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CANUCKS HOCKEY BLOG

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Canucks 1 Avalanche 3

At the Christmas break last year, the Canucks were a game under .500 and there were many questions surrounding the team. They couldn't score and there were far too many defensive breakdowns. Sure they gave it a good effort most games, but more often than not, it wasn't enough and they went into the break with a measly 35 points.

Fast forward to this year. The good news is, they are already ahead of last year's pace. After tonight's loss to the Colorado Avalanche, they are seven games over .500 and have 44 points. They're tied for first in the Northwest Division, though looking at the bigger picture, they're only three points ahead of fourth place Calgary. The Northwest Division is tough. Last year, the Canucks played to a gaudy 32-8-6 record after Christmas to win the division. This year, they may need to play close to the same pace just to keep up. This isn't intended to sound negative because the Canucks are playing some good hockey for the most part; however, this is the reality of playing in a strong division where four of the five teams currently hold playoff spots and the fifth isn't really that far behind.

Since the Nashville debacle on November 1st, Roberto Luongo has gaudy numbers. He has a 12-2-2 record (the team is 15-4-4 since then), a .951 save percentage (22 goals allowed on 488 shots) and a 1.39 GAA. If the Canucks score two goals in a game, more often than not, it's probably good enough.

Louie's not the only one who's started the year off great. Ryan Kesler has too. It's been a breakout season for Kes. He's establishing himself as the team's best defensive forward and is also on the verge of shattering some personal records. After 35 games, he already has 18 points (9G-9A), only seven shy of his career-best 23 points in 82 games during the 2005-2006 season. His next goal ties his career-high for a season (9) and he's only four assists away from his career-high (13) in that category too. All this while playing against opposing teams' best player (or line) every night.

Ditto Alex Edler. Elliott Pap (Vancouver Sun) had a nice piece on the kid yesterday. He started this season with the Moose, but early season injuries to Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa and Lukas Krajicek gave him the opportunity to play and he took advantage of it. Put it this way, in his 24 games since November 1st, he's averaged more than 20 minutes per game and is a plus-13. In fact, his plus-15 for the season is 6th overall in the NHL and 1st among all rookies.

Can this team get better?

Well, like I mentioned earlier, they almost have to be just to keep pace. But also, I think they can. Sometime in the New Year, they should get Kevin Bieksa back, and nearer to the playoffs, they should get Brendan Morrison back. Because Edler, Jason Jaffray and Mason Raymond have all stepped into the lineup just fine, Nonis hasn't been forced to trade for reinforcements. Like I mentioned when Morrison first went down, this basically means that Nonis hasn't had the need to dip into his available salary cap room (except to use for Jaffray's and Raymond's NHL salaries), and barring further injury, gives him plenty of cap room and a certainly a few more options come trade deadline day.

My whole point to this long-winded post? A year ago today, us Canucks fans weren't too merry over Christmas and weren't sure how happy the new year was going to be. I just wanted to point out that so far this season, the team has given us something to be merry about as well as a promise for a better new year.

*****

On a personal note, I just want to wish everyone the best of the season. I can't stress enough how much I'm overwhelmed by the many, many, many of you who keep coming back to read my ramblings. Be good, stay safe and I hope you all have a prosperous 2008.

*****

Now, I hate to be a party pooper, but you've probably noticed that things have been relatively quiet on this blog over the last little while. Unfortunately, it's probably going to stay that way for a while longer yet, not just because of the holiday season, but also because life has dealt a couple of curveballs to my family. We of course hope for the best, but in the meantime, I may not have time to preview, recap and chat about all things Canucks with the regularity that I've been able to in the past. I'll try to pipe in when I can - either here or on the podcast - and I just hope you all understand until things look up a little.

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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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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Game Day Post: Stars at Canucks

It was a late night and an early morning - I had some family things to rush to last night - and don't have much time to do a proper post. I'll keep this short and you guys can consider it kinda like an open thread.

The Canucks will win tonight because:
  • Surely the Canucks are better than any team that has Mike Ribeiro as their leading scorer.
  • Marty Turco can still hear the "Tuuuuuur-cooooooo" chants from game 7 of last season's conference quarterfinals.
  • This game's not going to a shootout, dammit!
Pregame pieces from today's MSM:

I won't be around for the next couple of days. See you guys on Saturday.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Devils 0 Canucks 5

Across the country, Luke Richardson scored his first goal since the '05-'06 season. Over here, Aaron Miller scored his first in four years. And in what was supposed to be an epic battle between two of the best goalies in the world, one was true to form and got the shutout while the other had an off night and allowed five goals. Amazingly, the goalie that got the shutout was ours. Apparently, I should have bought a lottery ticket last night.

