Nov 022013
 

vanleafs

(Photo credit: National Post)

Vancouver Canucks (9-5-1)
Toronto Maple Leafs (10-4-0)

On Pavel Bure night tonight, the Vancouver Canucks will attempt to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 11th straight meeting. Meanwhile, the Leafs will attempt to complete a 3-game sweep as they close out their Western Conference road trip.

Because of the lockout last season, the two teams haven’t met since February 2012. In that game, the Sedins and Alex Burrows combined for 10 points (3 goals and 7 assists) as the Canucks won handily, by a 6-2 score.

The Leafs are definitely improved since that 2012 meeting. Last season, they broke a 7-season postseason drought, and took the Boston Bruins to Game 7 of the first round of the NHL playoffs. This season, they sit 1st in the Eastern Conference and 4th in the overall NHL standings with 20 points in 14 games (10-4-0). The Canucks, however, aren’t too far behind with 19 points in 15 games.

Who’s Hot

The newly-extended Daniel Sedin, who scored the Canucks’ lone goal in their last game against the Detroit Red Wings, extended his point streak to 5 games (5 goals, 3 assists and 8 points). Henrik Sedin, who, like his brother, was signed to a contract extension yesterday, has a 10-game point streak himself (3 goals, 9 assists and 12 points).

For the Leafs, James van Riemsdyk has 2 goals and 5 assists on his current 5-game point streak.

Who’s Out

The Vancouver Canucks will be playing without forwards David Booth (lower body), Jordan Schroeder (ankle), Jannik Hansen (upper body) and Dale Weise (lower body).

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be playing without defenseman Mark Fraser (knee), and forwards Nikolai Kulemin (ankle) and Tyler Bozak (lower body).

Oct 312013
 

An Original Six team, games against the Detroit Red Wings are usually entertaining and exciting. With the Wings now in the Eastern Conference, they only get to visit Rogers Arena once a year so, needless to say, Canucks fans were looking forward to last night’s affair.

Did it live up to it’s billing?

Oh, come on. It wasn’t that bad, was it?

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Oct 312013
 

Are you still trying to figure out your Halloween Costume? Picking the perfect costume can be a real conundrum. Just in case some of our beloved Canucks players are still searching for the perfect costume, we here at CHB have put together some choice suggestions that are bound to score them lots of candy… and maybe a few laughs.

David Booth should go as Ricky Bobby

Ricky Boothy... I mean Bobby.

Ricky Boothy… I mean Bobby.

This is the perfect costume for Booth because it’s hillbilly-ish which suits him and I’m sure he uses delicious Wonder Bread to make his freshly killed Moose meat sandwiches… or deer meat or antelope or wookie or whatever else he’s killed lately. Only drawback is he has to carry the helmet around because you know he can’t cover that lucious flow. But turn that helmet upside down and it’s a candy bucket!

Tom Sestito should go as Frankenstein

Sestitostein

Sestitostein

This works for Tom because Frankenstein is all stitched together and Sestito has a lot of facial scars from where he’s been stitched together. Plus at 6’5 and 228 pounds he’s a monster even without the green face paint.

The Sedin twins should go as Twins

Twins as Twins

Twins as Twins

Hank and Dank probably have matching outfits lying around somewhere. All they have to do is slap them on and then one of them has to walk on his knees all night and BOOM! Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger from the ’80s chucklefest “Twins”. Get it? Get it? Hysterical! Okay, well maybe not our best work…. moving on.

Eddie Lack should go as Elf

Lack Elf

Lack Elf

I read the article about Eddie and Zach Kassian carving pumpkins at Canucks Place and they said it was the first time Eddie ever carved a pumpkin. That made me wonder – do they not celebrate Halloween in Sweden? Has poor Lack never experience the sugar rush of a pillowcase full of chocolate?! If that’s the case then the whole holiday might confuse him. Perhaps it’s best if he clings to a holiday he knows, like Christmas. Plus, I bet he’d look adorable in tights.

Roberto Luongo as Razor Ramon

razorluI’ll be honest, I have no idea who Razor Ramon is. I just want to see Lu with even more grease in his hair and  shirtless in a vest. Who doesn’t want that?!

