Mar 032014
 

476186525_slide
(Photo credit: nhl.com)

  • First off, can we talk about Eddie Lack getting the start over Roberto Luongo? Complete lack of respect. Yes, Lack has done well lately, but Luongo is your starting goaltender. He’s shown nothing but class and grace while the team botched their goaltending situation the last couple of years, and he definitely should have played in net today. Honestly, when will Lu get a chance to play in a game like the Heritage Classic again?
  • The game started off great for the Canucks. They took a 2-0 lead in the first 11:27 of the game, and for a while it looked like they were ready to blow the closed roof out of BC Place. Jason Garrison opened the scoring with a power play goal their first power play goal in 4 games – hey, at least the Canucks bumped one slump – and then Zack Kassian followed it up with his 11th goal of the season.
  • Speaking of which, Alex Burrows still hasn’t bumped his scoring slump. For those keeping track, he’s nearing 10 months since he last scored a goal. Just sayin’.
  • But of course, the Canucks blew a 2-0 lead, allowing the Senators to score twice in a span of 1:47 to tie up the game later in the first period. Classic Canucks blowing leads.
  • After the first period, things just went downhill for the Canucks. Cody Ceci put the Senators up 3-2 in the second period, and the Canucks didn’t have many chances to get even. And then of course Colin Greening sealed the deal with an empty-net goal with a minute and a half still remaining in the game. Anyone else thought it was too early to pull Lack for the extra attacker? Another bad decision by Torts?
  • Injury report: After one Sedin (Hank) returned from an injury, the other one went down to one. Daniel was hit into the boards by Marc Methot and remained down on the ice for a few minutes before slowly skating off the ice. He went straight for the Canucks dressing room and return for the rest of the game.
Mar 022014
 

SpezzaHSedin_HCjerseys_DL
(Photo credit: nhl.com)

Ottawa Senators (26-23-11) at Vancouver Canucks (28-24-10)

The Vancouver Canucks will take on the Ottawa Senators at BC Place for the 2014 Heritage Classic. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s snowing as we speak in downtown Vancouver.

Cold Snap

Just as cold as the weather outside is the Canucks’ offence. They’ve scored a grand total of 6 goals in their last 6 games, and not surprisingly, they’ve lost all but 1 of them. The Sedins, though they’ve been playing a bit better since the Olympic break, haven’t scored in 2013. Alex Burrows hasn’t scored since the 2012/2013 season. In fact, much of the Canucks’ offence over the last quarter of a season has been provided by Ryan Kesler, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen, and Kesler, who has goals in consecutive games and leads the Canucks with 21 goals for the season, may or may not want to be traded before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

Goaltending Controversy, pt. 10438

According to TSN, it is expected that backup goaltender, Eddie Lack, will be getting the start today. If he does, it will be his third consecutive start. It will also be a huge slap to the face of starting goaltender, Roberto Luongo. “I’ve always wanted to play in an outdoor game, so I was excited when I saw we got one this year and I was looking forward to it.” Luongo said. Unfortunately, that might not happen. Canucks coach, John Tortorella, said he will announce the starting goaltender today before the game. Let’s hope saner heads prevail.

Mar 012014
 

C4 on CHB

C4 on CHB – a canucks hockey blog podcast

In the first podcast since the Olympics, Chris and Matt are joined by J.J. and Lizz for the sixteenth episode of C4.

They provide some insight into the Heritage Classic, discuss what to expect come trade deadline (KESLER! LUONGO!), and chat about how a certain CHBer is going to get married. And as always, we involve our listeners in #AskCHB and end it off with some Canucks Haiku (even though Clay didn’t make this episode).

Don’t Let This Be ’97 – March 1, 2014

Mar 012014
 

Sure, the game had its moments. Like Ryan Kesler scoring – shorthanded – in his first game back from injury, in his first game since word got out that he had requested a trade out of Vancouver. Like Eddie Lack standing on his head again, allowing just one goal for the 6th time in his last 8 starts. Like Keith Ballard returning to Rogers Arena (playing in the game and not sitting in the press box).

But let’s be reality here. Canucks vs. Wild games aren’t the most exciting games at the best of times, and last night’s was no different. Perhaps fittingly, it ended in an extra long shootout – seven rounds, to be exact – that was only extra long because no one could score.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Feb 272014
 

Welcome back from the Olympic break, Canucks fans.

How about we break that 7-game losing streak, eh?

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Feb 262014
 
(Photo Credit: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

(Photo Credit: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

With Team Canada’s gold medal performance in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi still fresh in our minds, it’s time once again to try and focus on the battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup. The quick change-over from teammates to opponents to teammates again is all part of the Olympic experience. But now that their country’s flag on the front of their jersey has been replaced with the NHL logos, it’s time to reacquaint themselves for the stretch run. That means, no more giveaways, *ahem* Daniel Sedin, though Canada appreciated the assist on Sunday morning. In all, 10 St. Louis Blues players and 7 Vancouver Canucks players were on Olympic rosters, and all, save for a few exceptions, should be back on the ice tonight at Rogers Arena.