It was a great all-around game. Louie was back in net and made his presence known just 10 seconds into the game. Nazzy and the Sedins chipped in with seven points. Kesler not only shut down Zach Parise's line, but scored a great goal on a great second effort. Trevor Linden looked like he had a bit of a pep in his step and scored. And like I already mentioned, so did Aaron Miller (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province).

Miller couldn't remember his last goal, or at least that was his claim. Neither could he remember who he had scored it against as a member of the Avalanche, but when the name Sean Burke was mentioned it seemed to ring a distant gong.

"Look at me, Willie," he quipped to Mitchell. "The media is talking to me."

"That's what happens when you're a goal scorer," was the rejoinder, Mitchell already having scored his goal this year.
Remember the Canucks' woeful home record? I'm knocking on wood, but it looks like it's a thing of the past now. After a 1-5 start at home, they're 7-1-2 in their last ten games. Not only that, but they're not allowing many goals. In his last five games at GM Place, Louie has four shutouts. In the last month at home (six games), he's only allowed two goals: one against the Flames on November 18th and one against the Penguins on December 8th.

More from the mainstream:
About the game around the blogosphere:
Next game:

Thursday night against the other Marty and the Dallas Stars

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Game Day Post: Devils at Canucks



Marty vs. Louie.

The battle between two possible goalies for Team Canada in the 2010 Olympics goes tonight as the New Jersey Devils pay a rare visit to GM Place.

On the one hand, I'm excited to see this match-up. I'm also very excited to watch Zach Parise play. (This kid's a keeper.)

On the other hand, I, unfortunately, still have memories of the last time I saw the Devils play at GM Place. I was still working there and was working a center ice tunnel when the Devils held the Canucks to eight shots on goal... for the entire game. I remember the Canucks tied a club record with 0 shots on goal during one period as well. It was riveting hockey, I tell ya.

Besides the interest behind the Marty vs. Louie subplot, I'm not sure what to expect from this game. Neither team plays the trap necessarily, but both certainly play a defense-first system. Both are in the top half of the league in shots against - that is, they allow fewer shots against than half the league - and in the bottom half in shots for. Not surprisingly, both teams are in the top half of the league in goals against and in the bottom half for goals for.

Are we in for a titanic defensive battle? Perhaps. And it won't hurt to have a large pot of caffeine handy.

More from today's MSM:
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Monday, December 17, 2007

Mo Recovery Time Needed


From Iain MacIntyre (via National Post):
It took nearly eight years for Brendan Morrison's consecutive-games streak to end, and it could be two months or longer before he gets to start another after recovering from wrist surgery.

Vancouver Canuck general manager Dave Nonis said Wednesday the tendon surgery, though not complex, requires "significant" recovery time and the National Hockey League club has no expectations for Morrison's return beyond the 32-year-old being available before the playoffs.

"It's significant," Nonis said. "From what we've been told, it's not a difficult (operation), nothing that we need to worry about. But he will spend significant time in a cast. And after that, there's rehab.

"We knew of this possibility weeks ago. We didn't know if his injury would deteriorate but it wasn't going to get better with rest, so we were hoping he could get through the season with it. But of late, it was getting progressively worse."

While some Canucks fans probably rejoiced at this news - I'm talking specifically about those who have wanted Mo traded for a couple of years now - this is not a small loss. Mo is about as versatile a player as they come these days. He sits fourth in team scoring with 20 points (8G-12A) in 30 points. He plays a regular shift, he plays on the powerplay (as a forward and on the point), and he plays on the penalty kill. Really, it seems the only position he hasn't played this year is in goal.

The good news is, the Canucks have so far been able to cover Mo's absence by committee. Jaffray and Raymond have been decent, and also, the likes of Ritchie and Linden have been able to take on some extra minutes. As long as they can continue to do that, I don't expect Nonis to make a move just yet.

