Nov 232013
 

Well, that was a big monkey of their backs.

After 5 consecutive losses, a stretch in which they scored a grand total of 6 goals, the Vancouver Canucks busted out of their slump in a big way, and beat the Columbus Blue Jackets by a 6-2 score.

Here’s hoping this is the start of some good puck luck for the good guys.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Oct 252013
 
John Tortorella shares a laugh with referee Wes McCauley

John Tortorella shares a laugh with referee Wes McCauley

The Vancouver Canucks continued their long road trip with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Devils in New Jersey. Once again, it was the battle of former teammates as Roberto Luongo faced off against Cory Schneider (figuratively and not literally), giving me yet another opportunity to post my latest Canucks music video.

But I digress. After overtime had concluded, the cameras caught John Tortorella, referee Wes McCauley, and a few Canucks players sharing a chuckle as Torts handed over his shootout line-up.

We will likely never know what exactly they were all giggling about, but it’s sure fun to speculate. So we proudly present to you the Top 10 Things John Tortorella and the Referee Were Laughing About:

HM: The initial shootout list had BURROWS – SCHROEDER – HANSEN. – submitted by @tony_p_power

HM: “You’re seriously going to put in a Sedin for the shootout?” – submitted by @Reinhart73

HM: Torts wrote “Sedin” on the shootout list in an attempt to have both Sedins on the ice for a single attempt. – submitted by @PPGoose

HM: “Torts, you spelled Kesler S-e-d-i-n.” – submitted by @Drbl24

10: “Sestito in the 3 spot… Yeah that’s funny.” – submitted by @auldie10

9: “…and then Sean joins Twitter and says he’ll have better tweets than his Dad!” – submitted by @Rozzy80

8: “Edler? Seriously?” “Yeah, watch this.” – submitted by @BrowntoBure

7: “I am just gonna use Luongo. He is the best player we have tonight.” – submitted by @basketballphil

6: “You lost some players Torts … you can always use Lack in the shootout.” – submitted by @carlz8

5: “Just keep laughing so Alberts thinks he’ll be in the shootout.” – submitted by @elmeebaterina

4: Torts: “Bet you ten bucks Edler will score in the shootout.” Ref: “No brainer.” *whispers to himself* “Idiot.” – submitted by @jocethetip

3: “Look, I don’t know why the kid behind me looks so damn confused, I just work here…” – submitted by @octobermidnight

2: Torts: “I’m going to put Daniel in.” Ref: “ROIL (rolling on the ice laughing)”. – submitted by @TheFalconer

1: “Watch this, I’m going to use Daniel AND Edler and we’ll still win this shoot out!” – submitted by @jaybizzones

 

I wanted to leave you with a nice video from after the game last night.  With Tortorella as he addressed the media was Liam Traynor and his family.  Liam suffers from cerebral palsy and has been friends with Tortorella from back when Tortorella was coaching the Rangers.  Liam was featured in HBO’s “24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic”.

Kudos to Tortorella for making time for Liam and his family.  Torts said it best at the end of the video: “This is more important than hockey.”

Oct 202013
 

The Vancouver Canucks played the Pittsburgh Penguins in an early morning match-up so we get a dose of Sidney Crosby with our eggs and coffee.

And that’s not even the best part.

See, after globetrotting over the last few months, Lizz Moffat is back. And so is The Game According to Twitter.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Oct 122013
 

Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens

Photo credit: canucks.com

The good news for the Vancouver Canucks is, tonight’s opponents aren’t the San Jose Sharks.

The bad news is, the Canucks haven’t beaten tonight’s opponents, the Montreal Canadiens, at Rogers Arena since October 7, 2009.

To complicate things for the Canucks, they’ll have to go against the storied Habs without top defensemen, Alex Edler, who was suspended for 3 games because Tomas Hertl lowered his head and skated it into Edler’s shoulder for his head shot on Tomas Hertl. Former Habs defenseman, Yannick Weber, who has been playing as a winger, is expected to move back and replace Edler’s spot on d.

Who to watch

Second-year players, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, are 1st and 4th in Habs’ team scoring, respectively, picking up nicely where they left off last season. Gallagher, especially, has been a revelation. Not much was expected of the diminutive, former Vancouver Giant who was selected in the 5th round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft – only two picks earlier, the Canucks selected Adam Polasek – but all Gallagher has done at the NHL level is produce; in 48 career games, he has 33 points, including 18 goals.

