[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.
[Every week, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@CayKing).]
Since the epic win against the Bruins, the Canucks are 2-2-0 and haven’t looked like the team that rolled through much of November and December. You can even say they were lucky to win against the Lightning and Blues. In their most recent loss, against the 14th place Anaheim Ducks, the Canucks looked out of synch and were outshot and outhustled most of the night. That said, the great thing about an 82-game season is that the Canucks have every opportunity to right their wrongs and move on from these recent lackluster performances.
46 GP, 28-15-3, 59 points (1st in Northwest Division, 2nd in Western Conference)
Cody Hodgson has made quite the impression by being one of the better and more consistent Canucks on the ice. Since December 11, CoHo has not gone more than 1 game without recording a point. Despite logging an average of 12:44 minutes of ice-time per game, he has 11 points (5G-6A) in his last 14 games (0.79 points/game).
Hodgson is currently tied for 4th in rookie scoring with 26 points (11G-15A) and has a plus-10 rating. Last week, he was selected to participate in the rookie All-Star weekend festivities.
Chris Higgins has been plagued with a mysterious infection twice already this season. In late December, he missed a few games due to a swollen hand, but ever since his return at the beginning of January, Higgins has struggled to find the scoresheet. In his last 7 games, Higgy has just 1 assist; prior to that, he had 6 points (2G-4A) in his previous 7 games.
Despite this setback, Higgins has recorded 10 goals and 14 assists already this season, and is on pace to exceed the 28 points he recorded all of last season. With David Booth also back in the lineup, the American Express line is back together, and hopefully, they can find the same chemistry they had before Higgy’s and Booth’s injuries, and start producing more consistently again.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 vs. Los Angles Kings (7:00 PM start, home)
Only 6 points separate the Canucks and the Kings as they meet for the third time this season. So far, both teams have won one game each in this series. In their last meeting, on New Year’s Eve, the Canucks lost 4-1 to the Kings at Staples Center.
The Kings are 3-4-2 against Northwest opponents so far this season. Both teams have a good penalty-kill; the Kings’ PK is ranked 3rd in the NHL (87.6%) and the Canucks’ PK is ranked 4th in the NHL (86.7%).
Anze Kopitar leads the Kings in goals (14), points (42) and has been their best player against the Canucks. He has 3 points (1G-2A) and a plus-2 rating in their first two meetings. He is currently on a 4-game point streak (3G-3A-6P).
Saturday January 21, 2012 vs. San Jose Sharks (1:00 PM start, home)
With another early afternoon game this Saturday, it’s the perfect time to head down to the Hog Shack for the Canucks Hockey Blog tweetup as the boys take on the dangerous San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks have had a great start to the month of January going 6-1-1 in their first 8 games. They currently lead the Pacific Division; they also sit in 3rd place in the Western Conference, just 4 points back of the Canucks, with 4 games in hand.
The Sharks have played great against the Northwest Division this season. They’ve taken points in 8 of 10 games – a 5-2-3 record – against Northwest Division opponents. This will be the last regular season meeting between the two teams this season.
In three games against the Canucks this season, Patrick Marleau leads the Sharks with 3 points (2G-1A) and about 23 minutes of ice time.
He is also tied with Joe Thornton for the team lead in scoring with 36 points (17G-19A), and is tied for the team lead with 4 powerplay goals with 3 other Sharks (Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and Ryan Clowe).
Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com
It was about as heated as everyone anticipated; the Vancouver Canucks showed their disdain for the Boston Bruins and vice-versa. Neither team was willing to let the other off the hook so easily, but at the end of the day it was Vancouver eking out the 4-3 victory and coming away with the two points, just like they hoped.
But beyond just the brawls and powerplay prowess, it was two of Vancouver’s most tradeable assets who truly shined in this heated affair. Cody Hodgson had an assist and blasted home the eventual game-winning goal in just 11:19 of ice time, while Cory Schneider made 36 saves in the win.
Neither Hodgson or Schneider were given the chance to be difference makers during last year’s Stanley Cup Final. Hodgson played in the San Jose and Nashville series, but didn’t see a shred of the ice in the last round, while Schneider’s only playing time was when the games were well out of hand.
Isn’t it funny that when that brass ring presented itself today in Boston, both young players stepped up and seized it?
Over the course of this season, Hodgson has shown more and more improvement and you might even be able to make the argument he’s been Vancouver’s most consistent player from start to finish. That’s what the organization hoped he could be; the young spark that could rejuvenate a team still recovering from a mentally and physically-draining playoff. Ditto for Schneider, whose increased workload and sensational performances this year has turned him into one of the NHL’s most coveted goalies on the trade market.
