Nov 172013
 

142153805_std
(source: nhl.com)

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.

Who’s Back

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.

Who’s Hot

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.

Who’s Out

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.

Nov 142013
 

David Booth and Zack Kassian, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: CTV.ca

John Tortorella has lived and died by his top two lines this season with the Sedins and Ryan Kesler easily on pace to destroy their career averages in ice-time.  While this is perfectly fine for now, I can’t see the Canucks’ top six forwards being able to stay at the top of their game at the tail end of the season if Tortorella is going to continue to ride them so hard, especially when you factor in that Daniel, Henrik and Kesler are certain to be traveling to Russia to compete in the Olympics.

I decided to take a look at just how reliable the third line has been this season and see if Tortorella is riding his top guys too hard, or if he really doesn’t have a competent third line to work with to take some pressure off the top-six.

Part of the problem with this is that the Canucks have had so many injuries that the third line hasn’t been very constant with players moving around and players like Dale Weise and Tom Sestito playing up when they obviously aren’t top-nine forwards.  For the sake of this argument I made the assumption that the Sedins, Kesler, Alex Burrows and Chris Higgins are all entrenched on the top two lines and that David Booth, Brad Richardson, Mike Santorelli, Jannik Hansen, Jordan Schroeder and Zack Kassian are all guys who are likely to see time on the third line either now or in the future

One final prelude is what I actually think the Canucks’ third line should be capable of.  It is not realistic to expect these guys to be scoring a goal a night, but what they should be able to do is eat up some minutes while keeping the puck out of their own net and hopefully driving play with a Corsi percentage of 50%. I’m sure Tortorella would appreciate a low event third line as long as more time is spent in the opponent’s end than their own, you know if he paid attention to advanced stats.

Of the guys I mentioned above, Booth, Santorelli, and Hansen are players who are great at driving possession.  At 5-on-5, the Canucks have controlled 57.4% of shot attempts with Hansen on the ice, 53.3% with Booth on the ice, and 53.5% with Santorelli on the ice. Santorelli has benefitted the most from injuries and playing with Higgins but still, he appears to be a reliable player at this point.  As we head further down the depth chart the results are less encouraging with Kassian at 48.1%, and Richardson at 42.2%, even with his 5 goals. To put that in perspective, Richardson’s Corsi is in Weise and Sestito territory.

To take it a bit further, I took a look at how each player has played when teamed up with Kassian over the last 3 seasons (since he was traded to Vancouver) to see how they performed as a unit to try to minimize the effect of playing with other players.  Why Kassian as the constant? I figured he isn’t likely to move up or down the lineup much this season as Tortorella has used him almost exclusively on the third line. There isn’t much “with you” data for some players but I included them anyway.

Zack Kassian’s With You Stats (2011-2014)
Player Time Goals CF% GF/20 GA/20

David Booth

144:13 3 55.0 0.416 0.416

Brad Richardson

88:32 4 44.9 1.129 0.678

Mike Santorelli

48:45 0 53.0 0 0

Jannik Hansen

2:46 0 40.0 0 0

Jordan Schroeder

56:27 0 44.3 0 0.711

 

When teamed up with Kassian guys are more than less playing at the same level as they are with other players based on their Corsi percentage.  As a unit they’ve given up too many goals but in such a small sample size it’s probably not a huge concern. In an unrelated note, one thing that did surprise me was how little Hansen and Kassian have played together at 5-on-5 since “the trade”.  You’d think those two would have played more than three minutes together.

So, what does all this really mean? I think that the Canucks have a third line that is capable of eating up minutes without being a liability when you have Booth and Kassian on the ice. One of the reasons I didn’t agree with the “conditioning” assignment or scratching of Booth was that the team desperately needs him to play to take pressure off the top-six.  Yes, the Canucks would prefer he score goals at the price they’re paying him, but the team hasn’t been scored on with him on the ice this year which is pretty valuable too.  As more players return from injury, I’d feel pretty comfortable with a Booth-Santrorelli-Kassian line, and Richardson moving back down to the fourth line while being a valuable penalty killer. My hope is that Tortorella will too and allow the Sedins and Kesler to go back to around 18-21 minutes a game.

