Friday, May 29, 2009

Remembering Luc Bourdon

Today it has been one year since the passing of Luc Bourdon. Take a moment to appreciate life before the SCFinals get underway.
  • Great read in The Province today with Jim Jamieson interviewing Luc's girlfriend, Charlene Ward.
  • There is a great video interview that Letang did with TSN and how he pays tribute to Bourdon
  • Check out for their tributes
  • Nucks Misconduct looks back at This Day in Canucks History

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2009 Stanley Cup Final Schedule

The NHL has finally come to their senses with regards to moving up the schedule. Here is the schedule which starts this Saturday:

Saturday, May 30 @ Detroit, 5pm PT NBC, CBC, RDS
Sunday, May 31 @ Detroit, TBD-Night NBC, CBC, RDS
Tuesday June 2 @ Pittsburgh, 5pm PT VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Thursday, June 4 @ Pittsburgh, 5pm PT VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Saturday, June 6 @ Detroit, 5pm PT NBC, CBC, RDS
*Tuesday, June 9 @ Pittsburgh, 5pm PT NBC, CBC, RDS
*Friday, June 12 @ Detroit, 5pm PT NBC, CBC, RDS

Canucks Sign Rypien to a Two-Year Extension

The Canucks have given Rypien a two-year extension with the club through the 2010-2011 season. This keeps the 4th line of the Canucks intact as both Johnson and Hordichuk are under contract for next season. It's hard not to love Rypien when he's healthy, especially for fights like these:

Hell must have frozen over...I'm cheering for the Wings

Just for today though, just for today. For the first time EVER, I am cheering for the Wings tonight. Why, you may ask? Well that's because the NHL might do something smart for once. As I have previously written about the NHL bowing down to NBC, and not starting the SCF till June 5th... ESPN reports that the NHL might move up the start date to this Saturday if the Pens and Wings can finish up their series' by Wednesday. Since the Pens swept their series last night...the Wings just have to win Go Wings!

While I will be none to please to be sitting inside a watching hockey on Sunday for Game 2, which I assume, since NBC is airing it, will be at some ridiculous time in the afternoon, like noon PT....
Can we just start already? I'm freaking warm outside.

So much news around the NHL these days...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

And I thought 68 hours of no hockey was bad...

So yesterday the NHL announced two possible start dates for the Stanley Cup Final Game One: Thursday May 28th or Friday June 5th.

Now May 28th would have only been possible if both the Penguins and the Wings sweep the series, with Chicago's OT win last night, the sweeps didn't happen. So, regardless of when the conference Finals end, the Stanley Cup game one won't start will June 5th. Let's say the Penguins sweep their series, and the Wings win the next two, this series will end on Weds May 27th, leaving 9 freaking days of NO HOCKEY!

Thank you Gary Bettman.

Now I know that the NHL is most likely just bending to the networks request, ahem, NBC because they have nothing else to broadcast on Friday or Saturday night on June 5th, and will broadcast game 1 and 2 if Bettman succumbs to their demands. But if you are trying to keep the casual fan who has just jumped on the playoff bandwagon watching, you do not throw in a 9 day break. Casual American fans will start watching baseball, or go on vacations or watch So You Think You Can Dance.

Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun estimates that if finals goes seven games, the final game could be on June 16th. If the NHL wants to stay within the June 15th written-in-stone pledge, they would have to play back to back games.

Not only is this bad for fans who are watching the game, I think this is just becoming too long for the players. The physical toll on the players for playing this late in the year and emotional toll from being away from their families even long will not bode well.

The only way this may help grow hockey is the possible avoidance of the NBA finals, which will not subject the viewers from having to choosing one over the other.

So Bettman, will having games 1 and 2 on NBC really grow the sport that much? Or perhaps the loss of fans who are already watching the playoffs and bail for the final series do to the absence hurt it? Couldn't you have got a deal with NBC that plays perhaps games 3 and 4?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hockey is back! Some links from around the NHL...

As tPB said today, Game One [of the pens/canes game] was four years ago. Stupid breaks in the playoffs. Was that for the Springsteen concert in Pittsburgh or for the TV? Neverless, we're back at it again tonight.

Chuck Fletcher will be announced as the new Wild GM tomorrow. I guess that means Pierre McGuire and his monsters will still be on TSN/NBC next year. He must not have impressed with his interview, for the "transcript" click here.

The KB would like YOU to rate the Mats Sundin Canucks Era or at least the 4 months he played in a uniform.

