Apr 142014
 
Joseph, Ariellle, Marie, Oggy, and me in an afro

Joseph, Ariellle, Marie, Oggy, and me in an afro

Last week, Trevor Linden was named President of Hockey Operations of the Vancouver Canucks. Arguably the most-popular player in the history of the franchise, Linden’s hiring ushers in a new era for the team.

Thus, as with any big Canucks development, I wrote a song about it.

Inspired by “Treasure” by Bruno Mars, we proudly present to you my latest Clay’s Canucks Composition: “Trevor” — a song that pays homage to the new President.

I’m blessed to be joined by four wonderfully talented friends, all of whom have appeared in previous videos of mine: Marie Hui, Arielle Tuliao, Oggy Luistro, and Joseph San Jose. Enjoy!

Mar 182014
 
Harrison, Marie, and Clay

Harrison, Marie, and Clay

A couple of weeks ago, CHB favourite Marie Hui and I put together a tribute song to Roberto Luongo when he was traded to the Florida Panthers.  We performed Boyz II Men’s smash hit “End of the Road“.

Well, it seems like I’m not the only blogger who likes to write songs about Bobby Lu.  Harrison Mooney of Pass it to Bulis penned a farewell song to Luongo to the tune of Adele’s mega-hit “Someone Like You.”  Harrison contacted me to help him with the music and within 5 seconds we had agreed to invite Marie to join us.

The result is a powerful and emotional song, courtesy of Pass it to Canucks Hockey Blog.

Mar 042014
 

 

Eddie Lack and Roberto Luongo after the 2nd period

Eddie Lack and Roberto Luongo after the 2nd period

Much has been made of Roberto Luongo’s plight here in Vancouver in recent years.  Starting with the Stanley Cup Finals in June 2011, it’s been two and a half years of turmoil, tension, and drama.

The Luongo saga took yet another fascinating turn this past weekend when Eddie Lack was named the starter for Sunday’s Heritage Classic game at BC Place versus the Ottawa Senators.

Lack played the first game coming out of the Olympic break, shutting out the St. Louis Blues 1-0 on Wednesday night.  Made sense given that Luongo returned to Vancouver from Sochi just a couple of days prior.

Lack was also given the next start, a tight 2-1 shoot-out loss to the Minnesota Wild.  Although Lack played very well, the loss – albeit a close one – opened the door for a Luongo start on Sunday.

As word broke on Saturday that Luongo would not be starting, Twitter erupted with people arguing both sides.

For what it’s worth, I tweeted:  “Backup goalie is supposed to play well (which Lack has) and ensure no significant drop off. Lack has done his job, let Lu do his tomorrow.”

Many people cited Lack’s strong play of late as giving the Canucks the best chance to win.  And I get that we’re in a dog fight to make the playoffs.

I said it before the game and I’ve said it since: the Canucks needed to look at the “bigger picture” here.  The bigger picture to me says that Luongo was not treated fairly last year (losing his job to Schneider before watching Schneider – and not him – get traded) and was deserving of the Heritage Classic start.  This doesn’t have anything to do with emotions; Luongo’s last start was a solid shutout victory in the Olympics.

And just as there was no drop-off going from Luongo to Lack, there certainly was no drop-off going from Lack to Luongo.  Luongo needed to start.  Truthfully, I would be saying the same thing if the Canucks had won the game, or even if Lack had pitched another shutout.

So there I was on Sunday afternoon with my son Sean, soaking in the sights and sounds of the world’s largest indoor hockey game.   I was able to snap some pretty good pictures (see them all here) including one of poor Roberto Luongo sitting on his own at the end of the bench.

Lonely Luongo

Lonely Luongo

After Ottawa took a 3-2 lead in the second period, an audible “We Want Lu!” chant broke out in the stadium.  It was quite a surreal moment, magnified by the fact that there were 35,000 more fans than usual watching the game live and millions watching on TV across the country.  It was a tense and awkward few seconds.

It reminded me of the feeling that I got watching the first game of the lockout-shortened 2013 season.  In the home opener on January 19, 2013, Cory Schneider got the start as the newly-anointed starting Canucks goalie.  The Canucks lost that game 7-3 to the visiting Anaheim Ducks, and Schneider was pulled early in the second period after allowing 5 goals on only 14 shots, including goals on 3 straight shots.

I vividly remember the mood in the crowd that evening:  the fans were desperate for hockey and excited to see the Canucks back in action.  But as each shot got past Schneider, the mood in the building became more and more tense, culminating in a tense buzz as Luongo skated out to replace Schneider (start at the 2:23 mark in the video below).

The same sort of tense buzz I felt at the Heritage Classic this past weekend.  And as you’ll hear my friend Mike exclaim in my Clay’s Canucks Commentary at the 2:53 mark:

“THIS IS MESSED UP!”

