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.
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!
April 07 2012 10:39PM
Manny Malhotra joins Henrik Sedin to celebrate the 2010-11 President's Trophy.
The Canucks repeated as "top of the table" champs with their 3-0 victory tonight.
With tonight's 3-0 demolition of the Edmonton Oilers, the Canucks secured their second consecutive President's Trophy - awarded to the team with the best record in the NHL regular season. The award is meaningless in normative terms, no one throws a parade for the team that wins it, and no one riots if a team narrowly falls short. While this isn't European soccer, the President's Trophy does come with home-ice advantage throughout the 2012 NHL playoffs, so that's pretty neat.
April 07 2012 10:45AM
Tonight the Canucks will conclude another banner regular season against the lowly Oilers. The Canucks are set as either the first or second seed in the Western Conference, and it's a fifty-fifty proposition as to where exactly they'll end up in the standings. If they gain a single point, they'll win the West. If they lose and St. Louis wins, they'll finish in second place. If they win and the New York Rangers lose, the Canucks will win their second consecutive President's Trophy. Of course, of late, when the Canucks have played relatively meaningless late season games against the Panzer Tank Oilers, they've had a tendency to drop the ball.
Underlying Numbers, the three keys and more thorough preview past the jump!
April 06 2012 01:57PM
Last night the Canucks had a golden opportunity to position themselves to win a second straight President's Trophy. With a one goal lead in the third period against the Flames, however, they whiffed. Not that it matters - no one holds a parade for the team that wins the President's trophy, and perhaps more importantly for the city of Vancouver, they don't riot if the team falls painfully short either!
Nonetheless, last night's loss was pretty ugly, especially for Henrik Sedin's line, who had been dynamite of late. Marc-Andre Gragnani continued to display some iffy defense, Kesler continued to struggle to produce, and Vancouver's once stellar power-play continued to pack as much punch as a pacifist.
An abbreviated recap, chance data and the statistical three stars after the jump!