Jan 062014
 

Things were looking up for the Vancouver Canucks in SoCal. They scored 2 early goals, and on the powerplay, no less. They were up 3-2 late in the third period. Eddie Lack was solid too, thwarting the Anaheim Ducks as the Ducks dominated the Canucks in the last 45 minutes of the game.

But then Kevin Bieksa took over.

He did give the Canucks that 3-2 lead just a minute into the third period, but he was also on the ice for all 3 Ducks goals, and was directly at fault for the first one and maybe even the late, game-tying one. He was also in the penalty box in OT (though admittedly, probably more Daniel’s fault that Bieksa was in the box) when Corey Perry scored with 0.6 seconds left to steal the game from the Canucks.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 052014
 

Roberto Luongo came back from injury last night against the Los Angeles Kings.

Unfortunately, he was the only one who showed up.

He made 46 saves – many of them from in-close and as a result of odd-man rushes – but without much support up front, the Canucks dropped a 3-1 decision to the Kings, their third straight loss to their California rivals this season.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Dec 292013
 
The Luongo-less Canucks are starting Eddie Lack tonight in Calgary, letting Lu recover from an undisclosed injury suffered last Sunday against the Jets. (photo credit: vansunsportsblogs.com)

The Luongo-less Canucks are starting Eddie Lack tonight in Calgary, letting Lu recover from an undisclosed injury suffered last Sunday against the Jets.
(photo credit: vansunsportsblogs.com)

The holidays were kind to the Canucks. Well, kind of. Not only did they post a 9-1-1 record going into the holiday break, they then had six days off to rest and recuperate. But also, in their last game on December 22nd, a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, the Canucks lost Roberto Luongo to a suspected groin injury. For now, Lu’s status remains day-to-day, and in his absence, the Canucks will lean on rookies Eddie Lack and Joacim Eriksson, and their combined 11 games of NHL experience – all Lack’s.

Tonight, Lack will be returning to the Saddledome where he had his first career start.  With a 1.93 GAA (6th in the NHL) a .929 save-percentage (8th in the NHL), and a 6-2-0 record, including wins against the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, Lack has been more than solid in relief. Backing up Lack is another Swede, Joacim Eriksson, who was called up from the Utica Comets. Eriksson brings an 8-10-1 record, 2.77 GAA and .907 save percentage from Utica; he had won his last 4 games with the Comets.

The Calgary Flames’ goaltending situation is less certain. Neither Reto Berra and Karri Ramo have seized the starting goaltender’s gig left available by Mikka Kiprusoff’s retirement. Both have identical .904% save percentages and both are allowing just under 3 goals per game.

The Flames have won only once in their last 6 games.

Who’s Hot

Tonight’s starter, Berra, hasn’t won 2 consecutive games all season, though he did play well in his last 2 starts, stopping 32 of 35 shots in beating the St. Louis Blues in a shootout a week ago, and then stopping 26 of 27 shots in a 2-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers last Friday. He’s won 2 of his last 5 starts, and has a 1.97 GAA in that span.

So far in December, Ryan Kesler has 4 game-winning goals, including the shootout winner against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Canucks’ second-last game before Christmas.

Kes’ linemates have been equally hot. Mike Santorelli has 12 points in his last 13 games, and Chris Higgins has 9 points in his last 11 games.

Who’s Out

Add Roberto Luongo to the list of injured Canucks; he is day-to-day with a suspected groin injury. Defensemen Ryan Stanton and Alex Edler, and forwards Alex Burrows and Jordan Schroeder are all still out as well.

For the Flames, defensemen Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman are both out, and forward Curtis Glencross continues to nurse an ankle injury.

Dec 242013
 

Santa has made his list. He’s checked it twice. Here’s which Canucks are naughty and which are nice! (See what I did there? I’m such a poet!)

