Poll: Which Team Chasing the Canucks Scares You Most in the 1st Round?

With the final playoff push happening here in the Western Conference, the Canucks are sitting pretty 2nd in the Pacific Division. The four teams battling out for the last few playoffs spots could be potential opponents for the Vancouver Canucks. Each team having attributes to give Vancouver difficulties in the first round (if they matched up) but which team do you think would give the Canucks the hardest time, win or lose in the first round.

  • Minnesota Wild- The Wild are a hard team to pinpoint where they are ‘scary’. With the play of Devon Dubnyk  since being acquired by the Wild, they have been a very good team and a hard one to beat. They already have 37 ROWs, the Canucks have 38 and are only a point behind the Canucks. Luckily they are in the Central Division, but with the format of playoffs, they would be a formidable first round opponent. 
  • Calgary Flames- Flames have been surprising everyone this season. With a year the team was in a supposed ‘rebuild’, they are in a playoff position. They are best 3rd period scoring team in the NHL and have 36 wins (ROWs) on the season. Their biggest issue is the loss of their Captain, Mark Giordano for the remainder of the season with his torn bicep. However, the Flames are still finding ways to win. They are a team the Canucks do not want to stop pressuring in the offensive zone.
  •  Winnipeg Jets- The Jets are a big, fast and hard-hitting team. They are finding ways to win and managing their losses very well. Their biggest issue is actually who will be their starting goaltender if they make the playoffs. Paul Maurice has the team believing in themselves and it looks like Swaggerville could make an appearance in the NHL playoffs for the first times in decades.
  • Los Angeles Kings- The defending Stanley Cup Champions are the team on the outside looking in but are a threat to take that last playoff spot or even move up higher in the standings. Although they have cruised most of the regular season, the Kings are always considered a contender. Jonathan Quick has been nothing short of brilliant in recent playoff performances and they all seem to find a way to get it done, when it matters most.
Which team chasing the Canucks 'scares' you the most if they were to face them in the playoffs?

 LA is at the top of that list for me, followed by the Minnesota Wild. In reality, the playoffs are a different beast and the Canucks have to ‘flip the switch’ and play ‘balls out’ for 60 minutes plus a game. There are no shootouts and every goal either gets you closer to the next game or closer to golf course.

@Aviewfromabroad

Hank and the boys are gearing up for playoffs, Vancouver are you?

Hank and the boys are gearing up for playoffs, Vancouver are you?

 

 

Back it Up B*tches, Support the Starter

For as long as I could remember, being the starting goaltender after Kirk McLean was not a great job to have with the Vancouver Canucks. I can see why no self-respecting starting free agent goalie ever wanted to come here and play for this team.  All the fans eventually hate them or are extremely disappointed by them, and they are ran out of town.

I remember it even happened with Kirk McLean. When Corey Hirsch came in to replace the injured McLean (knee), many fans were crying for Hirsch to be the new starter. In their eyes, McLean was done. He will never be the same. Sadly, they were right. Kirk was a shadow of his former self, and no longer at the level of a Vezina nominated goaltender. Off Kirk went, and after that, so did competent goaltending for a good stretch of years. 

We could go on and on revisiting all the goalie controversies here in Vancouver over the last 15 years, but there is no point. It all starts with not liking the starter for whatever reason (not good enough, not nice, too aloof…) and loving the backup in the games he plays. His job is to give said starter the break, so some fans want to see at times a more permanent one. As Canucks fans, we had to see it happen twice to the best goaltender this franchise has ever put on its uniform, Roberto Luongo. How about we put an end to it right now.

Remember this? Photo Credit: The Vancouver Sun

Remember this? Photo Credit: The Vancouver Sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 There is no #TeamLack or #TeamMiller in my eyes. It has always been about #TeamCanucks Right now, it’s not even really an issue. Miller still has not recovered from his injury. So, Eddie Lack is our starter, and we should support him. We should especially support him on days he has a not-so-good game. Fatigue starts to play a factor when one plays so many games in a row. It happened to Miller, and it has happened to Lack too. I like Eddie Lack. He’s a pretty cool dude and a good goalie. However, if Miller comes back, he would get my support as much as Eddie does. Why? 28 wins and 6 shutouts says so. Without that body of work from Miller, the Canucks would not be in a playoff spot. Besides, Ryan Miller seems like a nice guy, just a lot quieter than what we’re used to with guys like Eddie Lack and Kevin Bieksa on the team. To me, he hasn’t been given a chance to be accepted as part of this team by a good number of fans.  We all have to also remember, without Eddie’s improved game since taking over the net post- Miller’s injury,  the Canucks would not still be in playoff contention. Both goalies’ efforts have made an impact. That’s not fan fiction, that’s just how it is.

This goalie controversy can be looked at from a different perspective. Both goalies are both capable of winning, so it’s a problem of abundance. It’s a good problem to have. Two goalies capable of taking the team to victories, a problem? I’m sure teams like Dallas, Edmonton, Arizona etc, would love to have one goalie that could be capable, let alone two. Some should be so lucky.

