Hmmm… Where was this Alex Burrows earlier this season? With a couple more goals last night, Burr now has 5 goals in 3 games.
Silver lining, I suppose, amidst the Canucks’ pretty much closed playoff window.
After defeating Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers yesterday afternoon, the Canucks are hoping to close their 4-game road trip with back-to-back wins, which, if they pull off, would be their first win streak in a couple of months. But more importantly, it would keep their faint hope of making the playoffs alive, potentially inching to within a point of the 8th place Dallas Stars, who currently hold the final wild card playoff spot. The Stars will, however, have 4 games in hand.
Nevertheless, hope, right?
Celebrating a Cup Win
The Tampa Bay Lightning will end a 6-game home stand tonight by celebrating the 10th anniversary of their Stanley Cup win in 2004. Torts, of course, coached the Lightning back then, and will likely receive a hero’s welcome from the home crowd. (Cynically, we’ll suggest there are some Canucks fans who would prefer he stays there.)
We honestly don’t know what’s more depressing – that Torts hasn’t been able to coach the Canucks this season with the same amount of success as that 2004 Lightning team, or that the Tampa Bay freaking Lightning have won a Stanley Cup.
Top Line Sighting
The top line has come alive in the last few games. After a loooong scoring drought, Alex Burrows has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 4 games. Nicklas Jensen, who is filling in for the injured Daniel Sedin has goals in back-to-back games. There hasn’t been many bright spots for the Canucks this season, but seeing Jensen have some success at the NHL level – at least for now – is one of them.
Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?
The Canucks stroll into Florida, face Roberto Luongo and the Panthers, blow a late lead, and then win a shootout.
Again, the kids – especially Nicklas Jensen and Eddie Lack – played well.
All things considered, I guess we can’t ask for more than that.
— doubleLuonGOLD (@luonGOLD) March 16, 2014
The Vancouver Canucks will take on the Florida Panthers in a noon time matinee today. On this road trip so far, they’re 1-1-0, and finish off with a back-to-back today and tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
But despite every point being so crucial to the Canucks, despite every remaining game of the season being a make-or-break game – and you can throw every other cliche out here – today, forget everything else. All everyone wants to talk about is facing long-time face of the franchise and winningest goaltender in Canucks history, Roberto Luongo, since he was traded at the trade deadline.
It’s a huge game for us, it’ll be fun to see him again but we’re focused on getting the win – Henrik Sedin
Playing against Roberto in the first game is going to be a tough game. – Eddie Lack
What Lu can’t see, he can’t stop. – Alex Burrows
It’s going to be weird. I was in that locker room a week-and-a-half ago, so it’s the first time really I’ve been traded during the season. I don’t know how I’m going to feel but it’s definitely going to feel weird. – Roberto Luongo
Please don’t shut us out. Please don’t shut us out. Please don’t shut us out.
Lose a bunch, win one, lose one, win one, lose two – the story of the Canucks’ 2013/2014 season.
The Canucks did play well. Even their power play looked like a real power play with scoring chances and stuff you should expect to have when you have one more guy on the ice than the other team does. But we’re way past the point of relishing moral victories. And with last night’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals – and the Dallas Stars getting a point against the Calgary Flames – they fall further back of the playoff picture.
Watching the Canucks game on RDS. Maybe it will sound like they suck less in French! #tgatt
— Victoria (@concretefluff) March 14, 2014
The Canucks won their last game against the Winnipeg Jets last Wednesday.
Alex Burrows not only scored his first goal of the season, but he scored twice.
Chris Higgins and his washboard abs scored the winning goal in the shootout. (Yes, the Canucks won in the shootout.)
Wait, aren’t we supposed to be tanking?
The playoff race continues tonight for the Canucks as they face a similarly-desperate Washington Capitals team. Both the Canucks (30-28-10) and the Caps (30-27-10) have 70 points, good for 10th place in the Western Conference and 11th place in the Eastern Conference, respectively. The playoff door hasn’t shut completely for either team, but unless they can string together
some a lot of wins, it’s surely about to close pretty quickly.
The Great 8
While it’s been a disappointing season overall for the Caps, Alex Ovechkin at least is having another good season. He leads the league with 44 goals; meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, the Canuck’s big 3, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler have combined for 45 goals all together. Not that this matters much tonight with Danny and Kes both out with injuries, but the stat kinda makes you cringe, eh?
Zack is Back
Zack Kassian is back tonight after serving his 3-game suspension.
Burr is Back
Well, we hope so anyway. With 2 goals, 6 shots and 5 hits, Burr is coming off what is easily his best game of the season. Maybe with the proverbial monkey off his back now, let’s hope Burr is back for good.
Kes is Out
It sounds like Kes suffered a sprained knee from Jim Slater’s knee-on-knee hit last Wednesday and will miss a couple of weeks. The injury looked a lot worse when it happened. That he’ll be able to come back for the last couple of weeks of the regular season is good news or bad news, depending on which side of the “should the Canucks tank” you fall on.
