Dec 042013
 

Kevin Bieksa fights Brian Boyle at the end of the Canucks/Rangers game.

Photo credit: Yahoo

It’s been an angry month for the boys in blue.

The struggling Canucks have tried to keep it together, but every once in a while the anger bubbles through and we see their frustrations manifested through some sort of outburst.  It can be a John Tortorella “pecking” Jannik Hansen with his finger or a Kevin Bieksa challenging  the ogre, Brian Boyle, to a meaningless post-game fight. These guys maintain a calm front and an air of professionalism, but it’s hard to believe they don’t want to break their 300$ sticks over the cross-bar from time to time. The Canucks are no stranger to emotion, with coaches and players alike joining in on the fun throughout the years. And while in the game of hockey angry moments are a dime a dozen (i.e. every Brian Burke press conference), here are a few that stand out.

The top 5 angry outbursts from Canucks are as follows:

5) Ryan Kesler: Hobbies- taking wrist shots, killing penalties and being angry. Kesler was known more for his temper and trash-talking before he won the Selke trophy in 2011. Here we see vintage Kes’ testing the durability of his stick after a missed call.

4) Rick Rypien: Despite his small stature, Rypien was known as one of the most ferocious fighters in the league in his prime. Willing to take on any combatant, Rick even ventured into the crowd to dole out some punishment during a blowout loss to Minnesota.

3) Alex Burrows: Anyone can feel the wrath of Alex Burrows, even the refs. Here, Burr rants about some unfair officiating and an alleged vendetta against him by referee Stephane Auger. Warning: angry Frenchmen often warrant a translator.

2) Entire Canuck Squad: Yellow and black to a Canuck is like red to a bull. The Canucks hate the Boston Bruins and their passion came out with a vengeance in this Stanley Cup final rematch. A line brawl erupts as resentments of season’s past boil over.

1) Gino Odjick: I’m guessing someone peed in Gino’s cornflakes the morning of this game. The big man goes commando style taking down anyone and everyone who comes across his path in a bout against the Blues. Holy cow that guy scares me.

Dec 022013
 

Fret not if you didn’t have your morning coffee before the Vancouver Canucks’ 10 AM game versus the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday because the first 5 minutes would’ve woken you up. Not only was there a bit of a brouhaha just a couple of minutes into the game, but the Canucks also scored the first goal in a game for just the 11th time this season. On the powerplay.

Things got dicey at the start of the second period, but the Canucks managed to eke out a 3-2 win, their second win on this 4-game road trip.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Nov 252013
 

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(source: nhl.com)

Vancouver Canucks (12-9-4)
Los Angeles Kings (15-6-3)

The Los Angeles Kings are in town tonight to take on the Vancouver Canucks. This is the second of five meetings between the two teams. In their first meeting on November 9th at the Staples Centre in LA, the Kings beat the Canucks 5-1.

The Canucks are mired in a bad stretch right now with only 1 win in their last 7 games (1-4-2), including 4 losses in the first 5 games of this current 6-game homestand. Meanwhile, the Kings have lost their last 2 games, but have managed their losses and have earned at least a point in their last 9 games.

The Canucks did end a 5-game winless streak on Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 6-2 win; however, they reverted back to their losing ways on Saturday night with a 2-1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks. Their offense continues to struggle with their lone goal against the Blackhawks being scored on a 2-man advantage.

If we were looking at the positives though, that powerplay goal snapped a 2-game drought with the man-advantage. It was also scored by Ryan Kesler, who had gone 7 games without scoring a goal, and was assisted by Jason Garrison, who had gone 14 games without a point. Kesler now has 3 points in 4 games (1 goal and 2 assists). Daniel Sedin, who also drew an assist on Kesler’s goal now has 4 points in his last 3 games (1 goal and 3 assists).

Who’s Out

For the Canucks, forward Jordan Schroeder (ankle) is still out.

For the Kings, starting goaltender, Jonathan Quick, is out with a groin injury, though Ben Scrivens, who has been in net the last 7 games, has been doing very well. Scrivens hasn’t allowed more than 2 goals a game in his past 6 starts, and has a .955 save percentage during that span.