Contrary to popular belief, the Canucks actually don't get salary cap relief for Morrison's injury. If anything, it makes their cap situation worse. His salary will still count towards the cap, as will the salary of whoever it is that replaces him on the roster. (Right now, that's Jaffray.) The only thing the CBA allows the Canucks to do is to go over the cap to replace him; however, as soon as Morrison is healthy, they'll have to shed salary to get back under it.

As it stands, the Canucks have $2.37 million in cap space (as per nhlnumbers.com). With approximately 60% of the season remaining, they can take in almost $4 million worth of salary. But while they certainly have the room to replace him if they want to, doing so would then cut into the amount of salary they can take in at the trade deadline. If the Canucks choose to ride it out with Jaffray, Raymond and maybe Rypien, that $2.37 million in cap space equals to more than $9 million in salary at the trade deadline.

Trade now or trade later? The obvious preference is the latter. First off, I'd love to see more of the Moose kids succeed at the NHL level. But also, salary cap-speaking, a Michael Ryder now may cost them a Marian Hossa later.

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Canucks Rap Time

maximafinogenov delighted us last season with "The Trapper's Delight" Canucks video, his submission into the Ultimate Canucks Search contest. Here is the follow-up:



Man, this is good stuff!

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

BC Children's Hospital Skate For A Cure



I was reading fellow Crazy Canuck, Rebecca's blog and noticed that she was participating in the upcoming BC Children's Hospital Skate for a Cure campaign.
The Skate for a Cure is a fundraising event providing participants of all ages the chance to skate on the home ice of the Vancouver Canucks at General Motors Place, helping raise funds to find a cure for childhood cancer.
Basically, participants skate laps for 30-minutes and try to raise money. It's for a good cause, and from reading the blurbs, it sounds like a good time.

So I've decided to bring out the ol' skates and sign up as well.

I need to raise a minimum of $150 so I hope some of you can help out. I'm also signed up as part of the "Vancouver Bloggers" group and we have a team goal of raising $750. Every penny counts.

If you'd like to donate, I have a personal page set up on the Skate for a Cure site:

http://bcchf.kintera.org/skate/canuckshockeyblog

From this page, you can fill out an electronic form and submit your donations, and also, keep track of how much I've raised so far. We also have a team page set up to keep track of our team goal.

For more information on the fundraiser, you can visit the BC Children's Hospital and the Michael Cuccione Foundation site.

I hope to have your guys' support and thanks in advance.

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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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Game Day Post: Canucks at Oilers

One more game then they're home. They even get a couple of nights off. Imagine that.

The Canucks play the Edmonton Oilers tonight, the final game of a two-week, eight-game in eight cities stretch. Actually, going back the last month, the Canucks have played 17 games in nine cities in 32 nights. It'll be a relief for the boys for sure and will hopefully give those who are nursing nagging little things - like sleep deprivation, for example - a chance to rest up.

After a nice run of seven straight wins against the Oilers, the Canucks have lost the last couple of match-ups, both of them in a shootout. Come to think of it, the Oilers have 15 wins for the season and nine of those wins have come in the shootout. The key to winning tonight's game? Don't let the game go to a shootout.

I've been trying to look for some sort of injury report, but haven't been able to find a recent one. More specifically, I don't know if Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo will be back yet. Kes (only) had the flu and sat out the last game so maybe he'll draw back in for Mike Weaver. And while Louie wasn't supposed to be back until Tuesday, there was some talk that he might actually be back tonight. If anyone hears anything, drop a comment below.

More preview pieces on the game:
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Canucks 2 Sharks 5

In hindsight, there were far more exciting things to do than to watch last night's snoozefest to the Sharks: watching paint dry comes to mind, and also, going to a Celine Dion concert.

The Canucks looked tired and I don't blame them. They were playing their seventh game in seven cities in 11 nights. They went from east to west and are now heading north to finish the road trip from hell up in Edmonton (how fitting, eh?).

Give credit to the Sharks. They took full advantage of a tired team and turned turnovers to goals. Down 3-0, the Canucks actually made it interesting when they scored a couple of goals early in the third period, but turnovers by Aaron Miller and Lukas Krajicek turned into Joe Thornton and Steve Bernier goals to put the game out of reach.

Don't look now, but after a good run of games, the Canucks have only won one of their four games. In a tight playoff race - right now, six points separate 2nd and 12th in the Western Conference - they can ill-afford to go into any extended slump.

