After every Canucks playoff game, we’ll break down one key play, frame-by-frame. (Editor’s note: Sorry folks. I know we’re a bit behind here.) The Situation After being under siege for the first half of the game, Vancouver strikes 7 seconds into its first powerplay on a Christian Ehrhoff marker. Immediately after, Chris Higgins hits the post, the puck comes out of Chicago’s zone, and Edler carries it back in as the Sedins come over the boards. Frame 1 (10:51) In the middle of a line change, Edler takes Bieksa’s cross-ice pass on his backhand. Frame 2 (10:52) Edler goes down...Click here to read more.
Author: Bart Byl
After every Canucks playoff game, we’ll break down one key play, frame-by-frame. The Situation There are less than 6 minutes left in the second period. Vancouver has a commanding 2-0 lead, and is looking dominant. Chicago looks frustrated. They didn’t score in game 1, and it’s not looking good right now. Frame 1 (14:43) It starts out as a harmless-looking rush up the ice. Bryan Bickell carries the puck through the neutral zone, with Ben Smith on his right and Markus Kruger behind them. Bieksa challenges Bickell, Henrik (top) and Daniel (bottom) stay with the wingers, while Edler (normally not...Click here to read more.
After every Canucks playoff game, we’ll break down one key play, frame-by-frame. Frame 1 (11:16, 1st period) Down a goal, Hawks press. Duncan Keith (left) receives a pass from Brian Campbell, after Ryan Kesler blocked Keith’s earlier shot. Samuelsson (right) and 3 teammates are deep in their own zone. But where’s the fifth Vancouver skater? Frame 2 (11:16) Keith swivels left to take the shot, unaware that Jannik Hansen has jumped off the bench and is making a beeline for him. Instead of using his body to protect the puck, Keith is unwittingly offering it right to Hansen. Frame 3...Click here to read more.
There are pretty goals, like Daniel’s between-the-legs shot against Calgary last year in a mean-nothing, final-game-of-the season blowout. Then there are the clutch goals: the shorthanded breakaway, the rush up ice in the dying minutes, the rebound bashed home from your knees with the goalie pulled and seconds left. In chronological order, here’s the 10 clutch goals that made you roar in relief and jubliation this season. Manny Malhotra vs Detroit Red Wings on November 6 Killing a late second-period penalty in a tied game, Malhotra strips Datsyuk at the blue line and goes in alone. Ryan Kesler vs Anaheim...Click here to read more.
I don’t hold with them new-fangled statistics like plus/minus or Corsi ratings. Why should numbers be privileged over letters? A player’s name is the best way of revealing his essence — short of cutting him open, of course. Rearranging the letters of a few Canucks’ names can reveal truth you’ll never find in a spreadsheet. Meditate on these anagrams. Daniel Sedin: Linden’s idea “Good thinking, Trevor. So, to recap, I’ll send you to the Islanders for Brian McCabe, whom my succesor will trade to get the other Sedin twin.” Henrik Sedin: Heed in rinks! Outside the arena, you can safely...Click here to read more.
Think the regular season means squat? Consider this. No team seeded lower than 5th in their conference has won the Cup. Ever. Convinced the President’s Trophy is worthless? Seven of the 24 winners — 30% — have hoisted the championship banner. Eight teams from each conference have made the postseason since 1980, when the NHL made some adjustments to accommodate the four new WHA teams. Let’s see how high each Cup winner since then had ranked in that year’s regular season. As you scan through this table, you’ll notice that fully 22 out of the 30 winners placed either first...Click here to read more.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin are fourth and fifth in league scoring, and Ryan Kesler is on pace for a 40-goal, Selke Trophy season. But superstars alone don’t win Stanley Cups. Champions need depth, and especially a dominant third line. Consider the five Stanley Cup winners since the lockout, and their third lines. Chicago: Dave Bolland, Andrew Ladd and Kris Versteeg Pittsburgh: Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke Detroit: Kris Draper, Dan Cleary and Dallas Drake Anaheim: Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer and Samuel Pahlsson Carolina: Doug Weight, Mark Recchi and Ray Whitney All five teams had hard-working third lines that...Click here to read more.
No one wants to play the dreaded Wings, but who would you rather the Canucks face in the first round: Nashville, Los Angeles, Colorado, or Calgary? Let’s grade the top nine teams in the Western Conference (throwing Calgary in the mix on the slight chance they snag the final spot) in three categories: Offense, Defense, and Goaltending. I’ve assigned a grade by giving the top NHL team in that category a mark of 100% and the lowest 50%, and used that scale to calculate a percentage for each team and then translate into a letter grade. Make sense? We’ll look...Click here to read more.
Every March, intelligent hockey fans turn to Sports Club Stats to assess the odds of NHL teams making the playoffs, and to predict their playoff position once the season ends. Be thankful for computers. They do the heavy lifting, calculating every possible combination of game results (numbering in the hundreds of thousands). Factors such as a team’s home ice performance are worked in, and the odds are recalculated after every night’s games. The Canucks Vancouver has all but clinched a postseason berth, with only a 1 in 10,000 chance of missing at this point. No surprise there: the Canucks have...Click here to read more.
Roberto Luongo only faced 22 shots last night, but he allowed three weak goals and the Canucks lost. Sound familiar? How about March 16 against the Islanders, where he allowed four goals on 12 shots? Or January 13 against Minnesota (five goals, 19 shots) or January 30 against Toronto (three goals, 8 shots)? Luongo has been pulled eight times this season. Once was against Chicago. The other seven were against teams headed to the golf course when the season ends: the Islanders, Minnesota (twice), Toronto, St. Louis, Columbus, and Calgary. Do Luongo’s legs fall asleep when he doesn’t face enough...Click here to read more.