Oct 042010
 

[Every Monday, Katie Maximick takes your questions and answers them in her own cantakerous style. If you have any questions about the Canucks, send it to her via Twitter (@canucksgirl44)]

Kevin Bieksa, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: CBC

In this week’s edition of “Ask Katie About the Canucks”, Katie talks about breakouts and busts, cries about B-Mo, picks a new linemate for the Sedins, and picks a drinking buddy.

Lisa asks: “If you could choose any player in the NHL and put him on the Canucks, who would it be and who would you play him with?”

Katie: I bet every body would be jumping for Ovechkin, which might be the smart thing to do, but I have a feeling he wouldn’t exactly get a long with the quiet, humble Sedins on the top line. Crosby’s too obvious. That being said, I would go for someone like Jarome Iginla (I know, a Flame) or Vinnie Lecavalier. Both are classy guys with top-scoring abilities and seem to get along quite well with anyone they play with. The Sedins can make a star out of anyone (see: Carter, Anson) and so I would put Vinnie or Jarome with them and watch the scoring blow our minds.

Tara asks: “How do you think Morrison will do this season?”

Katie: *Bursts into tears and runs away*

Neil (@neilfg) asks: “Who will have the biggest breakout season, and who will have the biggest bust season?”

Katie: I’m hoping that Kesler just goes mental and scores 30-40 goals this year. He definitely has the potential to step up to that level. Really, many of the Canucks’ young guns have the ability to unleash a few beasts and have record-breaking seasons. I could see Samuelsson doing very well on the top line.

As for bust – ehhhh, I don’t want to predict that in case I jinx someone, but I’d be looking at a veteran, maybe Salo (a little predictable?), possibly Malhotra, since the Canucks have the tendency to take on older players who sh*t the bed once they put on a Canucks jersey (see: Messier, Mark and Demitra, Pavol). Although I can see someone like Bolduc being junk; however, I may or may not just have said that because I’m bitter over B-Mo.

Mark (@marktgledhill) asks: “How have you felt about Edler? Has he grown into a role of a top-level D-man or does he still need to grow?”

Katie: I honestly haven’t been Edler’s #1 fan, but he’s definitely improving every season. Last year he was a top-level D-man for the team, but with the additions of Hamhuis and Ballard this year, Edler might slip back in comparison. I hope not though. I hope Edler continues to improve. I will say one thing – I like his slapshot.

Steph (@axeguitar) asks: “Who would you most like to go drinking with, staff or player?”

I think Bieksa would be a riot (although we would eventually fight about his turnovers and dumb penalties). But wouldn’t it be more fun to see a quiet guy get hammered and come out of his shell? Like a Sedin or Salo? Samuelsson would be fun since he’d have my back at the bar, mostly because he’d tell everyone to go — well, you know — go find themselves. ;)

Sep 272010
 
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

In this week’s edition of “Ask Katie About the Canucks”, Katie talks about expectations, Lou’s hair, Kes for Captain, Burrows’ replacement, Todd Bertuzzi and puck bunnies.

Trent (an Oilers fan) asks: With all this talk about the Canucks being the team to beat in the west this year, do you think this will hamper or help them in the season and playoffs? Also, what if anything is missing from their line-up to put them over the top?

Katie: Last year a lot of people predicted the Canucks to win the Cup early on, and I don’t think they (the team) ever really paid attention to it, so no, I don’t think the pressure will affect them this year either. I think their worst enemy is themselves. They have to get past the second round this season. Personally I think what we’re missing is a big power forward who stands in front of the other team’s goalie, like Holmstrom, although Malhotra might fill that a bit. It’s a gap we’ve had since Bertuzzi left that’s never really been filled. Also, Luongo’s going to have to be back in top form this season now that we have a stacked blue line. We need him to shut the door and play like his old self.

JC (@hirearc) asks: What do you think Roberto Luongo uses in his hair to keep it all shiny and Sicilian looking? And can you confirm you’re dating Andrew Alberts?

Katie: I think Dippity-Do or possibly Crisco. And no, I can’t confirm that – LOL. I haven’t even met the dude. Can we cyber date?

Ingela (@FoxxyCanuck) asks: Some #Canucks fans are saying Ryan Kesler hates Canada, and therefore should not be Captain of the Canucks. Is there any evidence to support this?

