Apr 142014
 

It’s been a memorable season, though mostly for the wrong reasons. Last night, the Canucks handed out their awards; today, it’s our turn to handpick some of the best of the best and the worst of the worst of the 2013/2014 Canucks season.

*****

Manny Malhotra Award for Most Underappreciated Forward
(presented by Clay)

Winner: Mike Santorelli

Mike Santorelli, Vancouver Canucks

Mike Santorelli, Vancouver Canucks

It’s no coincidence that the Canucks’ woes started at around the same time that Mike Santorelli went down thanks to Martin Hanzal of the Phoenix Coyotes. Up until that point, Santorelli was enjoying a career year with 28 points in 49 games, including a wonderful stretch of 12 points in 11 games in late November and early December. He played mostly at centre (with a bit of time on the wing) and gave the team some depth and a different look. It will be interesting to see if Trevor Linden is able to lock up him to a new contract.

Runner-Up: Brad Richardson

Brad Richardson has quietly put together a strong year and his 23 points in his second-best career total. He is a reliable penalty killer and strong in his own end, as he is one of the few Canucks with a positive +/- rating. He is the anchor of the Canucks’ third line that has been a pleasant surprise and best line for the team at times.

*****

Dana Muryzn Award for Most Underappreciated Defenseman
(presented by Matt)

Winner: Chris Tanev

In a season where just about everything went wrong, Chris Tanev was one of the few bright spots from the blueline. Tanev retained his defensive stalwart status and rarely looked out of place, and even made some strides offensively by potting six goals and adding eleven assists, which by Tanev standards is quite pleasant.

Runner-Up: Ryan Stanton

Stanton, who gets our honorable mention, proved to be a stabilizing force as a third pairing blueliner. Not bad for a waiver wire pickup.

*****

Jason King Award for Most Promising Young Player
(presented by J.J.)

Winner: Zack Kassian

In just his second full NHL season, Kassian posted 14 goals, 15 assists and 29 points, all but 1 goal on even-strength, and mostly while playing in the bottom-six. Kass’ development – his physical play, presence and control improved immensely as the season went on – should be encouraging for the Canucks, who have been clamoring for a big and skilled winger for a long time.

Runner-Up: Eddie Lack

At one point this season, Lack was among the league’s best in GAA, save percentage and shutouts. His numbers dipped in the last couple of months as Torts started him in 19 consecutive games after the Olympic Break, but still, it’s been a season to build on for the rookie goaltender, who, barring the Canucks acquiring another big-name goaltender in the summer, will be the team’s starter moving forward.

*****

Barry Pederson Award for Most Disappointing Player
(presented by Matt)

Winner: Alex Burrows

For everything that could be said about the lack of production from the Sedin twins, Alex Burrows was supposed to be the constant. Troublesome and untimely injuries limited him to just five goals in 49 games, but valid excuses aside, this is a player who was a mortal lock for 25+ goals annually. Are those days gone?

Runner-Up: David Booth

Expectations were tempered from the start so it’s hard to say he was disappointing when you’re not expecting a whole lot.

*****

Alexander Mogilny Award for Best Player in a Bad Season
(presented by Delia)

Winner: Mike Santorelli

Despite being out since late January, Mike Santorelli was the Canucks best player in this bad, bad season. When healthy, Santorelli was a very consistent player – played well, scored goals, and assisted on many goals. In fact, despite missing the final 33 games of the season, Santorelli still sits in 6th place on the Canucks points leaderboard with 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists).

Runner-Up: Eddie Lack

The Canucks sure lacked a lot this season, but for the most part, they didn’t lack goaltending. After Roberto Luongo was traded to the Florida Panthers, Eddie Lack was left with the number one job, and he certainly did not disappoint. Since February 26th, Lack played 19 consecutive games, and had an 8-9-2 record with 2 shutouts in that period.

*****

Brandon Reid Award for Best Callup
(presented by J.J.)

