Oct 092011
 

[Every Sunday, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@CayKing).]

Canucks Record

1 GP, 0-0-1, 1 point (2nd in Northwest Division, 9th in Western Conference)

After a slow start against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canucks showed heart coming back from a 3-1 deficit to later lose in the shootout. There were a lot of positives to take out of the first game of the season, including solid outings by Keith Ballard and Chris Higgins.

The Canucks head out on the road for the next week which is perfect for team bonding and getting back into the swing of things.

Who’s Hot

It’s no secret that Keith Ballard was in AV’s doghouse last year; however, we have to commend him for his professionalism and positive attitude. He got a lot of playing time in the preseason and showed a lot of jump against the Penguins. He used his great skating abilities to score a beauty of a goal. I truly hope that he continues to get opportunities to show his skills and contribute offensively like he did in his days in Phoenix and Florida.

Who’s Not

Since the Canucks have only played one game it’s hard to pick someone who is playing badly. So I will dedicate this section to Mr. Cody Hodgson. We have recently learned that Ryan Kesler will be back in 5-6 games, so Cody has a limited time to show what he has and to prove that he is ready to stay in the NHL full-time. He had a solid preseason and seems to be a step quicker, which can be attributed to his off-season training with Gary Roberts. He has never looked better or sharper on the puck, so this is the perfect time for him to stick with the club.

Who’s Next

Monday, October 10, 2011 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (4:00 PM start, away)

Columbus added some depth this off-season with the acquisition of Jeff Carter, who will hopefully complement their leader Rick Nash. Although he hasn’t played a game yet this season, young prospect Ryan Johansen, from Vancouver made the roster. Maybe he will see his first action in the big leagues against his hometown Canucks.

Vancouver took all four games last season in their season series with Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider each in net for two wins.

The Jackets lost their first two games of the season. On the bright side, newcomer Jeff Carter has 3 assists to lead the team.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 vs. Philadelphia Flyers (4:30 PM start, away)

The big bad Flyers did a total overhaul this off-season. They lost captain Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Dan Carcillo, Kris Versteeg and Ville Leino, just to name a few. However, they did finally add a big-name goaltender in Ilya Bryzgalov, up-and-comer Wayne Simmonds, Maxime Talbot, and they took the risk of signing Jaromir Jagr hoping he will take a time machine back to the early 2000s when he was putting up 120-point seasons.

The Flyers went 9-5-4 last season against Western Conference teams, which included a 6-2 loss to the Canucks. The new season brings a new team to Philly but with their additions they seem like they could, once again, be contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Thursday, October 13, 2011 vs. Detroit Red Wings (4:30 PM start, away)

Perennial Western Conference contenders, the Detroit Red Wings are the definition of consistency. Even Canucks GM Mike Gillis admits that he tries to emulate the Red Wings when building the Canucks.

Some of the Canucks most exciting games last season were against Detroit. The season series ended tied at 2-2 with Jimmy Howard and Roberto Luongo getting the call each time to backstop their respective teams.

Saturday, October 15, 2011 vs. Edmonton Oilers (7:00 PM start, away)

The Edmonton Oilers already have young guns in Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi, but because they were, yet again, the worst team in the league last season, they were able to add stud forward, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. They also added toughness in Ben Eager and Darcy Hordichuk. Let it be known that Hordichuk has already challenged the Canucks players; we shall see if he can put his money where is mouth is… that is if he’s actually on the ice long enough to start a fight.

The Season of Redemption

With the wounds of June 15th, 2011 still fresh and in every Canucks fan’s mind, we all need to prepare ourselves for the questions that we will hear all season long: Can they go deep again? Have they addressed their weaknesses that led the Bruins to outplay them in the final series? As hard and gut-wrenching as it is to hear these questions and see replays of the Bruins hoisting the Cup, if this doesn’t motivate the boys in blue, nothing will. We were one win away, and although I will never get over the game 7 loss, I am ready to move on. A new season brings a clean slate, but the same expectations. Until we have our hands on Lord Stanley, we will never be satisfied. Buckle up folks, this is going to be a LONG season!

