Apr 232013
 

Just seconds prior to the faceoff of last night’s highly-anticipated game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks, Hawks defenceman Brent Seabrook took a whiff of some smelling salts and provided us with this expression on his face:

I was half-amused and half-horrified.  Then, I took to Twitter and asked you to provide some creative captions.  Here’s a sampling of your replies, unmodified, unedited, and unabridged:

Feb 212013
 

Coming off back-to-back losses, the Canucks travel to Chicago to face their rival Blackhawks.

I hope everyone got off work in time, because this game is not waiting for you. Seriously, they’re not waiting for anyone, not even Eddie Lack.

Of course, we had to invite Mr. Lack to #TGATT fun.

Glad you asked. Read on and check it out.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Feb 192013
 

Jannik Hansen of the Vancouver Canucks and Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks

Photo gif from HF Boards

Jannik Hansen rightfully received a penalty for this hit on Marian Hossa tonight. But after the game, there was talk that Jannik Hansen may be facing a hearing as well.

From what I can see here, Hossa was skating backwards, Hansen was coming from the side, and both players reached for the puck. Perhaps Hansen was reckless in that he ended up hitting Hossa (and hence, the penalty). But a hearing and a potential suspension?

What am I missing?

Feb 192013
 

On Friday, Henrik Sedin passed Markus Naslund as the all-time leader with points as a Canuck, Ryan Kesler returned from injury, and Canucks fans were getting a chance to vote on what they felt the boys in blue should skate out to.

Clay, Chris, Ed and back again as a special guest, Alan from the Hogshack in Steveston, ponder these and more in this latest episode of CHB TV. Apologies in advance for the singing.

Feb 192013
 

Surrey native, Brenden Dillon, of the Dallas Stars scores the game-winner against the Vancouver Canucks.

After 6 consecutive wins, the Vancouver Canucks fell a bit back down to earth last week. They did win a relatively low-key game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, but then blew leads in back-to-back losses to the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the last week was Henrik Sedin passing Markus Naslund as the Canucks’ franchise scoring leader. Against the Stars on Friday, King Hank assisted on brother Daniel’s goal to tie Naslund, and a bit later in the game, passed Naslund with a beautiful cross-ice assist on Alex Burrows’ marker. For good measure, he recorded another 2 points on Sunday against the Blues – an assist on Ryan Kesler’s first goal of the season, and also, his own first goal of the season.

This week, the Canucks embark on a four-game road trip through the Central and Pacific Divisions.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at Chicago Blackhawks (5:30 PM start)

The Canucks won the two teams’ first meeting back on February 1st behind some great goaltending from Roberto Luongo and Jordan Schroeder’s shootout winner. To-date, this stands as 1 of the Hawks’ 3 losses this season – they are 12-0-3 with all 3 losses coming in the shootout.

Patrick Kane is off to a hot start with 21 points (9G-12A) in 15 games, putting him in a tie with Steven Stamkos for 3rd in the NHL in scoring. (Stamkos has played 1 less game, however.) Starter Corey Crawford remains sidelined due to a suspected concussion.

With the Canucks placing Andrew Ebbett on waivers yesterday, it is expected that David Booth will make his season debut against the Hawks.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 at Dallas Stars (5:00 PM)

The Dallas Stars ruined Hank’s night last Friday by coming back from a 2-goal deficit and posting a 4-3 win at Rogers Arena. With 3 minutes left in the third period, Surrey native, Brenden Dillon, scored his 3rd goal of the season, which stood up as the game-winner.

Undrafted in junior and undrafted in the NHL, Dillon is a good story for the Stars in the early season.

Friday, February 22, 2013 at Nashville Predators (5:00 PM)

After last season’s offensive explosion of sorts, during which they ranked 8th in the league in goals per game (2.83), the Nashville Predators have somewhat reverted back to form, currently ranking 30th out of 30 teams and scoring a measly average of 2.06 goals per game. Losing Ryan Suter in the summer has surely hurt. And now, they’re also missing Patric Hornqvist (leg injury), who had 27 goals for them last season. Still, they sit 5th in the Western Conference, thanks in large part to gaining 5 “loser points” (1 in OT and 4 in the shootout).

