anything else, how good did it feel to see the Canucks snap a 3-game losing streak, in the shootout, and with Roberto Luongo back in net? For all the talk about moral victories all week, it sure was nice to see them notch an actual win.
  • John Tortorella will have an in-person hearing with Colin Campbell tomorrow in New York. He’ll likely be suspended, deservedly so, for trying to get to Flames coach, Bob Hartley, in the Flames’ dressing room during the first intermission. Yes, Hartley was a dick for sending his goon line to start the game, but Torts already let him hear about it at the bench. There’s absolutely no reason for him to confront him again in the dressing room.
  • Hartley said in his post-game presser that he didn’t intend to start a fight when he put Brian McGrattan, Kevin Westgarth and Blair Jones in his starting lineup because, after all, that line got him a goal in their last game against the Winnipeg Jets. So hey, why not ride the hot hand, right? However, including that goal against the Jets, that line has combined for 3 goals all season so pardon me while I call bullshit on Hartley’s intentions.
  • If Westgarth was so intent on not starting a fight, then why didn’t he even bother with the puck while taking the opening faceoff, and instead went straight to fight Kevin Bieksa?
  • Many Canucks haters respected members of the media have pointed out the fact the Canucks had last change so Torts could have averted this whole situation by sending out his more skilled players in response. However, given that opposing teams have taken runs at the Sedins, Luongo and David Booth in recent games, do you blame him for not sending them out?
  • Surely someone has a clip or a gif of Flames captain, Mark Giordano, grabbing Zack Kassian’s stick, holding it against his belly, and then flopping down to the ice like a kid flops down on a slip-and-slide.
  • With Mike Santorelli and Jordan Schroeder already out, and assuming Hank has to sit because of his broken finger and rib injury, is anyone else looking forward to a lineup with Ryan Kesler, Brad Richardson, Zac Dalpe and Kellan Lain down the middle?
Jan 192014
 

Some of you thought the game was entertaining. Some of you thought the sideshows that happened were classless and disrespectful. Whatever it was, the Canucks beat the Calgary Flames, and snapped a 3-game losing streak.

We’ll take it.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 182014
 
After a tough trip the Canucks are back at Rogers Arena taking on division rivals the Calgary Flames.  (Photo Credit: canucks.nhl.com)

After a tough road trip the Canucks are back at Rogers Arena taking on division rivals the Calgary Flames.
(Photo Credit: canucks.nhl.com)

After a rough, tough road trip that left them beaten physically, and perhaps, mentally and emotionally, the Vancouver Canucks are left nursing their wounds and Canucks fans wondering what it would it take to right the ship. The Canucks lost all 3 games on their just-concluded road trip, including one of their worst losses in memory, a 9-1 ass-kicking at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks. They scored a grand total of 1 goal in those 3 games, and to make matters worse, may have lost Henrik Sedin, their leading scorer, and Mike Santorelli, their fourth-leading goal scorer, to injuries. Oh, and David Booth too.

Perhaps the day off will help. And with 5 of their next 6 games at home, so may perhaps their return to the friendlier of Rogers Arena. It doesn’t hurt either that tonight’s opponents, the Calgary Flames are one of only two teams with a worst record than the Canucks have over the last 10 games.

Who’s Hot

Truth be told, no one from either team. With both the Canucks and Flames struggling to put the puck in the back of the net, they’re relying on their respective goaltenders right now.

The game against the Ducks aside, Eddie Lack has actually held up the fort well in Roberto Luongo’s absence. He’s allowed just a single goal against in 3 of his last 4 starts. Luongo, however, may be returning tonight.

For the Flames, Karri Ramo will likely get the start after Reto Berra let in 5 goals on 23 shots in Calgary’s last game on Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets. Ramo started back-to-back games earlier this week against the Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes; against the Canes, he recorded his first NHL shutout.

Who’s Back

Aside from Luongo, Alex Burrows is also back in the lineup for the first time since suffering a jaw injury in December.

Who’s Out

Mike Santorelli left Phoenix with his right arm in a sling and isn’t expected to play. After suffering a rib injury (also against the Coyotes), Henrik Sedin is a game-time decision, which puts his 679-game, NHL ironman streak in jeopardy. Jordan Schroeder, Andrew Alberts, and Ryan Stanton are still out; however, Schroeder and Stanton skated today.

For the Flames, Michael Cammalleri and Curtis Glencross remain sidelined.

Jan 172014
 

After going 0-fer on this Pacific Division road trip, scoring a grand total of 1 goal in 3 games, and then potentially losing Henrik Sedin, David Booth and Mike Santorelli to injuries, I bet the Canucks can’t wait to get back home.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 162014
 

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Just like their recent play, Daniel Sedin struggles in front of the Coyotes net.
(source: nhl.com)

Vancouver Canucks (24-15-9)
Phoenix Coyotes (21-16-9)

After last night’s embarrassing 9-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, the Canucks are hoping to redeem themselves tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes. You’ve all heard the narrative by now that January hasn’t been kind to the Canucks. And with a single win in January – and a 1-4-3 record in their last 8 games – you wouldn’t hear many Canucks fans arguing against it.

However, despite their struggles, the Canucks still hold one of two wild card spots in the Western Conference. They currently occupy 7th place in the conference, 6 points up on tonight’s opponents, the Coyotes, and with 2 games in hand. Part of the reason the Canucks have managed to stay up on the Coyotes is that the ‘Yotes themselves have struggled recently. Phoenix has lost 4 consecutive games and have a 2-6-3 record in their last 11 games.

This is the third of five meetings between the Canucks and Coyotes. They split their first two meetings of the season, with the Canucks winning the more recent match-up on December 6th.

Who’s Hot

Having scored a grand total of one goal in their last 2 games, I’m not sure if any Canucks qualify as being hot. Though, Zach Kassian did score again last night, his 2nd goal in 4 games, and he now has a career-high 9 goals this season.

Like the Canucks, the Coyotes are struggling on the scoresheet. Coyotes defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson, after going goal-less for 23 games, has scored in back-to-back games – his team’s only goals in their last two games.

Who’s Out

Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo still remains day-to-day. Forwards Alex Burrows (broken jaw) and Jordan Schroeder (ankle), and defenseman Andrew Alberts (concussion) and Ryan Stanton (ankle) are on injured reserve.

Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower body), who hasn’t played since December 17th, is still out and there is no timeline for his return.

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