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CANUCKS HOCKEY BLOG

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Red Wings 1 Canucks 4

I caught a bit of the postgame show on TEAM 1040 last night and couldn't believe what I was hearing. The Canucks won 4-1 last night over the first place Detroit Red Wings, but most folks didn't want to talk about another great goaltending performance from Roberto Luongo - his 41st win of the season - or the great performance by the NHL-leading penalty-killing unit that also produced Brendan Morrison's shorthanded goal or Henrik coming within four assists of Andre Boudrias' franchise record of 62 assists in a single season. They wanted to talk about Markus Naslund being benched for two consecutive powerplays in the second period.

"He wasn't playing well, it's as simple as that," Vigneault said bluntly after the game.

Naslund said he can't remember the last time he was benched for a Canucks power play.

"I think he was trying to shake things up and get us a goal there," Naslund said of his coach.

The benching came in the midst of a tentative, careless and uninvolved game for Naslund, whose soft line change cost the team the Wings goal in the first period when he lollygagged his way off, leaving too many men on the ice.
There's no denying that Nazzy had a bad game. (Heck, so did Nicklas Lidstrom, who was on the ice for all four Canucks goals.) Knowing how Alain Vigneault has run this team - playing players who are hot and sitting those who aren't - I'm not even surprised that he was benched. However, I don't like our captain being crucified, especially after a win against a first place team.

It's true that Nazzy's numbers aren't what they used to be, but his responsibility to this team is much more than just to put the puck in the net. In fact, he has the same responsibility as the other 11 forwards on the ice - to look after the defensive side of things first then make the high percentage play next. And he's not only done all that, he's embraced it with nary a peep or complaint. (For the exact opposite of this, see Samsonov, Sergei, Montreal Canadiens.)

And about that putting the puck in the net thing? Last I checked, Nazzy still has 22 goals, which is second-highest on the team, and 54 points, which is third-highest. He has five game-winning goals for the season, second-highest after Daniel Sedin's seven. In fact, the Canucks are 7-1-1 in their last nine games and Nazzy scored the game-winner in two of them so, overall, he hasn't done that bad there either.

More from the Mainstream

First, a clip from Dave Nonis' interview on CBC's After Hours. Seems like Jeff Cowan isn't the only member of the Canuck organization who has rockstar status.



And now the rest of today's 'Nucks-related news:

About the game around the blogosphere


My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Roberto Luongo (VAN): 32 saves and his 41st win of the season.
  2. Brendan Morrison (VAN): A goal, an assist and an 81% (13/16) faceoff percentage, Mo is playing his best stretch hockey of the season.
  3. Pavel Datsyuk (DET): Wings forward scored a goal, threw seven shots on Luongo and was a handful all night.

Official Statistics


Next Game

Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers.

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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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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 10:59 AM

5 Comments:

At March 18, 2007 5:39 PM, Anonymous GZ Expat said...

I think this is just an attention getter on Viggy's part. Remember when he gave Linden the healthy scratch? He uses playing time as a motivational tool for the lower tier guys...and he uses pride for the upper echelon players. Right or wrong...it seems to work.

I think the point in which I don't like, is the fact that he calls him out with the press. If someone asks a question, he should just avoid it, or lie (upper body injury...somewhere around the heart) in order to keep the day to day managmenet of the team out of the headlines. Now (10 games to go) is not the time to be calling out players...particularly your captain...in front of the cameras.

Viggy has worked the younger guys to perfection...which is a testament to his experience with the Moose. But, I think he has a few things to learn about the vets and stars.

 
At March 18, 2007 11:58 PM, Blogger Rinslet said...

I found the Naslund bashing sickening on the radio last night. I thought they should have just analyzed what Naslund did wrong and be done with it. Instead, they encouraged people to discuss the "Naslund problem" instead of discussing the actual game.

And throughout the whole postgame show, it sounded like we lost the game with the amount of complaining people were doing about Naslund and his effort (or lack thereof).

I don't know. I find that people just instantly forgot what Naslund has done for this team and its fans in the past. They suddenly forgot that he was a huge chunk of bringing the hockey spirit back in GM Place and Vancouver. Now, when they talk about his past, they talk about his point totals were in serious decline from last year.

Vancouver may be known as "goalie graveyard" in the past, but I have a feeling that title will change very soon.

Tom Larscheid said on the radio a few days ago how Naslund is always the first to leave the rink on practices and gamedays, how he's not chillin' with the guys. I may like Tommy, but is this really something you should be telling people at this time of the year? Is he saying that the chemistry in the locker rooom is poor now? I mean, I think this is the same guy who said Bulis doesn't ride in the team bus during their east coast road trip back when Bulis rumors popped up. Did he even think that Bulis may have just been visiting friends in Montreal that's why he wasn't in the team bus?

I don't know. I find it hard to believe that Naslund is distancing himself from his teammates, unless this is a one-time incident, etc. I mean, I remember Jeff Vinnick posting pics from their road trips with Naslund chilling with the guys... So whatever.

Media anywhere jsut thrives on focusing on the "negatives" when everything is going right for the team.

 
At March 19, 2007 11:32 AM, Blogger Kel said...

Link

What happened in the media after the Detroit game corresponded very well with what this member of the Vancouver media wrote in his blog entry. If you want to lay blames, blame the fans who bite the bait and only call in when there's something they don't like.

 
At March 19, 2007 11:48 AM, Blogger hoopsjunky said...

Thanks for the pointer, Kel. I remember reading that post after the Canucks won six in a row and then lost back-to-back games on the road (one in OT and one in regulation). It was good to be reminded of it.

The reaction after the game was funny (and irritating at the same time) because for years, Naslund (and Bertuzzi) were being roasted for getting special privileges from the coach and not paying too much attention on the defensive side of things. Now Naslund is doing just that and fans are unhappy?

Granted he is not producing as a $6 million a year player but except for Luongo, no one is. No one on this team, partly because of its makeup and partly because of the system it plays, are (or will be) 1.25+ point per game players. Even the Sedins, who are generally deemed to be having great years are on pace for about 80 points apiece.

This team is more balanced than it ever has been and different guys are stepping up in different games. That approach is winning them games on a consistent basis. I'd take that any day.

 
At March 19, 2007 5:58 PM, Blogger Freudian Slip said...

Morrison was really on fire that night wasn't he!
Matt

 

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