Oct 072013
 

Welcome to the second TGATT of the Canucks 2013/14 season. Well, really it should’ve been the third by J.J. decided it was a good idea to get all hooped up on mai tais in Hawaii and dropped the ball! Talk about letting down the team, eh?

Anyhow, what did we expect from the Canucks last night? The lackluster effort like we saw in San Jose or the beating we saw them lay against the Oilers at home Saturday?

Sure you did.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Apr 232013
 

It’s like the Canucks flipped the proverbial switch last night. I mean, after all their 40-minute efforts and 10-minute wins, they played perhaps their most complete game of the season and beat the rival Chicago Blackhawks by a 3-1 score.

It was an eventful night, with the Sedins producing their usual share of Sedinery, the newly-formed Higgins-Roy-Kesler line showing some chemistry, and even Max Lapierre played his most annoying game of the season (in a good way).

20-year old Frankie Corrado also made his NHL debut. After spending most of the year in the OHL and suiting up for not even a handful of games with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL, Corrado logged 17:20 of unsheltered minutes last night and looked anything but a raw rookie playing in his first-ever NHL game.

Not bad, kid. Not bad.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Apr 102013
 

In this latest episode of CHB TV, Chris, Ed, Caylie and I went to Library Square in Downtown Vancouver and wondered whether or not the Canucks did enough to get prepped for the playoffs and whether or not retiring Pavel Bure’s jersey was the right thing to do. Damon Holowchak, Marketing Coordinator for the Donnelly Group, also joins us on the panel.

But also, Jay Jones, Executive Bartender and Brand Ambassador for the Donnelly Group whipped up some Canucks-themed drinks – the No. 5 Garrison, Dirty Higgins and Honey Badger – that will be on their menus at Library Square, Cinema and the Lamplighter on Canucks game days until the end of the playoffs.

The drinks were amazing and Jay kindly shared with us – to share with you, our loyal readers – how to make them.

No. 5 Garrison

Vancouver Canucks-themed drink: No. 5 Garrison

Local boy, Jason Garrison has come home. This cocktail stands to represent his strong character and play. Based around the design of a classic Old Fashioned, spiced whisky defines the depth and boldness of the drink, while brown sugar mellows the bite and whisky barrel-aged bitters lend further complexity. Orange zest creates great aroma and flavor in pairing with the vanilla of the whisky. Served ‘on the rock’ as a nod to his hometown of Whiterock, BC.

Recipe

1.5 oz Canadian Club Dock
no. 57 Spiced Whisky
1 Brown Sugar Cube
3 hard dashes Fee Brothers Whisky Barrel-Aged Bitters
1 large Orange Peel Zest

Method

1. muddle sugar with whiskey & bitters in a mixing glass
2. stir without ice to dissolve sugar
3. add cracked ice & stir to chill
4. loose strain into a small rocks glass (8 oz capacity)
5. place 1 oversized ice ‘rock’ in the glass
6. zest heavily with a large slice of orange peel
*garnish with spent orange peel

Dirty Higgins

Vancouver Canucks-themed drinks: Dirty Higgins

Gritty Canucks forward Chris Higgins isn’t a ‘dirty’ player, but he certainly gets his hands dirty fighting for pucks, goals and wins with relentless tenacity. The ‘Dirty Higgins’ pays respect to that character. The Bloody Caesar is a classic Canadian savoury cocktail and inspiration for this creation – Clamato juice creates the body, but instead of vodka, the strength of character at the core comes from Bourbon, an American classic, just like Higgins himself – Jim Beam ‘Devil’s Cut’ acknowledging his devilishly determined style of play. This drink gets dirty with traditional seasoning of Tabasco & Worcestershire sauces, but with the added flavor of pickle brine to create a truly unique flavor profile. A touch of lime juice freshens the palate, while baby pickles and balsamic onions make for a crunchy and tangy garnish.