Indeed.

Jan 272014
 

464273715_slide
(canucks.nhl.com)

Vancouver Canucks (27-17-9)
Edmonton Oilers (16-32-6)

For the fourth time this season, and the second time in just six days, the Vancouver Canucks take on the Edmonton Oilers. The Canucks won all three previous games (6-2, 4-0 and most recently, 2-1).

After Sunday’s 5-4 overtime win for the Canucks, they’re looking to keep the momentum going and start a new winning steak. However, the Oilers are looking to start a new winning streak of their own. On Sunday, the Oilers ended a six-game winless streak as they beat the Nashville Predators 5-1.

Who’s Hot

As we all know, the Vancouver Canucks have experienced trouble scoring goals lately, but they sure didn’t have any problem on Sunday.

Kevin Bieksa scored twice, including the game winner in overtime, to lift the Canucks to a 5-4 victory over the Coyotes.

Chris Higgins helped lift the Canucks to a 5-4 victory with one goal and two assist. He now has two goals and two assist in the past two games.

For the Oilers, Jordan Eberle extended his point streak to five games on Sunday (four goals, two assist).

Who’s Out

Henrik Sedin (ribs) is still day-to-day. Forward Mike Santorelli (shoulder) and defenseman Andrew Alberts (concussion) are on injured reserve. Jordan Schroeder, who has missed most of the season with an ankle injury, will not play tonight, but did start his conditioning assignment with the Utica Comets.

The Oilers are likely without defensemen Philip Larsen (illness) Andrew Ference (upper body), along with forward Ales Hemsky (ankle).

Dec 232013
 
Clay with friends Marie, Joseph, Kevin, Pat G, Arielle, and Pat T

Clay with friends Marie, Joseph, Kevin, Pat G, Arielle, and Pat T

It’s that time of year again: time for our 4th annual Canucks Christmas Carol!

Our song this year is inspired by Wham!’s “Last Christmas”.  We lament the lockout of last Christmas and look at the most important elements of this year’s team:  Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler, the Sedins, and head coach John Tortorella.

This year I’m joined by Marie Hui, Arielle Tuliao, Joseph San Jose, Pat Guevara, Pat Teodosio, and our favourite foreign exchange student Kevin who somehow always finds his way to my place just in time to be in these videos.  In fact, both Joseph and Kevin have been in all 4 Canucks Christmas Carols!

Speaking of which, you can watch the previous 3 Canucks Christmas Carols here.

Thanks for watching and Merry Christmas!

Dec 202013
 
What was Roberto Luongo thinking?

What was Roberto Luongo thinking?

 

Roberto Luongo was pulled from the net early in the third period of last night’s 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.  It was a tough night for the Canucks’ netminder as he let in the 4 goals on only 19 shots in 42 minutes of work.

Shortly after being pulled, the cameras caught Luongo on the bench making the above face. Was he replaying the goals in his head?  Sucking on a sour candy?  Fighting off a stomach ache?

With the help of the Twittersphere, I was able to discover some possibilities.  In fact, I received the highest number of submissions ever for a CHB Top 10.

Thus, here are the Top 10 Things Roberto Luongo was Thinking While on the Bench:

HM:   “That puck went left and I went right… kinda looked like this.”  – submitted by @WestCoastRidrz

HM:  “I wonder if I can get me one if those turkey legs now.” – submitted by @snacktalker

10:  “In Florida, they don’t play defense either but they at least let me see the puck.” – submitted by @Aviewfromabroad

9a:  “I wonder if I can use how much my twitter account is worth to buy out my contract.” – submitted by @paulalmeida22

9b:  “I sure hope this doesn’t affect my Twitter account value.” – submitted by @codybarendregt

9c:  “My Twitter account’s value increased by $433.20 to $270,838.80.” – submitted by @DustinStadnyk

9d:  “I wonder how this affects my Twitter account’s value.” – submitted by @Shazmodius

These 4 replies are a reference to a couple of tweets that came from Luongo’s account over the past couple days from a website or app that claims to measure your Twitter value.  Luongo has since deleted the tweets.

8:  “I should check my iPad to see how Carey Price did tonight.” – submitted by @PPGoose

7:  “I feel like Rodney Dangerfield: no respect, I tell ya.” – submitted by @watsukoguy

6:  “They told me I’d be seeing stars here in Dallas, but this is ridiculous.” – submitted by @jaybizzones

5a:  “Repeat of Anaheim in 3….2…” – submitted by @Rozzy80

5b:  “I better hit the sandbox!!!” – submitted by @pat_pendergast

5c:  “Oh damn, I hope that wasn’t a shart!” – submitted by @DevrieBeckett

5d:  “Crap. Did I remember to flush?” – submitted by @lyteforce

You can never go wrong with toilet humour.  The tweet from @Rozzy80 is a reference to the famous playoff game of May 2007 when backup Dany Sabourin had to fill in for Luongo in a playoff game – in overtime no less – for a few minutes while Luongo had an untimely case of diarrhea.

