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CANUCKS HOCKEY BLOG

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Almost There

Something this week hopefully, or even this weekend, the Canucks will officially clinch a playoff spot and head back to the big dance known as the Stanley Cup playoffs. Of course, as luck would have it, I will be heading to Seattle after this morning's open practice to visit some old friends and then going to Edmonton for a whole week for work. (By the way, if any of you are from Edmonton, can you recommend a good pub by the Westin that will actually show the Canucks games?)

It's been an exciting week for me. Personally, I'm taking on a new challenge at work - a lateral move monetarily but a great move in terms of expanding my portfolio. Hockey-wise, the Canucks continue to hold first place in the Northwest Division and it's getting harder not to get giddy about the real possibility that they can do some real damage in the playoffs.

Also hockey-wise, I'm meeting up with The Crazy Canucks crew in about an hour to take in the open practice and record a special episode of the podcast. Because we do most our recording via Skype, this will only be the second episode where we'll actually be in the same room doing so. What we hope will make this episode extra special is that the Canucks have granted us special access passes to this morning's event so we will be able to record from inside GM Place and chat hockey while Alain Vigneault and crew take the boys through their paces. The practice is sold out - 18,630 people will be there - and we'll try to capture as much of the atmosphere as possible.

Anyway, depending on what work brings this week, posting may be light until Friday. For now, feel free to chat in the comments section of this post and discuss what should be the first Canucks playoff appearance in three years.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

All Bobby Lou


The Canucks have three days off between games, their longest break since Valentine's Day. I'll give you three guesses as to who's on the ice anyway. That's right: Bobby Lou.

"This is the last chance before the playoffs start for me to break in some skates," Luongo said. "It was a good chance for me to get in them and make sure they are ready for the next game."

Luongo changes his skates every month-and-a-half or two months and likes to make sure they are comfortable before wearing them in a game.

"I usually like to take a stretch where we don't have games for three or four days to make sure I get used to them," he said.
More Luongo from today's mainstream. Hmmm, you would've thought that everyone in the Vancouver media decided to make today "Roberto Luongo in the news" day.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Predators 0 Canucks 2

No Willie, no Sami, no problem. Despite missing two of their top three defensemen, the Vancouver Canucks put on a defensive clinic, stopped the high-powered Nashville offense and shut the Predators 2-0 at the Garage. With eight games left in the regular season, the Canucks now move to within four points of the Preds for first place in the Western Conference and within five points of the Buffalo Sabres for the President's Trophy.

It was a very entertaining game. Unlike in some recent games, the skaters didn't let up and continued to be aggressive even after they got the lead. They skated hard and peppered Tomas Vokoun with 30 shots.

On the defensive end, the Canucks blocked shots, blocked passes and gave the Predators very few quality chances on goal. Granted, the Predators were missing Steve Sullivan and Martin Erat from the lineup, but Peter Forsberg, Jason Arnott, Paul Kariya and David Legwand aren't exactly chopped liver. Roberto Luongo, solid as usual, stopped 20 shots for his league-leading 43rd win of the season, his fourth shutout of the season and 31st of his career.

You know I'm usually hard on Jan Bulis, but I thought he played one of his best games of the season. For starters, he hustled hard, played smart and stayed away from the penalty box. His play has actually been better - a lot better - of late, but last night, he was rewarded with his 12th goal of the season, the Canucks' first goal of the night and eventual game-winner. Tommi Santala was also rewarded for his persevarance. He finally scored his first goal of the season and his first since Clay Aiken first entrenched himself in pop culture.

More from the Mainstream

About the game around the blogosphere

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Roberto Luongo (VAN): Recorded his fourth shutout of the season.
  2. Jan Bulis (VAN): Good, smart game to go with his 12th goal of the season.
  3. Mattias Ohlund (VAN): 28:15 minutes of ice-time and instrumental in shutting down the Nashville offense.

