Interview: CBC’s Shane Foxman and Karin Larsen sit down to talk about the return of Seeking Stanley.

During last season’s grueling run to the Stanley Cup Finals a new post game show was born at CBC Vancouver called Seeking Stanley. The show, featuring hosts Shane Foxman and Karin Larsen, returns for another playoff run and will begin this Saturday, March 3rd following Hockey Night in Canada’s After Hours. The original airings will be a half hour show running from 10:30 to 11:00pm and promises to give Canucks fans extra coverage of things they normally don’t see on the highlights each evening.

We had chance to chat to Shane and Karin about the show, the social media components to it and what fans can expect from this year’s show.

CanucksCorner.com: Like the Canucks, Seeking Stanley on CBC had a long run in last year’s playoffs. This year you are starting things a little earlier, so what can we expect for this year’s season of the program and why the earlier start this year?

KL: The earlier start is due to a perfect storm of scheduling of the Canucks on Hockey Night in Canada. Seeking Stanley has always piggy backed off “the big show”, using the resources (cameras, video feeds, personnel) that Hockey Night has in place. Plus after an eight and a half month absence, it made sense to get the show out there early to remind people.

Seeking Stanley’s primary objective is to provide bonus Canucks TV coverage, take the viewer behind the scenes, in the dressing room, coaches presser etc. Whereas Hockey Night is a national show that covers the games from a much broader perspective – we only care about the Canucks and our aim is to bring that local story to the BC fans.

CanucksCorner.com: I think it’s safe to say that most fans were exhausted by the end of the finals last year. Can the same be said for the media, who may not be as emotionally invested, but certainly face hectic schedules as part of their job?

SF: Absolutely. By the time we got to the Stanley Cup Final we were exhausted. It wasn’t the 14 hour days, it was the travel. Leave the rink in Boston at 1 am… you need to unwind…flight for Vancouver leaves at 6 am (You have to get up at 4). Not complaining though, it was an unbelievable experience.

CanucksCorner.com: Have you ever thought of having a social media component on the show? Perhaps have some local bloggers and Twitter personalities participate in a social media roundtable with the hosts?

KL: We hadn’t thought of that specific application of social media in the show. We will have a social media twitter component in the show this year. It’s still being worked out and will probably evolve as the show progresses.

CanucksCorner.com: Sticking with social media for a bit, have you considered holding a live “Tweetup” taping for Seeking Stanley or perhaps something like a town forum environment?

KL: A tweetup may be in our future. One of the reasons we hosted a media and blogger launch on Wednesday is because we recognize the importance of social media to engage and interact with our audience. Social media, particularly Twitter, is flooded with Canucks posts all the time and when there’s a game, the Canucks and hockey related keywords are consistently trending. It’s what people are talking about. We want to make sure we are a big part of that online experience.

CanucksCorner.com: Will the show be active during games and post game on Twitter and Facebook? Fans should follow the hashtag #SeekingStanley, correct?

SF: Yes, as far as the Hashtag goes we’ll be using #seekingstanley, and yes, we will be active on twitter during the games and during Seeking Stanley. We want to be as interactive as we can.

CanucksCorner.com: Last season, Cliff Ronning was a guest on Seeking Stanley. Will he be back or will you incorporate more Canucks alumni this season?

SF: Cliff Ronning will be back. Not only can Cliff tell us what it is like “in the room”, he also was part of the Canucks’ magical 1994 run. He knows what it’s like to play in game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. That perspective is invaluable.

CanucksCorner.com: What makes Seeking Stanley different from other Canucks focused shows?

SF: Access. Because the games are broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada, it gives us a great opportunity to take viewers were they seldom get to go. In the locker room, but not just for a 10 second sound bite of a player… we will let the viewers see and hear the entire conversation between reporters and players… we run the coaches’ post game news conferences in their entirety, so viewers feel like they are in the room.

CanucksCorner.com: Finally, a prediction: Will the Canucks finally find Stanley, after seeking for all these years?

KL: As a born and raised Vancouverite, dear god I hope so.

SF: If not this year, when?

