Monday, November 28, 2005
CKNW Orphan's Fund Pledge Day
We make money available for needed equipment and services for children. Anything from a specially adapted tricycle for a spina bifida child, to emergency dental work for a child in pain or buying a computer for a child who is bedridden. We have funded horseback riding lessons for muscular dystrophy children, purchased hearing aids, eye glasses and even electric sports wheelchairs.While some folks identify the day after Thanksgiving as the start of their Christmas season, mine starts with the annual CKNW Orphan's Fund Pledge Day. This year, pledge day is this Friday, December 2nd at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. It's always a festive atmosphere with choirs and musicians performing songs of the season. Tracy and I usually take in the festivities after work, then go home to set up our Christmas decorations.
We respond to appeals from charities and organizations whose commitmentis to work for and with special needs children. Because of the generosity of CKNW's listeners and sponsors, the fund in addition to helping individuals and organizations has made other significant donations.
One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) was spent to equip a cancer treatment lab at Children's Hospital.
An endowment was established to fund a UBC professor heading up research into the immunology of children's diseases. Endowments have been established at most community colleges, BCIT and the Open Learning Agency to provide bursaries for single parents students.
A fund has been established at SFU which provides one scholarship each year for a student from an income assistance background. It pays 100% of the cost of tuition, books, housing and other expenses for up to four years. There are students now at SFU in each of those years.
Project EX, administered by Britannia Community Services is funded by the CKNW Orphans' Fund. It is a leadership program that targets street kids, working toward their rehabilitation before these young people become statistics.
$60,000 a year is provided to camping organizations to provide fees for special needs children whose parents cannot afford to send them to camp.
The CKNW Orphans' Fund Pledge Day is an annual and traditional source of income. At the beginning of December each year the radio station turns most of the regular daily programming into a Radio Thon, where seasoned hosts tell the CKNW Orphans' Fund story, and ask their audiences for pledges. The Radio Thon also serves to thank those organizations who have been instrumental in raising dollars throughout the year through special promotions.If you happen to be around downtown Vancouver on Friday, swing by the Fairmont and make a donation. You can also tune into CKNW and call in your pledge.
Canucks 2 Avalanche 6
Game Recaps: canucks.com . Vancouver Province . ESPNMy notes from the game:
Statistics: Score Sheet . Stat Sheet
- Another slow start, another early deficit. (Sound familiar?) The Avs scored 11 seconds into the game and basically set the tone the rest of the way.
- Last night's game was the fifth meeting this season between the two teams; the Avs have won four of them.
- Alex Auld looked shaky. After most saves, he kept looking back, unsure of where the puck was.
- Steve McCarthy was awful in his first game back.
- Despite the loss, I thought Ryan Kesler was again one of the better Canucks. He's playing a consistent, solid game right now and providing a bit of a spark in Matt Cooke's absence.
- The Sedin line also played a decent game. As has been the case most of the season, the Sedins and Anson Carter provided some good offensive pressure when they were on the ice.
- Interesting bit from Jim Hughson and John Garrett before the game started - they were talking about the Sedins possibly being the Canucks new top line. For the first quarter of the season, I have to agree. They have generally been more consistent and more dangerous than the Westcoast Express.
- Maybe it's because the Grey Cup was being played a few minutes away... but watching the game last night reminded me of watching the 11-0 BC Lions. Great record, but you just don't get the feeling that they are a great team. Something's missing.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
If you missed the goal, Hockey Analysis has a link to the video.
The Revamped Blogroll
Canucks 1 Coyotes 2
Game Recaps: canucks.com . ESPN
Statistics: Score Sheet . Stat Sheet
My notes from the game:
- Another slow start and another early deficit. The Canucks were down by two goals, just halfway through the first period.
- The Coyotes' win was their first against the Canucks since 2002. In the previous eleven games between the two teams, the Canucks were 9-0-2.
- Coyotes rookie defenseman Keith Ballard has played some strong games against the Canucks this season. He was dangerous on most shifts and drew the ire of Bryan Allen when he threw a nice, open-ice hit on Richard Park.
- The Canucks - especially Markus Naslund - usually feast on Curtis Joseph. Not last night. Cujo was the biggest reason the Canucks only scored one goal - he stopped 34 of 35 Canucks shots, including some on high-quality scoring chances.
- I don't agree with the penalty shot awarded to Shane Doan. Jovanovski was skating side-by-side with Doan when the penalty was called, and Doan was nowhere near to having a clear-cut breakaway.
- I do agree, however, with the non-call on Jarkko Ruutu's breakaway a couple of minutes after - nice play by the Coyotes defenseman to chase Ruutu and make a play on his stick.