Besides Jonathan Quick, the Kings are executed to play without forwards Jeff Carter (broken foot), Trevor Lewis (lower body) and defensemen Matt Greene (upper body)

Nov 242013
 

Still high from the feeling of euphoria after beating the Columbus Blue Jackets – yes, it’s come to that – the Vancouver Canucks squared off against their arch-enemies, the Chicago Blackhawks, last night.

And things were going well too. The Canucks stopped the first shot (!), opened the scoring (!!) on the powerplay (!!!), and took a lead into the third period against the Blackhawks.

Roberto Luongo was playing well too, making some big saves when the Canucks gave up numerous Hawks odd-man rushes and keeping his team’s precarious 1-0 lead intact even when Chicago started dominating play.

Or at least he was until a 9-second span early in the period in which the Blackhawks scored twice, claimed the lead and never relinquished it.

*sob*

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Nov 202013
 

The Sedins and Alex Burrows celebrate a goal against the Anaheim Ducks.

Photo credit: canucks.com

Glen Sather once proclaimed that a “fire hydrant could score 50 goals playing with Wayne Gretzky”, alluding to how The Great One made everyone around him better. Many would say the same about the Sedin Twins who seem to boost the stats of any player lucky enough to find themself flanked by the ginger duo. Simply put, these guys are just easy to play with.

That being said, the Canucks recent slump has forced John Tortorella to try different line combinations to spark the dried up offense. In the past week we’ve seen Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen join the top line to no avail. This isn’t the first time different players have been assigned to the top line, with some combinations lasting years while others dwindle after a few games. Everyone seems to have an idea of what kind of player would complement the Sedins best, but history has shown us it is not always the obvious choice.

Here are the top 5 greatest Sedin line combinations:

5) Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Taylor Pyatt: This line, featured prominently in the 2006-2007 season, showcased Taylor Pyatt’s size and strength. Pyatt scored 23 goals and 37 points (both career highs) and helped the Canucks cruise to 48 wins and a division title. Here he provides a strong net presence while the Sedins do their thing.

4) Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Ryan Kesler: The most recently formed line on this list, the “Beastmodo” line is the sexiest on paper but simply has not been together long enough to be placed any higher. Dominant at times, with two accomplished trigger men in Daniel and Kes’, teams have struggled to match the firepower of this first line. Surely, we will see this line together again under the Torts’ regime.

3) Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Trent Klatt: Not the most offensive linemate the Sedins have ever had, Klatt provided a veteran presence for the twins in the first few years of their professional career. The dominance of the “west coast express” line during this period allowed the Sedins to develop at their own pace and Klatt kept them at an even keel, while providing offence at a steady rate.

2) Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Anson Carter: This combination only lasted a year but was wildly successful with Anson Carter leading the team with 33 goals. This year marked the coming out of the Sedins as the core offensive players and leaders on the team.  Carter’s ability to crash the net aided the Sedins’ cycling ability well.

1) Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Alex Burrows: The longest tenured player on the Sedin line and with good reason, Alex Burrows has spent the majority of the last 5 years playing with the twins. A tremendous reader of the game, Alex has gained the instinctual movement and know-how that the Sedins seemed to be born with. Burrows has become one of the more reliable goal-scorers on the Canuck squad and his presence on the top line has elevated the Twins stats as well with the two of them winning back to back Art-Ross trophies with Burrows at their side.

Nov 192013
 
Torts "Hey Kes, I'm going for all you can eat after this, wanna come?" Hansen "I never get invited anywhere cool...."

Torts: “Hey Kes, I’m going for all you can eat after this, wanna come?”
Hansen: “I never get invited anywhere cool….”

 

The Florida Panthers are in town tonight to face our bent but not broken Vancouver Canucks. It’s the first of two meetings between the two teams, who meet again in March but under the Floridian sun.

It’s been 3 years since the Canucks and the Panthers last played against each other. The Canucks beat the Panthers 2-1 in October 2010. Since then, Obama’s been re-elected, John Tortorella’s been hired, Roberto Luongo lost his starting goaltender job to Cory Schneider, Schneider got traded to the New Jersey Devils, and I’ve grown 2 inches.

The Canucks could use a little pick me up, having lost their last 4 games (0-3-1). They may still be a little bitter too after that controversial disallowed goal on Sunday against the Dallas Stars cost them a point.

