Apr 162014
 

NHL_2014_StanleyCupPlayoffs

With the puck ready to drop for the 2014 NHL playoffs, a few of us at CHB make our predictions for the first round.

At least with the Canucks not making it, we can make our picks with our brains, rather than our hearts. Well, mostly our brains. We flipped coins, drew straws and other things too.

Western Conference

Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild

Victoria: Avalanche in 5. This prediction is based on the real fear that if Minnesota makes it too far in the playoffs we’ll all fall into a coma. Most boring hockey ever. So come on Avs, knock them out and save us all.

Matt: Avalanche in 5. This isn’t the same team that won the Nathan MacKinnon sweepstakes at this time last year. This is a ferocious, tenacious, deep team that has excelled under the marvelous coaching of Patrick Roy and is stable in goal thanks to the performance of Semyon Varlamov. Minnesota is good enough to perhaps steal a game, but a series? I’m not buying it.

Chris: Avalanche in 5. There is no reason to believe that Patrick Roy will tolerate the team losing to the Wild. Therefore, fear itself will propel the Avs through to the second round.

J.J.: Avalanche in 7. I’ve been waiting for the Avs to crash and burn all year, but they look like the real deal. Wild will give them some pushback, but I don’t think enough of one to take the series.

Clay: Avalanche in 5. Colorado is too young, too fast, and too skilled to lose to the Wild.

St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Victoria: Hawks in 6. As long as Toews and Kane are healthy, I see the Hawks rolling over the Blues fairly easily. They’re young, strong, talented and they’ve been here before and know how to win. Blues, not so much.

Matt: Hawks in 7. A first-round series that should really be worthy of a Conference Final, I’d hedge my bets on the defending champion over a team which – on paper – is built for the playoffs. This looks like it could be a physical series from start to finish, but again I believe the Blackhawks’ top guns will survive this war of attrition. How much they have left after this is another debate in itself.

Chris: Hawks in 7. I’ll be honest, I flipped a coin to determine who wins in 7 games. These two teams will beat the living daylights out of each other.

J.J.: Hawks in 6. The Blues are hurt and slumping; the Hawks are about to get Kane and Toews back. Unless Ryan Miller turns into a money goalie overnight – the eye test says he hasn’t had the impact the Blues had hoped for – Chicago gets this one.

Clay: Hawks in 7.  One of the most intriguing first-round series. It sounds like Chicago is healthy, while St. Louis is everything but.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars

Victoria: Ducks in 5. Teemu wants one last Cup and he’s gonna steamroll Seguin, Benn and the Stars to get there. I’m hoping, because I am not a Ducks fan at all, that eventually they run out of steam, but it won’t be in this round.

Matt: Ducks in 4. The Ducks, who finished first in the West, look like a team that has been in cruise control the last couple weeks. But they appear motivated by what I’d like to call the Teemu Factor. Selanne, who looks like he knows this will be his final season, wants another Stanley Cup ring and I like the Ducks to play hard for the best player the franchise has ever known. Dallas is a team just happy to be here.

Chris: Ducks in 5. May the power Wild Wing compel you. Seriously… is anyone taking Dallas?

J.J.: Ducks in 6. How the Ducks keep winning hockey games with one good line and a (relatively) no-name goalie baffles me.

Clay: Ducks in 5. The Stars might get one, but that’s it. Look for some of Anaheim’s younger players (Bonino, Fowler) to shine.

San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Victoria: Kings in 7. Because they can. With the addition of Gaborik to their already stacked scoring line-up – Carter, Kopitar, Doughty, etc. – they’ve got the advantage. Also, history dictates Sharks never win it all. This year will be no different and the Kings will put them out of their misery early.

Matt: Kings in 7. I know we say this almost every year, but the Sharks always look like a team that thrives in the regular season only to come up short in the playoffs. Los Angeles is a team that has struggled to find consistency on offense, but their club has a history of flipping the switch when it matters most. I’ll take SoCal over NorCal, yet again.

Chris: Kings in 6. Another series that will serve as a knock-down, drag-out brawl where only one team will survive. At least until round two.

J.J.: Sharks in 7. Jonathan Quick has been good, but the guys in front of him have had trouble scoring all year. This should be a familiar script for Canucks fans.

