Apr 142014
 

In typical 2013/2014 Canucks fashion, the Canucks ended their train wreck of a season with a 5-1 plastering of the Calgary Flames. I mean, 5 of their 36 wins this season were against the Flames.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Apr 042014
 
injury

It is truly hard to pinpoint one reason why the Canucks will be on the outside looking in this spring. It would be unfair to blame their failures on one key thing. So I’m going to go ahead and name five.

It’s been an abysmal year for the Canucks and unless some youth is injected into the lineup next season, we may be in store for a few more. The core which seemed so indestructible just two short years ago is imploding and many of the veterans seem nonchalant and indifferent to the failures of this season. Injuries took their toll and the team’s plethora of “experience” is just starting to look like old age. Here’s hoping that management looks at this objectively and realizes that their window has closed and a new one in a different room needs to be opened. Tacky clichés aside, virtually everything that could go wrong did, so this should be pretty straight-forward.

5) Power Play Troubles: The power play struggles go back almost two years now. A huge reason why the Canucks have become one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league - the man advantage, serves as more of a momentum swing for the opposing team’s PK. Here’s a nice Hamhuis own goal I’m sure you all remember well.

4) Goaltending Fiasco: Whether it was the Schneider trade at the draft or the Luongo trade at the deadline, this year has been a mess when it comes to  goaltending. The trades weren’t necessarily bad, but the distractions were too much for an already weakened squad.

3) Injuries, Injuries, Injuries: Coaches always say injuries are not an excuse but if that was the case we wouldn’t pay certain guys millions of dollars more than others. Simply put, when your best players are injured your team sucks more.

2) Coaching Decisions: John Torterella has had a rough year. Between over-playing players and storming opposing teams’ dressing rooms he’s certainly left his mark on this season. His future with the organization remains unclear.

1) SLUMPS: Scoreless droughts for a number of key-players making millions plagued the team. This culminated in an epic 35 game drought for Alex Burrows, a one-time 35 goal scorer.

Mar 082014
 

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The line brawl between the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames that started their last game.
(Photo credit: nhl.com)

After an embarrassing 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday night, the Vancouver Canucks return home for a two-game home-stand. They’ve only been away for a week, but, man, has so much happened since the last time they were in town. It’s hard to believe that the Ryan Kesler trade saga, the Heritage Classic goaltending fiasco, and Roberto Luongo’s subsequent trade to the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline all happened in the last week. Welcome home, boys.

March 8

March 8 is a dark day in Canucks history. Exactly 10 years ago today, in a game against the Colorado Avalanche, Todd Bertuzzi jumped Steve Moore, who then suffered a career-ending injury.

And wouldn’t you know it, but today is also the first meeting between the Canucks and the Calgary Flames since their line brawl on January 18th started the game, and Mt. Tortorella erupted during the first intermission and had to be restrained from entering the Flames’ dressing room. Torts was suspended 15 days by the NHL for his actions.

The Turning Point

The Canucks have won 5 in a row against the Calgary Flames, including all 3 games they’ve played this season.

But truth be told, unlike the Canucks, who are sinking faster than Lindsay Lohan’s once promising career, the Flames are headed in the right direction. Since that January 18th meeting against the Canucks, they’ve won 9 of 15 games. They’ve scored 4 or more goals in 7 of those 15 games, and have allowed 2 goals or less in 8 of them.

On the other hand, the Canucks have won just 3 games since Mt. Torts’ eruption (3-11-1), and have only scored 24 goals in those 15 games.

There were some reports Canucks players, especially the veterans, were upset at Tortorella for his actions that night, and looking at the results since, the question needs to be asked: Has Torts lost the room?

Rock Bottom

As the Canucks struggle to score, of course they also struggle to win. Heading into tonight’s game, the Canucks have scored 148 goals. The fewest number of goals ever scored by a Canucks team in a full season were the 192 scored by the 1989-1999 Canucks. To beat that number, the Canucks need 45 goals in their final 17 games – that’s asking the team to score a 2.64 goals per game pace over the final 17 games of the season when they’ve averaged 1.53 goals per game in the last 17 games they’ve played.