Winner: Nicklas Jensen

While the Canucks’ top-six were dropping like flies mid-season, Canucks fans repeatedly asked for Jensen to be called up from the Utica Comets. After getting passed over by 4th line guys like Darren Archibald and Kellan Lain initially, Jensen finally got his opportunity on March 8th, and he proceeded to post 5 points (3 goals and 2 assists) in his first 7 games.

Runner-Up: Kellan Lain

In Lain’s first game in the bigs, he logged a grand total of 2 seconds, yet ended up with a fight and 15 minutes in penalties. In his second game, he scored a goal on his second shift. It’s about as memorable a start to an NHL career as anyone’s.

*****

The Martin Rucinsky We Probably Won’t Miss You When You’re Gone Award
(presented by Lizz)

Winner: Alex Edler

David Booth may have seemed like a shoo-in for this one. After all he does seem like the most likely candidate for being bought out this summer, but I find the argument that Edler is actually the better long-term buy-out choice pretty convincing, and even if he’s not, new President Trevor Linden has already revealed that he’s not against asking a player to waive a no-trade clause, so we could see Edler submitting a destination list this summer.

So why exactly won’t we be missing him? Well since signing his new six-year extension in early 2013, he hasn’t exactly done much to convince anyone he’s earned it.

Edler also finished the season with a league-worst (!) minus-39 rating. Now you may say plus/minus doesn’t mean much of anything, and I agree it’s not the most insightful stat, but that is still an awful lot of time to be on the ice when goals are being scored against your team.

It’s really only a symptom of a larger issue.

Edler hasn’t been making smart plays, he’s often found out of position, production is down, and overall he’s been ineffective at his role, so congratulations Alex Edler, you’ve won our 2013-14 Martin Rucinsky We Probably Won’t Miss You When You’re Gone Award.

*****

Cody Hodgson Award for Best Drama
(presented by Ashley)

Winner: John Tortorella’s intermission showdown vs. the Calgary Flames (January 18, 2014)

John Tortorella takes home the Cody Hodgson Award for Best Drama. His performance behind the bench – i.e. how he lead practically every Canuck to have career-worst seasons – contributed to this, but his breakout performance was his storming of the Calgary Flames’ locker room during the first intermission of their home game on January 18th.

Tortorella’s confrontation was captured live during Hockey Night In Canada and led to a 15-day suspension, without pay and no contact with his team. I’m sure in Torts’ acceptance speech a big thanks will go out to Bob Hartley for his supporting role.

Runner-Up: The Heritage Classic goaltending controversy (March 2, 2014)

Coming in a close second is the Heritage Classic goaltending controversy. Seemingly out of nowhere, a goaltending controversy was created – Eddie Lack was given the starting position for the Heritage Classic, a decision that didn’t sit well with the fans, who thought Roberto Luongo had earned that starter spot, and deserved to be starting this historical game; their issue was not with Lack, but with the organization. The drama came to a head as fans made their displeasure known during the starting line-up announcement, “Eddie Lack” was announced to resounded “Boos” and “We Want Lu!” chants.

*****

Esa Tikkanen Award for Best Comedy
(presented by Jocelyn)

Winner: The line brawl against the Calgary Flames on January 18, 2014

Everything about this event gets the award: the Flames starting the 4th line; Bieksa taking the face-off; Kellan Lain getting 2 seconds of play in his first NHL game before getting a game misconduct, while his parents flew all the way from Ontario to see him play; Sestito’s comment after the game and, of course, John Tortorella’s infamous reaction, including him storming to the Calgary dressing room. This moment will go down as one of the most infamous moments in Canucks history.

Runner-Up: Twitter’s reaction after the Canucks’ third period collapse against the New York Islanders on March 10, 2014

The Canucks were up 3-0 going into the third period and ended up losing 7-4. The Islanders scored SEVEN GOALS in one period of hockey — something that would truly only happen to the Canucks, and this season especially. Many people, like myself, had traded the game during the second intermission (the Canucks were winning, after all) to go to other things, so the post-game reactions were what really made this event truly comical. Never forget.