Clay: Sharks in 6. In this battle of teams that like to pound the Canucks, I like the Sharks’ firepower up front with Pavelski, Marleau, Thornton, Couture, Burns, and Hertl.

*****

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings

Victoria: Wings in 7. Because the Wings are like the Goonies, they never say die. And because good should always triumph over evil.

Matt: Wings in 7. My upset special for the first round. Detroit has been ravaged by injuries all season, but their kids (Tatar, Nyquist, etc.) have helped fill in the holes quite admirably. With Henrik Zetterberg practicing and potentially nearing a return, things are looking up on the injury front. The same can’t be said for Boston, who’s already without some key bottom six forwards in Chris Kelly and Dan Paille, not to mention the questionable status of Patrice Bergeron.

Chris: I’m cheering for Motor City and wish them all the best in a long and glorious cup run. Bruins in 6.

J.J.: Wings in 6. I had a late pick in my playoff pool and lost out on all the Bruins who went early in the draft. I hope Datsyuk and Nyquist both have a big series.

Clay: Bruins in 6. They are hungry and right now the class of the East. Can’t believe I used the word class in describing these goofballs.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens

Victoria: Habs in 6. Sure they’ve got Steven Stamkos, but Habs have Pacioretty and most importantly Price. If he can channel his Olympic mojo, Bolts don’t stand a chance.

Matt: Habs in 7. My early nomination for the toughest series to call. The Bolts have been bolstered with the return of Steven Stamkos (11 goals in 20 games since his return), and provided goaltender Ben Bishop and forwards Valtteri Filppula and Ondrej Palat return for Game 1, should make for a tough test. Montreal is always a motivated club in the postseason, and Carey Price should have extra incentive after claiming the gold in Sochi.

Chris: Habs in 7. Il faut battre le fer pendant qu’il est chaud.

J.J.: Habs in 6. Ca-rey, Ca-rey, Ca-rey! PK and the Vanek-Desharnais-Pacioretty line aren’t bad either.

Clay: Habs in 7. The longer Bishop stays out, the better for Montreal of course. Intrigued by the young Palat and Johnson on Tampa Bay, but I think Montreal is deeper throughout the line-up.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Victoria: Penguins in 4. Fleury has learned his lesson and won’t meltdown… at least not this soon. And Crosby, Neal, Kuntiz and Malkin will make quick work of….of…. whoever plays on Lumbus.

Matt: Penguins in 6. Every NHL postseason, there seems to be that one scrappy, annoying team that defies all odds and just doesn’t seem to go down without a big fight. The Blue Jackets reek of a team that is – perhaps foolishly – motivated to show the rest of the NHL that they’re worth being called a playoff team. The franchise hasn’t won a playoff game before, and the feisty Jackets should be able to embarrass Marc-Andre Fleury for at least a game or two.

Chris: Penguins in 4. Have to feel good for the Blue Jackets for givin’ ‘er a good effort. Pens already have the brooms.

J.J.: Penguins in 5. The Blue Jackets couldn’t beat the Penguins in the regular season; unless playoff-mode Fleury makes an appearance, I really don’t think they’ll beat them in the playoffs either.

Clay: Penguins in 5. Too much firepower up front for Pittsburgh. Plus that Crosby guy.

New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Victoria: Flyers in 7. This, kids, will be the series to watch. It will be long and scrappy in my opinion. AV has the ability to guide a team through the playoffs, but the Rangers have the history of failing early. Flyers have something to prove after a really crappy start to the season. If Giroux can stop with the stupid hits he’s got a history of in playoffs, then Philly will scrape through.

Matt: Rangers in 7. Long live the King. Henrik Lundqvist has been sensational down the stretch, scraping together a .949 save percentage in his final five games and looking as good as he’s ever been. The Rangers’ success hinges largely on his shoulders, but something should be said about New York’s 25 road wins, which are best in the Eastern Conference. It’s hard to see the Rangers not stealing a game on the road.

Chris: Rangers in 6. Because you know the darkest timeline has AV leading the Rangers to the Cup, right?

J.J.: Rangers in 7. Only because it would be so Canuck-y for AV’s new team to have some post-season success immediately after being fired by the Canucks.

Clay: Rangers in 7. Better goaltending. ‘Nuff said.

