Mar 052014
 

endroad

After eight memorable and exciting seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, goaltender Roberto Luongo was traded to the Florida Panthers on March 4, 2014.

Thus, Marie Hui and I wanted to bid Bobby Lu a proper farewell.  Inspired by Boyz II Men, we proudly present our version of their smash hit “End of the Road”.

Make sure you get to bridge of the song at the 3:11 mark…you won’t be disappointed.

Mar 042014
 

 

Eddie Lack and Roberto Luongo after the 2nd period

Eddie Lack and Roberto Luongo after the 2nd period

Much has been made of Roberto Luongo’s plight here in Vancouver in recent years.  Starting with the Stanley Cup Finals in June 2011, it’s been two and a half years of turmoil, tension, and drama.

The Luongo saga took yet another fascinating turn this past weekend when Eddie Lack was named the starter for Sunday’s Heritage Classic game at BC Place versus the Ottawa Senators.

Lack played the first game coming out of the Olympic break, shutting out the St. Louis Blues 1-0 on Wednesday night.  Made sense given that Luongo returned to Vancouver from Sochi just a couple of days prior.

Lack was also given the next start, a tight 2-1 shoot-out loss to the Minnesota Wild.  Although Lack played very well, the loss – albeit a close one – opened the door for a Luongo start on Sunday.

As word broke on Saturday that Luongo would not be starting, Twitter erupted with people arguing both sides.

For what it’s worth, I tweeted:  “Backup goalie is supposed to play well (which Lack has) and ensure no significant drop off. Lack has done his job, let Lu do his tomorrow.”

Many people cited Lack’s strong play of late as giving the Canucks the best chance to win.  And I get that we’re in a dog fight to make the playoffs.

I said it before the game and I’ve said it since: the Canucks needed to look at the “bigger picture” here.  The bigger picture to me says that Luongo was not treated fairly last year (losing his job to Schneider before watching Schneider – and not him – get traded) and was deserving of the Heritage Classic start.  This doesn’t have anything to do with emotions; Luongo’s last start was a solid shutout victory in the Olympics.

And just as there was no drop-off going from Luongo to Lack, there certainly was no drop-off going from Lack to Luongo.  Luongo needed to start.  Truthfully, I would be saying the same thing if the Canucks had won the game, or even if Lack had pitched another shutout.

So there I was on Sunday afternoon with my son Sean, soaking in the sights and sounds of the world’s largest indoor hockey game.   I was able to snap some pretty good pictures (see them all here) including one of poor Roberto Luongo sitting on his own at the end of the bench.

Lonely Luongo

Lonely Luongo

After Ottawa took a 3-2 lead in the second period, an audible “We Want Lu!” chant broke out in the stadium.  It was quite a surreal moment, magnified by the fact that there were 35,000 more fans than usual watching the game live and millions watching on TV across the country.  It was a tense and awkward few seconds.

It reminded me of the feeling that I got watching the first game of the lockout-shortened 2013 season.  In the home opener on January 19, 2013, Cory Schneider got the start as the newly-anointed starting Canucks goalie.  The Canucks lost that game 7-3 to the visiting Anaheim Ducks, and Schneider was pulled early in the second period after allowing 5 goals on only 14 shots, including goals on 3 straight shots.

I vividly remember the mood in the crowd that evening:  the fans were desperate for hockey and excited to see the Canucks back in action.  But as each shot got past Schneider, the mood in the building became more and more tense, culminating in a tense buzz as Luongo skated out to replace Schneider (start at the 2:23 mark in the video below).

The same sort of tense buzz I felt at the Heritage Classic this past weekend.  And as you’ll hear my friend Mike exclaim in my Clay’s Canucks Commentary at the 2:53 mark:

“THIS IS MESSED UP!”

Indeed.

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 252013
 

No forwards? No problem.

Already playing with just 11 forwards against the New Jersey Devils, the Vancouver Canucks lost David Booth and Dale Weise to unknown injuries in the first period. With only 9 healthy forwards – and Andrew Alberts – left up front, Hank and Dank Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Mike Santorelli and Chris Higgins all logged 21+ minutes of ice-time.

By the end of the game, it was obvious the Canucks didn’t have a lot of gas left in the tank. But Roberto Luongo came to the rescue, stopping all 17 shots he faced in the third period, when the Canucks were drastically outplayed, plus all 3 Devils’ shootout attempts.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Oct 072013
 
Clay with Marie and Arielle

Clay with Marie and Arielle

After a tumultuous and unpredictable season (and off-season), Roberto Luongo is back in the crease as the Vancouver Canucks’ undisputed number one goaltender.  There is no doubt that the past 18 months have taken its toll on Bobby Lu.

