Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Canuck Drama

Since the Canucks have been doing so well in the past few weeks, the media began to run out of things to talk about. So when Burrows and Kesler mentioned the notion of taking less money to stay with the team, to give them a better shot at winning a cup, the media ran with the story. The fans loved it. It sounded like two young guys that were talking some sense from a fan perspective. As I have read/heard in the past few days, not everyone thought the same thing. Then Luongo goes on After Hours on Saturday and says: "I think first and foremost, I want to win the Cup and whichever team is going to give me the best chance to do that is the team I want to be with".

The media began to question if that meant Luongo won't re-sign. Yeesh. Now these past few days, of non-stop analysis has got me a little irritated.

Regarding Luongo's Statements
1. Luongo never said he didn't want to resign with Vancouver, he gave a very standard answer that any hockey player say...HE WANTS TO WIN THE CUP
2. Why can't Vancouver be THAT team that wins the cup? Do you think we are not good enough?
3. We are a hockey city that players want to play for, we are not Phoenix or Atlanta or Florida etc. where players hate.
4. Why are Vancouver fans insulted? This is not about us the fan, it is about a player making an evaluation as to where he wants to play.
5. Could this not have been a message to management that says, I'm serious about winning, you have some big contracts to sign and/or resign, show me you mean business and put a good team in front of me.
6. Luongo is a UFA. This is his decision for whatever is best for him and his family. If he wants to take less money to go to another team he thinks will win the cup, that's his decision. If he will go to whichever team with pay him the most, he can make that choice to. He was not drafted here, there's no emotional tie to Vancouver, he was traded. He did resign here which means he wants to play here, whether he will still want to play here in another year will be his decision.
7. This is a business. Players come and go, the NHL is a business, and sometimes, contracts end and players move on.

Back to the media events:
Glenn Healy, NHL union exec, spoke to Kesler about his statements. From what has been reported, it looks like he gave him a gag order.

In The Province: "We talked to Ryan and he regrets some of the comments he made," said NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly. The quote from the Kelly just sounds bad. Did he only 'regret' it after the NHLPA suggested for him for 'regret' it?

Obviously Kesler's agent was none to pleased. I can't imagine that made his job any easier (though Mike Gillis may share a different opinion).

I felt that Kuzma, who wrote the original article with the quote from Kesler, and his reputation has been dragged through the mud on this issue. Did the media attack Hossa when he said similar things last year? I can't remember the NHLPA coming forward and saying that Hossa regretted his comments. Kuzma wrote a good article, that did not require much dissecting to figure out what Kelser's quote meant.

I understand the comments are not good for the union, who wants all of their players to get as money as people are willing to pay them. I'm not saying that I expect the players to not take as much money as they can get either. They get paid big money because there is a demand for the sport. High ticket prices and sales drive up revenue, which drive up the cap, which drive up the player's salaries. If the money is there, I'm not going to be mad at a player or their agent for getting them a good deal.

In the end, if anyone were to silence Kesler and Burrows, it should be the guys on the team. If the Sedins and Ohlund, and the other players whose contract are up their year are disgruntled, then they have a right to have their opinion. It's their locker room. It is true, that no matter what Kesler says, the other players do not have to listen to him, but if you thought what he said was a little off balance, then they should have just approached him directly. If it's NHL code not to say things involving other people's contracts, well then it should be spoken about behind closed doors. According to the Vancouver Sun, that has been done. The added comments from the union and the PA were not required, they just made them look bad.

Was this the media's fault? No, the media was doing their JOB. There hasn't been much bad things to say about the Canucks lately, and when a feel good story could be written with a good quote, it was printed.

At this point, I hope we can just move on from this subject and get back to the final games of the season. The players should only focus on the games coming up to the playoffs and then play their hearts out during the playoffs. Let's just get back to playing hockey.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Canuck Fan Roadtrip

Did you wonder who that big crowd of people were at the Canucks game in Phoenix on Saturday? I came across a blog of one of the guys who was on it, click here to read it.

Seriously, click it, the pics are fantastic and it has Tony Parsons!

Shane O'Brien scores....On his own net...

So apparently not everyone has seen this yet. There's not much to talk about here. The game had a weird vibe the entire night. Nothing went right.

Shane O'Brien get's his first goal as a Canuck. And like the title says, yet in his own net. Viktor Tikhonov get's credit for it, and is also the player going to the penalty box. This has never happened in hockey history before. Well at least it was momentous.

