Random thoughts of a thin skinned blogger before game two.

Well, game two is hours away and there is a consensus out there that it’s a pretty important one for the Canucks. It may well be, but let’s not forget that the Canucks had a 2-0 series lead in the finals last year as well. It would however be nice to see the Canucks get back to their game. Cut out the cheap stuff and trying to read the referees and just play the game. The rest should take care of itself, even though it is entirely possible that this Los Angeles team that everyone said at the start of the year was a contender, may be peaking at the right time.

Thin skinned…yeah sure…ok.

So I guess I fall under the thin skinned people that various bloggers were referring to in reference to the Kingsgate Twitter scandal. I never got worked up about it; it’s just not the way I would run my organization. There are certain models that businesses follow to achieve their goals. Whatever your preference is that’s fine. My preference would be to have my organization represent itself with class, and it does that in spades with @VanCanucks. To each their own I guess…Jim Rome has a popular talk show for a reason.

But what about Cory?

Wait! How can I scold the kings for their Twitter indiscretion but condone what Core Schneider said about Edmonton you say? Well, Schneider was already in full apology mode for making these comments in response to being asked about why the Canucks seem to be hated so much:

“You look around the league and people don’t like us and Pittsburgh and we’re two of the better teams. You saw Darcy Hordichuk and Ben Eager in Edmonton. Nobody cares about Edmonton so nobody hates them. It’s that simple.”

Now anyone who knows Cory and the type of person he is would understand Schneider was referring to the fact that no one hates last place teams. Unfortunately his words weren’t chosen wisely. I wonder if those same bloggers will accuse those folks in Edmonton of having a thin skin? The shame.

Postgame Circus

I don’t how talk show host do it. Driving home after Wednesday’s game, I turned on the postgame show on @TEAM1040 and couldn’t believe the calls that were coming in from fans. One caller called in saying the fix was in and that Gary Bettman has decreed that because of the television market, Los Angeles shall win the series. That the Bitz hit turned around on the Canucks would have resulted in a two minute penalty at the most, guaranteed. I ended up having to turn it off. The insanity was too much to take, which is unfortunate because I enjoy pregame and postgame stuff generally. Some people clearly need to step off the ledge and take a few deep breaths after a loss.

Pregame Video

The last regular season game I went to I tweeted that the Canucks pregame video was rather uninspiring. Wednesday night they made up for it with a great intro video that got the hairs raised and the goose bumps sprouting. The Canucks do a great job of these in general, and it was great to see them crank it up for the playoffs.

Can it Kesler

Please Ryan Kesler, just get back to being a dominating two way scoring threat! Leave the other crap behind and just play like we all know you can. We need Kesler leading…not getting taken off his game by all the after the whistle stuff.

Anyone but Raymond?

I don’t think Mason Raymond is cut out for first line minutes. He just doesn’t finish well enough to be playing with Henrik. I’m not sure what the answer is while we wait for Daniel’s return, but I’m not sold that Raymond is the answer. That said, every time I voice this opinion he seems to go on a two game scoring streak.

Thank me later.

Off to the game, GO CANUCKS GO!

There’s good news, and there’s bad news…

The good news – it was a night of firsts

The Vancouver Canucks won their fourth consecutive game in Edmonton on Tuesday night, beating the young Oilers 4-3. With the win – the team’s first on the road so far this season – the Canucks have risen to the top of the Northwest Division with 14 points in 11 games.

Alex Burrows made his return to the lineup last night, and looked good early in the game. He went to the right places, and nearly potted his first goal of the season on a cheeky centering pass from Daniel Sedin. He was visibly tired in the second half of the game, understandable seeing as he hasn’t seen game action since the spring.

Raffi Torres - Photo Credit: Canucks.comRaffi Torres scored his first career hat trick, and interestingly became the first ex-Oiler to net three goals in one game against Edmonton. (That’s right, Wayne Gretzky couldn’t do it. Mark Messier didn’t manage it. Before Torres, no one had been able to score thrice in one game against the Oil after leaving the Edmonton organization. That’s right – not even Jimmy Carson.) Torres, one of the few NHLers of Latin American descent, now has six goals in 11 games – he scored 19 times in 74 games last season, and has a career high of 27 goals back in 2005-06 while skating for those same Oilers.

Daniel Sedin scored his team-leading 8th goal. Brother Henrik is first in the league with 12 assists. Before Dustin Penner’s wraparound goal – see the bad news below – Roberto Luongo threatened to go on his first shutout streak of the season. He looked solid, even intimidating, playing the day after beating Martin Brodeur’s New Jersey Devils 3-0.

