Coho returns home from the Pacific Ocean

And I’m not talking about the spawning habits of BC salmon.

Although that does make a great metaphor – Coho heads off to the Pacific Ocean, then has to struggle, swimming upstream to return to the place of his birth… Ontario?

Cody Hodgson was definitely not Untouchable at today's trade deadline.

Buffalo is close enough to Toronto, right?

Mike Gillis traded his first draft pick as the General Manager of the Canucks, sending Cody Hodgson to their expansion cousins, the Buffalo Sabres. In return, the Canucks receive Zack Kassian – a former first round pick himself.

It is no secret that this writer loves him some Coho, and I was saddened to hear the news of Hodgson being traded at the deadline today. I’m certain that I will write a future post praising Zack Kassian for his play in the future, but in the meantime, I’d like to take a little time to remember Coho as a Canuck.

Alright, he got off to a rocky start with a misdiagnosed back problem. But once the back problems were behind him (pun intended), he started showing us flashes of his skill last season. And throughout this season, more of the same flashes of skill. I wrote earlier this season:

#Coho4Calder – You heard it here first

It’s clear that Cody Hodgson is feeling better after misdiagnosed back problems, and he seems to be going at full speed. He was the First Star at Rogers Arena last night, and was excellent in all phases of the game for a center. I was lucky enough to meet Cody with my kids at Rogers Arena earlier this season, and he seems like a great guy. It’s nice to see him take advantage of some real ice time this season, and even nicer to see him enjoying himself out there. Sure, he might not be as sexy of a Calder vote as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but the kid has skills. Hodgson happens to play on the Canucks, who are loaded with top end depth, and he wasn’t drafted first overall, so he doesn’t see as much of the rookie hype as The Nuge. There is no denying that Cody has great hands, and excellent hockey sense. To be continued!

In terms of scoring touch, it seemed that Hodgson was not only blessed with good hands, but with ample amounts of clutch. I’m still working on the scientific formula for clutch, but it seemed to me that Hodgson scored in some big games this season. How about this beauty, in possibly the most anticipated game this season? This goal turned out to be the eventual game winner.

Zack Kassian has some scoring ability, and actually won a Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires in 2010. What Canucks fans will take issue with is his spotty behaviour in the past. In 2010, he was suspended for 20 games for a hit to the head of another junior level player. And after the Memorial Cup win, in June of 2010, Kassian was arrested and charged after being in a bar fight.

Maybe I’ve lived a bit of a sheltered life, but who in this day and age gets into a bar fight? Is Zack Kassian the next Patrick Kane cabbie joke waiting to happen? Or will he leave it all in the past and live up to his first round pedigree?

I will tell you this much:
Cody Hodgson got 12 minutes of ice time each game, relegated to 3rd and 4th line duty, with 2nd unit power play time. Zack Kassian will probably get 10 minutes of ice each game. Even if he does have some talent left in those heavy hands, I don’t think we’ll see much of those skills with the ice time that Coach Vigneault gives to rookies.

One more thing.
It is no secret that the Canucks got beat up in the Stanley Cup Finals last season. What was lost in that series with all of the Seidenberg crosschecks to the back, and the Marchand sucker punches (I still don’t know how he is able to reach other player’s faces), was that the Canucks couldn’t score. The vaunted Canucks offence scored 8 times in 7 games. With that type of offensive output, it is surprising that the Canucks made it to Game 7, where they were shut out. In the 3 games that they did win, Luongo pitched 2 shutouts to secure those victories. The Canucks are a bigger team this year than last year. So if the Canucks need to be able to score and weather some physical play, was trading secondary scoring skill for raw toughness a good idea?

Time will tell.

Through the Plexi-Glass: Shoot the Puck, Hank

Shoot the puck, Hank!

Dear Henrik:

It’s Art, remember me? You and I first hooked up a couple of years ago. I just wanted to write and tell you I’ve missed you. I miss your 29 goal season and your 112 point year.  I missed your tenacity to shoot the puck.  You shot the puck a lot when your brother, Daniel, went out with an injury. You shouldered the burden of the lack of scoring goals and took it upon yourself to get some of those for your team. You were on a tear!

Last season, you scored 10 less goals and didn’t shoot as much as you had to when Daniel was injured. I understand you’re the set-up man and he’s the finisher. At least, that’s what you guys were billed when you were drafted back in 1999. Thing is, I’ve seen, and the rest of the NHL has seen differently. You can score when you want but instead you choose to pass it to Daniel. Don’t get me wrong, I love the way you and Daniel work on the ice. You two have that twin thing and that in itself is something special and great to watch. However,  at times, there were open nets that you could have potted the goal, Henrik.  They were pretty much guaranteed goals, but you decided to pass the puck to Danny. Some of them could have made the difference in the game, Hank.

You’re the Captain, you’re an amazing team player and on top of that, you’re one of the classiest people in the NHL. It’s true. I don’t see too many others giving up three quarters of a million dollars of their salary to the BC Children’s Hospital Fund. That amplifies how much of a class act you really are. You’re also a fierce competitor on the ice, but sometimes I think you’re not selfish enough. I know you like to spread the points to your teammates but Hank, I gotta tell ya, you must shoot the puck more.  I think if you just potted those gimme’s that were presented to you, the team would probably have a better record and you’d being in the running to get your name on that trophy with my name on it again.