The Canucks and the Preds split their 4 games last season with both teams winning two games each, one at home and the other on the road.

Tuesday, February 24, 2013 at Detroit Red Wings (2:00 PM)

For a team going through a turnover of sorts, the Detroit Red Wings are doing a decent job of staying in contention for a playoff spot. Sure they lost Niklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and Jiri Hudler, but they’ve been able to break in guys like Damien Brunner, Tomas Tatar and Brian Lashoff into the lineup. They’ve also given Jonathan Ericsson a larger role in the back end.

The Canucks had a 2-1-1 record against the Wings last season. Henrik Sedin paced the Canucks with 4 assists while Daniel had 2 goals and 3 points. Darren Helm scored 5 (1G-4A) of his 26 points last season in the 4 games against the Canucks.

Feb 032013
 

In quite a comical scene from Friday night’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks, Roberto Luongo and Patrick Kane shared a few words as they were sprawled on the ice together seconds after Luongo foiled Kane’s shootout attempt (see video below).  Two rounds later, rookie Jordan Schroeder beat the Hawks’ Corey Crawford before Luongo stopped Nick Leddy to seal the 2-1 win.

Reports surfaced later that Luongo said to Kane “Not this time” as the two players untangled themselves.  Even so, the two rivals were within earshot of each other for a full five seconds after Kane’s failed attempt.  Thus, Luongo likely said more than those three words.

Here are 10 things that Roberto Luongo may have said to Patrick Kane:

10. Just so you know – I let you score on me earlier in the game just to make it more exciting.

9. You should clean your jersey.

8. What’s it like being the Undertaker’s brother?

7. Thanks for boosting my trade value.

6. What do you think of my new single-leg take down maneuver?

5. Got room for one more in the limo?

4. Nice try…hopefully you’ll be able to score at the Roxy.

3. Those moves might work on Schneider but certainly not on me.

2. Tell your GM and coach I’d be an upgrade over your current goalie.  In fact, he’ll probably let a rookie score on him later on in this shootout.

1. Let me know if you need exact change for the taxi later.

Feb 022013
 

Are you ready for this? I hope so, because it’s Canucks v. Blackhawks baby!

That is just unnecessary and uncalled for. 80′s music is amazing thank-you very much. I now officially declare it 80′s night.

Now, on to the game.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Feb 012013
 

The Canucks celebrate their April 2011 playoff series win over the Blackhawks (Photo credit: Reuters)

I’m looking forward to tonight’s big match-up between the Vancouver Canucks and their nemesis the Chicago Blackhawks for a few reasons.  I’m intrigued to see how Roberto Luongo plays against his arch-rivals as the fascinating goaltending saga goes on.  I’m eager to see if guys like Zack Kassian and Keith Ballard can keep up their strong play.  I’m looking forward to some quality time with my lovely wife Gail (who patiently puts up with my blogging shenanigans).  And I wonder if there will be any retribution for Duncan Keith for his dirty hit on Daniel Sedin at the end of last season.

Just 21 months ago, I witnessed the same two teams clash in the best game that I’ve ever seen live.  Of course, I’m talking about game 7 in the first-round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  There had been so much drama and unrest leading up to game 7 as the Blackhawks had won three straight games to tie the series and bring the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks to the brink of elimination.  There were questions about the officiating and questions about the Canucks goaltending (apparently the more things change the more they stay the same).  In fact, Roberto Luongo had been pulled in both games 4 and 5 before Cory Schneider was given the surprise start in game 6.  Schneider then was pulled in game 6…but due to injury.  Add in the fact that the Blackhawks had eliminated the Canucks in the second-round the two previous years and you can see why the game meant so much.

The atmosphere in Rogers Arena was incomparable that evening; there was a noticeable excitement, intensity and nervousness in the crowd the entire night.  I’m sure you remember the game details very vividly: how Alex Burrows scored early in the first and even had a chance to put the Canucks up by two with a penalty shot early in the third period.  How Jonathan Toews tied the game up with only two minutes left in the third period scoring from his knees with an amazing short-handed effort.