But Canuck fans, rest assured, this was not the worst own goal ever. No, that is reserved for Ryan O'Bryne's own goal which TIED the game for the other team.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Game 71: Canucks in Phoenix Preview

As of last night, the Canucks are the masters of their own destiny. After Chicago's shootout loss to Edmonton, we are now even with points and games played, but are on top of them in the standings because of the number of wins we have.

The better part is, that looking at Calgary, they are 3 points ahead, but have we have 1 game in hand, AND we play them on April 7th. What does that mean? Well, if we win tonight, we will be 1 point away, even games played, and if we win against them, cleanly, no OT's or anything, we will leapfrog them to be the NW division leader! Shiiiiit.

Now I don't want to put on a lot of pressure on them, but that's huge. In January we were fightning to make 8th spot for the playoffs, now we are talking about being the NW Division champion. That's what happens with a huge Feburary and March (so far). Things can change, yes, but I'm on the positive. I haven't even seen a team flip the losing from a streak of losing games to winning games so cleanly. We've seen it go the other way around, but this is amazing. If we win a few in this 6 game roadtrip, maybe we'll start be called contenders instead of the darkhorse team.

Tonight we face the Phoenix, who a couple months ago had a shot at the playoffs. They were eliminated from playoff contention on March 14. They have also dropped the last 9 of 11 at home. How does Gretzky have a job?

Enemy blog: Five for Howling - They have officially commited to supporting the tanking of the season.

This team will be a different team from what we saw last time we played. Away is Morris, Jokinen and Carcillo, and instead we will see Lombarido (former Flame), Upshall and some rangers. I bet Upshall didn't think his career had come to this: Philly trades him AND and draft pick for Carcillo. He wasn't even worth Carcillo (ok, I kid, because I know they were trying to clear cap room for Briere...but still).

It is 80's night at Arena, for real. Look out for the crowd. Maybe they will disctract themselves from the fact their team is losing. I saw crowd, but I really mean 200 fans.

-Willie Mitchell is a freaking +30, and the 2nd best amongst defenseman in the league.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Dynamic Duo

If you were to ask me to decide today, who the MVP for this team is, well I'd say that it would have to be a tie. Kelser and Burrows have been the heart and soul of this Canucks team.

It did not just start this year, no, it has grown over the years.

Last year we started to see these two start to grow and take charge, but the crappy January and February distracted us. The outcries against Naslund made us not take notice.

This year has been different, and they both bring something different to the table. I remember when I read that Vigneault decided to split the pair of them up and believe me, I was not impressed. Vigneault was splitting apart the 1 line that was doing well. Our 1 line that was a fantastic checking line. He was splitting up the one thing the Canucks had going for them at the time. But now, Vineault seems like a genius. Or maybe he just ran out of options. Whatever the case, it seems like he was a genius.

It all started with Burrows. Burrows got that shorthanded goal against Carolina on February 3 2009 that broke the slump. This was the offical turning point the the Canucks' slump that was known as January. Here we had 8 losses in a row, and this was the goal. For those of you that have forgotten about it, fast foward to about the 3 minute mark.

I was at this game, but what I heard that just gave shivers down my back was this:

Can you FEEL the excitement? Wooooooo! A standing ovation. The Cane's take time out. And the cheering doesn't stop. Woooooooo!

We knew that night, something changed.

Since then, the Canucks record has been ridiculous. They have gone on to erase that slump from the records by going on a winning streak. Most notably, against the Dallas game, they had 10 straight home wins! Woooo.

Now Burrows has this ability to score a goal during a game at just the right time sometimes. Some of this goals, are goals that have such an emotional effect that it makes his TEAM excited, it makes the FANS excited. And it makes, both women AND men fall in love with him. I said that right, read the story. He never quits on the puck, for example, that shorthanded chance with Kelser against the Avalanche on Sunday night which took 3 shots to turn into a goal. Ever goal he gets, he's setting a record for this career year of his.

But the other half of this dynamic duo is Ryan Kesler. Like Burrows, Kesler is also having a career year. But Kesler brings a little something different. This year, he got a promotion to be a top 6 forward, and I don't remember where, but he gave an interview earlier this year, saying that he wanted to show that he could be more than just a 3rd line centre. He works hard like no other guy on the team. He shows leadership to the team. And he has been able to bring his speed to the Sundin-Demitra line and has been able to make that team produce offense. He brought a fire to this line, and now they are producing.

Sometimes when you watch him skate, you don't even realize about his skill. The game last night against Dallas, the quick move to his backhand was so slick, you have to watch the video multiple times just to see it.

