Jan 212014
 

183201587_slide
(source: nhl.com)

Vancouver Canucks (25-16-9)
Edmonton Oilers (15-30-6)

This is the third of five games between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers, the Canucks won the first two games (4-0 and 6-2). Roberto Luongo has stopped 40 of Edmonton’s 42 shots.

After snapping a 3-game losing streak on Saturday night with a rambunctious 3-2 shootout win over the Calgary Flames, the Canucks look to stay on the winning track tonight against the Edmonton Oilers. They’ll try to do this without coach John Tortorella, who was suspended by the NHL for 15 days after trying to get to Flames coach, Bob Hartley, in the Flames’ dressing room during the first intermission last Saturday. They’ll also try to push through without captain Henrik Sedin, who was the league’s Ironman and had played 679 consecutive games, but will miss tonight’s game with a suspected rib injury. Hank, who is officially listed as day-to-day, hasn’t missed a game since missing 4 games during the 2003-2004 season.

The Oilers are currently on a 4-game losing streak. They’ve lost 9 of their last 11 games and have allowed 45 goals against during that span. Sitting in 29th place in the NHL, they’re 3 points ahead of the last place Buffalo Sabres but have played 4 more games.

Who’s Hot

For the Canucks, Ryan Kesler got both a goal and an assist in the Canucks win against the Flames on Saturday.

For the Oilers, Jordan Eberle has goals in consecutive games.

Who’s Out

Besides Torts and Hank, the Canucks will be without Mike Santorelli, Ryan Stanton, Andrew Alberts and Jordan Schroeder.

For the Oilers, Nail Yakupov missed the previous game and Ales Hemsky has missed the past two. Philip Larsen and Corey Potter are also out.

Jan 212014
 
John Tortorella tries to get into the Calgary Flames dressing room.

John Tortorella tries to get into the Calgary Flames dressing room.

On Monday, we found out the fate of Vancouver Canucks Head Coach John Tortorella for his attempt to enter the Calgary Flames dressing room last Saturday night.  The NHL suspended Tortorella for 15 days without pay.

While some Canucks fans commended Tortorella’s actions as loyal, passionate, and justified, the NHL didn’t agree, calling Tortorella’s actions “dangerous and an embarrassment to the League.”

Assistant coach Mike Sullivan will take over the reins for the next 15 days.  In the meantime, Tortorella is not permitted to have any interaction with the team prior to, during or after games..

I asked the Twitterverse what Tortorella should do during his suspension.  The replies came flooding in, expanding the expected top 10 list to a top 20 list.

Thus, we proudly present to you the Top 20 Things that Tortorella Should Accomplish in the Next 15 Days:   

20. Score 4 goals.  – submitted by @BuckFoston_

19. Think to himself “Phew! Now I have time to finish that afghan I’ve been knitting!”  – submitted by @b_cmack

18. Make friendship bracelets for Bob Hartley.  – submitted by @Dawn_Retel

17. Map out a route in the ducting from the Canucks room to the visitors room. Nobody will expect an aerial attack.  – submitted by @kylenryan

16a. Attend Flames games in seats behind the bench with posters.  – submitted by @DCanuckgurl

16b. Buy tickets behind the bench of every Flames game.  – submitted by @bmah03

16c. Attend every Flames game.  – submitted by @JamesLawnsocial

15. Go to the next Flames game dressed like this.  – submitted by @wbborg

Tortssword

14. Perfect his baking skills and make the team Fight Club-themed cupcakes.  – submitted by @forevercanuck

13. Wooooo saaaah!  – submitted by @emilsirakov

12a. Yoga.  – submitted by @elmeebaterina

12b. Practice yoga to find inner peace.  – submitted by @DXenophontos

11. Sweep Aquilini’s driveway.  – submitted by @Mikem84

10. Do Cabo San Lucas round trip for $500 or so.  – submitted by @THogg21

9a. Plan the BEST Super Bowl party.  – submitted by @sedinitronic

9b. Go out and buy a stash of Marijuana for the Super Bowl.  – submitted by @DRushton11

8. Walk around downtown like the Fonz signing autographs and taking pictures with all the happy fans.  – submitted by @madhipcheckz

Ayyyy

Ayyyy

7. Anger management appointments.  – submitted by @number_1_dunner

6. Hunt Hartley. He can bring Booth with him.  – submitted by @kesrows

5a. Hang out at the Saddledome by the Calgary locker room with a tent until Hartley mans up.  – submitted by @funkmaster_dunc

5b. Get some ninja skills so he can get into the Flames area with stealth.  – submitted by @hawknut888

5c. Booby trap the Flames locker room in Calgary.  – submitted by @paulalmeida22

4. Sew a Bob Hartley voodoo doll.  – submitted by @river975mike

3. Finally catch up with The Walking Dead.  – submitted by @lizzmoffat

2. Go on vacation with his buddy Larry Brooks.  – submitted by @cpjohnson88

1. Start a @ChickenShitBobHartley parody account.  – submitted by @JustinTillyer

 

Bonus:  Make a guest appearance on one of your songs.  – submitted by @Rozzy80

Can you imagine if we got Torts to sing about Torts?

