Apr 282010

As per the NHL

Game 1 -
Saturday, May 1 @ Chicago, 8:00 p.m. – CBC, VERSUS
Game 2 –
Monday, May 3 @ Chicago, 9:00 p.m. – CBC, VERSUS
Game 3 –
Wednesday, May 5 @ Vancouver, 9:30 p.m. – CBC, VERSUS
Game 4 –
Friday, May 7 @ Vancouver, 9:30 p.m. – CBC, VERSUS
Game 5 –
*Sunday, May 9 @ Chicago, 8:00 p.m. – CBC, VERSUS
Game 6 –
*Tuesday, May 11 @ Vancouver, 9:30 p.m. – CBC, VERSUS
Game 7 –
*Thursday, May 13 @ Chicago, 8:00 p.m. – CBC, VERSUS

All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST)
*denotes games played if necessary

Apr 272010

[EDIT: Mike Gillis told Team 1040 radio this afternoon that Game 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks will take place Saturday, with Game 2 scheduled for Monday.

Game one's HNIC on Saturday is scheduled for a 5PM PST start as per CBC.]

I realize we may have posted the Canucks vs. Blackhawks second round schedule posted a bit prematurely. As it turns out, the league is still in talks to finalize the schedule:

The unexpected survival of the Montreal Canadiens, who have forced the Washington Capitals to a Game 7 on Wednesday, has the CBC and the National Hockey League waffling on initial plans to start the Canucks and Blackhawks on Friday.

“I gave you some bad information yesterday about the series starting Friday,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault told reporters this morning. “We’re not quite sure anymore, so the league will let us know here in the next little while. I think it’s Friday or Saturday. Or Thursday.”

It won’t be Thursday. The Chicago Bulls, on the verge of elimination in the NBA playoffs, have the United Center booked that night. And the Canucks can’t start a series a four-hour flight away on one day’s notice.

It’s possible the Canucks and Blackhawks will play back to back, Saturday and Sunday, to satisfy American television.

We’ll keep you posted, of course, and update this page with the correct schedule as soon as it becomes official.

Apr 262010

If there was one thing the Canucks learned in the regular season that we’ve seen pay dividends in the NHL’s second season, it has been the Canucks ability to stay calm and composed in the latter part of a game, specifically the third period, when in a tie game or down a goal or two. The Canucks lead the NHL in regular season third-period-come-from-behind-wins with eleven, and after last night’s third-period-come-from-behind-win the Canucks won the series four games to two with the win being their second come from behind of the series.

Despite the score in any game we’re seeing a Canucks team that believes in it’s system, in it’s players, and in it’s goaltender. Roberto Luongo stole the show and stole the game last night, but despite being down 2-1 going into the final frame last night the Canucks look composed and collected the entire time. The Canucks for the time being seem to have mastered the effect of pressure. They didn’t panic once through the pressure put on by the Kings and building off the momentum of each save from captain Roberto Luongo, they came together as a team.

The Canucks could have a blistering offense, the world’s most outstanding goal tender, and a rock solid blue line, but it would mean nothing if they didn’t keep composure. Better yet, the Canucks seem to thrive when going into the third period down by a goal or tied. They save their best for last every night and that subtle confidence in their own abilities and each other’s play is what’s going to take the Canucks deep. A lot of teams fall apart if they go down early or if they get frustrated by a hot opposing goal tender. This year’s edition of the Canucks however, seems to have learned an all important lesson about staying confident and keeping their composure. It’s something that’s helped them battle back from adversity multiple times before and it’s a trait that will go a long way towards ensuring a deep playoff run this year. As they say, it’s not over till it’s over.

Apr 172010

It’s well known that to get through the Western Conference is a test of endurance. It’s a physical affair and you don’t only have to beat your opponent on the score sheet but you have to physically out play them in order to win a series. For this reason we see the importance of blue-liners and the bottom six alike as the grit factor becomes (in some series, or on some nights) the deciding factor of a game.

The Canucks in game one not only dominated the play of the game but they out hit the Kings en route to an OT victory. The physical part of the game plays such an important role which a lot of people sometimes don’t realize. It affects the pace of the game, it has an impact on the smaller battles within the game and it has a big influence on the psyche of the team not only doing the hitting but the team being hit. In the case of the Canucks in game one, Edler was a derailed train that was hitting anything on skates wearing a crown. Edler’s play not only acts as something that amps up the team but it wears down a Kings team that in the case of game one, had no business being in such a close game. In what was Edler’s best game of the season his impact in the game due to his physical game was more than just his defensive play. When other players see how he’s playing the effect is contagious. The Canucks did a great job of feeding off of each other’s energy and they’re going to need it in game two tonight as well.