Who’s back

6’3″ Canucks power forward (in the making, we hope), Zack Kassian, is expected to make his season debut tonight after serving an 8-game suspension for breaking Sam Gagner’s jaw with his stick. Kassian was on a line with David Booth and Brad Richardson during the morning skate.

Who’s out

Besides Edler, Alex Burrows and Jordan Schroeder remain out of the Canucks lineup due to injuries.

Habs captain, Brian Gionta, will miss tonight’s game due to a family emergency.

What to watch

For all the ups and downs of the Canucks’ early season, one thing that has been consistent is their penalty-kill. After 5 games, their PK has been perfect, killing all 18 powerplays against them.

Oct 122013
 

NHLWheel of Judgment

The season is still in diapers and I’m already confused. Here are some insights, speculation and just plain old rants about events around the league.

The Canucks Eastern Doppelgänger

Has anyone else noticed that for that last few years the Philadelphia Flyers have been the Vancouver Canucks’ Eastern Doppelganger? In recent years, a lot of people pick them as favorites (like Canucks) but despite their obvious talent they tend to implode (like the Canucks). They’ve signed goalies to ridiculously large contracts (like the Canucks). They’ve regretted it (like you-know-who). They always fall short in the playoffs (sadly, Canuck-esque). And just like Vancouver did, they blame the coach instead of the GM. The firing of Peter Laviolette was not unexpected because of these similarities, but their timing was crappy. Why give this guy a shot at all this season? Now he’s unemployed with no available NHL team to throw his skates onto the ice for. And let’s be honest I think that if Laviolette had been let go at the end of last season, he would have been a good choice for the Canucks. Yes, yes, Torts isn’t doing horribly (yet) but… I think Laviolette would have been a solid choice if the option was there. And I can’t help but wonder with blow-out loses like 9-2  and 6-0 if the Rangers are thinking the same thing.

Mike Fisher’s is the new Zdeno Chara

Shame on you, Mr. Carrie Underwood. The hit on Cpdy Franson was completely in-the-numbers illegal but he gets no supplemental discipline. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since Zdeno Chara got nothing for the same hit as well.

But seriously, Alex Edler collides with Tomas Hertl, who has his head down, and gets suspended 3 games. Brendan Shanahan continues to baffle. I continue to have no idea what is considered a suspendable hit, definitively… unless it’s something the Bruins did, then it’s never a suspension. That much I get. I think Shanahan has a wheel, like the Wheel of Fortune wheel, and he just spins it and wherever it lands, boom! Judgement!

And About Edler

All this said, I am not an Edler fan. I used to be… before his last contract negotiation when I thought he, you know, knew how to play. But for the last couple of years he’s made a series of bad passes, questionable plays and careless hits.

And those plays aren’t just in the NHL. That hit on Eric Staal in the World Championships was totally reckless and Staal is still dealing with knee issues. I really wish the Canucks had traded Edler for someone useful (and Alberts too while we’re at it). Hopefully Torts can scream some sense back into Edler or has the common sense to bench him. At $30 million over 6 years with a no-trade clause, the Canucks need better from him.

Oct 112013
 

If you’ve been off social media for the past couple of hours, you’ve likely missed the news that Alex Edler has been handed a 3 game suspension for the “illegal check to the head” of Tomas Hertl in last night’s game. And I’m likely about to say something that will upset a fair number of you.

I think three games for Edler is reasonable.

Alex Edler hits Mike Smith

Courtesy of AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin


While there is considerable debate to the legality of Edler’s hit itself – of note there was no call on the ice at the time – it’s hard to argue with Brendan “Banahammer” Shanahan’s assertion in his discipline video that the main point of impact is Hertl’s head (as you can see from the video below):

So why the suspension on what most are saying was a “legal” hockey hit (man am I overusing quotation marks)? It has everything to do with the first sentence of Rule 48 – Illegal Check to the Head

A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted.

While there are those who say Hertl hit Edler, I think we all agree a collision took place between and Edler’s arm/shoulder/body caught Hertl’s noggin square. Based on that fact alone, Edler violated Rule 48 and probably got off unfairly unscathed during the game.

