Pre-Game Thoughts: Canucks at Edmonton Oct.17/14

 

Canucks take on the Oilers in Edmonton tonight.

Canucks take on the Oilers in Edmonton tonight.

 

The Canucks finally get to play some hockey again. After a five day rest from their last game, Vancouver visits Edmonton for the second time already this regular season.  The 2-0 Canucks take on the winless Edmonton Oilers (0-3-1) in an old Northwest Division (if it still existed) battle. The last time these two teams met was the Canucks home opener on October 11th at Rogers Arena. In a game where the Canucks were a step slow to start off, they battled back from a three goal deficit to win 5-4 in a shootout. 

While the Oilers have already played four games, and won none of them, the Canucks have been sitting idling for five days since their last NHL action. The Oilers will have home ice advantage and I am sure the Oilers faithful will represent loudly. A team in disarray and no direction looking for their first win versus an undefeated but possibly game-rusty team could make for an interesting game and outcome.  With the battles these two teams have had in recent years, it has the potential to get heated and possibly ugly. It would better serve the Canucks to keep things disciplined and play their game. 

The Oilers have been the whipping boy of their opponents so far this season suffering a humiliating loss in LA and have only one point in the standings to show for their efforts. That sole point came from the Vancouver Canucks. They are desperate, they have home ice and this game worries me a little. I hate facing teams who need a win desperately and will probably do anything to get it, especially against a team they consider a rival. 

The Canucks would need to shake off their game rust by attacking quickly and frequently. They would need to stay out of the penalty box and take to the Oilers without taking penalties. The key is to score first and keep attacking. Who ever is in net for the Canucks tonight needs to be sharp and shut down the young guns of the Edmonton Oilers. 

So tonight, either two streaks will continue or two streaks will end. I prefer the former. 

 

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@Aviewfromabroad 

 

Top 10: The State of Florida

Back to back games starting on Sunday for the Vancouver Canucks in Florida and then to Tampa Bay on Monday. Sunday afternoon was a hard game for many of the Canucks fans to watch. It was the first time in eight years the Canucks had to face Roberto Luongo as an opponent. Strange times  in Canuckland indeed. Vancouver won the game in a shootout with a goal from Nik Jensen 4-3 . The next night the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Canucks by the identical score.  Some of the happenings were definitely memorable and a few moments would have been left better off forgotten. So from the “Sunshine State”, here is CanucksCorner’s

Top 10.

1. Luongo may not be a Canuck anymore, but it would be hard to tell he wasn’t, if not for that Panthers t-shirt.

Luongo in his Panthers gear chilling with old Canucks teammates.

2. Alex Burrows scored three goals and had three assists in the two games in Sunrise and Tampa. The winger became the ringer we have come to know and love over the years. After playing 30+ games without a goal, he is scoring in bunches. Now tied with David Booth with five goal on the season in about half the games. Here’s one on the power play:

3. Nik Jensen has brought some youth and enthusiasm to the Canucks line-up. Scoring the shootout winner against Roberto Luongo and reviving his line mates, Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows. The line looked good in both games. Jensen has good hockey sense and seems to just want to nothing more than score. Good. This team could use a little more scoring these days. Here’s his goal on Luongo and the Haida hat winner video:

4. Love him or hate him, John Tortorella was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup wining team in 2004. He and a few other members of that team were honoured in Tampa Bay last night, and the usually aloof Torts, was gracious and embraced the moment at the Tampa Bay Times Forum  from an appreciative crowd. The first 30 seconds of this reel sees Torts smiling and waving to the crowd.

5. Goat of the Tampa Bay game: Ryan Stanton doing his best Dan Hamhuis impersonation and scoring on his own goalie twice. Lack had no chance on those ricochets off Stanton’s body and the Lightning were up 3-0. Burrows scores two to battle the Canucks back and Hansen brings it within one with a shorthanded goal but still fell short 4-3.

6. Great Save!:Kevin Bieksa makes the best save of the night against the Panthers on Sunday afternoon. Really? Bieksa?

7. Tweet of the Night:I think Jason Botchford said it best:

This says it all down in Sunrise, FLA versus the Panthers, and all the goalie hoopla that went on over the last year and this past weekend.