Tonight marks the start of a 3-game homestand for the Canucks. Believe it or not, despite their troubles this season, the Canucks have won every meeting against the Blues this season. Sure their last matchup, back on January 10th, was in the midst of better times for the Canucks, but what the hey, with how the last couple of months have turned out, it’s good to cling on to something good.

The Canucks have 22 games left this season, and as we speak, they’re outside the playoff picture. But if we were to look for reason for hope, they’re also still within striking distance of a wild card spot and the 3rd seed in the Pacific Division. In fact, a couple of points tonight could move them back into the playoff picture, although the teams around them all have games in hand.

The Bachelor

With fresh legs, the well-rested Eddie Lack will be in goal tonight to give Roberto Luongo the night off.

Lack had a good two weeks. Well, mostly. He did get to watch The Bachelor, but he also had time to make – and lose – an ill-fated bet.

I wish I was kidding.  (twitter.com/eddielack)

(twitter.com/eddielack)

I wish I was kidding.

Ironman 2

Henrik Sedin is expected to play tonight after missing 9 games with a rib injury. Of course, the injury kept him off Team Sweden for the Olympics, but I heard they did alright without him.

Not-So-Wonder Twins

Hank hasn’t scored a goal in 19 games; Daniel hasn’t scored one in 17 games. Their usual linemate, Alex Burrows hasn’t scored, well, since last season. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why the Canucks are 24th in the league in scoring.

The Missing

Ryan Kesler won’t play tonight and is day-to-day with a hand injury. Chris Tanev, Mike Santorelli and Andrew Alberts are no-gos as well.

For the Blues, Jordan Leopold and Vladimir Sobotka will not be in the lineup tonight.

Feb 262014
 
Kes-burr

Well the Olympics have come and gone with Canada seizing glory and a gold medal to boot. It was fun while it lasted but now it’s time to shift our focus back to the remainder of the NHL season and a Canuck team in disarray. The upcoming stretch drive will surely be tense and stressful on fan and player alike as teams scramble to cement their position in the post-season.

As of late, there have not been many smiles within the Canucks locker room as they have suffered an abysmal start (if you can still call it that heading into March) to the year 2014. The players look sullen, depressed and aggravated in post-game interviews and media scrums. Perhaps, in this lies the problem. Anyone who has played sports knows that when you have fun you play well and when you play well you have fun. Yes, I realize these are professional athletes making millions of dollars but all of them started playing hockey not for money but for the love of the game. The team camaraderie and locker room horseplay constitute a large part of what makes this game so great. The Canucks have a history of comedic moments and they often coincide with strong team-play (Kesler’s 2010-2011 interview bomb-skills anyone?) Perhaps a little humor and laughter could spice up what seems to be a stale energy in the locker room.

Here are some of the funnier off-ice moments from past seasons:

5) Rookie Dance-Off – Alex Edler, and the late Luc Bourdon show off their moves in an epic battle at a charity event. Who knew quiet and solemn Edler was such an accomplished break-dancer?

4) Luongo Poetry – Roberto shows off his linguistic skills in a TSN segment. Lou wearing spectacles, a scarf and a paper-boy hat whilst referencing Byfuglien’s “big ass”. Need I say more?

3) Ryan Kesler Interrupts Pelvic Exam – This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Kesler calls a doctor with some good news and catches him in a somewhat “compromising position”. Hilarity ensues.

2) Dale Weise and a Missing Helmet – Someone hides Dale’s helmet and panic starts to set in. I wonder if he would have been this worried when Vigneault was the head coach?

1) Kesler Bomb – En route to a 40-goal season Kesler started a new trend in the locker room which became known as the “Kesler Bomb”. No one was safe – everyone was a potential target.

Feb 232014
 
Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune.

Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune.

I’m overflowing with emotion.  This simple game with two sticks, a net, a round rubber disc and some ice can fill my heart with joy or break it so easily it’s breathtaking. And today it filled my heart with joy – and gold.

  • I kept calling them the “Soft Swedes” because in my opinion most of these guys aren’t incredibly physical on their NHL teams. But apparently playing for your country brings out the hip check in you. According to NBC before the game Babcock showed Team Canada a picture of Alfredsson hitting a player and said, “When does he do that? Never. I’m his coach.” And in my opinion the Swedes were more physical than us. But we didn’t need to be physical. We needed to be smart and in control – and we were. I feel bad for Lundqvist because he was doing his best possible and his team did nothing to help him out.
  • Apparently, Nicklas Backstrom was banned for using an illegal allergy medication. If that’s true, it’s really sad. How hard is it to make sure these guys know what they can and can’t take? I don’t think he would have made a big enough difference for the Swedish team  to change the outcome but still, it’s unfortunate.
  • If you’re whining that a player from your favorite NHL team didn’t get ice time in the final game, you’re missing the point. It’s not about your local team. It’s about your NATIONAL team. PK Subban, Dan Hamhuis, Roberto Luongo, all did something to help get us this far. They earned their medals and it shouldn’t matter at what point they touched the ice. Now shut up and enjoy the gold and respect the choices that got us here.
  • Is anyone else sad that now these guys are going to have to go back to being ‘enemies’? I’m sad that I’m going to have to go back to hating Patrice Bergeron and cursing Jonathan Toews. But how great is it to see them all together, arms around each other, singing the national anthem? Just last season, Duncan Keith knocked out Jeff Carter’s teeth and today they’re hugging on the ice. All for the love of our great country. I’m tearing up, you guys…
  • I’m not going to lie; it’s not easy being a Canadian in America during the Olympics. I miss CBC coverage and even Don Cherry. I was cheering in my apartment at 4 a.m. and not hearing a bunch of other people in the neighbourhood cheering too. I can’t go dance in the street… well, I can but they might call the cops or immigration. But the victory is still sweet my friends. No matter where you live hold your head up high and wave that Maple Leaf. I’ll be at the beach in Malibu today and I’ll be wearing my Team Canada T-shirt. I hope you are rocking the red, white and GOLD no matter where you are too!