*****

Roberto Luongo Award for Quote (or Tweet) of the Year
(presented by Ed)

Winner: Roberto Luongo’s ugly Christmas sweater tweet

Clearly the Roberto Luongo Award for the best tweet of the season has to go to the man that took us all on a wild social media joyride for several seasons: Roberto Luongo. Lu was once again on top of his Twitter game this year, proving to us all that he’s one of the funniest (and weirdest) people in sports. He even sent us a few pleasantries from that wacky Florida place where he plays now.

If you’re a Canucks fan, I don’t think I have to explain to you why this picture just rules. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ryan Kesler this happy before.

*****

Shane O’Brien Award for Headscratcher of the Year
(presented by Victoria)

Winner: Tom Sestito

My SOB Award goes to Tom Sestito. Because he managed to get head scratchingly ridiculous penalties this year. 27 minutes of penalties in 1 second of ice time. And let’s not forget (how could we forget?) the unheard of 7 minute penalty he earned in our ‘moral victory’. Also he got a game misconduct in the final minutes of the last game of the season for reasons I still can’t figure out.

Mar 292014
 

lack-131022-620
(Photo credit: cbc.ca)

Talk about different circumstances.

While the Vancouver Canucks are fighting to keep their diminishing playoff dreams alive, the Anaheim Ducks are fighting for first place in the Pacific Division.

With a win tonight, the Ducks can match a franchise record for victories. With a win tonight, the Canucks’ chances of making the playoffs will still be at around 3%.

Ass-Kicking in Anaheim

Without a doubt, the Ducks will not be an easy team to beat. Heck, the Canucks have yet to beat them this season. Remember that brutal 9-1 loss in Anaheim in January? Remember the Ducks’ 7-minute, 5-on-3 power play in the third period while already leading by 6 goals?

Good times.

Duck Domination

The Ducks have outscored the Canucks 16-5 in their first 3 games this season.

Not Lacking Goaltending

Rookie goaltender, Eddie Lack, has started 14 games in a row. Sure, he’s had his ups and downs, but for the most part, he’s given the Canucks some solid goaltending. He’s 3-0-1 with one shutout (against the Nashville Predators) and a 0.929 save percentage in his last 4 games.

Top Sixtito

If you want a reason for the Canucks’ lack of success against the Ducks this season, consider that Tom Sestito is the only Canuck to score two goals against them this season. (Zack Kassian, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa have the other goals.) However, in their last matchup, Sestito finished with a game-high 22 penalty minutes. Incidentally, Sestito leads the NHL with 201 penalty minutes. Less fighting, more goals, please?

Corrado Called Up

The Canucks today recalled Frankie Corrado from the Utica Comets in case Kevin Bieksa, who suffered some sort of injury last game, can’t play. For what it’s worth, Bieksa’s on the ice for the morning skate.

Jan 302014
 

Man, these losses seem to be getting more depressing by the day.

After taking a quick 2-0 lead on the Chicago Blackhawks, the Blackhawks scored 4 unanswered goals in a 7-minute span in the second period. The end result? Another loss – the Canucks’ 10th loss in January versus just 3 wins.

But hey, at least Tom Sestito scored again.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 162014
 

As far as spectacular losses go – and as we all know, the Canucks have had more than their fair share of spectacular losses – surely last night’s 9-1 ass-kicking by the Anaheim Ducks must rank among their most spectacular.


Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 142014
 
TGATT - The Game According to Twitter

To call last night’s 1-0 loss by the Canucks to the Los Angeles Kings a wild affair may be an understatement.

With Dustin Brown’s ninja kick to Roberto Luongo’s head still fresh in their minds, the Canucks went after him. First, Zack Kassian did just 9 seconds into the game. Then, Ryan Kesler dropped the gloves against 6 seconds into the second period.

