March 24 2012 09:43AM
In the wake of Duncan Keith's five game "punishment" I expect we'll see a fired up Vancouver squad this evening, which should help the team match the intensity level a bubble team like the Avalanche should bring tonight. The Avalanche are a sneaky good team, they have a legitimate "shut-down" pair in O'Byrne and Hejda, and Erik Johnson has gone from being an over-rated underachiever last season, to being an under-rated game-changer this season.
Up front the Avalanche forwards are quality, Landeskog is a two-way beast and so is O'Riley. Stasny brings some elite passing skill, and the likes of Jamie McGinn and Steve Downie have made the Avalanche appreciably more imposing to play against.
That said, they don't boast the overall depth and team quality that the Canucks do. If we're lucky, we'll get some vintage fall of 2009 Henrik Sedin. I'm hoping he'll play angry, become a big green Hulk-like playmaking machine and carry the Canucks to victory tonight.
I'm busy today so the game preview will just include underlying numbers and the three keys to the game, so click past the jump for more.
March 23 2012 02:32PM
The Good and the Bad of this past week.
It's Friday. So we close out the "Week That Was" with our latest volume of... "Cheers and Jeers!"
This week, I ask for a phone hearing with Duncan Keith, Brendan Shanahan, The G-Man, and HNIC, but I let Shane Doan, Dan Murphy and Kes + Hank walk away scot-free.
March 23 2012 12:29PM
"You're kidding me," Don Cherry once said of the player that the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Wendel Clark for back in 1994. "I hope somebody's kidding me that you would trade Clark for Mats Sundin."
You'd like to think those sorts of attitudes have receded with the passage of time. As players like Lidstrom and Chara have proven that Europeans can play tough hockey and captain NHL teams to Stanley Cup glory, you'd think such attitudes would start to become extinct. At least that's what you'd hope. Tony Gallagher, however, went full Don Cherry in his Canuck Hat-Trick post from Wednesday morning, and you should never go full Don Cherry. "Is this guy supposed to be a banger or a Euro?" What an unconventional way to lead off a thought.
The antiquated meme that Canadians are tough guys while Europeans are weaklings who grew up wanting Olympic Glory and don't care about hoisting the cup is still prevalent in old-school hockey circles. But Cherry's weekly rants that lend only credibility and showcase the positive play of a few Canadians who still play the old school way that Cherry learned in the 1970s is one thing, a columnist for a newspaper writing these actual words and sending them to an editor, who published the piece online, is quite another.
This archaic mindset doesn't escape the notice of Europeans playing in the league. After Henrik Sedin saw his brother get smoked by Duncan Keith with a vicious elbow to the face later that day, you could tell Henrik was frustrated with the way that the story was likely to get spun in the Chicago or national newspapers.
March 23 2012 12:16AM
Bieksa celebrates his game-winning goal with Henrik Sedin during Thursday night's game in Dallas.
(Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Canucks have been reeling of late, both generally and against the Dallas Stars, who have earned the win over Vancouver's club in the team's last two meetings. Considering the Canucks lost their leading goal scorer to a (likely) concussion, and were facing the Pacific Division Leader on the second night of road back-to-backs - they put in a solid effort, handily controlling the game while holding the lead throughout.
A more detailed recap, chance data and the statistical three stars and goats after the jump.
March 22 2012 03:34PM
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