The 17-minute intermission between the third period and overtime was among the longest 17 minutes of my life.  I remember very vividly that the crowd sat in stunned silence for the entire time.  My buddy Mike and I, both of us never short for words when at a Canucks game, didn’t say a word to each other for the duration of the intermission.  There wasn’t really anything to be said.  We were about to witness history: either the Canucks were about to exorcise the Chicago Blackhawks demons or they would complete one of the greatest meltdowns in NHL playoff history.

We didn’t have to wait too long for a sign.  And it wasn’t a good one.

Just 24 seconds into the extra frame, Alex Burrows took a holding penalty on Duncan Keith on what seemed like a harmless play behind the Chicago net.  On the ensuing power-play, Roberto Luongo made an absolutely amazing save on Patrick Sharp’s one-timer from five feet away.  In watching the save countless times, I will say that it wasn’t Luongo’s most difficult save of the season.  But it certainly was his biggest.

You know the rest: just two shifts later, Burrows intercepted Chris Campoli’s clearing attempt, deftly dropped the puck to his feet, and slapped the winner over Crawford’s blocker.  The goal set off a wild celebration both on the ice (remember Victor Oreskovich jumping around looking for someone to hug?) and in the stands.  It’s certainly the loudest I’ve ever heard the crowd at Rogers Arena…rivaled only by the roar after Kevin Bieksa scored in game 5 vs. the Sharks to send the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals.

That’s why I look forward to Blackhawks-Canucks games.  They always seem to be intense and exciting contests.  We’ll see what drama unfolds tonight.

Jan 282013
 

The season didn’t quite start the way Vancouver Canucks fans expected as the Canucks got thumped 7-3 in their season opener against the Anaheim Ducks last week. Rust, timing and lack of execution were clearly evident, but as the week went along the Canucks seemed to start putting in better efforts.

They did lose in the shootout against the young and talented Edmonton Oilers before winning in the shootout against the Calgary Flames. In that win against the Flames, the Canucks were led by one of their best players in the early season – Zack Kassian, who scored a goal on the shootout so dirty and so slick that I think Miika Kiprusoff is still looking for his jockstrap.

A couple of days later, the Canucks redeemed themselves against the Ducks. They went into Anahiem, who was hosting their first home game, and won decisively by a 5-0 score. This game was by far their best of the five they’ve played to-date – they played with a lot of physicality, scored some beautiful and gritty goals, and were buoyed by an excellent goaltending performance from Cory Schneider.

The Canucks then ended the week in San Jose, where they couldn’t take advantage of Ryane Clowe’s meltdowns and numerous powerplay advantages, and couldn’t find any puck luck from the hockey gods (5 posts!) en route to a 4-1 loss.

Who’s Next

Monday, January 28, 2013 at Los Angles Kings (7:30 PM start)

Roberto Luongo will get the start in the building where he lost his starting position in last years playoffs. This will be Bobby Lu’s second start of the season.

With just one win in their first 4 games (1-2-1), the Kings might be experiencing the infamous Stanley Cup hangover. Their official Twitter account may have picked up right from where they left off last season, but the Kings themselves are still struggling to put some wins together.

In the last regular season, the Canucks went 2-1-1 against the Kings. Captain Hank Sedin had 4 points (1G-3A) in 3 games while Anze Kopitar led LA with 4 points in 4 games.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 vs. Colorado Avalanche (7:00 PM)

This past summer, Gabriel Landeskog was named the Avs’ youngest captain in franchise history. It’s unknown if Landeskog will be in the lineup on Wednesday as he’s still feeling the effects of a big hit he took from Brad Stuart of the Sharks.

Newcomer PA Parenteau has fit right into the Avs system with 2 goals, 1 assist and a team-best plus-4 in 4 games.

The Canucks had Colorado’s number last year, winning all 6 games in the season series. Luongo was in goal for 4 of those wins; Schneider was in net for 2. Hank, Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins and Kevin Bieksa all had 5 points each against the Avs last season.