- I thought Ryan Kesler played another consistent game. Crawford rewarded him with a shift in the final minute of the game and the faceoff in the Coyotes zone.
- Ed Jovanovski also had a strong game. He was vintage Jovanovski - very active at both ends of the ice. He finished with 5 shots, 2 hits and 2 blocked shots in 28:36 minutes of ice-time.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Canucks 3 Sharks 2
Game Recaps: canucks.com . Vancouver Province . ESPN
Statistics: Score Sheet . Stat Sheet
My notes from the game:
- Do we credit Crawford's instinct or was Brookbank just being opportunistic? Twice he was on the ice with Bertuzzi and both times the Canucks scored. Brookbank figured in both scoring plays and doubled his career point totals.
- Alex Auld only faced 22 shots but made the saves when he needed to, especially when the Sharks were pressing in the third period.
- Considering that there was a lot of 5-on-5 play and the Canucks were able to roll their lines through, the top four defensemen played a lot of minutes.
- Sven Butenschon played average last night after playing a solid game his first time up. He was on the ice for the second Sharks goal - a result of lousy defensive coverage from Sven and Jovo - and Sven didn't play the rest of the game. He finished with 5:23 minutes of ice-time and a -1 rating.
- It looks like the Westcoast Express is back on track. I was impressed with Brendan Morrison's play last night - he played a gritty game, recorded one assist and won 12 of 18 faceoffs. With his two assists, Bertuzzi now has 11 points (6G-5A) in eight games. Naslund's goal extended his point-streak to eight games; he has 12 points (6G-6A) in that span.
- The Sedin line scored another goal and was dangerous all night. One thing that has impressed me about the Sedins so far this season is that they have been dangerous on most games, on most shifts. In previous seasons, they would have a strong game and follow it up with some average games. This is by far their most consistent season.
- Was the game really just over two hours long?
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Easy on the Gravy
Despite hurricanes and the rise of Ashlee Simpson, I'm sure you all have plenty to be thankful for. Including of course the return of NHL hockey. Well... I know at least John Buccigross thinks so.
Have a safe one, folks, and go easy on the gravy.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
The exact cause of Fischer's collapse was not known, but Colucci said on Tuesday the defibrillator indicated that Fischer's heart may have been experiencing ventricular tachycardia, a kind of racing heartbeat, orventricular fibrillation, a heart fluttering.Eric McErlain from Off Wing Opinion posted comments from a friend who is familiar with athletes' medical problems - the link to the post is here.
What are the implications for his hockey career? It depends on the cause and whether there is a clear treatment. I suspect that he may need an AICD. I am not aware of an athlete continuing strenous athletic activity after having an AICD placed. However, I suspect this may be the answer to his ongoing survival.If this is the case, Fischer will have to make a tough decision regarding his NHL career. Chris McMurty from Hockey Country weighed in on this issue yesterday, and today, Mitch Albom from the Detroit Free Press wrote a nice article on the same thing. In one part of the article, Mr. Albom compared Fischer's experience with those of basketball players, Hank Gathers and Reggie Lewis, neither of whom were as lucky as Jiri.
... Think of Hank Gathers, the powerful college basketball star for Loyola Marymount, who threw down a dunk, headed up court and collapsed into, yes, convulsions, like Fischer. He died.On American Thanksgiving Day, Jiri will be thankful that he is still alive. Playing hockey should be the farthest thing in his mind.
Think of Reggie Lewis, the Celtics' star, who collapsed shooting hoops during the summer. Like Fischer, he had an undetectable pulse. He was rushed to the hospital. He died.
Which brings us to Fischer's hockey future, a question most fans will dismiss but which Fischer, I assure you, is thinking about as you read this. Three years ago, when he was tested after an abnormal electrocardiogram, Fischer told a newspaper he wasn't scared about the potential heart abnormality, he was scared about not playing hockey.
That should go away now. You can't play hockey if you're dead, either.
Props to Pavol
All Pavol has done since being signed by the Kings is recapture his A+ game and he's lead the team to the top of their division. Demitra and Alexander Frolov combine to give the LA Kings once of the more exciting and dynamic 1-2 punches in the NHL. I'm sure getting away from fat-ass Keith Tkachuk is also helping immensely!Especially after Pavol tallied 4 assists in last night's 6-3 Kings win over the Blues, Jes has a point. In fact, Pavol has scored 14 points (3G-11A) in his last five games, and has jumped to a tie for fourth in overall league scoring.
Consider me convinced. I'm giving Pavol my props.
Canucks 3 Blackhawks 1
My notes from the game:
- Ryan Kesler and Richard Park had great games. Both were dangerous on every shift, and were rewarded with some third period ice-time with Markus Naslund.