The bad news – an old pattern resurfaces

Last year’s Canucks juggernaut was exceptionally proficient at putting the puck in the net. Unfortunately, whenever they went up early in a game, the team would collapse into a defensive shell and let the other guys come at them, wave after scary wave. No lead – whether one, two, three, even four goals! – no lead was safe as long as the forwards stopped pressing the hapless opposition.

Unlike Alain Vigneault and his coaching staff, the Oilers apparently watched those tapes. When the Canucks went up 3-0 on Tuesday night, they looked like an infinitely more experienced, composed squad and threatened to put the boots to these youngsters. Even when Andrew Cogliano surprised Andrew Alberts behind the Vancouver net, and Dustin Penner swept in a wraparound to make it 3-1, the Canucks should have taken it in stride. They should have pushed to answer. They should have done anything necessary to regain their three-goal advantage. Mikael Samuelsson, to name one, should have, I dunno, tried.

Instead, they treated Taylor Hall and Co with that respect usually reserved for untouchables like Sid the Kid, or elder statesmen like Nik Lidstrom and the Detroit Red Wings. They let these embryonic superstars skate unchallenged at poor Roberto Luongo. They dropped checks: Mason Raymond was actually the goat on that first Edmonton goal – he let Cogliano go unimpeded into the big Canucks D-man to jar the puck loose.

The Canucks panicked. When Gilbert Brule blew a laserbeam top shelf to tie the game at three, Vancouver fans had to be running endless mental film from last season’s blown leads against a truckload of teams. Hell, of last playoff’s blown leads against Chicago in particular.

Raffi Torres scored the winning goal on a lucky dribbler from just inside the blueline. Don’t get me wrong – a good team needs to win on a lucky goal once in a while, too. But great teams don’t need a horseshoe where the sun don’t shine – not when they’ve taken a 3-0 lead by halfway through the first period.


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Excuse me Mr. Tencer, who’s whining here?

My friend Richard Loat over at Canucks Hockey Blog tweeted about a blog written by Dan Tencer, an apparently bitter member of the Edmonton media (630 CHED) who I guess is sick of covering the sad sack Oilers. Tencer felt he needed to rip the Canucks and their fans after the Canucks defeated the Oilers 3-2 in overtime the other night.

Maybe it was the fact that when the Canucks scored it was as loud as an Oiler goal. Maybe it was the fact that this “young” media member is just too inexperienced to realize his team just plain sucks.

Here’s a gem from Tencer:

“So, if you want to ignore the Glory Years of the Oilers, Habs and Leafs, OK. If you want to ignore the Flames’ success in the 80’s, OK. The Canucks have just NEVER…NEVER…had anything that should lead to a franchise and fan base that has become as seemingly self-entitled as Vancouver.”

“After last night’s game, in which the Canucks were the benefactors of some calls that were at best marginal and at worst brutal, my frustration took over. Frustration that for the week leading up to the game, the Canucks and their fans were up in arms over a so-called screw job in a game against Nashville. Apparently the whining and complaining worked, as the 2 young officials gave them back the points they felt were robbed from them last week.”

This “journalist”, judging by his baby face, is far to young to remember the glory years of the Leafs whose drought is longer than the Canucks have been in the league. And if not for a once in a lifetime glutton of talent the Oilers were blessed with during their runs and a guy named Gretzky, Edmonton fans would be in the same boat as Canucks fans.

There’s nothing I love more as a Canucks fan, than debating these fans of the Oilers, Flames or Leafs when they intelligently ask you “How many cups do you have?” As if that means we shouldn’t cheer or support our teams because they haven’t won a Stanley Cup. News flash Mr. Tencer, it’s 2010 not the 80’s…and today your team sucks. Don’t get upset when Canucks fans are excited about their team. Don’t blame us your team hasn’t won a game in 16. Don’t blame us your building was full of Canucks fans. Suck it up and deal with it.

Tencer contends that the Canucks were the beneficiaries of whining that they did after the Nashville/Burrows fisaco. I guess he agrees with the phantom interference penalty that was assessed to Burrows in that game. But of course he doesn’t mention the tirade that Pat Quinn went on after the Canucks win, or the tirades that are becoming standard fare after each Oiler loss. That’s not whining at all! Too bad those nasty officials didn’t make it up to them in their next game, like they did for us. Please…

Tencer breaks two cardinal rules in being a sports fand/media member. He takes his dislike for an organization and paints them and their fans with one brush. He also allows his emotions as a member of the media to get the better of him. I wonder if he knows of any cocky or arrogant Oiler fans that were around in the 80’s? Of course he doesn’t, he was probably in a diaper.

I’m not sure if it’s his age, or his inexperience, but read his blog for yourself, you be the judge of who’s doing the whining here. It’s too bad this “media” member can’t stop himself from reacting like a whining fan. I’m sure he’ll have a long career in Edmonton.

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