January 24 2013 12:30AM
Zack Kassian's pumped. As well he should be.
Photo Credit: Rich Lam/Getty Images
Vancouver's three game homestand started out with a gong show performance in the season opener against Anaheim, but it ended triumphantly (I guess) with a shootout win on Wednesday night over the Calgary Flames. If we're being honest, Vancouver has lost a game and tied two others so far on the season and they've given up two goal leads in each of those ties... But whatever, the Canucks got into the win column in their third game of the season and that should help ease some of the panic in this market.
It wasn't pretty, especially in a low-event first period in which you could've heard a pin drop in the mausoleum-like confines of Rogers Arena. But two points is two points, and as the Canucks struggle to tread water in the early going this season (while they await Ryan Kesler's return to the lineup) that matters a whole lot.
Read on past the jump for scoring chance data, and some analysis.
January 23 2013 03:54PM
Sami Salo feels your pain (miss you forever Sami!).
Photo credit: Dhamhuis.tumblr.com
Alex Burrows tells Ben Kuzma that he'll "surprise" opponents with his effectiveness in the face-off dot. About that, I have to say, it would completely and utterly shcok me if he wins 45% of the draws he takes as a full time centre. For what it's worth Burrows is 2 out of 7 on face-offs so far this season, and has won 77 of 195 (or a shade under 40%) over the past six seasons according to NHL.com. [The White Towel]
Marc Spector recaps the Luongo to the Edmonton Oilers trade rumours, and makes the case that Roberto Luongo wouldn't really fit in Edmonton, and that certainly the Oilers shouldn't give away anything more than Sam Gagner in exchange for the services of the second best goaltender in the National Hockey League. Yeah, because trading for an elite goalie a few seasons after picking first at the entry draft three years in a row has never worked out for a franchise in recent memory. [Sportsnet]
Harrison Mooney of Pass it to Bulis finds what is basically the opposite of a tribute video to Dale Weise. It's just a collection of moments where Dale Weise got pummeled (either by Jeff Petry, or of his own vollition) into the boards during Sunday night's Canucks shootout loss to the Oilers. Like "man gets hit by football in the groin" this video is remarkably simple and funny. Hey, at least Weise is laying his body on the line for the team, right? Anybody? [Pass it to Bulis]
Our buddies over at The Legion of Blog have debuted "LoBTV" which features them mostly haggling off camera with Rogers Arena security and ultimately interviewing Canucks fans at Saturday night's home-opener against the Anaheim "don't call me Mighty" Ducks. The video is well worth your time. I'm not sure if it's Trevor Linden good necessarily (what is, really?), but these two certainly have more camera presence in their cuticles than I'll ever have. [Legion of Blog]
If you're interested in what Flames fans are saying about tonight's tilt between Calgary's "perpetually ninth in the Western Conference club" and the Canucks, and I'm not sure why you would be, then Justin Azevedo of Flames Nation has you covered. [Flames Nation]
Read on past the jump for more links and stuff.
January 23 2013 12:12PM
Image uncredited via Northwest Sports Beat.
With two games already in the books, the Canucks remain winless on the season. While the Canucks technically "tied" the Oilers (and lost the shootout gimmick), they also gave up a two goal lead that they'd held with twenty minutes and four second to play in the game. So that kind of tarnishes any "bounce back" or "moral victory" narrative the media might otherwise spin.
The fact of the matter remains that the Canucks are without their two best five-on-five forwards (David Booth and Ryan Kesler), which has left them short-handed up front and mostly ineffective at even-strength. In Vancouver's two games so far this season, Anaheim and Edmonton have managed to exploit the club's lack of forward depth and take advantage of favourable matchups. There's really no obvious sollution to the Canucks' woes on this front.
Meanwhile on the back-end, Alex Edler's performance on the right-side of the club's second defensive pairing has been mixed and Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis have yet to hit their stride. Factor in Cory Schneider's porous goaltending in the season opener and Luongo's uneven third period on Sunday, and you've got a team still looking for their first win.
The Canucks are well aware of their issues. Mike Gillis, in a telling quote, told Cam Cole that "the way [our team is] constituted to start this year, we just needed to get through this first 2-3 weeks." To do so they'll need Cory Schneider to rebound, their defense to hit their stride and their forward group to find some secondary scoring behind the Sedin line. It's a tall order, even against a moribund club like the Calgary Flames.
Read on past the jump.
January 22 2013 03:34PM
The Canucks gave away scarves to everyone who attended the home opener on Saturday night.
Image via dhamhuis.tumblr.com.
The "must read" piece of the day is so obvious, that you've almost certainly already read it. It's from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun who had a long sit down with Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis this week. The two candidly discussed Luongo's trade status, Vancouver's lack of success drafting under Mike Gillis, changes in team scouting, Jordan Schroeder's role this season and a whole lot of other topics too. Fantastic stuff, and there's also an extended transcript with some bonus insight from the Canucks GM. [Vancouver Sun]
Everyone and their mother wrote a reaction piece to the explosive "deal in place" with a "mystery team" involving an unknown player who has to be moved (or waived, or heal from an injury) quote that Mike Gillis gave Cole this week. Here's Greg Wyshynski's which, we'll link to because he speculates that one of the moving pieces could be Subban, Benn or O'Reilly. That doesn't strike me as all that likely, but boy oh boy, it would be pretty awesome. [Puck Daddy]
Pierre LeBrun has a "rumblings" blog post over at ESPN in which he touches on the Luongo situation and provides us with some fascinating information. First of all, he exchanged e-mails with Mike Gillis, and Gillis confirmed the veracity of the quote he gave Cam Cole. LeBrun then goes on to confirm that the Leafs aren't the mystery team in question, and that Luongo trade talks between Toronto and Vancouver have reached a period of "detente." LeBrun also mentions that his sense of things is that the Flyers would be willing to amnesty Ilya Bryzgalov if he lays another egg this season in Philadelphia, and he ends off with this intriguing quote: "So far, the Canucks have been offered good pieces, just not the right ones." Hmmm... [ESPN]
Finally, Harrison Mooney runs Mike Gillis' sexy quote about a mystery team through the "Mike Gillis translator" in a silly effort to determine what exactly Mike Gillis really meant by the quote he gave Cam Cole. [Pass it to Bulis]
In other news, the Canucks have called up 2009 first round pick Jordan Schroeder and he will make his NHL debut on Wednesday night against the Calgary Flames. An interesting aside on Schroeder, he never actually returned to Chicago because he was "too ill to fly" over the weekend. So he was called up, and then on the ice practicing with the team within like twenty minutes. So, that's very strange. [Nucksmisconduct]
Over at Canucks Hockey Blog, Clay Imoo briefly recaps the NHL's first weekend back. More importantly his post includes footage of Chris Higgins taking off his jersey for the "jersey off the player's back" ceremony after the team's home-opener against Anaheim. So... yeah, you might want to watch that. [Canucks Hockey Blog]
Read on past the jump for more news, Canucks links and maybe a joke if I can think of one (no promises).
January 22 2013 01:14PM
Sticktap to bitter rival Harrison Mooney for the image.
On the heels of two losses (although one was a functional tie, with a gimmick tacked on), the Canucks coaching staff has decided to reconfigure their forwards lines. Jason Botchford describes the new forward combinations as "radical," and he's not far off.
Here are the new lines the Canucks are using at practice today (per Jim Jamieson):
There's this perception that when Alain Vigneault modifies his lineup, it's done haphazardly and at random. But I prefer to think of Alain Vigneault as an exceedingly well compensated Jugo Juice employee. Though it seems odd at first glance, there's a method of this apparent madness.
We'll break it all down after the jump