- Ditto with Mark Bell and Kyle Calder of the Blackhawks.
- Alex Auld was solid in net again, stopping 32 of 33 shots, a good number of them from in close.
- Markus Naslund has this look on him that I've never noticed before. He looks more vocal, more determined and more confident on the ice - he looks like he wants to win.
- Nathan Smith played his first game with the Canucks this season and he was okay. Nothing too fancy in his 10:52 minutes of ice-time. He finished with 2 shots, 3 hits and an even rating.
- After not playing a single shift against Anaheim on Sunday, Wade Brookbank saw 6:02 minutes of ice-time in 11 shifts. On his first shift, he tried to take the puck up the middle and promptly lost it to a 'Hawks player. Keep it simple, Wade. Keep it simple.
- Not that I'm dwelling on the Anaheim game - really, I just want to forget about it - but what a difference it makes when the refs actually use a bit of judgment when calling the games. 33 penalties on Sunday versus 5 last night - there was a lot more flow to the game and a few more chances for both teams. I can't believe I'm actually complimenting Kerry Fraser.
The First Time
What I enjoyed the most about the experience of going to a hockey game was the relative peace and quiet of the game. Go to an NBA or NFL game,and you're assaulted by loud music, flying t-shirts, hopped-up dance teams. There was music at The Garden, but unless you count Sweet Caroline as a club banger, it was like spending an afternoon at a pizza joint with an outdated jukebox. During timeouts (are they called timeouts?) an organ would play, and people would be able to talk to their neighbors. It was as if hockey was saying, Here we are -- love us or leave us. And despite the extended lockout, the fans seem to have come back in full force. They love it.I remember when I first moved to Canada, I got lacrosse and hockey mixed up. Don't worry, Mr. Whitaker, we all started somewhere.
Saturday night, after the game, I was thinking maybe I should pick a team to support. I could go with my hometown Thrashers, but having been in New York almost six years now, I'd like to have at least one team up here to root for. I haven't learned when to yell "Potvin Sucks!" or how to differentiate between the various penalties, and I can recognize about five hockey players, mostly by their hair. I still have a lot to learn, I suppose. But then, we all have to start somewhere.
Updated Power Rankings
Other power rankings this week: ESPN . Fox Sports . Sports Illustrated
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Fun With Stats
- I've been critical of the Canucks' defense lately, but they actually rank a respectable 9th in number of goals allowed - they are only allowing 2.86 goals against per game. And this includes blowout losses to Minnesota and Colorado.
- The Ottawa Senators lead the league in number of goals scored AND number of goals allowed. In 18 games, they have scored 83 goals (4.61 per game) and have only allowed 38 goals (2.11 per game).
- How much do super rookies Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin mean to their respective teams? Both have been directly involved in almost 40% of their team's goals. Pittsburgh has scored 62 goals this season and Crosby was involved in 25 of them (10G-15A); Washington has scored 54 goals this season and Ovechkin was involved in 21 of them (15G-6A).
- Of the top ten scoring defensemen in the 2003/2004 season, only Bryan McCabe is on the top ten so far this season. He is leading the league in defensemen scoring with 30 points (9G-21A) in 21 games. Amazingly, he only has a +1 rating.
- Ditto with the forwards. Of the top ten scoring forwards in 03/04, only Daniel Alfredsson is on the top ten so far this season. He has 34 points (18G-16A) and a +18 rating.
- Linemate Dany Heatley has 32 points (15G-17A) and a whopping +21 rating. (I should mention here that I don't have Heatley or Alfredsson in my money pools. I do, however, have preseason linemate Brandon Bochenski. Unfortunately, AHL stats don't count.)
- Eric Staal (14G-17A-31P) has already matched his entire point total from last season. (By far my steal of the season - I picked Staal in the 9th round of a 15-team pool.)
- Twenty-ish games into the season and there are 50 players on pace to score 80 points or more. Only eight players scored 80 or more points in the 2003/2004 season.
Scary Moment in Detroit
In September 2002, he was diagnosed with a heart abnormality (his heart is apparently a little thicker than normal) after it was found on an electrocardiogram, which was part of Wings' preseason physicals. He was then given a stress test, which he passed. "There is a little abnormality, but nothing that will stop me from playing," Fischer said at the time. "It's nothing that will bother me emotionally. I wasn't scared about the abnormality. But I was scared about not playing hockey again. That was a shock for me."Back In Blue had some live blogging on the incident; James Mirtle, Eric McErlain from Off-Wing Opinion and Paul from Kukla's Corner has some updates as well. Mainstream coverage is available on TSN and The Globe and Mail.