Oct 072011
 

[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.]

The Vancouver Canucks took their first steps on the long road back to the Stanley Cup Finals with a 4-3 shoot-out loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Rogers Arena on Thursday night.  I was in the arena for the home opener and I noticed a few Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

  1. The sluggish crowd.  Just like the team, the crowd seemed very tentative for the first half of the game.  It was a classic chicken and egg example:  it’s hard to tell if the crowd was relatively quiet because the team started slowly or if the team had trouble drawing energy from the quiet crowd.  Regardless, once the Canucks figured out how to stay out of the penalty box, both their play and the energy in the arena improved dramatically.
  2. Keith Ballard is exciting.  There are many Canucks fans, this writer included, who want to see Keith Ballard have a bounceback season this year.  With the departure of Christian Ehrhoff, the door is wide open for Ballard to stroll on through.  Last night, we saw both the risk and reward of Keith Ballard.  On the second Penguin goal, Ballard had trouble retrieving and clearing the puck from behind the Canucks net, leading to Matt Cooke’s power-play goal.  And there were a couple of shifts where Ballard and defence partner Chris Tanev were scrambling around in their own zone.  But also, there was Ballard streaking down the left side and scoring the game’s nicest goal late in the second period.  Add this to a couple of end-to-end rushes and it made for a very eventful night for the Canuck blue-liner.
  3. Dan Hamhuis is solid.  Hamhuis had a very solid game in his first full-game back since game 1 of last spring’s Stanley Cup Finals.  He made numerous poke checks on Penguin forwards and played with enough physicality to keep Pittsburgh at bay for most of the evening.  I’m convinced that he was the missing ingredient in the Canucks’ series against Boston:  if we have a healthy Hamhuis, we have a Stanley Cup.
  4. Where was Cody Hodgson?  The prized rookie was unnoticeable all evening until the final 6 minutes or so.  It doesn’t help that he is flanked by aging forwards who are both coming off of serious injuries.  The entire second line struggled and was clearly the weakest of the four lines.  Granted, it’s early, and they will likely need a few games together to develop some chemistry.  Hodgson had a chance to score a game-winning goal, but his nice scoring chance was barely foiled by Marc-Andre Fleury when the puck squirted though his legs but a couple of inches wide left.
  5. Wishful thinking.  Buoyed by the inflated 50/50 pot (it included unclaimed money from last season), my friend Mike and I bought a few tickets.  Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as the huge $65,000 prize went to someone else.  And with the new ticketing system and numbers, we were only 300,000,000 (yes…that’s 300 million) numbers away from winning.  The computerized 50/50 tickets is just one of many changes in Rogers Arena for this season…check out my latest Clay’s Canucks Commentary for a look at some of these changes.

All in all, it was an entertaining game between two teams predicted to do well this season.  And don’t fret Canucks fans – the team lost their first game of last season via shoot-out too.  The regular season turned out all right.

Oct 052011
 

Today’s quickies, a bunch of links, clips, news and other tidbits about the Vancouver Canucks.

Ryan Kesler

Photo credit: ESPN

Sep 072011
 

As discussed in yesterday’s post, changing a coach at mid-season, rather than in the off-season, seems to have a greater positive impact on team performance.

