Apr 232009
 

From Elliott Pap (Vancouver Sun):

Canucks forward Taylor Pyatt has returned to Vancouver from Thunder Bay, Ont., after mourning the death of his fiancee Carly Bragnalo. Pyatt left the team weeks ago when Bragnalo was tragically killed April 2 in a motor vehicle accident while on vacation in Jamaica. Pyatt and Bragnalo were to be married this summer.

Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman said Thursday it was uncertain whether Pyatt would immediately resume full workouts with his teammates.

“I believe he will take a few days and get acclimated before any decision gets rendered,” Gilman said.

No rush, Taylor. And welcome back.

Mar 132009
 

My mother-in-law is coming in from Abbotsford and my sister-in-law is coming in from Vernon today to watch the Canucks game with me and Tracy. Both are big Canucks fans, but for whatever reason, Tracy and I have never seen a live Canucks game with either one of them. Needless to say, we’re very much looking forward to tonight.

*****

The Kings are as streaky a team as you’d find these days. They’ve won 3 in a row at home after losing 4 in a row on the road; but just before that, they lost 4 straight home games and won 5 of 6 road games.

Amazingly, the Kings, currently in 13th place in the West, are still in the thick of the playoff race. They’re only 5 points back of 7th place Edmonton and 8th place Dallas, and they have games in hand against every team in 7th to 12th place.

The Canucks are best not to take the Kings lightly. They did on Monday night and it cost them 2 points. I hope they don’t make the same mistake tonight.

*****

Mattias Ohlund’s next point makes him the highest-scoring defenseman in Canucks history. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I was kinda hoping he would go point-less in the 2-game CA trip so that he could break the record at home. Tonight’s a good night, don’t you think?

*****

I don’t need to remind anyone that the Canucks’ PK sucks as much as Paris Hilton’s movie career. But after allowing 2 PPGA against the Kings on Monday, they killed all 6 Anaheim powerplay opportunities on Wednesday.

Against the Ducks, Mason Raymond took Taylor Pyatt’s place next to Ryan Johnson on the PK. Was Vigneault trying to send a message after Pretty Eyes was on the ice for both of the Kings’ powerplay goals (because publicly calling him out – and Johnson – wasn’t enough)? I don’t know.

What I do know is that those 2 PPGA were the first 2 that Pyatt was on the ice for since March 31st against the Minnesota Wild. That’s a stretch of 16 games where he logged 24:53 minutes of PK ice-time. Considering the team allowed 14 total PPGA during the same stretch, his numbers are actually quite impressive.

(And no, Tracy did not make me write this.)

*****

Back to the Kings for a second.

Tony Gallagher (Vancouver Province) has a good piece on Kings defenseman Drew Dougthy this morning.

The great players in the NHL are not easily impressed when they see a good young player entering the league, usually preferring to wait and see how they do before getting overly excited.

They say all the right things on the record of course, so you read that crap all the time. But what they really think is always kept quiet. But when Rob Blake saw Drew Doughty skating with Kings players in L.A. before heading up to San Jose late last summer, he couldn’t believe his eyes. He went out of his way to bring him up in a quiet conversation earlier this season, saying “This guy is gonna be really good.”

Now that we see him ourselves, we know what he was talking about. Not scheduled to make the Kings for sure this season after being taken No. 2 overall last summer, he’s averaging close to 24 minutes a game and he’ll likely reach many of the bonuses that could see him make upwards of $3.5 million.

Doughty, Jack Johnson, Kyle Quincey and Matt Greene is a pretty damn good – and young – defensive core. That’s on top of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Oscar Moller and the rest of a pretty damn good – and young – forward group.

This is a going to be a good Kings team in the next year or two.

Mar 072009
 
Feb 122009
 

When it was put together 3 games ago, the Demitra-Sundin-Kesler line was expected to provide some secondary scoring and take the heat off the Sedin line. It has, of course, done more than that, outscoring the Sedin line 22 (9G-13) – 6 (3G-3A) in 3 straight wins.

The other thing I noticed is that Vigneault has taken to putting the Sundin line (with Bernier on the wing, and sometimes, Demitra on the point) out first on the powerplay. In fact, Demitra, Sundin and Kesler combined for 36:58 minutes of powerplay ice-time the last 3 games vs. Sedin, Sedin and Pyatt’s combined 30:58 minutes.

I don’t think even the most optimistic of Canucks fans would have expected this when Sundin signed.

The beauty of the emergence of the RPM line (Ryan, Pavol and Mats), as they’ve now been dubbed, is it forces opposing teams to choose which of their best defending players they should play against which line. Against Chicago, the Sedins played primarily against Chicago’s best defensemen, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, while the RPM line played primarily against Brian Campbell and Matt Walker. Against St. Louis, it was the RPM line that faced Barrett Jackman and Carlo Colaiacovo, while the Sedins faced Jeff Woywitka and Jay McKee.

I realize this is a small, 2-game sample, but at least it’s a glimpse of the goodness of having some secondary scoring. Not all teams are blessed with dynamic defensive duos a la Niedermayer/Pronger, Chara/Wideman, Lidstrom/Rafalski, Blake/Boyle or Phanuef/Regehr that can defend more than one scoring line. In fact, most teams don’t and those teams would have to pick their poison. Defend the Sedins and hope the RPM line doesn’t score? Or vice-versa?

Jan 192009
 
Jan 132009
 
Jan 122009
 
Dec 312008
 
Dec 292008
 
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