Let's all relax and take in a Lack Dance.

Let’s all relax and take in a Lack Dance.

My point is, the more Canucks fans, and media alike, who buy into and propagate this message, the harder it could become in the future to find that All-Star level goaltender UFA. No one wants to come to a place where he is publicly not wanted by the very fans for he puts the uniform on, night after night. We don’t want another Heritage Classic situation. Frankly, that dressing room has been through enough over the last two years and there is no need to mount this on them too. Let’s cheer them all on, even the ones that ‘suck’ from time to time. Who knows, it might inspire better play from those players. When the team is winning, the less of an issue it all becomes.

What about next season? Well, let’s get through this one first and we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

@Aviewfromabroad

Top 5 Annoyances of Willie Desjardins

He’s a nice guy. He’s far removed from the Canuck coach of yester-year. He won’t go and try to hunt down Bob Hartley in the opponent’s dressing room at Rogers Arena, but there are things that bug me about Willie Desjardins. For the most part, I like the guy. He seems like a guy that is respected by the team as a whole, one that management likes and the fans can see him just as a regular guy with a pretty cool job. However, with not much emotional range ever shown by Desjardins, there are a few things that bug me about the guy.

I'd love to see a little more 'anger' from Willie Desjardin as displayed here. Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick, Canucks.

I’d love to see a little more ‘anger’ from Willie Desjardin as displayed here. Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick, Canucks.

  1. Love for Linden Vey- How he keeps Vey in the lineup regardless of the inaffectiveness Vey displays on the ice more often than not is quite puzzling. Sure he played for him in Medicine Hat, but that was a while back, and the vast chasm between the WHL and the NHL is too big a jump for many to make. Vey has some good attributes, but when a guy who considers himself a centre but can barely win a face-off wins a spot in the lineup over guys that could be more physical or have a better touch for scoring. I don’t get it. Many of my Canucks brethren don’t get it either.
  2. Pulling the goalie when down by more than two goals- WHY? What’s the point? There is none! When there is less than five minutes left in the game and you want to pull the goalie to see if they can get within two? There is no point. Let’s just not add to the opponent’s goal tally against the Canucks. 3-0 will be 3-0. Why even tempt it to be 4-0 or worse?
  3. He’s too nice- Maybe we don’t see what happens between periods, or when he decides it’s time for a bag-skate, but I can’t imagine Willie getting on the team when it’s called for. He seems like the coach that would rather let the leadership take that burden and hope the message gets through. He’s a nice guy, and maybe at times when it concerns the Canucks, too nice.
  4. Not a “Real Good” interview- Willie D. and his interviews sound like some sound byte on a loop. Remember in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” when people would ring the doorbell to his house? He’d have a playback of the exact same thing every single time someone rang the doorbell? It’s like Willie Desjardins post-game pressers. The phrase “real good” comes up often and seems to be his favourite adjective to describe any sort of play made by his team.
    Willie needs to expand his descriptive vocabulary beyond "Real Good". Photo Credit: Passittobulis Vancouver Sun

    Willie needs to expand his descriptive vocabulary beyond “Real Good”. Photo Credit: Passittobulis Vancouver Sun

  • 5. Players Who Deserve to Play on the PP – I’m not sure why Vey, Higgins, Dorsett find favour to be on any of the powerplay units over Kassian, Matthias and Horvat. I realize he is realizing Horvat’s value to be out there during the man-advantage, but why not have Kassian out there regularly? Or Matthias who happens to be 2nd in goals only to Radim Vrbata on the team! Why aren’t these guys given as many chances as guys who can only score every 20 games?

Overall, I have found Willie has done a fantastic job with this team. Considering what we, as fans, had to endure last season, this is a walk in the park. However, maybe Willie could possibly try a little more to address these grievances. Especially the damn post-game interview. He might need to hire someone write him an adjective sheet to be more descriptive. All in all, he’s done a “real good” job with this team, but there is always room for improvement.

@AviewFromABroad

Three Up, Three Down: Winnipeg Jets Grounded at YVR

When I entered the arena last night, I felt a different vibe. I knew it was going to be good game. I just didn’t think it would be as good as it turned out. With a good number of displaced Jets fans, many former ‘Peggers, the 18,000+ seat library known as Rogers Arena, was going to be rocking just a little more than usual. From the start of the anthem, Jets fans chimed in with their famous, “TRUE NORTH” shout during O Canada. It was on. The first meeting between these two teams this year was going to be a back and forth tilt.

Jets’ Anthony Peluso decided to show how physical the Jets were going to be by getting the first three penalties of the game, in succession. As soon as Peluso was out of the box for his first stint, he gets a cross-checking penalty and then had to answer the bell with Derek Dorsett. Dorsett stood up for his teammate and ended up with an instigator penalty from that fight. The Jets are the most penalized team in the league and they don’t mind throwing their big bodies around with hit after hit. The Canucks were in for a physical match-up.

Numbers:

  • The Winnipeg Jets out-hit the Vancouver Canucks 31-12, with only Enstrom and Pardy as skaters without registering hits. There were three Jets players with 4 hits each.
  • Alex Edler lead all skaters with 26:16 TOI, playing on all 6 PPs and 3PKs.
  • The powerplay went 0/6, but the insertion of Clendening on the 2nd unit seemed to have revived puck movement. We could see a possible replacement to the ever so missed PP QB that the Canucks had in Ehrhoff. No goals, but both units looked good out there. It’s just time to get some finish.
Horvat and Ronalds Kenins celebrate after his tying goal versus the Winnipeg Jets. Two goals in three games for the Latvian. Photo Credit: The Province Sports

Horvat and Ronalds Kenins celebrate after his tying goal versus the Winnipeg Jets. Two goals in three games for the Latvian. Photo Credit: The Province Sports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Up:

  1. Henrik & Daniel Sedin: In classic Sedinery fashion, the twins look like their 2010 selves last night. I was surprised how ‘quickly’ they were moving the puck. I was pleased to see Daniel took 4 shots and on the power plays, although no one scored, the Sedins dictated the movement and their movement of the puck was brilliant.
  2. Alex Burrows: How valuable has he become again? I’m still baffled how John Tortorella wanted him traded when he suffered two major injuries and wasn’t himself. Burrows was hitting, he was instrumental on the PK and caused great traffic for the power play. How about this goal, from Henrik and Daniel and on his knees, classic Burrows. 
  3. Alex Edler: Seeing Alex Edler playing some of the best hockey he has played in quite some time is a treat. His confidence is growing and in all truth, as much as I wanted him traded last season, I’m glad I am not part of the Canucks brain trust. He kept plays alive all through the game, and bailed out his partners a few times as well. With the unfortunate stick breaking in the defensive zone was just an unlucky play for Edler. However, in OT when everyone thought he was going to drop pass at neutral ice, he decides to channel in his inner Paul Coffey and carry the puck into the zone and shot it. Edler is finally getting to know what type of defenceman he is, and it’s great to see a coach encourage it again.

Burrows on his knees goal tying goal.

 

 Three Down:

  1. Dan Hamhuis: Not a good night for Hammer. He was beaten by a speedy Blake Wheeler for the Jets’ first goal on a breakaway. On the disallowed goal for the Jets, Hammer did not play his man tight enough and although it didn’t count, it left the shooter open. But a bad night for Dan Hamhuis is still better than good nights for some defencemen in the NHL.
  2. Chris Higgins: Higgins needs to find his finish. He had 4 SOG but nothing went in. Although he’s the only with these problems on the team, he’s the one that’s eating up 2nd line minutes not scoring.
  3. Willie Desjardins: Against a big hitting team like Winnipeg, you’d figure that Kassian would have worked in the lineup that night. With Dorsett out with a misconduct, many out in Canuckland were wondering who was left to stand up for their teammates? As big as Edler is, he doesn’t have the mean streak of Ohlund.  Kassian doesn’t mind mixing it up at all, and it made me wish at times, we kept Sestito around just for some backup.

Goal of the Game:

Luca Sbisa delivering the deep dish pass from Vrbata after doing a quick criss-cross to his forehand and rifles the OT winner past Pavelec.

Honourable Mention Goal by the young Latvian, Ronalds Kenins, from Horvat and Clendening. This goal has Jim Benning written all over it. Maybe he (Benning) is on to something.

Probably the best game I’ve seen for 60+ minutes from the Canucks against an opponent with some jam and in contention for a playoff spot. The Winnipeg Jets are proving they are a force to be reckoned with and the Canucks need to find ways to adapt their game to each team. Hopefully that’s a lesson they take with them when the face the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

@Aviewfromabroad

 

#TICH: The Infamous Third Jersey in Salmon

January 27, 1996, The Vancouver Canucks introduced the infamous “Salmon Jerseys” as their third jersey. It debuted at then called, General Motors Place, to mixed reviews. Some really liked them and some considered them one of the most hideous jersey the team has put out since their “Flying V” one.

Captain Trevor Linden, still fresh faced sports the Salmon Jersey today in 1996.

Captain Trevor Linden, still fresh faced sports the Salmon Jersey today in 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It definitely wasn’t one of my favourites but I do find it amusing that Canucks fans to this day still talk about it. It’s even more amazing the every now and then you will see one or two of these on a rack at sports retailers all around Metro Vancouver. Admittedly, I almost bought myself one of these back in the day…

I was a huge fan of Alexander Mogilny, too bad he couldn't play every year like it was a contract year.

I was a huge fan of Alexander Mogilny, too bad he couldn’t play every year like it was a contract year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Today in Canucks’ History, the “Salmon Jerseys” were shown for the first time. Luckily, in my personal opinion, we never have to see them ever again.

 

@Aviewfromabroad

 

PS, here is a rare picture of Markus Naslund wearing No.22, and most fortunate for this #TICH, it’s in this third jersey of the Canucks.

Number 19 first wore 22 when he became a Canuck. Here is one in this infamous third jersey.

Number 19 first wore 22 when he became a Canuck. Here is one in this infamous third jersey.