Jason Kurylo: No time to panic

Jason Kurylo, CanucksCorner.com

After the fourth game of the season, the Canucks have been the better team in 10 of 12 periods so far. They’ve held time-of-possession advantages in each game, out-chanced the other guys, and they’ve offered occasional flashes of the exciting, offensive hockey that won them the Northwest Division last season. They’ve shown, for the most part, defensive responsibility and solid, confident goaltending from Roberto Luongo.

Yet somehow, the Canucks have lost twice to the Kings – once in overtime – and been beaten in regulation by the lowly Ducks. Their only win of the young season came in unconvincing fashion against a team that will likely finish at the bottom of the hockeytrocity that is the Southeast Division.

So, as many a Canuck fan is posting on Twitter, “WTF?!?”

Canuck shooters have made Jonathan Quick look even better than he really is in consecutive losses. When they have put pucks past the young LA netminder, they’ve just plain missed the net. There have been posts, rolling pucks, bobbled chances, bad ice and good saves by opposition goalies. Mikael Samuelsson even managed to hit a crossbar against Floriday – while Tomas Vokoun was on the bench for the extra Panther attacker.

Roberto LuongoComing the other way, the Canucks could easily have had shutouts in both home games so far this year. The Kings took advantage of a late power play to score their only goal on opening night in a game they would eventually win in a shootout. Those Panthers also scored just one goal against Luongo: a desperation shot that pinballed off of two different players on its way in. Similarly, the Kings’ second goal in game four went in off the skate of Kevin Bieksa, on what looked like a broken play.

But why stop there? Referees seemed to scheme against the Nucks in Anaheim, giving the Ducks a pair of two-man advantages on phantom calls. Throw in a missed too-many-men call that resulted directly in the winning goal against, and Vancouver hockey fans were left scratching their heads.

So what’s the good news?

This edition of the Vancouver Canucks, led by the new captain Henrik Sedin, is saying all the right things. “We should have put them away in the second period,” said Henrik of the Ducks, acknowledging the referee mistakes are no excuse for allowing a lesser team to stay in the game. And he’s right; if Vancouver had buried just one or two of their myriad chances in the first forty minutes, those sleepy Ducks and their ref-assisted goals would not have mattered.

Even Ryan Kesler, whose penchant for complaints on-ice and moody media scrums probably took him out of the running for the captaincy, shrugged off the poor early record. “The refs miss calls like we miss plays,” he said after Stephen Walkam’s officiating crew gifted the Ducks their sole win of the season. “We can’t blame them for our missed chances.”

Now, don’t get me wrong – the Canucks haven’t done themselves any favours, either. Perhaps as a result of all the pre-season hype, Vancouver skaters have elected to pass far more often than shoot. They haven’t driven the net like they should. Opposition goalies have seen far too much of the puck, and not nearly enough of Canuck screens on the edge of the crease. Kesler should be fighting for pucks within a three-foot radius of the net, not finessing wrist shots into the netminder’s breadbasket from the blue line. Unless your name is Sedin, you probably shouldn’t be trying to find a cross-ice seam when you’ve got a chance to go to the net. After that debacle of game management that was the 4-3 loss to the Ducks, these guys should have come out on fire in LA. They outshot the Kings, sure, but looked flat much of the night, and once again saw zero offense outside of a pretty rush by the Sedins.

It took these same boys a while to learn these lessons last year as well. Remember, the Canucks followed up an 0-3 start to the season by winning the division.

If Vancouver is still looking for better results after three or four weeks, panic buttons should be pressed. But chances are, once Manny Malhotra gets a gimme of a short-handed goal, or Kesler gets a lucky one to go in off his left butt cheek, or hell, when Luongo gets enough bounces to tally his first shutout of the year, this team will see some serious win streaks start to pile up.

This team has too much talent, and too few egos, not to.

Follow Jason Kurylo on Twitter: @PuckedInTheHead

Subscribe to his NHL hockey podcast, Pucked in the Head, on iTunes.

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CanucksCorner.com wants you! Talented Canucks fans apply within!

Well, it’s been a bit slow around here, but we can’t ignore it any longer! Hockey season is around the corner, and now’s time to get the place looking good again for our internet Canucks fans.

We’re starting our 14th season of Canucks hockey on the web and we’ve evolved from a  fun project, to message board, to an article based site and finally the fan blog and social media site we have become today.  Maintaining content is a lot of work and that’s where we need your help.

I’m looking for about four talented and aspiring podcasters, video bloggers and writers to help provide content. Since I don’t get paid, I can’t pay you, but if you’re a budding journalism student looking for some experience or just someone that enjoys writing and loves  the Canucks or the NHL CanucksCorner.com, I’d like to hear from you.

We occasionally get access to some cool stuff involving the Canucks and as a writer/podcaster/video blogger there is a chance that you could be part of that from time to time.

The ideal candidate:

  • A knowledgable hockey fan.
  • Posesses good writing skills and attention to grammar and spelling.
  • Has some experience with WordPress. (Not necessary, but an asset).
  • Graphics skills would be an asset.
  • Proficiency with and ownership of Podcasting/Video equipment definitely an asset.
  • Is able to provide at least an article per month.
  • Can help at Canucks.com functions like tweetups and playoff parties.

Sounds like fun? Send me an e-mail telling me a bit about yourself. If you can include a brief paragraph or two with some sample writing that would be great!

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Podcast: Name The Podcast, Canucks/Blackhawks Wrap Up

Jason and Chris are back and they have a problem. They can no longer call the podcast “Bernier Is A Turd” and they need to come up with a new name. Sounds like a good excuse to give away a prize right? I have a 2009-2010 Vancouver Canucks Yearbook, as well as an official Canucks Playoff towel for the person who comes up with the best name, as chosen by Jason and Chris. You can leave your suggestion as a comment here, or send us a tweet (@CanucksCorner, @TrimTheMullet, @Chris_Withers).

In addition to the search for a new name, the boys also discuss the end of the season for the Canucks and dissect the series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Also, after weeks of saying, “I’ll get to it”, I finally go to it and set up a couple of feeds you can use to subscribe to this podcast in iTunes as well as our new FeedBurner RSS feed. Just click the appropriate icon below, and you can keep updated on all our blog posts and podcasts.

The Nameless Podcast:

MP3 Version :: M4A Version (With Images)

Subscribe Via Feedburner Subscribe Via Feedburner
Add To iTunes Subscribe to this Podcast in iTunes





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CC’s Tom Benjamin on HNIC

Never one to toot his own horn, our own Tom Benjamin, of hockey’s most popular bloggers, was a guest on Hockey Night in Canada’s playoff primer show last night. I had no idea Tom was doing the show, so thanks to Lotus Blossom who gave me the heads up!

Tom really does do quality work, and it was great to see him be acknowledged by Ron McLean and the crew. If you missed it, you can check it out below!

When Tom approached me about douing a blog about 5 years ago, he told me that blogging was the next big thing, and he thought it would be a good addition to the site. He was sure bang on about that, as blogs have taken over the fan site world. I am so thrilled he chose CanucksCorner.com to display his work.

Congrats to Tom, and I thank him for his quality contributions to this site!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4RfIf7UKjA