Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com
I’m in Seattle. This was not the best place to be for the Canucks-Kings game because, although I could easily watch the game, I had to endure NBC’s version of coverage. This includes Mike Milbury’s infuriating opinions and coming back late from commercials so I missed Jannik Hansen’s goal. Also, it involved drinking to get through the game without crying so bear with me, people.
Can We Drop Kick the Drop Pass?
The Canucks’ drop pass needs to be banned from the Canucks play book, especially on the power play. The drop pass on the PP caused two short-handed goals. In this one little game the Canucks allowed half the short-handed goals they allowed in the entire regular season. The Canucks power play had already hit rock bottom. Adding the drop pass to it is like picking up a shovel and digging. Also, can we stop with the habit of chipping/dumping the puck into the opponent’s zone and hope someone gets there to play it. It’s so lazy and ineffective it makes me want to punch kittens.
Vancouver: Where the Hockey Team is Suddenly as Unbalanced as the Weather
I don’t know what to say here. We saw improvement and deterioration in this game – sometimes from the same player. Kesler seemed more focused, he paid attention to the net, not the drama. Lapierre’s production dwindled from game 1 to 2 and, according to Twitter (because I couldn’t hear a thing from the TV commentators over the bar noise), he got kicked out of the game. Hansen was amazing and then gone – literally. Honey Badger scored a goal and then got kicked out for a dust-up by Quick’s net. I couldn’t hear the commentary on TV to explain what caused him getting tossed. It looked like it might have been a little bit of an over-reaction by the refs, in my opinion. But whatever, the battle was too uphill by then. Luongo had another solid night, except for maybe that goal where he was doing his best dead starfish impersonation. Edler was also consistent. He stayed the same deep level of horrible he’s been since the playoffs began.
And the Upside….
After much wine, I have decided it’s not all doom and gloom going into Game 3. We’re going into Los Angeles, which when it comes to fans, is simply a warmer, more affordable Vancouver. We’ve got a ton of supporters there who should be out in force, squelching any unwelcoming atmosphere at Staples Center. Let’s shake things up – we’ve got nothing to lose. Change the lines. Bench Edler. Yes. I said it. BENCH EDLER. And – brace yourself – start Cory Schneider. Luongo played strong and hard. But changing the goalie might change the momentum. Don’t think of it as Lu being punished. Think of it as Lu being saved. He’s played too well to have to carry this team of underachievers any longer. It only takes one win to turn momentum around. Let’s get that one win.
If you’ve got ideas on how the Canucks can fix all that is broken and pull off a win in Game 3, we’d love to hear it! Leave us a comment.
Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com
A brief look back at the good, the bad and the ugly from Game 1, Round 1 of the Canucks-Kings series.
The Good: Bobby Lu Tried to Win It for You.
If there are still Luongo-haters out there after tonight’s game, even I think you’re crazy. I’m an undeniable Schneider-supporter and although I’m not a Luongo-hater, I am a Luongo-realist. And realistically tonight, the man was a God. He couldn’t have done more to keep the Canucks in this game. He deserved to win this game. I’m confident that if the Canucks play the same way in Game 2 that they did tonight, Lu will also be the only thing that keeps the game from being 18-2. I’m also positive that Luongo can’t keep this up forever so the rest of the team better shake off the playoff cobwebs and get it done.
The Bad: No Love for Lapierre.
Did Maxim Lapierre steal Vigneault’s chewing gum or something equally worthy of punishment between the end of the regular season and this game? Because it sure seems like the coach has an issue with him. Previous to tonight’s game, Lapierre was on the first line with Henrik Sedin. He was scoring and pulling off a multi-point games. So why did AV drop him from that line? Why was Lappy’s ice time also diminished? He finished last night’s game at 11 minutes when in past games he averaged over 12.5 minutes? Not to be deterred by his apparent demotion, he helped David Booth crush Drew Doughty in the opening minutes of the game and assisted on Edler’s second period goal. Can’t help but wonder what more he could have done with a little more time and Hank by his side.
The Ugly: The Hot and Cold that is Alex Edler.
When I look back on Alex Edler’s regular season play, the lyrics to Katy Perry’s Hot n Cold run through my head. He’s been up and down all year and tonight was no different. In the first period Edler took a delay of game penalty. In the second he came back with a much-needed goal, tying the game. Then in the third, Edler’s clearing attempt landed directly in Mike Richard’s chest, ultimately giving the Kings their third goal of the night. To be fair, Edler wasn’t the only sloppy player – not by a long shot – but he was the sloppiest defencemen. And we can’t afford defensive mistakes when our offense is acting like scoring goals is so 2011.
[Every week, Caylie King previews the Canucks week that was and reviews the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@CayKing).]
The Canucks have lost 3 of their last 4 games and 5 of their last 7 games. Last Tuesday, potential first-round opponent Dallas Stars came into Rogers Arena and easily took two points away from the Canucks in a 5-2 win. On Thursday, the Canucks played one of their better games in a few weeks won an exciting 3-2 affair against the Winnipeg Jets. And then on Saturday, the Canucks started off well enough against the Habs before collapsing completely in the third period and losing 4-1.