Our thanks to Karin Larsen and Shane Foxman for chatting with us about Seeking Stanley.

When: Following every Canucks Saturday HNIC broadcast and Canucks playoff games, starting March 3rd at 10:30pm

Where: CBC, CBCHD in BC.

Website: http://www.cbc.ca/bc/features/seeking-stanley/#igImgId_27450

Twitter Hashtag: #SeekingStanley Follow: @CBCVancouver

Bruce Ng: Canucks “Wagon Watch” after a 4-3 loss in Anaheim.

Luongo's wagon isn't this lonely. Yet.

Throughout the season, the Canucks Wagonwatch series will track how much room is on the team’s bandwagon. In addition, it will also track the completely separate Luongo wagon.

Tonight the Canucks lost a tough one 4-3 against the Ducks in Anaheim. Down 4-0 to start the 3rd period, the boys staged a nice comeback effort that ultimately fell short by a goal.

Canucks Bandwagon: 70% Full

The Canucks played the night before in Los Angeles, and picked up a 3-2 win. Last night they built a 3-0 lead after one period, and coasted to the 3-2 final. Tonight, they slow-played the first period, and melted down in the 2nd, allowing 4 goals. To their credit (and my surprise!), the Canucks came roaring back in the 3rd, scoring 3 goals of their own, earning a power play chance late in the game, but still lost by a goal. It was an entertaining finish and gave the fans something to cheer for – at least for the fans that hadn’t shut off their TV by then.

Luongo Bandwagon: 30% Full

Luongo didn’t necessarily play a horrible game, but allowed 4 goals on 19 shots. All 4 goals came in the 2nd period, and Luongo did not return for the 3rd. There is an old hockey adage that says the goaltender needs to be your best penalty killer; unfortunately that wasn’t the case tonight. Luongo’s wagon might have even less people, but Schneider only had to make 2 saves in the entire 3rd period as the Canucks spent the entire period pouring on the offensive pressure. The Luongo Bandwagon exodus was also tempered by the fact that he picked up a pretty good win the night before.

#Rome4Norris Campaign Suffers Setback

Aaron Rome had made some mistakes earlier in the game, but the team was able to get out of the 1st period still in a scoreless tie. Rome took a 5-minute major for elbowing, which came with a game misconduct in the 2nd period. The Ducks scored twice on the ensuing power play, and the Canucks were forced to play the rest of the game with 5 defencemen. If Rome isn’t Shanabanned by the league for that elbow, he’ll have to score at least 2 more goals to make up for tonight’s game.

Bruce Ng: Canucks Wagon Watch after a 6-2 win over Chicago.

The bandwagon is at mid capacity after Sunday's win in Chitown.

Throughout the season, the Canucks Wagonwatch series will track how much room is on the team’s bandwagon. In addition, it will also track the completely separate Luongo wagon.

Canucks Bandwagon: 70% Full

Special teams were surgical tonight. The power play converted 5 out of 6 chances, and the penalty kill was a perfect 5 for 5. The second period has been a big let-down for the Canucks this season, but they outscored the Hawks tonight 4-1 in the middle frame, and sustained a decent pace throughout the game. It was a big win in tough enemy territory, so the wagon has a few more folks on it.

Luongo Bandwagon: 50% Full

The Blackhawks first goal tied the game at 1. It really was a bad goal – Frolik beat him with a long wrist shot from 55 feet out along the boards. Deflected or not, Luongo should have had that one. After the Blackhawks first goal, I’m pretty sure the Luongo haters were calling for Schneider, and the Hawks fans were salivating hoping that Luongo would cave, however, to his credit, he settled down really nicely after that. Luongo made some solid saves when the score was 4-2, and again at the end of the 2nd period to hold a 3-goal lead heading into the intermission. Despite making 38 saves, the first goal prevented fans from climbing back onto the wagon tonight. Solid performance though.

“Familiarity Breeds Comtempt”

The Canucks posted a 6-2 win over their Western Conference rivals in Chicago. The Canucks might say that they have more contempt for Calgary, and the Hawks number one rival will likely always be the Red Wings, but it’s not hard for either team to get up for this game – they’ve met in the playoffs for the last 3 years running. Each time, the winner has gone to the Stanley Cup Final.