There’s been a lot of talk about trading both players for talent that can help Vancouver win now, but with all due respect to them (I also find myself in this crowd of people at times), Hodgson and Schneider both played big roles in a victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Who’s to say that Hodgson and Schneider can’t help this team win now? The Canucks’ epic 4-3 victory over the Bruins just showed that you’re never too young to make a difference, and you’re not too inexperienced to shine on a big stage.
[Inspired by Arsenio Hall's "Things That Make You Go Hmmm…", Clayton Imoo talks about Canucks-related things that make him go hmmm. You can follow Clay on Twitter at (@canuckclay) or on his website, Clay's Canucks Commentary.]
Photo credit: Yahoo Sports
I’m taking a break from planning my Saturday morning “Ruin the Bruins” party to offer up a few quick thoughts as the Canucks have reached the midway point of the season. It feels so strange to type the word “morning” when blogging about a hockey game, but I digress.
On this eve of the Stanley Cup Finals rematch, here are a few Things That Make Me Go Hmmm:
1. The need for perspective. There are so many intriguing storylines heading into Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins, notwithstanding the fact that it’s the only regular season meeting between the two Stanley Cup Finalists. Luongo or Schneider. Mason Raymond’s return to the rink where he nearly had his career ended. Daniel Sedin vs. Brad Marchand. Burrows, Bergeron, and biting.
Thursday afternoon, I tweeted: “48 hours from now we’ll either be celebrating a bit of revenge for the Canucks or wondering what it will take to beat the Bruins in Boston.” I received a couple of replies, with both of them intimating that a Canuck win had limited upside (as opposed to a Canuck loss having a larger downside) and that true revenge would be winning the Stanley Cup. While I didn’t disagree with these sentiments, I pointed out that a win is a win and we can’t do much about the Stanley Cup until June. It’s important to remember that this is game #42 of an 82 game regular season and that we shouldn’t read too much into the result of the game, whatever it may be. I don’t buy the argument that a Canuck loss will have a long-term effect on the team’s psyche… the same way I won’t get too excited if the Canucks walk out of Boston with a win. Enjoy it for what it will be: a hotly-contested battle of two of the top teams in the league.
2. Biggest surprises and disappointments. There have been numerous “midseason evaluation” posts including an excellent one by CHB writer Matt Lee already, but I thought I would chime in with a few of my observations. For me, the biggest surprises up front have been Jannik Hansen, Cody Hodgson and Chris Higgins. The collective Triple H has combined for 31 goals and 37 assists for 68 points, a welcome wave of secondary scoring behind the big four of the Sedins and Kesler and Burrows. On the flip side, Manny Malhotra is still struggling to regain his pre-injury form of last year and the jury is still out on David Booth, who was picking up his game before his knee injury.
On the back end, the play of the top four d-men (Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis and Sami Salo) have helped some Canuck faithful forget about Christian Ehrhoff. In particular, Hamhuis is quietly piling up the points and is on pace to match his career high of 38 points (2005-2006 season). Hamhuis and partner Bieksa (who has overcome a shaky start) have become one of the league’s premier shutdown pairs, while Edler and Salo continue to contribute at both ends of the rink. Conversely, Keith Ballard is still not playing like a $4 million defenseman, and he is still prone to making risky plays in his own end. I really like him and I want to see him succeed, but 6 points and -1 just doesn’t cut it.
3. The Canucks in the Winter Classic. On the heels of another entertaining Winter Classic and HBO 24/7 series, there’s increased chatter about the possibility of the Canucks appearing in the big game in the near future. One would think that Montreal and/or Toronto are likely to be considered ahead of our local team, but you never know. With respect to the 24/7 series, it’s hard to predict what kind of ratings a Canadian team would draw south of the border. But one thing’s for sure: the Canucks would make for some interesting TV. I would find it fascinating to get a behind-the-scenes look at the player’s preparation and personal lives. What is Luongo like away from the cameras? How are the twins different in how they approach the games? Who are the locker room leaders? Does Dale Weise un-follow and block people in real life? And where does Bieksa come up with his comedy gold? With respect to opponents, I think it’s a toss-up between Boston and Chicago. The former for all of the reasons listed above, the latter for the playoff history and animosity between the teams for three years running. A dark-horse would be Detroit, but their rivalry with the Canucks is one based on respect and similar playing styles as opposed to the dislike that comes with the Bruins and Blackhawks.
Amidst all these questions, it’s good to see that the Canucks have emerged from the first-half of the season at the top of the Western Conference (albeit with the other teams holding games in hand). Now please excuse me as I continue preparations for my Saturday morning viewing party. I’m curious as to how many of my friends will be drinking while watching the game. 10 AM seems a tad early, but I’m certainly not here to judge. Hmmm…