As usual, Jordan Nolan was being a rat, charging at a Sedin again, like he did the last time these two teams met. On the very next shift, Tom Sestito had enough and took matters into his own hands. Nolan turtled, and the refs threw Testito out of the game.

Dale Weise slewfooted Drew Doughty. Kevin Bieksa tried to make life miserable for Jonathan Quick. Matt Greene tried to make him pay for it. There were scrums at practically every whistle, and by the end of it, the the two teams combined for 109 minutes.

And one goal. By Dustin Brown, of course, who scored 24 seconds into the third period. The only goal the Kings would need to beat the Canucks for the fourth time in four games this season.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 062014
 

Things were looking up for the Vancouver Canucks in SoCal. They scored 2 early goals, and on the powerplay, no less. They were up 3-2 late in the third period. Eddie Lack was solid too, thwarting the Anaheim Ducks as the Ducks dominated the Canucks in the last 45 minutes of the game.

But then Kevin Bieksa took over.

He did give the Canucks that 3-2 lead just a minute into the third period, but he was also on the ice for all 3 Ducks goals, and was directly at fault for the first one and maybe even the late, game-tying one. He was also in the penalty box in OT (though admittedly, probably more Daniel’s fault that Bieksa was in the box) when Corey Perry scored with 0.6 seconds left to steal the game from the Canucks.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 062014
 
Still looking for their first win of 2014

Still looking for their first win of 2014

The start of a new year is often time for reflection and resolution.  We make promises and renew commitments to our health, our finances, our hobbies, and our time and attention to loved ones.

The writers at CHB have come up with some resolutions of their own, and they are all of the Canucks-variety.  Some have to do with players, others with fans, and still others have to do with personal attitudes.  You’ll even see that some have similar themes.  Regardless, we agreed that it was certainly time for a change – not necessarily for the team – but for ourselves.

But there indeed needs to be accountability.  Otherwise these resolutions will become a world of broken promises.  Thus, I promise that I will check in with my friends here at CHB sometime in March to see how they are doing and to offer any encouragement that I can.

Thus, we proudly present to you – in no particular order – CHB’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2014: 

  1. To play the organ/synthesizer for one Vancouver Canucks home game.  Or at least sit next to the guy who does.  (Clay – @CanuckClay)
  2. To finally start the band I’ve always wanted to start:  Henrik for Hooking.  (Jocelyn – @jocelynaspa)
  3. To not mock Henrik Sedin every time he falls after taking a slap shot.  (Dylan – @dilmarkley)
  4. To stop singing “Santeria” by Sublime substituting ‘Santorelli’ for ‘Santeria’ every time Santorelli scores a goal.  (Paul – @vansport)
  5. To remember that I was actually good at math in high school and stop zoning out when people do math.  (Lizz – @lizzmoffat)
  6. To finally pursue my dream of being a video editor solely for the purpose of editing a Torts rant and changing all the swear words to the word “Waffles”.  (Ashley – @ashleyspinellii)
  7.  To offer John Tortorella my services as a restorative yoga instructor.  (Delia – @DXenophontos)
  8. To not tweet I MISS SCHNEIDER every time someone scores on Luongo.  (Victoria – @concretefluff)
  9. To break my duck and see a game at Rogers Arena.  (Jared – @JThompsondesign)
  10. To connect more Canuck fans the world over.  We are all Canucks after all.  (Myles – @VanCanucksOz)
  11. To proudly wear my David Booth away jersey to a home game without fear of verbal abuse.  (Clay)
  12. To say nice(r) things about Tom Sestito.  (Jocelyn)
  13. To learn to love Tom Sestito… or at least refrain from calling him “Tostito”.  (Ashley)
  14. To stop my drunk, profanity-laced ref-bashing tweets at least until the playoffs.  (Paul)
  15. To be more forgiving of the referees…even when I’m sure they’re wrong.  (Delia)
  16. To try harder to express my true feelings about the Boston Bruins (everyone should have a resolution they know they can accomplish, right?).  (Victoria)
  17. To not be quick to judge any anthem singer not named Marie Hui or Mark Donnelly.  (Clay)
  18. To stop saying or tweeting “They should just decline it, they’re not going to score anyways” every time the Canucks go to the power play.  (Paul)
  19. To maintain a positive attitude even after the overtime buzzer goes sending the Canucks into a shootout.  (Dylan)
  20. To not immediately cover my eyes when the Canucks go to a shootout.  (Jocelyn)
  21. To offer to participate in any and all Canucks shootouts.  I’m better than the twins, I promise.  (Victoria)
  22. To get a pet duck and name it Eddie Quack.  (Ashley)
  23. To keep my Eddie Lack love to an acceptable and legal level.  (Lizz)
  24. To do no more than 6 tweets when I’m at a game with my lovely wife Gail.  (Clay)
  25. To continue to be a fun and fan-friendly place to talk all things Canucks via creative articles and features.  After all, we are Canucks fans just like you.

