In a strange scene from Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena yesterday afternoon, the Red Wings fans began to chant “USA! USA!” during the last 30 seconds of their team’s 8 – 3 defeat of the Vancouver Canucks.
For better or for worse, I know that this has happened in other hockey arenas before.
And while there’s nothing wrong with showing a bit of patriotism from time to time, there is indeed a time and place for such showings.
I’m not convinced that Red Wings fans picked the right place nor right time given that only 5 of the 20 players dressed for Detroit were born in the USA.
Thus, after much thought, research, and coin-flipping, I have come up with the Top 10 Reasons Why the Detroit Fans Were Chanting “USA! USA!”:
10. They got tired of singing along to Don’t Stop Believing and Sweet Caroline (credit to @transcendwebs).
9. They are still bitter at Roberto Luongo and all of Canada for beating Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
8. Related to #9, they were cheering for their US-born netminder Jimmy Howard (and his American backup Tom McCollum for that matter).
7. They really wanted to affirm their US-born players: the 2 goalies (as mentioned above), Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, and Brian Lashoff…at the risk of insulting their 6 Canadians, 4 Swedes, and one each from Switzerland, Russia, Finland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
6. Chanting “United Nations! United Nations!” doesn’t have the same ring to it (credit to @lyteforce).
5. They were being very considerate and wanted to cheer up Canuck Americans Ryan Kesler, Chris Higgins, Keith Ballard, Jordan Schroeder, Andrew Alberts, and Cory Schneider.
4. They were inspired by a video tribute to Hacksaw Jim Duggan (see below) during the previous stoppage in play (credit to @DaveLeeSon1).
3. None of them were in their seats for the Star Spangled Banner prior to the game.
2. They wanted to do something fun before leaving the arena only to find that their cars are gone (credit to @browntobure).
1. They were giving a special shout-out and welcome to CHB writer @concretefluff who moved to Los Angeles last week.
On Friday, Henrik Sedin passed Markus Naslund as the all-time leader with points as a Canuck, Ryan Kesler returned from injury, and Canucks fans were getting a chance to vote on what they felt the boys in blue should skate out to.
Clay, Chris, Ed and back again as a special guest, Alan from the Hogshack in Steveston, ponder these and more in this latest episode of CHB TV. Apologies in advance for the singing.
For my first CCC of the 2013 NHL season, I share some of the sights and sounds from the Canucks’ opening weekend at Rogers Arena. Unfortunately, the weekend consisted of two losses: 7-3 to Anaheim on Saturday night and 3-2 to Edmonton on Sunday night.
It was certainly an intriguing weekend as both Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo got starts. As well, the Canucks’ secondary scoring (or lack thereof) was quite evident.
My buddy Mike also captured some neat footage from ice level as he was chosen to receive the jersey off of a player’s back. He ended up getting the jersey of David Booth and had a pleasant exchange with him. As well, we got footage of Chris Higgins removing his jersey…much to the delight of numerous female fans.
If there was one thing clear about the Canucks early exit from the post-season, the lack of secondary scoring and production from the second line was a large issue. So it’s definitely worrisome that Ryan Kesler is still on the mend (with no schedule to return yet) from off-season surgery AND David Booth has encountered a temperamental groin, leaving him on the shelf for four to six weeks.
Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnik/Getty Images
So how do you replace two-thirds of your second line for close to a third of the shortened NHL season? This is where you come in.
We want you to tell us what your answer to the Canucks second line woes. If the hockey gods like your answer, we and our friends at the Vancouver Canucks have a pair of tickets to Saturday’s home opener to give to you.
For one entry: In the comments section of this post, tell us what you would do to plug the holes in the Canucks second line. Maybe it’s a combination of existing players or a deal you pull the trigger on. (Make sure you enter your email address when you log-in so we can contact you if you win.)
