As we reach the end of the regular season, Clay, Chris, Ed, and our special guest, Jordan Bowman from the Legion of Blog, talk Keith Ballard, pirates, astronauts, old media, new media, and oh, Zack Kassian, in this, the 6th episode of CHB TV.
After rolling through some of the weaker teams in the West, the Canucks begin a stretch of games against potential playoff dance partners.
They started with a game against the St. Louis Blues last night, a chippy affair that featured a lot of rough stuff and name calling, and resulted in a 2-1 Canucks loss in the shootout.
So, of course, we find a way to work an O.C. reference in TGATT.
Tomorrow’s #TGATT features Wolverine and Ryan Atwood. So ya, it’s gonna be a good morning.
— Lizz Moffat (@lizzmoffat) April 17, 2013
Here’s the game recap in your tweets.
Photo credit: Globe and Mail
Only 3 points back of the 8th place Detroit Red Wings and with a game in hand on them, the Desert Dogs are hungry for a win – Hehe. See what I did there? – and still fighting for the last and final playoff spot in the West. The Coyotes may not be one of the most exciting teams to watch, but give them credit, they’ve found a way in recent years to stay relevant in the wild, wild, West. Heading into tonight’s game, they’ve won 3 straight games and have points in 6 straight games (4-0-2).
But enough about the Coyotes, tonight could see the return of a player that has been missing in the Canucks lineup for quite some time. He’s suffered a few injuries in his last couple of years here, but yes, Keith Ballard could return tonight. I can feel AV’s heart filling with pride and joy. (Though that he’s coming into the lineup in place of the injured Chris Tanev probably tempers that joy a bit.)
But in all seriousness, Ryan Kesler seems to be healed and ready to get a few games under his belt before the real season starts. After leading the stretches at this morning’s game-day skate, the Canucks announced he would be back tonight and playing on a line with Mason Raymond and Zack Kassian.
My gosh, do the Canucks actually have 3 scoring lines now?
21-11-6, 48 points (1st in the Northwest Division, 3rd in the Western Conference)
The Canucks and the Coyotes split their first 2 games against each other this season. The Coyotes won the first meeting in February by a 4-2 score. The Canucks won the most recent meeting on March 21 by a 2-1 score.
For all the angst in Vancouver over the last few weeks, they’re actually 8-2-0 in their last 10 games. Despite some low-scoring – and no-scoring – efforts in some of those games, they’ve held in – thanks in large part to the play of Cory Schneider – and taken points anyway.
The first line of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows had great games against the two Alberta teams and combined for 11 points. Hank had 5 points (2G-3A), Dank had 4 points (0G-4A) and Burr had 2 points (1G-1A).
Mikkel Boedker is currently on a 3-game point streak (1G-3A) and has recorded at least a point in 4 of his last 5 games. Despite the shortened schedule, he’s only 4 points away from matching his career-high in points (28 points in 2008/2009, his first season in the league). He’s currently tied for the team lead with 24 points (7G-17A).
Alex Edler scored against the Flames on Saturday, but prior to that, he had just 1 assist in 9 games.
The Coyotes have won just 1 or their 7 road games since the beginning of March, and are a woeful 4-8-5 away from Jobing.com Arena this season. So of course, while they’re chasing a playoff spot, 7 of their last 10 games are on the road.
Dale Weise was out of the lineup so Cam Barker was back in. And Keith Ballard was back at forward. What could possibly go wrong?
Actually, it wasn’t too bad.
Against the worst team in the west, Cory Schneider got his fourth consecutive start and the Canucks extended their win streak to 4 games.
For good measure, Keith Ballard also got on the scoreboard with an assist on Alex Burrows’ game-winning goal.
Ironic that the only person who knows how to derail and contain Keith Ballard is Alain Vigneault. #TGATT
— j.Bowman (@jBowmancouver) March 25, 2013
Now on to the game.
Only weeks ago we all assumed the Canucks had the Northwest Division locked up. Sure our power play was horrible back then, the defense was muddled, injuries were taking a toll, and goaltending was simply adequate… but things aren’t that bad are they?