Another post by the KB about NHL Attendance with some (still) shocking photos of empty seats in Phoenix during games.

So Kyle Beach, the #11 draft pick, that many Canuck fans thought that Vancouver should have picked him in the draft (at the time) signed a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. Wrap Around Curl has a contest to mark this contract signing. She is giving away a Tokarski Saves t-shirt if you can guess how long Beach will last as a Blackhawk (until he is kicked out, demoted, suspended etc). Why is she doing this? Well when he was called up to the Hawks' AHL affiliate this season, he was kicked out after 3 games. Aren't you glad we picked Hodgson? Yes, yes you are.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

No hockey for 68 hours...Please make it stop

It is a long weekend in Vancouver and there's no hockey. I feel like I'm going crazy. It is Saturday, at 4pm PT, and no HNIC. I feel like I'm in withdrawl.

-If you haven't seen it yet, the Puck Huffers have the Staal v. Staal drinking game. Game 3 for that series is on a Saturday, it's too bad I don't get the Versus feed.
-Schedule-wise there will also be no hockey this weds, looks like I can catch up on life that day
-the Manitoba Moose won last night (Cody Hodgson got an assist and was the 3rd star, Schneider was the 1st star)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Canucks Resign Bernier

During a day that is normally an uneventful media address by the GM and coach, the Canucks announce that they have signed Bernier to a new deal. Bernier who was set to become an RFA on July 1st was signed to a two year 2 million dollars per year deal.

Bernier was originally acquired from Buffalo on a trade last summer for a second (2010) and third (2009) round draft pick. This year he made 2.5 million dollars (higher than originally offered due to offer sheet from the Blues). "It put a smile back on my face," Bernier said of the new contract, which comes just three days after the Canucks were eliminated from the NHL playoffs. - Globe and Mail

The Canucks will provide Bernier with a nutritionist and specialized coach that will help him work on his skating stride.

Canucks Media Address

GM Mike Gillis and Coach AV had their media address today. They went over the normal stuff, the dissapointment of not being in the playoffs anymore and such. Top of Gillis' list is to resign the Sedins before July 1st, before Burke sends them a fruit basket to wish them Happy Canada Day. After July 1st he will begin to speak with Luongo and Kesler about their contracts that are entering the final year.

A number of players are heading into surgery:
-Pavol Demitra needs shoulder sugery
-Taylo Pyatt need knee surgery
-Alex Burrows will have bone chips removed from his wrist
-Ryan Johnson will have another surgery on his finger that he broker earlier this year

And a happy 48th birthday to Vigneault!

If we were playing tonight, you would have read this:

Not to be overlooked with all of this "Trade Luongo" fever, but there are two epic posts that were done by two Penguins sites this week. Just EPIC.

The Puck Huffers have some hard life truths with the pens.
One of the best lines of the post:
When we lost the game tonight, it was the worst moment of your life. For a good five minutes, you were so fucking upset with the world that you would have thought you were just told you have a week to live, starting six days ago."

The Pensblog also had an epic post before their game seven. It's a great read. It may refer to Boudreau as an oompa loompa. It may.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Does Luongo Stay or Go?

Is that even a question? Seriously?

Right after the loss on Monday night, the Team 1040's phone lines were burning up with fury. Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun first wrote a story making a case that Luongo should be traded. He went through the past winners of the Stanley Cup and suggested that the end for the "franchise" goalie had come. He asks, with regards to paying Luongo 7.5 million/year: at what point does cost exceed benefit?

Then Ed Willies today went on today about how maybe Gillis might make a move to trade Luongo to free up some cap room. He looked at the remaining teams, their goalies that they have on the roster and concluded that the teams didn't build themselves around their goalie like Vancouver has.

I understand this is part of your job Mr. Cole and Mr. Willies, that you have to write the stories even if they are written just to rile up the readers. But let me delve into how I think this is a BAD idea.

First of all, do you remember: Cloutier? Potvin? Irbe? Whitmore? Vancouver has had some crappy goalies. Do you remember when Cloutier either just sucked or was injured and you longed to have a superstar goalie? I do. I wished we could have a great goalie.

Cole suggests that perhaps we would want to trade Luongo for Jeff Carter and one of their goalies. Hold on. Think about that. I believe that going into this year's playoffs, the biggest question with regard to their team was their goaltending. They have lost, because their goaltending didn't step it up. In fact, Biron and Nittymaki are both becoming free agents on July 1st, and who are the Flyers looking into to bring in as their goalie? RAY EMERY!