Santa Loves Bobby Lu & Boothy

Santa Loves Bobby Lu & Boothy

Santa’s Nice List

David Booth. I think even Santa is stunned about this turnaround. David wasn’t exactly on the naughty list (well maybe with the reindeer who fear for their life). He was mostly not on any list. I’m not even sure Santa knew where he was what with the whole conditioning Utica drama. You can call it a Christmas miracle, but David Booth has cemented himself on the Nice list with his play of late. He’s skating fast and hard, he’s making smart plays and he’s scoring. Yes, scoring goals not more antlers for his mantle.

Roberto Luongo.  I half expected him to maybe not play that hard since he kind of acted like he was being forced to stay in Vancouver (and he was). But Lu put on his big boy pads and stepped up. Sure there was the standard October – as @strombone1 accurately labeled it ‘How did that go in?’ – but then Bobby Lu turned it around. As if that isn’t enough he beat the Boston Bruins. Santa hates the Bruins.

Eddie Lack. He beat the Hawks. We love when we beat the Hawks and Eddie did that for us – in a shootout no less. That’s enough to earn him a sweet spot on the Nice List.

Ryan Kesler. Kesler is doing well under Torts. He’s blocking shots, he’s taking shots, he’s scoring in a shootout, he’s fighting Iginla…yeah even Santa was confused by that but he’ll let it pass. Ryan won’t get coal this year.

Chris Tanev. He takes hits that would knock other players into next season and keeps on playing. Tanev’s a Goonie. He never says die. Santa likes Goonies.

Kassian and Edler are getting coal

Kassian and Edler are getting coal

Santa’s Naughty List

Alex Edler. The nicest thing Alex Edler has done for his team this season is get injured. We’ve done better without him that we did with him. Ever since last season, Edler has struggled. He’s made stupid mistakes and he’s been a little careless with his hits, drawing penalties or suspensions. Santa doesn’t take kindly to reckless plays or repeatedly giving the puck away. It’s coal for Alex.

Zach Kassian. He just isn’t living up to expectation this year. Sure the toothless grin is cute but Santa doesn’t like slackers. Zach needs to pick it up and contribute more if he wants more than coal next year.

Andrew Alberts. I think he peed in Rudolph’s water bowl… or in Torts’ cereal. Or in the Hockey Gods’ coffee. He did something wrong because Andrew Alberts isn’t playing good hockey… on the rare time when he gets to leave the press box or dungeon or wherever it is they keep him.

 

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 182013
 
lou bad goal

You love when the Canucks score them but hate when they give them up. Those fluky goals that can pop up out of nowhere and change the momentum of the game at the drop of a helmet.  These goals are bizarre but admittedly entertaining.  Canucks fans have been “entertained” by them early and often so far this season with a number of bizarre goals going in already before the Olympic break. Coach John Tortorella has remained adamant that these moments even out over the course of an 82-game season but if that’s the case I think the Canucks may have already used all theirs up. It’s only December and we can already compile a list of wacky Canucks-related goals from this season!

Here are the top 5 bizarre Canucks-related goals from the 2013-2014 season thus far:

5) Alexander Edler – In an afternoon game Edler uses his booming slapshot to snipe a beauty from center ice….just kidding! Fleury bobbles it BIG TIME. We’re used to seeing Fleury lose the puck though (World Juniors anyone?).

 

4) Ryan Kesler-  A goalie’s nightmare, but a player’s fantasy. In a game against Philly, Ryan Kesler gobbles up a lucky bounce and distributes it into the yawning cage with ease.

 

3) Joe Thornton on Roberto Luongo – “Once it got on top of the net I was like: Oh S***! What’s going on here?”- Roberto Luongo on this insane bounce from a Jumbo Joe dump in.

 

2) Jannik Hansen – A recent goal from a memorable game this Jannik Hansen snipe looks more like an R.A. Dickey knuckleball then a slapshot. It helped shake up the confidence of Bruins goalie Tukka Rask and got the Canucks off to a good start against their Arch-rivals.