Examining all the coaching moves since the start of the 2005-06 season reveals some other interesting tidbits:

  1. Only four coaches hired at mid-season led their teams to a worse performance than the coach they replaced:
    • 2009-10 Philadelphia: Peter Laviolette (.535) replaced John Stevens (.540). One could argue these are almost equal results.
    • 2008-09 Tampa Bay: Rick Tocchet (.397 winning percentage) replaced Barry Melrose (.438). Funny how Melrose was ridiculed for his performance returning to the bench, while Rick Tocchet demonstrated himself to be just as incompetent.
    • 2008-09 Montreal: Bob Gainey (.500) replaced Guy Carbonneau (.583)
    • 2005-06 Los Angeles: John Torchetti (.417) replaced Andy Murray (.564)

  2. The best improvement by a coach hired in the off-season:
    • 2009-10 Phoenix: Dave Tippett (+28 points after replacing Wayne Gretzky)
    • 2009-10 Colorado: Joe Sacco (+27 points after replacing Tony Granato)
    • 2010-11 Tampa Bay: Guy Boucher (+23 points after replacing Rick Tocchet)
    • 2007-08 Boston: Claude Julien (+18 points after replacing Dave Lewis). You’re not likely to see any of the four names replaced on this list named as NHL head coaches ever again.

  3. The worst performance by teams after hiring a coach in the off-season:
    • 2008-09 Colorado: Tony Granato (-27 points after replacing Joel Quennville)
    • 2010-11 New Jersey: John Maclean + Jacques Lemaire (-24 points after replacing Jacques Lemaire)
    • 2009-10 Edmonton: Pat Quinn (-23 points after replacing Craig MacTavish)
    • 2006-07 Los Angeles: Marc Crawford (-21 points after replacing Andy Murray + John Torchetti)

One final note – for all the talk that Pat Quinn’s coaching time had passed after that brutal 62-point performance for the Oilers, it’s worth noting Tom Renney led an stronger Edmonton team to exactly the same number of points the following season.

Here now are the coaching rankings for the Western Conference:

 A Grade

Mike Babcock – Detroit
Last Year (A)

The best coach in the game? Probably. The demise of the Red Wings has been increasingly predicted over the last few years, and yet it never seems to actually happen. Credit the coach, who knows exactly the right buttons to push to motivate each player.

Barry Trotz – Nashville
Last Year (B+)

Nashville fell a sniper short of upsetting Vancouver in the second round. That’s not Trotz’s fault, who clearly outcoached Alain Vigneault during the series. He’s among the best in the league.

B+ Grade

Joel Quenneville – Chicago
Last Year (B+)

Getting the Blackhawks – a team gutted by so many moves in the offseason that the players probably needed name tags in training camp – into the playoffs last year was an underrated coaching accomplishment.

Alain Vigneault – Vancouver
Last Year (B-)

You coach a team into the Cup Final you get to move up these rankings. Yet, he still has an inexplicable man-crush on Aaron Rome; has turned once-promising Keith Ballard into an ECHL’er; and is at least partially to blame for the unsportsmanlike attitude that permeates Canuck culture. Last year was likely the pinnacle of Vigneault’s coaching career.

B Grade

Randy Carlyle – Anaheim
Last Year (B)

Carlyle headed into last season at a crossroads, with whispers of his having lost the room heard around the league. Instead, the coach and team rallied to a playoff spot. He did a great job not only integrating Cam Fowler into the lineup, but protecting him and his confidence.

Dave Tippet – Phoenix
Last Year (B)

Performed another coaching miracle getting the Coyotes into the playoffs last year, but faces his greatest challenge trying to do that without Ilya Bryzgalov in 2011-12.

B- Grade

Tom Renney – Edmonton
Last Year (B-)

The Oilers featured stronger systems play and a better dressing room atmosphere last year, but failed to improve in the standings. A terrific coaching “teacher,” at some point Edmonton brass will have to ask themselves if Renney has the chops to take a team far into the playoffs. That’s a question that’s still a few seasons off though.

C+ Grade

Terry Murray – Los Angeles (FIRED WATCH)
Last Year (C+)

Let’s make it two years in a row for Murray to find his name on the “Fired Watch.” Expectations haven’t been this high for the Kings since Gretzky was in town. An adequate bench boss, he hasn’t coached a team out of the first round since the Flyers made the Stanley Cup in 1997.