Katie: I think what these (delusional) fans are trying to get at is what Kesler said during the Olympics to rile people up, which was along the lines of “I hate Canada” when he actually meant TEAM Canada, not the country. He cleared that up right away, and Burrows backed him. I was mad as hell at Kesler during the Olympics for his mouth, but am clearly over it now that I want him for captain. Kes was just out to stir the pot and distract Team Canada, and it worked. We love it when he does this for the Canucks; fans should realize that it’s just a tactic of his, and it’s a useful tactic (see Burrows, Avery, Ruutu, etc.). Fans saying that Kesler hates Canada need to do some research about exactly what went down and get over what happened at the Olympics. Canada won the gold and Kesler is back in a Canucks jersey. Isn’t that good enough?

@Canucks_BlueJay asks: Who do you think will start the season with the Sedins? I’d like to see Schroeder.

Katie: I like Samuelsson or Burrows with the Sedins, personally. I’m not sure if Schroeder will jump to the first line if he makes the team– I highly doubt it. More like third line. I think that while Burrows is recovering, Samuelsson will be on the top line.

Steph asks: What would you do if you met a Bertuzzi puck bunny and she tried to get all up in your grill?

Katie: I would ask WWBD (What Would Bertuzzi Do?) and go from there. She’d have to step off before I jersey her and show her how real Bertuzzi fans throw ‘em down!

Apr 282010
 

- And so we play the Hawks again. This city is jazzed. Everyone wants some redemption for last year. Saturday is a longggg wait to see game 1. It can’t come soon enough. The Canucks are a better team this year. We have our secret weapon highest scoring muppet around…Mikael Samuelsson! The Art Ross winner Hanky “Pinata” Sedin! But really the best improvement is the vibe the whole team has this season. Maybe they talked to the Dali Lama this summer or maybe it’s just the fantastic Ryan Walter’s leadership values but they are very zen this season. The biggest thing that killed them last year was getting too emotional and losing their composure against the Hawks. They are calm kittens. Nothing is harshing their mellow these days. If they get behind playing the Hawks this time around things will be different.

- Seriously, Chelsea Dagger is the worst song on earth. Maybe even space. Don’t the Blackhawks know it’s about rampant drug use? What are they saying about themselves? Speaking of the Hawks, I found some secret facts about them to show everyone that they’re really not that scary*

Jonathan Toews collects ceramic unicorns

Patrick Kane likes to knit hot pink leg warmers and sing along to Justin Bieber in his bathroom

Dustin Byfuglien sleeps with a blowup doll girlfriend named Candy Kisses

*Facts may be totally made up and I have no money to give if I am sued.

- Big Bear was so wonderful in the first round against the Kings. He was all unsunghero-y and it made me incredibly happy. You know how coaches have dog houses? Well I have an Alix House where players that I adore but who are struggling stay. Big Bear has been a resident for months as has Shane baybee and so I am extra pleased for Big Bear.

- Speaking of Shane baybee, he was also very, very good this series. Friends I have that absolutely loathe Shane were even changing their tunes and saying he was awesome.

- I’m starting to think Willie Mitchell is dead and they’re turning him into a cyborg but the cyborg is having trouble learning how to hold Willie’s long stick.

- Yesterday the Vancouver government had “Canucks day” down at city hall. Seriously after one round! To gain some political points! This might be not quite as bad as the Province asking people to send in their parade routes last year but it’s pretty close. And once again I am left working over time to show that not all Canucks fans are so totally ridiculous. Now Canucks faithful, everyone get out your best jinx reversal dances because we’re going to need them. May I suggest the “Ryan Kesler” ?

Apr 252010
 
Henrik Sedin and Mikael Samuelsson celebrate another goal.

Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com

The Canucks can close off their Western Conference Quarterfinal Series against the LA Kings tonight. Can they go for the jugular? Or do they allow the Kings a chance at Game 7 on Tuesday? Can the Kings stop the ‘S-Train’? And if they do, can they also stop the Canucks’ secondary scorers?

Here are today’s game day links:

Apr 242010
 
Rick Rypien tunes Rich Clune.

Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com

The Canucks, left looking for their swagger after Game 3, seem to now have found it in spades. I don’t know what happened or what was said in their locker room during the second intermission of Game 4. Whatever it was, the players have responded positively and are playing great hockey. They’ve scored 11 goals – 8 ESG, 2 PPG and 1 empty-netter – in the last four periods. Even their penalty-kill has been a bit better. They’ve allowed just 1 PPGA in the last 7 Kings powerplays, and even killed a brief 5-on-3 against them last night. Most importantly, they’ve put the Kings on the brink of elimination and searching for some way to counter the Canucks’ attack.

