The Vancouver Canucks dropped their 4th straight loss – this one a 4-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild in Minnesota.
I didn’t get a chance to watch this game so instead I relied on some insight from one of my colleagues here at CHB: Caylie King (@cayking). Through the magic of WhatsApp, Caylie provided me insight on scoring, fighting, and injuries.
With the Minnesota win, they overtook the Canucks for first place in the Northwest Division for the first time since December 2011. At that time, I wrote a song called “Under the Minneso” – a spoof of Justin Bieber’s “Under the Mistletoe”. I’ve included it at the end of this CCC.
I look at the good, the bad, and the interesting from the Canucks’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets from Thursday, March 7 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
The Canucks tied the game in the early stages of the third period, only to have Matt Calvert channel his inner Sidney Crosby in overtime – going around both Henrik Sedin and Alex Edler on the winning goal.
In the video, I touch on Cory Schneider, the defensive pairing of Jason Garrison and Dan Hamhuis, our lack of scoring, the poor effort on the game-winning goal, and the Canucks’ less-than-stellar record through 23 games.
I liked him with he played in Phoenix. I liked him when he played in Florida. And I like him as a Vancouver Canuck.
I was very excited when the Canucks traded for him in late-June 2010. When the Canucks signed Dan Hamhuis less than a week later, I was over the moon – what an upgrade to our defense!
Unfortunately, Ballard had off-season surgery before he even played his first game in a Vancouver uniform and then he was concussed just four games into the regular season. Add a sprained MCL and the first benching of his professional career and it was a forgettable 2010-11 season for Ballard despite the team’s success.
Since then, he has been a frequent visitor to coach Alain Vigneault’s doghouse. Ballard’s most recent stay started on Saturday night when he was replaced in the lineup by Albert Alberts and it continued on Sunday night when Cam Barker took his spot.
So what may have caused his latest benching? Along with the help of some loyal CHB readers, I present to you The Top 10 Reasons Why Keith Ballard is Back in AV’s Doghouse:
10. Ballard cut in front of AV in the food lineup at lunch on Saturday.
9. Ballard signed AV up for a 7 hour time share presentation in exchange for a free T-shirt. (Submitted by @ECdevoff)
8. Ballard hid AV’s favourite flavour of gum. (Submitted by @BCBerrie)
7. Ballard didn’t work hard enough to maintain or increase his height. (Submitted by @jedski)
Check out this funny spot with Ali G and Ben Wallace from 2006.
6a. Ballard ate the last of AV’s favourite lozenge he brought back from his LONG summer vacation. (Submitted by @s0ya)
6b. Ballard stole AV`s last pack of lozenges before they got on the plane. (Submitted by @vansport)
Ah yes – Vigneault’s famous throat lozenges. The ones he powers through on the bench or in the pre and post game media scrums.
5. Ballard makes forward passes, and AV wants his d-men to make drop passes instead. (Submitted by @lo__b)
4. Ballard didn’t change his last name to Sedin. (Submitted by @acheung14)
This is a clever reference to Ballard’s classic answer to Canucks TV’s Kathy Anderson question of how to get on to the coach’s good side. Ballard’s answer: “Good question. Working on that for 3 years. Change your last name to Sedin.”
3. Vigneault is good friends with Tomas Vokoun.
Not Ballard’s finest moment.
2. Being from Minnesota, Ballard started walking around the dressing room talking like the Caucasian guy with the Jamaican accent in the recent Volkswagen commercial…annoying AV in the process.
Clay Imoo (@canuckclay) will be recapping every Vancouver Canucks game with a quick post-game video commentary. As a start, Clay looks at the good, the bad, and the interesting from the Canucks’ 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings from March 2 at Rogers Arena.
In the video, Clay touches on the Canucks’ top 2 scoring lines, Cory Schneider’s suspect puck-handling, the benching of Keith Ballard, the debut of new enforcer Tom Sestito, and the LA Kings twitter account.
In a strange scene from Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena yesterday afternoon, the Red Wings fans began to chant “USA! USA!” during the last 30 seconds of their team’s 8 – 3 defeat of the Vancouver Canucks.
For better or for worse, I know that this has happened in other hockey arenas before.
And while there’s nothing wrong with showing a bit of patriotism from time to time, there is indeed a time and place for such showings.
I’m not convinced that Red Wings fans picked the right place nor right time given that only 5 of the 20 players dressed for Detroit were born in the USA.