Official Statistics


Next Game

A well-deserved three days off and then the first of a back-to-back against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Crazy Canucks: Episode 26

The gang got together after the Canucks' three wins in the past week and recorded episode number 26 of The Crazy Canucks podcast:

Dave is a healthy scratch on this episode, but the rest of the crew gathers to tackle the recent games, look ahead to who is coming up, and hash out some topics that the big media folks are drudging up. J.J. makes a call in from the game he went to against St. Louis (W), and we look at the other two games against Detroit (W) and Edmonton (W) in true TCC fashion.

Record as of this episode: 44-23-6
Northwest Division: 1st
Western Conference: 3rd

We also bring you some breaking news at the top of this episode regarding the Canucks and the world of podcasting, Alanah details her live blogging on the day of the Red Wings game, and J.J. presents some interesting insight to the slight against Naslund’s play even though the team record has been overly positive.
Click here to listen to or download the episode.

On a side note, the Canucks organization is really beginning to embrace this whole new media thing - first by allowing fan bloggers on their site and now by pointing to fan podcasts as well - and we are pleased to say that The Crazy Canucks podcast is now listed on the official Vancouver Canucks site. Thanks to everyone for tuning in every week and please keep the feedback coming.

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Game Day: Nashville at Canucks

I took a look at the NHL standings this morning and was mildly surprised at the Canucks' record relative to tonight's opponent, the Nashville Predators. For all the hype and hoopla the Preds received (they and the Wings and the Ducks), the Canucks are only six points back of them. Let me put this another way - going into tonight's game, the Canucks are only six points back of the Western Conference-leading, NHL-leading Nashville Predators.

The Canucks, however, have had problems solving the Predators this season. They've lost two of their meetings so far and needed extra time to win the one game they did. And unfortunately for them, Willie Mitchell and Sami Salo will miss tonight's game, and will again rely heavilly on Mattias Ohlund and Kevin Bieksa to stop - or at least try to - the high-powered Nashville offence.

"I'm smarter this time, I know better," Mitchell said. "I still have pain, and if I still have pain I'm not going to come back.

"The last time I came back, I actually didn't have pain in the morning skate and I made the injury worse in the game.

"Now, I still have a little pain and waiting until Sunday will be really the smartest thing for me to do."
More links and such about tonight's game:
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Canucks 2 Oilers 1

The Canucks faced an Oilers team that had lost ten consecutive game and was missing nine of its regulars. Go figure, the Canucks still only won 2-1, yet another one-goal game.

Both goalies were busy. The Canucks threw 38 shots on Dwayne Roloson; the Oilers threw 37 on Roberto Luongo. Both goalies were good and kept the game close for their respective teams. Oilers' coach Craig MacTavish was quick to credit both:

"It was a great battle of two pretty good goaltenders," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "Roli made a lot of great saves and Luongo was doing what he has been doing all year long and played really well."
Actually, give the entire Oilers team credit. They didn't roll over and play dead. Well, except maybe for when Daniel and Henrik Sedin were on the ice. The twins combined for four more points, including Daniel's 32nd goal and 8th game-winning goal of the season. In one memorable powerplay sequence late in the first period, they - and the rest of the first powerplay unit - had possession of the puck for 1:59 minutes and threw six shots on Roloson, and then with a second left in that man-advantage, Daniel Sedin drew another penalty. In eight games against the Oilers, the twins have 24 points on eight goals and 16 assists.

More from the Mainstream

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Roberto Luongo (VAN): 36 saves and is now tied with Martin Brodeur for the NHL lead with 42 wins this season.
  2. Dwayne Roloson (EDM): 36 saves and the Oilers' best penalty-killer.
  3. Daniel Sedin (VAN): Two more points - one goal (the game-winner) and one assist.

Official Statistics


Next Game

A Wednesday night visit from the Nashville Predators.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Game Day: Canucks at Oilers

There's no rest for the Canucks after their 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday as they meet the Oilers in Edmonton tonight. The Oilers are playing for pride at this point, but for the Canucks, this is their game in hand over the Minnesota Wild and a win would give them a three point cushion on top of the Northwest Division.