 

1) Lars Eller on Roberto Luongo via Dan Hamhuis – This was one fans hated. Not only was it completely avoidable but it led to a weak third period and an eventual loss. Still, it’s hard not to smirk at Lou’s stance as he carefully looks for the puck between his own legs.

 

Dec 152013
 

As far as rivalry matches go, you couldn’t ask for much more. Roberto Luongo was great. Tuukka Rask wasn’t. Ryan Kesler, Chris Higgins and Mike Santorelli were in beast mode. Milan Lucic wasn’t. The Sedins didn’t back down. Brad Marchand was being a dick. As usual. David Booth scored on a helluva snipe of a shot. Chris Tanev scored. Shorthanded, no less. But most importantly, in the Boston Bruins’ first visit to Rogers Arena since Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, the Canucks won. And won in convincing fashion.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Dec 092013
 
Source: www.fanpop.com

Source: www.fanpop.com

Are the Canucks ready to break out after this latest swing of positive results? We sure hope so and we’re confident that they’ll catch fire again tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. Here are five reasons why:

Santorelli on fire!

Last night Mike Santorelli showed another sparkling performance with two goals and an assist and was a whisker away from completing his hat trick in that 3rd period. Whether he’s the second line centre or working on the wing with the Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins line, Santorelli has been a welcome surprise in the season so far. Already on pace to reach 20 goals and 50 points this season.

Canucks drive for five

Turning over the Avalanche extended the current win streak to four games and improved the season record to 17-10-5. The Canucks are beginning to learn lessons and not repeating the same mistakes from previous games. It was a strong performance, turning a 1-0 lead heading into the 3rd period into a 3-1 win. Albeit the late, late goal which John Garrett jinxed with 7.1 seconds to go, the Canucks were strong in the third period, adding a couple of goals from Santorelli and Kesler.

Learning their lessons

After throwing away a 2-goal lead against the Phoenix Coyotes in the previous game, you could forgive the Rogers Arena crowd for being a little nervous last night heading into the third period. On Team 1040, they were calling for the Canucks to be positive, to not sit back, and instead, to look for that next goal and not let the Avs back into the game. The Canucks are even beginning to find points up and down the lineup with Chris Higgins, Dale Weise, Jannik Hansen and David Booth combining for 9 points between them in the last 5 games.

“If you want to be successful in this league, you’ve got to be able to hold on to leads. Tonight, I think we did it the right way.” -Mike Santorelli

Don’t repeat at home what happened on the road in Carolina

Only a week ago, the Canucks faced the Hurricanes in the second game of a road back-to-back. We don’t want a repeat of their efforts in the early part of the second period of that game when they Canucks surrendered 2 goals and squandered a 2-0 lead just 49 seconds out of the break. Thankfully, Kesler hit back almost immediately to re-establish the lead. (Kesler had also opened the scoring only 3:24 into that game.) Much like they did against the Avs last night, the Canucks do need to come out hard and continue to put teams away.

Special teams getting special again

After a terrible early season slump, the powerplay has scored in 7 of the past 8 games and is now a source of strength. Maybe it’s no coincidence that the power is back in the powerplay now now that Jason Garrison has hit his stride with 6 powerplay points in his last 8 games.

Against the Canes last week, the penalty-killing units got the Canucks through the game, killing off all 6 Carolina powerplays – 11:33 worth of penalty time – and since then, the Canucks have killed 11 straight penalties. Even without Alex Burrows, they still look good.

Dec 092013
 
Ryan Kesler is happy as a kid on Christmas about his performance the past 4 games.

Ryan Kesler is happy as a kid on Christmas about his performance the past 4 games. (Photo credit vansunsportsblogs.com)

A “Battle of the Bros” takes place tonight at Rogers Arena with the Carolina Hurricanes gusting into town. ‘Canes captain, Eric Staal, and his brother, Jordan Staal, are here to take on our Sedin twins. This is the second and final meeting between the Canucks and the Canes this season. They met a little over a week ago with the Canucks winning 3-2 in Raleigh and kick-starting their 4-game win streak.