8. .500 Hockey: It’s just not going to cut it with the Canucks playoff hopes dwindling. There are only 11 games left in the regular season. It would take a fall from the Dallas Stars, and an incredible and consistent resurgence from the Canucks to make the playoffs now. I don’t see it happening but with the way the team has spiralled since January, many of the bandwagon has now found  a new place to plant their behinds. Image courtesy of @CrownRoyal22
Look who's driving!

9. MIA: Ryan Kesler is rumoured to be missing action for about two weeks. This is not a good sign for the Canucks who are completely depleted down the middle. From the looks of it, Kesler won’t be back until the last week of the regular season.  The injury happened in Winnipeg and Kesler didn’t complete the rest of the trip. He went back to Vancouver to have the extent of his injury assessed. The infirmary is still full. Kesler joins, Richardson, Daniel and Andrew Alberts.

10.Good-bye Sweet Bromance: Probably the saddest thing about this whole weekend is not  realizing that Canucks aren’t probably going to make the playoffs, but the Bromance between Roberto Luongo and Eddie Lack  (at least as teammates) got some closure in that 4-3 shootout win over the Panthers. Thing 3 beats Thing 1 in a skills competition.

The road trip brought out some pretty good things and still glaringly bad things about the Canucks’ play. The good is, they are scoring more than just one goal again. The bad is, they are playing .500 hockey. This team should be winning but their defensive lapses keep coming back to haunt them. Three goals for, usually means a victory, but the Canucks just can’t seem to have a winning streak beyond one game. Let’s hope the last 11 games turn up some better fortune for Vancouver.

Justine Galo

@Aviewfromabroad 

PS: Since the luck of the Canucks haven’t been of the norm these days, I am going to do something out of the norm and attend the Canucks versus Predators game. For those curious as to why I don’t attend such games, here’s a little reminder to that very subject. [ The Curse of the Predators ]

Top10: Henrik Sedin Moments

Game Blip: Yes, it was a feisty win over Winnipeg to keep the Canucks playoff hopes alive. Alex Burrows scored not once, but twice and had a handful of amazing chances throughout the night. The Canucks lose Kesler to what looks like a knee injury and Alex Edler is missing. Edler’s body was present but clearly his mind was not there. Eddie Lack had a spectacular third period keeping the Canucks in the game and staving off what could have been another humiliating loss. Higgins showed some hands with the shoot out winner,and all that is fine and dandy. This is more about Henrik playing 1000th games in the NHL. So, shall we?

Henrik Sedin plays his 1000th NHL game and all with the Vancouver Canucks. Congrats Henrik and thank you.

Henrik Sedin plays his 1000th NHL game and all with the Vancouver Canucks. Congrats Henrik and thank you.

I know this has not been a usual year for Canucks Captain, Henrik Sedin. His ironman streak came to an end, his first major injury in the NHL happened. He’s had lengthy point droughts and the Canucks are no longer on “march to the playoffs auto-pilot mode.” However, 1000 games is one hell of an accomplishment, no matter what sport you play. What makes it more special for Henrik is that he did it all with one team.  He is the first player in franchise history to play 1000 games. Stan Smyl played 896 games for the Canucks. Daniel Sedin is only 31 games away from 1000th, so he will be joining his twin fairly soon.

Draft day brought us these two guys.

1999 Draft day brought us these two guys, second and third picks overall.

Warning: This edition of the Top 10 will take some of your time. Several moments of Sedinery take some time to watch, enjoy and appreciate. So relax, have a Kit Kat, give yourself a break, and a treat and watch some Henrik Sedin moments from some of his 1000 NHL games.

