The Five Stages of Grief, or a Mason Raymond Shootout Attempt

Thomas Drance
February 29 2012 10:14AM

You'll never guess what happened next... Well, that is unless you guessed "he didn't score and then fell down."

I remain convinced that Mason Raymond is a valuable forward for the Vancouver Canucks. Holding that opinon puts me in the extreme minority of Canucks fans, bloggers and observers, however. Basically for me to be correct on this one nearly everybody else who covers the team, and 98% of the team's fans have to be completely and totally wrong. Put another way, if Raymond is as valuable as I think he is, that would have to make him the most under-appreciated and misunderstood athlete in the history of the Canucks franchise.

Well, I am right about Raymond. Even though everybody hates the guy, he's a quality contributor and had a big game last night (despite his woeful shootout attempt and collection of pratfalls). Raymond consistently drive possession, helps the Canucks outshoot their opponents and plays stellar defense. What a bum. 

Anyway, I'm not going to do what you think I'm going to do - I'm not going to use objective data to prove that Raymond is a valuable contributor to the team. Instead I'm going to explore the psychological damage Raymond's mere presence on the team and in the shootout is causing Canucks fans. Click past the jump to find out more!

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Canucks close out road trip with shootout loss to the Coyotes: Recap and Chance Data

Thomas Drance
February 28 2012 11:48PM

Kassian tries to direct a Henrik Sedin feed past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.
The Canucks newest acquisition impressed in the team's 2-1 SO loss in Glendale.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tonight's game between the Coyotes and the Canucks got off to a typically slow start, but somehow on the way to the Forum, it turned into a wide-open hockey game and a goaltenders duel. The Canucks got the opening marker on a first period power-play, when Alex Edler directed a pass in the general vicinity of the Coyotes net. The puck deflected off of multiple Coyotes defenders and past Mike Smith. 

From there the Canucks continued to generate shots, but had few scoring chances and looked lost in the first fifteen minutes of the second frame. I think it's fair to describe the team's breakout in the second and third periods as conservative, and so was their cycle game. The team fell into the "get traffic and set up points shots" offense as the Coyotes out-chanced Vancouver's club mostly against the flow of possession. 

The Coyotes caught a break with 10 minutes to go in the game, when "the Wizard" Ray Whitney capitalized on an ugly rebound that Cory Schneider coughed up off of a 120 foot Keith Yandle shot. The goal shook the Canucks out of their mid-game slumber, and they dominated what remained of the game but couldn't beat Mike Smith. Smith shut the door over the balance of the third, throughout OT and then stoned both Canucks shooters in the skills competition to earn the NHL's hottest team yet another two points.

A more detailed recap, scoring chance data, and the statistical three stars and goats after the jump!

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Headshots February 28th

Thomas Drance
February 28 2012 04:32PM

Kassian is an old timey hockey player, hence the black-and-white image. Via theyslayedthedragon.

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

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Sober Second Thoughts on the Hodgson Trade

Thomas Drance
February 28 2012 03:06PM

Unlike the dudes pictured above, these thoughts are sober.

Yesterday's trade deadline was an unusually emotional one for Canucks fans. Canucks fans had become extremely attached to traded rookie Cody Hodgson over the course of this season, which made the buzzer-beating blockbuster that shipped Hodgson (and depth defenseman Alexander Sulzer) to Bufalo in exchange for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani as difficult to digest as a jagged metal Krusty-O. As the shock has diminished, curiosity has set in. There's no bones about it: this was far and away the most fascinating deal that went down on deadline day yesterday.

Read on for some sober second thoughts on yesterday's moves.

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Don't Doubt The G-Man.

Thomas Drance
February 28 2012 10:38AM

To his credit Tony Gallagher, pictured right, was months ahead of the Hodgson trade story.

I haven't written about it at length like some of my Smylosphere colleagues have, but I'll admit it: I thought the Tony Gallagher led fan-base obsession with Cody Hodgson's ice-time this season was silly. Hodgson's deployment made sense to me for hockey reasons, so I didn't believe his limited ice-time was some sordid indicator of Alain Vigneault's dislike for his star rookie. I'd have liked to have seen Hodgson play more with the first power-play unit, but otherwise, the way Hodgson was sheltered and used this season seemed deliberate, and I figured he was being groomed for the long-term. Yep, I was way off the mark.

Read on past the jump.

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