4:  “I wonder if Bryz will let me into his humongous, big universe…” – submitted by @RogerWi1co

3:  “Now is as good a time as any to pull off my best Jean Chrétien impression.” – submitted by @Swizzler16

2:  “Milk hot dogs.” – submitted by @JoshuaDykstra12

1:  “Dear Santa: This year I want a new bike, a red wagon, and peace on earth…..” – submitted by @b_cmack

Nov 152013
 
"The Goon" wrestled in the WWE (former WWF) in 1996.

“The Goon” wrestled in the WWE (former WWF) in 1996.

I have a confession to make: I watch professional wrestling.

While I don’t follow it as closely as I used to in my teenage and young adult years (I can get through a 3-hour show on my PVR in about 15 minutes), I admit that I can still be entertained by these “sports entertainers”.

Some of the most memorable and exciting moments in wrestling take place when a hero switches allegiances and becomes a villain. Most wrestling fans know that the good guys are called “faces” and the bad guys are called “heels”; thus when a good guy becomes a bad guy it’s called a “heel turn” (I know…it sounds like a dance move).  The most effective heel turns are sudden, forceful, and surprising (I’ve included two of the most famous ones in this blog).

Thus, combining my love for hockey and my strong like (haha) for wrestling, I present to you the Top 10 Hockey Heel Turns:

10:  Slamming a teammate’s arm in the bench door.

9:  “Luongo giving Kesler a Stunner.” – submitted by @MikeVersace1

8:  “Refuse the next line change and head to the dressing room.” – submitted by @jortillan

7:   “Submarining a teammate during a 2 on 0 rush.” – submitted by @PPGoose

6:  Hitting a teammate in the head with a broadcast camera.

5:  Mats Sundin with the shootout winner in Toronto.” – submitted by @THECooop

4:  “Get a fan favourite traded, take captaincy, un-retire #11.” – submitted by @PPGoose

3:  Scoring on your own net and then pointing at the fans as they pelt you with garbage.

2:  “Hugging your teammate after a goal then throwing him through a plate of glass windows.” – submitted by @jortillan

1:  “No matter what, jersey must be pulled off to reveal another jersey.” – submitted by @jbowmancouver

Oct 252013
 
John Tortorella shares a laugh with referee Wes McCauley

John Tortorella shares a laugh with referee Wes McCauley

The Vancouver Canucks continued their long road trip with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Devils in New Jersey. Once again, it was the battle of former teammates as Roberto Luongo faced off against Cory Schneider (figuratively and not literally), giving me yet another opportunity to post my latest Canucks music video.

But I digress. After overtime had concluded, the cameras caught John Tortorella, referee Wes McCauley, and a few Canucks players sharing a chuckle as Torts handed over his shootout line-up.

We will likely never know what exactly they were all giggling about, but it’s sure fun to speculate. So we proudly present to you the Top 10 Things John Tortorella and the Referee Were Laughing About:

HM: The initial shootout list had BURROWS – SCHROEDER – HANSEN. – submitted by @tony_p_power

HM: “You’re seriously going to put in a Sedin for the shootout?” – submitted by @Reinhart73

HM: Torts wrote “Sedin” on the shootout list in an attempt to have both Sedins on the ice for a single attempt. – submitted by @PPGoose

HM: “Torts, you spelled Kesler S-e-d-i-n.” – submitted by @Drbl24

10: “Sestito in the 3 spot… Yeah that’s funny.” – submitted by @auldie10

9: “…and then Sean joins Twitter and says he’ll have better tweets than his Dad!” – submitted by @Rozzy80

8: “Edler? Seriously?” “Yeah, watch this.” – submitted by @BrowntoBure

7: “I am just gonna use Luongo. He is the best player we have tonight.” – submitted by @basketballphil

6: “You lost some players Torts … you can always use Lack in the shootout.” – submitted by @carlz8

5: “Just keep laughing so Alberts thinks he’ll be in the shootout.” – submitted by @elmeebaterina

4: Torts: “Bet you ten bucks Edler will score in the shootout.” Ref: “No brainer.” *whispers to himself* “Idiot.” – submitted by @jocethetip

3: “Look, I don’t know why the kid behind me looks so damn confused, I just work here…” – submitted by @octobermidnight

2: Torts: “I’m going to put Daniel in.” Ref: “ROIL (rolling on the ice laughing)”. – submitted by @TheFalconer

1: “Watch this, I’m going to use Daniel AND Edler and we’ll still win this shoot out!” – submitted by @jaybizzones

 

I wanted to leave you with a nice video from after the game last night.  With Tortorella as he addressed the media was Liam Traynor and his family.  Liam suffers from cerebral palsy and has been friends with Tortorella from back when Tortorella was coaching the Rangers.  Liam was featured in HBO’s “24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic”.