Jan 092014
 

Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings

With the Canucks just past the halfway point of the season it seems as good a time as any to try and predict where the team may finish at the end of the season in April. Despite a number of gut-wrenching losses in the last few weeks you should still feel pretty good about the Canucks chances to make the playoffs and I’ll breakdown where I think the team will realistically finish in the standings and whether they have much of a chance to pass teams in their division.

Introduction

The chart below shows team’s Fenwick percentages for all 5-on-5 situations as well as in close score situations which is used to help account for score effects. For the uninitiated, Fenwick is a tally of all shot attempts a team takes at 5-on-5 except for those that are blocked. Stated another way, it is shots that are either on-net or missed. Close score situations are games that are tied at any time or within a goal in the first and second period.

So, why should you care about Fenwick? It has been proven that there is a direct correlation between Fenwick and puck possession. It has also been shown that teams that possess the puck the most will win more often. The biggest thing to take away from this is that teams with the best Fenwick percentage over the entire season will finish near the top of the standings over 82 games.

Finally, I’ve also listed PDO. PDO is a measure of how lucky a team is and is simply a team’s shooting percentage plus save percentage at 5-on-5. For example, the Canucks are shooting at 7.5% and stopping 92.8% of their opponent’s shots for a PDO of 100.3. All you really need to know is that teams that are above 100 are considered to be lucky, either shooting or stopping pucks, at a rate that is probably unstainable. Teams that are under 100 are considered unlucky.

The Stats

*All stats taken from extraskater.com

Fenwick For % All 5v5 Fenwick Close PDO
Canucks 50.9 (13th) 52.4 (9) 100.7 (10)
Ducks 51.3 (10) 51.2 (13) 102.3 (2)
Sharks 53.8 (4) 54.1 (3) 99.7 (19)
Kings 55.7 (1) 56.9 (1) 100.9 (9)
Coyotes 50.1 (17) 49.5 (18) 101.2 (7)
Wild 49.8 (18) 49.6 (16) 99.8 (17)
Stars 51.1 (12) 52.5 (8) 100.4 (12)

 

Analysis

At first glance you’ll probably notice that the Pacific is good. Really good. Despite recently losing 5 games in a row, the Kings are legitimately the best team in the division and probably the best team in the conference even though the standings don’t show it. The Canucks are only two points behind them but you can probably go ahead and forget about passing them.

The Sharks are not far behind the Kings and with a five point lead on Vancouver and a game in hand its hard to see the Canucks reigning in the Sharks too especially with the season series between the two teams already completed.

That brings us to Anaheim who are the best team in the NHL points wise. If you are not sold on the Ducks being the best team in the division then you’re not alone. The Ducks are not among the elite in the NHL in puck possession and barely attempt more shots than their opponents. You’ll notice that their PDO is 102.3 which, as I mentioned before, implies that they’ve been extremely lucky. In score close situations, the Ducks are shooting at a ridiculous 10.8% clip. In case you’re wondering, Perry and Getzlaf are not the guys driving up shooting percentage. In the score close situations with Kyle Palmieri, Dustin Penner, and Nick Bonino on the ice, the Ducks are shooting at 15.5%, 13.2% and 12.4% respectively.

The Canucks are 14 points behind the league leaders so there probably isn’t much hope that the Canucks can pass them, but the good news is, the Ducks are looking like a very possible matchup in the playoffs and once the slate is wiped clean I would feel pretty good about Vancouver’s chances in a seven game series. Much better than I would feel then against Los Angeles or San Jose.

As for the Canucks themselves, there was a time when they were not too far off the Kings and Sharks in terms of possession stats but they have slid down into the middle of the pack over the last month or so. You can probably chalk some of that up to injures to guys like Alex Burrows and Alex Edler but every team has issues so I’m not sure if that is much of an excuse. Even during their win steak, the Canucks were being carried due to their goaltending more than their strong play as a team. I’d argue that the team actually played better during their November losing streak then their December winning streak.

As for the rest of the West, I find it hard to see a scenario where two of Phoenix, Minnesota, and Dallas finish ahead of Vancouver for the two Wild Card spots. Of the three teams below the Canucks, Dallas is the most underachieving team mostly due to their goalies being well below average

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the Canucks appear to be a team in a solid playoff position but its hard to see them earning anything more than a Wild Card spot. Even with 37 games to go I think the Canucks are exactly where they’ll end up at the end of the season. The good news is there is plenty of time for Vancouver to get some of their best players back and find a way to hold on to two goal leads with 1:11 left in the game. Plus, they’re lined up to play either the Ducks, a team I think they can beat, or the Chicago Blackhawks, which is always fun.