More from the mainstream:
Next game:

Saturday night in Edmonton
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Canucks 3 Ducks 2

I had a work function last night and asked the wifey to tape the game for me. Alas, she went for a facial and didn't set the VCR so I missed out on what, from what I heard and read, was a great game for the kids.

I realize it's only been one game, but still, it's refreshing that the Canucks have some decent depth at every position now. When Bieksa and Salo went down six weeks ago, Alexander Edler, Mike Weaver and Luc Bourdon filled in just fine, and of course, Edler is still a regular in the lineup these days. Mason Raymond and Jason Jaffray were good last night and had a couple of points each. Curtis Sanford stole the show with 33 saves, 16 of them in the final period when the Canucks were outshot 16-1.

Again, it's only one game, but hey, I'll savor the win and hope they can do it all over again tonight.

More from the mainstream:

Next game:

Tonight against the San Jose Sharks

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Game Day Post: Moose at Ducks

Okay, okay, maybe that's overstating things a bit, but with Luongo, Morrison, Isbister and Cowan out and Drew McIntyre, Jason Jaffray, Mason Raymond and Mike Brown in, the Canucks sure look a lot more Manitoba Moose-y than usual. That's the worst case scenario. There were some media reports last night saying that Luongo and Morrison are still possible, in which case things may not be too bad. I guess I'm just bracing myself.

Last season, the Canucks, with Salo and Mitchell injured, dressed a defense consisting of Ohlund, Krajicek, Bieksa, Edler, McIver and Coulombe. At that time, Ohlund was of course the lone veteran and the rest had played a combined 163 games in the NHL. (IIRC, Edler had two games experience and McIver and Coulombe were playing their first NHL games.) Anyway, their opponent that night was also the Ducks and the 'Nucks subsequently loss 6-0 at GM Place. I just hope that the team can suck it up this time around, and really, do they have a choice?

Looking at the positives, Jaffray (19 GP, 10G-11A-22P) and Raymond (17GP, 6G-8A-14P) are two of the Moose's leading scorers and Vigneault is most likely to give them plenty of opportunities to produce. Jaffray is pure offense and even led the Moose in scoring last season. He didn't get a call-up because he didn't have an NHL contract. For the first time, we'll see if he can play at the NHL level or if he turns out to be just another Lee Goren. Raymond, we've seen before and we already know he needs to work on being consistent and on his finish. I hope he has.

More previews from today's MSM:

Also, game day post from the Anaheim side from Earl Sleek on the Battle of California.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Canucks 2 Kings 4

I won't blame last night's loss on surprise starter, Curtis Sanford. The fact is, Sanford didn't get a lot of help from the rest of the team. The Canucks were a team playing their fourth game in six nights and it showed. They came out flat, and by the ten-minute mark of the first period, they had less shots than the Kings had goals. Unfortunately, they didn't get much better than that the rest of the way.

Brendan Morrison was horrible and was benched for much of the latter part of the game. I'm sure he must've thought he was on the Kings bench, Crow was still his coach, and he was still in the dog house. Lukas Krajicek had an off-game. So did Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo. The Sedins and Naslund cycled and dangled like they usually do, but weren't able to generate much in real scoring chances. Of all the forwards, I thought Ryan Kesler and Taylor Pyatt were the only ones that played a decent game.

It didn't help that Roberto Luongo proclaimed himself not well enough to play during the warmups. It turns out, he's been injured for about a week now (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun):
After the Vancouver Canucks maintained for two days that their star goaltender was not injured, Roberto Luongo revealed after missing Monday's game against the Los Angeles Kings that he has a rib injury and is unsure how soon he'll return to his National Hockey League team's lineup.

"It's been injured since last Sunday in Minnesota," Luongo said after backup goalie Curtis Sanford was rushed in to play what turned out to be a 4-2 loss against the Kings. "The last few days it got worse. I've been in pain all day. Not good enough to go.

"It hurts when I breathe, hurts when I move. It's tough to do your job."
As far as I can remember - I'm trying to think back to last season - this is the first time Luongo has been injured bad enough not to play. He was hospitalized before a game in Montreal last season, but played and shut out the Habs anyway. He was obviously sick during the last playoff game against the Ducks.

Damn, his ribs must reaaaaally hurt.

Kidding aside, if Louie is out for any extended period of time, this will obviously be a big test for the team. They've never gone without him in net for more than the odd game at a time and I'm curious to see how the team responds.

