March 03 2014 09:33AM
The following scene took place inside John Tortorella's head Saturday afternoon:
Which goaltender is playing better right now? Eddie Lack or Roberto Luongo?
Which goaltender is in better game shape right now? Eddie Lack or Roberto Luongo?
From that context, it made all the sense in the world to start Eddie Lack at the Heritage Classic. Don't get me wrong, I disagreed with the decision, but not because there was the off-chance that Roberto Luongo's feelings would get hurt.
The problem I have with starting Lack in that situation is that, barring some potential deal on the table for Luongo, it's a case of a coach overthinking the process. I'm not sure I buy into Torts' defence of why he started the hot goaltender over the better, more experienced one.
March 02 2014 07:26PM
In isolation, or to the outside observer, I'm sure the Heritage Classic was a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon as the NHL gears up for the trade deadline and post-Olympic stretch drive. It was a relatively fast-paced game with goals scored off the rush, plenty of shots, scoring chances both ways, and some intensity and nastiness to boot. Under different circumstances, we'd probably be regaling in how that was an entertaining game and a welcome break from the monotony of the regular season, and even though the Canucks didn't get the result they wanted, they can put this in their rear view mirror and get on with their season.
Of course, the operative term is "different circumstances." John Tortorella (or Rollie Melanson if you pay attention to Jason Botchford) decided to bench Roberto Luongo in favour of Eddie Lack, kicking the "goaltender controversy" hornets nest that had so far been dormant. The move backfired, as fans voiced their displeasure at John Tortorella and the rest of the Canucks brass who allowed this to happen by booing the likable Swede at times during the game. Like the rest of the Canucks, Lack didn't have a particularly strong game in a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Read past the jump for more.
March 01 2014 05:28PM
Dating all the way back to April 17th, 2013 when the NHL announced that the Canucks and Senators would be competing in the "Heritage Classic" (as part of the 6 outdoor games to be played in the '13-'14 season), there appeared to be quite a few flaws with the plan.
Looking past the fact that it was an oversaturated and transparent cash grab by the league, from a storyline perspective it sure seemed odd to have the game feature two teams that have as little history with each other as possible, having played only 31 total times since 1992.
When your main marketing angle is "these two franchises played for the title back in 1915!", you're reaching. Then there was the fact that it was set to be played in March, which in Vancouver, generally doesn't lend itself to prototypical outdoor hockey weather (though apparently they knew something we didn't, because it has been snowing up here in the past week).
Even taking all of that into acocunt, there were still plenty of people that were excited about the fact that their city would be hosting an outdoor game, and that they'd get to witness it up close and personal (even if it meant spending their life savings). But leave it to the Vancouver Canucks to Canuck it up by creating a self-inflicted goaltending controversy on the eve of the game, which has somehow, someway managed to overshadow a regular season game between these two well known rivals. Even if it's being played in a CFL stadium.
March 01 2014 02:54PM
[This post was written by JD Burke. If that name sounds familiar, it's because you've probably either seen him on Twitter, or read the handful of Evening Headshots posts he has done for us in the past. Anyways, he ran this thought-provoking article on Brad Boyes which he wrote by me, and I figured I'd share it with all of you.]
Every offseason it feels as though a swathe of worthy contributors are cast aside in the rush to overspend for marginally better players, with a slew of complementary narratives that give the illusion of talent - see Clarkson, David.
Last summer, these contract-worthy players gathered en masse in Florida, courtesy of professional tryouts from Dale Tallon and the Panthers. One such player was Brad Boyes; he of the 40-goal campaign once upon a time, and consequent free-fall from grace only two seasons later.
At this point we all know he’s available. The Panthers are 15th in the Eastern Conference and 17 points out of a wild card spot. In true Florida Panthers form, that screams "trade deadline seller". With that being the case I think it’s well worth exploring whether Boyes should be on the Canucks radar. And do that I shall, right after the jump.
March 01 2014 11:31AM
GILLISBERG! [Image via The Stanchion]
Yesterday afternoon we ran a new feature we'll be doing on Fridays called "The Watchability Index", in which we lay out the weekend's slate of games in the NHL, and rank them based on how entertaining they promise to be.
The Canucks and the Wild are an easy call to be on the bottom of the list (to go along with Calgary/Edmonton, for some perspective and context) because of the long and storied history these two teams have of playing mind-numbingly boring hockey every time they meet. Unfortunately, the ranking was on point, because good god did that 2-1 shootout win by the Wild ever make for putrid television.
I apologize for not getting this recap up last night. There were some unforeseen circumstances that got in the way. But let's get real: if you were hanging around anxiously waiting for some analysis on that game between the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild last night, you've probably got bigger problems going on in your life.