Thus, after much thought, research, and coin-flipping, I have come up with the Top 10 Reasons Why the Detroit Fans Were Chanting “USA! USA!”:
10. They got tired of singing along to Don’t Stop Believing and Sweet Caroline (credit to @transcendwebs).
9. They are still bitter at Roberto Luongo and all of Canada for beating Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
8. Related to #9, they were cheering for their US-born netminder Jimmy Howard (and his American backup Tom McCollum for that matter).
7. They really wanted to affirm their US-born players: the 2 goalies (as mentioned above), Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, and Brian Lashoff…at the risk of insulting their 6 Canadians, 4 Swedes, and one each from Switzerland, Russia, Finland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
6. Chanting “United Nations! United Nations!” doesn’t have the same ring to it (credit to @lyteforce).
5. They were being very considerate and wanted to cheer up Canuck Americans Ryan Kesler, Chris Higgins, Keith Ballard, Jordan Schroeder, Andrew Alberts, and Cory Schneider.
4. They were inspired by a video tribute to Hacksaw Jim Duggan (see below) during the previous stoppage in play (credit to @DaveLeeSon1).
3. None of them were in their seats for the Star Spangled Banner prior to the game.
2. They wanted to do something fun before leaving the arena only to find that their cars are gone (credit to @browntobure).
1. They were giving a special shout-out and welcome to CHB writer @concretefluff who moved to Los Angeles last week.
Much has been made about the goaltending situation in Vancouver and rightfully so: right now the Canucks have two high-calibre netminders making up arguably the strongest tandem in the league. So with both Cory Schneider and Robert Luongo playing extremely well, it’s become a daily guessing game as to who will start in the next Canucks game.
Likely tired of these daily questions, coach Alain Vigneault introduced his now famous coin – the one he flips to determine which goalie will get the start. It was humourous at the start but I hope he won’t be using the same line a few weeks from now.
Thus, your friends at CHB have come up with 10 alternative ways to determine the Canucks’ starting goalie:
10. Asking the Magic 8-Ball. It’s helped adults and kids alike make some difficult decisions since 1950, offering profound answers such as: “Concentrate and ask again”, “Very Doubtful”, and “My Sources Say No”. Obviously, the question must be asked in a yes/no format.
9. A Game of Laser Tag. Imagine Luongo and Schneider darting behind walls and jumping over barrels amidst a bunch of screaming 8 year-old kids. After getting shot at all their lives, they would finally have a chance to do the shooting. Winner gets the start.
8. Any Wrestling Gimmick Match. This would be great way to attract new fans – have Luongo and Schneider participate in any of the following wrestling matches during the warm-up: Hell in a Cell, Ladder Match, or Last Man Standing. They should be good with it…they both participated in the Legion of Blog’s NHL Royal Rumble last month. If that’s too violent or too risky, any game like Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Settlers of Catan, or Twister will do.
7. Suiting Up. Whoever gets fully dressed into their equipment and jersey first prior to warm-up gets the start. No questions asked.
6. Heads Up Poker. Each goalie will receive 50 big blinds and Kesler and Bieksa can provide commentary. Luongo is the all-in favourite in this competition…but look for Schneider to call AV’s bluff and surprise Luongo with some aggressive pre-flop (or make that no-flop) play.
5. Impressions Contest. If the poker favours Luongo, then Schneider will definitely have the advantage in an impressions contest. Remember his Hansen, AV and Burrows on CBC’s After Hours?
4. Rock, Paper, Scissors. Nothing wrong with going to an old standard to determine who’s starting. Two main rules: no adding lizard and/or spock, and it must be best-of-7 to avoid flukes or cheating.
3. Canada Vs. USA (Round 1): Luongo picks 4 Canadian players while Schnedier picks 4 Americans. Tug of war at centre ice…winning country has their goalie start.
2. Canada Vs. USA (Round 2): This doesn’t include an injury risk and is solely based on the economy. Whichever dollar is stronger on game day means that country’s goalie will be the Canucks’ money in the bank for the game.
1. Walk-Off (Zoolander Style). This is simple: both Luongo and Schneider need to remove their underwear without taking off any of their goalie equipment. Given the extreme difficulty of this challenge, AV has the option of granting the winner 3 consecutive starts regardless of performance in the games. David Bowie optional.
