This pretty much sums up last night’s 6-1 ass-kicking to the Dallas Stars.
The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, but you can’t say Canucks fans are clearer about the direction this team is going. Sure trade clouds are no longer looming over the dressing room, and the team you see now is the team you’ll see for the remainder of the season, but can you really see any better what bodes ahead for this group?
Maybe the players can revert their attention back to playing hockey. Maybe they’ll actually string together a few wins and inch back up the standings. Maybe they can start scoring more than a goal a game. Or a goal a game. Or maybe they’ll just slowly fade into the sunset and wait until Canucks brass – whoever they are at that point – to make changes.
It’s Lack’s Team Now
It’s hard to believe that Roberto Luongo now dons the jersey of the Florida Panthers. Only 4 days ago, over 50,000 Canucks fans were chanting “We Want Lu”. But if you think about it, Lu’s last game as a Vancouver Canuck was almost a month ago before the Olympics when the Canucks faced the Leafs in Toronto.
Regardless, this is Eddie Lack’s team now, and Jacob Markstrom will serve as his backup. How long until the inevitable Lack/Markstrom goalie controversy starts?
Every Point Matters
Tonight’s opponents, the Dallas Stars, currently hold the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. But of course with 20 games left in the season, their hold on that spot is anything but final. The Canucks, the Winnipeg Jets and the Phoenix Coyotes are all within 2 points. It’s cliche to say, but every game, every point counts from here on out, especially if the Canucks have any ambition to make the postseason. It won’t help them though that they’ve gone 1-9-1 in the past 11 games. And neither will not having Daniel Sedin, who is out indefinitely with a leg injury, in the lineup and replacing him with Darren Archibald.
The always charming Tim Thomas was traded to the Dallas Stars yesterday, but the Canucks will likely face Kari Lehtonen, who’s started 50+ games so far this season.
The Canucks are welcoming some new faces of their own. Besides Markstrom, 6’4″ center Shawn Matthias will be playing his first game with the team, wearing Sergio Momesso’s old no. 27. If it makes anyone feel any better, Matthias bringing over a point-streak with 5 points in his last 2 games. For those wondering, the Canucks have 5 goals in their last 313 minutes of game time.
Besides Dank, Mike Santorelli, Andrew Alberts and Yannick Weber remain out of the lineup.
The Stars had been without Rich Peverley for the last 2 games because of an injury he sustained Monday night, but he may play tonight.
Roberto Luongo was pulled from the net early in the third period of last night’s 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. It was a tough night for the Canucks’ netminder as he let in the 4 goals on only 19 shots in 42 minutes of work.
Shortly after being pulled, the cameras caught Luongo on the bench making the above face. Was he replaying the goals in his head? Sucking on a sour candy? Fighting off a stomach ache?
With the help of the Twittersphere, I was able to discover some possibilities. In fact, I received the highest number of submissions ever for a CHB Top 10.
Thus, here are the Top 10 Things Roberto Luongo was Thinking While on the Bench:
HM: “That puck went left and I went right… kinda looked like this.” – submitted by @WestCoastRidrz
HM: “I wonder if I can get me one if those turkey legs now.” – submitted by @snacktalker
10: “In Florida, they don’t play defense either but they at least let me see the puck.” – submitted by @Aviewfromabroad
9a: “I wonder if I can use how much my twitter account is worth to buy out my contract.” – submitted by @paulalmeida22
9b: “I sure hope this doesn’t affect my Twitter account value.” – submitted by @codybarendregt
9c: “My Twitter account’s value increased by $433.20 to $270,838.80.” – submitted by @DustinStadnyk
9d: “I wonder how this affects my Twitter account’s value.” – submitted by @Shazmodius
These 4 replies are a reference to a couple of tweets that came from Luongo’s account over the past couple days from a website or app that claims to measure your Twitter value. Luongo has since deleted the tweets.
8: “I should check my iPad to see how Carey Price did tonight.” – submitted by @PPGoose
7: “I feel like Rodney Dangerfield: no respect, I tell ya.” – submitted by @watsukoguy
6: “They told me I’d be seeing stars here in Dallas, but this is ridiculous.” – submitted by @jaybizzones
5a: “Repeat of Anaheim in 3….2…” – submitted by @Rozzy80
5b: “I better hit the sandbox!!!” – submitted by @pat_pendergast
5c: “Oh damn, I hope that wasn’t a shart!” – submitted by @DevrieBeckett
5d: “Crap. Did I remember to flush?” – submitted by @lyteforce
You can never go wrong with toilet humour. The tweet from @Rozzy80 is a reference to the famous playoff game of May 2007 when backup Dany Sabourin had to fill in for Luongo in a playoff game – in overtime no less – for a few minutes while Luongo had an untimely case of diarrhea.
