Pahlsson Doesn't Displace Malhotra or Hodgson

Thomas Drance
February 27 2012 12:51PM

New Canuck Sami Pahlsson battles Daniel Sedin for the puck.

There's a lot of confusion about what the acquisition of Sami Pahlsson means for the Canucks. Does the trade signal that the Canucks have lost faith in Manny Malhotra? Will Pahlsson cut into Cody Hodgson's precious ice-time? Did the Canucks really need another centre? The answer to those questions in order is: no, no and yes. 

The big implications of the Pahlsson acquisition, from a deployment perspective, is that the trade suggests that the Canucks are planning on doubling down on their "D-zone start specialist" approach to the fourth line. 

Read past the jump for more analysis on the trade.

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The Argument for Doing Nothing

Thomas Drance
February 27 2012 08:09AM

Today is the big day. There's thirty General Managers with five or so hours to improve their team before the trade window slams shut at 3 PM EST. As hockey fans everywhere tune in breathlessly, there's the obvious likelihood that today's deadline will go off with a whimper, rather than any sort of bang. It's a frenzied atmosphere - and as every General Manager past and present will tell you, "more mistakes get made" on this day, than on any other.

Over the past week we've taken stock of what the Canucks need and how much cap-space they have. We've looked at the franchise's recent history at the deadline and at what “winners” typically do at the deadline. We've also “targeted“ available forwards and defenseman. Now in the calm before the potential storm, lets think long and hard about whether or not it's even worthwhile for Mike Gillis to make a major move to his current roster.

Read on past the jump!

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Canucks Blow Late Lead to Stars, Linesman Blamed

Thomas Drance
February 26 2012 04:45PM

Mason Raymond had a strong game in a losing effort, as the Canucks blow a late lead in Texas.
(Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

You just know the Canucks' panel of sleep experts circled today's game early on in the season as a potential "let down" or "trap game." It was the team's sixth game in eight nights, a run that started with a game against Toronto in Vancouver, followed immediately the next day by a game against Edmonton. The team then made a pit stop in Tennesse, followed up by another "travel double header" this week in Michigan and New Jersey. Having logged all of those miles, and played several grueling games - it was obvious that the Canucks were going to be lethargic in this one, an afternoon game in Texas.

These concerns aside, the Canucks came out-strong this afternoon and did what they had to do to win. Through 40 minutes they were the superior side and had built a one goal lead. To their credit - they didn't "sit on" on that lead in the third - they continued to trade chances with the Stars for the first fifteen minutes of the third period.

In the last five minutes of the game, however, the tide turned. There's a lot of excuses you can make for this: Dallas is a desperate bubble team and needed these points and their players don't want to be shipped off tomorrow. Also, score effects become stronger in the games waning moments and the Canucks have, as mentioned above, criss-crossed the continent - seemingly at random - over the past week. Finally a linesman called a borderline icing on the Canucks (as I see it, it could've gone either way - but those are the breaks) with a minute to play and that gave Dallas one last chance to tie it with their goaltender on the bench.

Dallas, of course, made good on that chance as a lovely Ribiero deflection beat Luongo. From there the energized home-town team absolutely dominated the tired visitor, handing the Canucks their first OT loss in over 13 months.

Click past the jump for a more detailed recap, the statistical three stars and goats, and scoring chance data!

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Game #63 Preview: Stars Wars

Thomas Drance
February 26 2012 09:54AM

Hopefully Luongo won't require the help of the cross bar in today's game!

The Canucks and the Stars haven't met in a game since February 19th, 2011. In an odd quirk of schedule, the two sides will now play four games (at a rate of a game every 10 days) over the balance of the regular season.

Imagine if Dallas slips into the postseason, and meets the Canucks in the first round (which is what would occur if the season ended today). If that scenario does indeed unfold, these teams could face each other 8 to 11 times over the next three months... With that in mind, let's all take a moment to be thankful that Marty Turco has moved on!

Read on post the jump for more detailed preview, your three keys and underlying numbers for both teams.

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Is Keith Ballard's concussion a capcussion?

Thomas Drance
February 25 2012 01:11PM


It was nine regular season games ago, Thursday February 9th, when the Canucks - about to play Keith Ballard's hometown team, the Minnesota Wild - announced that the underachieving defenseman was injured . The team never gave a timeline but it was clear that he'd be out of the line-up for a while, especially as the injury changed in nature from whiplash, to a possible concussion to, true story, "upper-body symptoms." 

Up until today there's been a lot of speculation about the nature of the injury, and whether or not Ballard would go on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) as a result. If he was placed on LTIR, it was noted, he'd free up a fair bit of cap-space for the trade deadline. As it turns out, that's exactly what has happened.

Read on past the jump!

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