— j.Bowman (@jBowmancouver) March 19, 2013
That can’t be good, can it?
I like Keith Ballard.
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.
Having arrived in snow-laden Calgary just 2 and a half hours before face-off, the Canucks played hard in the first period but wilted as the game wore on.
In the video, I touch on Jannik Hansen, David Booth, early penalties, Roberto Luongo, the Canucks’ lack of discipline, bad weather, Tom Sestito and another benching of Keith Ballard.
Almost a week after the Anaheim Ducks ruined the Canucks’ season and home opener, the Canucks get their opportunity for revenge. And boy, did they get it.
The game had everything – pretty goals, big saves, big fights, a penalty shot, and even phallic-shaped light sabers.
— Clayton Corley (@opiatedsherpa) January 26, 2013
Yup, they had that and more.
As it turns out, the term “Smylosphere” was born out of a conversation between PITB’s Harrison Mooney and Thomas Drance. Giving credit where credit is due – good job, guys. It’s a great term to describe the Canucks’ online community.
Now, without further adieu, like Ryan Kesler, let’s dive into today’s Canucks-related links:
- Keith Ballard and Andrew Ebbett draw into the lineup; Aaron Rome and Byron Bitz are out. And of course, no one knows what the heck’s going on with Daniel Sedin. (David Ebner, Globe and Mail)
- As a fan, I found it hilarious that the LA Kings organization – and make no mistake, their official Twitter account is a representative of their organization – would see it fit to troll Canucks fans and our beautiful province. Whether or not this is a good move for them from a marketing or brand management perspective is a different question altogether. I do think that’s it speaks volumes that Kings management felt the need to apologize for the tweet afterwards. (David Shoalts, Globe and Mail)
- Though some didn’t think an apology was even warranted. (Scott Stinson, National Post)
- Maybe if these tweets were real. (Legion of Blog)
- Canucks haters will never buy into this, but believe it or not, the Canucks may not be the most hated team in Canada. That honor belongs to the only NHL team to have not made the playoffs since the lockout. There goes that theory that teams are only hated because they’re good. (MacLean’s)
- One more piece on the hate-on for the Canucks, complete with a calling out of professional
Internet trollToronto sports writer, Damien Cox. (Ed Willes, Vancouver Province)
- Setting up Game 2. (Nucks Misconduct)
- How to tie this series with four simple adjustments. (Canucks Army)
- Did you catch Chris on News 1130 today pimping out his participation in the NHLPA Beardathon Challenge? (News 1130)
- Finally, Sportsnet Magazine dared ask the question: Are the Canucks cursed? God, I hope not. Matt chips in with a couple of quotes. (Mike McCullough, Sportsnet Magazine)
While we can’t take credit for coining the term “Smylosphere” – my apologies but I can’t, for the life or me, remember who came up with it – here are some of our favorite Canucks-related links today:
- If the above video, doesn’t get you excited for the playoffs, I don’t know what will. (Youtube via HFBoards)
- Get to know your first round playoff opponents, the Los Angeles Kings. (Nucks Misconduct)
- Why the Canucks will beat the Kings, using my kind of math. (Legion of Blog)
- According to Jon Haggqvist, a writer for the Swedish newspaper, Allehanda, Daniel Sedin won’t be playing tonight. (Twitter @jonhaggqvist: 1, 2, 3, 4)
- Zack Kassian, Keith Ballard and Jeff Carter are pretty close to returning. (Jim Jamieson, Vancouver Province)
- Mason Raymond seeks redemption from a woeful regular season. (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province)
- For Canucks fans, it’s Stanley Cup of bust. (Mark Spector, Sportsnet)
- Not your typical no. 8 seed, can the Kings upset the Canucks? (Eric Duhatschek, The Globe and Mail)
- It’s not a goaltending controversy, it’s a goaltending tandem. (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)
- An article on Vancouver businesses’ preparations for this year’s playoffs, including a quote from yours truly. (CP via CTV)
- And finally, a great read from Thomas Drance. Relax, Canucks fans, and enjoy the ride. (Canucks Army)