With all the fire power that the Flyers had, their goalie situation, in which they have two mediocre goalies, it still wasn't enough to get them the win over the Penguins.

With regard to the teams currently in the playoffs.
1. Marc-Andrew Fleury - is a FRANCHISE goalie. Picked 1st overall in the 2003 draft (before Eric Staal). He signed a seven year 35 million dollar contract.
2. Nikolai Khabibulin - Is on a four year 27 million dollar contract.
3. Jonas Hillier - OK so he's not a superstar, but who's on the bench of the Ducks? Jean-Sebastien Giguere. So where he's playing or not, Giggy's getting paid to be on their roster.

If you watched Game 6, you know Luongo let in some goals that he should have saved, you really just can't win letting in 7 goals. But the defense wasn't playing their best game either. And I think that the Canucks should have really wrapped up this series earlier. In Game 4, on the road, they should have applied more pressure and won that game. They would have been up 3-1 in the series, but where was the offense? I wrote a post that said "you can't with 15 shots", where was the blame on the forwards for not stepping up their game that night?

I don't think it is the right move to trade away Luongo. Clearly I'm not Mike Gillis, and he's has some tough decisions to make, which depends on if Luongo would want to keep playing here. Obviously if the answer is no, Gillis will be much more likely to pull the trigger sooner rather than later. But if he is willing to resign here, and Gillis is thinking about trading him, the offer better blow his mind.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Congratulations to the Blackhawks

*As posted on the CLS mini-blog Canucks vs. Blackhawks.*

Congratulation to the Blackhawks. You were the hungrier team in this series. Good luck against your next opponent in the West Final.

It is looking like you will play against the Wings next, and since I can't think of a team I love to dislike more, I will be cheering for you. I also hatePronger, so if you draw the Ducks, I will root for you as well.

If you were just a hockey fan watching this game, this game was exciting. Unlike the trap hockey we saw in the middle of the series, this game had goals and was it ever exciting. I was so nervous throughout the entire game, the emotions were just killing me. I thought that with Shane O'Brien getting his first goal as aCanuck, something was going to go right for the Canucks. I'm not going to pick apart the faults of tonights game, because it shouldn't have come down to this one, but it was frustrating to watch 7 goals go in on Luongo. In the end though, it's just a game

At the beginning of the year, the Canucks were not even predicted to make the playoffs. We came out strong in the beginning of the season, and when Luongo went out with an injury, it was accepted that our season may be over. The boys persevered and weathered through games missed byLuongo . Going through a 9 game losing streak had people jumping off of the bandwagon like lemurs only to bounce back with a strong stretch drive to the playoffs that helped them get the NW Division title. We swept the St. Louis Blues in the first round and met a better team in the second.

I am impressed at the Canucks for what they did this year. They have had 2 members of the Canucks family that met their tragic end too soon in their young lives. I have been impressed so far about the transformation that Gillis has brought in as the new GM, this summer should be an interesting one for him.

I am still proud to be a Canuck fan.

This summer will be an interesting summer for the Canucks with many big contracts coming up during this year (the Sedins/Ohlund) and looking forward to next year (Luongo/Kesler). The Olympics will be in our city next year and everyone will be pumped for that as well.

After 2 years of no playoffs, it's nice to have had the feeling back in the city. So I'm looking forward to next year, and for how the rest of the playoffs will play out.

Go Big or Go Home

*Game six preview as posted on the CLS mini-blog Canucks vs. Blackhawks.*

This is it. Game 6 in Chicago. The Blackhawks are up 3-2 on the series and can close the deal tonight.

After a more exciting Game 5, the Blackhawks won 4-2. Why? Because they wanted it more. They were the hungrier team and really showed how badly they want to win the game. And the Canucks took dumb penalties at bad times during the game.

*As an aside, the fans that threw the garbage on the ice, they were ridiculous. That was just plain stupid.*

The Canucks will have to play the best game of the series tonight if they want to have a chance at winning. They still need to get their top line to show up because so far in the series, the Sedins and Burrows has all but disappeared. Nice Houdini act boys, but now is the time to show up. Someone should remind the Sedins that if they want that big contract, they may want to put a huge night tonight.