For a bonus entry – Tweet the following:
I entered and RT to win #Canucks tickets from @canuckshockey @VanCanucks & @lyteforce nucks.co/42 #CHB #OTOW
You have until 6:00 PM on Friday, January 18th to enter. Once the contest closes, we will randomly pick one lucky entrant who will become the proud owner of a pair of upper bowl tickets to the home opener on Saturday, donated by our friends at the Vancouver Canucks. You must be able to pick the tickets from Will Call at Rogers Arena (they will be available after 6pm) prior to puck drop.
You don’t have much time. What are you waiting for?
UPDATE: Congratulations to Shawn Car (@ShawnVanCity) with her comment (and line) of Higgins/Malhotra/Hansen. She’s won the pair of tickets to the game tomorrow night!
After trying out Tom’s Rum & Egg Nog recipe last night and getting your New Years Eve party on, we here at CHB thought we would regale you with more thoughts & prognostications on what we think is in store for the Canucks in 2013.
Which brings about what to expect in 2013. Will there be a shortened 48-game season? My guess is yes; I’m an optimist by nature and I think both the owners and players would hate to see another full season flushed down the toilet. But the journey to this point has been like a roller coaster; one very ugly, scary, and sickening roller coaster you can never get off of.
If there’s a season, I’m looking forward to it. Instead of writing what to expect, here’s a brief list of questions I’m interested in seeing answered:
Will Cory Schneider be able to handle a season as the new king of the Canucks crease?
Can Jason Garrison and Zack Kassian live up to the monumental expectations placed upon them as new arrivals?
What version of Ryan Kesler will show up when he returns? The guy who called himself “Bull” in his early days, or the player we saw flopping his way to a first round playoff exit?
Are the Canucks going to retire Pavel Bure’s #10 or has that ship sailed?
Will the Sedin twins production soar or sag after a lengthy layoff?
As for 2013, I can see the Canucks being undefeated for the first half of January (hahaha, had to be said!).
In all seriousness, I don’t see anything happening for the Canucks in 2013 because I don’t see the lockout ending in time. If the hockey Gods’ pull out a miracle and there is a season, my money is on the Canucks to win the Cup. A season this short would leave no room for burnout and hopefully less chance for injuries (I’m looking at you Ryan Kesler), which, in my opinion, has been the Canucks biggest problems.
But to be very honest here, I don’t want the Canucks to win the Cup on a short season. Because, as some of you know, I married the biggest Canucks hater on the planet and if we win the Cup on a shortened lockout season all I will hear for the rest of my life is “It doesn’t count because the season was short”. I know it’s selfish but I would rather avoid divorce than win a Cup on a short season.
Firstly, I truly believe that there will still be a 2012-2013 (well technically 2013) season. Having said that, I think the shortened season will work towards the Canucks’ advantage. They can’t afford a slow start as a losing streak of 4 or 5 games could conceivably put them out of the playoffs early. There is enough veteran leadership to hopefully help the team get out of the gates quickly.
I’m very interested in what becomes of Roberto Luongo. Does he turn into a second-line centre? Perhaps a couple of depth players? A prospect or two? Luongo’s fate will undoubtedly be the biggest story surrounding the team until something is done. Thus, the Canucks will need to rely on their veteran leadership to help the team remain focused on the task at hand: a strong start in a shortened season.
Look for the Canucks to hold off the improved Minnesota Wild and surging Edmonton Oilers to secure yet another Northwest Division title.
2013 looks to be a big year with the Olympics of competitive facial hair growing, the World Beard and Moustache Championships held in Germany. Will Wolfgang Schneider use home field to his advantage to defend his natural moustache crown? Can Evan Gillespie of Canada take the championship away from freestyle moustache juggernaut Keith “Gandhi Jones” Haubrich? Will we see a surprise in the Fu Manchu division, which is always a bloodbath, and we never know what to expect from the freestyle sideburns guys…those dudes are crazy.
Controversy surrounds the full beard group after the performance enhancing drugs scandal that shocked the world in 2012 but the bans allow for new stars to emerge. Personally, I predict that Elmar Weisser will take Best in Show all over again although no word yet on what his beard will be shaped like for 2013. He hasn’t yet responded to my repeated suggestion do one inspired by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, complete with dice in the taxi’s mirror and guys up to no good spinning Will Smith around their heads.
