Boris Valabik should pick on someone his own size (video from HockeyFights.com):
The puck finally drops for some preseason action tonight as our beloved Vancouver Canucks take on the New York Islanders in Terrace, BC.
Here are today’s Canucks chatter around the web:
- It’s Hockey Night in Terrace.
- Willie wants to go fishing in Terrace; Wellwood doesn’t even know where it is.
- Terrace is excited at being named Hockeyville. And so they should be. (I just wish CBC was just as excited.)
- Turns out there’s a great view from Terrace.
- Again, you can check out Joe Pelletier (Greatest Hockey Legends) for the festivities straight from Terrace.
- Lots of linkage from the Islanders’ side of things.
- Rypien’s ready and rarin’ to go.
I like Ripper a lot. He’s speedy and great fighter for his size. If he can stay healthy I really think he could have a similar career track to Alex Burrows. Did you see that little spin move he made to set up that goal of Hordi’s in the Chicago series? He’s got some pretty snazzy moves. Ripper is going to be a fan favourite if he isn’t already and I think I’ll add him to my potential Ohlie replacement list now that he has some job security. Remember that fight he had with Brandon Prust in the first game of the season? Ahhh memories. That was one of my favourite moments of last season.
- Vancouver Canucks comfortable in the role of ‘Canada’s Team’ (Bruce Constantineau, Vancouver Sun)
- Vancouver Canucks slam Blackhawks with heavy defence (Vancouver Sun)
- Salo rejoins team, but does not practise with Canucks (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Pyatt plays every shift for Carly (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)
- Rypien sees light after dark times (Ed Willes, Vancouver Province)
- Canucks get boosts from, gives boost to Pyatt (Eric Duhatschek, Globe and Mail)
- Early lesson in life (Terry Jones, Edmonton Sun)
- Focus on Luongo something to behold (Rosie Dimanno, Toronto Star)
- Vigneault at loss to explain fast starts (Mike Spellman, Chicago Daily-Herald)
- Credit Canucks for playing smarter than Blackhawks (Mike Spellman, Chicago Daily-Herald)
- Blackhawks at a pivotal point in quest for Stanley Cup (Tim Sassone, Chicago Daily-Herald)
- Togetherness suits identical twins – and Vancouver Canucks (Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune)
- Blackhawks in must-win situation (Chris Kuc, Chicago Tribune)
- It’s time 4 a response (Len Ziehm, Chicago Sun-Times)
Amidst the chaos and stampede caused by the bandwagon emptying on Saturday, one thing was overlooked. It’s something that has killed the Canucks in the first two games and has subtly been a difference maker in the series so far. Hits.
One of the main reasons that the Blackhawks are coming back from 2 and 3 goal deficits is largely due to their hits, but it starts with their forchecking and playing of the body. The Canucks by no means boast a small roster, Hordichuk, Salo, Mitchell, Bieksa, and Rypien all know how to throw those big bone jarring heavy hits, and yet they’ve been quiet. Where has Shane O’Brien’s body been? On Saturday the biggest hit by a Canucks player was by Mason Raymond. Think about that for a second, then think about how horribly wrong that is.
The Canucks are playing a finesse team that they should be able to take the body to, yet they’re letting the liks of Burrish, Byfuglien and Eager push and throw them around. The Blackhawks are coming back because they’re able to win the battles to the puck (because of their forechecking and hitting) and they’re able to break the Canucks off the puck. The Canucks just aren’t asserting themselves physically at all and it’s hurting them.
Where’s Rypien been? After coming back full of energy and throwing his body into people like a runaway car, he’s been silent. Horidchuck was brought in for the rough stuff, and he’s quieter than the Sedins back when they were regularly referred to as the Sedin Sisters. Burrows who usually also catapults his body into players against the boards has been pretty tame. They have got to start beat Chicago up a little. I’m not talking about going head hunting, or taking lessons from Brashear, Downey, or Mike Brown on how to perfectly line up your elbow with the temple of someone’s head, but I do expect the Canucks to start playing some solid physical hockey. If that means subbing in Davison for Salo instead of Vaananen then so be it. The Canucks need to set the tone in the first period in Game 3 and it’s going to start with some hard hits.
And as pump of for game 3, nothing better than the song which aptly fits the title of this post. Get Amped! – http://twisten.fm/l/3QJF
Side Note: Guts McTavish takes on the Chicago writers.
The NHL has apparently decided that Ben Eager’s cheap, late hit to Rick Rypien’s head was a clean and legal one. Because Rypien wasn’t injured.
I’d point out this fail, except Colin Campbell has been so horribly and maddeningly inconsistent that I’m just not surprised anymore. It’s no wonder that head shots are a regular occurence these days – heck, Mike Brown took a late run at Jiri Hudler last night too – if players know they’re going to get away with it.
