January 30 2013 11:03AM
At this point, the Canucks could certainly use some more bread and butter.
In case you hadn't heard, the Vancouver Canucks were fairly proficient at winning hockey games over the past two seasons. They were a combined 105-41-18, which was good for two consecutive Presidents' trophies. For a team to accomplish that in today's NHL, they need to be able to do something things pretty darn well; the particulars obviously depending on the specific construction of the team. For the Canucks, those things happened to be strong special teams play combined with devastating possession of the puck (and good goaltending, of course).
So naturally, with the Canucks having come out of the gate sluggishly this season - to the tune of a 2-2-2 record, with a few questionable blown leads mixed in - questions have surfaced about what's wrong with the team.
It's simple - they haven't been able to fall back on what was their bread and butter when the going was good.
Read Past the Jump for More.
January 29 2013 01:16AM
Roberto Luongo's performance was worth talking about, despite the result.
Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP
The Canucks fans that were hoping to get something resembling vengeance - whether it be in the form of blood, or two points in the standings - from Monday night's affair in Los Angeles were left heading to bed with a bitter taste in their mouth, after their team blew yet another two-goal lead. This time, it was en route to a shooutout loss against the hated Kings.
Although I'm sure that before heading to bed, many of those individuals made sure to give their two cents in the form of a snarky tweet about everything that's wrong with the team. The same team, that was a mere 44 seconds from leaving town with a hard fought (if not impressive) win. That's how things work in the land of Canucks, though.
Regardless, the Canucks managed 3 out of a possible 6 points in their saunter through California, and now head home licking their wounds, in desperate need of a day off.
Read on Past the Jump for More (including scoring chance totals!)
January 15 2013 09:17AM
"I'd be a lot more comfortable if you just asked Dimitri and Jeff these questions instead."
Short. Sweet, but still a little rugged in an intriguing way. All business. Definitely taking nothing off of the table.
You might think that I'm talking about Andrew Ebbett, but in this particular instance, I'm not. Instead I'm referring to the latest edition of the So You're an Expert podcast, in which Jeff Angus joined me to preview the season that's nearly upon us.
You'll notice that it's a short episode (hovering around 15 minutes in length), and that's because we just don't know very much at the moment as it relates to the two biggest talking points surrounding the team - the Roberto Luongo trade saga, and the opening down the middle on the second line. But we did our best to broach the subjects, despite the potential for the entire discussion to be deemed obsolete at any moment.
We also took a look at the two depth defensemen signings, and meandered around the Northwest Division.
Click Past the Jump for the Podcast.
January 11 2013 12:53PM
"If you stop looking maybe they'll stop beating us so badly!"
After you see something happen time and again right in front of your very eyes, you come to expect it. It's human nature. You simply stop thinking that there could possibly be any sort of other outcome.
And that's why you may have noticed that in Jeff Angus' preview of the 2013 season, where he answered questions from readers in a mailbag format, there was no one losing any sleep over where the Canucks would finish in the standings. Anything can happen in a 48 game season - pigs could fly, the Wild could manage to fight off regression, even - but Canucks fans have just come to expect a Division title and a seat atop the Western Conference standings.
I take issue with people who look to undermine the Canucks' accomplishments over the past two seasons. Obviously Presidents' Trophies aren't the ultimate goal, but there's a reason the regular season takes place. The Canucks have absolutely dominated it, leaving no real doubt as to who the best team was. Just because they fell 60 minutes short, and then ran into a juggernaut who was sipping on some special sort of health elixir, doesn't take away from the other 164 games over that span.
How have the Canucks managed to make it look so easy? Well, it doesn't hurt that their two leaders have been the most consistent players in the league over the years. But more than anything, they've been able to run wild all over the Northwest Division.
Read Past the Jump for More on their Dominance of the Northwest.
January 10 2013 09:06AM
Who will Andrew Ebbett be looking for once the NHL season gets underway?
We spent most of the fall scratching and clawing for topics to discuss. There was a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo being tossed around, but the void left by actual hockey to analyze was abundantly clear. It got so bad that some of us - I'm not one to name names - began dissecting charity games, picking on poor souls like Jim Vandermeer.
But now, the NHL is back, and we've been left with the task of jamming months worth of story-lines and strategy into a few weeks. Not that anyone is complaining, though, because it's so much better than the alternative.
As could have been expected, the main storyline that has grabbed the headlines has been 'Strombabble'; a term Thomas Drance affectionately came up with for anything and everything to do with the animal that is Roberto Luongo trade talk. Is he going to Toronto, now that Dave Nonis is in charge? Is Philly really interested? Who knows.
Something that we do know however is that there is a gap that needs filling in the middle of the second line, with Ryan Kesler a ways away from recovering from his offseason surgery. Unless the Canucks acquire a center in return for Luongo, that role will be filled in-house.
Options that have been bandied about but make me uneasy include either Alex Burrows (with Zack Kassian hopping along for a ride with the Sedins) or Chris Higgins (departing the right wing, on which he thrives). Jordan Schroeder is an option, but having watched a ton of Chicago Wolves hockey this year, there were far too many times where he left me feeling lukewarm.
There's one final option that isn't quite as sexy as the others, but may have some merit, and it's Andrew Ebbett. Can he fill in for Kesler, and solve the riddle down the middle?
Read Past the Jump for More.