Oct 072009

All that pent up frustration and offensive “almost” that’s been brewing for the first three games came out tonight. The Canucks put up seven goals, Luongo only let in one, the penalty kill after letting one in early in the second denied all other opportunities, and after several highlight reel goals the Canucks gave the fans their first home and season win of the season bringing them to 1-3-0 on the season.

Everything that wasn’t working, all the chances that weren’t being capitalized on on Monday were history tonight as the Canucks jumped on the Canadiens early and never looked back. The Canucks for the fourth consecutive game had no problem getting shots on net, but this time the quality was higher, and they can thank a terrible Montreal defence for helping out a little.

All eyes were on Luongo who was expected to have a comeback game and who when called upon shut the door. He made some key saves late in the game and despite one suspect powerplay goal from the Canadiens which likely deflected off of defenceman Alex Edler, he remained solid and put up a much better performance than the night before.

The Canucks avoided starting 0-4-0 for the first time in franchise history with the win tonight, and Luongo avoided losing his fourth consecutive. Luongo hasn’t lost four starts in row since becoming a member of the Canucks. Ryan Kesler, Steve Bernier, and Mason Raymond all picked up their first goals of the season, Henrik Sedin had two goals, while Burrows and Samuelsson collected their second goals of the season each. The Sedins stepped up to lead this team as we’ve come to expect them to combining for six points on the night in a statement game on home ice. The boos quickly turned to Luus again and Samuelsson had a better game which will help right his plus/minus stats that took a beating against Columbus when he was on ice for the first four Columbus goals and in the penalty box for the fifth.

The Canucks win was an important one as they head into Thanksgiving weekend and a four day break on a positive note. The Canucks next play host to Dallas on Sunday. Marc Crawford will be in town, this time behind the bench of the Dallas Stars and after a huge win like tonight, there’s nothing better than a bit of a break to let the confidence simmer down just below cockiness. The Canucks would have been in tough if they’d had to let another loss fester over four days, and the win must certainly act as a confidence boost, knowing that they can get that offense to click, going into Sunday’s tilt against the Stars.

May 032009

Earlier in the season, I wrote this post about the media and how they treated Naslund. I was frustrated and can’t stand the way Iain MacIntyre would go on about him even after he’d left. I called THEN for the retirement of his number back when people were still going on about how he didn’t deserve a thing and the bandwagon thought it was fine to continue chewing him up and spitting him out.

Naslund did on this team what no one else had done, and what no one else has replicated yet. There’s a reason he:

• He played 13 seasons in Vancouver
• Most Points by a Canuck (756)
• Most Goals by a Canuck (346)
• 3rd most assists (410 – 1st Linden 415, 2nd Smyl 411)
• Most hattricks by a Canuck (10)
• Holds all records for Left Wingers (Most Goals, Assists, Points)

In my (very humble) opinion, I think the media was the result of what I see as a shortened career. On a team where there were a number of faults, the blame was placed on him for the lack of success, and really there was an issue with the team and a number of gaps that needed filling. When you look at the numbers, Naslund’s 19 should be up there alongside Smyl’s 12 and Linden’s 16. (but please, don’t go renaming the gate’s at GM Place and making errors on the plaques.)

If the Montreal Canadiens can put aside their differences and retire Patrick Roy’s number, then the Canucks should have no problem doing the same for Naslund. Here’s a player that played his best year’s for the Canucks and put up numbers that won’t be touched for some time. People need to look at the player he was when he was with us, and not the negative image of him that the media created and portrayed so vividly.

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