This incident happened just a couple of days after the Minnesota Wild honored Sergei Zholtok, who died when his heart failed during a game in Belarus last year.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Carnival of the NHL #13
Welcome to the Carnival of the NHL #13, which features a wonderful assortment of rides for your pleasure. Whether it's the rollercoaster that is Sean Avery or the Rookie Ferris Wheel, you're sure to find a ride to suit your taste and interest.The link to the Carnival is here. Buckle up, enjoy the ride... and a big thank you to Christy for a very entertaining experience.
Word From The Y'z
"Everybody keeps saying this is great. It's not great," Yzerman told the Detroit Free Press. "It's not hockey... There are penalties all over."I partly disagree with the first part of his statement. The game is different, but its changes make it better. During those stretches when there are no whistles, the game is generally faster with more flow through the neutral zone and more room for the skill players to operate. The crackdown has worked by opening up the ice without removing the puck battles. It has discouraged players from draping themselves over each other but not from dishing out open-ice hits. As a fan, this is the kind of game I've always enjoyed watching - more so than the rollerball matches in recent years.
What should be getting more attention is the second part of Yzerman's statement. He continues:
The inconsistent officiating early in the season is a bigger concern. Much of the frustration - from players and fans alike - stem from not knowing what or what won't be called. For example, the Canucks/Ducks game on Sunday had 33 minor penalties. From what I've seen, some referees officiate a black-and-white, zero-tolerance game; others don't. Some call every incidental brush to the shoulder or incidental stick to the jersey; others actually exercise judgment depending on the flow of the play.
I'll just use Mathieu Schneider's penalty as an example. He steps up and takes his guy out, and his stick gets caught and the crowd cheers so the referee puts his hand up. There has to be some discretion. The referees have to use some judgment on what is a penalty and what is not. They've taken judgment out of it and I think it's somewhat made it easy on the referees just to call anything, because there is no judgment.
Good referees used to have good judgment. Now they've taken that out of the game. I'm not saying I'm blaming the referees for it, I just feel the whole thing has to be adjusted and they have to look at this seriously. They can't continue to call irrelevant things that have no business being called.
Brendan Shanahan, Yzerman's teammate and a key member of the NHL's competition committee, on the officiating:
It's very frustrating and it's a big concern. The longer it goes through the season, the more teams will win or lose games due to the officiating - and the more players like Yzerman will speak out.
It's still the biggest challenge. The referees are still figuring it out. I keep reminding myself that it's only been six weeks and we're trying to erase a 10-year trend, which was really a trend of ignoring the rulebook. We didn't rewrite the rulebook. We just underlined some key points in it. But it's frustrating when you see phantom calls or players going down easily.
Without changing the standard, the referees just need to make sure a penalty's a penalty. If they're not sure, as players we would all accept a non-call more than a bad call.
Canucks 3 Ducks 2
My notes from the game:
- Both teams combined for 33 minor penalties. I'm sure this isn't a new NHL record, but I wonder if it's close.
- I shake my head at the NHL cracking down on obstruction, sometimes calling even the chintziest of hooks and holds... yet allowing players to crash the goaltenders. The Ducks took turns running Cloutier over with little consequence - coincidental minors are little consequence.
- Not that I would ever wish injury on anyone, but with the Ducks going out of their way to run Cloutier, it was almost sweet justice that they lost starter Giguere to a hamstring injury. Giguere's injury promptly put an end to the Ducks' Cloutier-crashing. I'm thinking they did not want to risk Brookbank crashing their back-up goalie.
- Still with Cloutier, I thought he had another solid game. The Canucks came out flat - again - and despite the crease-crashers, Cloutier made some good saves and kept the score close.
- Sami Salo's two goals moves him to a fourth place tie in NHL defensemen scoring with Ed Jovanovski and a couple of other players. Imagine if his shots actually hit the net more often.
- How many games in a row have the Canucks failed to convert on a 5-on-3? With all the opportunities they have received so far this season, they have only two goals on a 5-on-3.
Next up: Chicago on Tuesday.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
I just want to add one of my random musings:
The intent of the "$75,000 rule" in the NHL's new CBA is to prevent teams from hiding players' salaries in the minors to circumvent the salary cap - I still don't understand why this rule is necessary to accomplish that.
Each player's cap hit is calculated similarly regardless of salary and regardless of what they are making anywhere else - basically it is their NHL salary divided by 196 days.
Teams have $39-million to spend over 196 days of the regular season. That's $198,980 per day... If teams spend less than that amount on any given day, the difference in effect goes into a "cap bank" that can be used down the road.A player like Markus Naslund, whose average salary is $6 million per season, takes up $30,612.24 per day ($6 million divided by 196 days); Nolan Baumgartner, whose average salary is $450,000 per season, takes up $2,295.92 per day. Josh Green, whose average salary is $450,000 in the NHL and $75,000 in the AHL, also takes up $2,295.92 per day. If Wade Flaherty, whose average salary is $450,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the AHL, were to be called up to the Canucks, he would also take up $2,295.92 of cap space per day - same as Nolan Baumgartner and Josh Green, even though their AHL salaries are different. So why does the amount a player is making in the minors matter in the context of the CBA and the salary cap?
Another example: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Todd Marchant cleared waivers this week, which gives Columbus the option of sending him to the minors and probably making him the highest-paid player in the AHL. Even then, if Columbus were to do recall him, his cap hit is calculated the same as everyone else's - his average NHL salary of $2.4 million per season divided by 196 days, or $12,244.60 per day. If Columbus has the cap space to accommodate that, and Marchant is the next best player available, then why should they not be able to call him back up without subjecting him to waivers?
Admittedly, not many teams will pay players $2.4 million to play in the minors. Not many teams will pay players $1 million to play in the minors. But in the case they do - let's assume to hide players salaries and circumvent the cap - so what? When they get called up, their cap hit is calculated the same way as everyone else.
A simpler rule would be to subject players to waivers only if they are scheduled to make more elsewhere than in the NHL.
A hypothetical situation: Given how close they are to the cap, the Canucks can't afford to take on any more than a minimum $450,000 salary. If they wanted to hide a Jason Doig or a Mike Keane in the minors, they could sign both to a $800,000 (again, hypothetical) minor-league salary and a $450,000 NHL salary.
In a blatant case like this, I agree that they should be subject to waivers. Otherwise, if the player's salary fits under the team's cap, then let them get called up. Especially if they are the best player available.
The NHL's Answer to Mark Cuban
Which is why I'm a little jealous of Eric McErlain getting an invitation to join Caps owner Ted Leonsis in the owners box last week - Eric posts about his experience here and here - and of Caps season ticket holders receiving a replica jersey for their loyalty.
For the record, to reward us for our loyalty, the Canucks offered season ticket holders no price increases for the next two years.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Canucks 4 Kings 5
My notes from the game:
- Kings coach Andy Murray matched lines for most of the night, putting the checking line of Sean Avery, Eric Belanger and Jeff Cowan against the Westcoast Express. As painful it is for me to admit it, Sean Avery's line outplayed and outhustled the Canucks' top line for the first 50-something minutes of the game.
- It doesn't change my opinion that Sean Avery is an idiot. Nice acting job after the Ohlund hit, by the way. Bravo.
- Despite letting in five goals, Cloutier was actually pretty good for most of the game. Especially in the first two periods, he kept the Canucks within striking distance.
- The Canucks blew another long 5-on-3 opportunity in the second period. If I remember correctly - and I have to look up the stats for this - but the Canucks have had trouble converting on their 5-on-3 opportunities.
- With his third period goal, Todd Bertuzzi now has six goals and eight points in his last four games.
- How's this for sending a message? Marc Crawford had Brendan Morrison centering Josh Green and Lee Goren in the third period.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
On a Personal Note
Canucks 3 Sharks 1
My notes from the game:
- For the second straight game since coming back from injury, Dan Cloutier was solid once again. He finished with 25 saves, 12 of them in the third period, including a couple of big ones on Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo late in the game.
- I expected the Sharks to come out strong and aggresive. Instead, they kinda looked like a light version of the 2004 Minnesota Wild. Surprising as I expected the Sharks to be one of the top teams in the West this year; after last night's game, they sit at fourth in their division behind the Kings, Stars and Coyotes.
- Credit the Canucks for winning a game like last night's when there wasn't a lot of open ice. These games usually pose problems for them.
- The big four on defense had another monster game. Mattias Ohlund, Ed Jovanovski, Sami and Salo and Bryan Allen all played 23-plus minutes and contributed a goal (Jovo's), 2 assists, 6 shots, 9 hits and 9 blocked shots.
- Great game aside, I hope Crawford doesn't plan on playing the big four 23-plus minutes every game.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Canucks 4 Red Wings 1
My notes from the game:
- Todd Bertuzzi finally had his breakout game. You can tell he was beginning to regain his confidence by the way he played against Calgary a couple of games ago, and last night, he was finally rewarded. Hopefully his efforts like this become more of the norm than the exception.
- Something about the Baumgartner-to-Bertuzzi pass on Todd's second goal reminded me of Brown-to-Bure in '94.
- Dan Cloutier was very good in his first game back. Even when the Wings pressed, he made the key saves. He finished with 34 saves on 35 Red Wings shots.