Since that loss, however, the Hurricanes have won 3 straight games themselves, including an impressive win on Friday night win against the San Jose Sharks. In that game, they battled back from a 2-goal first period deficit and scored 4 goals in the third period en route to a 5-3 win.

The Canes haven’t played since Friday and should be well-rested for tonight’s match-up. On the other hand, the Canucks played – and won – last night and tonight’s game will be their 3rd in four nights.

The Canucks will likely look to Eddie Lack to play. Roberto Luongo, who has been brilliant in his last 3 games (0.960 save percentage), was 7.1 seconds away from a shutout last night and may have the evening off.

Who’s Hot

Mike Santorelli had a hand in all 3 Canucks goals last night, scoring on 2 of them and assisting on the other, and was awarded the post-game Haida hat. He now has 7 points (3 goals and 4 assists) in his last 6 games, and 21 points (8 goals and 13 assists) in 32 games this season.

Jason Garrison has really stepped up his game with Alex Edler still injured. He notched an assist last night to extend his point-streak to 4 games; he has 6 points (1 goal and 3 assists) in that span.

With his goal last night, Ryan Kesler now has 5 goals in his last 4 games, and 15 goals this season. The latter ties him for 8th in the NHL with Sidney Crosby and Tyler Seguin. Beast mode activated.

For Carolina, Jeff Skinner has 7 points (6 goals and 1 assist) his last 5 games, including a couple of 3-point games during the current Canes win-streak.

Eric Staal is on a roll as well 5 points (1 goal and 4 assists) in his last 4 games. His 23 points for the season lead the Canes, and also leads all other Staals in the league.

Who’s Out

Same IR list for the Canucks with Alex Edler (knee), Alex Burrows (jaw surgery) and Jordan Schroeder (ankle) all still out.

The Canes will definitely be without Mike Komisarek, Drayson Bowman and Patrick Dwyer. Alexander Semin is also day-to-day recovering from a concussion, and is not expected to play tonight.

Dec 062013
 

Vancouver Canucks vs Phoenix Coyotes

Photo credit: faceoff.com

After a successful 4-game road trip, in which they went 3-1, the Vancouver Canucks are back at Rogers Arena to take on the Phoenix Coyotes. Both teams played a month ago with the Coyotes winning in the shootout and Antoine Vermette getting the shootout winner.

The Canucks, who have won back-to-back games for the first time since the end of October, are looking to maintain some momentum as they start a 5-game home stand. They also hope to not lose any more players to injury as they’ve lost key players the last couple of games. Against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, Alex Burrows was hit by a puck and had to have surgery for a broken jaw; he and is expected to be out for at least a month. And against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, Alex Edler suffered a knee injury and will be out indefinitely. Andrew Alberts will fill. *shudder*

The Coyotes currently occupy the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference. Thanks to the Edmonton Oilers, their lead on the 9th place Canucks is only a single point. Needless to say, tonight’s game is critical for the Canucks, as a win in regulation would push them back in a playoff position, although the Coyotes do have 2 games in hand.

Who’s Hot

Ryan Kesler is back in beast mode. He has 4 goals in 2 games, and his 14 goals so far this season is good for 8th in the entire league.

Defenseman Jason Garrison also seems to have shaken off his scoring slump. He has 4 assists in 2 games, and has recorded 3 multi-point games in his last 4. He now has 17 points this season, which is 14th among all NHL defensemen.

For the Coyotes, defenseman Keith Yandle has goals in back-to-back games. Captain Shane Doan, who is second with the team in scoring, has 3 points (1 goal and 2 assists) in his last 2 games.

Who’s Out

Remember last week when we only had one player on injured reserve? Ah the good ol’ days. Unfortunately our injured reserve count has tripled. The 2 Alexes – Burrows and Edler – join Jordan Schroeder, who is still weeks from returning.

Phoenix will be without defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower body) and forward Lauri Korpikoski (upper body).

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