If we were looking for positives, the Canucks’ offence has outshot their opponents in 3 of their last 4 games. However, finding the back of the net has been a struggle as they’ve scored exactly 1 goal in each of their last 4 games. Overall, the Canucks are averaging 32.5 shots per game, 3rd in the NHL, disproving the theory that if you keep shooting at the net one is bound to go in.

The Panthers are 2-8-1 on the road. They won their season opener in Dallas, but then lost 9 consecutive road games before winning their most recent outing last Saturday in Colorado. They beat the Avalanche 4-1 and got goals from 4 different players.

Who to Watch

Defenseman Brian Campbell leads the Panthers with 12 points, while forward Brad Boyes leads them with 7 goals, 1 of which was scored on Saturday against the Avs. Campbell, Scottie Upshall and Tom Gilbert all had multi-point games against the Avs.

Dale Weise is expected to return to the Canucks line up after missing 10 games with a knee injury. If anything, Weise on the 4th line provides the team with a physical presence.

Who’s Out

Jordan Schroeder (ankle) remains the lone Canuck on injured reserve. He’s not expected back until late December at the earliest.

For the Panthers, former Canuck Ed Jovanovski has a hip injury and is on injured reserve, and Scott Gomez is questionable for tonight with a groin injury (day-to-day).

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

Nov 142013
 
Exactly one week ago today the Canucks bested the Sharks in a 4-2 win, can they do it again?

Exactly one week ago today the Canucks bested the Sharks in a 4-2 win, can they do it again? (Credit. cbc.ca)

Last Thursday, the Canucks won 4-2 against the San Jose Sharks – their first win against the Sharks in 9 games. Let’s pause and have a moment of appreciation for that.

Alright moving on.

Tonight, both teams meet once again, for a fourth and final time this regular season, kicking off the Canucks’ 6-game homestand at Rogers Arena. Unless they meet in the postseason – knock on wood – this could be the last time we see the Sharks this season.

The winning team in their 3 previous meetings scored 4 goals in their wins.

What to Watch

After a gruelling 4 games in 6 nights road trip culminating with back-to-back losses in California, against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, the Canucks had 3 days off to regroup and recharge. The Canucks will have rested legs and they will need them early. Last Thursday, they scored 3 of their 4 goals in the first period, and getting another early lead against San Jose certainly won’t hurt.

Who to Watch

The Sedins and Kesler were unstoppable in October with 14 goals and 18 assists, but in the last 4 games, they’ve been quiet with only 1 goal and 3 assists. Everyone goes through streaks and slumps so hopefully they snap out of this funk soon.

For the Sharks, Joe Thornton has a 5-game point streak. With a huge physical presence, the Canucks will need to battle hard to keep him under wraps.

Who’s Back

David Booth is back from his conditioning stint with the Utica Comets and playing in the AHL may have been the wake-up call he needed. Well, we hope it was anyway. He notched an assist in the Comets’ first victory of the season. And the hope now is that Booth can return and be the player we know he is capable of being, and that John Tortorella wants him to be.

Who’s Out

The Canucks still have Jannik Hansen (shoulder), Dale Weise (lower body) and Jordan Schroeder (foot) all sidelined, although Hansen practiced yesterday and will likely return when the Canucks go against the Dallas Stars on Sunday.

The Sharks have some bad injuries. Ex-Canuck Raffi Torres has a knee injury that needed surgery and 3-5 months of rehab. Adam Burish (lower body) and Brent Burns (upper body) are also out. All 3 are on injured reserve.

Nov 092013
 
The Saturday meeting between Vancouver and Los Angeles is the first of five.  (Credit. nhl.com)

The Saturday meeting between Vancouver and Los Angeles is the first of five this regular season.
(Credit. nhl.com)

If you’ve been a Canucks fan for the last couple of seasons, you’ve probably wished a plague on the entire Los Angeles Kings roster at one time or another. Between the heated playoff battles, the taunting tweets, the mimicked slogan, there’s no love lost between these 2 teams, and the thought of a casual Saturday game between them likely sends you into a fit of anxiety.

It’s a brand new season, of course, and now both teams to renew their rivalry, with the first of 4 regular season meetings in La-la-land tonight at 7:00 PM. The Canucks won 2 of 3 meetings with the Kings last season, and were 1-0-1 at the Staples Center. As of this morning, they’re 4 points up on their now division rivals, but the Kings have 2 games in hand.