Markus Naslund is taking his benching from the powerplay against the Red Wings like a true professional. He knows that he had a bad game and is looking to bounce back tonight:

"I agree I didn't have a strong game against Detroit," a subdued Naslund reflected Sunday before the Canucks left for Edmonton and tonight's date against the reeling Oilers. "He probably did the right thing. But I'll bounce back and I'm looking forward to having a good game in Edmonton."
I hope so. Naslund has had some good games against the Oilers and has seven points (3G-4A) in seven games against them this season. The Oilers have allowed 33 goals in their nine games since trading away Ryan Smyth - an average of 3.67 goals per game - and may be right for the picking.

More pregame pieces for your reading pleasure:

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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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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Game Day: Red Wings at Canucks

The Canucks play their second-last Saturday night home game of the regular season tonight when they entertain the Detroit Red Wings. The Canucks have won two of three meetings against the Wings so far, but both of those wins were at the Joe.

The Wings certainly aren't taking the Canucks lightly:
The Canucks are in first place in their division, are virtually unbeatable when leading after two periods and are one of the toughest teams in the NHL to score against.

Those three accomplishments have a great deal to do with last summer's decision to acquire Roberto Luongo, one of the biggest and best goaltenders in the league. The Wings, who play the Canucks tonight at GM Place, have lost to him twice this season, and they're not the only ones. Luongo is 40-20-5 with a 2.35 goals-against average, but more impressive than his stats is the impact he has had on the Canucks.

"Oh, he's changed them," Wings coach Mike Babcock said Friday. "I mean, they used to try to race you to seven. They play now. They make it hard for you to play. Lu is one of the best goalies in the world. He gives your team confidence. If your team has confidence in their goalie, they don't run around in their own zone because they know he's going to do the job."
Here's more love from Detroit:

"He's been unbelievable," Red Wings forward Kris Draper said. "A lot of (us) probably weren't paying attention of what he was doing in Florida, but you bring him into a Canadian market, and he's getting the attention now of what a great goaltender he is."
And here are some more pregame fodder:
  • One player who Canucks fans have been dying to show the love to is Todd Bertuzzi, ex-Canuck and current Red Wing, but he won't be at GM Place tonight; he's in Grand Rapids, Michigan skating with the Wings' farm team. And no, he won't be on the ice either when the Griffins take on the Manitoba Moose.
  • Chris Chelios, the ageless wonder, will play, of course. And apparently, he may play until he's 50. (Shit, I thought he was 50 already.)
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Friday, March 16, 2007

Blues 2 Canucks 3 (OT)

The Canucks are tied for the league-lead in one-goal games with 28. In a way, I'm not at all surprised that, even with a non-playoff bound team like the St. Louis Blues in town, the Canucks won by a single goal.

The game looked like it should have been a romp. The Canucks outshot the Blues 12-2 in the first period and led them in shots 20-5 about halfway through the second. They dominated the play - and by they, I mean mostly the Sedin, Sedin and Cowan line - and the Blues rarely got within spitting distance of Roberto Luongo. At that point however, all they could show for their good play was a 1-0 lead on Henrik Sedin's 10th goal of the season; midway through the third period, Trevor Linden also scored his 10th goal of the season - a nice finish on a nice odd-man rush - to extend the lead to 2-0.

Game, set, match, right? Well, not quite.

Almost as if on cue, the Canucks started to sit back on their two-goal lead much like they did against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. The Blues sensed this and slowly yet surely clawed their way back to force overtime.

Thank goodness Eric Brewer felt the need to stand up for Curtis Sanford, who dove when Matt Cooke skated by him. Thank goodness the Sedins made him pay with a beauty of a powerplay goal in overtime.

More from the Mainstream

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Daniel Sedin (VAN): OT winner plus an assist.
  2. Curtis Sanford (STL): 34 saves on 37 shots. Was pretty much the only reason the Blues were still in the game in the third period.
  3. Henrik Sedin (VAN): One goal and one more assist towards Andre Boudrias' record.

Official Statistics


Next Game

Big Saturday night showdown versus the Detroit Red Wings.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Trapper's Delight

Here's something to pass the time while waiting for the Canucks game to start. Check it out - it's freakin' hilarious!



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PK Power Rankings

From James Mirtle:

Using data from Behind the Net and taking only players who have played at least 120 minutes shorthanded as of Feb. 18 (approximately two minutes per game), the player with the lowest number of power-play goals scored against per two minutes short-handed ice time is Vancouver Canucks forward Josh Green.

