Fourth Line Options

Thomas Drance
April 05 2012 01:31PM

With Zack Kassian injured and out of the lineup with the dreaded "upper-body injury," the Canucks called up hulking winger Byron Bitz from Chicago yesterday. Bitz impressed with his pugilism and surprising array of back-hand saucer passes during his eight game call up earlier this season and he'll find himself back in the Canucks lineup tonight. Observers have long expected that Bitz would join the team for the postseason, and now that he has, it'll be very interesting to see how Vigneault handles his fourth line personnel.

Clearly, Gillis prioritized beefing up the fourth line over the past ten months, and while a rash of injuries to the likes of Aaron Volpatti and Steve Pinnozotto derailed that plan somewhat, the team has inarguably shored up the quality of their depth forward group. Between Manny Malhotra, Maxim Lapierre, Zack Kassian (assuming his injury is relatively minor), Byron Bitz, Dale Weise and Andrew Ebbett, the Canucks boast a reasonably impressive stable of forwards who can successfully fill in on the fourth line. It's a bonanza of depth compared to the meagre offerings the team boasted last season when Vigneault's options were limited to the likes of a raw Cody Hodgson, Victor Oreskovich, Jeff "the backchecker" Tambellini, Tanner Glass, a wounded Manny Malhotra in the finals, and Alexandre Bolduc's bionic shoulder. 

Read past the jump for more!

Read Article | 0 Comments

Game #81 Preview - Flame Out

Cam Davie
April 05 2012 11:58AM


Olli Jokinen: "Is that what winning looks like?"
A single tear rolls down his cheek as he remembers that one time he was in the playoffs.
(Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

Game Day Recon: Game #81 - Canucks @ Flames

Ah, it's now a Rite of Spring in the West. The flowers start to bloom, the animals awake from hibernation and the Flames are either out of the playoffs or die in the first round. Since the Calgary Flames won that precious Cup that Flames fans like to hold over the heads of lowly Canucks fans like some sort of mythical hammer, the Flames have progressed past the first round of the playoffs once. That's one time in 22 seasons, including a current string of 3 straight years of missing the playoffs.

Spring has sprung and the Flames are done. On to REAL hockey!

Read Article | 0 Comments

Alex Friesen is Heating Up

Jeff Angus
April 05 2012 09:07AM

During the course of the season, I've tried to bring attention to several less heralded prospects in Vancouver’s system. That trend continues today with a profile on Niagara Ice Dog and 2010 6th round draft pick, center Alex Friesen.

Read Article | 0 Comments

Headshots April 4th

Cam Davie
April 04 2012 05:13PM


Max Lapierre: Cool, non-chalant ladykiller.
(Photo from Andy Gray @si_vault via Twitter)

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 thom.drance@gmail.com.

Read Article | 0 Comments

Tales of regression: the 2008 Vancouver Canucks

Cam Charron
April 04 2012 02:45PM

Canucks Army didn't exist in 2008. I'm not sure how much of a market there was for a math-themed Vancouver Canucks blog. I certainly wasn't reading one, and while Vic Ferrari was pumping out terrific stuff like this about player luck over a short-term period of hockey games, I was a regular poster on Canucks.com, using the numbers I had available to me to prove my points, but none of the wealth of data available online to regular readers of Puck Prospectus or Irreverent Oilers Fans.

I was parsing through Behind The Net and something caught my eye: when we talk about the Minnesota Wild this season, or the Dallas Stars last season, or the Colorado Avalanche from 2010, we're talking about teams that had dominant first halves of the season but collapsed from January-on. Surely, there has to have been a team like that almost every year in recent history that had a good first half and a lousy second half.

Enter the 2008 Vancouver Canucks, let's look month-to-month at just how they did. Using timeonice scripts from 2008, I looked month-to-month at how this team fared...

Read Article | 9 Comments