Mar 142013
 

I look at the good, the bad, and the interesting from the Vancouver Canucks’ 7-4 victory over the Nashville Predators at Rogers Arena.

I doubt that anyone predicted 11 total goals in this contest between two teams that have had difficulty scoring this season.  The fans were treated to a highly entertaining contest that had a bit of everything: nice goals, fights, defensive breakdowns, and even a penalty shot.

I touch on Jannik Hansen, Andrew Ebbett, Mason Raymond, Henrik’s penalty shot, David Booth, Kevin Bieksa’s tough game, our crowded blueline, and a little trip I’m taking.

Thus, I’ll be taking a one-week break from creating these postgame commentaries.

 

Mar 132013
 

With a 2-1 shootout victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Columbus, the Canucks were able to avenge last week’s 2-1 overtime defeat to the same team in the same arena.

This time, highlights included the strong goaltending of Roberto Luongo and Mason Raymond’s spin-o-rama goal in the shootout.

In this video, I touch on Roberto Luongo’s strong game, David Booth’s aggressive play, Alex Burrows sliding into Luongo, boarding penalties, the goaltending situation, Cam Barker’s offensive prowess, and Tom Sestito’s decreasing playing time.

 

Mar 042013
 

I look at the good, the bad, and the interesting from the Canucks’ 4-2 defeat to the Calgary Flames from Sunday, March 3 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

Having arrived in snow-laden Calgary just 2 and a half hours before face-off, the Canucks played hard in the first period but wilted as the game wore on.

In the video, I touch on Jannik Hansen, David Booth, early penalties, Roberto Luongo, the Canucks’ lack of discipline, bad weather, Tom Sestito and another benching of Keith Ballard.

Jan 232013
 

Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: National Post

With less than a week of games under the NHL’s belt in this shortened 2013 season, I’m shocked at how many things made me go hmmm…

Here are a few of the biggest head scratchers:

Goalie Drama. Again. Sigh.

The Vancouver Canucks have not traded Roberto Luongo. Despite claiming Cory Schneider is their number one, they pulled Schneider in game 1 and didn’t give him a chance in game 2. Alain Vigneault’s talk doesn’t match his walk. If Schneider is the Canucks’ number 1, he would get the start, even after being pulled. In the last few seasons, Luongo would get the start even after being pulled or a poor showing. Between Vigneault’s refusal to stick with his supposed number 1, and his further refusal to even announce his starter until minutes before a game, the goalie controversy is gaining life instead of losing it. It doesn’t matter how professional an organization is, that kind of extended drama is going to make an impact in a bad way. It has with the fan base. Luongo homers are openly tweeting hopefully for Cory’s failure.

Reality check: Schneider isn’t the only number one to struggle. The New York Rangers pulled Henrik Lundqvist in the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins after he stopped just 14 of 18 shots. Why aren’t Rangers fans screaming for Marty Biron to take over the number 1 spot? Because Rangers management isn’t wishy-washy on their faith in Lundqvist.

Does a Short Season Mean it’s a Free-For-All?

If you look at the results throughout the league over the first few days of the season, it’s glaringly obvious the favourites aren’t doing so well. A lot of sportscasters tagged the Rangers to be the team most likely to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup this year; they’ve yet to win a game. Same with the Philadelphia Flyers, who the pundits always predict some noise in the playoffs. And as we all know, same with the Canucks.

In fact the only favourite doing really well are the Penguins. The Chicago Blackhawks, much to my personal chagrin, are also starting strong. In a shortened season, getting a fast start out of the gate and winning from the get-go is important. Sure the Canucks (and Rangers and Flyers) have only lost 2 or 3 games, but with less time to catch up, it’s worrisome. I have a feeling we may be even more surprised by this year’s Cup winner than last year’s.

Jersey Off Our Backs Make Me Go Hmmm… and Mmmm

After watching the Jersey Off Our Backs presentation on Saturday, I’m left with a few questions. Bear with me as I have never played hockey.

How come the Canucks don’t all wear the same pads? I assumed they would all wear similar, if not the same pads, but Lapierre is wearing red ones that make him look like he’s still a Hab. Yes I actually looked at his pads, not just his pretty face. It was hard but I did it. Mostly everyone else on the team had white pads, or in David Booth’s case, a really bad checkered shirt. 

And does Higgins not wear anything under his pads just so he can hear the squeals of delight as he pulls his shirt off?  This is the second Jersey off Our Backs that I’ve witnessed live and in-person and once again Higgy wasn’t wearing Under Armour – he’s the only hockey player I’ve seen that goes bare under the pads. Why does he do it? Why doesn’t anyone else? Not that I’m complaining; it does make me go Hmmm… and Mmmm.

 

Jan 222013
 

The Canucks waiting to give away their jerseys

For my first CCC of the 2013 NHL season, I share some of the sights and sounds from the Canucks’ opening weekend at Rogers Arena. Unfortunately, the weekend consisted of two losses: 7-3 to Anaheim on Saturday night and 3-2 to Edmonton on Sunday night.

It was certainly an intriguing weekend as both Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo got starts. As well, the Canucks’ secondary scoring (or lack thereof) was quite evident.

My buddy Mike also captured some neat footage from ice level as he was chosen to receive the jersey off of a player’s back.  He ended up getting the jersey of David Booth and had a pleasant exchange with him.  As well, we got footage of Chris Higgins removing his jersey…much to the delight of numerous female fans.