 

 

Jan 192014
 

Coach John Tortorella of the Vancouver Canucks is upset at coach Bob Hartley of the Calgary Flames.

Photo credit: cbc.ca

Some highlights and some lowlights about last night’s 3-2 shootout win against the Calgary Flames.

  • Before we get into anything else, how good did it feel to see the Canucks snap a 3-game losing streak, in the shootout, and with Roberto Luongo back in net? For all the talk about moral victories all week, it sure was nice to see them notch an actual win.
  • John Tortorella will have an in-person hearing with Colin Campbell tomorrow in New York. He’ll likely be suspended, deservedly so, for trying to get to Flames coach, Bob Hartley, in the Flames’ dressing room during the first intermission. Yes, Hartley was a dick for sending his goon line to start the game, but Torts already let him hear about it at the bench. There’s absolutely no reason for him to confront him again in the dressing room.
  • Hartley said in his post-game presser that he didn’t intend to start a fight when he put Brian McGrattan, Kevin Westgarth and Blair Jones in his starting lineup because, after all, that line got him a goal in their last game against the Winnipeg Jets. So hey, why not ride the hot hand, right? However, including that goal against the Jets, that line has combined for 3 goals all season so pardon me while I call bullshit on Hartley’s intentions.
  • If Westgarth was so intent on not starting a fight, then why didn’t he even bother with the puck while taking the opening faceoff, and instead went straight to fight Kevin Bieksa?
  • Many Canucks haters respected members of the media have pointed out the fact the Canucks had last change so Torts could have averted this whole situation by sending out his more skilled players in response. However, given that opposing teams have taken runs at the Sedins, Luongo and David Booth in recent games, do you blame him for not sending them out?
  • Surely someone has a clip or a gif of Flames captain, Mark Giordano, grabbing Zack Kassian’s stick, holding it against his belly, and then flopping down to the ice like a kid flops down on a slip-and-slide.
  • With Mike Santorelli and Jordan Schroeder already out, and assuming Hank has to sit because of his broken finger and rib injury, is anyone else looking forward to a lineup with Ryan Kesler, Brad Richardson, Zac Dalpe and Kellan Lain down the middle?
Jan 192014
 

Some of you thought the game was entertaining. Some of you thought the sideshows that happened were classless and disrespectful. Whatever it was, the Canucks beat the Calgary Flames, and snapped a 3-game losing streak.

We’ll take it.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Dec 232013
 
Clay with friends Marie, Joseph, Kevin, Pat G, Arielle, and Pat T

Clay with friends Marie, Joseph, Kevin, Pat G, Arielle, and Pat T

It’s that time of year again: time for our 4th annual Canucks Christmas Carol!

Our song this year is inspired by Wham!’s “Last Christmas”.  We lament the lockout of last Christmas and look at the most important elements of this year’s team:  Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler, the Sedins, and head coach John Tortorella.

This year I’m joined by Marie Hui, Arielle Tuliao, Joseph San Jose, Pat Guevara, Pat Teodosio, and our favourite foreign exchange student Kevin who somehow always finds his way to my place just in time to be in these videos.  In fact, both Joseph and Kevin have been in all 4 Canucks Christmas Carols!

Speaking of which, you can watch the previous 3 Canucks Christmas Carols here.

Thanks for watching and Merry Christmas!

Nov 302013
 

john_tortorella.jpg.size.xxlarge.promo

Vancouver Canucks (13-9-5)
New York Rangers (13-13-0)

The Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers meet for the first of two meetings this season. It’s been 2 years since these two teams faced each other; the Rangers won at Rogers Arena back in October 2011 by a 4-0 score.

After losing 6 of their first 8 games, the Rangers have started to turn things around. They’ve won 3 out of their last 5 games, and 9 of their last 15.

Meanwhile, the Canucks have only won 2 out of their last 5 games, though they did beat the Ottawa Senators convincingly on Thursday by a 5-2 score, with 4 of those goals coming in the second period. It was only the second time in 9 games the Canucks managed to score more than 2 goals in a game.

Today’s most interesting storyline? Canucks coach John Tortorella will return to Madison Square Garden and face the Rangers in his first regular season game since being let go by the Rangers at the end of the 2012-2013 season. The Canucks will face former coach Alain Vigneault, the winningest coach in Canucks history, who was also let go at the end of the 2012-2013 season by the Canucks.