Nov 152013
 

So, so close. 65 more seconds and the narratives today would have had a markedly different tone.

After beating their playoff nemesis in consecutive games, the Vancouver Canucks would’ve been touted as playoff contenders.

Roberto Luongo would’ve had his 3rd shutout of the season, and perhaps start shutting up some of his critics. (Or not. Who’re we kidding here?)

But alas, after controlling much of the game, the Canucks couldn’t finish on all but one of their scoring chances, gave up the tying goal with 65 seconds left in regulation time, took a penalty in OT, and then dropped a 2-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks.

*sigh*

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

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 072013
 

9054506
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.

Oct 112013
 

If you’ve been off social media for the past couple of hours, you’ve likely missed the news that Alex Edler has been handed a 3 game suspension for the “illegal check to the head” of Tomas Hertl in last night’s game. And I’m likely about to say something that will upset a fair number of you.

I think three games for Edler is reasonable.

Alex Edler hits Mike Smith

Courtesy of AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin


While there is considerable debate to the legality of Edler’s hit itself – of note there was no call on the ice at the time – it’s hard to argue with Brendan “Banahammer” Shanahan’s assertion in his discipline video that the main point of impact is Hertl’s head (as you can see from the video below):

So why the suspension on what most are saying was a “legal” hockey hit (man am I overusing quotation marks)? It has everything to do with the first sentence of Rule 48 – Illegal Check to the Head

A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted.

While there are those who say Hertl hit Edler, I think we all agree a collision took place between and Edler’s arm/shoulder/body caught Hertl’s noggin square. Based on that fact alone, Edler violated Rule 48 and probably got off unfairly unscathed during the game.

For those of you who are about to castigate me in a public fashion, you’re not wrong in thinking there was no malice, intent, or recklessness involved – I don’t believe there was. But the language in the rule itself goes on further to accommodate that line of thought:

However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.

As Shanahan explains in his video, these factors were taken into consideration when doling out supplementary discipline. And I would go as far as to say this whole issue would be moot had Edler made contact with anything other than Hertl’s head.

And lastly, this incident seems far too similar to Edler’s knee-on-knee hit on Eric Staal in last year’s World Cup – another incident where Edler appears slide down the train tracks before contact. With this one, I’ll let you be the judge:

Oct 102013
 
from the 2007 video "The Ultimate Canucks Haiku"

from the 2007 video “The Ultimate Canucks Haiku”

I love me a good haiku.  Perhaps it’s my half-Japanese heritage (Imoo is a Japanese name if you’re wondering; my other half is Chinese).  Perhaps it’s because I’m lazy and a haiku – with its 17 syllables – is one of the shortest poems in existence.  Or maybe it’s because my Ultimate Canucks Haiku video on YouTube (with over 30,000 views) helped me win some nice swag in the Ultimate Canucks Search contest back in 2007 (I’ve included the video at the bottom of this post).

Anyway, back to the syllables.  A proper haiku follows the form of 5-7-5.  That is: a line of 5 syllables, a line of 7 syllables, and then a line of 5 syllables.  Good haiku (or haikus…you can use either form for the plural) usually bunches the first two “lines” together, and then leaves the third line on its own to conclude the poem. Think of it as a 12-syllable phrase followed by a 5-syllable phrase.

Tonight, the San Jose Sharks are in town to face the Vancouver Canucks in a battle for early Pacific Division supremacy.  A big focal point of the Sharks will be their exciting rookie Tomas Hertl.  Hertl enters Thursday’s action leading the NHL in scoring in large part to a great 4-goal performance against the Rangers Tuesday night.

An already highly-anticipated match-up now has an added element of intrigue with Hertl.  Will the Canucks be able to avenge their opening night drubbing to the same Sharks?  Will Hertl continue his hot streak?  And will he dare try a fancy move against Roberto Luongo?

In advance of the game, I went to Twitter to solicit responses for a rather unique CHB Top 10.  Turns out we have a bunch of poets and didn’t even know it.  See what I did there?

