February 17 2014 10:57AM
Image via Utica Comets
Something that you'll notice when it comes to professional sports is that there's an inverse relationship between how good the parent club is, and how much interest the fanbase has in how the up-and-coming prospects are doing.
As long as the NHL team is winning and staying relevant, most people generally speaking are indifferent to the state of the system. Just keeping winning. As soon as the cyclical nature of the sport begins to take a hold, fans start looking down to the minors in the hopes that there are some sort of reinforcements on the way. Is something on the way that'll right this ship?
It's tough to safe with the Canucks. They're still not considered as having an overly deep or strong pool of young talent in the system, but things are definitely trending upwards (having two picks in the top 24 of a good draft certainly doesn't hurt in that regard). It takes time cultivating a proper system.
Just past the jump we'll take a look back at our Top-20 prospects from this past summer, and try to assess how they've done, and what they're tracking towards moving forward.
February 16 2014 01:53PM
Image via the man himself
Heading into the Sochi Olympics there was a general perception that the bigger ice surface would bring with it a more exciting, up-tempo, back-and-forth brand of hockey. But as many people, including Smilin' Don Cherry himself, have astutely pointed out: the big ice has allowed defensively inclined teams to load up on the blue line and force the opposition to dump the puck in (which is generally speaking a much less effective form of zone entry than actually carrying it in with possession). There's a lot of "trapping it up" unfolding before our very eyes.
As a result, we've only seen an average of 2.65 goals/game in preliminary group play despite all of the world's top players being involved. I don't even want to imagine what the play would look like if this wasn't a "best-on-best" tournament, because it would probably make for unwatchable viewing.
While this morning's 2-1 overtime victory wasn't *that* bad, it was still riddled with dry moments that were severely lacking in excitement. For a team that's as depleted as the Finnish squad is, I'm sure that it was music to their ears. By keeping a much more talented Canadian squad to the outside, and limiting the number of events for the majority of the time, they were able to give themselves a fighting chance.
Fortunately there's only one Drew Doughty, though.
February 14 2014 03:44PM
That's Donald S. Cherry, giving a hearty THUMBS UP! to Team Canada following their almost routine demolition of thoroughly inferior hockey club. The people that were crying for the team to show more of a killer instinct en route to building up a healthy goal differential following their win yesterday by *only* two goals, got what they wanted. Six, count 'em, six goals goals were scored, all by the good guys.
And in something of an ironic twist, the team wearing the Nazi uniforms eviscerated a bunch of Austrians. We'll leave it at that, and get into some analysis, scoring chance data, and Canucks-specific discussion just past the jump.
February 14 2014 07:56AM
Can't sleep.. hockey.
I've come down with a lethal case of the Olympic fever and its progressively impairing my ability to sleep at the hours that I'd typically being doing so at. For the past two days now, my schedule has consisted of napping throughout the day so that I can run the Men's hockey gauntlet at night (with the trio of midnight, 4:30AM, and 9AM games).
Based on Twitter traffic, some of you out there are crazy enough to devote your sleeping hours to watching hockey, but most of you aren't (and I don't blame you for it). If you're in the latter camp you're probably waking up just now, wondering what you've missed over in Sochi as you snoozed.
Luckily for you, I've got you covered. Read on past the jump for some of the most important things that you need to know to be able to consider yourself caught up with the happenings.
February 13 2014 01:10PM
Image via Dallas Stars
With no NHL hockey to watch, chew on, and discuss, we've shifted our sights to Sochi, where the Men's hockey tournament is off and running. It'll be a nice, refreshing change to get to watch and write about really good players, after having spent far too much time covering the Pascal Pelletier and Yann Sauves of the world in recent weeks.
Team Canada opened up its preliminary play on Thursday morning with a matchup against Norway. What looked like a potentially lopsided rout on paper took a while to materialize, but eventually Canada's overwhelming skill level finally took over, as they steamrolled their opposition. While the 3-1 score line may not necessarily say as much, it was a pretty thorough domination in the final 40 minutes of play.
Read on past the jump for the scoring chance data, and some thoughts on the game itself (particularly as it relates to the two Vancouver Canucks on the team).