April 02 2012 09:52AM
Don't be fooled by the headline, we're not talking about the Canucks play of late. No, the subject of this post is the Canucks complete and total avoidance of any supplementary discipline this season. This year's Canucks team is un-disciplined in that, unlike most teams, with three games remaining this season, they've yet to incur the vengeful wrath of the Shannaban-hammer.
For all of the noise made during last years playoff run (and the strange snarls emanating out of Chicago the other week) about how "dirty" the Canucks are top-to-bottom, the team's supplementary discipline record under Shanahan's tenure is squeaky clean. So squeaky clean, in fact, that it's entirely unique in the league this season.
April 01 2012 12:40PM
The so called "French Connection" celebrate the games opening tally against the Flames last night.
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
The Canucks came back from a one goal deficit in the third period, and managed to stick a stake into the heart of a once bitter rival, with an OT victory over the Flames. Calgary's overtime loss (combined with Phoenix's confident handling of business against the Ducks) mathematically eliminated them from postseason contention.
For the Canucks, it was their sixth straight victory, as the team has refused to lose since suffering an OT loss against the hated Blackhawks. The Canucks are now first in the West, a full point clear of the Blues, and control their own destiny. If they can win out (and their remaining games are against Anaheim, Edmonton and Calgary) they'll guarantee themselves home-ice advantage through to the Finals.
A more thorough recap, chance data and the statistical three stars after the jump!
March 31 2012 11:45AM
There was a time, not too long ago, when the continued mediocrity of the Calgary Flames would have brought me great joy. With a generational talent in Jarome Iginla wasting the twilight of his career on a club poised to finish tenth in the West in perpetuity, it now just makes me sad.
The Flames decided - yet again - to "go for it" (it being the postseason) this year, despite having a relatively barren cupboard of prospects and absolutely zero shot of making any noise once they got there. To the surprise of no one, they now sit three points out of 8th with only four games remaining. They're not good enough to make the playoffs, and not bad enough to enjoy the full benefits of their suckiness. Who knew there were Flames in purgatory?
To make matters worse, the Flames roster is so well laden with knaves possessing no-movement clauses that it recalls the Nights Watch who man the great Wall of Westeros. Rebuilding this Flames club is going to be a long-march through the desert, so I understand why they're reluctant to make that choice (I understand it, but still think it's stupid) - but why must they be so determined to ensure that Jarome Iginla never hoists a Stanley Cup? It just seems cruel.
A more thorough recap of tonight's game, underlying numbers for both clubs and the three keys after the jump.
March 27 2012 02:07PM
It's an odd quirk in the Western Conference Standings at the moment, that nine teams are more than 60% likely to make the playoffs at the moment (according to sportsclubstats.com). In the battle for the final three spots (and those final three spots are 3rd, 7th and 8th because divisional winners earn an automatic top-3 seed regardless of their record), there are four Pacific Division teams that are currently neck and neck (and neck and neck). Those teams are Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Dallas - and it's 88% likely that the Canucks will face on of those four clubs in the first round.
So which of those clubs should you be rooting to see end up in the seventh? Click past the jump for more!
March 27 2012 01:33PM
The relationship between Roberto "Luuu Bledsoe" Luongo and Cory "Schneider-Brady" Schneider has always seemed to be exceedingly supportive and professional. One might even go so far as to call it "chummy." But don't be fooled their eerily similar butterfly styles or their mutual difficulty handling the puck, because when it comes to their respective personalities, they are impossibly dissimilar. Where Cory Schneider is relaxed and as cautious with his choice of words as a politician, none of those adjectives really apply to Luongo. It's what makes him so good at Twitter.
Recently, for the first time, Cory Schneider revealed what's been obvious to anyone with empathy who understands the nature of competitive sports: that he'd like nothing more than to be the Canucks starting goaltender this postseason. Of course, he managed to convey that sentiment diplomatically, but Schneider is a competitor and a stellar performance on a long playoff run could earn him an extra million dollars this offseason (or more). Schneider believes he's good enough now, and so do most Canucks fans and seemingly all of the Vancouver sports media, for that matter.