When you think of the Olympics next year, aren't you a little scared to have him on Team USA? Next year this time, we won't be cheering his goals or his quickness, no, he'll be on the OTHER team.

If we didn't have these two guys having a career year just at the right time, the Canucks wouldn't have this winning streak. We may instead have been looking at the Sedin and Sundin line's wondering where we can get offense. But that's not so.

Just based on heart and soul it's hard not to fall in love with these two. Vancouver already has. But as I posted yesterday, there's another thing that makes you like them even more.

Burrow's took less money to stay with the Canucks than he would have gotten had he went to July 1st as a UFA. 2 million a season is a lot for a guy who came up through the ECHL, but he would have gotten much more if he went to the open market. And you can see that management, with this 4 year contract, wants to keep him on this team, for a long time. And that's just fine by me. Unlike other players who sign a contract and then sudden under-produce, I know he'll bring that same fire to the game every night, hell he scored two goals on the day his signed his contract.

Ryan Kelser has said:

"That's what we need everybody to do," said Kesler. "If we're going to win the Cup, we need guys to take pay cuts. The way the salary cap is now, you really can't get what you're worth now if you want to win. Everybody in this lockerroom knows that and for us to be a great team going forward, we're going to have to take a pay cut."
-from The Province

Wow. And he's going into his contract year. True he's still an RFA, but he has arbitration rights. So for a guy who will stand to make a lot more than the 1.75 that he is making now, it's huge to hear him say this. Of course, what someone says and what someone does is another thing, but I don't think he would have set it if he didn't mean it. This speaks volumes, not just to his teammates but to other players in the NHL. What he is saying that this group of guys want to win the cup and they are willing to make sacrifices to do so. They understand that in the salary cap era, this gives your team the best chance it has to win. Detroit did it and they are a scary team because of it.

These two guys get me excited. I love their celebrations after each goal. It's so much better than last year, where Naslund looked like someone shot his dog every time he scored. These guys have got passion and heart and they just keep impressing me every night.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Dynamic Duo says: Take a Pay Cut!

After reading a Province article the other day, where Burrow's had said that he took a pay cut to stay in Vancouver, I was impressed. Now Burrows has been impressing not just me, but all of Vancouver especially this year. Burrow's made those comments about his contract negotiations to the media, and it ended up getting quite the spin on it. By the end of the day on Monday, the comments seemed to have been directed at the contract negotiations that the Sedin's are having or not having at this time.

Today I came across another one. The other half of the dynamic duo also says to take a pay cut. Kesler in The Province today said if they want to win the cup, everyone needs to take a pay cut.

The heart and soul of the team is talking sense. More on this tomorrow.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Canucks WIN!! Ohlund passes a milestone...

Canucks 4, the Avs 2.

Mattias Ohlund has now become the Canuck all-time point leader...

We now tie a record for the number of wins in a row at home...9 straight wins at home!

3 huge goals in the first period...(makes up for Edler being in the box 3, count them, 3 times, and stupid plays in the 2nd)

Burrows showed a ridiculous amount of heart tonight, that shorthanded

Pyatt and Wellwood scored...c'mon Mason Raymond...

Nice little scrum at the end of the game...should make the next 3 games interesting...

Photo from

Game 67: Canucks vs. Avalanche

So as of March 10, according to From the Rink, the Avalanche were, according to points, eliminated from making the playoffs. That should make for an easy win right?

According to Canucks history, that would be a no.

1. The Canucks have not won against the Avalanche in what seems like forever. According to, they haven't won since Nov 9 2007.

2. The Canucks are good at losing to teams that we should beat. Such crappy teams that we have lost to this year include the Islanders and St. Louis.

But we're on an 8 home game winning streak so tonight this losing to the Avalanche will end. The Avalanche have also played last night, into a shootout with the Oilers. So they will be tired, unlike our well rested Canucks. Both of our losses this year against them have come in the shootout, I remember cursing Budaj when he made those great saves, so let's take advantage of the opportunity.

-The Flames lost to the Leafs yesterday, the Blackhawks lost today against the Islanders and Detroit beat CBJ and St. Louis beat Minnesota. Here is where we can put some points between us and CBJ so that we secure the 4th or 5th spot, either way we will play Chicago.

-After tonight there is only 14 games left in the regular season, every game now is huge

It is also the Canucks for Kids telethon tonight. It's a good cause, so visit

We'll get plenty of make your heart melt photos like this tonight:

Photo from

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Moms = Bad Luck Charms

Canucks management decided to break the mold. Instead of the Father-Son road trip, they had a Mom-Son roadtrip. It was a great idea. Good for the marketing, nice for the boys. Or at least the North American players. Why was there there no European moms?

