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 06:09PM
Wow. Can everyone please just take a deep breath?
We're only five days into the season, shortened as it may be, and people are treating it as if it's a normal mid-January and these first 2-3 games represent the 34 games that aren't going to be played this year. It's like some kind of phantom season syndrome.
Well, stop it everyone. The rest of the hockey season is gone. It was amputated due to gang-greed!
So instead of thinking of this like a normal January, think of it more like you would October. Would anyone really be talking about the Canucks missing the playoffs if they went 0-1-1 to start the season? No! You would all be thinking, "Hey, we got one out of four possible points! What an improvement!"
But instead, all around the league, you have hyperbolic over-reactions...
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 23 2013 09:57AM
Every so often someone approaches the Nations with offers or partnerships because they think we're great and all. A lot of the time this stuff is pretty lame so we don't bother you, our valued readers, with it.
Sometimes something good comes along though. The folks at Draftstreet sent us an email or 10 recently pitching us on an interesting salary cap draft contest that's free to enter. Oh and you can win cash prizes. Free cash is always good, so we want to pass the details along to you.
Anyways, here's the gist: