Strombabble: "You'd Be Surprised About the Number of Teams That Have Inquired About Our Goalies"

Thomas Drance
February 12 2013 12:41PM

On Tuesday it was announced that Rogers Sportsnet and the Canucks have agreed to a mammoth, ten year extension of their multi-platform broadcast agreement (you can read the press release from Sportsnet here). To talk about the deal and provide grist for the mill, Mike Gillis appeared on the HockeyCentral radio and television program with Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean and discussed, among other things: John Garrett's fondness for chicken wings, the evolution of Roberto Luongo, compliance buyouts and of course: the Canucks' goaltending situation.

Read on past the jump.

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Game #12 Preview: Wild @ Canucks

Dimitri Filipovic
February 12 2013 10:27AM

Max Lapierre and the Canucks had their way with the Wild in their last meeting. They look to do the same on Tuesday night.

"Tune in to TSN on Tuesday night, as Zack Kassian goes toe-to-toe with Zach Parise!"

"Tune in to TSN on Tuesday night to see how many times Minnesota Wild fans can vomit when reminded of Cam Barker's existence!"

"Tune in to TSN on Tuesday night to see how many different ways the Minnesota Wild can light $196 million on fire!"

Only two of those three were fabricated by yours truly, I swear. I'll let you guys guess what's real and what's not. Anyways, the Canucks meet the Wild for the second time in five days, and it'll require some creativity to get yourself (and others) riled up for this one. But we'll try.

Read Past the Jump for More on the Game.

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Other Teams are catching up to the Canucks on "zone matching"

Cam Charron
February 12 2013 08:08AM

Harry How, Getty Images

Last night I was reading Thomas Drance's bit on Manny Malhotra's matchups, and it got me thinking about what Malhotra's role is with the Canucks right now. David Johnson pointed out in a piece over at his indispensable website HockeyAnalysis that while Malhotra gets a lot of defensive zone face-offs, he gets them against very weak competition.

That much is true, and Malhotra, as much as I'd love to say differently because I absolutely love the guy, hasn't been very good since coming back from that eye injury sustained in the first year of his three-year deal. That's a shame because since then, the third line centre spot in Vancouver has been open to all comers meanwhile Malhotra has the distinction of being the highest paid fourth line centreman in the league.

This is the basis of Johnson's point:

Using a rigid zone start system like the Vancouver Canucks do actually makes it easier for opposing teams to line match on the road as they know who you are likely to be putting on the ice depending on where the face off is. If the San Jose Sharks want to avoid a Thornton against Malhotra matchup, just don’t start Thornton in the offensive zone.

I call it "zone matching", by the way, the process of setting up your players in certain zones on the ice. I can see it being effective in road games where you don't get the last change—while Johnson is right in that it makes your lineup and deployments more predictable, it also allows a road coach to control a situation. Read on past the jump.

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Afternoon Headshots: February 11th

Thomas Drance
February 11 2013 03:55PM

Via /r/Canucks redditer Eagle1388, a screenshot of some dude repping the Canucks hard on the Price is Right today

Speaking of prices, and whether or not those prices are "right"; on Friday Brad Ziemer got a Mike Gillis quote in which Vancouver's General Manager reiterated that whichever team wants to acquire Roberto Luongo, they're going to have a pay a fair price for the superstar goaltender. By the way, Roberto Luongo is starting for Vancouver tomorrow and here's my take on that decision: Vancouver is eager to demonstrate that their oft-stated, and scoffed at "we're happy keeping both of them" threat isn't an empty one. [The Vancouver Sun

Jason Botchford with a not particularly positive sounding update on David Booth, whose recovery from a groin injury sounds like it's behind schedule. That's bad news, but it could be an awful lot worse so let's spin this like Henrik Sedin. First of all, Booth is practicing (in a no-contact jersey) with the club, so at least he's on the ice even if he's not feeling one-hundred percent. Secondly, upon Booth's return one of Kassian, Booth, Raymond, Higgins, Hansen or Burrows will be bumped down to the fourth line - so at least Vancouver is deep at Booth's position. Thirdly, the Canucks are already three points clear of the Edmonton Oilers (and also have a game in hand) in the Northwest Division, and they'll be getting Ryan Kesler back very shortly (I still think that'll happen this week) so, yeah, Booth can take his time. [The White Towel]

More links and commentary past the jump.

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A Note on Manny Malhotra's Matchups

Thomas Drance
February 11 2013 01:40PM

Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

The news out of Canucks practice today is that Manny Malhotra isn't taking part for whatever reason. I'd assume that it's nothing serious and that he's just getting a maintenance day, but I'm sure the Canucks will vaguely brief the media and partially his absence at some point on Monday afternoon. 

In the early going this season, Malhotra has delivered basically what is expected from him at this point. Obviously he isn't quite the dominant defensive force that he was in '10-11, and probably doesn't have a regular spot in a contending team's top-nine. But he's still a reliable face-off winner, he's still being trusted to soak up defensive zone starts, and he still plays Vancouver's toughest minutes among forwards when the team is short-handed. 

Read on past the jump.

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