January 01 2014 01:53PM
Happy New Year, everyone. Hope you all had a good night, stayed safe, have spent this morning hydrating properly, and are ready for some hockey tonight.
There's only one game left on the slate for the first day of 2014 - with all of the Winter Classic festivites finally coming to an end - and it's the Canucks taking on their bitter rival in the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Okay, fine, it may not seem like the most riveting matchup on paper (especially considering the sole reason people circled this game on their calendars when the schedule came out, Steven Stamkos, isn't even playing), but the Lightning are actually playing some fine hockey these days and really intrigue me as a fan of the game, personally.
Read on past the jump for a quick preview.
December 31 2013 12:18PM
Image Courtesy of CBC
In a surprise move it was recently reported that the Canucks have placed prospect defenceman Adam Polasek on unconditional waivers to have him bought out. While there is little in terms of reports on this, it would appear to be a similar situation to Zack Hamill where Polasek had his contract bought out as he was not happy sitting in the ECHL and is looking to play elsewhere.
Read more following the break...
December 31 2013 12:17AM
After a close and competitive game in Calgary just over 24 hours ago, the Canucks should have been a tired team on a back-to-back after a night of travel, but the Roxy Flu appeared to be in full effect as it was the Canucks who dominated the well-rested Flyers. Then Steve Mason happened; he stopped 41 of 44 shots through regulation and overtime, and all three Canucks shooters in the shootout and effectively stole a game for Philadelphia.
Yes, Steve Mason stole a game for an NHL hockey team.
December 30 2013 02:44PM
The goal above came during a simpler time, when we could make fun of Steve Mason and all share a good laugh. But a lot has changed since the first meeting between these two teams back in the 2nd week of the season. Especially for the Philadelphia Flyers, who have been playing some really good hockey for a while now thanks to Mason's (very) surprising resurgence to relevancy, and Claude Giroux bouncing back from his early season funk to lead a potent offense.
The story is a little different for the Canucks since then too, though. They're 10-1-1 in their past 12 games, they're relying far less on the Sedins due to the 2nd line's two-way excellence, and the goaltending has been top notch. Back on October 15th Eddie Lack had one career NHL appearance to his name, and now, he two shutouts. Ho hum.
Considering the way both teams are playing heading into this one, it should be a good one. Read on past the jump for the final game preview of 2013.
December 30 2013 11:45AM
Back on December 4th I wrote a lengthy review of the first 30 games of the season for the Vancouver Canucks. In the section on defensemen, I had the following to say:
"The biggest storyline on the blueline for the Canucks through the first 1/3 of the season has to be the remarkable bill of health they've been enjoying. Excluding Alex Edler's 3-game suspension back in the 2nd week of the season, John Tortorella has been able to use the same 6 defensemen for every single game.. which seems unprecedented."
I'm sorry if I jinxed it, but I think we all figured that it was only a matter of time before the pendulum swung in the other direction, and their fortunes changed. Sure enough, defensemen are dropping like flies at this point.
With the most recent injury sustained by Andrew Alberts - following an ugly incident involving a facepuncher, sigh - the team has finally succumbed, calling up young Frank(ie) Corrado after fans had been clamouring for them to do so ever since Alex Edler went down weeks ago. I'm just glad to see that the team went with the best player available in this case rather than putting too much stock into which side he plays on (Corrado is another guy that plays the right, by the way). Take note, Team Canada.