In fact, the Canucks — owners of the league's top-ranked penalty kill — have the four highest-ranked players in the category, and five of the top seven players. This isn't a measurement that takes into account the strength of a player's teammates or the goaltender (hello Roberto Luongo!), so take it for what it's worth.
Interesting to say the least. It's no secret that the penalty-killing unit has taken a bit of a hit since Ryan Kesler (ranked no. 17 on the list) and Josh Green went down to injuries. This partly quantifies the reason it has.

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Game Day: Blues at Canucks

For some reason, Curtis Sanford is unbeatable against the Canucks. Tonight would be a good time to give him his first career loss against the 'Nucks, no? A win tonight would end the mathematical possibility that the Edmonton Oilers can pass them for a playoff spot. It will also keep them in first place in the Northwest Division.

But first, the Canucks have to improve on their play from the last week. Their specialty teams had been horrendous and Alain Vigneault is hoping that Jeff Cowan can snap the struggling powerplay out of its funk.

In an attempt to fix his power play -- which is currently so impotent it needs Viagra more than a good set-up man -- Alain Vigneault has turned to Jeff Cowan.

Why not? In the last two weeks, Cowan has fixed the team's second line, fixed its toughness issue and, above all, fixed sagging brassiere sales in the Lower Mainland. All things considered, resuscitating the Canucks' comatose power play should be a piece of cake for Cowan.

"He's on a roll," head coach Alain Vigneault said with a shrug. "As a coach, you have to play the guys who are on a roll."
Who's not on a roll is Taylor Pyatt. Despite setting career-highs in goals (18) and points (30), he only has three points (2G-1A) in the last 15 games. It is Quiet Pyatt's spot on the second powerplay unit that Cowan the Brabarian is taking.

"For some reason, Pyatt's game has slipped and not just in his execution but in his physical implications, whereas Jeff's game has picked up," said Vigneault.

"Our power play right now is not performing and we're going to try Jeff there. He's been our hottest player and Pyatt has not played to his potential.

"Cowan and Pyatt on the power play pretty much have the same role in screening the goaltender and tipping pucks."

Translation: As much as Cowan has been justly rewarded for going boldly to the net and collecting eight points in his last seven games, Vigneault is sending Pyatt a message to be more of a presence. Big bodies who play big are a postseason bonus, especially on the power play. And Pyatt does have nine power-play goals.
More 'Nucks talk on the 'net:

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wild 3 Canucks 2 (OT)

While watching last night's 3-2 overtime loss against the Minnesota Wild, I got around to thinking of how much, despite this nice 24-5-5 post-Christmas run they're on, the Canucks haven't exactly dominated in recent games.

Last night was a perfect example. The Canucks built an early 2-0 lead, but for whatever reason then allowed the Wild to take over the game. From that point on they seemed to sit back a bit; Minnesota outshot the Canucks 29-18 the rest of the way and carried the majority of the play as well.

Roberto Luongo was good again. He kept the Canucks in the game as much as he could until Brian Rolston beat him with yet another slapshot late in the third period. To be fair, on that play, the defense had all sorts of problem clearing the puck.

Speaking of the defense, I thought Kevin Bieksa too often tried for the big hit and took himself out of the play. He logged more than 28 minutes of ice-time, but with Willie Mitchell out of the lineup, perhaps tried to overcompensate too much. He wasn't completely horrible - he did help shut up Marion Gaborik - but moreso than I can remember of any game this season, he reminded me of a Jovo Jr. (Apparently, Ben Kuzma disagrees with me.)

The powerplay also continues to struggle. The Canucks enjoyed more than ten minutes of powerplay time (in seven powerplay opportunities), but very rarely gained control. It has now only converted on one of their last 26 chances, a span of 47 minutes and 19 seconds.

Now, it's hard to complain because the Canucks are still coming out of most games with at least a single point and they're still hanging on to first place in the Northwest Division. I hope this is just a small bump on the road. After all, they've played a lot of games in a short amount of time and last night's game was their first at home after playing three in four nights on the road. With a favorable schedule coming up to finish the regular season (7 of their last 12 games are at home; 8 games are against teams that don't currently occupy playoff spots), I hope they can get rid of some of the kinks and get suitably ready for the postseason.

