Preview: Game #3 Flames @ Canucks

Thomas Drance
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.

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Advertorial: Free Fantasy Contest

Kent Wilson
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:

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Afternoon Headshots: January 22nd

Thomas Drance
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).

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As Usual, AV's Lineup Purée Makes Sense

Thomas Drance
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):

Sedin-Sedin-Kassian

Higgins-Burrows-Hansen

Raymond-Schroeder-Weise

Volpatti-Malhotra-Lapierre

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

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Jim Vandermeer Clears Waivers, Jordan Schroeder Finally gets a Shot

Thomas Drance
January 22 2013 11:41AM


Photo Credit: Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

According to Canucks.nhl.com, who would know, the Canucks have recalled Jordan Schroeder from the Chicago Wolves, and I'd expect (though nothing is official yet) that the 2009 first round pick will make his long-awaited NHL debut against Calgary on Wednesday night. The team also re-assigned Jim Vandermeer to Chicago following his clearing waivers earlier Tuesday morning.

These moves don't come as much of a surprise. Many felt that Jordan Schroeder should've made the team out of "training camp," and he only narrowly missed the cut. The Canucks tellingly kept Schroeder in Vancouver about twelve hours longer than they kept Schroeder's Wolves teammates, and the diminutive offensive centerman didn't dress in the Wolves most recent game on Saturday night against the Houston Aeros.

Combine all of that with the fact that Andrew Ebbett has been, well, not a second line center by any definition in Vancouver's first two games this season, and a Schroeder call up was all but inevitable.

Read on past the jump.

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