(Contributions from J.J. Guerrero and Katie Maximick.) Now that the Canucks have reached the official halfway point of the 2010/2011 season, we take a look back and give the players their midseason marks. Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com Manny Malhotra: Malhotra has fewer points than Raffi Torres, which is odd for a lot of people. But he’s the king of the faceoff circle, ranked second in the NHL at 63.4%. With 17 points, he’s on pace to match last season’s 33-point output in San Jose. So has he exceeded expectations? Not really, but he hasn’t exactly underperformed either. Grade: B Raffi Torres:...Click here to read more.
Tagged: Mikael Samuelsson
[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 41 GP, 27-8-6, 60 points (1st in Northwest Division, 1st in Western Conference) Who’s Hot Ryan Kesler potted his second career hat-trick in a dominating 6-1 victory over the Oilers this past week. Kesler could be featured every week for his outstanding play this year. He has matured into one of the best all-round players in the NHL and is on pace to put up career numbers. He has 14 points in his last 10 games...Click here to read more.
[I Watched This Game is a recurring feature at Pass it to Bulis, the hockey blog that knows who needs the puck. It chronicles the insights and observations of two guys who watched a hockey game. To view all the other wonderful stuff PITB does, visit Pass It To Bulis.] With a gritty, hard-fought win against the Avalanche, the Canucks have won 5 straight, haven’t lost in regulation in 12 games, and have the best goal differential in the NHL. And, oh yeah, they’re first place in the entire NHL right now. Now, there are plenty of spoilsports out there...Click here to read more.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin are fourth and fifth in league scoring, and Ryan Kesler is on pace for a 40-goal, Selke Trophy season. But superstars alone don’t win Stanley Cups. Champions need depth, and especially a dominant third line. Consider the five Stanley Cup winners since the lockout, and their third lines. Chicago: Dave Bolland, Andrew Ladd and Kris Versteeg Pittsburgh: Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke Detroit: Kris Draper, Dan Cleary and Dallas Drake Anaheim: Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer and Samuel Pahlsson Carolina: Doug Weight, Mark Recchi and Ray Whitney All five teams had hard-working third lines that...Click here to read more.
[I Watched This Game is a recurring feature at Pass it to Bulis, the hockey blog that knows who needs the puck. It chronicles the insights and observations of two guys who watched a hockey game. To view all the other wonderful stuff PITB does, visit Pass It To Bulis.] The Canucks and Red Wings have met twice this season, and both games have been among the most entertaining of the year. We at PITB often talk about the way Canucks fans view their team’s games through a vaccuum; we disregard the play of the other team and blame everything,...Click here to read more.
To add injury to insult, it turns out that Mikael Samuelsson suffered a “mild” concussion in the Canucks’ 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. In typical Canucks fashion, this happened just as Samuelsson added some scoring punch to the bottom-six and the team started rolling out – and getting contributions – from all four lines. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that this injury isn’t serious. (Or at least not Willie Mitchell-serious.) Assuming Mason Raymond is over the flu, Jannik Hansen will more than likely return to the bottom-six and take Samuelsson’s place on the third line. Or if...Click here to read more.
This is Luongo’s BEAUTIFUL poetry that appeared on TSN in the intermission of last night’s game. He then shutout the Hawks in a mesmerizing performance. It brings a tear. Maybe he should write a whole book of poetry right before the playoffs. Maybe that’s what has been missing in the Canucks dressing room the past couple of seasons. The guys should have a poetry night before they hit the ice. Sami Salo: “Yearning for a titanium body” Alex Burrows: “1 Sedin 2 Sedin 3 Sedin GOAL!” Mikael Samuelsson: “G is for goalie F is for forward Y is for yonder...Click here to read more.
Great piece by Iain MacIntyre (Vancouver Sun) on the Canucks’ decision to cancel practice and attend Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial instead. Believing there are things more important than hockey – yes, even Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens – Canuck general manager Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault have cancelled the usual morning skate in Ottawa and instead will walk with staff and players to the War Memorial to observe Remembrance Day. For once, these National Hockey League millionaires have no special privileges. They’ll merely gather in the hotel lobby, and walk solemnly with their...Click here to read more.
Funny how one game can change the mood among Canucks fans. After Friday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Kings, you can almost feel the panic rippling through Canucks Nation. You can almost sense it from the team too when they juggled their line combinations. With various players stuck on 0 goals, coach Alain Vigneault lined Mason Raymond up next to the Sedins, promoted Jeff Tambellini to the second line, and demoted Mikael Samuelsson from the first line to the third line. It worked. Sunday’s 5-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes was huge on a number of levels. As a...Click here to read more.
[As we approach the start of the NHL regular season, members of the Canucks blogosphere give their two cents about your Vancouver Canucks and address the issues, questions and expectations of the team in their 40th year anniversary.] Shortly after the Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from the second round of last year’s playoffs, Mike Gillis said: “Experience is a major factor,” he said. “We have very few guys that have gone far into the playoffs. “You need experienced players who have been there, who don’t deviate from the game plan when the pressure is on, and who continue to be...Click here to read more.