Friday, February 1, 2013 vs. Chicago Blackhawks (7:00 PM)

Canucks fans have had this Friday night meeting against the Blackhawks circled on their calendar since the schedule was released. The rivalry between these two teams speaks for itself, and these matchups are always some of the most entertaining – and most heated – games of the NHL season. Not like the Canucks need more motivation, but the Blackhawks, having won all of their first 6 games, are one the hottest teams in the league. This will also be the first time that the Canucks will meet Duncan Keith after Keith’s dirty elbow put Daniel out of action at the end of last season. It’s an interesting subplot and we’ll see if anything comes out of it.

Patrick Kane currently leads the ‘Hawks with 9 points (2G-7A) and Marian Hossa leads them with 5 goals.

Last season, the Canucks were 2-1-1 against Chicago. Kane and Hossa led the Hawks with 4 points each in the season series while Hank Sedin had 6 points in their 4 meetings.

Jan 232013
 

Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: National Post

With less than a week of games under the NHL’s belt in this shortened 2013 season, I’m shocked at how many things made me go hmmm…

Here are a few of the biggest head scratchers:

Goalie Drama. Again. Sigh.

The Vancouver Canucks have not traded Roberto Luongo. Despite claiming Cory Schneider is their number one, they pulled Schneider in game 1 and didn’t give him a chance in game 2. Alain Vigneault’s talk doesn’t match his walk. If Schneider is the Canucks’ number 1, he would get the start, even after being pulled. In the last few seasons, Luongo would get the start even after being pulled or a poor showing. Between Vigneault’s refusal to stick with his supposed number 1, and his further refusal to even announce his starter until minutes before a game, the goalie controversy is gaining life instead of losing it. It doesn’t matter how professional an organization is, that kind of extended drama is going to make an impact in a bad way. It has with the fan base. Luongo homers are openly tweeting hopefully for Cory’s failure.

Reality check: Schneider isn’t the only number one to struggle. The New York Rangers pulled Henrik Lundqvist in the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins after he stopped just 14 of 18 shots. Why aren’t Rangers fans screaming for Marty Biron to take over the number 1 spot? Because Rangers management isn’t wishy-washy on their faith in Lundqvist.

Does a Short Season Mean it’s a Free-For-All?

If you look at the results throughout the league over the first few days of the season, it’s glaringly obvious the favourites aren’t doing so well. A lot of sportscasters tagged the Rangers to be the team most likely to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup this year; they’ve yet to win a game. Same with the Philadelphia Flyers, who the pundits always predict some noise in the playoffs. And as we all know, same with the Canucks.

In fact the only favourite doing really well are the Penguins. The Chicago Blackhawks, much to my personal chagrin, are also starting strong. In a shortened season, getting a fast start out of the gate and winning from the get-go is important. Sure the Canucks (and Rangers and Flyers) have only lost 2 or 3 games, but with less time to catch up, it’s worrisome. I have a feeling we may be even more surprised by this year’s Cup winner than last year’s.

Jersey Off Our Backs Make Me Go Hmmm… and Mmmm

After watching the Jersey Off Our Backs presentation on Saturday, I’m left with a few questions. Bear with me as I have never played hockey.

How come the Canucks don’t all wear the same pads? I assumed they would all wear similar, if not the same pads, but Lapierre is wearing red ones that make him look like he’s still a Hab. Yes I actually looked at his pads, not just his pretty face. It was hard but I did it. Mostly everyone else on the team had white pads, or in David Booth’s case, a really bad checkered shirt. 

And does Higgins not wear anything under his pads just so he can hear the squeals of delight as he pulls his shirt off?  This is the second Jersey off Our Backs that I’ve witnessed live and in-person and once again Higgy wasn’t wearing Under Armour – he’s the only hockey player I’ve seen that goes bare under the pads. Why does he do it? Why doesn’t anyone else? Not that I’m complaining; it does make me go Hmmm… and Mmmm.

 

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