August 16 2012 08:44AM
To say that Ryan Kesler has tunnel vision at times would be accurate. The gifted two-way pivot was criticized at times last season for failing to properly use his linemates (Kesler isn’t totally blameless, but he did see a revolving door of wingers and seemed out of sorts for much of 2011-12 after rushing back from offseason hip surgery).
There is a reason why Kesler looks to shoot – he has a great shot. In 2010-11, he used a newly-developed wrist shot to score a sizable chunk of his 41 goals. Teams seemed to key on his go-to move last season, which was a major reason (along with fewer power-play opportunities and shooting percentage regression) for the decline in goals (only 22). He loves rushing the puck up the ice on his off wing or up the middle, cutting in, and firing a wrist shot across his body to the blocker side of the opposing goaltender (or the glove hand side for the righty catchers).
On January 21st, 2012, Kesler scored a beautiful goal by doing exactly what got him 41 goals one season previous – rushing the puck up the ice, taking it to the middle of the ice, and scoring on a wrist shot. The difference with this goal is that he was a bit tighter in to the goalie, and he added a deke before shooting the puck.
August 15 2012 01:06PM
Image courtesy vancitybuzz.com.
A year ago today, former pint-sized Canucks enforcer Rick Rypien, who had spent much of his adult life battling mental illness, was found dead in his Alberta home. While he wasn't an offensive star by any means, Rypien was the best pound-for-pound fighter I've ever seen in the NHL, and he wasn't a one-dimensional thug either, he could legitimately play. His skill set and on-ice personality endeared him to Canucks fans, who have felt his loss deeply over the past twelve months.
August 15 2012 12:33PM
Speed kills. In a high-tempo puck possession system, like the one the Canucks employ, having top end speed means everything. It means you will be first to the puck, and that you can pull away from defenders.
One thing stands out from any discussion about Billy Sweatt’s skill set: his speed.
Since even before he was drafted, his willingness to compete and the pace at which he’s played the game have stood out for scouts, coaches and fans alike. As a freshman at Colorado College, Sweatt quickly became a key player, and his production down the stretch spoke to his effectiveness: 15 points in the final 17 games of the ‘06-’07 season.
Read on past the jump.
August 14 2012 03:43PM
We don't yet know who will come out on top in the ongoing battle between the billionaires and the millionaires, and undoubtedly there will be winners and losers on both sides. But I'm pretty sure I know who the biggest losers will be.
Today marks the next milestone in the "negotiations" as Donald Fehr and the NHLPA outline their "alternative view" on the NHL's internal economic system. I'm sure that will go over well.
So to prepare you for the inevitable onslaught of analysis and reaction to today's developments, here's a double dose of Graphic Comments on the topic...
August 14 2012 10:40AM
To the disappointment of Örnsköldsvik hockey fans and presumably Modo General Manager and former Canucks captain Markus Naslund, the Sedin twins have decided that they probably won't play in the SEL next season in the event of a lockout.
Read past the jump.