No word on whether there will be an NHL season in 2013 but who needs it when there’s all this competitive bearding going on?
Hopefully the holiday season has you in a much more festive mood than the current state of the NHL, and if not, we here at CHB ask that you please drink more Rum & Egg Nog (pretty sure Tom provided the best recipe last year).
Anywho, with the year winding down and us in need some content to keep the dust bunnies from collecting on the site, I sent out the call to our contributors to see what they could remember from the past year & what they can foresee for the next (which you’ll learn more about tomorrow).
2012 was supposed to be the year the Canucks would take that one final step towards winning their elusive first Stanley Cup. With a largely intact roster from the 2011 team that fell one win short and the addition of a second-line power forward in David Booth, they were certainly poised to make another run at it.
However, as GM Mike Gillis admitted, the Canucks peaked seven days into 2012. Led by Cory Schneider and Cody Hodgson, they exacted revenge on the Boston Bruins, beating them in a Saturday matinee in Beantown, a win which probably ranks among the most memorable in this franchise’s history.
It’s just too bad the calendar read January 7, 2012 instead of June 15, 2011.
The Canucks were physically and emotionally-spent after that win and played less than stellar hockey the rest of the way. They somehow snagged a second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy, but were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings.
With Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler coming off major surgeries, the Sedins, Alex Burrows, Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa a year older, and the salary cap expecting to shrink with a new CBA, the window for this core may be closing and 2012 may prove to be a year of “what-ifs”, unfortunately one of many in the Canucks’ 41 years.
2012 was a pretty bizarre year for the Canucks not only on the ice, but off of it, too. Going into the season, a lot of the talk was about how Vancouver would tackle the Stanley Cup hangover (which was of course answered with their season ending in 5 playoff games). But on the ice, you’d be hard pressed to find any particular game which gave you a reason to stand up and cheer. For me, only a couple games seemed to stood out, one of which was the Boston Bruins rematch back in January. The highlights speak for themselves, though:
Almost hard to believe the Canucks called it “just another game” after watching that, huh?
The other game which also proved memorable was the Canucks in Detroit back in February. The Red Wings had a lengthy home winning streak going at the Joe, and Vancouver was still the cream of the crop in the NHL standings. The game had the makings of a classic, and it was in every possible way.
But again, off the ice it was a circus. The fallout from their abrupt first-round playoff exit ushered the era of Cory Schneider and the (still going) exodus of Roberto Luongo. If the NHL lockout ends any time soon, it’ll just be a matter of time before the Luongo trade rumours swirl once again.
That doesn’t even include some other bizarre happenings: The Cody Hodgson trade rocked the city, Ryan Kesler’s continued rehab from another major surgery sparked worry among fans about how ready he will be in the event of a shortened season, and the signing of Jason Garrison in July was met with some cheers and some jeers… And the guy hasn’t even played a game yet.
2012 started off with so much promise. The Canucks entered the year having just passed the mighty Minnesota Wild for the Northwest Division lead – a lead they would never relinquish for the rest of the season. Then came that fateful game in Boston on January 7.
In the highly anticipated Stanley Cup Finals rematch, the Canucks prevailed 4-3 in a fight-filled affair. At the time, Canucks fans were on top of the world having just defeated their nemesis. However, the team struggled at times for the rest of the season despite locking up a second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy. In fact, even General Manager Mike Gillis admitted that the game may have taken an emotional toll on the team.
Add in a struggling power play and Duncan Keith’s dirty elbow on Daniel Sedin, and Vancouver looked over-matched in their first-round playoff series against the eventual Stanley Cup winners the Los Angeles Kings.
Looking back on the 2012 season for the Canucks, I have to say it peaked early for me.
January 7, 2012 was the only game that really mattered to me in 2012. It was the game that should have happened on June 15, 2011. But it was more than just beating the dirty bears, it was also the first sign of the big changes the Canucks would make in 2012.
