January 17 2013 02:35PM
You may have heard: the Canucks played something akin to hockey Wednesday night. They are doing similar Thursday night. Here's a rundown of what it's like to see 'hockey' at the biggest barn in town.
The lockout took hockey away for longer than anyone wanted. Being offered up a free dose wasn't so bad, really, but an early preseason training match, even one featuring high-end NHL talent like this one, is always going to have warts. Finding a hot dog? That's supposed to be easy.
Yours truly trekked down to Rogers Arena on Wednesday night, carting along my new roommate, newly-arrived from the UK. He's been a gamer, trying to enjoy the weekly dose of NFL football at our place but he admitted he was seriously hoping to find more energy in hockey. A chance to watch a "game" for free? Done and done.
What follows is mostly about efforts to engage with fans as well as the actual on-ice product and a little bit about a new fan.
January 17 2013 11:35AM
Back in 2011, the Canucks dressed Cory Schneider over incumbent netminder Roberto Luongo for a critical game six in the Mad-House. You might remember it, since it remains the biggest single story in Vancouver sports history.
We all know what came next: the Canucks dominated the Blackhawks throughout the game, and Cory Schneider made some excellent saves but also some really bad decisions handling the puck. Ultimately he left the game when he cramped up following a converted Michael Frolik penalty-shot goal that tied the game. Vancouver went on to lose in overtime, before "slaying the dragon" in game seven.
In talking about that contest with Cory Schneider on Wednesday, Jason Botchford got Vancouver's presumptive number one goaltender this season to make a scintilating admission. According to Cory Schneider, when he cramped up in Chicago in game six it wasn't dehydration, it wasn't anything physical at all in fact - rather he was dealing with anxiety that forced him from the game.
Read on past the jump.
January 17 2013 09:38AM
The Stanley Cup is obviously the best possible outcome for the Canucks in 2012-13 (technically, sweeping the Bruins in the Cup Final would be the best possible outcome). And missing the playoffs would be the worst possible outcome (again, the absolute worst possible outcome would be a 30th place finish in the league).
What has to happen for the first outcome to come true for Vancouver? And what do the Canucks have to worry about if they hope to avoid the second outcome coming true?
January 16 2013 03:08PM
I got some good chuckles out of the above "Luongo's (fake) gmail inbox" graphic from TheWhistle.com, so I thought I'd link to them again and urge you to give them some traffic. I particularly like the Eklund joke, and the Sedin twins' g-chat status.
Harrison Mooney makes an interesting point over at Pass it to Bulis, namely that David Booth's injury might do more to determine whether or not diminutive pivot Jordan Schroeder can make the Canucks this season than his performance at this week's accelerated training camp. Tough break!
In the wake of David Booth's injury, Jason Botchford writes about Vancouver's secondary scoring issues. Botch drops an Luongo nugget (though not exactly a surprising one), namely that the Canucks won't rush into a Luongo trade simply because David Booth got hurt. He also points out two things about Vancouver's Booth-less forward lineup that are almost surely dead on. First, he points out a seeming inevitability: that the third-line of Chris Higgins, Maxim Lapierre and Jannik Hansen are likely to play more minutes than the ostensible second line of Andrew Ebbett (or Jordan Schroeder), Zack Kassian and Mason Raymond. You can pretty much take that one to the bank. Secondly he mentions that Vigneault will need to work hard to manage the match-ups and deployment of that "second line". Luckily for Canucks fans - whatever else you think of Alain Vigneault - we can count on him to do that much at least.
I'm going to take a second and plug my own stuff because I spent a boatload of time building a model to try and predict Vancouver's goal totals this season. I'll be rolling it out over at the Play Now Blog all week, but here's the first installment wherein I use math and stuff to forecast the number of goals Henrik and Daniel Sedin will score in the lockout shortened 2013 NHL season.
This is must read stuff from Cam Cole on Roberto Luongo, @strombone1 as a creative outlet, and how social media can impact the public's perception of professional athletes. Not only is it an excellent take, but Cole gets Luongo to break the fourth wall and talk about Twitter and @Strombone1 (albeit vaguely) as his actual tangible self! That's pretty cool, and the first time we've seen it. Cam Cole isn't always my cup of tea, but the versatility and intelligence on display in this column is spell-binding.
Read past the jump for more links and caustic comments and such.
January 16 2013 01:09PM
Jannik Hansen licks his lips, presumably at the prospect of having a breakout campaign offensively on the 1st unit PP.
Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick.
When the Canucks lost David Booth for four-to-six weeks due to a needlessly controversial groin strain suffered during the club's fitness testing process on Sunday, the club suddenly found themselves down two-thirds of their second line. Losing Booth's play-driving ability and secondary scoring seems like a tough blow for a Canucks club that struggled to score in their first round series against the Kings and relied an awful lot on puck-luck, stellar goaltending and their defensive shell down the stretch last season.
So should Canucks fans expect the 2013 version of the team to depart significantly from the uptempo stylings the paying public had grown accustomed to watching over the course of the the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons? Or is it possible that Booth's injury won't change the tempo the Canucks play that much and in fact might actually provide other players on the club with a significant opportunity to step up and prove they belong in an NHL top-six?
Click past the jump for more.