Thursday, February 22, 2007

Game Day: Canucks at Kings

After a huge win against the Anaheim Ducks, the Canucks go to Los Angeles tonight to take on a Kings team that really is just playing for pride now. Here are today's pregame pieces.

As expected, Roberto Luongo will be back in goal tonight and he has only one goal in mind:

Alain Vigneault wanted to put an end to any goalie controversy before it began.

"Louie's playing [tonight]," Vigneault said with a laugh after Wednesday's energetic practice.

The truth, of course, is there never was a doubt.

Despite Dany Sabourin's impressive win, Roberto Luongo will be back in net trying to regain the rhythm that helped him to a 17-3-2 record in his past 22 games with a 2.18 GAA and a .935 save percentage.
Tommi Santala will also draw into the lineup:

Centre Tommi Santala, who hasn't played for the Canucks since Dec. 8, will likely dress tonight. He skated on a line Wednesday with Markus Naslund and Jan Bulis, although Vigneault said he hasn't decided exactly where he will play Santala.

"I think Tommi is going to go in tomorrow," Vigneault said. "I'm not sure where yet. I wanted to see how he fit in there."
He hasn't in the past, and I bet Markus didn't complain about having Tommi as his centerman:

He's had more linemates than he cares to count. He's been playing on the third line.

But Canucks captain Markus Naslund isn't complaining.

"He hasn't said a word," coach Alain Vigneault said.

"It's been, 'Whatever you want, Coach.' That's the attitude you want. When you have a team-first attitude, he's proving without a doubt that he's a great leader and a very good captain for this team. He knows what he needs to do. He wants to win like everyone else."
Like he has in the past, however, he simply let his on-ice play do the talking:

Naslund endured a 17-game goal drought earlier this season and his offensive game seemed out of sorts. Lately, he has been a more consistent contributor to a Canuck offence that seems to finally be living up to that scoring-by-committee mantra we heard so much about at training camp.

In his last 18 games, Naslund has eight goals and 21 points.

"I'm feeling better and better about my game and I'm feeling that the confidence is coming back, which I think is such a huge part of anyone's game and especially if you are an offensive player," he said. "It's fun. It's fun to win and it's fun to be on a roll like we are right now."
There's already been talk about Roberto Luongo's Hart trophy candidacy, but what about Alain Vigneault for the Jack Adams?

A poll on nhl.com in this age of electronic ballot stuffing isn't exactly hard science, but there is enough recent anecdotal evidence to support the results from the one the league had up Wednesday.

The poll question was simple: Who deserves the Jack Adams award as coach of the year?
Three were running away with it -- the Pens' Michel Therrien, the Predators' Barry Trotz -- and Vancouver's Alain Vigneault.
Only five shopping days till the trade deadline. And the players are trying not to care:

Canuck defenceman Sami Salo admitted he, personally, wouldn't have made the trade, and winger Matt Cooke warned: "You can criticize [a GM] for not pulling the trigger, but you give up that much, it better work out."

Later, Cooke added: "The best mindset [for Canuck players] is to approach the deadline like nothing will happen and prepare yourself to win with the guys we have here. That's what we're doing. It's expensive right now. We don't agree with giving up everything for one guy."
Kinda like what Nashville did to get that Forsberg fellow:

So in the short term, the Canucks may not be thrilled to see Forsberg in a Predator uniform for the rest of this season. But in the bigger picture, there's no question that Dave Nonis made the right move by making no move at all—at least as far as paying through the nose for a guy like Forsberg.

That's not to suggest for a moment that Forsberg wouldn't have looked good in a Canuck uniform. But the timing of such a move wouldn't have made any sense for an organization that appears to be two years away from being in the position to make a big-ticket purchase at the trading deadline.
And finally, here's a piece on Mike Johnston, former Canucks assistant coach and now with the Kings:

When it became abundantly obvious Mike Johnston's interview to become head coach of the Vancouver Canucks was nothing more than a courtesy waste of his time, he followed Marc Crawford to L.A. where they both knew the going with the Kings was going to be tough.
Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Labels: ,

posted by J.J. Guerrero, 6:33 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home