Evening Headshots January 17th

Thomas Drance
January 17 2013 08:06PM

Vancity Buzz thinks Zack Kassian is a dead ringer for Richard Simmons.
I triple doggy dare them to say that to his face.

In lieu of any preseason matches this year, the Canucks held a scrimmage on Wednesday night. Here's a round up of observations from Brad ZeimerCam Cole, Patrick Johnston and Ben Kuzma.

Our pal Jeff Angus, who is moving on up, made his debut at Canucks.nhl.com with a two part fantasy hockey primer. Congrats to Jeff and the good folks at Canucks.nhl.com for making a smart, smart hire.

Cam Charron lambasts the notion that the so called "Luongo rule" will have a negative impact on the star goaltender's trade value. The crux of Cam's argument is that there are no guarantee that Luongo will retire early and that the cap-hit would most likely be manageable anyway. Also that the penalty is so far off that, well, who really cares? So basically the "Luongo rule" is exactly like the budget deficit.

Jordan Bowman put together a Canucks scavanger hunt that you can keep with you during the season, and cross things like "John Garrett mentions cheese on the broadcast" or "John Garrett mentions a show he likes on the broadcast" off the list as they happen! In real time! Funny stuff.

Jason Botchford chats with Cory Schneider about critical moments in his evolution as a player, and the anxiety attack that caused him to cramp up in game six of the first round series against Chicago in 2011. 

In "best things that happened on the internet today" DownGoesBrown and Blogge Salming dropped a parody trailer "Luongo Unchained." Featuring Brian Burke lines like, "Davey [Nonis] you had my attention, but now you have my job" this is just excellent, excellent stuff. Nice write up from Pass it to Bulis too.

More Canucks news and links after the jump.

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Strombabble: Tick Tock

Thomas Drance
January 17 2013 03:52PM

Eight months after you started this stupid series, and you're still writing these huh Drance?

The closer we get to the opening of the lockout shortened 2013 NHL season, set to begin for the Canucks in something like 52 hours (as of the time of this writing), the more likely it seems that Roberto Luongo will remain with the team to start the season. If that's the case, Alain Vigneault appears likely to start Roberto Luongo in one of the team's two games this weekend (against Edmonton or Anaheim):

To add to the mounting evidence that Luongo could remain in Vancouver: the Toronto Maple Leafs, long thought to be the most likely Luongo trade destination have recently gutted their centre depth by trading Matt Lombardi to Phoenix, losing Keith Aucoin on waivers to the Islanders, and waiving fragile offensive centreman Tim Connolly on Thursday. It's beginning to look an awful lot like Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri - the two most oft-rumoured Maple Leafs who might be sent to the Canucks in a Luongo package - will play key roles on the Maple Leafs this season.

So what are some of the advantages to keeping Luongo, and what's the potential downside? Could this really hapen or is Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis simply working to a particularly excruciating deadline as is his usual modus operandi?

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Cory Schneider says his Game Six Cramp in Chicago in 2011 was the result of "Anxiety"

Thomas Drance
January 17 2013 11:35AM

Back in 2011, the Canucks dressed Cory Schneider over incumbent netminder Roberto Luongo for a critical game six in the Mad-House. You might remember it, since it remains the biggest single story in Vancouver sports history.

We all know what came next: the Canucks dominated the Blackhawks throughout the game, and Cory Schneider made some excellent saves but also some really bad decisions handling the puck. Ultimately he left the game when he cramped up following a converted Michael Frolik penalty-shot goal that tied the game. Vancouver went on to lose in overtime, before "slaying the dragon" in game seven.  

In talking about that contest with Cory Schneider on Wednesday, Jason Botchford got Vancouver's presumptive number one goaltender this season to make a scintilating admission. According to Cory Schneider, when he cramped up in Chicago in game six it wasn't dehydration, it wasn't anything physical at all in fact - rather he was dealing with anxiety that forced him from the game. 

Read on past the jump.

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Headshots January 16th

Thomas Drance
January 16 2013 03:08PM

A fake screenshot of Luongo's gmail inbox via The Whistle.
Click here to enlarge.

I got some good chuckles out of the above "Luongo's (fake) gmail inbox" graphic from TheWhistle.com, so I thought I'd link to them again and urge you to give them some traffic. I particularly like the Eklund joke, and the Sedin twins' g-chat status.

Harrison Mooney makes an interesting point over at Pass it to Bulis, namely that David Booth's injury might do more to determine whether or not diminutive pivot Jordan Schroeder can make the Canucks this season than his performance at this week's accelerated training camp. Tough break!

In the wake of David Booth's injury, Jason Botchford writes about Vancouver's secondary scoring issues. Botch drops an Luongo nugget (though not exactly a surprising one), namely that the Canucks won't rush into a Luongo trade simply because David Booth got hurt. He also points out two things about Vancouver's Booth-less forward lineup that are almost surely dead on. First, he points out a seeming inevitability: that the third-line of Chris Higgins, Maxim Lapierre and Jannik Hansen are likely to play more minutes than the ostensible second line of Andrew Ebbett (or Jordan Schroeder), Zack Kassian and Mason Raymond. You can pretty much take that one to the bank. Secondly he mentions that Vigneault will need to work hard to manage the match-ups and deployment of that "second line". Luckily for Canucks fans - whatever else you think of Alain Vigneault - we can count on him to do that much at least. 

I'm going to take a second and plug my own stuff because I spent a boatload of time building a model to try and predict Vancouver's goal totals this season. I'll be rolling it out over at the Play Now Blog all week, but here's the first installment wherein I use math and stuff to forecast the number of goals Henrik and Daniel Sedin will score in the lockout shortened 2013 NHL season.

This is must read stuff from Cam Cole on Roberto Luongo, @strombone1 as a creative outlet, and how social media can impact the public's perception of professional athletes. Not only is it an excellent take, but Cole gets Luongo to break the fourth wall and talk about Twitter and @Strombone1 (albeit vaguely) as his actual tangible self! That's pretty cool, and the first time we've seen it. Cam Cole isn't always my cup of tea, but the versatility and intelligence on display in this column is spell-binding.

Read past the jump for more links and caustic comments and such.

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A Happy Ending to Booth's Groin Strain?

Thomas Drance
January 16 2013 01:09PM

Jannik Hansen licks his lips, presumably at the prospect of having a breakout campaign offensively on the 1st unit PP.
Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick.

When the Canucks lost David Booth for four-to-six weeks due to a needlessly controversial groin strain suffered during the club's fitness testing process on Sunday, the club suddenly found themselves down two-thirds of their second line. Losing Booth's play-driving ability and secondary scoring seems like a tough blow for a Canucks club that struggled to score in their first round series against the Kings and relied an awful lot on puck-luck, stellar goaltending and their defensive shell down the stretch last season.

So should Canucks fans expect the 2013 version of the team to depart significantly from the uptempo stylings the paying public had grown accustomed to watching over the course of the the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons? Or is it possible that Booth's injury won't change the tempo the Canucks play that much and in fact might actually provide other players on the club with a significant opportunity to step up and prove they belong in an NHL top-six?

Click past the jump for more.

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