More from the Mainstream

About the game around the blogosphere


My 3 Stars of the Game


  1. Brian Rolston (MIN): I wonder if Luongo has nightmares about his slapshot.
  2. Brent Burns (MIN): Scored the game-winner in OT.
  3. Mattias Ohlund (VAN): Was all over Marion Gaborik for 27:38 minutes.

Official Statistics


Next Game

Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Game Day: Wild at Canucks

Big game tonight at the Garage as the Vancouver Canucks start a three-game homestand against the Minnesota Wild. If the Canucks win in regulation, they'll extend their Northwest Division lead over the Wild to four points; if the Wild win in regulation, they'll catch up to the Canucks in points.

The Canucks may have to play tonight without their best defensive defenseman, Willie Mitchell (Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Province):

Willie Mitchell's lone goal this season and half his two-point games have come against his former team, the Minnesota Wild, but he's questionable for tonight's game, the final regular-season encounter between the two Northwest Division rivals.

Mitchell's groin, which caused him to miss most of seven games just before the all-star break, is giving him problems again and he didn't take part in Monday's practice.
He may be replaced, however, with defensive center and Moose callup Nathan Smith (Adam Wazny, Winnipeg Sun). I'm guessing the Canucks have had enough of Tommi Santala missing the net.

For the first time since the 2003-04 season, the Moose centre was recalled by the Vancouver Canucks. Smith, who underwent three different surgeries after suffering a major knee injury last winter, has been an unsung hero for the Moose this season. Asked by Arniel to move out of the defensive-centre role thrust upon him by other coaches, the 25 year old has 16 goals and 18 assists (both career highs) in 58 games and has become a top-six forward with the Moose this year.
More Canucks stuff on today's interweb. (Notice today's theme?)

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Canucks 2 Ducks 4

Playing their third game in four nights and fourth in six nights, the Canucks looked like a tired team. The Ducks knew this and their game plan was obvious from the opening faceoff: bully the Canucks and tire a tired team out of the Honda Center. Credit the Ducks for playing their game plan en route to a 4-2 win, but also credit the Canucks for not backing down from the physical play.

Despite the loss, I like what I saw with the Canucks. They're not going to win every game, but it was good to see the fight in them. Kevin Bieksa stood up for Tommi Santala after Dustin Penner ran him from behind and got away with it. Jeff Cowan didn't score but dropped the gloves, not once but twice. Even Markus Naslund, Mattias Ohlund and the Sedins mixed it up.

In fact, the only difference in this game were the play of the specialty teams. Maybe it was a symptom of being a tired team, but the Canucks powerplay was outscored by the Ducks powerplay 2-0 and that was the difference in the game. The Canucks have now allowed a powerplay goal in nine of their last ten games, and with a playoff spot all but wrapped up, I hope they take the next 13 games to get the penalty-killing unit back to top form. Their PK% is still tops in the league but it needs to start shutting the door like they did in early January.

Now if I had any complaints about last night's game, it was the inconsistent officiating, which was downright infuriating:

Referee-bashing is a national pastime in Canada, mostly because the officials provide so much fuel. The credibility of the complaints, however, are often undermined by the fact they always come from the losing team.

But Meier, of whom the best that can be hoped is that his nightly mistakes don't affect the outcome, and Dwyer were especially bewildering on Sunday.

"I don't even know who's who out there," Bieksa said. "They're both ... I don't know who they are but they shouldn't be paired together. I don't know how to explain some of those calls."

Bieksa fought Dustin Penner after the Duck ran, without penalty, Canuck Tommi Santala head-first into the boards. Bieksa was nailed for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct.

A few shifts later, Anaheim heavyweight Shawn Thornton instigated a fight with Jeff Cowan after the Canuck ran Duck Kent Huskins. Thornton, like Cowan, received only five minutes for fighting.

As the second period ended, Penner knocked Bieksa to the ice at the end of a scramble in front of the Vancouver goal. Each player got another 10 minutes for that collision.