With Brad Richardson out as well, we may be looking at a lineup with Hank, Shawn Matthias, Jordan Schroeder and Zac Dalpe down the middle.
Say what you will about the Canucks, but when it comes to their involvement in the community, it’s completely top-notch. Here’s a video of their recent visit to BC Children’s Hospital.
We all could have predicted the epic slumps by the Sedins, Burrows, Edler, and Booth right? Well, maybe Booth, but for the most part this year has been a huge surprise and not in a good way. The offence has completely dried up and the players look fatigued, unemotional and simply out of sorts. Management is underfire constantly from the fans and media and change could be coming soon.
I, for one, consider this year an anomaly. Typically, when players get into the twilight of their careers, their play simply goes a bit downhill, not right off a cliff. I believe this core still has some good hockey left in it and I expect to see some more predictable stats next year. That being said, on the EXTREMELY rare chance that I am wrong, we may have to look to a younger, greener core, one with lots of questions, albeit lots of potential. In this countdown, I’ve compiled a list of those young hopefuls that the organization expects will eventually fortify a solid team. We’re going with the youngins’ here so only 90′s babies allowed (sorry Chris Tanev and Eddie Lack). A lot of ifs and maybes on this list, but hey, that’s the fun of being a sports fan, isn’t it?
The top 5 up and coming Canucks are:
5) Frankie Corrado: A young, composed d-man who seems to be cut from the same cloth as Chris Tanev. Not an offensive force but reliable and poised. Probably no less than a year removed from being a mainstay on the Canuck blueline.
4) Hunter Shinkaruk: Not exactly a physical force or an intimidating player, Shinkaruk relies on his skill and positioning to provide offence. One of two 2013 first round draft picks, Hunter looked like one of the better young prospects during the preseason and even chipped in with a few goals.
3) Nicklas Jensen: The Canucks’ first round draft pick in 2011, Jensen brings size and skill to a team which needs both. The big Dane has been slow to develop but was the most productive Utica Comet before his latest call-up to the big squad.
2) Zack Kassian: Already a regular on the Canucks, Kassian is getting better every game. While he was coveted for his grit, it’s his passing and powerful skating that has kept him with the club. If Kassian can crack the top 6, expect good things offensively.
1) Bo Horvat: The number 9 overall pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft came at a heavy price. In losing Cory Schneider, the Canucks gained Horvat, a skilled, clutch forward with future captain written all over him. They need Bo to step in and be an impact player. Plain and simple.
“There’s rock bottom, then 50 feet of crap, then me.” – Rachel Green, Friends
It can’t possibly get worse than this, right?
Just when we thought the Canucks had hit rock bottom – the Heritage Classic loss, the Heritage Classic drama that lead to the Roberto Luongo trade, losing games consistently and in spectacular fashion – they, on Monday night against the New York Islanders, put together one of the worst third period meltdowns in NHL history (with all due respect to the Leafs’ meltdown against the Bruins in Game 7 in last year’s playoffs). Up 3-zip going into the final frame, the Canucks allowed the Islanders to score 6 goals in the first 12 minutes of the third period, and proceeded to lose by a 7-4 score.
The Canucks, only two seasons ago the best team in the NHL, are now so bad they’re setting record lows. And that’s saying something considering how bad they were for the first 30-something years of their existence.
All that said, I refuse to say this is rock bottom. But only because saying so would probably just give the Canucks the opportunity to try and *ahem* top themselves again.
The Playoff Picture
After the Dallas Stars’ win last night, the Canucks are now 6 points back of the Stars for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, despite having played more games than the teams they’re chasing.
Tonight, they play the Winnipeg Jets, another team ahead of them in the standings, for the third and final time this season. Home ice has been an advantage for both teams in this series; both the Canucks and the Jets split the first 2 games with the home team winning each time.
For what it’s worth, the Jets are the only team with a worse record (1-1-4) than the Canucks since the Olympic break.
For the Canucks, Daniel Sedin, Brad Richardson, Mike Santorelli and Andrew Alberts are all still on the mend. Zack Kassian will also miss the game as he serves the final game of his 3-game suspension. Ryan Stanton has missed 3 games, but practiced yesterday; he may be a game-time decision.
For the Jets, Mark Scheifele, Chris Thorburn, John Albert, James Wright and Grant Clitsome are all out with injuries.
I’ve always wanted to play the organ at a Vancouver Canucks game. And when I go to watch the Canucks play at Rogers Arena, I like to take in the sights and sounds of the entire arena experience – and not just the game itself.
As a musician, I pay particular attention to the music: both from the DJ and from the organ. And I’ve come up with a medley of songs that I typically hear at Canucks games.
You’ll see it’s a nice mix of hockey standards (chants and cheers) and actual pop songs.
The timing of my O Canada reprise is quite epic. You’ll see what I mean.