Sunday, the Canucks looked like they finally played a game where they had more answers than questions.

Breaking News!!! The real reason Roberto Luongo struggles early in the season!

I know I know…another Luongo blog. But when you see what we’ve uncovered you’ll be glad we posted this.

Everyone knows that Roberto Luongo struggles early in the NHL season. Well we’ve uncovered the reason why, and it has nothing to do with his play! He’s a BC Lions fan! TMZ is going to be all over this!

This photo below provides proof that Luongo has invested in a body double that plays the first part of the season for him, while he watches his beloved BC Lions down the stretch of the CFL season. Luongo, photographed here, still sporting his Stanley Cup playoff beard is seen here at the BC Lions game last in the crowd. Obviously with Russell Crowe in a suite, just mere feet away Luongo was trying to blend in with the crowd.

So Canucks fans, with the BC Lions poised to make an appearance int he 2011 Grey Cup, it could be December before we see him round into form. You be the judge…Enquiring minds want to know!

Bruce Ng: Canucks Advent Calendar: It all starts tomorrow!

This is it fans! The Vancouver Canucks begin their 41st season tomorrow October 6 when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to Rogers Arena.

Over the last month this series of posts has looked at a handful of the moments that made last season so awesome, and some of the players that made it happen.

Today’s blog post focuses on #1 in your program, Roberto Luongo – the best goaltender the Canucks have ever had.

You may have some doubts about this statement, people either love Luongo or want to trade him. There really isn’t much grey area on the topic. Every goal scored against him, you can guarantee that someone on Twitter will tell you he should have had that one.

Don’t think he has been the Canucks best goaltender in history? Here’s a chart of some of the most relevant Canucks starting goaltenders and their statistics in their best seasons:

Goaltender Season GP W L T OTL     GAA     SV%
Roberto Luongo     2010-11     60     38     15     -      7 2.11 .928
Kirk McLean 1991-92 65 38 17 9 - 2.74 .901
Richard Brodeur 1981-82 52 20 18 12 - 3.35 .891
Dan Cloutier 2003-04 60 33 21 6 - 2.27 .914
Arturs Irbe 1997-98 41 14 11 6 - 2.73 .907
Corey Hirsch 1995-96 41 17 14 6 - 2.93 .903
Cesare Maniago 1976-77 47 17 21 9 - 3.36 -
Félix Potvin 1999-00 34 12 13 7 - 2.59 .906

You can argue that the Canucks have had the best defence they’ve ever had, which explains the wins that Luongo has been able to post, and maybe the Goals Against Average (GAA). But Luongo has posted numbers like these in every single season he has played in Vancouver. The goaltenders listed above had far worse averages over the course of their Canucks tenure.

Luongo started off last season slowly, but by late-November he was back to sparkling form. Around the All-Star break, Hockey Night in Canada, CBCSports.ca and the NHLPA ran a poll among players. Luongo was voted by NHL players as the Goalie Most Difficult to Score On.

The Luongo-Haters out there will say he’s not a big game stopper. He chokes. He cries. Then he chokes on his tears. I am going to present you with some evidence to the contrary.

Remember when Team Canada won the Gold Medal in the 2010 Olympics? Canada would not have been in the Gold Medal final without Luongo shutting the door on his old Canucks teammate Pavol Demitra (R.I.P. Pavol).

Then there was the stop against Patrick Sharp in overtime, in Round 1 Game 7, prior to Alexandre Burrows scoring the game winner.

Still don’t believe Luongo can make a big save? Here are some more that you have to see to believe.

I will admit Luongo showed a touch of inconsistency in last year’s Stanley Cup Final (just a touch) – but I would also say to you that the Canucks would not have made it to Game 7 without Luongo. For those with a short memory, he shut out the Bruins twice in that series. As if you’ve never had a bad day at work. Show him some love, people!

Thanks for following this series of posts – I hope that all the Canucks fans are excited for this season. Here’s to looking back on the best Canucks season ever, and even better times this year!