More from the mainstream:
About the game around the blogosphere:

Next game:

Wednesday night against the Ducks


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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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Monday, December 10, 2007

Game Day Post: Canucks at Kings

Short pregame post today as the Canucks get set to face Marc Crawford and the Los Angeles Kings. Talk about two teams going in opposite directions. Since the start of November, the Canucks are 11-3-3 while the Kings are 5-9-2.

The Kings do have some offense, but that's not their problem. Their 2.76 goals per game is in the middle of the pack and 25.3% powerplay percentage at home is second-best in the league. Their problem is keeping the puck out of the net. This season, they're allowing 3.21 goals per game (second-worst in the NHL) and the almost half a goal difference is fifth-worst in the league. The Canucks, on the other hand, have only allowed seven goals in their last seven games.

I'm interested to see how the Canucks will follow-up that thrilling, albeit disappointing, game on Saturday. This is a tough stretch for sure. They're back on the road for four games - in six nights, no less - and play all three California teams. That said, it's been more than a month since the Canucks lost two consecutive games so I hope that trend continues. (By the way, if anyone's going to all three CA games, drop me an email.)

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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 09, 2007

Taming Expectations

I had to redo this post because when I started writing it earlier this week, Trevor Linden had sat consecutive games. The Canucks were winning, Mike Brown was chipping in and it didn't seem like Trevor was gonna see the ice any time soon. Now, after last night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he's suited up in the last three games and even scored the Canucks' lone goal in the shootout. Thanks to Jeff Cowan's injury, he may stay out of the press box for the foreseeable future - in that sense, things may have changed - though I thought I'd weigh in anyway after all the negative press Captain Canuck endured this week.

The truth is, not only has Trevor looked slower this year, but he's also had trouble handling the puck. He had some powerplay time at the beginning of the season and failed to cash in. In limited playing time, he only has four points. I agree. That's bad news. It's hard to accept Trevor as a fourth-line player, but that's what he is at this stage of his career.

Like any fourth-liner, as long as he has more of a positive impact than a negative one when he's in the lineup, he'll play. As long as he doesn't hurt the team when he's on the ice, he'll play. The good news is, that seems to be the case:
  • While Trevor doesn't contribute a lot on the offensive end these days, he has a decent plus-5 rating for the season. That's one positive.
  • He's won 49% of his faceoffs, which is pretty decent considering the team, as a whole, has only won 47.6% of theirs (29th in the league). That's another positive.
  • Most importantly, Trevor has been on the ice for only five goals against in the 21 games he's played this season (2 ES, 2 PP, 1 SH). That's a big positive.
In fact, the only negative I can see is the obvious decline in Trevor's offense. If I keep in mind that Vigneault has him in a much more limited role this season, and thus, adjust my expectations of him, that's not bad at all.

After his benching, this is what Trevor said (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun):
"I knew the ground rules when I came in," he said. "It was either accept that or not play, so I made my choice to play and this is the situation you get yourself into. And you either go and try to be a positive influence or you make an issue about that and create a problem and I'm not going to do that.

"I'm probably the easiest guy to take out and they probably want to take a look at some other guys. It's not really about me at this point. It's about the team and trying to win games and that's what the focus should be on."
Putting the team before himself. That's another positive.

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Penguins 2 Canucks 1 (SO)

First of all, I did take pictures at last night's game. Unfortunately, the pictures suck and I came to the realization that I need to bring a better camera to Canucks games. If my Secret Santa's reading this, hint, hint...

The game, on the other hand, didn't suck. The loss did, but the game itself was everything everyone wanted it to be. For the amount of hype there was, it didn't disappoint. There were lots of action, lots of hits and great goaltending. Yes, Sidney Crosby was the main attraction, but there were plenty of others who provided the entertainment. There was even a rare sighting of Matty Cooke dropping the gloves. (He didn't do that great, but hey, he at least decided to drop them for once.)