I hooked up with your brother last season, and I am hoping to have the name Sedin etched on my body yet again, but that will only happen if you start being a little more selfish, take it upon yourself to score more instead of always passing the puck. It’s okay to shoot, Hank, no one will think that you’re  selfish. In fact, I think it will just show that the captain is doing his part to help his team win.  Most of all, I miss you Hank. I missed our time together. We can have that again. Shoot the puck, see what happens.
Your pal,

Art Ross.
PS, There’s never been a Toronto Maple Leaf to win me and take me home for the year. Let’s not start this year, so please, and for the love of the Hockey Gods, shoot the puck, Hank.

 

(written by Justine Galo ) twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

Western Conference Final schedule scenarios.

Here from NHL.com are the schedules for each scenario of the Western Conference Finals. Regardless, they begin Sunday in Vancouver. All times PT.

2011 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS – IF SAN JOSE ADVANCES

Sunday, May 15 at Vancouver, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, May 18 at Vancouver, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Friday, May 20 at San Jose, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Sunday, May 22 at San Jose, 12:00 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Tuesday, May 24 at Vancouver, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Thursday, May 26 at San Jose, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Saturday, May 28 at Vancouver, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS

2011 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS – IF DETROIT ADVANCES

Sunday, May 15 at Vancouver, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, May 18 at Vancouver, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Friday, May 20 at Detroit, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Sunday, May 22 at Detroit, 12:00 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Tuesday, May 24 at Vancouver, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Thursday, May 26 at Detroit, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Saturday, May 28 at Vancouver, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS

The Lighter Side of Luongo

Determined and competitive; Work-horse and driven; Aloof and intense. All adjectives to describe one Roberto Luongo. More often than not, his tenure here in Vancouver has the majority of the public and media alike thinking that Roberto takes life way too seriously and often his game to the point that his intensity and desire to win tend to harm his play rather than help it. Maybe they’re right, perhaps his very competitive nature and focus is a little too much for us average fans and media geeks can fathom.  After all, what the heck do we know about being professional athletes? In theory we know everything, in reality, not so much.

Over the last couple of months, many of us around the nation got to see a ‘lighter side’ of Roberto Luongo.  On TSN, he shared his poetic skills and some humour.  He even wrote for foreword in James Duthie’s new book.  This was something none of us knew about Roberto, and most likely something we never expected. Why would we? He took his job and criticism too seriously, or so we thought.

When Luongo didn’t show up for winning first star in a game the Canucks won not too long ago and not grant Murph a post game interview, some of us made a big deal about it, he was way too intense.  Some out there even decided it was rather ‘diva’-like of him to stand up the crowd the way he did. Was it? Yeah maybe a little, but wouldn’t you be pissed off that you were just a few seconds away from perfection and someone else botched it up for you? I’m not sure about everyone else, but I’d be livid. But then again, like Roberto, I am a bit of a perfectionist.

The one thing that has gotten my attention and the attention of the wise, is the humour and wit Roberto Luongo has inserted in his pre/post game interviews about his play. He’s been brilliantly funny by poking fun of himself and enjoying his time as just one of the guys and not being Captain Canuck. He has kept his critics laughing instead of pointing fingers at his mistakes and his ‘aloofness’. He has even joined in publicly with some remarks about his teammate in the ribbing sense. When he referred to Lee Sweatt as “built like a fire hydrant”, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. He has been not only entertaining, but you can see a more relaxed Roberto Luongo who is far more comfortable to have people see him as human.

So he has been able to open up a bit more and show us a more humanistic side of himself and be more open and take more responsibility for his play. So why do so many out there still bash him? I’m not sure to be honest, but I for one have been very happy with his play so far this year, and his demeanor. On top of all the fun stuff, Roberto Luongo has played very well and stolen a few games for the boys as of late. What more could you ask in your number one goalie?  So what I ask is, if Roberto Luongo has lightened up, why can’t his critics?


Justine Galo

Edler injury a pain in the back for Canucks.

Alex Edler: Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty ImagesThe Canucks were hoping the all-star break would be all that was needed to resolve the back “spasms” defenseman Alex Edler was suffering from. But the news today was not good for the Canucks most effective weapon on the blueline, as he will undergo micro discectomy surgery to repair his ailing back. How much time Edler will be out of the lineup is not known, but it won’t be anytime soon.

“After consultation with our physicians it was decided that surgery was the best course of action,” said Canucks GM Mike Gillis.  “The best long term decision for Alex and our hockey club was to have the surgery immediately.”

The best case scenario seems to be a anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months for a return to the lineup.

The injury will no doubt cast all eyes on Sami Salo once again, who is attempting to return from a torn Achilles tendon injury and has been practicing with the team for some time. Salary cap issues were also  clouding his return to the lineup, with salary having to be cleared to make room for the offensive defenseman’s return.

But with the recent rash of injuries on the blueline and what is looking to be a long term injury to Edler, that hurdle may be cleared, and all that is needed for Salo to return could be a clean bill of health.

Here’s hoping for a quick recovery and return for Edler.