Great video I found from a Vancouver fan named Parksy...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sun-Belt Teams vs. Canada

During a conversation while I was at the game last night, the topic of the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes, which has been making more headlines than the playoffs itself, came up. I find this one to be interesting, but in the end, the court battle of Balsillie, Moyes and the Phoenix Coyotes will have to play itself out, and ultimately it will be up to a judge to decide if Moyes has the authority to declare bankruptcy and attempt to sell the team.

The other recent headlines that have been making the rounds is that a Vancouver based hockey group and has an interest in purchasing the Atlanta Thrashers and moving them. The Vancouver based group, thought to be led by Tom Gaglardi attempted to purchase the Canucks 5 years ago, and has since been in court with the Aquilini Group about the sale of the Canucks that ultimately went to the Aquilini Group. The Thrashers' ownership group has been also locked in a court battle between themselves over the right to buy out certain investors in their group. Since the Gaglardi group lost their last appeal in court, it seems natural that they would look to another franchise that would possibly for sale. The Thrashers are tied to the basketball team there though, so I don't know if this one is any more than 'interest' by the group.

There is a lot of opinion out there that it is Canadians who have something against the franchises in warm climates or the fans of these franchises. I think that the situation is a little misunderstood.

1. If you were a fan of the Winnipeg Jets when they were relocated to Phoenix, a move made by Gary Bettman, it would anger you when you see the effort that Bettman is making to try to have the team be a success in Phoenix. Jets fans have said that Bettman did not go to the lengths to try have the Jets be successful in Winnipeg, like he is doing for the Phoenix Coyotes. There was also no revenue sharing and no salary cap back in Winnipeg.

2. Canadian fans feel that there is a market demand for another hockey team, especially in southern Ontario. This is an issue that won't go away anytime soon until it is addressed.

Damien Cox from the Toronto Star has written a good piece on this here.

The season ticket holder wait list for Leafs' tickets is 10-15 years long. There are families with children that play hockey, or grow up loving the Leafs' that will never be able to watch their team at the ACC because there are no tickets available..

Now this is not a sob story about Toronto kids not being able to watch hockey, because other than the Leafs there are also great junior hockey in the OHL or AHL teams that can be watched. If all the current teams were successful franchises, fans in Ontario would still be pushing for another team in Ontario due to the demand. It is from the reports of huge financial loss that has been published about Phoenix is why the suggestion of moving the team from Phoenix to a city like Hamilton would make fiscal sense.

The idea of putting a team in Phoenix may have been with merit. Compared to Winnipeg, the city population to draw from is larger and with a league with increasing player salaries, no salary cap, no revenue sharing and a poorly designed building capacity, Winnipeg was ultimately not able to support the team. With lots of Canadian transplants into Phoenix, a new building and a quickly growing population, Phoenix may very well have been a good idea. Especially as the NHL tries to "grow" the sport. But from the monetary loss that has been reported about the Coyotes, so far it hasn't worked in Phoenix.

In order for all of this "insert poorly performing sunbelt team" to Hamilton talk to end, what Bettman needs to do is one of two things. He needs to either look into the option of southern Ontario and decides that it is a place that he would like to move a team to, or address the Canadian fans in Southern Ontario why putting a team in their city is not a good idea.

Rising salary caps I find will only feed the disparity between teams and their success economically. With such a high cap set right now it costs and incredible amount just for the teams to break even. Some teams are relying on their post season success to pay off their payroll because of how close to the cap they have spent.

Certain owners have bought teams on loans from lenders, ie. the Lightning, so that even if you were to begin to be profitable, so much of the money is being paid to your interest on your debt load.

In addition, fans don't want to support a team that isn't winning. Now if you are the Thrashers and look like you keep taking steps back in your progress of building a better product, or the Coyotes, who failed to show an improvement towards making the post season, fans don't want to pay to see your on ice product. Very few teams can be successful if their on ice product is terrible.

I hate to read people saying that the fans in Phoenix, or Atlanta or Tampa aren't "fan enough" and they don't deserve a team. The NHL has been able to have fans support the teams and the sport in those cities that in some years have put forth terrible product to watch. I have spoken to many knowledgeable people in cities that are non traditional markets and they know their hockey. Moving a team is not about the fans. The NHL is a business, and if a relocation is required, it will because the city wasn't profitable.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Game Five Preview: You Can't Win With 15 Shots

*Game four preview as posted on the CLS mini-blog Canucks vs. Blackhawks.*

Game 5 tonight in Vancouver. I pray for action, the kind of action that delivered through hits and shots on net. Game 4 was terrible. I can sit through a game of boring hockey if my team will win, but they didn't. Instead some kid from Maple Ridge that now the majority of the city has disowned (for this series at least) gets the game winner. 15 shots on net Canucks? You can't win with 15 shots.