Roberto Luongo was Roberto Luongo. The Penguins were the better team early on but Louie held his ground. Because of him, the Canucks were only down by a goal going into the third period. Thanks to him, the game went as far as the sixth shooter on the shootout. How good was he? He stopped 31 of 32 shots and stopped Sid the Kid not once, but twice on penalty shots. (By the way, I'm still wondering how he ended up as the third star because in my mind he should have been the first.) Anyway, if you missed the mano-a-mano between Louie and Crosby, here's some video (via YouTube):



It's really a shame that the guys didn't get their legs going until the second period. I know they were playing their third game in four nights, but then again, so were the Pens. By the time they could muster up some offense, Dany Sabourin was in a groove - he finished with 35 saves on 36 shots - and the game was going into the shootout where the Canucks have still yet to win this season.

Speaking of which, what is it about the Canucks that they can't score in the shootout? So far this season, they've scored two goals on 14 shots and both of those goals were scored by Trevor Linden. He's almost becoming our team's version of Jussi Jokinen.

About the game around the blogosphere:
Next game:

Monday night against Crow and the Kings
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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Game Day Post: Penguins at Canucks

It only took three years, but finally, Sid the Kid will play his first game in Vancouver.

There were a whole pile of links in yesterday's post. Here's a few more today:

Needless to say, I'm excited about tonight's game and I'm hoping to get there early enough to take some pics at warmups.

Besides Crosby, there should be some intriguing subplots. Can Kesler stop Crosby? Can Louie? Who will Ruutu piss off? How does last year's backup (Sabourin) fare as a starter? The Penguins - minus Mark Recchi, who, incidentally, was claimed by the Atlanta Thrashers this morning - are 2-0 on this Western Canada road trip so far and playing a bit better. However, they lost Marc-Andre Fleury to some sort of ankle injury against Calgary on Thursday night.

Since that brutal Nashville game on November 1st, the Canucks are 6-0-1 at home. On their last homestand, Luongo of course recorded three consecutive shutouts, and actually, the team hasn't allowed a goal at GM Place since the first period of the November 18 game against the Calgary Flames. And after a successful three-game road trip - tonight's game is a short pit stop at home before they head out on the road for another four games - I hope they can keep the roll going.

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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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Friday, December 07, 2007

CKNW Orphan's Fund Pledge Day

From CKNW 980:

The CKNW Orphans' Fund works for children with challenges 365 days of the year. But this day is special. By the end of the day we hope to raise over a million dollars to support the needs of B.C.'s challenged and underprivileged children.
This is always one of my favorite charities and symbolizes the start of my Christmas season. This year's Pledge Day is at the Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver. I'll be there on my lunch break to make my pledge and I hope some of you do the same.

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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 5 Predators 2

I missed the game last night so save for giving you the links from the mainstream, I don't have much more to add. Scouring the web this morning, I noticed that there aren't that many game-related pieces, but there's more than a few on the Bertuzzi/Moore/Crawford thing and Sid the Kid's first visit to Vancouver tomorrow night. (I'll have more on the Bertuzzi thing this weekend.)

Game recaps from the MSM:

Crosby does Vancouver:

I have a few posts that I've been working on the last few days: one on Linden's role on this team, another on the schedule change, and another on the blogger piece on HNIC. I just haven't had the chance to finish writing and posting them up. I'll be at the game tomorrow night and I've also got some quick thoughts on the Bertuzzi thing so I'll have posts about them as well. Needless to say, it'll be a busy weekend on this blog.

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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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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Canucks 3 Blackhawks 2

Thumbs up: Markus Naslund for surpassing Trevor Linden as the Canucks' franchise scoring leader. He surpassed Trev with an assist on Mattias Ohlund's goal in the first period. Next up is the career assist mark.

Thumbs up: Mattias Ohlund for tying Jyrki Lumme for most goals by a Canucks defenseman. Now in his 9th season as a Canuck, he's got 83 goals of which almost 25% (18) are game-winners.

Thumbs down: Shaw PPV for bungling up their game coverage. I've only ordered the game three times at home this season. One time, they went to the Canucks game late because the early game (which was on the same channel) ran late. Then last night, they lost the feed for part of the first and second periods. Canucks TV PPV's slogan is something about "games you won't see anywhere else". Apparently not even with Shaw.

Thumbs up/down: The win was nice and it moved the Canucks back to first place in the Northwest Division, but I don't think the guys played that well at all. They were kinda sloppy and their passes weren't all that crisp. I thought too that the Blackhawks outskated them and won most of the puck battles, and this showed with the difference in powerplay opportunities between then the two teams.