After Game 3, Alain Vigneault challenged his best players to be his best players. Consider the challenge accepted. In the last two games, the Sedins and Samuelsson have combined for 13 points (5G-8A) and a plus-12 rating; Demitra (2G-2A-4P), Kesler (1G-1A-2P) and Bernier (2G) have all chipped in; in the back end, Salo, Ehrhoff and Edler have combined for 6 points (3G-3A); and despite letting in 6 goals in 52 shots, Luongo has made key saves at key times. For the last couple of games at least, the Canucks have looked like the Canucks from December and January, rather than the Canucks from March.

The Canucks so thoroughly dominated the Kings last night that, by the end of it, the Kings were left looking for something to motivate them for Game 6. Ryan Smyth, Wayne Simmonds, and that little puke, Rich Clune all took turns running around and taking their shots at Luongo and everyone else. The Canucks – especially Shane O’Brien and Rick Rypien – answered this challenge just fine. If Simmonds and Clown getting their asses kicked counts for motivation, then I suppose the Kings can take something out of this game.

This doesn’t mean that Sunday should be a cake walk. Far from it. The Kings will make sure it’s not; the Canucks need to make sure they’re ready.

Other post-game links:

Apr 232010
 
Henrik Sedin and Canucks celebrate game 4 game-winning goal.

Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com

Apr 222010
 

- Kes was nominated for the Selke AGAIN! I think he has a real shot at winning it this season. He’s improved his offensive totals while still blocking a ton of shots and being bad ass on the penalty kill. His faceoff winning percentage is wonderfully high and he’s 2nd in league in takeaways. Basically at this point I sound like Samuel L Jackson when I talk about Kes. (not safe for print) Datsyuk is awesome yeah. But I think it’s time for a change!

- Let me tell you, I adore defence. A defenceman or a defensive forward is always my favourite player. I’ve been seen fanning myself when a player blocks a shot. So the fact that the penalty kill is ABSOLUTELY HORRIFYINGLY AWFUL is making me the unhappiest camper around. If we actually played the Kings 5 on 5 for a considerable amount of time the Canucks would win this series pretty handily. It’s been so bad I actually clapped my hands in a busy pub when they killed two penalties in a row.

- Danny Sedin’s kicked goal was a goal. End of story. Gary Bettman would go a long way to endearing himself to fans if he would just admit when the NHL makes a mistake. But he never will.

- Hanky Sedin’s celebration after his game winning goal last night was probably the most excited I’ve ever seen him. So so adorable.

- Clearly there is some deal with a sinister power that you get to be a Vancouver defenceman but you will be constantly injured. This is just getting wacky. Baumgartner fills in for the injured Rome for ONE game and is now injured himself. Now we’re back to I draw penalties like I’m a magnet Andrew Alberts for tomorrow’s game. We should all start whimpering. Or drinking. Or hey how about both? Someone put Sami Salo in his bubble right away!

- I am in a full on swoon with Mikael Samuelsson. I liked him from the moment I heard him phone interviewed after his signing was announced on July 1. He sounded like a crazy over energetic muppet. But really I didn’t see him being so delightful all season and into the playoffs. He also looks extremely nice in a suit.

- This is one of the oddest plays I’ve ever seen. That’s Hanky Sedin under 5 Kings with the puck being prodded and poked at like there’s no tomorrow. You can’t deny the twins aren’t playing tough these days. I jokingly nicknamed him pinata last night. H/T to nettrashcan on twitter for the GIF.

Apr 222010
 

If there’s one thing we can take away from this playoff run, win or lose, it’s that Mikael Samuelsson held up his end of the bargain. The former Red Wing who in just four playoff appearances had 69 career playoff games played has been a force for the Canucks and has scored some clutch goals to either keep the Canucks alive, or spark them to something better, both in the regular season and now the post season where it matters most.

Last night after getting put with the Sedins, Samuelsson scored a huge goal to tie the game up and the goal gave him his fifth of this playoffs and sixth point in the series. Now that does a couple things. That sets new personal bests for Samuelsson in goals scored in a series, and it ties his career high of points in a series which he set back in 2007 when the Red Wings played the Ducks in the Western Conference Final. Samuelsson leads the Canucks in playoff goals this season and is tied with Daniel for the most points with six.

It looks like Samuelsson’s nine years of play in the NHL, and his last four trips to the NHL playoffs are starting to pay off on more than just the scoresheet though. Earlier in the season, in an attempt to stir up the Sedins, Vigneault bumped Burrows off the top line and let Samuelsson take a spin with the Twins. It worked wonders as it not only lead to Samuelsson’s huge goal outburst but it lifted the Sedins out of their funk. Last night in a desperate attempt to get the Sedins some traction, Vigneault went back to juggling things as badly as he was juggling back in 06-07 and it worked. Samuelsson’s huge goal to tie the game not only sparked the team but it seemed to get the Sedins re-energized and back to playing their game.