So tonight I will be at the game again. I am not sitting in my regular section, because I have paid regular %&$#*@# ticketmaster price. Street price people. Overpriced. I could buy seasons tickets for the Lightning for this price, of ONE freakin ticket. So for the love of all things holy, please let this be a good game. After the lockout, I thought I would never see trap hockey again (save for Minnesota because they can't seem to change) until Thursday night. It's good there was tacos where I was to keep me busy.

Back to tonight. Neither team has been able to string together a couple good games. Tonight could change all of that. Keys for the Canucks will be to SHOOT THE GODDAMNED PUCK! Coach AV has said that need to shoot more in Game 5. They also need to register more hits. Chicago had 41 to the Canucks' measly 22. Seabrook landed more than all of the Canucks D men. The other key to tonights game that the top lines that are expected to score have to show up tonight. When Johnson is your best player on the ice, and Hordichuck is your goal scorer, there is something wrong. Mats Sundin, I won't complain about your slow skating or the refusal to backcheck, but when you don't even win faceoffs, well you were useless in Game 4.

Since I feel bad about being so pro-Canucks, here are a thought about the Hawks: -The need to stay out of the penalty box, the hooking calls for Kane will have him benched in the 2nd again. Speaking of Kane, he needs to step up his game, I was hoping to see more from him.

Anyways, so this series is now a best of 3. I hope both teams can put together a decent watchable game tonight. As per usual, I'll be bringing the Wooo to GM Place (and the Shark Club maybe before?). Game time is at 7:30pm PT

ps. It's mothers day tomorrow, don't forget. Game reaction post will clearly be late.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's Friday link time!

I've been saving most of these all week during my crazy schedule...

Down Goes Brown has posted more comedic gold
-If the Leafs had facebook this is what their news feed would look like
-the Minnesota Wild GM interview transcript. 'Pierre McGuire' is hilarious.

Cycle Like the Sedins offers ideas of what Sather can do with the money he saved now that Naslund has retired.

The Gazette article about PJ Stock, his quick rise to fame and not so incredible grasp on the English language.

Mirtle has done an amazing job following the Balsillie-Phoenix Coyotes drama. From the breaking news that Balsillie made an offer while the Coyotes filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, to them heading to court and their blogger PR scheme, his Make it Seven website, looking at the Coyotes fans and more stuff here and here. It is interesting how this is turning into a bigger news story than the playoffs itself.

Bieksa to play Game 5

Bieksa left Game 4 with an limp in his leg and did not play in overtime. But today he said to the press that he is ready to go for Game 5. You can bet that he will bring his smirks tomorrow night.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Game Four: Preview

*Game four preview as posted on the CLS mini-blog Canucks vs. Blackhawks.*

Game four in Chicago. The Blackhawks have started each game trailing the Canucks and last game it hurt them. The Canucks are up 2-1 in the series and this game really is a "must-win" for the Hawks. It's hard to make come backs ever game, and the last game showed that they can't do it every time.

In game 3, the Blackhawk fans were taken out of the game with 3 goal lead that the Canucks put up. Taking the home crowd out the game really neutralized the home ice 'advantage'. They plugged up the neutral zone and didn't allow the Hawks to really break out. They will have to play another game of simple hockey to win this one.

The Blackhawks will come out fast in game 4 and I expect they will be trying to establish an early lead. The first 10 minutes of the game may dictate the outcome of the game. If the Hawks can come out and score first then they can get the crowd into it. If the Canucks score first and take the crowd out of the game, they may be able to win this game on their defensive style of play. The Hawks are going to have to try to stop the conga line to the penalty box in the first period in order to give them a chance at a win tonight.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Salo Rejoins the Team, Demitra Most Likely Out for Series

Sami Salo had rejoined the team in Chicago but is still questionable for Game 4. He didn't practice with the team today, but did do off ice workouts. The injury is supposed to be a lower body injury.

Salo joked:
"Maybe it's just a burning sensation when you pee. You never know,"

Demitra on the other hand is expected to be out for the rest of this series with an undisclosed injury.

