One week into the new NHL season and some things don’t seem to have changed.
The Canucks are off to another slow start and Roberto Luongo trade talks are still dominating the airwaves.
One week into the new NHL season and some things don’t seem to have changed.
The Canucks are off to another slow start and Roberto Luongo trade talks are still dominating the airwaves.
One team in tonight’s match up will see their first win of the season. I, for one, can’t stand to see Calgary get a win before us, so let’s hope we take it. Maybe the Shaft theme song will help us here. It can’t hurt.
If that didn’t get you pumped for the game, maybe Gary Valk can.
— Kent Basky (@KentBaskyNM) January 24, 2013
Photo credit: National Post
With less than a week of games under the NHL’s belt in this shortened 2013 season, I’m shocked at how many things made me go hmmm…
Here are a few of the biggest head scratchers:
Goalie Drama. Again. Sigh.
The Vancouver Canucks have not traded Roberto Luongo. Despite claiming Cory Schneider is their number one, they pulled Schneider in game 1 and didn’t give him a chance in game 2. Alain Vigneault’s talk doesn’t match his walk. If Schneider is the Canucks’ number 1, he would get the start, even after being pulled. In the last few seasons, Luongo would get the start even after being pulled or a poor showing. Between Vigneault’s refusal to stick with his supposed number 1, and his further refusal to even announce his starter until minutes before a game, the goalie controversy is gaining life instead of losing it. It doesn’t matter how professional an organization is, that kind of extended drama is going to make an impact in a bad way. It has with the fan base. Luongo homers are openly tweeting hopefully for Cory’s failure.
Reality check: Schneider isn’t the only number one to struggle. The New York Rangers pulled Henrik Lundqvist in the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins after he stopped just 14 of 18 shots. Why aren’t Rangers fans screaming for Marty Biron to take over the number 1 spot? Because Rangers management isn’t wishy-washy on their faith in Lundqvist.
Does a Short Season Mean it’s a Free-For-All?
If you look at the results throughout the league over the first few days of the season, it’s glaringly obvious the favourites aren’t doing so well. A lot of sportscasters tagged the Rangers to be the team most likely to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup this year; they’ve yet to win a game. Same with the Philadelphia Flyers, who the pundits always predict some noise in the playoffs. And as we all know, same with the Canucks.
In fact the only favourite doing really well are the Penguins. The Chicago Blackhawks, much to my personal chagrin, are also starting strong. In a shortened season, getting a fast start out of the gate and winning from the get-go is important. Sure the Canucks (and Rangers and Flyers) have only lost 2 or 3 games, but with less time to catch up, it’s worrisome. I have a feeling we may be even more surprised by this year’s Cup winner than last year’s.
Jersey Off Our Backs Make Me Go Hmmm… and Mmmm
After watching the Jersey Off Our Backs presentation on Saturday, I’m left with a few questions. Bear with me as I have never played hockey.
How come the Canucks don’t all wear the same pads? I assumed they would all wear similar, if not the same pads, but Lapierre is wearing red ones that make him look like he’s still a Hab. Yes I actually looked at his pads, not just his pretty face. It was hard but I did it. Mostly everyone else on the team had white pads, or in David Booth’s case, a really bad checkered shirt.
And does Higgins not wear anything under his pads just so he can hear the squeals of delight as he pulls his shirt off? This is the second Jersey off Our Backs that I’ve witnessed live and in-person and once again Higgy wasn’t wearing Under Armour – he’s the only hockey player I’ve seen that goes bare under the pads. Why does he do it? Why doesn’t anyone else? Not that I’m complaining; it does make me go Hmmm… and Mmmm.
The sports world was abuzz yesterday with a solid quote from Mike Gillis on the status of the Roberto Luongo deal. For those who may have missed it, here’s what Mike said to Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun:
“We have a potential deal in place with one team that has to do something with another player that they have – and it’s not who anybody thinks it is – and so we have to wait. (But) we’ve been offered packages that don’t fit what our plan is, what we need,” said Gillis. – Vancouver Sun. Jan 22, 2013
So as we all see it, there is a mystery player on a mystery team that is a key component to this mystery deal. Fortunately we at CHB know who to call.
No matter how crazy that may sound, it actually is a fair enough question.
Consider that the Canucks have two very capable goaltenders and valuable commodities on the bench, a market for both should exist. And whether there are two games in or twenty games in, it should be their value in making the team better that is the basis of any decision.
So if you were Gillis, what would you do if a SERIOUS offer for Schneider were to come in? Do you even give it a sniff? I asked our CHB faithful this same question on on our Facebook page, but wanted to see what our greater readership had to say.
I mean, isn’t that what you do when you have a mystery on your hands?
