Mar 012014

Sure, the game had its moments. Like Ryan Kesler scoring – shorthanded – in his first game back from injury, in his first game since word got out that he had requested a trade out of Vancouver. Like Eddie Lack standing on his head again, allowing just one goal for the 6th time in his last 8 starts. Like Keith Ballard returning to Rogers Arena (playing in the game and not sitting in the press box).

But let’s be reality here. Canucks vs. Wild games aren’t the most exciting games at the best of times, and last night’s was no different. Perhaps fittingly, it ended in an extra long shootout – seven rounds, to be exact – that was only extra long because no one could score.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 152014

It’s that special moment when one man swerves his hips in a quick fluid motion and uses his momentum to launch his butt at another man. Yes, you guessed it, I’m talking about the hipcheck.  Unique, strange, rare- the hip check is one of the most exciting plays in hockey because of its ability to send a guy flying. Unconventional in it’s technique, the hip check takes a special blend of timing and balance to be completed perfectly. When it is done efficiently, the result is glory for the hitter and shame for the hittee.

We’ve been lucky as Canucks fans to be privy to some beautiful hip checks in recent years. What our back-end lacks in size it makes up for in bum-swinging.

Here are the top 5 Canucks hip checks:

5) Mason Raymond on Brad Marchand -  Not known for his hitting prowess ,Raymond surprises ratboy with a beauty hipper.

4) Keith Ballard on Jordin Tootoo - Ballard gives Tootoo the topsy turvy in this 2011 playoff series game.

3) Dan Hamhuis on Milan Lucic - Another from the 2011 playoff run, the Olympian gives Milan Lucic the ‘howdoyoudo’ via hip/butt.

2) Jan Bulis on Jack Johnson - This was Jan’s only hip and bodycheck in his career! Just kidding (but probably not). Here, Jan welcomes a very green Jack Johnson to the NHL.

1) Keith Ballard on Jamie Mcginn - SICK Flip-ch, er sorry HIP-check by Keith Ballard in 2011 (year of the hip-check) during the Western Conference Finals.

Apr 252013

As we reach the end of the regular season, Clay, Chris, Ed, and our special guest, Jordan Bowman from the Legion of Blog, talk Keith Ballard, pirates, astronauts, old media, new media, and oh, Zack Kassian, in this, the 6th episode of CHB TV.

Apr 172013

After rolling through some of the weaker teams in the West, the Canucks begin a stretch of games against potential playoff dance partners.

They started with a game against the St. Louis Blues last night, a chippy affair that featured a lot of rough stuff and name calling, and resulted in a 2-1 Canucks loss in the shootout.

So, of course, we find a way to work an O.C. reference in TGATT.

Here’s the game recap in your tweets.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Apr 082013

Alex Edler of the Vancouver Canucks crunches Phoenix Coyotes goaltender, Mike Smith

Photo credit: Globe and Mail

Only 3 points back of the 8th place Detroit Red Wings and with a game in hand on them, the Desert Dogs are hungry for a win – Hehe. See what I did there? – and still fighting for the last and final playoff spot in the West. The Coyotes may not be one of the most exciting teams to watch, but give them credit, they’ve found a way in recent years to stay relevant in the wild, wild, West. Heading into tonight’s game, they’ve won 3 straight games and have points in 6 straight games (4-0-2).

But enough about the Coyotes, tonight could see the return of a player that has been missing in the Canucks lineup for quite some time. He’s suffered a few injuries in his last couple of years here, but yes, Keith Ballard could return tonight. I can feel AV’s heart filling with pride and joy. (Though that he’s coming into the lineup in place of the injured Chris Tanev probably tempers that joy a bit.)

But in all seriousness, Ryan Kesler seems to be healed and ready to get a few games under his belt before the real season starts. After leading the stretches at this morning’s game-day skate, the Canucks announced he would be back tonight and playing on a line with Mason Raymond and Zack Kassian.

My gosh, do the Canucks actually have 3 scoring lines now?

Canucks Record

21-11-6, 48 points (1st in the Northwest Division, 3rd in the Western Conference)

Season Series

The Canucks and the Coyotes split their first 2 games against each other this season. The Coyotes won the first meeting in February by a 4-2 score. The Canucks won the most recent meeting on March 21 by a 2-1 score.

Who’s Hot

For all the angst in Vancouver over the last few weeks, they’re actually 8-2-0 in their last 10 games. Despite some low-scoring – and no-scoring – efforts in some of those games, they’ve held in – thanks in large part to the play of Cory Schneider – and taken points anyway.