The Canucks have 542 playoff games played throughout the roster, but of those games 358 belong to seven players (Demitra, Samuelsson, Salo, Henrik, Daniel and Ehrhoff). Of those players, only Samuelsson’s gone past the second round and it looks like his effect is rubbing off. Samuelsson’s been in back-to-back cup finals, he’s grown the most viking-like of playoff beards, and he’s seen almost everything you could expect in the post season. He knows what it’s like to be on the brink of being eliminated and winning, he also knows what it’s like to be on the brink and lose. It’s just that reason which allows him to be a calming influence on the ice despite the desperation present in the play.

Samuelsson’s leading the Canucks goes far past the offensive numbers he puts up. He’s able to score those clutch goals because it’s going to take a lot more to rattle him, there’s nothing he hasn’t seen. Salo’s a calming influence on the blue-line, Henrik and Daniel have a lot to learn even though they both went into the first round with over 50 playoff games played, and Ehrhoff played with the Sharks, enough said. Demitra proved to us last night that he’s still got some of that “clutch” left in him and together the vets have to lead this team. Samuelsson knows what it takes to not only get out of the first round, but to get to the final round. His role and presence is going to go a long way to helping this team on the ice, in the dressing room, and throughout the post season.

Apr 112010
 
Henrik Sedin, Art Ross Trophy Winner

Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com

Despite their inconsistent play in the last couple of weeks, it’s hard to deny that the 2009/2010 Vancouver Canucks had a regular season to remember.

The Canucks won 49 games, tying the franchise record set by the 2006/2007 edition. Their 30 home wins is a franchise record.

They scored 268 goals, 2nd in the NHL only to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. It’s their highest goal total since their first season at GM Place.

They ranked 3rd in win percentage (.795) in games in which they scored first; they also led the league with 11 wins after trailing in the third period.

Individually, several players also had career years.

Henrik Sedin finished with a career-high 29 goals, a career-high 83 assists, and a career-high 112 points. His 83 assists bettered his own previous franchise record of 71 assists in one season set in 2006-2007. He passed Trevor Linden for the franchise record in assists in a Canucks uniform (434). He also passed Thomas Gradin and became the highest-scoring center in Canucks history (572).

Henrik’s 112 points broke Pavel Bure’s franchise record of 110 points in one season set in 1992-1993. To put this into perspective, only Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin have scored at least 112 points in one season in the last ten years. Most importantly, he is the Canucks’ first Art Ross Trophy winner in the team’s 40-year history.

Despite missing 19 games, Daniel Sedin still recorded 29 goals and 85 points; his 85 points are a career-high. He also finished with a plus-36 rating – a franchise record he now shares with Christian Ehrhoff.

Ryan Kesler turned into a legitimate top-six forward and set career-highs in assists (50), points (75), powerplay goals (12) and powerplay assists (14). All this while facing opposing teams’ top lines most nights.

In his first full season playing with the Sedins, Alex Burrows set career-highs in goals (35), assists (32), points (67), plus-minus (+34), powerplay goals (4), powerplay assists (2) and shorthanded goals (5).

In his first season with the Canucks, Mikael Samuelsson hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career and scored a career-high 53 points.

Christian Ehrhoff, also playing his first season with the team, set career-highs in goals (14), points (44) and plus-minus (+36).

Mason Raymond more than doubled his previous career-bests in goals (25), assists (28) and points (53). His 8 powerplay goals and 10 powerplay assists are career-highs as well.

Alex Edler set career-highs in assists (37) and points (42). Ditto Jannik Hansen in goals (9, including 3 GWG), and Rick Rypien in goals (4), assists (4), points (8) and penalty minutes (126).

There’s no doubt it’s been a good year – a year for the record books for sure – and we’ll celebrate it for a few days.

At least until the postseason starts.

Mar 172010
 

Scott Cullen wrote a column on TSN taking a crack at who is the number one line in the league. Guess which lovely men were the number one line for 5 on 5 play? You’re thinking Alex Ovechkin and various men folk right? Patrick Kane/Johnathan Toews/other Blackhawk perhaps? Or maybe you’re going with Dany Heatley/Joe Thorton/Patrick Marleau? Nope. It’s Hank and Danny Sedin and Alex Burrows! Yes, oh yes. It’s ok to swoon. I encourage it. It’s good for the heart and the skin and all that. Cullen even has numbers and math to back it up so you know it’s true! And in fact, just in case you wanted to swoon a little more Mason Raymond/Ryan Kesler/Mikael Samuelsson were also included a little further down the list. The numbers for all the lines are in the article but I just wanted to highlight the Canucks.

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