- Looks like it’s Schneider time (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- Canucks notebook: Sanford sits out (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- ‘I’m ahead of schedule,’ says Luongo (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Canucks shoot… they don’t score (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Kesler, Burrows need goals (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- O’Brien trying to stay out of penalty box (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- Hurt Lu hurts, but Wellwood makes it well (Guts Mactavish, 24 Hours Vancouver)
- Vancouver Canucks’ performance looks very familiar (Jeff Patterson, Georgia Straight)
I’m trying to look for a silver lining in the Canucks’ 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. I’d like to say that they at least outplayed the Jackets, only to be outplayed by rookie goaltender Steve Mason. Or that they’ve bounced back after back-to-back losses to the Calgary Flames.
The Canucks weren’t good. Well, maybe they were in the third period, but they still squandered a 2-1 lead with only 11 minutes left in the game. The powerplay connected twice – which matched their total from the last week and a half – but the team also gave the Jackets 8 chances of their own on the powerplay, including 3 in the first period alone. Curtis Sanford was good stopping all 11 shots he faced in the first 20 minutes, but then he left after his back gave out.
The Canucks have now lost three games in a row, the second time this season they’ve “accomplished” that feat. (Coincidentally, the first time this happened was back in October and the third loss was also against Columbus.) It’s not pretty in Canucksland, and with a back-to-back against the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild coming up, it could get downright ugly.
- Canucks go from toast of the town to just toast (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- Canucks drop third straight to Blue Jackets (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Canucks down to one healthy goalie (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Now a bad back, just Sanford’s luck (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- Controversial autograph-signing session hounds Burrows (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- The faceoff: Luck has nothing to do with it (Yvonne Zacharias, Vancouver Sun)
- Kesler won’t forgive Umberger (Faceoff.com)
- First taste of the show (Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun)
- Chat with coach spurs to snap six-game drought (Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun)
- Mason saves the day (Aaron Portzline, Columbus Dispatch)
The Vancouver Canucks lost both games of a home-and-home series against the Calgary Flames. It was ugly in a sense that the Flames – and the Minnesota Wild – are now a single point behind our division-leading ‘Nucks, but also, the more offensive style of hockey we watched the first 22 games disappeared sometime between the first and second periods of Thursday night’s game. The Canucks were outchanced and outshot in both games, though truth be told, this isn’t anything new. (They have now been outshot in 15 of their first 24 games.)
On Thursday, what was noticeable was how much the Canucks sat back after taking their 1-0 and 2-1 lead. Their play in fact was reminiscent of the 2007/2008 season and it wasn’t until Calgary took a 3-2 lead that the Canucks started forcing the play again. They of course tied the game midway through the third period before surrendering the game-winning goal on a giveaway and a breakaway.
On Saturday, the Canucks sat back and generated little in the way of offensive chances. I don’t know if this was a conscious tactic – given that they were on the road and had rookie Cory Schneider in net for his first NHL start – but they rarely ventured into the Flames zone. And when they did, they rarely tested Mikka Kiprusoff.
If there were any positives from the two losses, it’s that Curtis Sanford and Cory Schneider proved that they are capable of filling in for the injured Roberto Luongo. Sanford had won 3 games in a row and stopped 78 of 83 shots before losing his start on Thursday. Schneider was cool, calm and very good in his start on Saturday; he stopped 28 of 31 shots.
Knowing that both goalies are alright, let’s see if Vigneault loosens the leash on the offense a bit again.