Todd McLellan – San Jose
Last Year (C)

Won a classic series against the Detroit Red Wings (and coach Mike Babcock) and got his team to the Conference Final for the second year in a row. And yet, he still hasn’t really helped the team shed its underachieving label.

C Grade

Davis Payne – St. Louis (FIRED WATCH)
Last Year (C)

With the Blues expected to rise in the standings this year the heat is on Payne, who is also in the final year of his contract. Injuries crippled the team last year, but St. Louis was also inconsistent and prone to weak first period efforts.

Brent Sutter – Calgary (FIRED WATCH)
Last Year (C)

Still looking for the same success in the NHL that he had coaching junior hockey. He seemed a bit more flexible handling his roster once brother Darryl was out of the mix. Still, with a veteran-laden squad like the Flames, it’s playoffs or bust.

Joe Sacco – Colorado
Last Year (C+)

Sacco, heralded as a great communicator after his first year as coach, had a tough second season. The team looked unprepared at times and Sacco’s seemingly random benching of players was odd (Chris Stewart was a healthy scratch before being dealt).

Scott Arniel – Columbus (FIRED WATCH)
Last Year (C)

You know what the definition of a square-peg and round-hole problem is? Meshing Arniel’s puck possession gameplan with the Blue Jackets roster last year. It didn’t work. The personnel is stronger this year in Columbus, so now it’s up to Arniel to deliver some results.

Glen Gulutzan – Dallas
Last Year (N/A)

Another rookie head coach, this time taking over from “The Hair” (aka Marc Crawford). Despite team assurances, it does look like Gulutzan’s price-tag (ie. cheap) played a part in his being hired over other coaching options (Craig MacTavish, Ken Hitchcock, etc). Gulutzan has had an impressive minor league coaching career, particularly in the ECHL. You know who else had a pretty impressive ECHL coaching career? John Brophy, who’s actually in the ECHL Hall of Fame. Just sayin’…

Mike Yeo – Minnesota
Last Year (N/A)

Yeo takes over from Todd Richards, promising to bring offensive hockey to the Wild. The former Penguins powerplay coach is young (39) and, well, eager, as his visit to Finland to meet with Mikko Koivu can attest. He only has one season of head coaching experience though, and the ditches along the NHL highway are full of wannabe assistants who couldn’t make it as head coaches.

Jun 242011
 

Some random Friday musings as we eagerly await the NHL Entry Draft:

  • There’s a lot of chatter leading into tonight’s NHL Entry Draft. The Canucks are said to be entertaining offers for their first-round pick (29th overall) and goaltender Cory Schneider to either move up the draft or to acquire a player that can help them win now.
  • If they keep their pick, the Canucks have shown interest in top-ranked goaltender, John Gibson, and Vancouver Giants defenseman, David Musil.
  • There were rumors yesterday linking the Peter Stastny to the Canucks. Here’s the thing: Stastny has a $6.6 million cap hit. While Stastny would give the Canucks a much-needed top-six player, he would also become the team’s highest-paid player. Mike Gillis has done a good job of managing their cap hierarchy and this move would go against this. From Colorado’s perspective, they’re a team already $20 million under the salary cap floor (after trading John-Michael Liles to the Leafs this afternoon) and 13 players signed. It’s hard to see them letting Stastny go without taking on additional salary. Keith Ballard, perhaps?
  • The Avs aren’t the only team under the cap floor. Florida is $30 million under with 11 players signed. Carolina is $17 million under with 12 players signed. Phoenix is $17 million with 15 players signed. There aren’t a lot of quality UFA’s. Performance bonuses will help these teams get to the cap, but I think there will be some crappy players who are going to get paid good.
  • As good as Eddie Lack was in the AHL last season, is anyone else uncomfortable with a Luongo-Lack goaltending combo should the Canucks trade Cory Schneider?
  • How do you describe the Flyers’ roster overhaul from yesterday? If Paul Holmgren didn’t think Mike Richards and Jeff Carter could help lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup, why did he sign them to 12 and 11-year contracts, respectively? At least Holmgren did good to at least get Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, the no. 8 overall pick and a couple of other mid-round picks in return.
  • Some somewhat good news for Canucks fans: Mike Gillis announced today that Dan Hamhuis had successful surgery today, and there is a possibility he’ll be ready for the start of training camp.
  • Gillis also said the Canucks wouldn’t be making any announcement about their new AHL affiliate until next week, but the TEAM 1040 is reporting that it will be with the Chicago Wolves. If true, this is interesting in a couple of ways. First – and this is obvious – Blackhawks fans hate the Canucks so it’s unclear if the Canucks prospects will get any attention in enemy territory. Similarly, the Abbotsford Heat, the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate, located in Canucks country are costing Abbotsford taxpayers half-a-million dollars a year. But also, the Canucks’ success with the Manitoba Moose was largely due to the excellent relationship they had with each other. That sort of relationship doesn’t build overnight. The Wolves are an independently-owned AHL franchise, much like the Moose were. I don’t think it’s any secret that the Canucks’ long-term preference is to own their AHL affiliate. It’ll be interesting to see how the relationship between the two moves forward.
  • Andy Strickland mentioned in a recent post that the Canucks may place Keith Ballard on waivers and eat his contract in the minors if they can’t move him. It’s hard to believe that Ballard is that bad, but if Canucks brass think he is, know that Acquilini is more than willing to stash salaries in the minors if it means fielding a better roster in the bigs.
Jun 092011
 