- I was a little surprised that the Canucks called up forward Josh Green from Manitoba, but he filled in admirably for the injured Matt Cooke. He added a veteran presence on the forward lines and played a regular shift. He finished with an even-rating in 8:23 minutes of ice-time.
- Overshadowed by Bertuzzi's hat-trick performance was another strong showing from the Sedins. Anyone notice Daniel's move to get past 3 Red Wings defenders to move in one-on-one against Legace? It's amazing how hard it is now to knock these guys off the puck.
- With Wade Brookbank seeing very limited ice-time, the Canucks' big four all logged over 20 minutes of ice-time. Brookbank's ice-time isn't much of a surprise given that fighting is down in the league and Brookbank himself has only two fights in nine games played. Depending on his contract situation, I actually wonder if the Canucks would consider sending him to Manitoba and giving players like Green, Butenschon and others more opportunities at the NHL level.
Next up: San Jose on Wednesday.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Canucks 3 Avalanche 5
My notes from the game:
- The score was 4-0 by just past the midway point of the first period. At one point, the shots on goal was 15-0 for the Avs. That's all you need to know about why the Canucks lost the game.
- Ed Jovanovski had a first period to forget. He was on the ice for three of the four goals and he was directly involved in two of them - his lazy play led directly to the first Colorado goal and he fell skating backwards on the third one.
- Sven Butenschon made his Canucks debut, filling in for injured Steve McCarthy. He played not bad - didn't notice him much, which I suppose is a good thing for a defenseman. He finished with a +1 rating and 11:24 minutes of ice-time.
- I don't know if it's a sign of hs confidence, but over the last few games Auld has been more active and playing the puck more. Once against Calgary and another time last night, he played the puck and didn't shoot it hard enough to go past the defender, leading to a goal.
- I just noticed the Sedin line's ice-time this morning - Henrik played 20:25 minutes, Daniel played 20:17, and Anson played 18:55 - and for the most part was well-deserved. When the Canucks were trying to make their comeback, the line spent most of their shifts in the attacking zone and created numerous scoring opportunities.
- Not often you see a coach pull a goaltender when his team is three goals down. Interesting and bold move by Crow. Especially after the 5-2 goal, I think it sent a signal to the team to keep playing. Heck, they already took one period off, right?
- It's actually amazing that considering their start, the Canucks were still in the game towards the end. If only they had capitalized on their third period powerplays, especially the 5-on-3, instead of giving up the short-handed goal.
- Actually, if only they had started playing at the start of the game.
- The Canucks' lead in the Northwest Division has now been reduced to two points. The Avs are right behind them with two games in hand.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Vancouver Canucks Senior Vice President and General Manager Dave Nonis announced today that the Canucks have signed forward Alex Burrows and forward Rick Rypien. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.Speaking of the Moose, they have received some rave reviews for their fast start and gutsy play. Despite losing 6 of their top 7 scorers and no. 1 goalie from the '04-'05 season, then losing some key players to injury at the start of this season, they have a 9-4-0 record and sit one point back of first-place Grand Rapids.
Burrows, 24, has played 13 games for the Manitoba Moose of the AHL this season and is currently tied for the team scoring lead with 10 points (3-7-10) and 31 penalty minutes. In 2004-05, the Pincourt, Quebec native played 72 games for the Moose and tallied 26 points. Burrows made 14 playoff appearances last season. The 6’1”, 190 lb forward has also played in 133 career games with the Columbia Inferno of the ECHL, scoring 47 goals and 64 assists (47-64-111) with 463 penalty minutes.
Rypien, 21, has played 13 games for the Manitoba Moose of the AHL this season recording 4 points (2-2-4) and 32 penalty minutes. The Coleman, Alberta native has played a total of 21 games with the Moose and has a record of three goals, three assists and 37 penalty minutes. Rypien was previously captain of the Regina Pats in the Western Hockey League, where he played 179 career games, scoring 47 goals and 67 assists for 114 points and 493 penalty minutes.
The rash of injuries they've sustained to date would have crippled most teams... But as they have done from the start of the season, the Moose met the latest case of adversity with a simple shrug of the shoulders. The show must go on and go on it did.This included Moose winger and captain Mike Keane taking a regular shift as a defenseman. And some more good news for coach Alain Vigneault is that Bieksa and fellow defenseman Prestin Ryan are expected to return this week.
The Girl Next Door
Goal and both assists to Paul from Kukla's Corner for this tidbit:
"The Girl Next Door" star and proud Canadian, Elisha Cuthbert, is now blogging for NHL.com.