One of the Canucks goals as they advance through this playoffs should be to get into each series as fresh as possible. Sweeping ever series is not realistic and sometimes the extra days off aren’t ideal. The Canucks however need to come out of each game as the team that did the hitting, not the team that received the beat down. Later in the playoffs should they face a Chicago, a San Jose, or a Phoenix, they’re going to realize even more so than now that the grit game is a game within the game. If the Canucks can win the physical match-up most nights it’s going to have a long term benefit to them as the playoffs wind on. The loss of Mitchell to the grit game was huge, but should the Canucks go deep and Mitchell return his presence is not only going to fortify our blue line, it’s going to bring in a fresh pair of legs that’s going to play the way Edler did in game one, night in and night out.

Apr 032010

With the Canucks having clinched a playoff spot in a shootout against the Ducks (funnily enough the same team they clinched their playoff spot in a shootout against last year) the focus now becomes staying healthy. The Canucks are almost guaranteed the NW Division title. The Calgary/Colorado game tonight will all but determine the Canucks NW Division title hopes, or further reduce their magic number.

At this point, while I want Henrik to win the Art Ross, the Canucks to win the the Division, and Canucks records to fall left right and center, the players have said it and I agree with them, that winning and moving on in the playoffs is the only thing that matters. A division title, a scoring title, personal records and new franchise marks mean nothing if the Canucks are a first round, second round, or third round bust. This city is screaming for a cup, the Canucks are screaming for a cup.

The Canucks main focus at this point needs to be to stay healthy. With Samuelsson and Bernier skating again, and Demitra forced back into early action because of Daniel’s back spasms, the Canucks are coming together at the right time. Up front with an offense that’s second only the the Great OV8, the Canucks concern with a healthy set of forwards has to be the blue line. We miss Willie Mitchell, that’s established. Unfortunately it’s looking more and more like Mitchell’s return won’t be in time. On a roster that has a struggling Edler, and a breakdown-prone Andrew Alberts, the Canucks need to count on a healthy Salo, O’Brien, and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Rome. Ehrhoff is going to have to be the Canucks workhorse this season. With him setting a new career high for points in a season he’s ready to hit the post season.

The Canucks have their injured corps returning at the perfect time. With four games left in the regular season, we’re in the final stages of the Canucks stretch drive and now is the time to make any final tweaks and stay healthy. Winning the division, having the Art Ross winner, and holding a host of new franchise records and personal bests will only be the cherry on top if the Canucks have a successful post season run.

Mar 252010

Last night at the Ducks game there was a fight. Now was this any ordinary fight on the street between a Canucks fan and a Ducks fan I wouldn’t care. This was in GM Place and a few realizations have me irked at the whole situation.

Yesterday on my twitter “#Canucks” feed I noticed this tweet from a Melissa Rondpre saying “going to my first hockey game tonight! woo go canucks <3"

Now I don't know Melissa, but this morning when monitoring what came up in the Canucks feed I found this video of the fight between the Canucks fan and the Ducks fan:

Now after watching this video several times I noticed that the user who’d uploaded it was MRondpre, none other than Melissa herself. I don’t know Melissa as I mentioned earlier, but there’s something that bothers me about the message that a fan like her gets when they go to a game and this is one of the first real “fan experiences” they have.

Shortly after the fight she tweeted, “just witnessed a fist fight between a canucks fan and a ducks fan. awesome. :]”

Now I enjoy something like this at the hedonistic level, to a degree, and mostly because it’s not happening to me. I wouldn’t want to be that Ducks fan, or the Canucks fan for that matter. I don’t approve of nor do I condone what the Canucks fan did the the Ducks fan. What message are we sending to fans? The Canucks have sold out 298 straight games, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same fans coming every night. The number of new fans at every game is probably fairly high and the message this sends to new fans of the game, of this team is a terrible one.

The fans cheer the Canucks fan after he absolutely decimates the Duck fan, and the walks out of the section a hero. Canucks fans for the most part are a classy group. I’m not taking this moment to bash the fans of other teams. Melissa (according to her YouTube profile) is 19. It might not have phased her or had the same impact on her as it may have had on a younger kid. What message does this give to kids? What happens to the kid who’s in elementary school, he/she takes this back and thinks it’s okay to pick fights with other kids that are fans of other teams?