What to Watch

Another battle of Olympic proportions.

Jonathan Quick may very well be Team USA’s starting goaltender for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. And of course, Roberto Luongo, and his pretty darn good start to the season, surely has him still in competition for a spot with Team Canada.

Luongo’s numbers are just a tad better than Quick’s at the moment. Luongo’s 0.916 save % is 19th in the NHL, while Quick’s 0.901 save % is 35th. Luongo’s 2.23 GAA is 16th in the NHL, while Quick’s 2.48 GAA is 24th.

Luongo is playing just a tad better as well. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 goals a game in his last 7 starts, and has a 0.935 save % in that span.

Before Quick posted a shutout against the Buffalo Sabres in his most recent start on Thursday, he had allowed 3 or more goals in 8 of the 13 games he’d played.

Who’s Hot

Coach John Tortorella has juggled the Canucks’ lines in the early season, and his most recent line combinations have been working really well. At the very least, the team’s secondary scoring concerns have been somewhat alleviated as the second, third and fourth lines have produced 8 of the Canucks’ last 10 goals.

In particular, the second line has been quite effective. Mike Santorelli, perhaps the biggest surprise of the season, has a 3-game point streak, and has a total of 5 goals and 12 points in 18 games. Linemate Chris Higgins with 6 goals and 10 points in 18 games as well, including 5 points in his last 6 games. Alex Burrows, who just recently returned from injury, recorded his first 2 points of the season in the Canucks’ most recent game, a win against the San Jose Sharks last Thursday.

For the Kings, Anze Kopitar has 5 points (3 goals and 2 assists) in a 3-game point streak, and leads the team with 16 points. Likewise, Mike Richards has 5 points (2 goals and 3 assists) in a 3-game point streak; he sits 2 points behind Kopitar for the team lead in points.

Who’s Out

No new additions to the Canuck’s injury list, thank goodness. Jordan Schroeder remains out along with Dale Weise and Jannik Hansen. Meanwhile, David Booth is with the Utica Comets on a conditioning stint. He notched an assist last night as the Comets finally won their first game of the season.

For the Kings, Jarret Stoll is questionable for the game, and Jeff Carter, who is currently tied for the Kings’ team lead in goals (5), is on the injured reserve and won’t play.

Nov 072013
 

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The Vancouver Canucks top line. Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler.
(Source: faceoff.com)

Vancouver Canucks (10-5-2)
San Jose Sharks (10-1-4)

The Vancouver Canucks will continue their Pacific Division swing tonight as they once go up against the San Jose Sharks. The Canucks are looking for their first win of the season against the Sharks. Scratch that, the Canucks are looking for their first win against the Sharks after 9 (!) straight losses. This is the third of four games between the two teams this season, with the Sharks obviously winning the first two, both by a 4-1 score.

After winning 10 of their first 12 games, the Sharks have lost 3 straight now. Although, they’ve at least picked up a point in each one. In fact, they’ve picked up at least a point in 14 of their first 15 games this season. Their only loss in regulation so far was against the Boston Bruins in Boston a couple of weeks ago. As for the Canucks, they’ve lost 2 of their last 3 games (1-1-1).

Who’s Hot

The Canucks’ top line of Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Ryan Kesler continue to be hot. Daniel has 9 points (5 goals – 4 assists) in a 7-game point streak, Hank is on a career-high 12-game point streak (3 goals – 14 assists), and Kes has points in 7 of his last 8 games (6 goals – 4 assists – 10 points).

Roberto Luongo has also been playing well. He has a 0.950 save percentage in his last 3 games.

For the Sharks, Joe Pavelski is on a 4-game point streak (3 goals – 1 assist – 4 points) and leads the Sharks in scoring with 17 points (6 goals – 11 assists).

Who’s Out

The Vancouver Canucks are still without forwards Jordan Schroeder, Jannik Hansen, Dale Weise and David Booth. Booth is on a conditioning assignment in Utica, and isn’t expected to return until mid-November.

The San Jose Sharks are expected to play without forward Brent Burns (mouth). Forwards Adam Burish and Raffi Torres are both recovering from surgery and will not be playing.

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