In Eager’s case, Campbell’s decision has set a bad precedent. Eager has been told that the hit was okay, and now, he’s gone as far admitting he’ll do it again if given the opportunity:
“It seems every time there’s a big hit everyone is thinking suspension,” Eager said today after the Blackhawks practised at GM Place. ” You know, it’s playoff hockey, there’s going to be hits, you’ve got to keep your head up out there.
“I was just backchecking, and I’m not going to turn off a hit like that. And we had two good refs out there and they both saw it and there was no major penalty or anything. If there’s a hit like that I’m going to take it again.”
Way to go, NHL. I just hope the next time Eager nails someone in the head, that he gets up fine like Rypien did.
Now, instead of letting Ben the Bully get to their heads, the Canucks need to focus on their own game plan. Their game 1 was far from perfect and there’s no sense on wasting any more energy on a pansy who’ll never drop the gloves against anyone his own size.
In the St. Louis series, the Canucks responded to goonery by scoring on the powerplay, which was a solid 4-for-18 (22.2%) against the Blues. While Eager wasn’t subsequently suspended, he did receive a *ahem* minor penalty on the hit. However, the Canucks didn’t score on the ensuing powerplay, and in fact, they only scored on 1 of their 7 opportunities in game 1. If the powerplay is more successful, maybe the Blackhawks will take less liberties. If the NHL won’t do anything to deter these cheap hits from happening, maybe the powerplay will.
Last night’s 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks was an important one. The obvious first reason is that it gave our Vancouver Canucks a 1-0 series lead. That’s cool, but also, the process by which they won will surely serve as a lesson for the remainder of the series.
After building a 3-0 lead in the first 40 minutes, the Canucks came out flat in the third period. For the first 18 minutes of the third period, their defensive coverage was sloppy and they showed about as much emotion as Freddie Prinze Jr. in character. As unthinkable as it seemed at the time, they allowed the Blackhawks to claw back and tie the game.
To be fair, the Canucks kept their composure, and in the end, they pulled off the victory anyway… but not before I hope they learnt, 1) to play the full 60 minutes, and 2) not to take these Blackhawks lightly.
I love what Darcy Hordichuk and Rick Rypien has brought to this lineup, but man, the penalties they took last night were just dumb.
Speaking of dumb…
You guys already know how I feel about the NHL’s method for disciplining players. I wonder how they will handle Ben Eager’s late hit to Rick Rypien’s head.
In a lot of ways, it’s similar to Donald Brashear’s hit on Blair Betts last week – a cheap shot that earned Brashear a six-game suspension. Take a look:
Both Brashear and Eager went out of their way to deliver late, late hits to the head. Both have a history of these sorts of incidents with the league. If one was suspended, shouldn’t the other be as well?
- Canucks, Flames going in opposite directions (Matthew Sekeres, Globe and Mail)
- Canucks in first? No foolin’ (Cam Cole, Vancouver Sun)
- Do the math: Canucks need one more win to officially clinch playoff spot (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun)
- Give Vigneault due credit for Canucks roll (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun)
- It’s truly Wild when Hank scores (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Ducks elite D-man eyes 2010 (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun)
- Hindsight beats heck out of flights of foresight (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province)
- Rypien makes surprise return (Greg Harder, Regina Leader-Post)
- Staying healthy key for Canucks (Scott Rintoul, Metro News Vancouver)
- Canucks in good spot regardless (Sam Craig, The Hockey News via Metro News Vancouver)
- Awards keep piling up for Schneider in Manitoba (Phil Stacey, The Salem News)
- End of an era for Silvertips twosome (Nick Patterson, Everett HeraldNet)
- Playoff-hungry Blues down Canucks, 4-2 (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)
- Blues get to Canucks in 4-2 loss (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province)
- Kesler good, Burrows better, Henrik best (Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province)
- Canuck is back, but won’t let it ‘Ryp’ yet (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)
- Blues continue playoff push with win over Canucks (Norm Sanders, Belleville News-Democrat)
- Blues rev up, stay in chase (Jeremy Rutherford, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
- This is what you’ve been waiting for (Sam Craig, The Hockey News via Metro News Vancouver)
- Lessons pile up for Moose college recruit (Tim Campbell, Winnipeg Free Press)
- Pleasant surprise (Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun)
- ‘We didn’t deserve to win’ says Kesler as goalies bedeviled (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province)
- Canucks ‘facing adversity’ (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- Pitiful performance full of pratfalls and more (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province)
- Canucks drop fifth game in a row at home (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- LaBarbera ponders future after poor – and brief – effort (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun)
- Canucks can’t wait for Luongo to come back (Matthew Sekeres, Globe and Mail)
- Canucks nearing a crossroads (Matthew Sekeres, Globe and Mail)
- Clemmensen felt the pressure, but held onto Devils’ 5-3 win over Canucks (Rich Chere, The Star-Ledger)
- What’s really wrong with Rypien? (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province)
- Mystery of often-injured Rypien deepens with ‘personal issue, private matter’ (Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province)