In honor of our French-Canadian-pests-supreme-turned-first-line-wingers, today’s CHB PSA is brought to you by Maxim Lapierre and Alex Burrows, who have six points between them since they got bumped up to the first line with Henrik Sedin. Burr and Lappy would like to remind you that being a jerk is only okay on the ice…whenever the referee isn’t looking.
[Every week, Caylie King previews the Canucks week that was and reviews the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@CayKing).]
The Canucks have lost 3 of their last 4 games and 5 of their last 7 games. Last Tuesday, potential first-round opponent Dallas Stars came into Rogers Arena and easily took two points away from the Canucks in a 5-2 win. On Thursday, the Canucks played one of their better games in a few weeks won an exciting 3-2 affair against the Winnipeg Jets. And then on Saturday, the Canucks started off well enough against the Habs before collapsing completely in the third period and losing 4-1.
69 GP, 42-19-8, 92 points (1st in Northwest Division, 2nd in Western Conference)
Chris Higgins seems to have gotten over his battles with staph infections and has easily been one of the Canucks’ best and most consistent players in the last few weeks. He has 7 points (2G-5A) in his last 7 games and has been noticeable in every game. His hard forecheck and never-give-up attitude gives opposing teams a lot to handle. His hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last week, coach Alain Vigneault reunited him with Ryan Kesler and David Booth, and he’s rejuvenated that line.
The real question is, who hasn’t struggled recently?
Henrik Sedin has 0 points in his last 8 games and is a minus-3 in that stretch. Daniel Sedin has 1 assist in his last 8 games and is also a minus-3 in that stretch. The Sedins have been largely invisible, and while they seem to produce the odd good shift, they haven’t been nearly as consistent and are clearly struggling to find the back of the net.
Among the forwards, Alex Burrows has 1 goal in his last 11 games, Mason Raymond is goalless in 6 games, Jannik Hansen is goalless in 12 games, and Max Lapierre is pointless in 9 games.
In the back end, Alex Edler may have 2 goals in his last 3 games, but he’s really struggled on the defensive side of things. Against the Habs, he was running around and couldn’t settle down defensively. His play has considerably declined since the All-Star break and his mistakes on the ice have become evident and visible.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 vs. Phoenix Coyotes (7:00 PM start, home)
After posting a 10-0-1 record for the month of February, the Phoenix Coyotes have struggled in the month of March with just 1 win in 7 games (1-4-2). That said, they’re still holding on to the 7th place in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, and if the playoffs started today, they would face the Canucks in the first round.
This will be the fourth and last meeting of the regular season between the two clubs with the Canucks having won 2 of the first 3 meetings. In the season series, Keith Yandle leads the Coyotes with 2 points (1G-1A) and Ryan Kesler leads the Canucks with 3 points (1G-2A).
The Canucks have a 7-3-4 record against Pacific division opponents.
Radim Vrbata is tied for second in team scoring with 56 points (30G-26A) and has a team-best, plus-24 rating. He’s already set a career-high in goals and has tied his career best in points. He also leads the NHL with 10 game-winning goals for the season. However, like the rest of the Coyotes, he’s been cold recently and only has 1 assist in his last 5 games.
Saturday, March 17, 2012 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (7:00 PM start, home)
Considering the Blue Jackets are in last place in the Western Conference, this could be a good game for the Canucks to get 2 points and regain some traction.
This is the two teams’ last meeting of the season with the Canucks holding a 2-0-1 record against the Blue Jackets in their first 3 games against each other. Cory Schneider was in net for both Canucks wins; Roberto Luongo recorded the shootout loss.
Rick Nash leads the Blue Jackets in goals (24) and points (47) for the season.
[Every week, Clayton Imoo sits down and talks hockey with a CHB follower and fellow fan. If you're interested in being featured in "Shooting from the Hip", send us a tweet at @canuckshockey or @CanuckClay.]
Victoria (@concretefluff) was born and raised in Montreal as a Habs fan. Despite spending 6 years getting degrees in English and Journalism in Leaf-centric Toronto, her loyalty to the Habs didn’t falter. Her jump into Canucks fandom wasn’t instantaneous either. For the first few years in Vancouver, Victoria was busy working as an editor of a teen website and then quit that and jumped into stand-up comedy. It wasn’t until she moved back to Vancouver, after living in Los Angeles in 2008, that hockey became a strong passion again, and the Canucks became her number one team.
When she’s not cheering, tweeting or blogging about hockey, or defending the Canucks to her husband who hates them; she spends her time working in advertising. Every summer, when there is no hockey to entertain her, Victoria heads to San Fermin Fiesta in Pamplona, Spain and runs with the bulls. (Well, her husband runs with bulls, she cowers with bulls). This summer will be her third year in a row, her husband’s fifth, and it’s a tradition they intend to continue every year for the rest of their lives.
1. Where did the Twitter handle @concretefluff come from?
When I joined Twitter I wasn’t sure what to do with it. The whole concept of these tiny 140 character posts seemed kind of ridiculous to me. I was trying to be ironic. Twitter was so “concrete” to people and yet so inconsequential to me (or Fluffy) so I picked ConcreteFluff. Now that I understand Twitter and have found a purpose for it (my hockey passion), I have been meaning to change my name to something hockey related. Just haven’t figured out what yet – all my ideas are already taken!
2. I know you’re both a Canucks fan and a Penguins fan. I also know from your blog that your husband loves the Habs and despises the Canucks. Talk a bit about the conflict you’d experience if the Canucks and Penguins met in the Stanley Cup Finals and if Vancouver and Montreal met in the Finals.