Ryan Kesler should go as Wolverine

Keslerine

Keslerine

Kesler would make a perfect Wolverine this Halloween. He’s got the hair. He can grown the side burns. And he’s recently rediscovered his beastmode again. Plus I can’t think of one female that wouldn’t give him all their candy if he showed up in nothing but a pair of adamantium claws. Rawr!

Other costume ideas I didn’t have time to make images of but were still great include:

  • Zack Kassian as the Hulk
  • Daniel Sedin as Henrik Sedin and Henrik Sedin as Daniel Sedin
  • Zack Kassian as Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
  • Andrew Alberts as Mr. Potato Head

Do you have any costume ideas for Canucks players? What are you going as this Halloween? Tell CHB!

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 232013
 

Last night’s game between the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Islanders was an eventful, see-saw game; both teams took turns taking the lead, and then blowing it, before the Canucks eventually between the Islanders 5-4 in overtime.

David Booth was a scratch – in favor of Andrew Alberts, who played 1 shift and 37 seconds in the first 2 minutes of the game, no less. Ryan Kesler was elbowed in the head, though he didn’t miss a shift. Jannik Hansen was hurt, and missed the latter half of the game. And Kevin Bieksa – yes, Kevin Bieksa – continued his improved play, notching another assist, almost getting the game-winning goal in OT (Brad Richardson eventually got credited for it), and now 5 assists and an NHL-best (!) +10 rating.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Oct 152013
 

Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: canucks.com

We’re 6 games into the 2013/2014 regular season, and already, it seems like, on offense, not much has changed for the Vancouver Canucks. That is, the Canucks are still unable to generate much on offense. And what little offense they generate is usually generated by the Sedins.

Consider this: Henrik Sedin’s goal, which tied the game late in the second period against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, was only the Canucks’ 5th goal in 3 games.

Consider this as well: 4 of these 5 goals were scored or assisted by Henrik or brother Daniel.

In fact, of the Canucks’ 17 goals this season, 10 were scored while the Sedins were on the ice, and Henrik or Daniel scored or assisted on 9 of them.

This isn’t a new phenomenom either.

En route to being swept by the San Jose Sharks in the 2013 playoffs, the Canucks only managed to score 8 goals in 4 games and the twins had a hand in 4 – half – of those goals.

In the last month of last season, a span of 13 games, the Canucks scored 34 goals and the Sedins were involved in 17 of them.

Against the Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 playoffs, the Canucks scored 8 goals in 5 games and the twins either scored, assisted or were on the ice for 6 of those 8 goals.

I think you get the point by now.

There was some optimism at the start of this season that a healthy Ryan Kesler, an injection of youth, and a more aggressive approach would help. Except two weeks into the season, Kesler isn’t the highest scoring Ryan on the team (defenseman Ryan Stanton has 3 points to Kes’ lone point); and the youth, Bo Horvat, Brendan Gaunce and Hunter Shinkaruk, are piling on points back in junior and not in the NHL.

I realize it doesn’t help that Alex Burrows (injured), Jordan Schroeder (injured) and Zack Kassian (suspension) haven’t played much this season. And I know Kesler and David Booth missed most of last season as well. But these don’t change that this is a long-standing problem, and the fact is, the Canucks haven’t had much scoring depth, outside the Sedins, for almost 2 years now.

As it stands, it’s too easy to beat the Canucks these days: stop the Sedins, beat the Canucks.

Oct 102013
 
from the 2007 video "The Ultimate Canucks Haiku"

from the 2007 video “The Ultimate Canucks Haiku”

I love me a good haiku.  Perhaps it’s my half-Japanese heritage (Imoo is a Japanese name if you’re wondering; my other half is Chinese).  Perhaps it’s because I’m lazy and a haiku – with its 17 syllables – is one of the shortest poems in existence.  Or maybe it’s because my Ultimate Canucks Haiku video on YouTube (with over 30,000 views) helped me win some nice swag in the Ultimate Canucks Search contest back in 2007 (I’ve included the video at the bottom of this post).

Anyway, back to the syllables.  A proper haiku follows the form of 5-7-5.  That is: a line of 5 syllables, a line of 7 syllables, and then a line of 5 syllables.  Good haiku (or haikus…you can use either form for the plural) usually bunches the first two “lines” together, and then leaves the third line on its own to conclude the poem. Think of it as a 12-syllable phrase followed by a 5-syllable phrase.

