First, a confession. I watched Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals with Tracy, my two sisters and their significant others. About halfway through the third period, I received a text message from a friend who was watching the game on the CBC screens that said fights were starting and things were getting out of hand. I had a sick feeling in my stomach, not because the Canucks are about to lose their best chance to finally lift Lord Stanley’s mug, but because I remember 1994 and the riots that happened then all too well. All of us left with...Click here to read more.
Tagged: season preview
After the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Final, I stepped away from hockey for a while (in reality, it was about two weeks). I couldn’t watch anything hockey-related; every time TSN or Sportsnet would show clips of the Boston Bruins lifting the Stanley Cup in Vancouver’s own home, it was like that knife in my back twisted, and dug a little deeper. I watched a lot of sports movies in that time. Some for the first time, others for the millionth time. One movie which never seems to fail me is Friday Night Lights. For those who haven’t seen...Click here to read more.
Yesterday it was the Eastern Conference goalies. Today, the Western Conference as we wrap up our positional previews. A+ Grade Nashville Last Year (B-) A stellar playoff performance proved Pekka Rinne is more than just a product of an elite defensive team. He’s the Conference’s best goaltender right now. If injured, Anders Lindback is a more-than-capable replacement. A- Grade Anaheim Last Year (B) Vertigo derailed what was shaping up to be a Vezina-worthy season for Jonas Hiller. Symptom-free, he’s an elite goaltender. Dan Ellis is an okay backup in the short-term, but any injury to Hiller and the Ducks are...Click here to read more.
Any discussion of the New Jersey Devils chances this year is riddled with questions: Is Peter DeBoer a good coach? Is the team going bankrupt or not? Do Adam Lambert and Adam Larsson look anything alike? Is this Zach Parise’s last year with the team? When will Travis Zajac be back? Yet the biggest question of them all is “what can Devils fans expect from Martin Brodeur.” Brodeur, arguably the best goalie of his generation, enters the season as a 39-year old. Like the rest of his team, Brodeur’s pre- (2.84 GAA, .895 SVPT) and post- (1.84, .919) all-star game...Click here to read more.
As we approach the 2011/2012 season, here now is a preview piece on Canucks defenseman, Dan Hamhuis. What we remember: A native of Smithers, BC, Dan Hamhuis gave up $6.5 million per year from the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators to sign with the hometown Canucks. It didn’t take long before he endeared himself to Canucks fans. Hamhuis’ effect on the Canucks’ defense corps was undeniable. He was a calming influence on Kevin Bieksa, and together, they formed the team’s top shutdown duo. While not known for his offensive skills, he showed good mobility with the puck and put...Click here to read more.
Our season preview series continues today with some thoughts on forward Mikael Samuelsson. What we remember: After a career-high 30 goals in 2009/2010, Mikael Samuelsson lit the red lamp just 18 times in 2010/2011 as he tried to play through a leg injury for much of the regular season. The only current Canucks player to ever get his name on the Stanley Cup, Samuelsson’s postseason was also cut short – he didn’t play again after game 5 of the Canucks second round series against the Nashville Predators – and he underwent sports hernia surgery. What we expect: Samuelsson is one...Click here to read more.
Yesterday I talked about the Western Conference (and Two and a Half Men..which I will never talk about again willingly). Let’s take a look at the Eastern Conference rankings today. A quick note on all of these rankings. Each likely starting player and coach was given a letter grade (in a player’s case based on their likely contribution, previous performance and ability). Each letter grade had a numerical value, and a team’s ranking is a result of a team’s total score in that particular area (coaching, defence, forwards, and goaltenders). A+ Grade Pittsburgh Last Year (A) If Sidney Crosby’s healthy,...Click here to read more.
Season Preview: Ranking the Western Conference Forwards (and Ashton Kutcher’s Two and a Half Men Debut)
What do Michael Ryder and Ashton Kutcher have in common? Both have previously enjoyed success in supporting roles, and now both are being asked to replace bigger stars that left town after difficult contract negotiations. It’s doubtful either will make anyone forget who they’re replacing anytime soon. Last Monday, more than 27 million viewers tuned in to see how Two and a Half Men would replace Charlie Sheen with Ashton Kutcher. For those that missed it but wondered how it went, allow me to summarize: blandly juvenile. Granted, juvenile jokes and innuendo are a big reason why Two and a...Click here to read more.
Next stop in our Canucks season preview series, defenseman Alex Edler. What we remember: Only 25 years old and having just finished his fourth full year in the NHL, Alex Edler just keeps getting better. In 2010/2011, he missed almost half the season due to a back injury, but still put up 8 goals and 33 points – a pace that would’ve seen him score more than 10 goals and 50 points had he played in all 82 games. Edler’s play before and after his injury drew praise from his teammates. After all, he’s big and physical and skilled and...Click here to read more.
Continuing our Canucks season preview series, today we look at Alex Burrows. What we remember: Burrows emerged as a big-game player during the 2011 playoffs, where he racked up 9 goals and 17 points as compared to a total of 7 goals and 11 points in three previous postseasons. Included in his 9 goals were 2 game-winners: the now infamous “slay the dragon goal” in OT in game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks, and the goal he scored only 11 seconds into OT in game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins. The goal against the Blackhawks,...Click here to read more.