March 04 2014 02:09PM
I'm not going to try to sell you on the merits of tonight's game between the Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes, because aesthetically speaking, it'll more than likely make for horrendous viewing. I can't for the life of me recall the last time the Canucks played a game that I actually genuinely enjoyed watching, but it's been some time. Let me actually check the schedule..
Oh, hey, it was probably the last time these two teams met back on January 26th! The Canucks managed to score 5 times in that game, which seems like the most impossible of feats at this point. Heck, they've scored 5 goals in their last 4 games combined. So suffice it to say, I wouldn't bet on that sort of scoring outburst occurring again.
But there is *one* big reason to tune in though: the trade deadline hits tomorrow afternoon, and there's at least a non-zero chance that this could be the last time we saw any of Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, or Alex Edler in a Vancouver Canucks uniform.
March 03 2014 12:19PM
Image via NHL.com
Prior to yesterday's Heritage Classic, Assistant GM and Cap Magician Laurence Gilman referred to the 2013-14 season as an "anomaly" for the Canucks, presumably largely due to the laundry list of injuries the team has dealt with over the season.
The loss to the Ottawa Senators was the 63rd game of the season, and only two players had suited up for each and every one of them: Jason Garrison and Daniel Sedin. You can shorten that list to just one after tomorrow's game in Phoenix, as it's looking more and more like Daniel Sedin could be out for an extended period of time.
Read on for a look at how this affects things moving forward, both on and off the ice.
March 03 2014 09:33AM
The following scene took place inside John Tortorella's head Saturday afternoon:
Which goaltender is playing better right now? Eddie Lack or Roberto Luongo?
Which goaltender is in better game shape right now? Eddie Lack or Roberto Luongo?
From that context, it made all the sense in the world to start Eddie Lack at the Heritage Classic. Don't get me wrong, I disagreed with the decision, but not because there was the off-chance that Roberto Luongo's feelings would get hurt.
The problem I have with starting Lack in that situation is that, barring some potential deal on the table for Luongo, it's a case of a coach overthinking the process. I'm not sure I buy into Torts' defence of why he started the hot goaltender over the better, more experienced one.
March 02 2014 07:26PM
In isolation, or to the outside observer, I'm sure the Heritage Classic was a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon as the NHL gears up for the trade deadline and post-Olympic stretch drive. It was a relatively fast-paced game with goals scored off the rush, plenty of shots, scoring chances both ways, and some intensity and nastiness to boot. Under different circumstances, we'd probably be regaling in how that was an entertaining game and a welcome break from the monotony of the regular season, and even though the Canucks didn't get the result they wanted, they can put this in their rear view mirror and get on with their season.
Of course, the operative term is "different circumstances." John Tortorella (or Rollie Melanson if you pay attention to Jason Botchford) decided to bench Roberto Luongo in favour of Eddie Lack, kicking the "goaltender controversy" hornets nest that had so far been dormant. The move backfired, as fans voiced their displeasure at John Tortorella and the rest of the Canucks brass who allowed this to happen by booing the likable Swede at times during the game. Like the rest of the Canucks, Lack didn't have a particularly strong game in a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Read past the jump for more.
March 01 2014 05:28PM
Dating all the way back to April 17th, 2013 when the NHL announced that the Canucks and Senators would be competing in the "Heritage Classic" (as part of the 6 outdoor games to be played in the '13-'14 season), there appeared to be quite a few flaws with the plan.
Looking past the fact that it was an oversaturated and transparent cash grab by the league, from a storyline perspective it sure seemed odd to have the game feature two teams that have as little history with each other as possible, having played only 31 total times since 1992.
When your main marketing angle is "these two franchises played for the title back in 1915!", you're reaching. Then there was the fact that it was set to be played in March, which in Vancouver, generally doesn't lend itself to prototypical outdoor hockey weather (though apparently they knew something we didn't, because it has been snowing up here in the past week).
Even taking all of that into acocunt, there were still plenty of people that were excited about the fact that their city would be hosting an outdoor game, and that they'd get to witness it up close and personal (even if it meant spending their life savings). But leave it to the Vancouver Canucks to Canuck it up by creating a self-inflicted goaltending controversy on the eve of the game, which has somehow, someway managed to overshadow a regular season game between these two well known rivals. Even if it's being played in a CFL stadium.