"I don't know how I get tackled and get a 10-minute penalty," Bieksa said. "I don't know how to explain that one. I don't know how I get an instigator and then Shawn Thornton goes out and does the same thing. [Penner] asked me if I wanted to go and dropped his gloves."
Regardless, it was a good effort from the boys, even if it wasn't a perfect one. They showed that when push comes to shove that they'll shove back. I like that. I really do.

More from the Mainstream

My 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Teemu Selanne (ANA): Scored two goals and added an assist.
  2. Andy McDonald (ANA): Also scored two goals and an assist.
  3. Daniel Sedin (VAN): Only recorded an assist but also showed that he didn't mind a bit of the rough stuff.

Official Statistics


Next Game

Big Northwest Division showdown against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Game Day: Canucks at Ducks

For all the hype about Burkie's Duckies at the beginning of this season, the Canucks actually have as many wins - 41 - as they do. They are six points up on than the Canucks and currently occupy 2nd place in the Western Conference, but that six-point difference in the standings is only because of the "loser" points - the Ducks have 11 of them; the Canucks only have 5.

Both teams come to tonight's game on a roll. The Canucks are on a five-game win streak and are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games; the Ducks have won four games in a row and are 8-1-3 in their last 12 games.

Dany Sabourin started in the last meeting against the Ducks. He was impressive and got his first career NHL win. This time however, Roberto Luongo will get the start. Less than 48 hours after breaking Kirk McLean's franchise record for most wins in a single season, he will get the chance to hit the 40-win mark for the first time in his career.

Here are more pregame pieces for your reading pleasure:

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Better Than Bob Cole

I'm a sucker for cute and this clip is cute.



I especially love how a two-year old knows the Canucks players' names better than Bob Cole and can call penalties almost as good as Mick McGeough.

* - clip is from the Ultimate Canucks Fan Search

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Canucks 2 Sharks 1 (OT)

I'm gonna be honest here, guys. I'm hungover as hell. Some of my good friends and I went to the Shark Club on Georgia St. to celebrate my birthday and watch the game, and let's just say, I probably had one more Jager-bomb than I should have. It was a great time - I also met some of the cool folks from Canucks Corner, who were having their annual meet and greet - however, because of aforementioned Jager-bomb (and other like alcoholic drinks), my memory of the game is a bit on the fuzzy side.

I'm sure it was a great game. The Canucks won 2-1 in overtime and extended their win streak to five games. They are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games and have a four-point lead over the Minnesota Wild and six-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the Northwest Division title.

Except for parts of the first period when the Canucks took a couple of penalties and the Sharks dominated the play, I thought the guys in Orca white looked good. In an even-matched, tight-checking affair, they threw 37 shots on Evgeni Nabokov, who stopped 35 of them.

Meanwhile, on the other end, Roberto Luongo did what he normally does. He wasn't as busy - he only faced 26 Sharks shots - but he was just as good. His win was his career-high 39th of the season; with it, he also set a new Canucks franchise record for most goaltender wins in a single season. Next up, Bernie Parent's NHL record of 47 wins.

More from the Mainstream


Official Statistics


Next Game

Early Sunday evening against the Chris Pronger-less Anaheim Ducks.


Postscript: Thanks to Ernest and Naomi for sending in this pic from San Jose.



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Friday, March 09, 2007

Lessons Not Learnt

Seriously. This shit has got to stop.



If Chris Simon gets anything less than 10 games for his stick to the head of Ryan Hollweg, I'll be extremely disappointed.


[Update: 03/11/07, 10:20 AM]

The league has handed Chris Simon one of the stiffest suspensions in NHL history (TSN.ca):

New York Islanders forward Chris Simon has been suspended for the remainder of the 2006-07 regular season and the entirety of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Simon is suspended a minimum of 25 games, including Saturday night's game against Washington plus the 14 that remain in the 2006-07 regular season. If the Islanders do not qualify for the 2007 playoffs, or play fewer than 10 playoff games in the 2007 playoffs, Simon would serve additional games at the start of the 2007-08 regular season to satisfy the minimum term of the suspension.
I just hope now that they're serious about addressing the larger issue of head hits and taking it the heck out of the game.

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