Thus, I proudly present to you Luongo’s Lament to the tune of Phil Collins’ hit Against All Odds.  And I’m so proud to welcome my friends Marie Hui and Arielle Tuliao as the featured vocalists.  You’ll see that they are lovely, talented, and amazing.

With Cory Schneider returning with his new team – the New Jersey Devils – on Tuesday, I thought it would an appropriate time to present this song.  Enjoy!

 

Jul 022013
 

C4 on CHB

C4 on CHB – a canucks hockey blog podcast

While we at CHB have had a video podcast (CHB TV for those who didn’t know) for some time now, we’ve received a piece of recurring feedback – we’re awesome and sure know a lot about the Canucks. Well, there’s that and something about a few of us having fantastic voices for radio. So thinking this through a bit, we decided it was about time to put together our own Canucks podcast.

So here it is – Chris and Clay’s Canucks Commentary from Canucks Hockey Blog. Too long of a title you say? Then no problem. We’ll call it C4 from CHB!

In our very first episode, we chat about the NHL Entry Draft and how “quiet” it was for the Canucks and their goaltender(s), the hiring of John Tortorella, and a little piece that Clay put together with Marie Hui in “Under John Tortorella.”

C4 from CHB – June 30th Episode

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.

May 072013
 

The Vancouver Canucks are down three games to zero to the San Jose Sharks in their first-round NHL playoff match-up.  As they try to stave off elimination in this must-win game, I turned to my kids for their predictions.

Sean and Kayla are optimistic that the Canucks will still make this a competitive series, and they pulled out every sports cliche possible in expressing their optimism.

Meanwhile, Jacob took a more cynical approach as he worked in a few cliches and a bunch of thought-provoking questions regarding the Canucks’ future.

 

May 062013
 

Photo credit: Christian Petersen via NHL.com

So the Vancouver Canucks have lost the pivotal game two and the must-win game three.  Looking ahead to a pivotal must-win game four, there are a few Things That Make Me Go Hmmm.

The Goalie Conundrum

Well, wouldn’t you know it?  We’re possibly one game away from the end of the season and the story that became a story at this time last year is still a story.  Whether you agree with management’s (GM and coach) handling of the situation or not, you can’t deny that it’s been the number one story with the team this year.  So much so that people are talking more about the goaltending then they are about the team’s primary reason for being pushed to the brink of elimination: their inability to create enough good scoring chances.

Facing elimination, the Canucks need to start the goaltender that gives the skaters the most confidence that they can win the game.  And without a shadow of a doubt, that goaltender is Roberto Luongo.  He was solid in the first two games of the season before Schneider’s shaky return to the line-up.  Go back to Luongo and hope that the team plays lights-out in front of them.  And who knows, a strong playoff showing (even in defeat) wouldn’t hurt his trade value.  That is, if the Canucks are still trying to trade him.

Flipping the Switch

Many people have asked me over the last week, “What’s wrong with the Canucks?”  After lamenting the team’s scoring woes and my desire to see Keith Ballard in the line-up, I always say that it’s not as simple as just looking at the Vancouver Canucks.  You need to look at the San Jose Sharks as well.

It was ludicrous to think that the Canucks would simply “flip a switch” in the three days between the end of the regular season and the first playoff game and be back to a dominating team that would steamroll the competition.  This logic is mostly flawed because it doesn’t account for the team lining up across from the Canucks.

San Jose is a good team.  They have strong depth at forward, a solid (if non-descript) defense, and a strong goalie.  Also, they are well-coached and have strong special teams.  So Canucks fans can talk about flipping a switch all they want.  Just remember that San Jose has a switch too – and it seems to be working very well.

Staving Off Elimination

Get ready to hear the word “stave” dozens of times over the next couple of days.  While the Canucks look to stave off elimination, I wonder why more people don’t use the word more in every day conversation.  I think it’s a cool word…and it shouldn’t be reserved just for sports playoffs.  After all, there are so many other ways you might use it:

  • I wonder how many ladies I will have to stave off this week.  After all, I’m happily married
  • Will Christy Clark be able to stave off Adrian Dix in this month’s election?
  • How does Keith Ballard manage to stave off thinking of ways to hurt Alain Vigneault?

 

Looking ahead to game four on Tuesday night in San Jose, I simply wasn’t interested in any of the post-game quotes from AV and the players – especially the clichéd ones.  All I care about is the Canucks laying it all out on the ice as they try to stave off elimination.  Then perhaps they’ll have a chance to play in another pivotal must-win game on Thursday night.

May 012013
 

In the 7th episode of CHB TV, Clay, Chris, Ed, our special guest, Shanel Pratap from Global TV, and myself break down the Canucks/Sharks playoff series.

(Note: This episode was taped on Sunday, April 29th, prior to Roberto Luongo being named tonight’s starter. So yeah…)

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