Afternoon Headshots: April 16th

Thomas Drance
April 16 2013 05:25PM

Massachusetts native Cory Schneider will pay tribute to those hurt during the Boston marathon bombings tonight...
Via @VanCanucks and PicStitch

Today at Canucks Army we recapped Monday night's 5-2 Canucks victory over the Nashville Predators, previewed Tuesday night's contest against the St. Louis Blues, advocated for Christian Ehrhoff to get some Norris buzz and looked at whether or not Ryan Kesler "fixes" Vancouver's power-play issues. 

We're going to do this briefly today since puck drop in the Blues game happens shortly, but read past the jump for more.

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Christian "King Felix" Ehrhoff Should be Getting Norris Buzz

Thomas Drance
April 16 2013 04:53PM

Photography by: Daniel Fischer -

This past weekend, Cam Charron wrote a piece about analytics for the Province and dropped a line that might strike your average hockey fan as rather silly:

Ehrhoff might be a Norris Trophy contender if the Buffalo Sabres had a single other notable hockey player.

Here's the catch: Cam didn't go far enough. Who cares that the Sabres are terrible, Christian Ehrhoff's performance has been good enough that he should be nominated for a Norris Trophy this season. Of course, he won't get more than a couple of homer fifth place votes, but read on past the jump anyway.

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Game #43 Preview: Canucks @ Blues

Thomas Drance
April 16 2013 02:15PM

Photograph by: Jonathan Hayward/Associated Press

The Canucks, winners of seven of their last ten, are on something of a hot streak down the stretch. Since the trade deadline they've won five of six, recorded four "clear victories" over that stretch, shutout an opponent on two occassions and have averaged four goals a game. But angst still reigns in conversations about the team in the Vancouver sports market, in part becasue all of the team's past six contests have come against non-playoff teams in the Western Conference.

That'll change on Tuesday evening, as the Canucks roll into St. Louis for the second game of a road back-to-back, to face a very good Blues team. The Blues aren't the league's best team on home ice, but their goaltending has begun to regress (in a positive direction) and they've won six of their last ten, with three shutouts in their past five. The Blues will have a good deal more to play for on Tuesday night too, they're only a single point clear of ninth place in the West, but only four points out of home-ice advantage in the first round (with a game in hand too). So they've got to mind both the carrot and the stick. 

Should be an interesting tilt. We'll preview it at length past the jump.

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Has Kesler's Return Fixed the Canucks Power-Play?

Thomas Drance
April 16 2013 11:57AM

Ryan Kesler might be the key to a dangerous Canucks power-play.
Photograph by: Rich Lam/Getty Images North America

Headed into the lockout shortened 2013 season, the Vancouver Canucks had boasted one of the league's most fearsome power-play units for about three years running. Conversion rates in the low-20s were the standard, and the team made a game plan of both "using the power-play as their enforcer," while also goading the opposition into taking penalties with a type of mental warfare we like to call "jerkpuck." 

This season the power-play goals dried up, and so have the power-play shots. It's inexplicable really, I mean, how is it even possible for a team that employs two guys named Sedin to be in the bottom-five among all NHl teams in both power-play conversion rate and 5-on-4 shot rate? As it turns out, the key to Vancouver's power-play success may have all along been, and is now again, an American centreman named Ryan Kesler.

Read on past the jump.

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Pred a Manger: Canucks Light up Rinne, Win 5-2

Thomas Drance
April 15 2013 10:01PM

The second Power-Play unit celebrates Jason Garrison's game winning goal on Monday night.
Photograph by: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

On Monday night, the Canucks bounced back from a woeful performance this past weekend against the Colorado Avalanche, and scored early and often in a relatively convincing 5-2 victory over the toothless Nashville Predators. It wasn't the club's smoothest game of the season, nor was it their best sixty minute defensive effort, but in terms of offensive execution it might have been one of the team's more impressive performances this season. 

Execution in their opponent's end aside, the club very nearly lost the plot entirely in a gaffe-tastic second period in which they completely blew a two goal lead against an offense so feeble, it would be an insult to popguns to invoke their name in a description. So kind of a mixed bag, but overall an entertaining and interesting game. 

Read past the jump for more analysis and scoring chance data.

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