Jan 172013
 

If there was one thing clear about the Canucks early exit from the post-season, the lack of secondary scoring and production from the second line was a large issue. So it’s definitely worrisome that Ryan Kesler is still on the mend (with no schedule to return yet) from off-season surgery AND David Booth has encountered a temperamental groin, leaving him on the shelf for four to six weeks.

David Booth and Ryan Kesler

Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnik/Getty Images

So how do you replace two-thirds of your second line for close to a third of the shortened NHL season? This is where you come in.

We want you to tell us what your answer to the Canucks second line woes. If the hockey gods like your answer, we and our friends at the Vancouver Canucks have a pair of tickets to Saturday’s home opener to give to you.

To enter:

  • For one entry: In the comments section of this post, tell us what you would do to plug the holes in the Canucks second line. Maybe it’s a combination of existing players or a deal you pull the trigger on. (Make sure you enter your email address when you log-in so we can contact you if you win.)
  • For a bonus entry – Tweet the following:

I entered and RT to win #Canucks tickets from @canuckshockey @VanCanucks & @lyteforce nucks.co/42 #CHB #OTOW

You have until 6:00 PM on Friday, January 18th to enter. Once the contest closes, we will randomly pick one lucky entrant who will become the proud owner of a pair of upper bowl tickets to the home opener on Saturday, donated by our friends at the Vancouver Canucks. You must be able to pick the tickets from Will Call at Rogers Arena (they will be available after 6pm) prior to puck drop.

You don’t have much time. What are you waiting for?

UPDATE: Congratulations to Shawn Car (@ShawnVanCity) with her comment (and line) of Higgins/Malhotra/Hansen. She’s won the pair of tickets to the game tomorrow night!

Nov 162012
 

According to many sources, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has suggested that the NHL and NHLPA take a two-week moratorium from negotiating – apparently after NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said he didn’t know how the two sides would proceed to break the stalemate.

Understandably, the reaction to Bettman’s request has been overwhelmingly negative: from the Fehrs, from players, and from fans.  A two-week break doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense at such a critical time in the negotiation process.  I know that if I suggested a two-week moratorium to my lovely wife Gail the next time we had a disagreement, I’d be looking for a new place to live.

So I took it upon myself to delve into the Commissioner’s mind as to why he would request the break.  Thus, here are the Top 10 Reasons Why Gary Bettman Requested the 2-Week Moratorium:

10.  To undergo plastic surgery to make himself look less like the Count from Sesame Street.

9.  To watch reruns of 24/7 and the Winter Classic.

8.  To buy new needles for his “Donald and Steve Fehr” voodoo set.

7.  To go hunting with David Booth.

6.  To hunt down Bill Simmons and hurt him.

5.  To help investigate the affair of former CIA Director David Petraeus.

4.  To find out who really is behind the @strombone1 Twitter account.

3.  To concentrate fully on the CFL’s Divisional Final games and Grey Cup.

2.  To obtain a personality, sense of humour, and shred of likability.

1.  To get together with his negotiating team to craft out a thoughtful, fair and workable proposal to the NHLPA.

Well, we can all dream can’t we?

 

Apr 232012
 
Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks, Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings shake hands

Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com

I’m not going to rant. I’m not going to rage. I would probably cry but I don’t want to short-circuit my keyboard so I won’t even do that. Instead I’ll keep this brief. And then I will eat chocolate.

Where We Went Right

Ryan Kesler was incredible on the penalty kill. He may not have scored goals but in this game his shot blocking and clearing was equally if not more important. If it wasn’t for Kesler and Cory Schneider the score would have been 8-1 for the Kings by the end of the third.

And that leads me to the second thing we did right – we had the right goalie in net. Schneider was calm and collected despite slashes by Mike Richards and bodies flailing in his crease. He never fell down and stayed down and he never lost his stick – both traits Luongo is famous for.  Cory did every thing you could ask of a goalie and more. He earned his spot as our number one netminder and I will be shocked and horrified if that’s not exactly what he is next season.

Where We Went Wrong

One goal is not going to win you a series when you are down 3 games to 1. Putting David Booth on a line with the twins is not going to get you goals. Putting Mason Raymond on the ice at all is not going to get you goals. For me, Alain Vigneault’s coaching decisions were almost as epically bad as Alex Edler was on defence. And they of course, are a reflection of what Mike Gillis has given him to work with. The trades this year have no been the glorious additions Max Lapierre and Chris Higgins were last year. Not even close.

I Don’t Blame Hamhuis

I honestly don’t. Hammy was about the only defenceman trying in Games 1 and 2. He made 1 mistake at a very inopportune time. If we’re going to crucify individual players here we need to nail Raymond and Booth and Edler. End of story. Their complete and utter uselessness, or in the case of Edler his plethora of mistakes, are what cost us the first two games. We wouldn’t have been in a hole if it wasn’t for those 3 more than anyone else. And Kesler diving instead of taking shots. And Duncan Keith elbowing Daniel to in regular season and taking him out of the first 3 games. There are so many more reasons we lost than simply Dan Hamhuis falling down. We need to take a good hard look at all of those reasons – on the bench and behind it – and make some changes before October.

It’s been an honour and a pleasure writing for the Canucks Hockey Blog. I hope I can do it next season while I cheer on our boys in Blue – no matter who those boys may be. (But it better not be Raymond).

Apr 182012
 

Because it’s do-or-die time, because it’s time to leave everything on the ice and give it 110%, here are some of today’s links around the Smylosphere:

%d bloggers like this: