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CANUCKS HOCKEY BLOG

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Canucks 6 Oilers 2

Something funny happened to our Vancouver Canucks since the Christmas break. In the three games they've played since then, they have scored 15 goals and beat three Northwest Division foes in the process. Last night, they put six pucks behind Oilers' backup Jussi Markannen en route to a 6-2 victory.

The Canucks did all the little things right. They countered the Oilers' speed with good positioning, and in the physical department, they didn't back down. Jeff Cowan joined the lineup and fought JF Jacques in the first period; quiet Taylor Pyatt also dropped the gloves against Steve Staios after taking exception to Staios' hit. On the other end of the ice, the Canucks forced turnovers and took advantage of Edmonton's defensive breakdowns. The Canucks were full value for the 25 shots they took and even All-Star hopeful Rory Fitzpatrick recorded his first point of the season.

In fact, the game favored the Oilers statistically - the Canucks were outshot 37-25, outhit 16-13, outdrawn 59%-41% - with the exception, of course, of the final score. I must say it feels good to be on the winning side of these games.

More from the Mainstream
  • The Sedins are hot - both have combined for 13 points (6G-7A) and a +5 rating in the last three games - but it seems Vancouver fans are still slow to warm up to them (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province). I'd like to take this opportunity to remind all Canucks fans that these twins are much, much better now than they were in 2001. Now go out and buy their stuff.
  • Markus Naslund didn't score a goal last night, but chipped in with plenty of good plays and two assists on the scoresheet. Is he feeling the pressure of not scoring a goal in nearly a month? Apparently not.
  • Jim Matheson (Edmonton Journal) also chimes in with a piece on the struggling Canucks captain.
  • Two days of All-Star voting left and ten reasons why you should Vote For Rory.

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Daniel Sedin (VAN): Second consecutive three-point effort.
  2. Mattias Ohlund (VAN): Two goals and some solid defensive work on Ryan Smyth's line.
  3. Markus Naslund (VAN): Two assists and leadership by example.

Official Statistics

Next Game

A Tuesday night game in Calgary, the Canucks' third game against the Flames in a week.

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Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cowan To The 'Nucks

Because the Canucks don't have enough guys who are having problems putting pucks in the net (via TSN):
The Vancouver Canucks added a bit of depth to their lineup on Saturday, claiming forward Jeff Cowan off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

Cowan, who has two assists in 21 games this year, began his career with the Flames and played four seasons in the AHL before playing seven seasons in Calgary, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

The 30-year-old has 40 goals and 70 points in 325 career NHL games.
His TSN scouting report:

Assets: Has good size and strength in fighting off players in the corners. Owns a deceptively quick shot when given the space to get it off. Is extremely determined and feisty.
Flaws: Must reduce the number of bad penalties he takes regularly. Doesn't seem to have the quickness or anticipation to get into good shooting position.
Career potential: Fourth line winger
My best guess is that Alex Burrows will be out longer than expected. If anyone else has any ideas on the method behind Dave Nonis' madness, drop me a line.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

The Crazy Canucks: Episode 13

Sans DaveO, who was a healthy scratch, John, Rebecca, Alanah and I soldier on and present to you the 13th episode of The Crazy Canucks podcast:

Four games to talk about, three teams played since the last episode: Boston, Columbus, and Calgary. The first two games were painful for Canucks fans, but the home and home series against the Flames was nothing short of pure delight. J.J gives us the inside scoop of his involvement with the CBC story on the whole Vote for Rory campaign, and Alanah seems to be getting a tattoo after losing a bet on Luongo’s save stats in the first half of the season.
Click here to listen to it or download the feed and make sure you leave your comments - good or bad - on the site. If you have a mic, we've also added an odeo feature where you can leave your audio comments as well.