Recipe

1.5 oz Jim Beam ‘Devil’s Cut’ Kentucky Straight Bourbon
1 oz Pickle Brine
4 oz Motts Clamato® Juice
25 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3 hard dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 hard dashes Tabasco sauce

Method

1. combine all ingredients and roll between mixing glasses
2. pour into a large rocks glass (12 oz capacity)
3. fill with large ice cubes- stir to chill
*garnish with cornichon and a balsamic onion

Honey Badger

Vancouver Canucks-themed drinks: Honey Badger

The Honey Badger is revered as the fiercest of all creatures – underestimated because of it’s appearance and size. Our beloved Dane, Jannik Hansen earned this nickname for the ferocious and fearless style of play he exhibits every single shift. Over the past seven years as a Canuck, his two-way skills and tireless drive have made him one of the most appreciated and respected players on the team. Somersby Danish apple cider is a nod to Hansen’s home country. Melon liqueur and vanilla-flavoured Galliano combine to add fruity, delicious honey-like tastes – in combination they pack a surprising wallop. The resultant colour is reminiscent of Canucks green – an easy-drinking and refreshing reward after hard work, or play.

Recipe

1.5 oz Bols Melon Liqueur
.25 oz Galliano Liqueur
Somersby Danish Apple Cider

Method

1. combine liqueurs in a draft beer glass
2. pack glass full with ice cubes
3. add ice and top with cider
*serve with a straw

(All photos courtesy of Jay Jones.)

Mar 202013
 

Still trying to get last night’s game out of our minds, we’re provided the best tonic – a game the following night against St. Louis rolling in hot.

SOCIABLE!!

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Mar 162013
 

Coach Alain Vigneault admitted the Canucks were embarrassed after their 8-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings back in February. They should be. They had a 3-2 lead going into the first intermission of that game before allowing the Wings to score 6 unanswered goals in the second and third periods.

Roberto Luongo, who was in net for all of the Wings’ goals that afternoon, will get the start tonight and a chance to redeem himself.

Vancouver Millionaires Jerseys

Courtesy of canucks.com


If it’s any comfort, the Wings’ offense has sputtered a bit since then. In their 9 games since putting 8 past Luongo, they’ve only scored 15 goals. They scored 3 powerplay goals that night; their powerplay is 3-for-26 since.

Not that the Canucks are hot themselves. Sure, they scored 7 goals against the Nashville Predators the other night, but their powerplay hasn’t connected in their last 27 opportunities.

This is the Wings’ 3rd game in 4 nights. They beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime in Edmonton last night and lost 5-2 to the Calgary Flames in Calgary on Wednesday night.

Canucks Record

13-7-6, 32 points (1st in Northwest Division, 3rd in Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Pavel Datsyuk has points in 5 of his last 6 games (1G-4A-5P), and is second in the team in scoring with 27 points (9G-18A) in 27 games. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall scored in both games in Alberta and has 3 points (2G-1A) in the road trip so far.

Jannik Hansen sits 3rd in the Canucks in scoring behind Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Hands-up if you saw that coming. (Didn’t think so.) The Honey Badger has 9 points (4G-5A) in his last 7 games.

Who’s Not

God bless his effort, but Alex Burrows is pointless in 4 games.

Wings scoring leader, Henrik Zetterberg, and 27-year old rookie, Damien Brunner, both have just 3 assists each in their last 9 games.

Quickies

  • The Canucks are celebrating the Vancouver Millionaires and donning the Millionaires jersey tonight. (canucks.com)
  • OMG IS KEITH BALLARD COMING BACK IN THE LINEUP?? (Vancouver Province)
  • It’s Luongo’s turn to be no. 1. (Vancouver Sun)
  • Dude, where’s our powerplay? (Vancouver Sun)
Mar 152013
 

The Canucks were back home against the Nashville Predators, having stumbled to and from Ohio, and were looking to set the tone for their second half journey in the shortened NHL season.

So what kind of game did we see?

Alberts almost scoring and people going streaking. Who knew Chris could be a trendsetter?

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

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 062013
 

The Canucks are back home against the San Jose Sharks, looking to bounce back after a loss to the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

There’s lots of baby talk prior to this game – baby honey badgers, baby Hansens, and now, baby Burrows.

I suppose we can thank the Kings for that circumstance, but for now, let’s go to the game.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

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