I’ve stressed about a Canucks-Pens ever since I started liking the Pens a couple years ago. Now I love both teams almost equally. But I would cheer for the Canucks without question. They are my number one team and they really deserve a Cup. I would console myself with the knowledge that all my favourite Pens players (Staal, Fleury, Letang, Crosby) already have a recent Stanley Cup so they don’t need this one.
I’m more worried about the Canucks meeting the Habs in a Stanley Cup Final, since that could very possibly lead to a divorce. You can read about my husband’s Canucks-hate in my Behind Enemy Lines blog post. He hates them as passionately as I love them. Because I grew up in Montreal, if it came down to a Canadiens-Canucks final it would be me against my husband, family, childhood friends, and in-laws. Luckily for me, the Habs have little hope of even making the playoffs this year. My marriage will at least last one more hockey season.
3. I also know you’re a big fan of Max Lapierre. He had a solid start and he’s was one of the most consistent Canucks to start the season. Then he went through a bit of a lull going 22 games without a goal. Finally, he scored Thursday night against the Wild. He also had a fight with Cal Clutterbuck and got into it with Brad Staubitz near the end of the game. Even though he’s a fourth-liner on this team (on paper), how critical do you think he is to the Canucks’ success as we near the homestretch?
I’ve been a huge fan of Lapierre since he was a Canadien. I have a thing for good-looking, French-Canadian pests. I love the trash talk involved in hockey and nothing makes me happier than watching Maxim with a smirk on his face yapping at an opponent from the bench or the box. I was over the moon when we traded for him. But Lappy is more than a pretty face with a big mouth and in our organization he’s proving that. He’s changing his game this season and I think it’s only going to benefit us. We’re a very skilled team, which isn’t a bad thing until you play a team that relies heavily on goonery and cheap hits like, say, the Boston Bruins.
Lapierre has always been effective at getting under a team’s collective skin with his taunts, but this year he’s been backing that up with his fists. We need that. Let’s face it, as tough as Bieksa is, he can’t take on everyone every game. He’s playing harder this year too. When he’s on the ice he’s all over the other team, working hard to create turnovers. As for scoring, that’s never going to be his biggest strength and that’s okay on a team like ours. To me Lapierre isn’t working to be the next Sedin, he’s working to fill the holes and I think that makes him very valuable.
4. We’re 2 weeks from the trade deadline. If you were Mike Gillis, what moves would you make? WWVD: What Would Victoria Do?
I heard a rumour that the Rangers might trade Marc Staal. I would bite on that. He’s a great experienced D-man and he’s getting even better. Also, if you follow me on Twitter you know by now I have an intense love for all things Staal. The problem is, in order to get someone you have to give someone up and I’m pretty sure we couldn’t get Marc Staal for Alberts and Rome, which are about the only Canucks I would trade right now. But I’d be willing to throw in my Yaris if that would sweeten the deal. (I hear hockey players like getting free cars).
Jokes aside, what I would NOT do is trade Cory Schneider. Not for Shea Weber or anyone else. We have the absolute best goaltending tandem in the league. And finally, AV seems to be willing to play Schneids against key rivals. If AV sticks with this in the playoffs, we’ve got a definite edge we didn’t have last year. No, I do NOT hate Luongo. I know he didn’t cost us everything last year. But I believe that Schneider is stellar in his own right. He has managed to play well in arenas and against teams that have, in the past, caused difficulties for Lu. We would be idiots not to take advantage of that in the playoffs this year just because it “looks bad” to start a backup. I don’t care who is in net when we win the Cup. I just want to win it.
5. Why should people follow you on Twitter? What can new followers expect?
I like to think if you follow me you can expect to laugh. After all I used to do stand-up. I like to entertain. A lot of my tweets, even during intense games, are light and poke fun. But I’m also passionate. I’m not for the faint of heart. I don’t always use PG13 language – especially if it involves the Bruins. And I can definitely hold my own in a debate, so if you challenge me (I’m looking at you, Bruins fans) or call the Sedins “sisters”, expect a verbal battle! But I even try to keep my “battles” entertaining!
In this episode of the CHB TV video podcast, Clay Imoo, J.J. Guerrero and Chris Golden discuss the Canucks’ team toughness (or perceived lack thereof).
2011 may well shake out to be one of the most memorable calendar year in Canucks history. (At least in my mind it will be until the year the Canucks win the Stanley Cup.) Through the ecstasy of the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals and many team and individual highs and the sadness in the deaths of Rick Rypien and Pavol Demitra, here are 10 Canucks moments from 2011 that I will remember. Feel free to add your own memorable moments in the comments section.
10. The passing away of Rick Rypien (August 15, 2011)
9. Ryan Kesler activates beast mode – 2nd round, game 5 vs. Nashville Predators (May 5, 2011)
8. Lee Sweatt’s first goal in his first game as a Vancouver Canuck (January 26, 2011)
7. Daniel Sedin wins the Art Ross Trophy, Ryan Kesler wins the Selke Trophy, and Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider win the William Jennings Trophy (June 22, 2011)
6. The Canucks win the President’s Trophy for the first time in franchise history (March 31, 2011)
5. Alex Burrows’ OT game-winning goal – Stanley Cup Finals, game 2 vs. Boston Bruins (June 4, 2011)
4. Canucks fans clean up after the post-Stanley Cup riot (June 16, 2011)
3. Max Lapierre’s game-winning goal with 4 1/2 minutes left, the only goal of the game – Stanley Cup Finals, game 5 vs. Boston Bruins (June 10, 2011)
2. Kevin Bieksa’s double OT game-winning goal off the stanchion – 3rd round, game 5 vs. San Jose Sharks (May 24, 2011)
1. Alex Burrows’ OT game-winning goal off a Chris Campoli turnover – 1st round, game 7 vs. Chicago Blackhawks (April 26, 2011)