The Struggling

For those keeping track, Captain Henrik Sedin has not scored a goal in his last 22 games and is without a point in his last 11 games. Although he’s injured right now, Daniel Sedin has also not scored in his last 22 games and has just one point in his last 17 games. Alex Burrows has yet to score a goal this season.

Mar 032014
 

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(Photo credit: nhl.com)

  • First off, can we talk about Eddie Lack getting the start over Roberto Luongo? Complete lack of respect. Yes, Lack has done well lately, but Luongo is your starting goaltender. He’s shown nothing but class and grace while the team botched their goaltending situation the last couple of years, and he definitely should have played in net today. Honestly, when will Lu get a chance to play in a game like the Heritage Classic again?
  • The game started off great for the Canucks. They took a 2-0 lead in the first 11:27 of the game, and for a while it looked like they were ready to blow the closed roof out of BC Place. Jason Garrison opened the scoring with a power play goal their first power play goal in 4 games – hey, at least the Canucks bumped one slump – and then Zack Kassian followed it up with his 11th goal of the season.
  • Speaking of which, Alex Burrows still hasn’t bumped his scoring slump. For those keeping track, he’s nearing 10 months since he last scored a goal. Just sayin’.
  • But of course, the Canucks blew a 2-0 lead, allowing the Senators to score twice in a span of 1:47 to tie up the game later in the first period. Classic Canucks blowing leads.
  • After the first period, things just went downhill for the Canucks. Cody Ceci put the Senators up 3-2 in the second period, and the Canucks didn’t have many chances to get even. And then of course Colin Greening sealed the deal with an empty-net goal with a minute and a half still remaining in the game. Anyone else thought it was too early to pull Lack for the extra attacker? Another bad decision by Torts?
  • Injury report: After one Sedin (Hank) returned from an injury, the other one went down to one. Daniel was hit into the boards by Marc Methot and remained down on the ice for a few minutes before slowly skating off the ice. He went straight for the Canucks dressing room and return for the rest of the game.
Mar 022014
 

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(Photo credit: nhl.com)

Ottawa Senators (26-23-11) at Vancouver Canucks (28-24-10)

The Vancouver Canucks will take on the Ottawa Senators at BC Place for the 2014 Heritage Classic. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s snowing as we speak in downtown Vancouver.

Cold Snap

Just as cold as the weather outside is the Canucks’ offence. They’ve scored a grand total of 6 goals in their last 6 games, and not surprisingly, they’ve lost all but 1 of them. The Sedins, though they’ve been playing a bit better since the Olympic break, haven’t scored in 2013. Alex Burrows hasn’t scored since the 2012/2013 season. In fact, much of the Canucks’ offence over the last quarter of a season has been provided by Ryan Kesler, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen, and Kesler, who has goals in consecutive games and leads the Canucks with 21 goals for the season, may or may not want to be traded before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

Goaltending Controversy, pt. 10438

According to TSN, it is expected that backup goaltender, Eddie Lack, will be getting the start today. If he does, it will be his third consecutive start. It will also be a huge slap to the face of starting goaltender, Roberto Luongo. “I’ve always wanted to play in an outdoor game, so I was excited when I saw we got one this year and I was looking forward to it.” Luongo said. Unfortunately, that might not happen. Canucks coach, John Tortorella, said he will announce the starting goaltender today before the game. Let’s hope saner heads prevail.

Jan 302014
 
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A wake up call, a kick in the ass, a pep talk: whatever you want to call it-these guys need it. And while the whole team has been in a funk that could give Rick James a run for his money, the core group is on a level of its own. The top players that brought the Canucks to within one win of the coveted Stanley Cup have apparently fallen off the map into Mariana’s Trench. The leadership seems fragile (even more so with Henrik Sedin out) and the energy lacklustre. The upcoming Olympic break will hopefully bring some much needed perspective to a group that is struggling to find its place in a tough division.