- Cowboy hat trick stalls drive (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Flame Cammalleri haunts former agent Gillis (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun)
- Hidden problems revealed (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)
- Too sloppy, too loose, too confused (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- Checking line still in a drought (Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province)
- Been there, done that… again (Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province)
- Cammalleri pulls his first career hat trick (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province)
- Cammalleri’s hat trick proves difference (Matthew Sekeres, Globe and Mail)
- All’s well now for Wellwood (Scott Cruickshank, Calgary Herald)
- Cammalleri wears hat in Flames win (Scott Cruickshank, Calgary Herald)
- Long road worth it to goalie (Randy Sportak, Calgary Sun)
- Belief system wins out (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun)
- Sanford stones Cup champs (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)
- ‘Don’t be Luongo, Louie’ (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun)
- Luongo suffers common goalie injury (Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun)
- Salo wires home the winning goal (Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province)
- Sanford’s biggest save yet to come (Ed Willes, Vancouver Province)
- Sedins, Demitra keep clicking (Jim Jamieson, Vancouver Province)
- Luongo has groin strain, not tear (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province)
- Red Wings fall to Canucks in overtime (Dave Dye, Detroit News)
- Red Wings lose lead late, game in overtime (Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press)
- Big pads for goalie to fill (Adam Wazny, Winnipeg Sun)
- Canucks going green to turn ice white (Bruce Constantineau, Vancouver Sun)
- GM Place won’t soon be getting any new name like Honda Place (Jim Jamieson, Vancouver Province)
- Canucks mix their emotions (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)
- Wait may be over for Canucks’ top draft pick (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun)
- Schneider has opportunity (Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province)
- Tough game even without Luongo (Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province)
- Luongo’s injury could put Schneider on display (Scott Rintoul, Metro News Vancouver)
- Safety net lacking (Adam Wazny, Winnipeg Sun)
- Salmon Kings’ goalie gets Moose call thanks to Luongo injury (Cleve Dheensaw, Victoria Times Colonist)
We should find out the results of Roberto Luongo’s MRI after the Monday morning skate (TSN), so until then, we’ll be sitting on pins and needles. Of course, the hope is that the injury is relatively-minor – i.e. that he didn’t tear anything – and that he could be back on the ice in a couple of weeks or so.
Just for fun, here are the number of games Lui would miss depending on how long he’s out for:
- 1 week: 3 games (2 home, 1 away)
- 2 weeks: 7 games (2 home, 5 away)
- 4 weeks: 12 games (5 home, 7 away)
- 6 weeks: 20 games (10 home, 10 away)
- 8 weeks: 26 games (15 home, 11 away)
- 10 weeks: 31 games (19 home, 12 away)
- 12 weeks: 38 games (20 home, 18 away)
- 16 weeks (4 months): 50 games (28 home, 22 away)
In the meantime, Curtis Sanford will get the starts and Cory Schneider, who was called up from the Manitoba Moose (canucks.com), will back him up.
Can Sanford and Schneider handle the load?
The truth is, I have more faith that Sanford can handle the increased workload than I had in previous Canucks backups. I don’t know where that comes from, but for whatever reason, I don’t worry about the Sandman being in net than say Dany Sabourin or Maxime Ouellet. Maybe it’s because Sanford has some experience as a starter – he essentially took over from Manny Legace in the latter half of the 2006/2007 season when Legace was injured – and played not bad. From January 26, 2007 to the end of the season, he played in 19 games and posted a 6-7-3 record. Last season, when Luongo was injured for a couple of weeks, Sanford started 5 games and went 2-2-1. Again, not a mind-boggling record, but not bad either. He’s only appeared in 4 games so far this season, but especially in his last 2 games – this week’s wins against Minnesota and Pittsburgh – he’s looked more comfortable and have played much better. Likewise, the team is playing better in front of him and Lui himself has some strong words of support for Sanford (Vancouver Province).
“I think we do have a great goalie,” Luongo said of Sanford. “He’s been unbelievable since training camp, and you shouldn’t notice any difference out there.”
Like he’d say anything else, right?
I don’t know how many games Schneider will get to play, but there’s good reason to think he’ll do fine when he does. He’s arguably the best goaltender in the AHL this season and perhaps we’ll soon see how his play translates into the NHL (Vancouver Sun).
Curtis Sanford is expected to start after consecutive wins but Schneider appears more than ready based on his American League stats with the Manitoba Moose. The redhead from Marblehead, Mass., is 10-1-0 with an eye-popping 1.37 goals against average and .945 save percentage. He’s won those 10 in consecutive fashion after dropping his season-opener.
Like everyone else, I’ll be waiting for tomorrow morning’s news and hope for Lui’s speedy recovery. Or that Sanford and Schneider can step up.
- Winning – and grinning (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)
- Salo’s sidelined again (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)
- Demitra loves sticking it to old team (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province)
- Sanford stands tall between pipes (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province)
- Saturday likely going to shootout (Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province)
- Gillis-Bettman meeting right on schedule (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province)
- Pavol Demitra’s return haunts Wild (Michael Russo, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
- ‘We just do our job’ (Adam Wazny, Winnipeg Sun)
- He’s one of the best left-wingers in Canucks history (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province)
- Blueshirts not low skill, low scoring (Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province)
- Raymond out to dump funk (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province)
- Backup Sanford wants a start, sort of (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province)
- Edler’s ready for Rangers (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)
- Markus Naslund skating under the radar for Rangers (Michael Obernauer, NY Daily News)
- Stingy Blueshirts getting by with D (Dan Martin, NY Post)