Jan 312012
 

[Every week, Clayton Imoo sits down and talks hockey with a CHB follower and fellow fan.  If you're interested in being featured in "Shooting from the Hip", send us a tweet at @canuckshockey or @CanuckClay.]

Born and raised in glorious Vancouver, BC, Lindsay (@causticchick) grew up in a household where being a Canucks fan was only a casual affair. She’s always considered herself a fan, with her love for the team growing especially in the early ’90s leading up to the 1994 cup run, but her true devotion reached a fever pitch in the last five years, mostly due to her involvement in the amazing Canucks community on Twitter. Now she’s gone from casual fan to diehard, and is inconsolable if she has to miss a game, especially if the Calgary Flames are the opposing team. Who doesn’t love to hate the Flames?

When she’s not cheering on the best team in the league, you can usually find Lindsay lounging in her Thuggie, taking pictures and pretending to know something about photography, blogging, studying, tweeting, or making coffee for the good people of Vancouver.

1. Where did the Twitter handle @causticchick come from?

I wish it was Canucks-related, or even a good story, but it’s not. In fact, it’s actually pretty embarrassing. The gist is that I’m a huge dork and, since my presence on the vast interwebs is dense and far-reaching, it was easier just to keep using the name that I’ve been using for five years. In the interest of full disclosure, though, I wrote a blog post about it last year that you can check out here. Feel free to mock and snigger.

2. Henrik on the wing to Daniel down low and back to Henrik. Henrik to the point to Edler. Edler fakes and to the other point to Shea Weber. Kinda has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? What would it take to make this happen in real life?

Sitting at The Five Point on Main Street with some great Canucks fans last week, we threw this topic around. It’s not a secret that the Canucks defence needs a little work; it’s frustrating seeing Luongo taking so much flack from fans and media for having little or no support in his end when the going gets tough. You don’t have to be on the Luongo bandwagon to see that building defence needs to be a priority for this team, especially coming up on the trade deadline. And when our defencemen drop like flies and we have to call the farm, anybody can see that depth at the blue line is what we need.

Ignoring cap rules, because I’m not knowledgeable enough in that area to pretend that I know what I’m talking about, and the fact that he’s a winger, give Raymond to the Preds, but mostly because I’d rather lose him with the way he’s been playing than somebody like Ballard. Ballard’s not the most consistent d-man, but when he’s on, he’s on, and I think he’s proven himself an asset when he’s given the chance. And those sexy hip-checks are nothing to sneeze at! In reality, though, either of them could be up. With Ballard making so much money, trading him could free up cap space to allow somebody like Weber to skate for the Canucks.

But, obviously, what it REALLY comes down to is the hotness factor. Trading Raymond for Weber would up the factor by a million, because MayRay looks twelve and Weber looks amazing with a playoff beard.

3. With the Sedins and Edler on Team Alfredsson going against Team Chara, there were a lot of intriguing plot lines this All-Star weekend: Canucks vs. Bruins, Senators vs. Leafs, all the Swedes on one team, etc. Of all the All-Star festivities, what aspect did you enjoy or were you most interested in?

If you followed me on Twitter on Sunday, you’ll know that I have a certain disdain for the All Star Weekend. While the thought of seeing all these elite players together on the ice at the same time is intriguing, in reality it’s not as impressive with the All Star playing style. I want to see them go balls-to-the-wall, crazy hits and fights, real hustle – you know, actual hockey. The amazing range of skill is lost on the airy-fairy pseudo-hockey that is the All Star Game.

No matter what rivalries there are within the NHL, they’re moot at the All Star level, at least when it comes to the players. I’m sure they could care less about whether they’re there or not, let alone what team they end up on. It’s clear that the teams are chosen to pander to the audience. As @misst0pia said on Twitter, in response to my tweet about Team Chara being totally random, “It’s sort of weird, like they crammed all of the Habs, Leafs, and Bruins onto one team so Ottawa didn’t have to cheer for them.” I think this is spot on. There’s really nothing wrong with any of it, of course, because the All-Star Game is, ultimately, about the fans. It’s important to remember not to take things too seriously, hence my endless mocking of the whole ordeal.

I missed the skills competition because of work, which is a shame because I would have loved to see it. The fancy skating and trick shots are always fun to see and it really showcases some of the skills that make these players so great.

My favourite moment of the game was Hartnell scoring for Team Alfredsson in the first, assisted by both Sedins. “The Sedin triplets score a goal,” quipped a mic’d Hartnell. “Suck it, Phaneuf!” Sometimes I wish players were mic’d during regular games. Can you imagine hearing Lapierre chirp the opposing bench for an entire game? Endlessly entertaining.

When all’s said and done, one thing’s for sure: I could go without hearing The Whip by Locksley for the rest of my life. It seems like the NHL has a boner for that goal song. Also, the post should have gotten first star. There were more pings than the Monty Python Ping Machine.

4. At the All-Star break, which Canucks have exceeded your expectations and which have been most disappointing?

At the beginning of the season, I drafted Cody Hodgson to my fantasy team during an auto-draft situation and I was laughed at by the entire pool. Though I wasn’t entirely convinced by his play last season, I stuck with him, and he’s been one of the best producers of points for Team Gingerbangs and the Canucks. He’s shown that he’s ready to play in the big leagues, being picked as a rookie for Team Chara at the All Star Game, and earning points left and right for the Canucks. He’s developing into a solid player, and that’s a good investment for the Canucks in the long run.