My favorite gum-smacking coach may say that he only started Cory Schneider because he wanted to let him play in his hometown, but no one believes that. It was a chance for Luongo to redeem himself and Vigneault didn’t trust him enough to let him have that chance. Schneider, was epic in that game. He played himself into the number one goalie spot.
Every game after the Boston game, seemed to be lack luster. Even when we won games, it seemed to me like it was by happenstance not due to actually working hard. I don’t blame the Canucks. Having a short summer break after a long, hard season with a heartbreaking Game 7 loss I didn’t think we would actually make it that far again.
That said, I didn’t think we would go down to the Kings in Round 1. The only thing more painful than watching Raymond fall down and Edler’s defensive meltdowns in Round 1 was reading the LA Kings snarktastic twitter posts.
I’m not going to rant. I’m not going to rage. I would probably cry but I don’t want to short-circuit my keyboard so I won’t even do that. Instead I’ll keep this brief. And then I will eat chocolate.
Where We Went Right
Ryan Kesler was incredible on the penalty kill. He may not have scored goals but in this game his shot blocking and clearing was equally if not more important. If it wasn’t for Kesler and Cory Schneider the score would have been 8-1 for the Kings by the end of the third.
And that leads me to the second thing we did right – we had the right goalie in net. Schneider was calm and collected despite slashes by Mike Richards and bodies flailing in his crease. He never fell down and stayed down and he never lost his stick – both traits Luongo is famous for. Cory did every thing you could ask of a goalie and more. He earned his spot as our number one netminder and I will be shocked and horrified if that’s not exactly what he is next season.
Where We Went Wrong
One goal is not going to win you a series when you are down 3 games to 1. Putting David Booth on a line with the twins is not going to get you goals. Putting Mason Raymond on the ice at all is not going to get you goals. For me, Alain Vigneault’s coaching decisions were almost as epically bad as Alex Edler was on defence. And they of course, are a reflection of what Mike Gillis has given him to work with. The trades this year have no been the glorious additions Max Lapierre and Chris Higgins were last year. Not even close.
I Don’t Blame Hamhuis
I honestly don’t. Hammy was about the only defenceman trying in Games 1 and 2. He made 1 mistake at a very inopportune time. If we’re going to crucify individual players here we need to nail Raymond and Booth and Edler. End of story. Their complete and utter uselessness, or in the case of Edler his plethora of mistakes, are what cost us the first two games. We wouldn’t have been in a hole if it wasn’t for those 3 more than anyone else. And Kesler diving instead of taking shots. And Duncan Keith elbowing Daniel to in regular season and taking him out of the first 3 games. There are so many more reasons we lost than simply Dan Hamhuis falling down. We need to take a good hard look at all of those reasons – on the bench and behind it – and make some changes before October.
It’s been an honour and a pleasure writing for the Canucks Hockey Blog. I hope I can do it next season while I cheer on our boys in Blue – no matter who those boys may be. (But it better not be Raymond).
The odds are still stacked against them, but you can’t help but feel the collective confidence boost around Canucks Nation after the Canucks’ Game 4 win.
After all, the offense finally managed to put 3 pucks past Jonathan Quick, the first time since Game 2 of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals they scored 3 goals in one playoff game. After going 0-for-14 in the first three games of the series, the powerplay finally broke through with 2 powerplay goals. And despite the manufactured goaltending controversy, Cory Schneider was huge, making 43 saves, including a Dustin Brown penalty shot that could have tied the game in the third period.
Now at home for Game 5, can the Canucks continue to break down the Kings and get themselves back in this series? Here’s the chatter around the Smylosphere:
In case you were enjoying the beautiful Vancouver sunshine yesterday and missed this gem of an interview, Kevin Bieksa punked Mike Dunsmore, a FOX Sports Reporter, and pretended to be Ryan Kesler. (YouTube via Legion of Blog)
And in case you thought this was staged, I doubt it. Otherwise, Dunsmore wouldn’t have gone as far as to first change the title and description, and then delete the original clip, to try and cover his tracks. (HF Boards)