I’ve seen many a hockey game in a section with fans that are from out of town and in some cases don’t even speak English very well. They hear what an amazing game it is to watch, and in some cases are tourists that hear they have to take in a Canucks game and come for the experience. In one case there was a list made of the top 100 tourist things to do and on that list was taking in a Canucks game. What does this tell out of town visitors about Vancouverites? Do we disregard our good behaviour because the Olympics are over and we don’t have the world on our doorstep?

Think about it fans. We want to set a good example for not only younger generations of fans but new fans of our game, and of the team we love. Lets not make asses of ourselves.

Mar 182010

With Henrik hitting 90 points for the year with 15 NHL games remaining he’s on pace to shatter his career highs. That being said Henrik’s 90 points makes him the first 90 point player since Bertuzzi (97) and Naslund (104) but passed that mark in the 2002-03 season. It’s been long enough that some of the Canucks bloggers decided to get together and share just how long it’s been since the Canucks last had a 90 point player.

“The Canucks haven’t had a 90-point player since J.S. Giguere won the Conn Smythe Trophy. Yes, that is sad.”
Andrew Bucholtz, Canuck Puck

“The Canucks haven’t had a 90-point player since Dan Cloutier won playoff series.”
JJ Guerrero, Canucks Hockey Blog

“The Canucks haven’t had a 90-point player since John Mayer convinced ladies that their bodies were a wonderland.”
Sean Zandberg, Nucks Misconduct

“The Canucks haven’t had a 90 point player since they had Peter Skudra in net and Harold Druken taking a faceoff. OUCH.”
Cam Davie, Canucks Army

“The Canucks haven’t had a 90 point player since we found Nemo”
The Benched Whale

“The Canucks haven’t had a 90 point player since… Auld got recalled and wasn’t nearly as bald.”
Guts McTavish, 24 Hours

Jan 182010

I’ve never been a huge AV fan. Some of his decisions make me tres annoyed and well I think at one point I wanted to email Gillis my head coaching resume. But anyways, on After Hours on Saturday AV sat there and defended Alex Burrows in such a steely, articulate, and lovely way it was absolutely wonderful. Ooooh talk about loyalty and standing by your players. CBC had just ripped Burrows at length in their intermission feature and AV calmly told them how wrong they were. I admit it, the Canucks head coach had me swooning. How nice for Burr to hear that after the week he had and I bet the other guys feel like AV will have their backs completely in the future as well. Not that he needs it, but AV has gained a huge amount of respect from me. What a stud.

Ron Mclean and CBC should be embarrassed at how biased they are. For a national broadcast, that was shameful. It’s obvious Burr made some mistakes handling this issue, but he didn’t deserve to have his character insulted so completely with not even a mention of Auger’s errors. Sure, Ron Mclean is a trained referee and of course will support Auger, but it was poor reporting and irritating to see when it looked like this drama was going to be put away.

Either way, this will be the last time I write about it. What a fun win against the Penguins, eh? I know the Penguins had the most rookie-est of goalies in net, but the offence looked positively murderous and sexy!

Nov 072009

Last night was a typical example of the Canucks coming up short in front of their goaltender. However, the difference this time was it wasn’t infront of who you would have expected. In the Canucks 2-1 loss to the stars last night, Cory Schneider got his first start of the season and he did not disappoint. Last year’s AHL player of the year had his audition with the Canucks after his stint last year was below par, and his pre-season was less than stellar, and he shone brightly. He turned away 22 shots in the first period and gave the Canucks every chance to win.

The Canucks last night fell into the trap of Marty Turco. The Canucks offense has thrived off of excellent forechecking this year, and the problem with playing Dallas is that Turco shuts down your forecheck by playing almost every puck that enters the trapezoid. The Canucks got help on Raymond’s 7th goal of the season as Raymond is slowly coming into his own, but fell short after they waited until the 3rd period to find their legs and start skating.

The Canucks fall to 3-6 on the road, and in a game where Kesler, Samuelsson, and Henrik Sedin failed to find the score sheet, the Canucks let down Cory Schneider who for the first time in his career proved he is capable of playing at the NHL level. Cory made good on his chance and the Canucks failed to capitalize on his outstanding performance. The Canucks now 1-1 on their current 5 game road trip next face the St. Louis Blues who they swept out of the first round of the playoffs last year. There is rumour that Luongo or Hansen could be back in the lineup as early as next Tuesday. Word has it that Daniel Sedin has been flown out to join the team on this road trip which means we also might see him reunited with his brother sometime in the next three games.

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