For my first CCC of the 2013 NHL season, I share some of the sights and sounds from the Canucks’ opening weekend at Rogers Arena. Unfortunately, the weekend consisted of two losses: 7-3 to Anaheim on Saturday night and 3-2 to Edmonton on Sunday night.
It was certainly an intriguing weekend as both Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo got starts. As well, the Canucks’ secondary scoring (or lack thereof) was quite evident.
My buddy Mike also captured some neat footage from ice level as he was chosen to receive the jersey off of a player’s back. He ended up getting the jersey of David Booth and had a pleasant exchange with him. As well, we got footage of Chris Higgins removing his jersey…much to the delight of numerous female fans.
Hello hockey fans. I’m still having a little trouble believing it, but we’re back baby. It’s been a long 8 months, but the contracts are signed, the ice is prepped, and we’re ready to go.
— Chad Forrest (@C_Forrest) January 20, 2013
* cue ominous tone *
For my first Clay’s Canucks Composition of 2013, I assembled four of the most talented Canucks fans around to put together a song to mark the start of the shortened 2013 season. Thus, I’m thrilled to present to you Season of Cup (based on Seasons of Love from RENT).
You’ll likely recognize most of the singers in this fun video. Marie Hui helped me with my Canucks Medley in November 2011 while Arielle Tuliao and I got together for Don’t Stop Believing back in April for the Canucks’ playoff run. I’ve been wanting to get these two amazing ladies together for a collaboration and I’m thrilled we made it happen! The guys aren’t too shabby either. Joseph San Jose is the star of all of my Canucks Christmas carols, and my good friend Gary de Guzman has one of the most pure voices around. Put the four of them together (with me pounding on the piano) and you get a powerful anthem for the Vancouver Canucks as they look to get back to the Stanley Cup.
This is Our Team, Our Way…and Our Time.
PS: See if you can figure out the “one hundred seventy-two thousand eight hundred seconds” part.
Photo credit: National Post web. REUTERS/Adam Hunger
Hopefully the holiday season has you in a much more festive mood than the current state of the NHL, and if not, we here at CHB ask that you please drink more Rum & Egg Nog (pretty sure Tom provided the best recipe last year).
Anywho, with the year winding down and us in need some content to keep the dust bunnies from collecting on the site, I sent out the call to our contributors to see what they could remember from the past year & what they can foresee for the next (which you’ll learn more about tomorrow).
J.J. Guerrero (@canuckshockey)
2012 was supposed to be the year the Canucks would take that one final step towards winning their elusive first Stanley Cup. With a largely intact roster from the 2011 team that fell one win short and the addition of a second-line power forward in David Booth, they were certainly poised to make another run at it.
However, as GM Mike Gillis admitted, the Canucks peaked seven days into 2012. Led by Cory Schneider and Cody Hodgson, they exacted revenge on the Boston Bruins, beating them in a Saturday matinee in Beantown, a win which probably ranks among the most memorable in this franchise’s history.
It’s just too bad the calendar read January 7, 2012 instead of June 15, 2011.
The Canucks were physically and emotionally-spent after that win and played less than stellar hockey the rest of the way. They somehow snagged a second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy, but were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings.
With Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler coming off major surgeries, the Sedins, Alex Burrows, Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa a year older, and the salary cap expecting to shrink with a new CBA, the window for this core may be closing and 2012 may prove to be a year of “what-ifs”, unfortunately one of many in the Canucks’ 41 years.
Matt Lee (@mattlee61)
2012 was a pretty bizarre year for the Canucks not only on the ice, but off of it, too. Going into the season, a lot of the talk was about how Vancouver would tackle the Stanley Cup hangover (which was of course answered with their season ending in 5 playoff games). But on the ice, you’d be hard pressed to find any particular game which gave you a reason to stand up and cheer. For me, only a couple games seemed to stood out, one of which was the Boston Bruins rematch back in January. The highlights speak for themselves, though:
Almost hard to believe the Canucks called it “just another game” after watching that, huh?
The other game which also proved memorable was the Canucks in Detroit back in February. The Red Wings had a lengthy home winning streak going at the Joe, and Vancouver was still the cream of the crop in the NHL standings. The game had the makings of a classic, and it was in every possible way.
But again, off the ice it was a circus. The fallout from their abrupt first-round playoff exit ushered the era of Cory Schneider and the (still going) exodus of Roberto Luongo. If the NHL lockout ends any time soon, it’ll just be a matter of time before the Luongo trade rumours swirl once again.