Who’s Hot

Daniel Sedin has 7 points (2 goals and 5 assists) in the last 4 games. He scored his 300th NHL carreer goal on Thursday against the Senators. Henrik Sedin has 5 points (3 goals and 2 assists) in the last 4 games.

Since returning from a concussion, Rick Nash has 3 goals in 6 games, including 1 in each of his last 2 games.

Who’s Out

The Vancouver Canucks are still without foward Jordan Schroeder (sprained ankle).

The New York Rangers are without foward Derek Dorsett (sprained wrist)

Nov 192013
 
Torts "Hey Kes, I'm going for all you can eat after this, wanna come?" Hansen "I never get invited anywhere cool...."

Torts: “Hey Kes, I’m going for all you can eat after this, wanna come?”
Hansen: “I never get invited anywhere cool….”

 

The Florida Panthers are in town tonight to face our bent but not broken Vancouver Canucks. It’s the first of two meetings between the two teams, who meet again in March but under the Floridian sun.

It’s been 3 years since the Canucks and the Panthers last played against each other. The Canucks beat the Panthers 2-1 in October 2010. Since then, Obama’s been re-elected, John Tortorella’s been hired, Roberto Luongo lost his starting goaltender job to Cory Schneider, Schneider got traded to the New Jersey Devils, and I’ve grown 2 inches.

The Canucks could use a little pick me up, having lost their last 4 games (0-3-1). They may still be a little bitter too after that controversial disallowed goal on Sunday against the Dallas Stars cost them a point.

If we were looking for positives, the Canucks’ offence has outshot their opponents in 3 of their last 4 games. However, finding the back of the net has been a struggle as they’ve scored exactly 1 goal in each of their last 4 games. Overall, the Canucks are averaging 32.5 shots per game, 3rd in the NHL, disproving the theory that if you keep shooting at the net one is bound to go in.

The Panthers are 2-8-1 on the road. They won their season opener in Dallas, but then lost 9 consecutive road games before winning their most recent outing last Saturday in Colorado. They beat the Avalanche 4-1 and got goals from 4 different players.

Who to Watch

Defenseman Brian Campbell leads the Panthers with 12 points, while forward Brad Boyes leads them with 7 goals, 1 of which was scored on Saturday against the Avs. Campbell, Scottie Upshall and Tom Gilbert all had multi-point games against the Avs.

Dale Weise is expected to return to the Canucks line up after missing 10 games with a knee injury. If anything, Weise on the 4th line provides the team with a physical presence.

Who’s Out

Jordan Schroeder (ankle) remains the lone Canuck on injured reserve. He’s not expected back until late December at the earliest.

For the Panthers, former Canuck Ed Jovanovski has a hip injury and is on injured reserve, and Scott Gomez is questionable for tonight with a groin injury (day-to-day).

Nov 132013
 

Brad Richardson , Christopher Tanev, Jason Garrison, Mike Santorelli

Photo credit: canada.com

With 20 games now in the bag in the Vancouver Canucks’ 2013/2014 season, here are some good, some bad, and some surprises and disappointments.

It’s Torts’ team now.

It wasn’t a surprise when GM Mike Gillis decided at the end of last season to fire long-time Canucks coach, Alain Vigneault. It was, however, perhaps a bit more surprising when the guy he tapped to succeed AV’s gum-chewing, hands-off approach with a gruff, known taskmaster in John Tortorella. By the end of last season, much was made about the complacency that developed, maybe in part because of AV’s player-friendly approach, and Torts’ coaching style was as far-removed from this as possible.

He is, indeed, more vocal behind the bench – and off it, I suppose. He’s more hands-on, and we’ve seen him make in-game adjustments. He relies heavily on stars like the Sedins and Ryan Kesler, all of whom sit in the top 5 among forwards in average ice-time. He’s shown he’s willing to give more ice-time to players who are going, or sit those who aren’t. He’s not afraid to play anyone in any situation, except maybe the 4th line.

But despite this, the doom and gloom that a lot of us predicted hasn’t materialized. And in fact, we can argue that Torts has even had the desired effect on this team. For the most part, gone is the complacency and casual play. On most nights in this early season, the Canucks forecheck hard and battle hard along the boards. Regardless of the score, they play an aggressive style and keep their foot on the pedal, which has helped them overcome deficits – only 4 teams have more wins than the Canucks when trailing after the first period, and only 1 team has more wins than them when trailing after the second period.

At the Canucks’ Summer Summit, Tortorella said he wanted the Canucks to be aggressive and to be tough to play against. And 20 games in, we’re beginning to see this. It’s Torts’ team now, and it looks like the Canucks are buying what he’s selling.

The Sedins are still stars.

A few years ago, before they signed their current contracts, numerous armchair GMs wanted the Sedins gone. Believe it or not, back then, a fair number of Canucks fans were willing to trade them for a bag of pucks and then use the cap money they save to sign Olli Jokinen and Marian Gaborik. It’s unthinkable now, especially after a couple of Art Ross trophies, a Lester Pearson trophy, and some modest (by this franchise’s standards) playoff success.

Or so you’d think.

This summer, there were once again rumblings from the bandwagon that the Canucks were better off to let the Sedins walk through free agency. Or trade them to a true Cup contender and kickstart a rebuild. But once again, at least through the first quarter of the season, they’re proving their doubters wrong. With 20 points (3 goals and 17 assists), Henrik Sedin sits 13th overall in NHL scoring, just 3 points back of league leader, Sidney Crosby. He’s recorded at least a point all but 4 of the 20 games he’s played. (Though 3 of those 4 games were the Canucks’ last 3 games.) Daniel isn’t far behind either. With 17 points (7 goals and 10 assists), he sits 24th overall in NHL scoring. Even at 33 years old, they’ve both taken on more responsibility, now taking a regular shift on the penalty-kill and already logging more PK time through 20 games as they have in the last 2 seasons combined.

As a famous person once said, they get knocked down, but they get up again, and they’re never gonna keep them down.

The newbies have fit in nicely.

There are some of us who probably still have the memory of signing or acquiring the likes of Marco Sturm, Samuel Pahlsson and Cam Barker fresh in our minds so it was somewhat acceptable when we looked cynically at Mike Gillis’ reset this off-season, which included signing Mike Santorelli and Brad Richardson, and picking up Ryan Stanton from waivers.

But with 3 guys who were pencilled in the Canucks’ top-9 – Jannik Hansen, Jordan Schroeder and David Booth – spending significant time out of the lineup due to injuries, the newbies have actually done quite well in their place. Santorelli, who hails from Burnaby, sits 4th in team scoring – behind just the Sedins and Kesler – with 12 points (5 goals and 7 assists). Richardson sits 6th with 5 goals, including 2 shorties, and 10 points in just 13:33 minutes of average ice-time per game (8th among Canucks forwards). And Stanton has been dependable in his 14 minutes per game in a third pairing role. Plus, Stanton has also contributed 7 points (3rd among Canucks defensemen). Santorelli, Richardson and Stanton have been pleasant surprises early this season.

The powerplay has been powerless.

There was a stretch midway through last season during which the Canucks scored 2 powerplay goals in 52 powerplay opportunities – a whopping 3.8% success rate – in 20 games. They finished the 2012/2013 season with a 15.8% success rate (22nd in the NHL), which was 4 percentage points lower than their success rate in 2011/2012 (19.8%, 4th in the NHL), which was almost 5 percentage points lower than their success rate in 2010/2011 (24.3%, 1st in the NHL).

In response, out went Newell Brown and the drop pass. Well, at least out went Newell Brown. And in comes Jason Garrison to the first PP unit. Wait, never mind, scratch that.

Despite changes in their roster and behind the bench, the Canucks’ powerplay hasn’t changed much. Okay, it has. It’s even worse now than it was last season, sputtering at a woeful 9.7% (28th in the NHL, ahead only of the Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers), and having only scored 6 powerplay goals in 20 games this season.

At least the PK is okay.

With a penalty-killing rate of 89.4%, the Canucks currently have the best PK in the NHL. Not only that, they’ve also scored 3 shorthanded goals, which is tied for 2nd in the NHL. Add to this that they’ve been shorthanded longer than all but 7 teams, and you have to admit, the PK has been one of their bright spots.

Luongo’s been good, but he needs to be better.

By Roberto Luongo’s usual October standards, he actually had a good start to the season and currently sits in the top 10 in wins among all NHL goaltenders. But behind the 9 wins in 16 games – only 6 goalies have more wins than he does – are some pretty average numbers. His 0.911 overall save percentage ranks him just 26th among all NHL goaltenders. His 2.41 GAA ranks him 21st. He has a 0.910 save percentage on even-strength (51st), and a 0.914 save percentage when the Canucks are shorthanded (23rd). Lu’s been good. But if the Canucks have any hope in getting out of the tough, tough, tough Pacific Division, they need him to be better.

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 042013
 

Welcome to the first TGATT of the Canucks 2013/14 season! All of us at CHB are back to happy times. And while our expectations on how the Canucks season will turn out may vary, the one thing we are all absolutely sure of – The Game According to Twitter is going to do so well that we’ve already planned out a parade route for it.

So… should we do the same for the Canucks?

That can’t be good.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

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