Apr 192010
 

The Canucks take their show on the road with the series tied at 1-1. Can they play better than their 19-20-2 regular season road record indicates? Without the benefit of last change, how can the Canucks contain Drew Doughty? Can Demitra prove that he’s no Justin Williams? Can the Canucks stop taking stupid penalties?

Apr 012010
 

- I was in the Vancouver daily 24 hours today for the 5 on 5 segment. It was fun and those involved sure bring the funny. It’s pretty flattering Guts Mctavish asked me since he’s one of the very funniest puppets or people I know. An online version can be found here if you’re so inclined.

- On the Shane O’Brien situation, while he’s made bad decisions and deserves some discipline from the Canucks, the person (or people) that sent the picture to Deadspin are so SO low. If you do a little research it’s clear that picture wasn’t even from the past Sunday night they were claiming. I bet whoever took the picture was totally buddy buddy with Shane at the time. Sure, he’s a big boy and he put himself in this situation but I still think it was classless and it makes me glad I’m not at all famous. Although, NICE velvet blazer Shane baybee, really. That’s some gorgeous fabric.

- Ken Campbell has a blog for The Hockey News claiming Hanky doesn’t deserve the Hart trophy because he has too many secondary assists (Which Campbell believes aren’t valuable) Bish please. He obviously hasn’t watched the Sedins and the Canucks much this season. Hank isn’t collecting freebie assists by any means. I wrote off THN after they wrote my cousin an insulting and false draft profile in 2008 and I think I’ll keep it that way. No meatballs for you, Mr Campbell.

- The Canucks can FINALLY clinch a playoff spot tonight if they get just one point against the Kings. So even an OT/shootout loss will work, boys. I would prefer an actual win though wink wink. I’m actually missing the game because I’m going to JOHN MAYER TONIGHT! But if I read good news on my phone after the show I’m pretty sure I will look like this:

Mar 302010
 

- So our very own lovely Hank Sedin was the first player to get to 100 points. Wow! I was chatting on twitter and mentioned that I would bake Hank 100 cuppycakes when he reached 100 points. It was mostly a joke and I figured it would take him a little longer to do so but hey a declaration on twitter is fairly binding. So, this holiday weekend I will be making a big pile of cuppycakes with Swedish flags and Canucks colours. Maybe even Swedish fish. Look for a post documenting the deliciousness.

- Mr. Hanky has also been talked up as a Hart trophy favourite(MVP). I think in the end the Eastern bias of most voters will leave him high and dry and they’ll give it to Ovechkin or one of the other stars but I would love to see him win. TSN.ca has an interesting bit of info in regards to Hank being the points leader that whould help his case for trophies if I were voting

“Henrik may be benefiting from the fact that Ovechkin has missed 10 games this season, but of the NHL’s top five scorers, only Sedin is playing fewer than 20 minutes per game. The others are averaging at least two minutes more per contest.”

Hank wants to make you some Swedish HARTballs. Be careful he might give you a HARTattack!

- Just one more brief Hank note. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures to sip your morning coffee and pull up the NHL leaders page on NHL.com to see Hank’s funny little mug shot at the top of the points AND assists columns.

- You know what’s very irksome? Looking at the conference standings and having the Canucks be the only team in the top four of both conferences to not have officially clinched a playoff spot. It’s such a tease! I want to be able to start swooning over playoff beards and put my flag up (on my door since I don’t have a car) and paint my nails and face and all that delightfully silly stuff. So pull up your hockey socks boys! Just win a couple games and get that adorable little X by your name.

- Honestly, I have a hard time coming up with a “Things better than a playoff beard” list. They just make me coo. I find the wide variety of beards on any one team to be amusing. Alex Burrows has the tiny thin very French looking one and Luongo looks like a hairy drug lord. A beard for every taste!

- So, Shane baybee was late to practice yesterday and then AV refused to even answer a question about him. Today it came out that he’s scratched for tonight’s game AND won’t be making the trip to California. My goodness. There’s obviously a little more to this than just being late once. He had been playing so well recently too. Oh Shane. He’s like that boy in high school you liked a lot but would always end up disappointing you with his bad choices. See, this is why I don’t need a soap opera in my life. I have my hockey team!

- There are a new batch of playoff ads asking what if X player hadn’t scored that goal or what if X event hadn’t happened. I really like the Bobby Orr one but the Mark Messier one is just mean. Hasn’t he stolen enough Canucks fans metaphorical baby blankets already? Get off my TV! I still prefer the Cup Raise ad from last season for all my pure goose bump needs.