Tonight, the San Jose Sharks are in town to face the Vancouver Canucks in a battle for early Pacific Division supremacy.  A big focal point of the Sharks will be their exciting rookie Tomas Hertl.  Hertl enters Thursday’s action leading the NHL in scoring in large part to a great 4-goal performance against the Rangers Tuesday night.

An already highly-anticipated match-up now has an added element of intrigue with Hertl.  Will the Canucks be able to avenge their opening night drubbing to the same Sharks?  Will Hertl continue his hot streak?  And will he dare try a fancy move against Roberto Luongo?

In advance of the game, I went to Twitter to solicit responses for a rather unique CHB Top 10.  Turns out we have a bunch of poets and didn’t even know it.  See what I did there?

Thus, I proudly present to you CHB’s Top 10 Hertl Haiku:

HM:  Hertl Hertl don’t u score on us.  Hertl Hertl please miss the bus.  –submitted by @manlycc

HM:  Ahead of the pack, a quartet he assembled.  Lu will stop him cold.  –submitted by @kdmurray

HM:  European kid never been in a fight so Bieksa will try.  –submitted by @mrsurreyjack

#10:  Cute goal by Hertl.  However three years ago, Daniel did it best.  –submitted by @ClasssicDave

#9:  Of all the damn luck Hertl is good with the puck.  Come, Lu – pull the plug!  -submitted by @cefair

#8:  Sharks are dangerous.  Laying Hertl on Rangers.  Sets up Thursday night. – submitted by @PuckedintheHead

#7:  Luongo, Schneider?  That was the past, this is now.  Luongo, Hertl. –submitted by @mikejang

#6:  I’m Czech Republic hockey player this is dream.  To play with sharks, ya? –submitted by @camcharron

#5:  Hertl is quite good – he scored four times on Tuesday.  Trade Weise for Hertl.  –submitted by @passittobulis

#4:  Thomas Hertl balls.  I’m just saying he’s got game.  I don’t mean his junk.  –submitted by @jamjamtao

#3:  Canucks take on Sharks – oh please Hertl, don’t hurt ‘em.  Bobby Lu, stand tall!  -submitted by @gloomybb

#2:  Look at that kid score.  Twenty, thirty, maybe more.  Unsustainable.  –submitted by @petbugs13

#1:  Who is this Hertl?  If you think he’s a bad guy, better Czech yourself.  –submitted by @rebeccapalooza and @camcharron

 

Oct 062013
 

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: canucks.com

Lately, the Calgary Flames seem to cure all things that ail the Vancouver Canucks. In the last 3 seasons, the Canucks have a 13-3-2 record against the Flames and have outscored them by a combined scored of 60-35 in those 18 outings. For all their offensive struggles in recent times (last night’s 6-goal explosion against the Oilers aside), they’ve somehow managed to average 3.33 goals per game against these Alberta rivals.

These days, both teams are going through somewhat of a transition period.

The Canucks, of course, are still learning a new system under new head coach, John Tortorella, and are doing so with much of the same roster. However, tonight, they’ll be even thinner up front with Alex Burrows and Jordan Schroeder out for a couple more weeks, Zack Kassian still serving his 8-game suspension for “accidentally” breaking Sam Gagner’s jaw with his stick.

On the other hand, the Flames are completely rebuilding their organization – finally – after missing the playoffs the last 4 seasons. Just before the start of this season, they hired ex-Canuck GM, Brian Burke, as their President of Hockey Operations. Even before that, they jettisoned long-time face of the Flames, Jarome Iginla, and franchise defenseman, Jay Bouwmeester. Long-time goaltender, Mikka Kiprusoff, also retired.

Both the Canucks and the Flames have won a game and lost a game to start the 2013/2014 season.

Last Year’s Meetings

The Canucks won 5 of 6 meetings last season, outscoring the Flames by an 18-10 margin. Burrows and Schroeder scored 5 of those goals, but neither will suit up tonight. Mason Raymond, Derek Roy and Max Lapierre chipped in with 4 goals, but all have moved on and replaced with Brad Richardson, Zac Dalpe and Mike Santorelli in the lineup.

Alex Tanguay and Mike Cammalleri paced the Flames with a couple of goals each, but Tanguay has since been traded back to the Colorado Avalanche and Cammalleri remains out of the lineup (perhaps for good).

