Why do Keith Ballard and Chris Tanev look like the Canucks best pairing early on?

Cam Charron
January 29 2013 06:44PM

A hypothesis: the rumours concerning the Canucks' defensive demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Looking through my time-line on Twitter, I've read that Alex Edler isn't deserving of his contract, that Kevin Bieksa is the worst No. 1 in the league, that Dan Hamhuis looks terrible this season, and I've also read people calling for Jason Garrison's head just six games into a new contract. Rest assured, all of that is mostly over-wrought pablum.

Keith Ballard and Chris Tanev get a pass online, though, and as much as I'd like to say that Chris Tanev's minutes should be upped to include prime powerplay and penalty kill time, as well as thrust the young, undrafted defenceman into a shutdown role at even strength, now is really not the time.

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Tragically Hip: Eddie Läck Has Surgery, Will Miss the Remainder of the Season

Thomas Drance
January 29 2013 03:36PM

Brad Zeimer reported on Tuesday afternoon that highly regarded Canucks goaltending prospect and Twitter superstar Eddie Läck, inactive since November while dealing with hip flexor issues, has undergone a surgical procedure on his injured hip and will miss the rest of this season. 

The Canucks re-signed Eddie Läck this past summer, the lanky Swedish netminder was a restricted free-agent at the time, to an interesting contract. The two year pact stipulated that Läck would be on a two-way deal for this season, which his deal morphing into a one-way deal the following year. Obviously the idea was that Läck would play another full season in the AHL, following the familiar player development route taken by Cory Schneider, before being entrusted as Vancouver's backup goalie for the 2013-14 season.

Read on past the jump.

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Canucks Blow it Royally Late, Fall to Kings: Recap and Chance Data

Dimitri Filipovic
January 29 2013 01:16AM

 
Roberto Luongo's performance was worth talking about, despite the result.
Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP

The Canucks fans that were hoping to get something resembling vengeance - whether it be in the form of blood, or two points in the standings - from Monday night's affair in Los Angeles were left heading to bed with a bitter taste in their mouth, after their team blew yet another two-goal lead. This time, it was en route to a shooutout loss against the hated Kings.

Although I'm sure that before heading to bed, many of those individuals made sure to give their two cents in the form of a snarky tweet about everything that's wrong with the team. The same team, that was a mere 44 seconds from leaving town with a hard fought (if not impressive) win. That's how things work in the land of Canucks, though.

Regardless, the Canucks managed 3 out of a possible 6 points in their saunter through California, and now head home licking their wounds, in desperate need of a day off.

Read on Past the Jump for More (including scoring chance totals!)

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Afternoon Headshots: January 28

Thomas Drance
January 28 2013 03:59PM


Screen cap wherein Keith Ballard (top left) mocks Ryane Clowe following Clowe's misconduct on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Redditer Outragez_Guy

Kind of a slow Canucks news day today, but I did what I could to find some links...

Over at the Legion of Blog, Cam Charron does what he does best: repudiates the utility of real-time stats in player evaluations. Cam's point is dead on here, of course, but still that pass that Edler sent through the middle of the ice against the Sharks that led directly to Pavelski's first goal of the evening, man that was brutal. [Legion of Blog]

On the same topic, Justine Galo breaks down Vancouver's breakdowns from Sunday over at CanucksCorner. [Canucks Corner]

Alex Burrows tells Ben Kuzma that he had tonight's game against the Los Angeles Kings circled on his calender when the schedule was released. I imagine he can't wait to make fun of Mike Richards. [The Province]

Another update from the realm of "forced rivalries", Drew Doughty seems pumped to "get after" the Canucks tonight. [Vancouver Sun]

Canucks Hockey Blog debuts a new week in preivew feature breaking down this week's upcoming Canucks games. [CHB]

Daniel Wagner captions some of Ryan Kesler's hilarious activities about town in the Canucks' "Kesler undercover" series. [Pass it to Bulis]

Hot sports take from Jim Morris in the Vancouver Courier on, what else, the seemingly never ending drama that is Vancouver's goaltending situation. [The Courier]

Some more links and pithy commentary on the other side of the jump.

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Zack Kassian and Kyle Clifford: On powerforwards, odd connections and hot starts

Thomas Drance
January 28 2013 02:28PM

 

Two power forwards, both alike in dignity, near fair Venice Beach where we lay our scene.

As the Vancouver Canucks prepare to face the Los Angeles Kings on national television Monday evening, both teams have good reason to be pleased with the early season performances of their respective twenty-two year old powerforwards.

For the Canucks it's Zack Kassian, who despite a quiet outing on Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks has been something of a revelation in the early going for Vancouver. He's scored three goals through five games - several of them beauties - and has provided Vancouver's hockey club with a rugged forward presence the franchise has lacked for so long.

For the Los Angeles Kings, it's left-winger Kyle Clifford, a 6,2 208 pound enforcer who plays bigger than his size. A staple on Los Angeles' fourth line for several years now, Clifford is flashing his hitherto untapped skill level in the early going this season, and has racked up six points in Los Angeles' first four games while skating on Los Angeles' second-line alongside Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. 

Their paths to get to the NHL level were divergent - Kyle Clifford was something of a surprise second round pick and a pure enforcer for the majority of his OHL career, while Zack Kassian was a highly touted first rounder who everyone has long agreed possessed first line upside and skill to burn - but they're linked together by their respective involvement in one of the most controversial trades in Canucks history. You see both players were targeted by Mike Gillis as an acceptable return for a popular one-way centreman named Cody Hodgson.

Read on past the jump for more.

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