The first line of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows had great games against the two Alberta teams and combined for 11 points. Hank had 5 points (2G-3A), Dank had 4 points (0G-4A) and Burr had 2 points (1G-1A).

Mikkel Boedker is currently on a 3-game point streak (1G-3A) and has recorded at least a point in 4 of his last 5 games. Despite the shortened schedule, he’s only 4 points away from matching his career-high in points (28 points in 2008/2009, his first season in the league). He’s currently tied for the team lead with 24 points (7G-17A).

Who’s Not

Alex Edler scored against the Flames on Saturday, but prior to that, he had just 1 assist in 9 games.

The Coyotes have won just 1 or their 7 road games since the beginning of March, and are a woeful 4-8-5 away from Arena this season. So of course, while they’re chasing a playoff spot, 7 of their last 10 games are on the road.

Mar 252013

Dale Weise was out of the lineup so Cam Barker was back in. And Keith Ballard was back at forward. What could possibly go wrong?

Actually, it wasn’t too bad.

Against the worst team in the west, Cory Schneider got his fourth consecutive start and the Canucks extended their win streak to 4 games.

For good measure, Keith Ballard also got on the scoreboard with an assist on Alex Burrows’ game-winning goal.

Now on to the game.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Mar 192013

Only weeks ago we all assumed the Canucks had the Northwest Division locked up. Sure our power play was horrible back then, the defense was muddled, injuries were taking a toll, and goaltending was simply adequate… but things aren’t that bad are they?

That can’t be good, can it?

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Mar 052013

Photo by Jeff Vinnick

I like Keith Ballard.

I liked him with he played in Phoenix.  I liked him when he played in Florida.  And I like him as a Vancouver Canuck.

I was very excited when the Canucks traded for him in late-June 2010.  When the Canucks signed Dan Hamhuis less than a week later, I was over the moon – what an upgrade to our defense!

Unfortunately, Ballard had off-season surgery before he even played his first game in a Vancouver uniform and then he was concussed just four games into the regular season.  Add a sprained MCL and the first benching of his professional career and it was a forgettable 2010-11 season for Ballard despite the team’s success.

Since then, he has been a frequent visitor to coach Alain Vigneault’s doghouse.  Ballard’s most recent stay started on Saturday night when he was replaced in the lineup by Albert Alberts and it continued on Sunday night when Cam Barker took his spot.

So what may have caused his latest benching?  Along with the help of some loyal CHB readers, I present to you The Top 10 Reasons Why Keith Ballard is Back in AV’s Doghouse:

10.  Ballard cut in front of AV in the food lineup at lunch on Saturday.

9.  Ballard signed AV up for a 7 hour time share presentation in exchange for a free T-shirt.  (Submitted by @ECdevoff)

8.  Ballard hid AV’s favourite flavour of gum.  (Submitted by @BCBerrie)

7.  Ballard didn’t work hard enough to maintain or increase his height.  (Submitted by @jedski)

Check out this funny spot with Ali G and Ben Wallace from 2006.

6a.  Ballard ate the last of AV’s favourite lozenge he brought back from his LONG summer vacation.  (Submitted by @s0ya)

6b.  Ballard stole AV`s last pack of lozenges before they got on the plane.  (Submitted by @vansport)

Ah yes – Vigneault’s famous throat lozenges.  The ones he powers through on the bench or in the pre and post game media scrums.

5.  Ballard makes forward passes, and AV wants his d-men to make drop passes instead.  (Submitted by @lo__b)

4.  Ballard didn’t change his last name to Sedin.  (Submitted by @acheung14)

This is a clever reference to Ballard’s classic answer to Canucks TV’s Kathy Anderson question of how to get on to the coach’s good side.  Ballard’s answer: “Good question.  Working on that for 3 years.  Change your last name to Sedin.”

3.   Vigneault is good friends with Tomas Vokoun.

Not Ballard’s finest moment.

2.  Being from Minnesota, Ballard started walking around the dressing room talking like the Caucasian guy with the Jamaican accent in the recent Volkswagen commercial…annoying AV in the process.

1.  He’s Keith Ballard.  (Submitted separately by @SirCanuckles and @transcendwebs)

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 262013

Almost a week after the Anaheim Ducks ruined the Canucks’ season and home opener, the Canucks get their opportunity for revenge. And boy, did they get it.

The game had everything – pretty goals, big saves, big fights, a penalty shot, and even phallic-shaped light sabers.

Yup, they had that and more.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

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