Where are you going to celebrate? What was your favorite moment of the tournament? Tell us!

Feb 212014
 

Josh Hanner/NY Times

Josh Hanner/NY Times


Every team is going to have a game where they struggle. Every team will have to face a red-hot goalie at some point. We had the fortune of having the shaky game against Norway and the red-hot goalie with Latvia, who had little else to stop us. The USA had the misfortune of having a shaky game and the red-hot goalie in the same game – our game.

  • I just want to say to the USA fans blaming Quick, you’re the reason the world thinks Americans are stupid.  If it wasn’t for Quick you’d have lost that game 5-0. The end.
  • Kunitz is the 2014 reincarnation of the 2012 Mason Raymond. He couldn’t score if the net was empty and the size of a barn.  But damn he just never stops trying.
  • Jonathan Toews is the most amazing puck handler I have ever seen. No he hasn’t scored in this tourney but he is winning face offs and stealing pucks and controlling and setting up plays. He’s been insanely good.
  • Remember that time everyone, including me, thought our weakest link was goaltending? Ha! We must have been drunk. Luongo has a shut out. Price has a shutout – against the United States of America. To quote a certain gold medal goalie with the twitter handle Strombone1;  “Jesus Price!” Now someone please replace Lundqvist’s equipment with his NYR equipment from the beginning of the season (the stuff he couldn’t play in to save his life). I’ll buy you a beer if you do!

Guys… we’re going to the gold medal final! Again. But the end of the day Sunday our Canuck Dan Hamhuis will have an Olympic medal. Roberto Luongo will be a 2-time medalists. The color is the only thing left to fight for. Fight hard boys! We love ya no matter what but fight hard!

Predictions anyone? Tell us!

Feb 192014
 
Jean Levac/PostMedia News

Jean Levac/PostMedia News

I’m still shaking as I write this. Dear Hockey Gods we almost lost to Latvia. LATVIA?!

  • Major props goes to the Latvian goalie Kristers Gudlevskis. Insane play. Insane effort. Insane heart.
  • @MaltbyMVP tweeted “This isn’t Canada sucking. This is Latvia playing their heart out. You’re an idiot if you think otherwise.” And he’s 100% right. 57 shots on goal is Canada playing well. 54 blocked shots and saves is Latvia and their goalie doing everything possible to pull off a miracle. And 1 shot attempt not hitting the net was just Latvia cheating and the Refs missing it. No other way to look at one of their players, not the goalie, swiping the puck out of the crease as it starts to trickle past the line. But that just put Karma in a Team Canada jersey so in the end, it worked in our favor.
  • Hey Luongo Homers, are you finally going to give Carey Price some credit? I am not a Price fan. I am not a Luongo fan. To be honest, I thought that after game 2 Luongo should have been the one to keep getting the starts. But Babcock thought otherwise and Babcock knows what he’s doing. Today proved it. Price kept us in this. If you can’t give him that then you’re truly letting emotion (for Luongo) override hockey smarts and common sense. Now should Price start against America? I guess so if only because the US’s strongest weapon right now might be Phil Kessel and Price has faced him more. But that said, Lu beat the US team once… barely, but it was an important win.  To be honest I don’t have 100% confidence in either Lu or Price in against the USA. Do you? If so, which one and why?
  • Paging the Top Forwards in the World! Please proceed to the net – and put the puck in it!  We absolutely have to start finding a way to score more. Like I said, this almost-loss wasn’t that we weren’t trying. But I personally feel we haven’t scored enough in any of our wins except Austria. We need to see goals from Perry, Toews, St. Louis and Crosby. And more from Getzlaf and Carter. And have Weber and Doughty keep doing what they’re doing. Then and probably only then are we going to be able to beat the USA in regulation. It seems like a lot of “If Onlys” but hello, these are truly the best forwards in the world. If they can’t do it (all at once) who can? And it’s now or never Team Canada. Truly. No exaggeration. It is now or never.

So do you have a prediction for USA-Canada? What do you think the score will be? Tell us!

And where are you watching? This Canadian has taken Friday off work and will be screaming/cheering her lungs out from her West Hollywood apartment. How about you?

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