Vigneault Proud of Pyatt's Courage

Pyatt played a strong game in his first playoff game of the year. The reunited 3rd line of Bernier, Wellwood and Pyatt had some great shifts in the offensive zone. He played 12:38 in the game, had 4 shots on net and played like he hadn't missed a game.

During his postgame press conference, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault's eyes began to swell as he spoke of Pyatt and his courageous performance.

"It was a very emotional moment for us as a group," he said. "I don't think anybody in that room can imagine or put into words what Taylor had to go through and for him to come out and leave his family out east and join his extended family here out west to be a part of our group and be a part of this, meant a lot to all the players, coaches and management.

"And I thought he played a really good game for someone who was out for quite some time (since April 3) and I'm really proud of that young man. It's a great thing he did."

"We just let this unfold and allow him to be with his teammates," Vigneault said. "We asked him if that's what he wanted to do and he wanted to do that. He didn't want to be by himself and I didn't even ask him if he was ready to play. He was on a line that he practiced with (on Monday). He knew Pavol wasn't going to play and I just put him in and we were just going for it."

Playing the Perfect Road Game

I have written a recap of Game 3 for the CLS mini-blog, not so heavy on the Canuck content. Well, still pretty heavy on the content. Click here to read it, or click on the Canucks vs. Blackhawks link on the right.

Game Three: Canucks Silence United Center


Yesterday I checked the temperature in Vancouver, and the sky was falling. Fans started to get nervous, and people were getting ready to jump off the band wagon. The Canucks faced adversity playing against the Blackhawks and lost home ice. Going into the United Center, last night was going to be a hard game to play. Not only were we coming off of a loss in Vancouver, but we had a rash of injuries (Salo and Demitra).

A quick penalty in the first was taken by Vaananen on a cross check on Kane sent a message to the Hawks being in Luongo's kitchen. The first powerplay, the Blackhawks came on strong and after 4 attempts, the Canucks were still not able to clear the puck out of the zone. But 1 minute into the powerplay, Byfuglien took the Hawks off of the pp. Later in the period, from a pinch from Bieksa, to a pass to Kesler, which made Khabibulin commit to Kesler who made a quick no look pass to Mason Raymond, who went top shelf and scored! Man that was a run on sentence. Usually you look for the other team to respond after a goal, instead Bolland takes a delay of game penalty. Patrick Kane takes a late penalty that will carry on to the 2nd.

During the Kane penalty in the 3rd, Bernier was able to knock in a rebound from a shot from Alex Edler, it's 2-0. Silence in the United Center. Kesler did what needed to be done on Kane, go hard on him against the boards. Both Kesler and Brouwer head off to the box. Henrik Sedin gets a wrist shot on Khabibulin and the puck trickles through Bulin's 5-hole into the net, 3-0. 2 minutes later Daniel Sedin takes a retarded penalty, tripping on a puck that would have been icing. Brian Campbell who has been skating like he's in the ice capades tonight gets a goal, crap 3-1.

The third begins with another dumb delay of game penalty from Edler. We all know how safe a 2 or 3 goal lead is when playing the Blackhawks, so here is the game changer powerplay for Chicago. Luongo makes a great save on Bolland. Later in the period, Raymond gets ANOTHER delay of game penalty, that's 3 tonight combine for both teams, but the Canucks kill it off. The rest of the period had the Hawks try to make a come back, but the team just couldn't rally back like they did in game 1 and 2. The fans in the United Center were quiet through much of the 3rd period.

-Pyatt was back on the 3rd line playing a strong game after missing games due to the death of his fiancee
-the Canucks' defense was playing much better tonight and moved the puck well
-Bieksa played a strong 27:54 and really showed that he could step up his game
-Bieksa's D pairing, Shane O'Brien also played a solid game
-the Blackhawks' powerplay didn't look good. They kept passing and looking for the perfect shot and were not able to get pucks on net.
-Duncan Keith played a terrible game
-Patrick Kane only played 14:22 (with only 2:56 in the 2nd period), and Toews 16:36
-Nice punch from Burrows on a Hawk player on the bench, and then the stick back in the face of Burrows.

Next game: Thursday in Chicago, Canucks are up 2-1 in the series.

6 wins down. 10 to go.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Game Three in the Windy City

*Game three preview as posted on the CLS mini-blog Canucks vs. Blackhawks.*

So after 2 games in Vancity, the Hawks have taken home ice advantage. After outplaying the Canucks in Game 2, the sky is falling in Vancouver. A guy at my work is already wanting to sell his tickets to game 5. Bandwagoners. It's not like the Canucks are down 3-1 in the series, no, we have a split. Ok, so we have now lost the home ice advantage, and yes we are now going into one of the (recently) loudest buildings in the NHL, but whatever, it's called adversity. I didn't sit through games at GM Place during their 9 game losing streak to give up on them after 1 loss. The Canucks were on an 8 game winning streak before Saturday night, something had to give. Even Boston and Detroit lost, only the Caps are up 2-0 in their series. The parity from each of the series' and the numbers from that Crovechkin match-up has Bettman grinning ear to ear these days.

What else makes Mr. Bettman smile? Celebrity bandwagoners

Obviously it would be great for the Canucks to win both road games, but realistically I would like for them to steal one on the road and come back home even.

Game 2 the Blackhawks just outplayed the Canucks. The Canucks scored two goals, on the powerplay, lost a D man and then just decided to pack it in. By the time the Hawks scored twice in the 2nd period, the fans started to revolt. If only I had called security on the fan nazi sitting behind me earlier. Just a heads up, if you behind me at a game, DON'T tell me I have to cheer or try to rally the troups to join your dumb chants, it ain't happening. If being down 5-2 doesn't motivate the players to score goals, your scratchy bitchy voice ain't doing it.

Looking ahead, the Canucks have gone to Chicago without Sami Salo who can be arguably one of the Canucks' best defencemen. Besides the fact we will miss his rocket of a shot from the point, his defensive pairing with Mitchell will be shaken up. Ossi Vaananen will draw into the lineup to replace him, but it won't be the same for the team that has been weak on their play in the defensive zone.

In other injury news, Demitra didn't practice today, which led to speculation that he is also injured from the hit with Campbell. In a perfect non-injury world, Pyatt would draw in to replace Hordichuk on the 4th line, but instead he might move on to the 3rd and Raymond moving up to the wing on the 2nd. All this remains to be seen tomorrow, and Pyatt playing is purely speculation on my part, but since there was an almost loss, and then a loss, I can't see why you wouldn't play him if he's ready.

To the Chicago fans, man Seabrook is playing like he's superhuman. I only hate because I'd love him on my team.

Luongo issued a challege for the guys to "step up as a team" and I think they will. Maybe Vancouver won't see a win tomorrow, but a good game would make up for the fact that we gotta skip out of work early to catch the 5pm start.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Markus Naslund to retire

After 1 season with the Rangers, Markus Naslund is set to retire. According to many, if Naslund didn't retire (because he has a no-movement clause) he would have been bought out of his contract. As the all time leader in points and goals for the Canucks, it seems it will only be a matter of time till #19 is retired.

Naslund officially announces his retirement.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday's Canucks and links from around the NHL

It's Friday and I have found some great links. Ready?

-It's up to Pyatt if he is ready to join the Canucks line up. "He looks like he hasn't missed a beat" says Hordichuk

-Sami Salo says that the plays for his father.

- Enough with the local writers calling Wellwood pudgy. I'm pretty sure he's in shape now playing in the playoffs, the only people who can continue to make the fat jokes are Toronto fans, in specific DGB or the maybe Vancouver's Kurtenblog. DGB wrote a letter the Kyle Wellwood only a few weeks ago.

Speaking of Down Goes Brown
, he's written some serious comedic gold recently:
-Excuses from the eliminated teams from the NHL ie
Philadelphia Flyers - Referees killed us. Which, I suppose, makes us even. (if you don't understand this one, click here)
Montreal Canadiens - Many players suffered from chronic back problems and strained groins due to franchise spending entire season trying to blow itself.
-His scouting report on teams in Round 2
-What would the world be like if all the Leaf fans vanished?

-Apparently Jonathan Toews' is battling the flu. Or maybe a shoulder injury. Or maybe the KB spiked his root beer float (or maybe not)

-Wrap Around Curl would like guy fans to get over making jokes that equate some hockey players to 'wussy' women joke. It's a good post. She also points out that in this modern society we live in we have different pop tart flavours. Pop tarts, a wonderful pastry I had forgotten about for the past 10 years.

-Sports and the City makes a case that the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup. He is a Leaf fan.

Last but not least, check this out, a Puck Daddy quiz/preview/prediction of the Canucks/Blackhawks series. Now, seriously, check it out.

Game start time scheduling...

*As posted on CLS: Canucks v. Blackhawks*

When the playoff schedule for Round 2 first came out for the Canucks/Blackhawks series I was pumped.