Disappointing? Mason Raymond, as evidenced by his play in the last game before the All Star break against the Oilers. Countless dropped passes, losing his edge and falling down, not being able to skate in a straight line…you can just call him Mason “Hit The Post” Raymond. He’s not producing the way I want him to, the way the Canucks want him to and, probably, the way HE wants him to. MayRay’s got a lot to prove before the trade deadline, because if the organization were to make a move I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the block. The spin-a-ma-jig in the shoot out can only carry him so far.

To quote @C_Forrest: “The MayRay Hattrick. Open net, missed shot, fall down.”

5. Why should people follow you on Twitter? What can new followers expect?

It’s a personal account, so you really can’t expect anything in particular. I’m inappropriate more often than not, sometimes shocking, sometimes emo, all the time craving poutine. I just tweet A LOT, and you should be prepared for that. Mostly, though, I love talking to people, and meeting those people in real life. The Vancouver Twitter scene puts the social in social media, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jan 232011
 

[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what's happening around the NHL.]

NHL All-Star Game

Photo credit: Puck Daddy

It really is a crapshoot which has undergone more cosmetic change – Heidi Montag’s body or the NHL All-Star Game.

Next Friday, the NHL will again try to create interest for this event by broadcasting a live player draft to determine each team’s roster.

Interestingly, looking back through the years on Hockey-Reference.com, the average NHL All-Star Game has featured roughly 17 Hall of Famers*. By decade:

40s: 18 Hall of Famers per All-Star game
50s: 17 Hall of Famers per game
60s: 19 Hall of Famers per game
70s: 15 Hall of Famers per game
80s: 16 Hall of Famers per game
90s: 20 Hall of Famers per game
2000s**: 13 Hall of Famers per game

Keeping these numbers in mind, who are the Hall of Famers that are playing in the upcoming 58th NHL All-Star Game?

An educated guess suggests:

Jarome Iginla – he’ll end up with well more than 500 goals, and has been a First Team NHL All-Star three times.

Nik Lidstrom – a top-three defenceman in the league’s history, and the best Swedish player of all-time.

Sidney Crosby – youngest NHL captain to win the Stanley Cup will probably be the highest scoring player of his era.

Evgeni Malkin – might not score the points he would as a first-line centre on another team, but he’s well positioned to have a Messier-in-Edmonton type run behind Crosby. That’s pretty good.

Steven Stamkos – yea it’s early, but he’s got that shot, and looks like a permanent Maurice Richard scoring threat.

Alex Ovechkin – history will show whether this is the season he sacrificed personal success for team glory, or whether it was the beginning of slight decline after a dominant early start to his career.

Eric Staal – seems like a stretch for now, except he’s already won a Cup and, barring injury, might play 1400 NHL games before he’s done. If he does the points will be there to help his consideration.

Zdeno Chara – borderline, but he’s a four-time post-season All-Star and a Norris Trophy winner.

Henrik Lundqvist – Goalies are tough to predict, but quietly 400+ career wins seems within reach, and his goals-against average and career save percentage are as good, if not better, than Roberto Luongo’s.

That’s nine Hall-of-Famers. No NHL All-Star Game has had less than 10 (2007, 2009).

Which means there are probably a few more Hall-of-Famers playing January 30th than anyone currently realizes.

* = Numbers have been rounded, and guesses have been applied to recent NHL All-Star Games that feature players that are either still active or yet-to-be-inducted in the Hall of Fame.

** = Recent players considered Hall of Famers for the purposes of research: The aforementioned nine, along with Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Joe Thornton, Mike Modano, Teemu Selanne, Mark Recchi, Martin Brodeur, Chris Pronger, Chris Chelios, Jeremy Roenick, Mats Sundin, Scott Niedermayre, Igor Larionov, Mike Richter, Ed Belfour, Joe Niewendyk, Joe Sakic, Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Dominik Hasek.

THOUGHTS ON THE FLY

  • According to research, the greatest collection of hockey players for an NHL All-Star Game was 1996 (24 Hall of Famers): Ray Bourque, Martin Brodeur, Ron Francis, Dominik Hasek, Jaromir Jagr, Brian Leetch, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Cam Neely, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Stevens, Mats Sundin, Teemu Selanne, Denis Savard, Joe Sakic, Al MacInnis, Nik Lidstrom, Brett Hull, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Gartner, Sergei Fedorov, Paul Coffey, Chris Chelios, Ed Belfour.
  • The NHL can try and ban hits-to-the-head however they’d like, but change will only happen when a generation of players have been raised playing with new rules and the bullying culture of hockey is marginalized even more than it is now.
  • Really wish someone would suggest that, while players are bigger, stronger and faster than ever before, they’re also wearing suits of armour under their jerseys. Elbow pads and shoulder pads have never been harder.
  • There’s lots of cynicism and laughter about Peter Forsberg’s last ditch effort to play in the NHL. The fact remains that Forsberg’s hockey IQ and experience could be a huge benefit to the Avalanche. His injury issues over the last decade have almost been entirely related to a unique foot injury that made it impossible for him to skate comfortably.
  • Is Terry Murray in danger? With only two wins in their past 10 games, the Los Angeles Kings’ season is slowly slipping away.
  • If Evgeni Nabokov does end up in Detroit, what happens to Chris Osgood when he returns from his groin injury? It seems like his playing days may be over. (Editor’s note: Nabokov was, of course, claimed off waivers by the Islanders yesterday, but apparently won’t report to them.)
  • The talk was that Jacques Lemaire stepped aside from coaching the New Jersey Devils after last season because he was burnt out and tired of the NHL grind. But with each successive game, it’s becoming clear he is still one of the best coaching minds in the game. It makes you wonder where New Jersey would have been if he’d coached the team all year.
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