Canucks v. Kings - Round 1 Preview

Thomas Drance
April 10 2012 09:48AM


In the first round the Canucks will face an American born Vezina nominee goaltender with an unconventional style...
What can go wrong?

Throughout their mostly sordid history, the Canucks have been unable to buy a break. Now that Vancouver's hockey club ices a perennial power house, a team that has won two consecutive President's Trophies and nearly every individual award a player, General Manager and Head Coach can win - that streak of bad luck continues. Since the lockout, there have never been two more difficult eighth seeds than the 2010-11 Chicago Blackhawks, and the 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings. Of course, in the two seasons that the Canucks have a legitimate shot at hockey's holy grail, they're dealt an outrageously tough test right off the bat...

Yes, the Kings are that good. They may look like they're lacking in back-end depth (which is true), and certainly they've struggled to score goals this season, but the stew Daryl Sutter is brewing down in Hollywood still possesses some deadly ingredients. 

Read past the jump for our detailed advanced stat preview...

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Headshots April 9th

Thomas Drance
April 09 2012 02:42PM

 
Apparently this is some guy trying to be the "biggest Canuck fan ever."
He's calling himself Canuck Libre, and yes the entire thing is very frightening (via @ctv_stjohn)

Headshots are a Canucks Army feature where we link to the day's freshest news, and other assorted Canucks web-goodies. If you've written a blogpost, produced a tribute video or birthed a clever .gif into existence - please e-mail Thom at thom.drance@gmail.com.

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Daniel Takes to the Ice, Could Return Wednesday

Thomas Drance
April 09 2012 12:12PM

 
Daniel takes the ice before the Canucks practice today.
Image via David Ebner.

Canucks Army doesn't have access. But with the playoffs beginning this week, we'll occasionally do our best to round up beat-writer's practice tweets and try to keep you posted on what's going on in a digestible format. Today is the first such installment.

Today, Daniel Sedin openly took to the ice for the first time since he was injured by the cheapest of cheap shots on March 21st in a game against the Blackhawks. Today he was out on the ice working with the Canucks skill-coach (along with Booth, Kesler and Ballard), while wearing a blue-helmet (which, for the Canucks, usually means "cleared for contact"), and has joined the club for the full team practice.

Recently injured depth players Zack Kassian, Keith Ballard and Aaron Rome also joined the Canucks for practice. This means that, fingers crossed, Alain Vigneault could have a full deck in-play for Wednesday's playoff opener against the Los Angeles Kings.

More after the jump.

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Let's Make This Year Different

Thomas Drance
April 09 2012 10:41AM


Hey Canucks fans, don't forget your boy told you get, that, dirt of your shoulder.

It has become an annual tradition. At some point in mid-April, the Toronto sports media begins their incessant banging of the "Canucks are hated by all Canadians" drum, and this year it has begun early. With the Leafs long since eliminated, and Torontonians struggling to get excited about the prospect of a deep Marlies run into the Calder Cup Playoffs - it's time for the "centre of the Universe" to turn their judgmental gaze on Vancouver's hockey club. Over the next several months, fans, journalists and sports writers who have forgotten what "winning hockey" looks like, will begin to obsessively point out all the ways in which the Canucks personnel, attitude and style of play leaves much to be desired.

If you like references to riots and super relevant Todd Bertuzzi jokes, then this is the time of year for you! If you're a Canucks fan, however, sifting through this crap can get trying. Last season, Canucks fans may not have quite been ready for the proverbial shit storm of harsh criticism about their team that filled up every hockey fan's Twitter timelines game in, and game out. But heading into this postseason, we're all a year older, and we're all a year wiser. Hopefully we're better positioned to do like the British this year: Keep Calm, Carry On and focus on what matters.

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The Committee That Replaced Ehrhoff's Offense

Thomas Drance
April 09 2012 08:48AM

Just prior to July 1st 2011, when it became apparent that he wasn't willing to take a haircut to stay with the team, the Canucks traded Christian Ehrhoff's right for a fourth round pick (which Gillis would later parlay into Samme Pahlsson). Ehrhoff would eventually sign with Terry "Rich Uncle Pennybags" Pegula's Buffalo Sabres for forty million dollars, ten million of which was paid to him this season.

To replace Christian Ehrhoff's steady, minute-eating presence on the back end, Gillis... Well he didn't really do anything. The only new addition the Canucks made to their main clubs blueline this offseason was to add depth defenseman Alexander Sulzer, who may have replaced Ehrhoff in terms of the team's "German National quotient," but was never expected to replace Ehrhoff's offense, or fill the 'Hoff's top-four spot on the depth chart.

Despite the loss of Christian Ehrhoff - a fifty point defenseman in his final season in Vancouver, and undoubtedly a slick offensive talent - the Canucks blueline group managed to produce more offense this season than they did the season previous. Like the Reign of Terror stage of the French Revolution, the spike in the Canucks back-end offensive production this season was managed by committee

Click past the jump for more!

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