Kudos to Tortorella for making time for Liam and his family.  Torts said it best at the end of the video: “This is more important than hockey.”

Oct 182013
 
Photo credit: canucks.com (Getty images)

Photo credit: canucks.com (Getty images)

Roberto Luongo picked up his first shutout of the young NHL season last night in a 3-0 win over the Sabres in Buffalo.  Luongo played a solid game while getting some help from the crossbar and post, and Ryan Stanton in two different situations in the third period.  Regardless, it was great to see Bobby Lu get the goose egg after an uneven start to the year.

While not privy to the post-game congratulatory handshakes and head butts, it’s still fun to imagine what Luongo was saying to his teammates after the game.

So here’s CHB’s Top 10 Things that Luongo Said Upon Completing His Shutout:

HM:  “It’s Buffalo so does it really even count?”  - submitted by @MikeVersace1

HM:  “Ok, which one of you said shutout?  What’s that?  I did get a shutout?  Awesome!”  – submitted by @HabsLions

HM:  “DeSchneid!”  – submitted by @dcrwrites

10:  “Oh yeah!  It’s the mask.”  – submitted by @JDCGA

9:  “Yeah baby! Karma’s a b*tch!”  – submitted by @cefair

8:  “I never let those ones in EITHER!”  – submitted by @bettyhenderson7

7:  “Mr. Hodgson is gonna be maaaaad.”  – submitted by @forevercanuck

6:  “We grounded the Flyers, we rattled the Sabres, now to ice the Penguins.”  – submitted by @tony_p_power

5:  “All those Fantasy poolsters who own me love me tonight!”  – submitted by @DaveLeeSon1

4:  A text to Cory Schneider:  “How many shutouts you got?”  – submitted by @basketballphil

3:  “Let’s get the hell out of this city.”  – submitted by @BrowntoBure

2:  “Cody…Cory…Cody…Cory.  Which one should I call first?”  – submitted by @THECooop

1:  “Good thing Hamhuis wasn’t on the ice in the last minute.”  – submitted by @ScreamHockey

"They didn't think they were going to score, did they?"

“They didn’t think they were going to score, did they?”

Oct 142013
 
Source: a Clay Imoo original (such a nice pic...don't you agree?)

Source: a Clay Imoo original (such a nice pic…don’t you agree?)

I was blessed to be at all three of the Canucks home games this week.  Although the team only picked up two out of a possible six points, I was fortunate to be in the arena to witness three big games:  Cory Schneider’s return with the Devils on Tuesday, our rival San Jose Sharks on Thursday, and the popular Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Thursday in particular was a very memorable day for me as I was able to accompany friend of the blog Marie Hui as she sang the national anthems.  I hung out with her in the dressing room and tunnel prior to her singing, and then I was able to capture footage from rink side.  Check out the video at the end of the blog…she was awesome.  To top it off, the Aquilini family treated my family and me to complimentary tickets for the game.  Needless to say, I was very thankful for their generosity.

Thus, with it being Thanksgiving Monday here in Canada, I thought it would be an appropriate time to take stock of the things we can thankful for regarding our hockey team.  You know, things like the consistent play of the Sedins.  Jason Garrison on the powerplay.  A healthy Ryan Kesler…for now.

So last night, I went to Twitter (as usual) to ask the question and here are the replies that came back.

Enjoy CHB’s Top 10 Things the Canucks Should Be Thankful For:

10.  Passionate Canucks fans who care enough to say – “ONE Team, ONE Goal, Together as ONE for 2014!” – submitted by @tony_p_power

9.  That it’s October and everyone is going to forget about this as the season goes on. – submitted by @delaguitare

8.  That Luongo has been playing stellar! – submitted by @sprtschick

7.  That their fans are actually willing to pay exorbitant prices for tickets! – submitted by @krissymchua

6.  The Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames. – submitted by @vansport

5.  That Dan Hamhuis has nowhere to go but up from here. – submitted by @justin_fung

4.  Santorelli’s ability to score in OT. – submitted by @kdmurray

3.  That Edmonton is in our division. – submitted by @iSwearImStrait

2.  A season.  – submitted by @ajtuliao

1.  That they’re not the New York Rangers. – submitted by @tpoole00

 

 

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