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Morrison's Goal, Naslund's Slump and Some Trade Rumors

While the Canucks enjoy another deserved day off (gamewise anyway), here are some quick hits about our beloved hockey team from today's MSM:
  • It was such a beautiful goal that Gordon McIntyre (Vancouver Province) relives Brendan Morrison's shorthanded goal - the Canucks' first shorthanded goal of the season.
  • Elliott Pap (Vancouver Sun) is waiting for captain Markus Naslund to bust out of his scoring slump. So are we. (Against the Oilers tomorrow night would be nice.)
  • Now that the Christmas trade freeze is over, trade rumors are abound again. Take 'em for what they're worth but Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun (link via Spector's) notes a few, including one that involves Brendan Morrison.
  • With only one point separating first and last place in the Northwest Division - yes, the Canucks are still no. 1, thank you Los Angeles Kings - George Johnson (Calgary Herald) explores whether it is due to parity or if it is simply the toughest division in hockey.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Flames 5 Canucks 6 (OT)

Given up for dead a three-game losing streak ago, the Vancouver Canucks have risen up and beat the Calgary Flames for the second consecutive night. Their 6-5 win in overtime extended their winning streak at GM Place to five games, gave them four points in two nights and vaulted them to first place in the Northwest Division.

The game had a little bit of everything: a couple of blown leads, a lot of good scoring chances and odd-man rushes, and some great goaltending (in the first couple of periods anyway). The Sedins, as usual, had good games, but this time, they had some help. Matt Cooke had a goal and an assist and was at his agitating best; Brendan Morrison scored the team's first shorthanded goal of the season; Ryan Kesler, only 67 seconds after the Canucks had squandered a two-goal lead and had given Calgary the lead, tied it up with his fifth goal of the season; and of course, Sami Salo won the game in overtime with his fifth goal of the season - his third game-winner.

More from the Mainstream
  • It's not often that Mikka Kiprusoff gives up six goals in one game. Apparently he was pissed off afterwards and refused to talk to the media.
  • Even after a couple of good wins, Ed Willes just had to give a sobering reality check on Markus Naslund and Roberto Luongo. He has an argument for Naslund, who is obviously not playing like he did one Gary Bettman-led lockout ago, but calling out Luongo? Sure he wasn't great in the third period last night, but he sure was for five periods before that.
  • Rory Fitzpatrick speaks out about Don Cherry's comments on the weekend. Muzzle up, Don. It's a campaign like the one for Rory that made you the 7th greatest Canadian, ahead of Wayne Gretzky, Maurice Richard, Sir John A. Macdonald and Louis Riel.

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Matt Cooke (VAN): Played easily his best game of the season - one goal, one assist and six hits.
  2. Daniel Sedin (VAN): Three more points (1G-2A) for Daniel.
  3. Kristian Huselius (CAL): A couple of goals and more than 25 minutes of ice-time for the Flames winger.

Official Statistics

Next Game

A couple of days off and then Edmonton on Saturday night.

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Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rory Slips to 3rd and that CBC Thing

A small setback for "Vote For Rory" camp as the NHL yesterday released the most recent tally for All-Star game voting with Rory Fitzpatrick slipping to third place. With just one week before voting closes, Rory is still 40,000 votes for second place and a guaranteed spot in the starting lineup.

Now for that CBC thing... Susana da Silva (CBC) swung by for a quick interview, some of which made the following piece*:

Don't worry, kids. I was quite complimentary of the "Vote For Rory" campaign

(* - Footage taken from CBC:Canada Now, December 27th, 2006.)


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Canucks 3 Flames 1

Santa gave the Vancouver Canucks some belated Christmas presents last night - two posts, a crossbar and a 3-1 win against the Calgary Flames. The win was their first road win against a Northwest Division rival this season, and it snapped the Flames' 10-game winning streak at home.

For the first time in a long time, the Canucks didn't have to play catch-up (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province):

The Canucks ended a string of six straight road games in which they surrendered the first goal. They also played a much more disciplined game, got a few breaks and outstanding goaltending from Roberto Luongo.

"We're no different than any other team in this league," said relieved Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. "Starts are key and that's where you build confidence.

"Five or six games in a row killing penalties to start, you waste energy and momentum, and hopefully tonight was the start of something positive."
Back to Luongo for a second. He was simply great, especially during the Flames' 62-second two-man advantage in the third period (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province):

Willie Mitchell needed just one word Tuesday to summarize a third-period sequence in which Roberto Luongo turned aside four scoring chances on a crucial 5-on-3 power play.

"Exceptional," Mitchell said after Luongo backstopped the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames.

"He was really good. That wasn't exactly the way we wanted to play the 5-on-3 -- we got into a few mix-ups out there -- but he was tremendous.

"They score there and it's different game. That's why he's an all-star."
Luongo came within 23 seconds of his 3rd shutout in a Canucks uniform.

More from the Mainstream

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Roberto Luongo (VAN): Stopped 26 of 27 Calgary shots when it counted. Only shot to beat him - a late David Moss goal - didn't have an impact on the game.
  2. Daniel Sedin (VAN): Two goals gives him a tie for the team lead.
  3. Matthew Lombardi (CAL): Quick forward was a handful for the defense and generated a few scoring chances. Four shots on goal and won nine of 12 faceoffs (75%)

Official Statistics

Next Game

A rematch against the Flames tonight at GM Place.

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Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Holiday Message


Tracy, mom-in-law, Baumer and I left early yesterday morning for White-ville aka Lumby, BC, and thus, the lack of game recap for the Canucks' loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. The game itself was not different from most other Canucks games this season - they gave up an early lead, tried valiantly to come back, and then fell short in the end. In Canucksland, some fans cried for Luongo to steal the game; personally - and I've said this many other times this season - they need to make the most of their scoring opportunities and put some more pucks in the net.

Regardless, Tony Gallagher (Vancouver Province) has a very nice piece this morning reminding us Canucks fans that hockey, in fact, is just a game. We may live and breathe it, but especially this holiday season, it's important to keep the wins and the losses in perspective. It's the time of year to spend with loved ones (even in more than six inches of snow like here) and think of those who are less-fortunate, and thanks, Tony, for reminding us of that.

With that, I just want to wish everyone a safe and merry Christmas and hope that Santa is good to you.
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Friday, December 22, 2006

The Crazy Canucks: Episode 12

John, Rebecca, Dave, Alanah and I got together on Wednesday night and recorded the episode numero doce of The Crazy Canucks podcast:
This episode caught some of us off guard, but anytime you throw a bunch of Canucks fans together, it’s not hard to talk hockey for a half hour. The whole gang was here, but our connection to Dave cut out towards the end. That didn’t stop the podcast, you can count on that.

Record as of this episode: 17-16-1 (5th in the Northwest Division)

We cover the last three games, but we only played two teams during that stretch; Calgary and Minnesota. Luongo takes center stage for some discussion, we pick out the rag of the week(only because it seems that whoever we pick on tends to start doing better), and wonder what the heck is going on with the officiating during some of the games. Dave also gives a first hand report on venturing out for a Vancouver Giants (WHL) game, J.J. gives us a Vote for Rory update (listen to an interview with Rory on the website under “Rory Speaks!”), and Alanah is live with her new blog, canucksandbeyond.com.
Click here to listen to the feed or download the episode. Your comments and feedback are welcome as always.

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Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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Canucks 0 Bruins 2

It would have been easy to blame last night's 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Dany Sabourin, who let in two early powerplay goals. The fact is, however, Sabourin wasn't too bad after that. (Of course, the Bruins only took nine shots in the final 48 minutes of the game, but I digress.)

No, what you need to know about last night's game can be summarized succintly by a quote from John Garrett. He said it after Matt Cooke failed to score on a breakaway, but I thought it summed up the rest of the team perfectly:

"(Cooke) has to get it up if he wants to score."
So true. (And y'all get your minds out of the gutter.)

More from the Mainstream

About the game around the blogosphere

  • Waiting For Stanley is giving Jan Bulis some slack, and deservedly so. Even as a noted Bulis-basher, I have to agree that his play is much better these days.
  • Jaci of Wicked Bruins Fan was at the game and will hopefully put up a nice recap from the Boston side of things.

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Patrice Bergeron (BOS): On a hot streak recently and chipped in with another goal last night. Logged 24:38 minutes of ice-time, more than any other forward on both teams.
  2. Tim Thomas (BOS): Stopped all 39 Canucks shots.
  3. Mattias Ohlund (VAN): The defense did what they were supposed to do. Oliie led them with more than 26 minutes of ice-time.

Official Statistics

Next Game

Another 4 PM game tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Canucks 2 Wild 5

I suppose all good things must come to an end. The Canucks, very good and perhaps a little lucky in winning three consecutive games, were neither last night and were soundly beaten 5-2 by the Minnesota Wild. It was just the Wild's third win in regulation since November 2nd when they beat, well, the Canucks.

This one was a total team effort. Nearly everyone played terrible.

The Canucks, hoping to ride some momentum into the Christmas break, instead were as soft as Santa in Tuesday night's 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Roberto Luongo got things started by waving at another Pavol Demitra slapshot, and soon he had lots of bad company.

You want names? Here's a few. Matt Cooke was a minus-four. And he also found time to take a boneheaded penalty, punching Derek Boogaard, who happened to be on the Minnesota bench. Josh Green, who seems to have absolutely no finish, missed a wide open net in the second period that would have tied the game 2-2. Captain Markus Naslund was again mostly invisible. He played more than 17 minutes, had one shot and was minus-two. He has not scored in nine games.

There were others, but you get the picture, and so does coach Alain Vigneault, who was quietly seething about his team's no-show in St. Paul.

"Too many of our top players tonight had a bad night and that's why the score is what it is," Vigneault said.
Ditto.

More from the Mainstream

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Brian Rolston (MIN): Canuck-killer had a goal and an assist and was a pain in the arse for the Canucks defense.
  2. Todd White (MIN): Failed to kick in a goal this time around but recorded two assists.
  3. Branko Radivojevic (MIN): Very opportunistic and scored a couple of goals.

Official Statistics

Next Game

The Canucks travel to Boston and take on the big, bad Bruins on Thursday night.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shouldering Responsibilities

Sami Salo isn't sure if he will be back in the lineup when the Vancouver Canucks take on the Minnesota Wild tonight as his injured shoulder is still giving him problems. On the other hand, captain Markus Naslund will be there, even as he is battling through the flu, a bum shoulder and increasing criticism about his lack of production.

For the Canucks to return to the Western Conference playoffs in the spring, they will need their top-paid players to put up numbers that reflect their positions on the payroll. Naslund understands and takes his responsibilities seriously.

"I would like to score more goals, there's no doubt about it," Naslund said before the team departed for a four-game trip beginning tonight against the Minnesota Wild. "I try to do the right things, and hopefully things will come along and I will get my chances -- and I'll get my goals.

"Right now, it doesn't seem I've really had my opportunity. Maybe I'm too conscious about being on the right side of the puck and playing [defensively]. Maybe I should take a chance once in a while. But in tight games, you don't want to risk too much."
Call it blind loyalty, but I'm gonna stick with the captain on this one. He's done way too many good things this season to warrant any major criticism. He's played a lot more responsible game and is often the first forward hustling back to help the defense. He is a plus-3 player - a far cry from the minus-19 he ended with last season. And despite focusing more on the defensive side of things, Markus is still leading the Canucks in goals (12) and shots (101). (Remember a couple of weeks ago when everyone was screaming because him and the Sedins were the only ones scoring?)

For Naslund, I'm sure the slump (and the shoulder) has to hurt - you can tell by listening to his comments - but as long as he is contributing and the team is winning, I'm okay with that.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Rory Fitzpatrick: 2nd in All-Star Voting

From Versus (via the kids from HFBoards):


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Monday Morning Musings

For those of you reading this and not in a mass panic to get your last bit of Christmas shopping done, here are some quick hits about the good guys who don the Orca Bay blue:

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Crazy Canucks: Episode 11

From the better late than never category, I present to you the 11th episode of The Crazy Canucks podcast:

Dave joins John and Rebecca in “the studio” while we have Alanah and J.J. on the line for this slightly longer edition of the podcast. We tackle the latest news regarding the end of Alanah’s blog, Vancouver Canucks Op Ed, and look ahead to what we can expect from her new role with Kukla’s Korner. You can read her first feature article on her new home, “Bringing Hockey to the People“. So yes, the hockey blogging will continue.

That also sparks a brief debate over blogger and podcaster fans of the NHL in general, and their role in covering their favorite hockey teams in this age of new media. Whoa… deep.

Record as of this recording: 15-15-1 (5th in the Northwest Division)

Canucks! Oh yes, we talk Canucks as well. Carolina, Calgary, and Phoenix are the latest foes to face, so we do our best to cover our likes and dislikes over the games. The way things have been going, we have all been surprised with who we’ve been liking on the ice. We also get a little bit of a Vote for Rory update, tackle goalie mask designs, and toss around various thoughts about who’s hot and who we’d like to see contribute some more.
Click here to listen to or download the feed. As always, maks sure you leave your comments, feedback and suggestions on the page.

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Wild 1 Canucks 2

Last night's 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild wasn't without controversy. With the score 1-1, Pascal Dupuis appeared to score the Wild's go-ahead goal but it was called back by the video replay guys in Toronto.

Dupuis had basic physics on his side. Even though Luongo was covering the goal line, and the puck was in the air, his mask was clearly in the net when the puck hit him.

But despite more circumstantial evidence than the OJ prosecution team -- and the fact CBC later blew up a video still to leave nearly no doubt -- the officials in Toronto threw up their hands and said they couldn't prove what they knew to be true.

"We thought the puck was in but we couldn't find a picture that showed the puck across the goal line conclusively and that's our job," said Mike Murphy, the NHL's senior vice president.

"The referee didn't make a ruling and we didn't see it clearly because there was a puck on a dark uniform. Our job is to find the whole puck across the goal line."
It was perhaps a lucky call for the Canucks, who extended their win streak to three games. Or maybe it was karma paying back the Canucks for allowing Todd White's kicked-in goal in the teams' last meeting.

It wasn't a pretty game, but I say this after watching Thursday's emotion-filled game against Calgary. I thought the Wild outplayed the Canucks in huge stretches, but the Canucks were at least good enough when they had to be.

Roberto Luongo was huge again and kept his team in the game despite being outshot 29-18. He stopped 28 of the 29 Minnesota shots, and in his last three games, has stopped 77 of 81 total shots for a 95.1 save percentage

Both special teams were also good. The Canucks killed all six Wild powerplays and have now killed 17 consecutive chances. On the other end, they scored both of their goals on the powerplay, against a Minnesota penalty-killing unit that was ranked third-best in the league.

The win improved the Canucks' Northwest Division record to 4-8-1 and moved them back into eighth place in the Western Conference.

More from the Mainstream
  • Ed Willes (Vancouver Province) was frustrated about the officiating. Can't say I blame him. Much like Thursday's game, the officiating was horribly inconsistent - and Ed goes through some of the "noteworthy" calls in his piece. For what it's worth, the same referees last night worked Thursday's game as well. Hmmm...
  • Taylor Pyatt returned to the lineup but Sami Salo is still out. Salo suffered a setback on Friday, but as Jason Botchford (Vancouver Province) reports, will travel with the team on their upcoming road trip.
  • After watching paint dry last night's game, Tony Gallagher (Vancouver Province) longs for more run-and-gun games against the East.

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Roberto Luongo (VAN): 28 saves gave his team an opportunity to win in the third period.
  2. Henrik/Daniel Sedin (VAN): Two assists each for Daniel and Henrik. Henrik is now tied for 5th in the league in assists.
  3. Mikko Koivu (MIN): Saku's younger brother didn't show up on the scoresheet but was a constant threat on the ice. Played more than 22 minutes and won 13 of 22 faceoffs.

Official Statistics

Next Game

They play the same Wild on Tuesday night in Minnesota

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Flames 1 Canucks 3

It was the Vancouver Canucks' latest, most important game of the season. The players knew it. The crowd at GM Place knew it. No one disappointed.

There was a playoff-like atmosphere at GM Place with lots of cheering and screaming and chanting and drunk girls fighting. On the ice, the boys in Orca Bay blue played as complete a game as they've played this season, beating their Northwest Division rivals Calgary Flames by a score of 3-1. They played the way Alain Vigneault thought they could back in training camp (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province):

All the way back in training camp, Alain Vigneault surveyed his new team and there was a vision.

He'd have rock solid goaltending. He'd get balanced, three-line scoring. He'd have sound special teams and a smart, well-positioned defence that didn't crumble like blue cheese in front of its own net.

It took 32 games but Vigneault's once fuzzy, at times laughable Canucks concept has started to focus.

The Canucks got goals from three different line combinations, rode Roberto Luongo's sturdy back and showed off some face-washing grit in a self-proclaimed statement-making 3-1 win against Calgary, which boosts Vancouver's still-meek divisional record to 3-8-1.
Statement game - that's how everyone described this game after (Ed Willes, Vancouver Province):

So if that was a statement game, what statement did the Canucks make on Thursday night?

"That we can compete against one of the top teams in our division," said Brendan Morrison.

"I think we rose to the physical challenge and showed we can play with these guys in every facet of the game."
Most importantly, the guys that stepped up the most were the leaders of this team - Roberto Luongo and Markus Naslund (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun):

After Saturday's nadir in Calgary, where Luongo allowed four goals on 24 shots and was hooked, and Naslund went pointless and minus-two and was absolutely eclipsed by Flames' star Jarome Iginla, the Canucks' six-million-dollar men had much to play for in Thursday's rematch.

Luongo brilliantly outplayed Flames' goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and Naslund outpointed Iginla as the Canucks won 3-1 in one of their most encouraging performances of the season.
I know it's only one win but it was a big one for this team. It showed that even with their lack of scoring prowess and style points, they can compete with the best of the Northwest; for a Canucks team that's lacking in confidence and finish, it can give them a bit more swagger.

More from the Mainstream

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Roberto Luongo (VAN): "Only" 22 saves, but many were of the "big" variety
  2. Kevin Bieksa (VAN): Logged a team-high 26:32 minutes of ice-time, had a +2 rating and eight shots on goal. Was instrumental in shutting down Jarome Iginla and the Flames' powerplay
  3. Matt Cooke (VAN): Was his usual pot-stirrer self. Settling in on a line with Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund and assisted on Morrison's goal

Official Statistics

Next Game

Another big divisional game on Saturday night, this time against the Minnesota Wild

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Game Starts In The First Period

Tonight, the Vancouver Canucks face their latest, biggest test of the season. A win tonight against the Calgary Flames and the boys can move to within one point of the Northwest Division lead. Lose and the sky comes crashing once again in Canuck-land.

So far this season, the Canucks have a woeful 2-8-1 record against the Northwest Division. With their next three games against divisional foes and four of their games until the New Year against the same Flames, that record will most certainly have to improve (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun):

Much has been made of the Canucks' sorry 2-8-1 record against fellow Northwest Division teams. They enter tonight's game two points behind the Flames, who have three games in hand. Vancouver can ill afford to throw away too many more points against division rivals.

"It's going to be a big, big game," said Vancouver centre Henrik Sedin, echoing his coach. "If it's not a must-win game, it's pretty close to a must-win for us."

Tonight's game is the first of four the Canucks will play against the Flames between now and Jan. 2. Anything worse than a split in those four games could be devastating to their playoff ambitions.

"Obviously all points are important, but divisional games are that much more important," said centre Brendan Morrison. "I think winning these games goes that much further to getting teams where they want to go and that is to the playoffs. You look at the last several years and the difference between the team that does get it and those that don't is three or four points. You win two games against one opponent in your division and that's the swing right there."
It's not going to be easy (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province):

The Canucks have already lost two games to the Flames this year. And now Calgary comes to GM Place on a major roll. The Flames have been unstoppable at home recently, winning 10 in a row to set a franchise record. Jarome Iginla has been lights out with a six-game goal streak. After tonight, the Canucks will meet the Flames three more times in the following three weeks.

Vigneault said tonight is a pivotal game for Vancouver, as he's hoping his team can win back-to-back games for the first time since they won three in a row Nov. 17-22.
If the Canucks should learn anything from last Saturday's game, it's that they have to show up earlier than the third period; spotting one of the hottest teams in hockey a 4-1 lead is never the best game plan.

More from today's MSM:

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fitzpatrick Gains 70,000 on Lidstrom

Good news: Rory Fitzpatrick gained more than 70,000 votes on Nicklas Lidstrom in the last week and is now only within 102,000 of second place Scott Niedermayer.

Bad news: He's slipped to 6th place among Western Conference defensemen.

Huh?

That's because in San Jose, Sharks fans are voting en masse and Scott Hannan gained more than 170,000 votes to take Rory's 5th place spot.

Full Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Star voting results here and here.

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Coyotes 2 Canucks 5

Who were those boys in blue and what have they done with our offensively-challenged Canucks?Brendan Morrison, Kevin Bieksa, Jan Bulis, Mattias Ohlund and Ryan Kesler all scored last night to pace our team to a 5-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Canucks kept it simple. All game long, they basically sent the forecheckers in, forced turnovers, put pucks on goal, and got in front of Mikael Tellqvist and Curtis Joseph. Goal, rinse and repeat.