C'mon, don't you wanna know what Sundin's mom looks like?

So a nice trip to warm, sunny Cali against some teams that are fighting to get a playoff spot was a great idea. In fact, if the playoffs were to start today, they wouldn't be even in the playoffs. These are teams that the Canucks should beat. We should get 4 points out of this.

But as a Canuck fan, I'm a little scared. We saw that the Canucks could rise up to the challenge and beat the Sharks last Saturday, but we've also seen the Canucks 'play down to their level' to so many crappy teams.

Well after last night, we saw a team that had problems. Most people were in denial, talking about cup contention when we were on a winning streak. We squeaked away with some wins against teams like the Leafs and the Lightning. But this road trip exposed them all.

I'm not going to blame the moms for this, because it's not like this happened just on this road trip.

Last year we had the best pk in the entire league. This year, we essentially have the same players, but the pk sucks.

The power play is not any better. If you have 5 power play opportunities against Anaheim, you HAVE to score. I know that Hillier was playing amazingly, but we're gonna encounter teams that have good goalies, those are now just excuses.

Every so often Louie will let in a bad goal. In fact he did last night. But I'm not upset, no, because he also had some GREAT saves. But if Sedin passes pucks to the other team, well, that's a problem. And after the overtime goal, you could see the anger coming from Louie. I'm sure what he said in the locker room after was not PG enough for the moms to hear.

Now that the Canucks are back home for a rematch against the Kings tomorrow. They need to pull it together. They need to show up and play like it means something. Oh wait, it does.

The one good thing that came out of last night? The awesome replay of the Wellwood goal. The best part clearly was after the goal went in, he hesitates about celebrating until he's sure it really did go in. You could see the wave of relief on him from that goal.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Canuck Ticket Renewal

So everyone and their mom has written a post about the Canuck ticket renewals that went out last week. Like many other bloggers, I am a Canucks ticket holder. Me and some of my friends (I know my grammar is atrocious some days), share a pack of tickets.

It is great fun of during the summer, usually sometime in July or August, where I have had to pay, in full, for a pack of tickets. This ties up the money for a couple months until the friends that I share the tickets with, pays me back for the tickets they will take. It's like a cash advance loan to the the Canucks, and makes it incredibly tricky when I was back in university trying to come up with enough money to pay for tuition, book and beer. This years was particularly humorous calling in from Florence while on vacation, half drunk at 12am, costing $3.50 cents a minute to make my call in time. The account rep that I spoke to thought I was a little crazy picking a pack of tickets without even seeing which teams were in the schedule.

This year things are a little different.

Playoff tickets are being bought, well, now. And you also have to decide to renew your 2009/2010 season at the same time. They gave you about a week to think about it. And as of some e-mail I just received, looks like they are giving you a couple extra days, but that may be because the packages were, most likely sent out late.

2 years ago, I remember getting a reminder e-mail to call to renew the night before my allotted call in. Only to call the next day asking, where was all the info packages, apparently they sent it late, so no one received it. Yeah, fantastic.

Anyways, this year, you pay for both your playoffs and your next years packages at the same time. We haven't even made the playoffs, and they are already asking me about next season. I don't even know what my team will look like next year roster wise, and already I have to commit.

They are also raising some of the ticket prices. Yes, mine went up. Not a huge increase, but an increase. Apparently 55% of the tickets will have an increase of up to 3%. Now, 3% is not a huge amount, but, given we are in a recession, it seems like a bad marketing move. Are we trying to copy Toronto?

But then I think about the 4000 people PAYING to be on a wait list for my tickets. They pay to be on the wait list? It's that damn supply and demand theory.

Now if we all collectively NOT renew, maybe the prices will drop like they did in rinks like in Tampa. Did you know that you can pay $20, for a ticket, a beer, a hot dog and a parking pass? No joke. I'm pretty sure you are making money on this deal by the end of it.

So would I give up my tickets now?

Nope. I like other ticket holders, are still holding out hoping that next year (I'm not completely sold on the team this year) will be the year that we win the cup. And I will be there cheering my team on. Planning the parade route. Wooooo!

They are changing this year's seat selection by making people go to GM Place to physically choose their seats. They say the "glass, netting and rink boards (will) still (be) in place for proper viewing". As if I don't know what the ice from the seats in GM Place look like.