Thus, I proudly present to you CHB’s Top 10 Hertl Haiku:

HM:  Hertl Hertl don’t u score on us.  Hertl Hertl please miss the bus.  –submitted by @manlycc

HM:  Ahead of the pack, a quartet he assembled.  Lu will stop him cold.  –submitted by @kdmurray

HM:  European kid never been in a fight so Bieksa will try.  –submitted by @mrsurreyjack

#10:  Cute goal by Hertl.  However three years ago, Daniel did it best.  –submitted by @ClasssicDave

#9:  Of all the damn luck Hertl is good with the puck.  Come, Lu – pull the plug!  -submitted by @cefair

#8:  Sharks are dangerous.  Laying Hertl on Rangers.  Sets up Thursday night. – submitted by @PuckedintheHead

#7:  Luongo, Schneider?  That was the past, this is now.  Luongo, Hertl. –submitted by @mikejang

#6:  I’m Czech Republic hockey player this is dream.  To play with sharks, ya? –submitted by @camcharron

#5:  Hertl is quite good – he scored four times on Tuesday.  Trade Weise for Hertl.  –submitted by @passittobulis

#4:  Thomas Hertl balls.  I’m just saying he’s got game.  I don’t mean his junk.  –submitted by @jamjamtao

#3:  Canucks take on Sharks – oh please Hertl, don’t hurt ‘em.  Bobby Lu, stand tall!  -submitted by @gloomybb

#2:  Look at that kid score.  Twenty, thirty, maybe more.  Unsustainable.  –submitted by @petbugs13

#1:  Who is this Hertl?  If you think he’s a bad guy, better Czech yourself.  –submitted by @rebeccapalooza and @camcharron

 

Oct 072013
 

Welcome to the second TGATT of the Canucks 2013/14 season. Well, really it should’ve been the third by J.J. decided it was a good idea to get all hooped up on mai tais in Hawaii and dropped the ball! Talk about letting down the team, eh?

Anyhow, what did we expect from the Canucks last night? The lackluster effort like we saw in San Jose or the beating we saw them lay against the Oilers at home Saturday?

Sure you did.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Oct 032013
 

canucks/sharks

The last time we see the Canucks and Sharks on the same ice, San Jose’s Patrick Marleau ended Vancouver’s season with an overtime goal. [Photo Credit: AP]

After what seemed like an eternity of useless preseason hockey, the Vancouver Canucks enter the regular season with a new bench boss, (some) new faces, and staring down a whole new era of uncertainty.

Unlike previous years, no one is penciling Vancouver in as early Stanley Cup favourites, and there are plenty of critics who think the club is bound to finish outside of the playoff bubble. There’s plenty cause for concern; the Sedins are a year older, Brad Richardson, Mike Santorelli, Zac Dalpe, and Ryan Stanton are the only additions from last year’s team, and the club success likely hinges around the health of Ryan Kesler and David Booth. Oh, and we haven’t even delved into the gong show that is the Roberto Luongo saga.

Nevertheless, it ultimately still is a brand new season. As quickly as things can go wrong, a team’s misfortune can turn into opportunity. The Canucks embark on a new season tonight against the Sharks, where the newly-named SAP Center (formerly the HP Pavilion) will be the site of the renewed rivalry between Vancouver and San Jose.

Last Year’s Meetings

Fans will remember last year’s humiliating four-game sweep at the hands of the Sharks; the Canucks were outscored 15-8, but two of those losses came in overtime and in actuality the series was closer then the combined score indicates. Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler led the way with a pair of goals each, but the trio of Zack Kassian, Chris Higgins, and Jannik Hansen were held pointless. (Dearly) departed trade deadline acquisition Derek Roy had one assist, so yeah, he won’t be missed.

Who to watch

Booth will play in the regular season opener for the first time as a Canuck after missing last year’s debut with injury, and like stated above, he’s a wildcard for any potential team success. Simply put, John Tortorella is banking on him to returning to his 20-goal form.

It’s also the first time fans will get a look at waiver wire pickup Ryan Stanton on the blueline; he’ll start the game on the third pairing with Chris Tanev. Ditto for recent acquisition Zac Dalpe, who will play between Dale Weise and Tom Sestito on the fourth line.