[About the game from two viewpoints. Chris and Caylie watch the game and exchange their thoughts via email.]

From: Caylie King
To: Christopher Golden
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2011 14:48

Hi Chris,

There has been so much chatter on social media these last few days about Rome’s suspension, Vancouver fans vs Boston fans, and the word “classless” has been used one too many times.

Bottom line it’s all about hockey and the players on the ice. I think this will be a pivotal game in the series, I don’t quite think it’s a MUST win, but to silence the critics we need a strong bounce back game. If we don’t want to worry about the treatment of our fans in beantown, a win tonight to set us up for a game 5 victory would be perfect.

What do you expect from the boys in white with trims of blue and green? What will be the key to winning this game?

Caylie

PS: Can you tell I’m ready for the game, considering puck drop is still over 2 hours away?

From: Christopher Golden
To: Caylie King
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2011 16:05

Hey Caylie,

Wow – you must be psyched!

I agree. With all the crap that’s happened post-game (and even post-whistle during the game), it’s really distracted us from some solid and exciting hockey when the puck is on the ice. True, the effort we saw from the Canucks was lacking midway through the 2nd and all the 3rd, but the rest has been great.

Game 4 is not a must-win, but I expect nothing less than a stellar effort from the Canucks. The game we want to see is a high-octane, puck controlling squad that out hustles the Bruins. What we don’t want to see is the Canucks trying to do is become pugilistic – that style always benefits the underdog and let’s face it, the Bruins beat us in that battle hands down.

And I’d love to see us win, but don’t think a hard-fought game that results in a loss is a reason to hit the panic button. We’re up 2 games to 1, have home ice advantage, and finished top in the league for a reason. The boys in blue are a great team.

Wait… have I already said this before at some point during the post-season?

C.

From: Caylie King
To: Christopher Golden
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2011 17:39

Hi Chris,

1-for-18. Really? Is the Boston PK that good or are we that intimidated? Normally we are confident and can set up and be effective. We need more traffic in front, and for the love of baby jejus get on those rebounds.

We are chasing and seem rattled. We need to get back to our game. ASAP.

Caylie

From: Christopher Golden
To: Caylie King
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2011 18:06

Hey Caylie,

I don’t know if the powerplay woes are as much Boston figuring out the Canucks as it is the Canucks trying too hard. Every powerplay seems to be a complicated event where they look to execute the perfect play. Why not simplify and just get the puck on net?