That doesn’t even include some other bizarre happenings: The Cody Hodgson trade rocked the city, Ryan Kesler’s continued rehab from another major surgery sparked worry among fans about how ready he will be in the event of a shortened season, and the signing of Jason Garrison in July was met with some cheers and some jeers… And the guy hasn’t even played a game yet.
Clay Imoo (@canuckclay)
2012 started off with so much promise. The Canucks entered the year having just passed the mighty Minnesota Wild for the Northwest Division lead – a lead they would never relinquish for the rest of the season. Then came that fateful game in Boston on January 7.
In the highly anticipated Stanley Cup Finals rematch, the Canucks prevailed 4-3 in a fight-filled affair. At the time, Canucks fans were on top of the world having just defeated their nemesis. However, the team struggled at times for the rest of the season despite locking up a second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy. In fact, even General Manager Mike Gillis admitted that the game may have taken an emotional toll on the team.
Add in a struggling power play and Duncan Keith’s dirty elbow on Daniel Sedin, and Vancouver looked over-matched in their first-round playoff series against the eventual Stanley Cup winners the Los Angeles Kings.
Victoria Pattison (@concretefluff)
Looking back on the 2012 season for the Canucks, I have to say it peaked early for me.
January 7, 2012 was the only game that really mattered to me in 2012. It was the game that should have happened on June 15, 2011. But it was more than just beating the dirty bears, it was also the first sign of the big changes the Canucks would make in 2012.
My favorite gum-smacking coach may say that he only started Cory Schneider because he wanted to let him play in his hometown, but no one believes that. It was a chance for Luongo to redeem himself and Vigneault didn’t trust him enough to let him have that chance. Schneider, was epic in that game. He played himself into the number one goalie spot.
Every game after the Boston game, seemed to be lack luster. Even when we won games, it seemed to me like it was by happenstance not due to actually working hard. I don’t blame the Canucks. Having a short summer break after a long, hard season with a heartbreaking Game 7 loss I didn’t think we would actually make it that far again.
That said, I didn’t think we would go down to the Kings in Round 1. The only thing more painful than watching Raymond fall down and Edler’s defensive meltdowns in Round 1 was reading the LA Kings snarktastic twitter posts.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) November 2, 2012
Photo credit: The Globe and Mail
Kevin Bieksa proved that you can’t lock out the heart of a Canuck. Knowing that charities like Canuck Place, Canucks Autism Network and Canucks Family Education Centre were probably also suffering thanks to the NHL lockout, he organized Bieksa’s Buddies – a charity hockey game between NHL players and special guests and the UBC Thunderbirds.
I was lucky enough to snag a ticket in the 20 minutes before it sold out. Here’s my recap.
As I got out of the car and made my way to Thunderbird arena, I was swimming in a sea of blue and green. Oh how I missed it! Contrary to talk in social media circles that fans were hesitant to wear Canucks colors, many came out wearing them anyway. I’m okay with that. Regardless of which side you support, that is, if you support either side, during this NHL lockout, the charities benefiting from the evening’s events all have the word “Canucks” in their name so it felt right.
The pre-game festivities included an introduction for each player. Besides current Canucks and ex-Canucks, there were some other exciting additions like Marty Bieksa and Martin Nash. Michael Buble and Willie Mitchell, listed as players on the program, turned out to be “game-time decisions” and the decision was they would coach alongside Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler. Buble later admitted he “chickened out” of playing. As for Willie, my guess is his Stanley Cup ring was too heavy and throwing off his balance when he skated. Lucky guy.
The first period started off with a lot of back and forth action. UBC scored, then Bieksa’s Buddies scored, then UBC scored again, then Bieksa’s Buddies again.
The second period turned into a bit… okay a lot… of a runaway for the Thunderbirds. With 4 unanswered goals, it made it feel even more like I was at an NHL game. I mean, it wouldn’t be a Canucks game if there wasn’t a coma nap in the middle, am I right? By the end of the second period, the score was 7-3 for UBC. Still, the mood was upbeat. I, myself, was giddy because it meant I could use my favorite hashtag – #windaturd!
And win da turd they did!
Bieksa’s Buddies came back strong in the third period. It started with a Bieksa goal – a Marty Bieksa goal! Then Chris Higgins started taking shots. Like shots as hard as his abs shots. Like shots so hard I could hear the slap of the puck against the Thunderbirds goalie’s pads from my seat in the very last row of the arena. And when he finally scored, it was a zinger and I was surprised it didn’t slice through the net. After Manny Malhotra tied the game came some Sedin magic mojo – a beauty of a cross-ice pass from Daniel to Henrik, who then passed the puck back to Daniel for a pretty much open net goal as the UBC goalie tried to get over his motion sickness. Canucks fans sighed a giant sigh of relied – the twins still got it!