Roberto Luongo will get the start… Wait, we’re not playing that game anymore?

For the Sharks, keep a close eye on Tomas “Teenage Mutant Ninja” Hertl, San Jose’s 2012 first rounder who will start the year on the top line with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns. Former Penguin-turned-Shark Tyler Kennedy will flank Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau for the second line.

Tonight’s Line Combos

For Vancouver

Sedin – Sedin – Burrows

Higgins – Kesler – Hansen

Booth – Santorelli – Richardson

Weise – Dalpe – Sestito

Edler – Garrison

Hamhuis – Bieksa

Stanton – Tanev

Luongo

Lack

For San Jose

Hertl – Thornton – Burns

Marleau – Couture – Kennedy

Nieto – Pavelski – Wingels

Sheppard – Desjardins – Hamilton

Irwin – Boyle

Vlasic – Braun

Stuart – Demers

Niemi

Stalock

Oct 022013
 

Jerseymusic

As a hockey fan and musician, I enjoy seeing the two worlds come together.  At a hockey game, it starts with the warm-up music followed by the national anthems.  There’s music in between plays (whether live or recorded) and music at the intermission.

Away from the rink you can find hundreds of hockey-themed music videos on YouTube.  And I’ve been known to put a few hockey compositions together, whether it’s a Christmas Carol, a song from a musical,  a classic rock anthem, or an R & B song about our new head coach.

By the way:  my new Canucks song will come out next week…it’s going to be a good one.

So in anticipation of the Canucks’ season opener in San Jose on Thursday night, I took to Twitter and asked:  “What song title do you think best describes the Canucks’ chances and team this year?”

I’m compiled some of the replies for this post.  You’ll see that there is both optimism and pessimism amongst the Vancouver fanbase.  So without further adieu, here are The Top 10 Song Titles Befitting of This Year’s Vancouver Canucks:

Honourable Mentions:

“Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane – submitted by @kdmurray.  Perhaps a reminder that this season is a long journey filled with twists and curves.

“Destination Unknown” by Marietta – submitted by @lyteforce. Of course Chris had to submit something Top Gun related.

“New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel – submitted by @DarcyRotaBlog.  A witty reference to John Tortorella coming to us from the Big Apple…or perhaps a comment at AV going the other way.

“Live and Let Die” by The Wings – submitted by @heatheranner.  Something tells me Heather isn’t counting on a strong season.

 

10.   “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits – submitted by @Canucks_Lions.  Not sure if Andrew is talking about the Canucks not having much cap room, or the money that he shells out for tickets.

9.  “As I Choke” by Ross Copperman – submitted by @OHYAHH.  In his tweet, Justin actually dedicated this song to Roberto Luongo.  How thoughtful.

8.  “Scream” by Michael Jackson – submitted by @Jas_Ferg.  Could be the fans (in a good way).  Could be the fans (in a bad way).  Could be John Tortorella after a loss.

7.  “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay – submitted by @Nrenton.  A nice reminder to all fans that the season is a long one and the window of opportunity might not be shut just yet.

6.  “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi – submitted by @Kyotea and @sylandrews.  Looks like Wylie and Sylvia think the Canucks are in need of some Divine Intervention.

5.  “Baby Blue” by Badfinger – submitted by @PrisonBull.  A very timely and clever suggestion given that this song was featured in the series finale of Breaking Bad this past weekend.  Not exactly sure how the line “Guess I got what I deserved” fits in though.  Or maybe the band name is in reference to Alex Burrows allegedly biting Patrice Bergeron’s finger a couple of years ago.

4.  “We are the Champions” by Queen – submitted by @Angie_Canucks.  Angie is a die-hard Canucks fan and truly believes that this is the year.

3.  “Break Your Heart” by Taio Cruz – submitted by @carlz8.  Something tells me that Carly had a rough go of it in June 2011 (and in the two subsequent playoff years).

2.  “I Love You” by Barney – submitted by @PPGoose.  In his tweet, Puck Puck Goose pointed out that the lyric of “won’t you say you love me too” says it all.

1.  “Believe” by Yellowcard – submitted by @JThompsondesign.  Now that’s a glass-half full approach!

 

And for making it to the very end, here’s a bonus music video for you: my Justin Bieber parody from Christmas 2011 called “Under the Minneso”:

 

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