69 GP, 42-19-8, 92 points (1st in Northwest Division, 2nd in Western Conference)
Chris Higgins seems to have gotten over his battles with staph infections and has easily been one of the Canucks’ best and most consistent players in the last few weeks. He has 7 points (2G-5A) in his last 7 games and has been noticeable in every game. His hard forecheck and never-give-up attitude gives opposing teams a lot to handle. His hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last week, coach Alain Vigneault reunited him with Ryan Kesler and David Booth, and he’s rejuvenated that line.
The real question is, who hasn’t struggled recently?
Henrik Sedin has 0 points in his last 8 games and is a minus-3 in that stretch. Daniel Sedin has 1 assist in his last 8 games and is also a minus-3 in that stretch. The Sedins have been largely invisible, and while they seem to produce the odd good shift, they haven’t been nearly as consistent and are clearly struggling to find the back of the net.
Among the forwards, Alex Burrows has 1 goal in his last 11 games, Mason Raymond is goalless in 6 games, Jannik Hansen is goalless in 12 games, and Max Lapierre is pointless in 9 games.
In the back end, Alex Edler may have 2 goals in his last 3 games, but he’s really struggled on the defensive side of things. Against the Habs, he was running around and couldn’t settle down defensively. His play has considerably declined since the All-Star break and his mistakes on the ice have become evident and visible.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 vs. Phoenix Coyotes (7:00 PM start, home)
After posting a 10-0-1 record for the month of February, the Phoenix Coyotes have struggled in the month of March with just 1 win in 7 games (1-4-2). That said, they’re still holding on to the 7th place in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, and if the playoffs started today, they would face the Canucks in the first round.
This will be the fourth and last meeting of the regular season between the two clubs with the Canucks having won 2 of the first 3 meetings. In the season series, Keith Yandle leads the Coyotes with 2 points (1G-1A) and Ryan Kesler leads the Canucks with 3 points (1G-2A).
The Canucks have a 7-3-4 record against Pacific division opponents.
Radim Vrbata is tied for second in team scoring with 56 points (30G-26A) and has a team-best, plus-24 rating. He’s already set a career-high in goals and has tied his career best in points. He also leads the NHL with 10 game-winning goals for the season. However, like the rest of the Coyotes, he’s been cold recently and only has 1 assist in his last 5 games.
Saturday, March 17, 2012 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (7:00 PM start, home)
Considering the Blue Jackets are in last place in the Western Conference, this could be a good game for the Canucks to get 2 points and regain some traction.
This is the two teams’ last meeting of the season with the Canucks holding a 2-0-1 record against the Blue Jackets in their first 3 games against each other. Cory Schneider was in net for both Canucks wins; Roberto Luongo recorded the shootout loss.
Rick Nash leads the Blue Jackets in goals (24) and points (47) for the season.
[Every week, Caylie King reviews the Canucks week that was and previews the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@cayking).]
Last week, the Canucks split its two games. On Tuesday, the Canucks lost to the Kings in a shootout. Luongo had a huge game stopping 39 of 41 shots and was the huge factor in stealing the team one point. On the other hand, Saturday’s early matinee game, against the Sharks, was the best performance from the Canucks since beating the Boston Bruins two weeks ago in another early Saturday game. The team put together a solid 60-minute effort to win the two points.
With the All-Star break coming up, this week brings with it good and bad news. Good news: the Sedins, Hodgson and Edler will represent the Canucks in Ottawa. The bad news: Canucks Nation will have one Canucks game to watch in seven days. Before you go into withdrawal mode, look at the bright side, a week-long break will be give the boys a chance to recharge their batteries and get ready for the home stretch.
48 GP, 29-15-4, 62 points (1st in Northwest Division, 2nd in Western Conference)
Welcome back, David Booth. After missing 18 games due to a knee-sprain, Booth has come back into the lineup and picked up where he left off. He has 3 points (2G-1A) in his last 3 games.
The American Express line has finally been reunited and seem to have found their chemistry again. The line, with Booth, Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins, was great, especially in the 1st period of the Sharks game.
Alex Edler is off to the All-Star game, and while some were surprised by this selection, he has actually, quietly been putting up a strong campaign. Edler has recorded at least one point in 5 of his last 7 games; he has 1 goal and 5 assists in that span. His 34 points (7G-27A) is 3rd in overall scoring on the Canucks, behind just Daniel and Henrik, and ties him for 2nd in points amongst all NHL defensemen.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 vs. Edmonton oilers (7:00 PM start, home)
It’s a Northwest Division battle as the Canucks go against the struggling Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers sit in 14th place and have been hit hard by the injury bug. The absence of rookie sensation Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been greatly noticed as the Oilers have gone 2-7-1 without him in the lineup.
The Canucks have won 2 of the 3 games so far against Edmonton this season. Roberto Luongo backstopped the Canucks in both victories and will start again tonight.
It was just announced that Jordan Eberle will replace the injured Mikko Koivu at the All-Star Game, a deserved honor. In just his second season in the NHL, Eberle leads the Oilers in goals (18), assists (27) and points (45). He is currently riding a 2-game point streak and will look to extend it against the Canucks.