If a change in momentum is going to happen its gonna have to start with the big boys. The guys who get paid the big bucks and have accepted the reins as team leaders. Cliches are starting to lose their cache  and the core need to put their money where their mouth is ( Yes, that was a cliche but shut-up). These guys have to jumpstart their seasons and in turn provide that spark for the rest of the team to follow.

These 5 Canucks need to WAKE UP:

5) Alexander Edler –  A two-time 40 point scorer and one-time all-star, Edler seemed poised to take the position as the number one d-man on the Canuck back-end. Injuries and a lack of confidence plagued the big swede and his struggles have continued under Torts. Edler’s at his best when he’s throwing the body around and working the powerplay.

4) Ryan Kesler – Despite leading the team in goals, Kesler has been too streaky to consider this season a success. He’s trying hard but seems to be a half step behind on the offensive side of the puck. Kesler thrives in the rough-and-tumble games but needs to put up points for this team to be successful.

3) Dan Hamhuis – This normally steady defenceman has had his ups and downs this season. Slow to adopt Tortorella’s aggressive style, Hamhuis has been caught up ice often and seems to be chasing the puck more than usual. Hamhuis needs a strong first-pass and a better-timed game to truly be effective.

2) Daniel Sedin – Could have put both Sedins in this position but since Henrik is injured he gets a break. This one-time 40 goal scorer currently sits at a pitiful 13 goals. At times looks completely lost out there. Danny needs Henrik, but even more so he needs some confidence- a multi-point game, possibly a powerplay snipe to show that he’s still the top-dog in terms of goal-scoring.

1) Alex Burrows – An absolutely epic slump, poor Alex has completely left behind his 20 goal days. There’s still hope he can regain form for a late season run but no goals in 23 games is devastating. The Canucks cannot be paying what they are for Burrows and get paid bagels in return.

Jan 132014
 

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The Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks fight for third place in the Pacific Division.
(source: nhl.com)

Vancouver Canucks (24-13-9)
Los Angeles Kings (3-6-1)

If the Canucks were hoping for a quick re-do of their horrendous trip to SoCal the other weekend – a weekend in which they lost both games to the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings and outshot by a 98-48 margin – well, they get their wish. This week, the Canucks will embark on a 3 games in 4 nights road trip, starting in Los Angeles tonight and Anaheim tomorrow, before finishing up in the desert in Phoenix on Thursday.

The Kings are 3-0-0 against the Canucks this season. But if there’s a silver lining of sorts here, the Canucks are still within striking distance, and in fact, a win tonight will see them leapfrog the Kings and take over third place in the Pacific Division.

The Canucks are getting healthier too with Alex Edler is back in the lineup tonight. Also, while Eddie Lack is again getting the start, Roberto Luongo is traveling with the team, a sure sign he is close to returning. Up front, Alex Burrows is expected back on Saturday when they play the Calgary Flames back at Rogers Arena.

Who’s Hot

For the Canucks, Henrik Sedin has 5 assists in his last 4 games, Daniel Sedin has 4 assists in his last 4 games, and Chris Higgins has 3 points (1 goal and 2 assists) in his last 4 games.

For the Kings, Mike Richards has points in consecutive games, Anze Kopitar has 3 assists in his last 4 games, and Jeff Carter has 4 points (3 goals and 1 assist) in his last 4 games.

Who’s Not

Ryan Kesler only has 3 points (2 goals and 1 assist) in his last 11 games.

Jan 072014
 

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(source: nhl.com)

Vancouver Canucks (23-13-8)

Pittsburgh Penguins (31-12-1)

By giving up the game-winning goal with 0.6 1.3 seconds left in OT to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, the Vancouver Canucks extended their winless streak to 4 games. And it doesn’t get any easier tonight as they face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who lead the NHL’s Metropolitan Division by 17 – yes, 17 – points and have won 15 of their last 18 games.

Oh yeah, and the Penguins just got Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang back from injury.

Tonight’s game marks the first of the Canucks short, two-game home stand before going back on the road for 4 of their 5 games. It is the second and final regular season meeting between the Canucks and Penguins. The Penguins won the first their first meeting in Pittsburgh in the shootout by a 4-3 score.

Who’s Hot

Daniel Sedin assisted on all 3 Canucks goals against the Ducks, and now has 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in his last 5 games.

Ryan Kesler has scored a powerplay goals in each of the last 2 games.

Unsurprising given their record, a few Penguins are on hot streaks right now. James Neal has 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) in his last 5 games. Sidney Crosby is on a 5-game point streak with and has 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) in that span. Malkin, who has been out since December 14th, scored twice and added an assist in his first game back on Sunday against the Jets.

Who’s Out

Injuries and injuries and injuries for both teams.

Luongo (ankle) remains day-to-day for the Vancouver Canucks along with forwards Chris Higgins (flu-like symptoms) and Zack Kassian, who got injured on Sunday against the Ducks when Tom Sestito accidentally got his skate up to his face. Defensemen Andrew Alberts (concussion), Alex Edler (lower body) and Ryan Stanton (ankle), and forwards Jordan Schroeder (ankle) and Alex Burrows (jaw) are on injured reserve.

For the Penguins, Chuck Kobasew (lower body) is day-to-day for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Goalie Tomas Vokoun (blood clot), defenseman Paul Martin (leg), and forwards Beau Bennett (wrist), Andrew Ebbett (ankle), Jayson Megna (lower body), Pascal Dupuis (knee) and Chris Conner (hand) are on injured reserve

Jan 052014
 

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(source: nhl.com)

Vancouver Canucks (23-13-7)

Anaheim Ducks (30-8-5)

The Vancouver Canucks are hoping for a better outcome tonight as they return to the Honda Centre for the second time this season. In their first visit back on November 10th, they lost 3-1. Unfortunately, that won’t be easy. The Ducks are the NHL’s best home team and haven’t lost in regulation in 18 games on home ice this season. They’re 16-0-2, including 6 consecutive wins in which they’ve outscored the opposition 24-12. Overall, they’ve won 11 of their last 12 games, and with 65 points, they lead the Pacific Division by 7 points and the Canucks by 12 points.

Who’s Hot

Daniel Sedin got the assist on the Canucks’ lone goal on Saturday night against the Kings. He has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in his last 3 games.

Andrew Cogliano, who signed a 4-year/$12 million contract extension on Saturday, has 4 goals and 5 points in his last 5 games.

Who’s Out

Nothing new on the Canucks’ side of things. Alex Burrows (jaw), Jordan Schroeder, Ryan Stanton (ankle), Alexander Edler (knee) and Andrew Alberts (upper body) are all still on the mend.

The Anaheim Ducks are without goaltender Viktor Fasth (lower body), and defensemen Luca Sbisa (hand) and Sheldon Souray (wrist).

Dec 312013
 

On one end of the rink was Steve Mason, whose career the entire NHL, save the Philadelphia Flyers, had left for dead. Much was made about his past poor performances, especially against the Canucks, seemingly forgetting that he’s actually been pretty damn good during the Flyers’ 15-6-4 surge prior to last night’s game.

On the other end was Tom Sestito, who was waived by those very same Flyers last season and then claimed by the Canucks, and has served as some sort of a whipping boy to Canucks fans ever since.

Both Mason and Sestito had lots to prove. And both delivered.

Mason stopped 41 of 44 shots, plus another 3 in the shootout, to keep his team in the game. Sestito scored a goal and was a pain in Philly’s side for most of the 5:45 minutes he was on the ice.

Guilty as charged.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

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