Kevin Bieksa - Jason Botchford (Vancouver Province) calls him Jovo Jr. - played a helluva game:

The game that started with the spotlight on Jovanovski ended with Kevin Bieksa stealing the show. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who was at the game, had to be impressed with Bieksa, who patrolled Vancouver's blueline with Keith Richards-like cool. On Saturday in Calgary, Bieksa was the Canucks' best defenceman. Tuesday, he was better.

Bieksa played more shifts than anyone in the game, played more minutes (24:09) than any other Canuck, scored a goal and added an assist. He has four points in his past two games.
So did Brendan Morrison (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province):

Getting the Canucks going eight minutes in with a goal-scorer's goal replete with lots of patience in front of net, Morrison was full of life all night, getting himself noticed on virtually every shift, making most everyone forget his hip surgery.

"To be honest with you, I think I've been skating a lot better in the last three weeks but I think there's more to come," said Morrison. "I spoke to the surgeon three weeks ago and the procedure has only been done for five years over here -- longer in Europe. He said the recovery is a lot like an ACL in that you can get back playing in four or five months but you won't feel 100 per cent for a year. So I don't think I'm completely there yet."
Maybe not, but while centering Markus Naslund and Matt Cooke and playing the point on the second powerplay unit, he's certainly contributing more. He has five points (1G-4A) in his last three games.

More From the Mainstream
My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Kevin Bieksa (VAN): Goal, assist, seven shots and a +4 rating.
  2. Brendan Morrison (VAN): One assist extended his point streak to three games. Starting to look like Mo circa 2003 out there.
  3. Mattias Ohlund (VAN): One goal and very solid on his own end.

About the game around the blogosphere

  • The Chief Canuck is back, giving his good and bad. Nothing ugly about last night's game.
Official Statistics

Next Game

A rematch against the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

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Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Return of Jovocop

In a normal situation, tonight's game against the Phoenix Coyotes would be dubbed as sort of a "Basement Bowl", a battle between two teams currently not in a playoff spot and between two of the lowest scoring teams in the league (no. 28 and no. 30 to be exact).

But tonight, Jovocop is coming back to town. For the first time since signing his five-year/$32.5 million free agent contract with the Phoenix Coyotes, Ed Jovanovski, who spent seven years in the Free Willy jersey, is returning to Vancouver. After Dave Nonis turned over 13 players from last year's roster, he is the biggest name to visit so far - yes, I know Anson Carter has been in town already - and that's big news.

From Ben Kuzma (Vancouver Province):
At one point during his seven years as an energetic and emotional Canucks defenceman, Ed Jovanovski took issue with a radio rant ripping his teammates.

In true Jovocop fashion, he called the station, called the call-in complainer "a clown" and sounded like he wanted to drop the gloves with anyone questioning the team's resolve.

And that was just off the ice.

On the ice, you can tell from hearing his ex-teammates just how much they miss him (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun).

First Mattias Ohlund:
"We miss him, without a doubt," Canuck blueliner Mattias Ohlund said after a rigourous practice at the Garage. "He's obviously been one of the best offensive defencemen in the league the last few years.

"He brought something that very few guys have, the ability to turn a game around with a big play. He was also one of the leaders here. He had a good personality and he was a good fit in the room. I guess it's part of the business to see guys like that go."
Then Brendan Morrison:
"Jovo is a big-time energy guy who added a lot of excitement and enthusiasm," explained Canuck centre Brendan Morrison. "He was a big part of this club for many years and it's going to be a little different playing against him.

"He can deliver tape-to-tape passes and can skate pucks out of the zone, which is a huge asset in today's game. It's a lot easier in your end when you know you have a guy who can pick up the puck and go."
And captain Markus Naslund:
"I'm sure he'll be excited about coming back and showing that he's a great player," said Naslund, who's been fighting an annoying cold the last few weeks. "I think Eddie wanted to come back, but I just think it was a matter of the cap and they couldn't pay him what he got in Phoenix.

"After playing with him, it will be a little different playing against him."
More from today's MSM:


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Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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