Who to watch

Two defensemen: With 3 points each in their first 2 games, Jason Garrison from the Canucks and Mark Giordano from the Flames are off to hot starts. Garrison has 2 goals – one on the powerplay and one shorthanded (a slap shot, trick shot off the glass and into an empty net) – and an assist; Giordano has 3 assists.

The Canucks will get a first glimpse at prized Flames rookie, Sean Monahan, the 6th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Monahan, who the Flames picked 3 spots before the Canucks picked Bo Horvat, has 2 points in 2 games, including scoring the team’s first goal of the 2013/2014 season.

Both Sedins have feasted on the Flames. Against the Flames in their careers, Daniel has 73 points (25 goals and 48 assists) in 71 games, and Henrik has 66 points (12 goals and 54 assists) in 73 games.

With the Canucks playing back-to-back games, Eddie Lack will get his first career NHL start.

The Lineup

Tonight’s Lineups

Vancouver

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen

David Booth – Ryan Kesler – Chris Higgins

Brad Richardson – Mike Santorelli – Dale Weise

Tom Sestito – Zac Dalpe – Yannick Weber

Dan Hamhuis – Kevin Bieksa

Alex Edler – Jason Garrison

Ryan Stanton – Chris Tanev

Eddie Lack

Roberto Luongo

Calgary Flames

Curtis Glencross – Matt Stajan – Lee Stempniak

Jiri Hudler – Mikael Backlund – TJ Galiardi

Sven Baertschi – Sean Monahan – David Jones

Lance Bouma – Ben Street – Brian McGrattan

Mark Giordano – TJ Brodie

Kris Russell – Dennis Wideman

Chris Butler – Shane O’Brien

Joey Macdonald

Karri Ramo

Oct 052013
 
Weise and Brown Reacquainting Themselves - courtesy of Canucks.com

Weise and Brown Reacquainting Themselves – courtesy of Canucks.com

Getting themselves off to a fantastic start in the first 10 minutes of the game two nights ago, Canucks nation held out hope that the team was quickly gelling under John Tortorella. But Vancouver dug themselves a hole, forced to kill off a two-minute 5-on-3 before a handful of turnovers led to two quick Sharks goals.

Tonight, Vancouver looks for their first win of the year and have the chance to get it in front of their fans as they host their home opener against the Edmonton Oilers.

Canucks Record

0-1-0, 0 points (6th in the Pacific Division, 12th in the Western Conference). After only ONE game (you can breathe again).

Season Series

It’s the first matchup between the two teams of the regular season, but this also marks the first time the two meet since Zack Kassian’s errant stick broke Sam Gagner’s jaw (and Dale Weise’s dangerous hit on Taylor Hall). Kassian is still suspended, but Weise will be in the Vancouver lineup, creating the potential for some fireworks if the game gets out of hand for either team.

Who’s Hot

Alex Ovechkin, he of 3 goals for 5 points in 2 games. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on the cut of your jib) he’s not playing for the Canucks or Oilers.

Who’s Not

The Canucks offence. Beyond a strong effort against a light Phoenix squad in the preseason, the hometown team could very well be part of Team PowerSmart considering the lack of goal lights they’ve been turning on.

Who’s In, Who’s Out

Alex Burrows won’t be in the lineup for the next few weeks, as Tortorella announced at this morning’s pre-game skate that Burrows broke a bone in his foot blocking a shot. In  his place, Torts said the Canucks aren’t calling up an additional forward and will instead dress an extra defenceman… So, uh, the Sedins are currently playing with a mystery linemate for now.

Tonight’s Lineups

Vancouver

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – ???

Chris Higgins – Ryan Kesler – Jannik Hansen

David Booth – Mike Santorelli – Brad Richardson

Tom Sestito – Zac Dalpe – Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis – Kevin Bieksa

Alex Edler – Jason Garrison

Ryan Stanton – Chris Tanev

Roberto Luongo

Eddie Lack

Edmonton

Ryan Smyth – Taylor Hall – Ales Hemsky

Jesse Joensuu – Boyd Gordon – Jordan Eberle

David Perron – Mark Arcobello – Nail Yakupov

Luke Gazdic – Will Acton – Mike Brown

Andrew Ference – Justin Schultz

Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry

Nick Schultz – Anton Belov

Devan Dubnyk

Jason Labarbera

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