Where the Mild Things Are

Thomas Drance
February 07 2013 11:53PM

Mason Raymond ices the win in Vancouver's 4-1 loss over the Minnesota Mild (TM @SocialAssassin2).

Coming into Thursday night's convincing 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, the Vancouver Canucks had been the only division leader in the league who had yet to really impress anybody. Maybe that sentiment is too negative, certainly the goaltending has been stellar (unsustainably stellar, actually), but it's fair to say that the majority of observers (fans, media, whatever) have found the club's conservative low-event stylings, the paralytic power-play, and the inability to hold two goal leads to be concerning.

I think the mood has shifted a bit following Vancouver's comeback win over the Oilers on Monday, and their blowout of the Wild on Thursday. These were supposed to be the two teams that were improved enough to challenge the Canucks' stranglehold on Northwest Division supremacy! At least they were supposed to be able to hang around in the standings until Ryan Kesler returned to Vancouver's lineup. But that hasn't been the case, as the Canucks have proven cagey enough - or perhaps it's that their goaltending has proven stingy enough - and the team has managed to pick up points even on off nights. 

At long last on Thursday night in Minnesota, the Canucks brought it out of the gate and put away an inferior opponent early. This was not an off night for the club. Read on past the jump.

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Afternoon Headshots: February 7th

Thomas Drance
February 07 2013 04:18PM

Cool drawings of Roberto Luongo and Ryan Kesler by "Birdsong27"

We included Chloe Ezra's bad-ass (but super adorable) Canucks stickers in Headshots yesterday, and Fort Nucks has more on them today. Also you can actually order the stickers from Chloe's website now, which is pretty awesome. [Fort Nucks/Blue Soup]

Excellent stuff from Iain Macintyre on Keith Ballard, who "makes all the little plays," and has performed admirably for the Canucks in the early going this season. [Vancouver Sun]

Read on past the jump for more links and other nonsense.

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Burrows, Lapierre Qualify for SI's Most Hated Players List

Thomas Drance
February 07 2013 02:27PM

Photo Credit: VancouverNuck.tumblr.com

Sports Illustrated recently decided to put together a list of the 10 most hated NHL players. Well wouldn't you know it, thanks to Maxim Lapierre and Alex Burrows, the Canucks find themselves rather well represented (though seriously, Ryan Kesler and former Canuck Matt Cooke got snubbed).

Read on past the jump.

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Preview: Game #10: Canucks @ Wild

Thomas Drance
February 07 2013 01:23PM

Hopefully Schneider's return to the crease goes better than the above photo might suggest.
Photo Credit: REUTERS

It's an annual tradition. Every year the Wild, despite being bound for a top-10 pick at the NHL draft, soundly defeat the Canucks early in the season at the Xcel energy centre. In 2010-11, it was the Rick Rypien game. In 2011-12 it was the game that defense forgot in early November, when the Canucks surrendered an astounding twenty-nine scoring chances against in a five-two shellacking. 

The Canucks played that awful November game last season in front of Cory Schneider, and let's hope they're a bit tighter in front of their "starting goaltender" tonight. Schneider kind of has a lot to play for, and being hung out to dry would be a poor way to welcome him back to the crease following a ten day absence. 

Read on past the jump.

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Delivering the Sauce: What Should the Forward Lines Look like when Booth and Kesler Return?

Jeff Angus
February 07 2013 11:09AM

What are the Canucks going to do with their forward lines when Ryan Kesler and David Booth are both ready to return from the injured reserve? The Canucks haven’t been lighting the league on fire offensively, but not many expected them to without two of their best possession players.

Assuming Kesler and Booth are both back within the next week to 10 days (and that seems like a safe assumption based on what we've heard), how will Alain Vigneault put his lines together?

Well, he will have some options. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

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