C.

From: Caylie King
To: Christopher Golden
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2011 18:11

Hi Chris,

Exactly, simplify! And what is up with Edler? He seems so slow and unmotivated. He needs to do a much better job quarterbacking the powerplay, or maybe just clearing our own zone before there are 2 Bruins on him.

I’m hoping Manny or someone is talking some sense into these guys. Get back to our game, get back to what has been successful ALL season long.

Caylie

From: Christopher Golden
To: Caylie King
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2011 18:44

Hey Caylie,

Last two games I was telling anyone who listened that Ballard needed to be on the ice. Based on his play to this point, I should probably be eating my words. Mind you, the entire defensive core seems to be shaky so maybe KB4 simply wants to fit in?

I want to see a Canucks response. Get a goal or a tonne of pressure on Thomas now. Show us there is life left in Boston.

C.

From: Caylie King
To: Christopher Golden
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2011 19:11

Hi Chris,

I tried to give KB4 the benefit of doubt after his first turnover, and then his second. But as he continued to give up the puck I could feel my blood pressure rising by the second.

Bottom line is the effort from our team has been horrid. Where are Kesler, Raymond and the Sedins? If I don’t see a push back and some heart in the third, I will be officially worried.

Who wants it more? After 2, the answer is clear and it’s not the team in the white.

Caylie

From: Christopher Golden
To: Caylie King
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2011 19:47

Hey Caylie,

This is tough to watch. I’m still not worried as this simply means a series “restart” and a best-of-three, but I don’t understand where the team that had pace has gone. Heck, where’s the team we saw in the 1st period of Game 3?

C.

From: Caylie King
To: Christopher Golden
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2011 19:49

Hi Chris,

All I can say is regroup, refocus and play like we can. Our true character will come out in game 5. We have to believe!

Caylie

From: Christopher Golden
To: Caylie King
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2011 20:26

Hey Caylie,

Anyone who thought this would be an easy series (even after the 1st two games) must have missed much of the season. The Bruins are a good team. And even after games 3 and 4, I still feel the Canucks are just that bit better. That makes for a solid final.

We’re just seeing a roundabout way to do it. And if you consider, that’s usually how the Canucks roll.

C.

Jun 092011
 

Winning the Stanley Cup is not supposed to be easy. Still, it’s disappointing – disheartening – to have a 2-0 series lead and then get beat 12-1 in the next couple of games.

The Bruins have flipped the script here. In games 1 and 2, the Canucks got better as the game went on. In games 3 and 4, the Canucks started well enough, only to disappear after the first intermission. All season long, the second period was their worst period, and that was magnified in Beantown getting outscored 6-0 in the middle 20.

Obviously, it’s not over. And the Canucks do still have home-ice advantage. But they need to regroup and they need to be better. It’s obvious some of the players – Hank, Kes, Eddy, in particular – are labouring, but this is the Stanley Cup Finals. It took 17 years for this team to get back to this point and who knows when they’ll get another chance after this – they just need to suck it up.

I’m still confident they can do it. Are they?

The Hero

Tim Thomas. Another spectacular performance by the Bruins’ netminder. 38 saves and a wicked slash on Alex Burrows’ ankles.

The Goat

Keith Ballard. It’s hard to get put in the lineup midway through the Stanley Cup Finals, but still. Bally looked out of place and was directly responsible for Brad Marchand’s 3-0 goal.

The Numbers

  • 12. After building a 2-0 series lead, the Canucks gave up a combined 12 goals in Beantown. With a 3-0 series lead, they gave up the same in games 4 and 5 against Chicago before eventually righting the ship.
  • 5. Once again, the Canucks went 0-fer on the powerplay. They now have a woeful 5% PP rate (1-for-22) in the series.
  • 3. The big guns – Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler – have combined 3 points (1 goal and 2 assists) in 4 games. There’s no wonder why the Canucks have scored but 4 goals in total in this series.