My name is Elisha Cuthbert, born in Calgary, Alberta, but raised in Montreal, Quebec. Growing up in Canada opened my eyes to the world of hockey. My brother plays on two teams -- his school and city. My mother plays on a team as well. I, on the other hand, am just an actress who loves the sport and does not play -- but that doesn't mean I can't talk about it!No word on whether she was also approached to appear in those 'My NHL' ads.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Tracking The 'Tenders
According to the team, there is still no goalie controversy.
Not even a bit?
1/5th of the way into this season, I see many of the same problems that were responsible for the Canucks' first-round exit against the Flames. Too many of similar-type players, a lot of finesse, but perhaps not enough grit. The team has replaced lunch-bucket guys like Mike Keane and Brad May with more skillful players like Richard Park and Anson Carter. And on some nights it shows.
On some nights, there doesn't seem to be much of a willingness to fight through the checks and push through the zone. This was painfully obvious especially against Calgary and Minnesota. Against Colorado, the team just wasn't able to generate many chances except when on the powerplay. It's amazing how much different the team played in games that neither Bryan Allen nor Matt Cooke, two of their grittier guys, were in the lineup.
Now, if the NHL maintains their higher standard of officiating from the start of the season, this probably isn't much of an issue. But if the last two games against the Flames were any indication, then it looks like they might let the players loose a little bit, and this may pose a concern for the Canucks. The team is talented, but do they have the right mix?
Monday, November 07, 2005
Canucks 3 Flames 4
My notes from the game:
- I'm awaiting Tom Benjamin's recap on this game - I'm sure the ending provided him with lots of ammunition. After the referees put the whistles away, they called Bryan Allen for an interference penalty late in the third period. Call it all game or don't call it at all. While not to completely blame the loss on the call - the subsequent Linden and Ohlund penalties gave the Flames a couple of late 5-on-3's - it took the momentum away from a very spirited game.
- I hope this isn't another false alarm, but Bertuzzi tonight reminded me of Bertuzzi circa 2002-2003. One hand on the stick, one hand thwarting off the defender, then generating scoring chances for himself or Naslund.
- The Canucks - again - had a lot of turnovers in the Flames zone. For a team built with skillful, puck-handling skaters, they have had problems bringing the puck up the ice. It was noticeable against the Wild and especially noticeable against the Flames - both teams known for their speed and agressive forecheck. I sure hope this doesn't get picked up on scouting reports.
- Alex Auld looks good so far, don't you think? More on him later.
- The Canucks finish their 8-of-9 game run against Northwest Division opponents on Thursday. Of the seven games they have played, they have won 3, and are now 4-4-2 against Northwest Division teams for the season. With Edmonton losing tonight, the Canucks retain their four-point lead for first place.
- Was Steve McCarthy playing tonight?
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Carnival of the NHL #12
Eric Staal’s been 21 for a week, the ‘Canes had their Dads’ Weekend, and it’s time for Carnival of the NHL #12—and I assure you that, unlike the drunken bums and crack dealers that Wade Amusements had working for them during the NC State Fair last month, I am 1) sober and 2) not the owner of a rap sheet a mile long (unless you count speeding tickets, but we won’t discuss me treating a ‘97 Chevy Cavalier like it’s a Saleen S8).I understand, however, that you are allowed to bring in some mini-donuts for your enjoyment. Without further adieu, here is the Carnival of the NHL #12.
This carnival has no fanfare, no rides, no deep-fried Snickers bars (who came up with those, anyway?), just some good old hockey commentary of the "What the hell are you thinking? Are you thinking?" variety from those crazy kids out there in hockey blogland.
A big thank you to the AQ for her hospitality.
Canucks 0 Flames 1
My notes from the game:
- Despite the low score, this is exactly the kind of game the NHL would want to market. The officials called the usual obstruction-related infractions, but allowed both teams to play physical. There was plenty of flow and plenty of scoring chances. It was a playoff-like game in a playoff-like atmosphere.
- Much like in the Minnesota game, the Flames played a trapping style, and much like in the Minnesota game, the Canucks had trouble generating any offense on the rush. In fact, Kesler, Ruutu, Park, Linden and Goren were as prominent as Naslund, Morrison and Bertuzzi.
- Four fights in the first two periods. I can't wait for the rematch on Monday.
- If I've counted correctly, Lee Goren now has more fights than Wade Brookbank this season.
- Anyone else notice that the big line wasn't on the ice during the final minute of the game? With Auld pulled, Crawford instead had the Sedin line out there.
- The Kipper is back. Unfortunately for Canucks fans. And the Canucks have to play the Flames seven more times this season.
- Jarkko Ruutu was at his most visible best last night.
