April 11 2012 01:59PM
We've still only seen 56 games out of David Booth, so we don't really know what to expect in the NHL playoffs from him. Similar to Booth (by his performance on an advanced boxscore, not necessarily by his playing style) is Christopher Higgins, and while he's only played 110 games in a Canucks uniform - we're damn sure he's an impact player.
The weird thing is that Higgins and Booth have morphed into threats at both ends of the ice, each having replaced Ryan Kesler to some degree in the role of the "American two-way forward" on the team. That's not, well, exactly true, but by analyzing scoring chance data we find some really similar things about the two players.
April 11 2012 12:50PM
Thanks to Matt Henderson of theyslayedthedragon for mocking up the above postseason game preview banner!
The time has come.
Today is the day you woke up glazed in the icky type of stress sweat unique to oft-tortured fans who root for perpetually cursed franchises, with the words "this year," on your lips. It's the day you shave - for what you hope is the final time in several months. It's the day you rush to the BCL to pick up a twenty-four pack, just to get you through the first period. From here on in, the hockey doesn't just matter - it seems like it's life or death. The hits are bigger, the goal celebrations become desperate, and the intensity turns up so many notches it embarrasses Subway Jared's belt.
Yes, today marks the return of playoff hockey.
On Wednesday, April 11th 2012 at 7:30 the puck will drop and the Canucks will host the Los Angeles Kings in the first game of what should be a tightly contested first round series. The Canucks will almost certainly be without their leading scorer, a huge blow, though they've proven they can win without him. For the Canucks it marks the first big-step towards ultimate redemption and immortality. Can the team win one more game than they won last season, or will Canucks fans wake up a year from now, yet again dripping wet and mumbling hopeful, incoherent nonsense: "this is it, this is finally the year"? We'll find out over the next few months...
Click past the jump for the underlying numbers, key performers and more detailed game information.
April 11 2012 11:55AM
With the playoffs starting tonight, let's quickly run down the three most impressive goals from last years run to the Stanley Cup Finals!
April 11 2012 11:27AM
Ryan Kesler celebrates being awesome because he is.
(Photo by Ben Nelms/Reuters via Getty Imager)
Dear Ryan Kesler,
Congratulations! The season is now over and your team has come out on top, winning the Presidents Trophy for the second consecutive year. That must be a glorious feeling. I knew that you had the skill and ability to make it happen!
But frankly Ryan, I don’t care that the Canucks are back to back champions of the regular season. I want you to be champions of the post season. I’m tired of the Canucks being losers and I’m tired of all my bitter Canucks friends who have stopped believing in this team. This is the year to go out there and fight ten times as hard as you did in the playoffs last year, and finally be the last team standing so you can raise the Stanley Cup over your heads.
April 11 2012 10:09AM
Many, Darryl Sutter included, think the Canucks may be playing mind-games with Daniel Sedin's head-injury.
But does that square with the caution the team has shown in dealing with concussions this season?
It's the question on the lips of everyone in Canucks Nation this morning, 'Will Daniel Sedin return to the line-up tonight?" Whether Daniel Sedin dresses tonight, or not, isn't just an elephant in the room, it's a mastodon. So it's not a surprise that when Alain Vigneault refused to comment at length on the status of his team's leading-scorer, Vancouver media members were unimpressed (none more so than the columnist who has most transparently campaigned for the head-coaches replacement).
Daniel's relative presence at practice yesterday, he didn't skate with the team, but rather, joined the "Black Aces" in a post-practice skate, set off a wave of speculation: was it a setback? Gamesmanship?
This reaction seems odd doesn't it? Why is it that our first reaction as fans, observers or writers, is to instantly begin debating whether or not the team's handling of Daniel is another example of the Canucks playing politics with head injuries?
Read past the jump!