The home games for Game 1 and Game 2 in Vancouver start at 6pm PT (8PM CST) which is an hour earlier than our usual start time. Some people in Vancouver complained about the earlier start times. Now I see how if you work in the 'burbs (anywhere you have to cross a bridge to get to Vancouver), get off work at 5pm, it may be impossible to get into the city (and find parking) and be at GM Place in time for the anthem.

But at the same time, it could be worse. Some broadcast rights holders wanted the games EARLIER at 4pm for the weekend games and 5pm for the weeknight games. Fans in Vancouver already had that happen when the Leafs came to play back in November. CBC wanted it to be on HNIC and Leaf fans apparently can't stay up for the late game of the double header for their team so the game was at 4pm PT. Vancouver fans and radio personality of the TEAM 1040 were pissed. Changing local start time because of viewers in the east didn't want to stay up to watch their team did not bode well for people in the west. We don't like realizing that the east has more pull than the west with regards to viewership. Whatever, we got over it.

I'm not against the 6pm PT start and I understand why this works.
1. Games that start at 8pm is a great time for Chicago fans, it is only an hour later than a normal home game start
2. On some nights, it is the only late game on TV, 9pm ET not too late of a start time for people in the East watching CBC or Versus. If there is a quadruple over time that means that you only have to stay up till 3:30am as opposed to 4:30am.

Games in Chicago will be 5pm PT. Yes this time sucks, but I'll get over it. Just need to come up some good excuses for why I have to go home early for Tuesday and Thursday. *cough cough...swine flu?*

So I found it peculiar today after I printed off my tickets for game 5 and wondered why the game STARTS at 7:30pm PT. The Caps/Pens game will be at 4pm PT followed by the Canucks/Blackhawks in the double header. The 2nd game of the double header normally starts at 7pm.

WHY does this one start at 7:30pm?

Will people in the East want to stay up, hear the networks fill the extra 30 mins with analysis and still watch the late game? Why do the networks (CBC and Versus) think this will draw viewers in to watch the late game? Or are they betting on the Caps/Pens game to go to overtime?

I suggested to someone that I think that there will be a PR release sometime after this Saturday's 6pm game with a change in start time for next weeks game. Just a move to 7pm, so that CBC and Versus can offer a double header without a huge space to fill between the games. Someone bet me $20 that this won't happen, I wonder if I should take it?

Game 1: Canucks WIN!

*As posted on CLS: Canucks v. Blackhawks*

Am I a little late with the 1st game recap? Yes. But after last night, well I was not able to hammer this thing out after the festivities, and a thing called work got in the way today, but better late than never.

What a 1st game. The first period for the Canucks showed what not playing for 9 days would do to a team, the turnovers and sloppy changes were prevalent. The Blackhawks on the other hand were taking penalties like they were free candy. That gave the Canucks 7 power plays in the opening 40 minutes, not a smart move. Thanks in part to the face of Kyle Wellwood and its affinity for errant sticks, the Canucks drew 8 minutes of penalties just based on his baby face alone. If you were watching the CBC broadcast you got to hear the lovefest about Welly from McLean and Cherry after the game, Cherry even wrote down Wellwood's stats. Maybe next time he should write down the #3 in the blue sweaters name, trust me, it's not Bieska.

In the 3rd, after Kane spent the last few seconds of his 4 minute penalty in the box, he came out to show why he is such a great hockey player. The goal started building the momentum for the Hawks, and a dumb penalty from Hordichuck put them on the power play. Kane gets another clutch goal to get the Hawks within one. What were the Canucks sitting back in the 3rd period? Did they feel that they had the game locked up up 3 goals? From watching the Calgary/Blackhawk series, I think we learnt that they can score 3 goals pretty quick, in fact they can do it in 1:49. You could just watch the sequence of the plays that happened, the chasing around of the hawk players leading up to the Bolland goal looked like it happened in slow motion. Tie freakin game.

With two minutes left in the game, Barker decided to pinch which ended up not working out and left Walker to be the lone defenceman. The Canucks were on a 4-2 from a great feed from Wellwood to Raymond, Bernier got the puck on net, and Salo put in the rebound. 4-3 with just over a minute left and Johnson gets and empty net goal to end it at 5-3.

Khabibulin hasn't won a game against the Canucks since 1998 and that didn't change last night. Next game Saturday night.

5 wins down. 11 to go.