Thumbs down: During the November to remember, the Canucks were rarely outworked and outskated, and of course, they were nicely rewarded for their efforts. They drew penalties as a result, and for the entire month, had seven more powerplay opportunities (73-66) than the opposition. In contrast, during their October from hell, they had one less power powerplay opportunity (64-63). I know it's only a couple of games into December, but so far the opposing teams have had eight more powerplays (13-5) than the Canucks.

Thumbs down: While I'm bitching about the powerplay discrepancy, I might as well bitch about the refs missing two high sticks on the same shift: one on Ryan Kesler and the other on Jeff Cowan.

Thumbs up: If it's any consolation, at least the Canucks have been doing a decent job on the penalty-kill and have only allowed two powerplay goals against in the last five games (24 times shorthanded).

More from the mainstream:

About the game around the blogosphere:

Next game:

Tonight against the Nashville Predators.

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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 05, 2007

Game Day Post: Canucks at Blackhawks

Hopefully, the Canucks found their legs somewhere between Minnesota and Chicago. The team, pretty much a no-show on Sunday, gets back at it tonight against the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks are still pissed off. First, the Canucks shut them out a week and a half ago - the first of Roberto Luongo's three straight shutouts - but also, they're still pissed off at Matt Cooke's hit on James Wisniewski (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun):
"The puck was spinning, I went to pick it up, it went in my feet and I looked down and I was close to the boards and I chipped it out and never saw him," he said. "I just remember hitting the glass.

"I think some people might have a little more respect when guys are in vulnerable spots ... My back was turned a little bit, I was close to the glass, he could have eased up a little bit. I don't know if there's any reason to try and hurt guys."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember seeing that hit and thinking it was a good one. I remember Wisniewski getting hurt but I don't remember it being a hit from behind. As far I saw, he had the puck by the boards and Cookie got him with a shoulder.

Wisniewski insists he won't be running around looking for revenge (Len Ziehm, Chicago Sun-Times):
"I'm not looking to do anything, but I'm not going to pass up on a hit,'' he said after practice Tuesday. ''I might have a clean hit and do what I'd do to any other guy -- but I might put a little more effort into it.''
Cookie might want to keep his head up.

By the way, have you seen the standings going into tonight's game? Not only are the Blackhawks tied with the Canucks with identical 14-10-2 records and 30 points, but also, statistically, they're so much better than they were last year:

  • Goals scored this season: 2.96 per game (8th in NHL); last season: 2.38 (29th)
  • Goals against this season: 2.73 per game (14th); last season: 3.06 (23rd)
  • Powerplay percentage: 19.8% (9th); last season: 11.8% (30th)
  • Penalty-killing percentage: 84.2% (11th); last season: 82.6% (15th)
And that's without having Marty Havlat in the lineup for most of the season. He was injured but came back last week.

The Canucks are 14-2-1 against the Blackhawks since 2002. They've only lost once to them since the lockout season but you gotta think it's getting harder for them to get those W's.

More previews from the 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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Monday, December 03, 2007

Canucks 1 Wild 2

Bah, I suppose all good things must come to an end. Like Roberto Luongo's shutout streak (212:02 minutes) and the Canucks previously-unbeaten in regulation time record against the Northwest Division (9-1-2).

Some thoughts:
  • The truth is, the boys looked flat last night. Minnesota took the game to them and forced them to take some lazy penalties. Altogether, the Canucks were shorthanded seven times, including four times in the first period that set the tone for the game.
  • I thought it was funny hearing the Wild fans boo mild-mannered Mattias. Given the incident with Mikko Koivu, the reception wasn't unexpected. But it's funny because next to Markus Naslund and Sami Salo, Ohlund is probably my least expected Canuck to be public enemy no. 1.
  • Despite the balanced scoring the Canucks have received in the past month, I'm still hoping that the Canucks can find one more guy that has some decent offensive instincts. While I've always appreciated the work of Brendan Morrison's line - at both ends of the ice - imagine what it would be like if Mo had someone with some finish to pass the puck to.
  • Where did this Steve Yzerman-like Markus Naslund come from? On the offensive end, Nazzy had three shots on goal - the classic Naslund kind, not the wimpy 2006-2007 ones - and defensively, backchecked and probably broke up just as many Minnesota plays. And this isn't a one-game phenomenon either. Nazzy's consistently been doing this for about a month now.
More from the mainstream:
About the game around the blogosphere:
Next game:

Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks
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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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