- I was surprised Goren didn't receive a boarding major and/or a game misconduct for his hit-from-behind on Weimer - not a dirty hit, but wasn't a minor penalty either.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Canucks 5 Blue Jackets 3
My notes from the game:
- Truth be told, I was expecting the game to be a blowout for the 'Nucks. Not only are the 'Nucks unbeaten at home, Columbus has only one road win this season. Columbus also played in Calgary the night before and lost Rick Nash to a knee injury. However, led by Nikolai Zherdev and David Vyborny who scored all three Jackets goals, Columbus played a scrappy game all night and kept the game close.
- The Sedin line had another very good night. They combined for 2 goals and 4 assists, and controlled the play when they were on the ice. IMHO, this forward line has been the Canucks' most consistent through the first month of the season.
- I know I've said this a few times before, but the Naslund-Morrison-Bertuzzi line play way toooooo fancy when they're together.
- I'd hate to see what the Canucks "d" would have looked like if Sami Salo hadn't been having a breakthrough start to the season. Salo had another good night offensively - he had a goal and an assist - and is now tied with Henrik Sedin for second in team scoring.
- Talking about team scoring, Bertuzzi and Morrison currently sit at fifth and seventh respectively. Markus Naslund, of course, leads the team; Salo, Henrik and Ed Jovanovski are right behind him. Should we call this balanced scoring, team depth or a slow start for the WCE?
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Canucks 2 Wild 1
The Vancouver Canucks improved their perfect home record to 6-0-0 bybeating the Minnesota Wild 2-1 last night. Alex Auld started in place of the injured Dan Cloutier and stopped 31 of 32 Minnesota shots. The game recap is here; the score sheet and stat sheet are here and here.
My notes from the game:
- Who said the trap is dead? Credit Jacques Lemaire for figuring out that the crackdown on obstruction doesn't necessarily mean a crackdown on the trap. As long as teams have very good skaters - like the Wild - who can skate to certain spots on the ice before their opponent, the trap will be around.
- That said, the Canucks have always had problems beating teams that play this system because the Canucks like to start their play in the neutral zone, skate the puck in and set up - tough to do, of course, when four defenders are lined up at the blue line. Except for maybe Matt Cooke, Jarkko Ruutu and Ryan Kesler, the Canucks don't have the personnel for a dump and chase sort of system. Especially on even-strength, they have had a hard time beating defenders to the puck after dumping it in.
- It didn't seem like too long ago when the Sedins were knocked down to the ice so much that some Canucks fans played a drinking game whereby they would have a beer whenever it happened. And be drunk by the second period. This is no longer the case. It's amazing how strong the twins have been along the boards.
- Wade Brookbank played one short shift in the third period after he took himself out of position to hit Derek Boogard, leading directly to Randy Robitaille's goal. Earlier in that same shift, Boogard went head-hunting on Mattias Ohlund. As ill-timed as Brookbank's retaliation was, I don't mind that he went after Boogard. A team should never, ever allow someone to take a run at your teammates. And very especially a star player teammate. (Before anyone argues that the only reason Boogard would have hit Ohlund was because he is a lot taller, etc. than Ohlund, the fact is, he went elbow first towards Ohlund's head.)
- Full credit to Linden, Ohlund, Jovanovski, Auld and Salo for killing the 5-on-3 and 6-on-3 in the last couple of minutes. Especially Linden and Ohlund who played the entire time. Key faceoff wins, good positioning, no panic, and as a result, most of the Wild chances came from the perimeter.
- Kesler is a good defensive player - he's regularly on the first penalty-killing unit for a reason - but he reaaally needs to work on those clearing attempts.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
He started with the Phantoms, was called up by the Flyers Sunday, and a day later was back with the Phantoms. Rather than practicing with the Flyers Tuesday, he practiced with the Phantoms.This explains why the Canucks didn't (officially) recall goalie Rob McVicar until today. McVicar, of course, was recalled because of the injury to Dan Cloutier. Except Cloutier was injured on Saturday night, and since then, assistant equipment manager Jamie Hendricks has been the team's no. 2 goalie in practice - a stint which, I'm guessing, falls under "other related duties" on Hendricks' job description.
But that’s not where the story ends.
Umberger’s up-and-down season will continue today when he is recalled by the Flyers again. Which begs the question, why didn’t Umberger just stay with the Flyers and practice with the big club Tuesday?
"When you’re called up, the money from his contract goes against the salary cap," said Flyers G.M. Bob Clarke. "Even though one day may not seem to make a whole lot of difference, but if it’s 20 days, or five different players in a month, it (adds up)."
By sending Umberger right back to the Phantoms and not allowing him to practice with the Flyers, the organization saved approximately $4,600 - or one day of Umberger’s pay - against the salary cap.