January 21 2013 02:49PM
Vancouver's goaltending controversy: in comic book form!
Slick stuff from theyslayedthedragon.tumblr.com.
On the "walking wounded" front, Ben Kuzma has some good news all around. Looks like David Booth is feeling better, isn't limping and might be ahead of schedule. Meanwhile Ryan Kesler is only "seven to ten" days away from rejoining the team in practice skates, while prized goaltending prospect Eddie Lack looks to return to the ice on Monday (hey that's today!). [The Province]
In his weekly "30 Thoughts" column, CBC's Elliotte Friedman drops some interesting Canucks-related nuggets about the impact of Kesler and Booth's injuries on Vancouver's Luongo-trade leverage. He also notes that the New Jersey Devils kicked the tires on Luongo during that fleeting moment in June and July when Brodeur hired an agent and seemed intent on testing the market. [CBC]
Tyler Dellow points out that Zack Kassian's fight against Ben Eager - though objectively awesome - was tactically misguided and cost the Canucks a late-third period shift in which the Sedin twins would've been matched up against Edmonton's fourth line. [Mc79Hockey]
Ill-advised fight aside, Tony Gallagher was - like the rest of Vancouver - impressed by what Zack Kassian brought to the table in Sunday night's contest and hopes to see him play like that with some consistency going forward. [The Province]
Here's a spot of common sense from Iain Macintyre, who points out that one game either way shouldn't change Vancouver's long-term plans in net and that going forward the Canucks need to play the guy they've annointed as their starter. [Vancouver Sun]
The Canucks waived ninth defenseman Jim Vandermeer on Monday, and the depth swingman will report to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL assuming he makes it through waivers (which he probably will). This will clear up a space on the 23-man roster, and many are speculating that Jordan Schroeder could get the call. I mean, with what Andrew Ebbett has provided through two games so far (not bloody much), this seems like a no-brainer to me. Might as well give Jordan Schroeder two quality wingers (say Alex Burrows and Chris Higgins), favorable zone-starts and thirteen even-strength minutes a night and see if he help out in Kesler's absence. If it works then it will help fatten up the forward lines, at least. [Nucksmisconduct]
Speaking of which, the forward lines need fattening writes Cam Charron over at his other Canucks blog. In Ryan Kesler's absence, even relatively shallow forward groups like Anaheim's and Edmonton's are able to take advantage of a plethora of favourable matchups. [Legion of Blog]
Read past the jump for more shots to the cranium/links to Canucks news.
January 21 2013 01:33PM
Edler checks rookie forward Nail Yakupov in Vancouver's January 20th loss against the Oilers.
Photo credit: Jeff Vinnick via NHL.com.
How's this for a spot of "hard-hitting analysis": Alex Edler is going to struggle occassionally while adjusting to playing the right-side point full-time. Of course, I could've told you that before the season started (actually, I did), but Edler's recent six-year extension and his spotty defensive play in the team's first two games of the season have added some urgency to the issue.
Read on past the jump.
January 21 2013 11:16AM
Because of the result of one game it's now clear that the Canucks "championship window" has closed. The ascendant Oilers, who have improved enough as a team to play a good club, still finding their sea-legs and missing their two best forwards at five-on-five to a functional draw, are obviously the new heavyweights in the Northwest division.
It's going to be an adjustment period for Canucks fans now, and we would be well served to start focussing and taking pride on pettier things than, say, "winning games" or "making the playoffs" and turn our attention instead to "team toughness" and "prospect wealth" like the fans of crappy teams do.
Unfortunately "Canucks" and "prospect wealth" have an oxymoronic relationship, so "team toughnesss" is going to have to do. On that front 21-year old power-forward Zack Kassian, one of only seven Canucks roster players who have played regular competitive games over the past four lockedout months, answered the bell in a big way for the Canucks during Sunday night's shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
So let's take a minute to revel in that shining moment, and conveniently ignore Edler's defensive struggles on the right-side and the team's inability to control proceedings at even-strength. Luckily for us, official Canucks photographer Jeff Vinnick took some fantastic shots of the fight (via NHL.com). Click past the jump for more.
January 21 2013 12:09AM
Pick a bigger worry: fitness or depth? Both are question marks coming out of Sunday night's 3-2 OT loss to the resurgent Oil.
Coming off a horrendous 7-3 loss on Saturday night, everyone figured the Canucks would find tonight an emotional bounce-back game. They're too experienced and still too good not to know how to re-find their form; we knew that, but the Ducks debacle elicited doubts in the faithful.
But a strong opening period for the Canucks saw them ahead 1-0 and everyone was probably feeling better. Even with the Oilers buzzing in the second, Zack Kassian's 2-0 goal, a feat of magic, conjured in colaboration with Daniel Sedin, was another soothing pill. Maybe this painful, overlapping preseason/regular season wouldn't be so bad after all.
But then two things happened. The Oilers remembered that Alex Edler really isn't so great on the right side and that most of their young stars are in mid-season form; maybe they could skate the by-comparison-geriatric Canucks off the ice.
A late-second period goal by Jordan Eberle, and a latter-half-of-the-3rd-period goal from Ales Hemsky flipped our understanding of this game's meaning on its head. The next stretch is not going to be about the Canucks perservering in the face of being less-than-game-ready; it's going to be about dodging as many bullets as possible.
That's a lot of hyphenated compound adjectives.
For some game notes and some data, click on past the jump.
January 20 2013 02:30PM
Photo uncredited via NHL.
It's been nearly ten hours since the Vancouver Canucks were lit-up by noted sniper Daniel Winnik and young gun Teemu Selanne in their home debut against the Anaheim Ducks. On a quick turnaround, the Canucks will face-off against a veteran Edmonton Oilers squad, one that has finished 30th, 30th and 29th in the league in the past three seasons, poised to take the next step.
Okay, well none of the modifying words in the above paragraph were true. The Oilers do play the Canucks tonight, though, and the Oilers have finished out of the playoffs every season since their Cup Finals run in 2006, they've gone through one rebuild already, but their group this time around looks much better than the last one. They're led by the excellent young players Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, while top prospects Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz get their first taste of NHL action at the Rog.