Bieksa’s Buddies eventually won by a final score of 8-7.
Some other highlights:
Max Lapierre’s tenacity. Lappy was intense from the get go. He dug in the corners, he was hard on the puck and did everything but scored a goal.
Penalties. Most notably, the first penalty of the game for elbowing. I mean, who elbows in a charity game? Tanner Glass, that’s who! It got a lot of chuckles from the crowd. Almost as many laughs as the penalty called by Daniel Sedin. He got slashed, referee Al Bieksa didn’t see it, but after Daniel did some pointing and explaining, it was called. If only NHL refs would listen to Danny like that.
Marty Bieksa. He played incredibly well which left me wondering if we could trade Mason Raymond for him once the season starts.
Cory Schneider’s charitable acts. Buble may have donated $100,000, but Cory was definitely in a giving mood as well. Not only did he give up 7 goals, but when UBC pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, with UBC down by a goal and a minute left to play, Schnoo skated off the ice (to Darth Vader’s theme song) and watched from the bench and gave UBC a free shot at the open net.
From the game itself, Bieksa’s Buddies raised $100,000, after which Buble matched it with a $100,000 donation of his own, bringing the total raised to a whopping $200,000 going to Canuck Place, Canucks Autism Network and Canucks Family Education Centre. In spite of the bickering and pettiness and greed we’ve seen from the NHL lockout in the last 6 weeks, we were reminded last night of the good hearts of many of these guys, and in the process, fans got a chance to watch their hockey heroes again and deserving charities were blessed with much-needed funds – a win-win for all.
Early yesterday evening, Mike Gillis confirmed Cory Schneider has come to terms with the Vancouver Canucks. The deal, rumoured to be worth $12 million over 3 years, didn’t shock anyone. With it, the organization has made it clear that they wanted Schneider to stick around.
But the deal is also most likely the final nail in Roberto Luongo’s Vancouver career.
The long-brewing goalie controversy has not divided the two goaltenders, who by all accounts have nothing but respect for each other. As soon as the deal was announced @strombone1 tweeted, “Well deserved, really happy for him. He will be a star in this league.”
Unfortunately, the majority of fans aren’t as rational as their goalies.
Twitter has taught me one thing: there is no fence sitting in this debate. You’re either a Luongo supporter or a Luongo hater. And being a Luongo supporter means not giving Cory one ounce of credit or support.
As soon as the Schneider deal was announced, several Lu supporters were angrily tweeting that “idiot fans” will drive Schneider out of Vancouver “the way they did Luongo”. Let’s be clear here people – Luongo was not driven out of Vancouver by fans. He did not request a trade because fan criticism was too much to handle. In fact, we don’t even know if he even requested a trade at all. What we know is that he agreed to waive his no-trade clause if the Canucks organization asked him to, and that Schneider’s agent and Gillis have publicly stated they could bring both goalies back.
Others like to hide their blind and irrational Luongo love under what they think is a smart veil of concern. Tweets about Cory being unproven ran rampant last night. No, he’s never handled 65 games. He only played in 33 games this past season (a career-high) and started 28 of them, but he stood on his head in every one of them. He stopped almost 94% of the shots (0.937 save%, 2nd in NHL) he faced, including every single penalty shot. He won against the Boston Bruins in Boston. That he was in net in the Stanley Cup playoffs would lead me to believe that he’s probably done enough to earn the team’s confidence. I don’t have the proof but I’m fairly certain Vigneault does not play a drunken game of Rock Paper Scissors with Rollie Melanson to decide these things.
This ‘You’re Either With Lu or Against Him’ mentality has gone on all season long and it makes me want to scream a line from A League of Their Own, “There’s no crying in baseball!” Because guess what? Same thing applies to hockey. Just like all professional sports, it’s a business. Even with the cap increasing, it isn’t a smart business move to spend $9 million in goalie salaries so logic dictates one of Luongo or Schneider needs to be moved. In the end, going with the younger option with a stronger technical game and mental focus seems the smart business decision.
Coming to this conclusion in no way takes away from the fact Luongo gave us his best and won us many games, the most any goaltender has in this franchise’s history. He was brilliant when he was brilliant. Do I think Luongo can win us a Stanley Cup? No. I don’t think any one player can win a Cup for an entire team. But I also think that if we’re going to go the distance any time soon, we’re going to do it with Cory Schneider.
This does not mean I hate Luongo. I once slept on the couch because I was so furious at my husband for saying Luongo didn’t earn his gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, so there’s your proof. I will never boo him when he comes back as the visiting team and I will always be grateful for all the games he won for us.
All Canucks fans should be a little forlorn that it has to end this way. But accepting it doesn’t mean you hated the guy.