April 12 2012 01:56PM
Jarred Stoll celebrates Willie Mitchell's go ahead goal in the second period. L.A. won the game 4-2.
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
The Canucks and King opened their Western Conference Quarterfinal series on Wednesday night, and while the Kings clearly handled the proceedings, out-shooting the Canucks 39 to 26 and winning the game, it wasn't all bad for Vancouver's side.
Unfortunately, however, there was undeniably more bad than good. Vancouver's power-play unit was an unqualified disaster, and a string of bad hits from Zack Kassian, Maxim Lapierre and especially Byron Bitz, ultimately cost Vancouver the game. The vaunted "PhD" line of Samme Pahlsson, Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins had their teeth kicked in by the Kings top-line, and late in the third period, Alex Edler, who had an otherwise strong game, had a brain-fart giveaway that resulted in Dustin Penner's game winning goal...
All that said, the Canucks were the better team in the third period, and overall at even-strength in the game. Vancouver's penalty-kill looked excellent (despite surrendering two, flukey goals), and Roberto Luongo was solid for the most part. This series is a long way from being over, and while it didn't exactly get off to the start Canucks fans were hoping for, there is some cause for optimism despite Wednesday's rather ghastly result.
Click past the jump for a more detailed recap, analysis, scoring chance data and the statistical three stars!
April 12 2012 01:18AM
Following the team's victory over the Vancouver Canucks in the first game of the Western Conference Quarterfinal on Wednesday night, the Kings official Twitter account (@LAKings) tweeted an amusing, trolly joke. The joke - seen above in a screen shot - comically referenced the well worn "the Canucks aren't Canada's team" narrative, and did so in a way that wasn't offensive, classless, cheap or inappropriate.
This wasn't a comment about Kesler's diving, it wasn't a tweet editorializing about Bitz's injurious hit on Kyle Clifford, and it wasn't a comment about what happened in last years Stanley Cup Finals. This was a harmless joke about the - frankly indisputable - fact that the LA Kings have picked up some news fans this week who will root for the team at least through this series.
Of course Canucks fans, fresh off of watching their team lose a postseason game and feeling particularly sensitive, promptly reacted to the tweet as if it was something offensive and juvenile. It's playoff time, baby!
Read past the jump!
April 11 2012 10:09AM
Many, Darryl Sutter included, think the Canucks may be playing mind-games with Daniel Sedin's head-injury.
But does that square with the caution the team has shown in dealing with concussions this season?
It's the question on the lips of everyone in Canucks Nation this morning, 'Will Daniel Sedin return to the line-up tonight?" Whether Daniel Sedin dresses tonight, or not, isn't just an elephant in the room, it's a mastodon. So it's not a surprise that when Alain Vigneault refused to comment at length on the status of his team's leading-scorer, Vancouver media members were unimpressed (none more so than the columnist who has most transparently campaigned for the head-coaches replacement).
Daniel's relative presence at practice yesterday, he didn't skate with the team, but rather, joined the "Black Aces" in a post-practice skate, set off a wave of speculation: was it a setback? Gamesmanship?
This reaction seems odd doesn't it? Why is it that our first reaction as fans, observers or writers, is to instantly begin debating whether or not the team's handling of Daniel is another example of the Canucks playing politics with head injuries?
Read past the jump!
April 10 2012 06:12PM
Love this Lord Stanley quote from the "origin of the Stanley Cup infograph" put together by Visual Capitalist.
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April 10 2012 12:17PM
Booth and Raymond work with Canucks skill coaches prior to today's practice.
Photo via David Ebner.
Yesterday, Daniel Sedin skated hard at Canucks practice, and it was revealed that he'd been skating in secret prior to that. That wasn't much of a surprise, if that had been Daniel's first exercise since being cleared to begin skating again, that would've been a massive violation of concussion protocol. It looks today, however, like Daniel Sedin has suffered yet another setback as he was absent from practice today.
Concussions are tricky, unpredictable things. Daniel's return to practice yesterday, and the pace he kept throughout the "zippy" hour long skate, had given us a sense of cautious optimism regarding his possibly prompt return to the lineup. With Daniel having suffered an apparent setback in the past twenty four hours, however, that optimism has quickly been replaced with the realization that, almost certainly, Daniel will miss at least the first game of the opening round series, and quite probably more.
With Daniel back out of the lineup, Vigneault has been forced to shuffle his top-six forward group: Mason Raymond has been bumped up to the top-line, and his role on the second line has been filled by Maxim Lapierre. Zack Kassian, who wore a grey "extras" jersey at yesterday's practice has slotted into Lapierre's spot on the fourth line alongside Byron Bitz and Manny Malhotra.
Click past the jump for a more thorough recap of the many mixed messages emanating out of today's Canucks practice.