[Every week, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@CayKing).]
I think it’s safe to say that the Stanley Cup hangover has passed. The Canucks are playing the game that they’ve wanted to play and the hockey Canucks Nation has come to expect out of this team. Bobby Luo and company are currently on a 4-game win streak and have won 10 of their last 12 games.
29 GP, 18-10-1, 37 points (2nd in Northwest Division, 6th in Western Conference)
Jannik Hansen has been on fire as of late. He is currently riding a 5-game point streak and has 4 goals and 2 assists in that span. In his last 15 games, Honey Badger hasn’t gone more than 1 game without recording at least a point.
Hansen has really shown his versatility this season. He’s played on all 4 forward lines this season and is a regular on the penalty kill. In only 29 games, he’s already tied his career-high in goals (9).
Aaron Rome started off his season scoring goals in 3 of his first 4 games. The magic’s worn off since and Romer hasn’t scored a goal in his last 8 games; he only has an assist and is a -2 in that stretch. Extremely disappointing considering AV was probably getting excited about the possibility of having a Norris Trophy nominee on his team. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)
Tuesday December 13, 2011 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (4:00 PM start, away)
Looking at the standings, it would be easy to mark a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets as an easy victory. Let’s be honest, Columbus has only 8 wins in 29 games played and is sitting in dead last in the Western Conference. That being said, the Canucks can not take these kinds of games for granted – the Jackets are actually playing .500 hockey (6-5-3 record and 15 points in their last 14 games).
The Blue Jackets and Canucks met at the end of November. The Canucks won 4-1 with Danny, Kesler, Booth and Burrows each scoring a goal and Cory Schneider stopping 47 of 48 shots. Columbus hasn’t had much luck against Northwest division opponents going 2-5-1 so far this season.
Vinny Prospal has recorded a point in 4 of his last 5 games and leads the team with 23 points (7G-16A).
In their two games against each other so far this season, Alex Burrows leads both teams in scoring with 3 points (2G-1A).
Thursday December 15, 2011 vs. Carolina Hurricanes (4:00 PM start, away)
The Canucks head to Carolina for another Eastern Conference matchup. Vancouver has a record of 5-2-1 against Eastern Conference teams so far this season. The Hurricanes have had a horrible start to the season and recently fired head coach, Paul Maurice, and replaced him with Kirk Muller. The ‘Canes sit in last place in the Eastern Conference.
In the two teams’ only meeting last season, the Canucks won 5-1 and Mason Raymond had 2 goals and 1 assist.
Jeff Skinner may look like he is just about to graduate middle school but he is having another great season. He is certainly not feeling the effects of the dreaded sophomore slump and is leading the team in goals (12) and points (24). It’s hard not to like a kid that has so much potential and has that silly smile on his face whenever he scores a goal.
Saturday December 17, 2011 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (4:00 PM start, away)
Every year, I make a bet with my cousin-in-law (@GoodHustle) on the Leafs and Canucks game; usually I win this bet and have the joys of boasting before, during and after the game. This year is a little different, I’m not sure whether the world is ending or whether I’m in the twilight zone but the Maple Leafs are actually playing… well.
No matter how well either team is doing, a Canucks/Leafs game is always exciting to watch and it will be no different come Saturday. The Leafs have had a lot of success against Western Conference teams this season, going 5-1-2 so far.
Phil Kessel leads the NHL with 18 goals and is ranked second with 36 points. He hasn’t gone consecutive games this whole season without recording a point. In his last 3 games, he has 2 goals and 2 assists. He also leads the Buds with 103 shots and 3 game-winning goals.
In this episode of the CHB TV video podcast, Matt Lee, Clay Imoo and J.J. Guerrero talk about the improved production from the Canucks’ second line and back end. Also, more on the team’s goalie tandem.
[Inspired by Arsenio Hall's "Things That Make You Go Hmmm…", Clayton Imoo talks about Canucks-related things that make him go hmmm… You can follow Clay on Twitter at (@canuckclay) or on his website, Clay's Canucks Commentary. Clay is also a finalist in the "Replace the KB" blogging competition for the Province and you can see all of his submissions for the contest here.]
With back-to-back victories over the Washington Capitals and Calgary Flames last week, it looked as if the Vancouver Canucks were going to put a mediocre October safely in their rear-view mirror. Well, the Canucks didn’t get too far before returning to their middling October ways with losses to the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. Let’s call a spade a spade and look at 5 things that make me go hmmm…
5. National Anthems. Lastly, and staying on the Canada theme, just a small thing I noticed last year that bugs the heck out of me. Why is that all 3 networks (CBC, TSN and SN) only show Canucks during the Canadian national anthem and never during the American national anthem? Let me explain. I get the fact that when playing at Rogers Arena against a team from a US city, that the Canucks are obviously the “home team”. And vice-versa when then Canucks are playing in the States. And I get the fact that when playing in the States, they are only playing O Canada because it’s the Canucks. But I still find it funny that we as viewers are to presume that all Canucks are Canadians and other opposing players are American. I first noticed it in the Chicago Blackhawks playoff series last spring. During the Star Spangled Banner, the camera would focus on crowd shots and the Blackhawks, including Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook (before he got knocked out) – all 3 stalwarts on the Canada’s 2010 Winter Olympic Team. And then, during O Canada, we got shots of not only Luongo (Canadian) but shots of the Sedins (Sweden) and Kesler and Higgins (American) as well. Although admittedly unrealistic, I would love it if the cameras focused on American-born players from both teams during the American anthem and Canadian-born players for the Canadian anthem. Look for this during the next few games on TV.
The Canucks barely have any time to lick their wounds as they face their nemesis Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. This will likely go one of two ways: either the Canucks pick their game up for one of their biggest rivals or they come out with even less confidence and more discombobulated than they already are. What will happen? Hmmm….