I don't fully understand how this seat selection thing will work. When does this occur? Does this require me take time off of work?

So I renewed, not knowing what the team will look like. Maybe it will get blown up, repeatedly, and keep getting crappy trades, and end up like Atlanta (not likely). Or maybe I just signed on to another contract of the Sedins to cycle the puck for god knows how many more years.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Blood in the Water...

Cancucks vs. Sharks

The Sharks are hungry. Hungry for a win. They have dropped the last 3 games. Blake Price, and Pratt & Taylor of the team 1040 keeps calling it THE litmus test. At least litmus is an amusing word to say.

The Canucks have won the last 11 of 13. No trades were made at the deadline, which means that THIS is the group that Gillis thinks can make a run for the cup. The Canucks have resigned Burrows, and on that night, he scores 2 goals! Count 'em, 2. And the people are jumping on the Bandwagon.

There is one thing that still stands in our way: the Sharks have beaten the Canucks the last 8 of their meetings. The Sharks have always smelled blood in the water, and most games, they weren't pretty.

The last game that these two met, was on January 10 in Vancouver. The Canucks put up a good fight, but no dice. The one thing that Vancouver has for it right now is that they are healthy. All of them.

The Sharks are not so lucky. They currently have 6 guys out on injuries, and although most of them are mostly 3rd and 4th liners. Although the guys that are out aren't named Marleau, Thornton or Michaelek, well when you have 6 guys out, its more of a numbers game than an issue of talent being out. Most of their injured (Goc, Grier, Mitchell, Roenick, Huskins and Lemieux) are supposed to be back in time for playoffs. Though, they really should shut down Lemieux now. If I were them, I'd be like "thanks for your time (5 minutes a game), but no thanks, you can go back to being old again...cause you're not much of an agitator anymore"...

Even though the Sharks are a lock for the playoffs, they are still in a race for the president's cup. As of last night, Detroit just overtook them in the standings, to be fair, the Sharks still have 2 games in hand. But at least for tonight, this will be to the Canucks advantage. Plus, in the playoffs, teams will have to deal players on injury list...

What else is good news for the Canucks?

The waterboy is playing. That's right. Nabokov is out, so Boucher is in.

This will be a good game to win, not only for the points, but just for confidence for the team. If we loose this one, imagine meeting them in the playoffs, having lost 9 straight. Jesus that would be rough.

I hope we beat the Sharks. If not for the reasons above, then just because my brother is gonna wear his Sharks jersey out tonight.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Burrows Resigned!

I didn't even hear that Burrows' contract was resigned until Shorty said that there was a contract signed about 5 minutes into the game tonight. Burrows was signed for $8 million over 4 years.

2 Million a year is good for a guy having a career year. Obviously his numbers this year may be inflated a little since he will get to play as a top 6 forward for the rest of the season (barring some trade so that he can become a checker again tomorrow at trade deadline). Keep in mine he doesn't even really get powerplay time, so maybe his numbers won't really be inflated. But he definitely stepped up this year.

Particularily funny was an article I read from
Botchford in the Province today which had a quote from Mike Gillis. In response to Pierre Lebrun's rumor on the 'hot stove' this weekend that Burrows might be traded, Mike Gillis says: "Of course there are players who you don't want to trade but if someone offered you 10 first-round picks, would you do it? Of course you would,"

Lebrun is almost as bad as Strachan. Almost.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

CBJ in Van

Thoughts on the game:
-The camera that Sportsnet had for the beginning for the game was neat in that make you want to throw up as you try to follow the puck sort of way. It was neat for the first couple of minutes, showing the action as a player would have seen the ice. But try to follow the puck...nice to see the overhead camera's back in action

-When the Canucks were on a penalty kill, Pyatt wrists a puck on Mason. And the crowd let's out a loud "awww" for shot that either went wide, or Mason steered away. Did the crowd really think Pyatt was going to score? Seriously?

-Nice shot by Salo on the 5 on 3. It's nice to see that we can score again on a 5 on 3, unlike our attempt in the Montreal game.

-Alex Burrows looked good on that goal with the 3 on 1. It's nice to see him get top 6 forward time, though with the trade deadline coming, I would kinda like to see him back on a checking line. This may have more to do with the fact that I don't think the 3rd line can be our new shut down line heading into the end of the season against all of these western conference teams.

-Why does the pick up of Vaananen from waivers make people think that there's gonna be a huge defenceman trade? Maybe Gillis just like free things? Especially when they are cheap?