- I have a long history of hating on the NHL’s marketing when it comes to their female apparel, accessories, and well everything really. I mean sure a lot of it would work if my one goal was to get Sidney Crosby to see my “I’d give my kidney to make out with Sidney” sign at the game. But for the serious female fan it’s generally a horror show. So colour me surprised when I kind of fell in love with the Canucks bikini. No pink! No sparkles! A flattering fit! Team colours! Is it Christmas? Perfect for a long playoff run…

Feb 052010
 

[Editor's note: CHB would like to welcome Chris Golden as a contributor to the site. As you'll be able to see from his first post, he's a tough-love kinda guy. Don't worry, we think he'll come around after SOB scores a big goal in the playoffs.]

*****

Hidey ho folks!  Remember me?  No?!  I’m hurt. Some of you may recognize me from my witty (or witless) banter in the official Canucks Fan Zone Live Blog, others may know me more as@lyteforce from the vast twitterverse, and one of you probably hangs out at my blog. Regardless of how you know me, I happened to come across the keys to the front door of the Canucks Hockey Blog and thought I’d give ‘er a spin.

So before we start, let’s get one thing clear – I don’t “hate” the Canucks. Far from it. I’m completely enamoured with the team and tend to see things through Canucks-tinted sunglasses. It’s just a few players who I love to hate. It’s like how I hate Chris Pronger – he’s a great player, I’d love to see him patrolling the blue line for the Canucks, but I’d boo him anyway. That’s just how I roll.

Anywho, the first person on my Love to Hate list is obviously Shane O’Brien. Any opportunity I get, I’m on his case – it’s just that easy. SOB brings great size to the Canucks blueline and has some potential, but like how coal turns into diamonds, I just don’t have the patience to wait for the transformation. So I hate him. Whether he’s on the ice or not, I blame him for the goal. Or whenever there’s talk about retiring someone’s jersey, I point out that SOB’s should be hung in the penalty box. I’ll concede his play as of late has improved drastically, but I’m set in my ways.

The second person on the list is Sami Salo. Sami’s a great guy. He’s a solid D-man who brings stability on the blue line, has a booming slapper that could kill, can throw a breakout pass well enough to send Jim Sandlak in alone, and provides veteran leadership. The problem is these benefits are only available for the 20 games he’s healthy for, so I hate. Word is, Sami has one of those “this workplace has been injury free for” signs in his dressing stall for inspiration when he’s healthy for extended periods of time. It’s that bad. I’ve also heard from unreliable sources that the trainers always check on Sami after a thundering hit – even though he was sitting in the press box watching the game just in case the shockwave sets him back a few days.

I could go on forever, but I won’t. Here’s the rundown of my top 4 “love to hate” players:

  • Shane O’Brien
  • Sami Salo
  • Kyle Wellwood – The guy can stickhandle in a telephone booth, but plays like he actually is in one.
  • Kevin Bieksa – Sami Salo lite but with a frown.

So who do you love to hate? Or am I completely out to lunch? Let me know!

Jan 062010
 

Shane O’Brien’s gone from being in Alain Vigneault’s doghouse to becoming the latest breakout Canuck in a handful of Canucks that are having breakout years or have noticeably improved play. After leading the leagues in penalty minutes last year, being roasted for his lack of grit, lack of physicality, offense, defense and everything in between, people were shocked that he was extended a year at the healthy price of 1.6 million dollars. While O’Brien showed considerable improvement in the second half of last year, he certainly had a long way to go to earn that inflated salary of his and just when everyone was ready to give up on the guy what seems like a Christmas Miracle happened.

After seeing the press box for a few games, O’Brien came back into the lineup as Vigneault was juggling blue liners and something had changed. Shane O’Brien had a few good games, and the next thing you know he’s playing a style of game we haven’t seen him play since he arrived in Vancouver via a trade with Tampa Bay. O’Brien racked up a 13 game stretch without taking a minor penalty and then scored one of the most anticipated goals in recent years as he finally got his first career regular season goal in a Canucks uniform ending his 166 game goalless drought.

Of note, O’Brien’s learned to play his game within the confines of the referees, but he’s also learning to make the smart offensive pinch and he’s taken his physical game to another level. The blue liner is quickly increasing his stock as a player and as much as he’s become the player you love to hate, his play of late has been the best we’ve seen from him and what’s more surprising is he’s continuing to be play consistently responsible (for the most part) defensive hockey.

What’s interesting about this when you think about it, is O’Brien’s play has gotten him more ice time, but it’s also landed him smack dab in the middle of the trade block. With the Olympic break drawing near, now’s the perfect time to start considering trade bait and what’s likely to happen and on a team with such a solid blue line, his play has made him a movable player with a movable salary. The Canucks don’t have a lot of movable players right now and the fact that Shane O’Brien’s play has improved marks him as one of the expendable players which actually has some value. If he were to go somewhere it would likely be in a package deal.