Thank you to all our loyal CHB readers!  We look forward to another exciting year!

Jan 042014
 

Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings

(Photo credit: thescore.com)

Vancouver Canucks (23-12-7)

Los Angeles Kings (25-13-4)

Tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings could mean more for the Vancouver Canucks than avenging their disappointing loss in their last meeting on November 25th. In that game, the Canucks took a 2-1 lead early in the third period, only to see the Kings tie it up with less than 3 minutes left, and then eventually win it 48 seconds into the overtime period.

That game was the last game of the Canucks’ 6-game homestand, one in which they won just once (1-2-3). By the end of that game, the Canucks were in 5th place in the strong Pacific Division, 6 points back of the Kings, and having played 1 more game than them.

Tonight, in the third of five meetings between the two teams this season, the Canucks sit just 1 point back of the Kings and having played the same number of games. They haven’t beaten the Kings this season, but a win tonight in regulation would move them into 3rd place, past Los Angeles, in the division.

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo is back tonight, having recovered from his lower body injury.

Who’s Hot

Tom Sestito. Yes, you read that right, Tom Sestito. Sestito is on a two-game point streak (1 goal, 1 assist), his first multi-game point streak since 2010 when he was still a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Defenseman Dan Hamhuis has been doing well on the scoresheet. He played almost 30 minutes against the Tampa Bay Lightning and was on the ice for all 6 goals scored by both teams. He has 4 points – all assists – in his last 5 games.

For the Kings, forward Anze Kopitar has 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in his last 6 games.

Who’s Not

After winning his first 8 games, Kings rookie goaltender, Martin Jones, has now lost his last 3 games.

Who’s Out

The Canucks are still without forwards Alexandre Burrows, Jordan Schroeder, and defensemen Alexander Edler, Andrew Alberts and Ryan Stanton. However, Burrows, Schroeder and Edler all skated this week.

Dec 312013
 

On one end of the rink was Steve Mason, whose career the entire NHL, save the Philadelphia Flyers, had left for dead. Much was made about his past poor performances, especially against the Canucks, seemingly forgetting that he’s actually been pretty damn good during the Flyers’ 15-6-4 surge prior to last night’s game.

On the other end was Tom Sestito, who was waived by those very same Flyers last season and then claimed by the Canucks, and has served as some sort of a whipping boy to Canucks fans ever since.

Both Mason and Sestito had lots to prove. And both delivered.

Mason stopped 41 of 44 shots, plus another 3 in the shootout, to keep his team in the game. Sestito scored a goal and was a pain in Philly’s side for most of the 5:45 minutes he was on the ice.

Guilty as charged.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Dec 302013
 

No Luongo? No problem.

For the second time in his last 3 starts, Eddie Lack recorded a shutout as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 2-0 in Calgary. For the season, he now has a 7-2-0 record, a 1.74 GAA (3rd in the NHL) and 0.933 save percentage (6th in the NHL).

That sound you hear is another goaltender controversy slowly growing because, you know, that’s what we Canucks fans do.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

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