4: “I wonder if Bryz will let me into his humongous, big universe…” – submitted by @RogerWi1co
3: “Now is as good a time as any to pull off my best Jean Chrétien impression.” – submitted by @Swizzler16
2: “Milk hot dogs.” – submitted by @JoshuaDykstra12
1: “Dear Santa: This year I want a new bike, a red wagon, and peace on earth…..” – submitted by @b_cmack
Vancouver Canucks (20-10-6)
Dallas Stars (16-12-5)
This is the second of three games between the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars, with the Stars having beat the Canucks 2-1 in their first game on November 17th.
The Canucks’ perfect December and 7-game win streak came to an end on Tuesday night when the Minnesota Wild beat them 3-2 in a shootout. Still, their 7-0-1 record in December has helped them move up to 6th place in the Western Conference. They’re now just 2 points back of the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues, and 4 points back of the Los Angeles Kings, though all of these teams have games in hand over them. The Stars are coming off a 3-2 win over Colorado Avalanche and are looking to post consecutive wins for the first time since a 3-game win streak over a month ago.
Despite the shootout loss on Tuesday night against the Wild, Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has been one of the best players for the Canucks – over his past six starts, Luongo is 5-0-1 with a .958 save percentage.
For the Stars, forward Ray Whitney scored two out of the three goals in the their Tuesday night win over the Avalanche. He has three points in his last three games (2 goals, 1 assist).
The Vancouver Canucks are without forwards Alexandre Burrows (broken jaw), Jordan Schroeder (sprained ankle) and defensemen Alexander Edler (lower body), as well as Ryan Stanton who left Tuesday nights game against the Wild with a left ankle sprain.
The Dallas Stars are without defensemen Aaron Rome (lower body), Trevor Daley (sprained left ankle), Stephane Robidas (broken leg) and forward Vernon Fiddler (upper body).
There are times when we wonder if the officials hold some sort of bias against the Canucks. Or, like last night in the Canucks’ 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, when a couple of questionable calls changed the complexion of the game, one nullifying a game-tying goal, we wonder if they’re just that incompetent.
The most popular topic stemming from last night’s 2-1 Dallas Stars victory over the Vancouver Canucks was the apparent Henrik Sedin power play goal that was called off early in the second period. The official reason referee Rob Martell waved the goal off was because he felt that Daniel Sedin had made illegal contact with Stars’ goalie Kari Lehtonen just prior to Henrik’s shot.
Obviously, the goal could have been a huge momentum-changer, as it would have evened the score at 1-1 in a game that the Canucks were controlling the play.
Needless to say, Twitter exploded with conspiracy theories and charges of bias against the Canucks. I was one beneficiary of this Twitter rage as my picture of “Angry Torts” (as above) had me trending atop the Trendsmap rankings for Vancouver for a short while.
I can safely say that this was the first time and likely the only time I will ever be trending in ANYTHING. But I digress.
Thanks once again to you – the awesome people on Twitter – I have compiled yet another top 10 list.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons Why Henrik Sedin’s Goal Was Waved Off.
HM: “Just to piss us off.” – submitted by @KevinBye1
HM: “It was an action out of habit, as the refs all assume the Canucks can’t score.” – submitted by @A_L_ai
10: “Ref made a human mistake but sh!tty rules allow that to happen with no recourse by team.” – submitted by @THECooop
9: “Refs thought they were UFC judges.” – submitted by @greynotegroup
8: “Coin came up heads.” – submitted by @skitzo12
7: “The Henrik goal was waved off because the refs wanted to make the early bird special at the buffet. OT would have made them late.” – submitted by @HabsLions
6: “Gary Bettman pressed the ‘Screw the Canucks’ button at NHL headquarters and activated the implant in the ref’s head.” – submitted by @b_cmack
5: “Staches got in the way – too many participants for Movember.” – submitted by @elmeebaterina
4: “Henrik farted in Lehtonen’s face. Heard that could give a guy pink eye.” – submitted by @cbaldwin74
2: “The ref got confused that Henrik shot the puck. Thought it was an illegal move for him.” – submitted by @jasonclowers24
1: “Ref didn’t want Henrik passing Don Lever on the all-time goal scoring list.” – submitted by @Steve_May
Vancouver Canucks (11-7-3)
Dallas Stars (10-7-2)
The Vancouver Canucks are looking to end their 3-game winless streak (0-2-1) tonight against the Dallas Stars. The Stars are 2-1-0 in their last 3 games, and also have won their last 5 games away from American Airlines Center.