In quite a comical scene from Friday night’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks, Roberto Luongo and Patrick Kane shared a few words as they were sprawled on the ice together seconds after Luongo foiled Kane’s shootout attempt (see video below). Two rounds later, rookie Jordan Schroeder beat the Hawks’ Corey Crawford before Luongo stopped Nick Leddy to seal the 2-1 win.
Reports surfaced later that Luongo said to Kane “Not this time” as the two players untangled themselves. Even so, the two rivals were within earshot of each other for a full five seconds after Kane’s failed attempt. Thus, Luongo likely said more than those three words.
Here are 10 things that Roberto Luongo may have said to Patrick Kane:
10. Just so you know – I let you score on me earlier in the game just to make it more exciting.
9. You should clean your jersey.
8. What’s it like being the Undertaker’s brother?
7. Thanks for boosting my trade value.
6. What do you think of my new single-leg take down maneuver?
5. Got room for one more in the limo?
4. Nice try…hopefully you’ll be able to score at the Roxy.
3. Those moves might work on Schneider but certainly not on me.
2. Tell your GM and coach I’d be an upgrade over your current goalie. In fact, he’ll probably let a rookie score on him later on in this shootout.
1. Let me know if you need exact change for the taxi later.
The Canucks celebrate their April 2011 playoff series win over the Blackhawks (Photo credit: Reuters)
I’m looking forward to tonight’s big match-up between the Vancouver Canucks and their nemesis the Chicago Blackhawks for a few reasons. I’m intrigued to see how Roberto Luongo plays against his arch-rivals as the fascinating goaltending saga goes on. I’m eager to see if guys like Zack Kassian and Keith Ballard can keep up their strong play. I’m looking forward to some quality time with my lovely wife Gail (who patiently puts up with my blogging shenanigans). And I wonder if there will be any retribution for Duncan Keith for his dirty hit on Daniel Sedin at the end of last season.
Just 21 months ago, I witnessed the same two teams clash in the best game that I’ve ever seen live. Of course, I’m talking about game 7 in the first-round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There had been so much drama and unrest leading up to game 7 as the Blackhawks had won three straight games to tie the series and bring the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks to the brink of elimination. There were questions about the officiating and questions about the Canucks goaltending (apparently the more things change the more they stay the same). In fact, Roberto Luongo had been pulled in both games 4 and 5 before Cory Schneider was given the surprise start in game 6. Schneider then was pulled in game 6…but due to injury. Add in the fact that the Blackhawks had eliminated the Canucks in the second-round the two previous years and you can see why the game meant so much.
The atmosphere in Rogers Arena was incomparable that evening; there was a noticeable excitement, intensity and nervousness in the crowd the entire night. I’m sure you remember the game details very vividly: how Alex Burrows scored early in the first and even had a chance to put the Canucks up by two with a penalty shot early in the third period. How Jonathan Toews tied the game up with only two minutes left in the third period scoring from his knees with an amazing short-handed effort.
The 17-minute intermission between the third period and overtime was among the longest 17 minutes of my life. I remember very vividly that the crowd sat in stunned silence for the entire time. My buddy Mike and I, both of us never short for words when at a Canucks game, didn’t say a word to each other for the duration of the intermission. There wasn’t really anything to be said. We were about to witness history: either the Canucks were about to exorcise the Chicago Blackhawks demons or they would complete one of the greatest meltdowns in NHL playoff history.
We didn’t have to wait too long for a sign. And it wasn’t a good one.
Just 24 seconds into the extra frame, Alex Burrows took a holding penalty on Duncan Keith on what seemed like a harmless play behind the Chicago net. On the ensuing power-play, Roberto Luongo made an absolutely amazing save on Patrick Sharp’s one-timer from five feet away. In watching the save countless times, I will say that it wasn’t Luongo’s most difficult save of the season. But it certainly was his biggest.
You know the rest: just two shifts later, Burrows intercepted Chris Campoli’s clearing attempt, deftly dropped the puck to his feet, and slapped the winner over Crawford’s blocker. The goal set off a wild celebration both on the ice (remember Victor Oreskovich jumping around looking for someone to hug?) and in the stands. It’s certainly the loudest I’ve ever heard the crowd at Rogers Arena…rivaled only by the roar after Kevin Bieksa scored in game 5 vs. the Sharks to send the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals.
That’s why I look forward to Blackhawks-Canucks games. They always seem to be intense and exciting contests. We’ll see what drama unfolds tonight.