For those of you who are about to castigate me in a public fashion, you’re not wrong in thinking there was no malice, intent, or recklessness involved – I don’t believe there was. But the language in the rule itself goes on further to accommodate that line of thought:

However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.

As Shanahan explains in his video, these factors were taken into consideration when doling out supplementary discipline. And I would go as far as to say this whole issue would be moot had Edler made contact with anything other than Hertl’s head.

And lastly, this incident seems far too similar to Edler’s knee-on-knee hit on Eric Staal in last year’s World Cup – another incident where Edler appears slide down the train tracks before contact. With this one, I’ll let you be the judge:

May 082013
 

In this last TGATT of the season, we recap the Canucks’ final game of the season – a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Are you disappointed? Mad? Sad? Glad?

Some people drink to drown their sorrows, some eat salad. D’fferent strokes, I suppose.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Apr 212013
 

Cory Schneider played great. So did Alex Burrows, who kept the Wings on their heels all night, and Max Lapierre, who chanelled his inner Patrick Kane in the shootout, and scored the shootout winner. With their 2-1 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings last night, the Canucks clinched their spot in the 2013 NHL playoffs.

But who cares about all that? DJ Tanner and Aunt Becky were at the game.

Have mercy!

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Apr 172013
 

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.

Here’s the game recap in your tweets.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Mar 232013
 

Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks in the middle of a scrum with Colin Fraser of the Los Angeles Kings.

If the playoffs started today, guess who the Canucks will play in the first round. That’s right. None other than the defending champions, the Los Angeles Kings.

(*shudder* I still can’t get used to saying that.)

Who knows how the standings will unfold in the next 18 games, but given the recent history between the two teams, which includes some cheap shots by the Kings’ organization over social media, and that both will play in the same division after realignment next season, perhaps we’re seeing the start of a brand new rivalry.

Like the Canucks, the Kings have been dealing with their share of injuries. Especially on the blueline, where they’ve missed Willie Mitchell all season and Matt Greene for pretty much all season, they’ve shown some depth. In particular, two young defensemen, Slava Voynov and Jake Muzzin, have stepped up and become big parts of the Kings’ success this season.

Voynov, who is only playing in his second NHL season, leads all Kings’ defensemen in scoring with 19 points (4G-15A). His 19 points also places him among the top-10 scoring defensemen in the entire league.

Muzzin is a good story. Drafted late – and then left unsigned – by the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Kings took a chance on him and he has responded with 13 points (6G-7A) in 27 games, 1 more point than Drew Doughty, and a team-best plus-13 rating. His 6 goals rank 3rd among all NHL defensemen; only Brian Campbell and PK Subban have more.

On top of their injury woes, the Canucks will now be dealing with losing Alex Edler for this weekend’s games. Edler, who leads all Canucks skaters in ice-ime (24:01 minutes per game) and all Canucks defensemen in points (5G-12A-17P), has been suspended for 2 games after his, ummm, run-in with Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith on Thursday night. If there was ever a time for guys like Kevin Bieksa and Jason Garrison to really earn their new contracts, this would be it. Both Bieksa and Garrison have just 7 points each this season.

Canucks Record

15-9-6, 36 points (2nd in the Northwest Division, 5th in the Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Anze Kopitar has points in 5 of his last 6 games (1G-5A) and currently leads the Kings in assists (19) and points (28).

It’s safe to say that Cory Schneider is playing one of his better stretches of hockey of the season. He has won his last 2 starts and has been the deciding factor in each game. In both starts combined, he’s allowed just 3 goals on 68 shots (.956 save %) – a welcome sight for the Canucks, who have struggled to find consistency between the pipes in the last few weeks.

Who’s Not

Back in June, after the Kings won the Stanley Cup, they also signed goaltener Jonathan Quick to a 10-year contract extension and sent out this tweet: “To clarify, that’s 10 years after next year — so 11 years in total of our goaltender being better than yours.”

Fast-forward to today, and Quick is a so-so 10-9-2 on the season with a 0.897 save percentage – 40th among all NHL goaltenders – and a 2.54 GAA – 22nd among all NHL goaltenders.

Just sayin’.

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