This is the first of three meetings between the Canucks and Stars. The Stars won their most recent meeting by a 5-1 score back on April 18th, 2013.
Jannik Hansen is expected to return to the Canucks line up after missing 10 games with a shoulder injury. At practice on Saturday, he skated on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins, which pushed Alexandre Burrows up to the first line with the Sedins. Maybe a change to the line-up is the boost the Canucks need to end get back on the win column.
Kevin Bieksa has 4 points in the past 4 games, scoring the Canucks’ lone goal against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
For the Stars, Tyler Seguin scored 4 goals and and added an assist in the Stars last game against the Calgary Flames. Seguin is the first player for the Stars since 2007 to score 4 goals in a game.
The Vancouver Canucks are still missing fowards Jordan Schroeder (ankle) and Dale Weise (lower body). Both forwards are on injured reserve.
The Dallas Stars will be playing without forward Ray Whitney (lower body), who is also on injured reserve.
On the eve of the start of the 2013/2014 NHL regular season, I preview the 30 teams, one division at a time.
Photo credit: Grantland
The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013, and may very well have a chance at a repeat performance. After all, they retained much of their players, with Dave Bolland perhaps the only significant subtraction from the roster. Brandon Saad, Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger all seem ready to take on more responsibility.
Especially with the hard salary cap and increased parity, it’s pretty darn tough to repeat in this league. The last team to be able to do so were the 1996/1997 and 1997/1998 Detroit Red Wings.
As much as it hurts to say this, I think the Blackhawks are, once again, the team to beat this season.
After a few seasons in the cellar, the Avalanche are slowly assembling a good group of players up front. Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon are as good a young forward core as any team can ask for.
Their defense is weak and their goaltending is inconsistent.
There may be hope on the horizon for the Avs, but at least for this season, they’ll have to go through some growing pains.
The Stars may have given up first-line winger, Loui Eriksson, to the Boston Bruins, but in Tyler Seguin, they received someone with no. 1 center potential. In the same deal, they also managed to get Rich Peverley, who has potential to produce as a no. 2 center. Jamie Benn, a 6’2″ forward who averaged 0.80 points per game last season, is an emerging star. 23-year old Alex Chiasson and 2013 1st round draft pick Valeri Nichushkin look like they will fill some key roles in the lineup.
There’s not a lot of depth in the back end after Alex Goligoski, Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley. 39-year old, UFA signing Sergei Gonchar will help, but other than that will rely on guys like Brendan Dillon, ex-Canuck Kevin Connauton, Jamie Oleksiak and Jordie Benn to improve.
This may be a bridge year for the Stars. The kids will get opportunities to play and gain some much-needed experience.
By signing Matt Cooke and trading for Nino Niederreiter, the Wild did well to improve their bottom-six.
The top-six is top-heavy. After the no. 1 line of Mikko Koivu-Zach Parise-Jason Pomminville, the Wild will have to rely on youngsters, Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund, and hope that Dany Heatley can stay relatively healthy and able to chip in offensively.
After making a big splash and signing Parise and franchise defenseman Ryan Suter last year, there was a lot of optimism in St. Paul to start the 2012/2013 season. Expectations should be more tempered this season.
Goaltending and defense will, of course, once again be the Predators’ strong suit. They had Seth Jones drop into their laps at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, and Roman Josi looks like the real deal.
The Preds’ offense finished dead last in the NHL last year; this year won’t be any better.
Sometime in the future, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and Taylor Beck may well provide Nashville with the offense they need. Just not with any regular frequency this season.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues have incredible depth throughout their lineup and should once again be one of the hardest teams to play against. Already with David Backes, Alex Steen, Chris Stewart, Patrick Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko, they went ahead and added Magnus Paajarvi from Edmonton and ex-Canucks, Derek Roy and Maxim Lapierre. Their defensive corps consisting of Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirk, Barret Jackman, Roman Polak and Jordan Leopold may be the best in the league.
The Blues have only won one playoff round – in 2011/2012 – in the last ten seasons.
The Blues should easily make the post-season in the new Central Division, and certainly, they have the pieces to finally make it out of the second round of the playoffs.
The Jets’ top-3 on d – Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom and Zach Bogosian – can produce with the best of them. Up front, they added some depth behind Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little by signing versatile Michael Frolik and 20-goal man, Devin Setoguchi.
Their defense isn’t that great defensively, playing in the same division as some very good defensive teams.
The Jets should be able to compete for one of the Western Conference’s wildcard spots.
Against another potential playoff opponent, the Canucks collapsed once again last night. This time around, they allowed 4 goals in the third period and lost 5-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.
The forwards were bad, and the defense was especially bad.
Get well soon, Kevin Bieksa and Chris Tanev. We need you back.