The other option for O’Brien might be as a rental during the playoffs. Something similar to what the Canucks did a few deadlines ago when they chose to pick up then former Canucks blue liner Brent Sopel for the remainder of the season. O’Brien can provide that solid presence on the bottom of end of your blue line and in this recent turn around he’s also showed that he’s become more versatile. This has seen him play more minutes on the PK, but it’s also getting him the occasional powerplay time and in general has increased his time on ice stats.

O’Brien doesn’t want to be a press box staple, and his ticket out might just be at the deadline. With that being said the Canucks don’t have the abundance of blue liners they had at the start of the year and this might be Shane O’Brien’s chance to prove to everyone that he can finally outweigh the liabilities he comes with by backing it up with solid blue line play.

Dec 182009
 

It’s no surprise that O’Brien’s been in the hot seat for most of his time in Vancouver. Be it for taking bad penalties, own goals or glaring errors that cost the Canucks. He’s probably the only person that gets more flak for going to the penalty box than Mats Sundin. That and the fact we had Schneider just sitting ready to go lead to O’Brien’s timeout in the press box.

With that in mind it’s no surprise the Canucks have a couple of extra defenceman and I’m fairly sure it’s a no-brainer if you had to pick between O’Brien and Schneider. Shane’s salary is large enough that he’s not someone you want sitting out of games regularly and as quiet as O’Brien’s been about it I’m sure he isn’t the type to just shut up and sit his season away in the press box.

O’Brien’s been slotted in recently and I think this is his time to shine and he’s being showcased. With Lukowich on the farm, and Schneider’s experience O’Brien just doesn’t have the fit he needs on this blueline. While he’s still a young defenceman with promise, his play of late that’s seen him notch a few assists, get in a fight, and solid play. Most importantly his play of late has been penalty free with the exception of the fighting major against Anaheim. The way O’Brien’s playing right now, if you’re Gillis you have to be thinking of some way to package the guy up in a deal that sees multiple players leave Vancouver and one return.

O’Brien’s been quiet, he hasn’t said much about his limited play, but he’s not a staple on this team and there’s nights where he leaves much to be desired. With his status on the roster almost a day to day decision, it’s starting to come off that he’s being played sparingly at times just to showcase his talent and his penalty-free ability.

O’Brien’s been alright while he’s been here, but he’s a penalty liability, and with the exception of his last handful of games, he’s lacked penalty-free grit, hasn’t fought, and his offensive game leaves much to be desired. This isn’t a post to slag on Shane O’Brien. He hasn’t been bad, he hasn’t been good, and to be honest the guy has grown on me. However, as we approach the New Year, Olympic Break, and ultimately the trade deadline, you have to think that he’s being showcased right now and will be gone before the end of the year.

May 222009
 

- It appears I’m jumping on the Penguins bandwagon for the rest of the playoffs. The Wings don’t need another Cup. As much as like a bunch of their players, as a whole team I just can’t get behind them. I’ve tried embracing this crush on the Blackhawks that the NHL keeps pimpin, but I can’t do it. They’re kind of whiney and I find I giggle too much when they do badly. The Canes are pretty cool actually. But I’m chillin with the Penguins because of two things

1) MALKIN. His hat trick last night, especially the third goal, was mesmerizing. I could watch it over and over. He makes me want to learn Russian and have him over to make perogies and drink vodka. We can play his highlight video in the background. And how adorable were his parents in the stands?

2) LETANG! He is beautiful to watch skate and he has the most magical long flowing hair. I mean I really do want to ask him what product he uses because my hair never looks that good. TSN had a lovely but rather heartbreaking interview with Letang about how he still thinks of Luc Bourdon. H/T to wraparoundcurl. It’s hard to believe it was almost a year ago. RIP. You can’t help but cheer on Letang’s team, honestly.

- I’m not too fond of this Neidermayer brother rumour. I’d rather they worry about getting the identical brothers we already do have re signed. I’m not particularly fond of either of them, but even looking past my lack of fondness, I don’t think there’s enough cash. Scott would probably average what 5 or 6 million? Then his bro would probably want around 1.5/2 ish? It seems like Rob wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over the third/fourth line guys we already have. I suppose Scott by himself would make some sense. I’m still thinking Gillis walks away from this though.

- The Flyers are rumoured to have offered the Canucks Jeff Carter for Lui and the rights to negotiate with Matty Ohlund with possible other smaller profile players involved as well. Now, I am not on this weird trade Lui train at all and I know Gillis said he wouldn’t but Jeff Carter would be pretty damn nice to have around. Just close your eyes and imagine it for funsies. That wrist shot makes me purr…

- I think next season will be fun to watch with this little youth movement that’s starting to happen. Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner have a shot to make the team. I hope Gillis manages to make offers to Jannik Hansen and Welly and Ripper. SOB was an adventure this year but was also really solid at times. I hope he gets re signed. It’s certainly not going to be boring at the very least. I’m already jonesing for new Canucks hockey. Is it September yet?

Nov 142008
 
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