The Next Time

This is not a repeat. (Okay it is.) The Canucks need to forget game 4 ever happened.

Jun 062011
 

[About the game from two viewpoints. Chris and Caylie watch the game and exchange their thoughts via email.]

From: Christopher Golden
To: Caylie King
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2011 17:07

Hey Caylie,

So here we have Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Apparently a must win. I’m not exactly sure why winning the first game at home in the final makes Game 2 a must win, but apparently that’s what people allegedly wiser than I seem to think.

C.

From: Caylie King
To: Christopher Golden
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2011 17:21

Hi Chris,

I’m not sure if it is a must win, but it can’t hurt if we head back to beantown up 2-0.

I am not sure where you are tonight, but the Browns in PoMo just erupted when Manny came on the screen!

Win it WITH Manny! Go Canucks Go!

Caylie

From: Christopher Golden
To: Caylie King
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2011 17:42

Hey Caylie,

The crowd here at Moose’s Down Under did the same – Manny coming back to play in the final is a huge boost. Hell, I’d even say that he’s the force that may galvanize the fans for an epic string – him just getting on the ice will whip ‘em into a frenzy.

I do worry that he’s not entirely healthy – no player would ever admit to being hurt if they thought they were close. Hopefully the docs had a solid baseline on him.

C.

From: Caylie King
To: Christopher Golden
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2011 17:50

Hi Chris,

You’re right, what a huge boost to team and city morale. I think 4th line minutes for him is perfect to ease him in, but yes… I’m not sure if he’s 100%.

I’m a true believer that championship teams need a great bottom-six. Raffi and company have come out with a plan. A plan to attack and hit everything that’s moving. That 4th line shift by Oreo and Tamby also really set the tone.

I expect great things from our bottom-six. Possibly another game winner?

Caylie

From: Christopher Golden
To: Caylie King
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2011 18:27

Hey Caylie,

You’re looking for a goal from the bottom-six? I’m calling for Ballard to score the winner. Oh wait.

I can’t really knock AV as the team is obviously clicking, but I feel that Alberts has looked slow and that worries me. It’s been the Canucks speed that has given the Bruins trouble and Alberts has none of that.

C.

From: Caylie King
To: Christopher Golden
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2011 18:37

Hi Chris,

Who is Ballard?

Really, I think Alberts has been pretty decent. I noticed a few big hits from him, and to be honest, besides that I haven’t really noticed him. Which is a good thing.

Boston just scored a powerplay goal. Is the world ending?!

Caylie

From: Christopher Golden
To: Caylie King
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2011 18:44

Hey Caylie,

Alberts has been decent? I want what you’re drinking.

He’s thrown a few hits, but how is that more than Ballard (yes, he still plays for the Canucks) provides? And the first Bruins goal, Alberts lack of mobility kept the team penned in deep – again, Ballard likely had the speed to avoid that.

C.

From: Caylie King
To: Christopher Golden
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2011 18:58

Hi Chris,

I said he was decent, never said he was better than Bally. That’s a no brainer, Ballard is a much more mobile defenseman, however we have to work with what we have on the ice. In my opinion, Rome has looked worse with 2 penalties, albeit if that last one was “interference” then there should have been about 10 other calls.

Looks like we really need to step up our game. After that Lucic goal, the Bruins were all over us. Windaturd has been the slogan all season long. Let’s do it again.

My prediction, our next goal will be a big play from our back end that ties the game up.

Caylie

From: Christopher Golden
To: Caylie King
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2011 19:25

Hey Caylie,

You are right, Rome has looked far worse. But I still feel that Ballard should’ve been in before Alberts – even if Ballard scores the OT breakaway winner.

On a different note, I’m beginning to like the traffic and abuse that the Canucks are sending Thomas’ way. He’s solid on most pucks head-on, but has looked as shaky as @mozy19 does after a few drinks when there’s bumping and grinding in front.

C.

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