  1. The amazing “Sedin Tip Pass” It was almost like a set play (or was it?)
  2. “The Shift” over two minutes of puck possession gives us one of the best shifts in Canucks history.
  3. Henrik becomes the Canucks all-time points leader, passing Markus Naslund with this assist. What was more amazing was the standing ovation for him that moment.
  4. One of those plays when you realized Burrows has become “Alex Sedin” Hank orchestrates tic tac toe play. Too pretty!
  5. Henrik is the quintessential passing centre, but every now and then he buries one.  
  6. Henrik brings Vancouver its first ever Hart Memorial Trophy as well as the Art Ross. The little diss at Daniel at the end is pure gold.
  7. Passing to the spot for Daniel’s one-timer is a thing of beauty.  
  8. Henrik’s penalty shot against Martin Brodeur. Marty has been known to watch a lot of video tape on players for such situations but it’s fair to say there isn’t much on Henrik shooting, resulting in a beautiful goal.
  9. Henrik Larsson, is that you? All that pre-game soccer in the hallway pays off. Henrik keeps the puck in the Canucks’ possession passing using his skates. 
  10. Known as the playmaker, not the shooter, Henrik’s first ever NHL hat-trick with a pass from Alex Edler.  

It’s a pretty wonderful highlight package when you come to think of it. As a hockey fan in general, I don’t think any of us will ever see such wonderful chemistry between two players like we have the Sedin twins. None of that would have been possible without the day Brian Burke proclaimed he wanted Daniel and Henrik Sedin in Canucks uniforms. He delivered on his promise.

Bonus footage: NHL Draft Day 1999

Henrik is the maestro of many amazing highlight reel plays over the years and I know he’s got a few more in him.  It’s just a little “thank you” for sharing your talents with us fans for 1000 games, Henrik. Officially, now in terms of numbers, the best forward the Canucks has ever had. Long live Sedinery.

Justine Galo

@Aviewfromabroad

PS: Henrik and Daniel have a pretty good sense of humour as well. Swedish Twins anyone?

 

 

The Curse of the Predators

I will not be at the game on Thursday night at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks will be facing off against the Nashville Predators. In fact, like I wrote in the previous blog, I will probably cross the Fraser River and watch the game in the suburbs. Since the existence of the franchise, I have never seen another team beat them while I am watching a game, in person, that involves the Preds. In short, I’m cursed.
Whenever I tell people about the this ‘curse’, I usually get a chuckle. In fact, I’ve had a few people down right not believe me. However, I have some examples of how this curse is closer to the truth than the myth.
I am either the Predators' good luck charm or I am a curse to any team they play when I am present for the game.

I am either the Predators’ good luck charm or I am a curse to any team they play when I am present for the game.

Dec 22, 2009: The Vancouver Canucks had a home game vs the Nashville Predators. I decided to watch a movie with my then 12 year old daughter that night. The Canucks were up 4-0, as soon as we got out of Scotiabank Theatres downtown and passed by Earl’s Restaurant near the movie theatre and Patrick Hornqvist ruined Luongo’s shutout near the 15 minute mark of the third period. I glanced at the TV, the game was on, the minute I saw the screen, Preds score. We later proceeded to meet up at La Bodega for a birthday party and I told my spouse about the Earl’s incident and he shook his head. Although not at the arena, being in the downtown core was enough to give the Preds a little luck.
March 20, 2011: I was in Toronto on business. I arrived a couple of days early and on the Sunday, a friend and I drove down to Buffalo to watch this game. These were when the 5PM starts started to show up in schedules and I forgot. So we arrived at the (then called)HSBC Arena part-way through the second period. The Sabres were up 3-1. My friend mentioned, I guess we chose a good day, the boys are up! So after a couple of beers and a period after, Blake Geoffrion decided to make a fool out of me and score two third period goals to complete his hattrick, to send the game to OT.  I was shaking my head. I had yet to tell my friend about my “Predator Curse”. As a joke, I said, I betcha Erat will score just to make my day. Guess who scrored? 4-3 in OT, the Sabres lost.  So en route back to Toronto, I told my friend of how the Nashville Predators always win when I am in the arena watching. He threw his hat at me and called me “Nashville’s Good Luck Charm”.
May 7, 2011: It was the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Game 5. The Vancouver Canucks were up 3-1 in the series and my spouse told me it was time to ‘break the curse’. He told me I was going to this game with him and the Canucks will advance to the next round. I thought about for a few days, and well, I reluctantly accepted and attended the game. Well, let’s just say, Joel Ward was determined to make sure my curse was in tact. Tied 2-2 after the second period, just over a minute into the third, Ward makes it 3-2 for the Predators. I had to close my eyes and shake my head. The first thoughts going through my mind were, “I wish I said no to Chris. Why am I here?”. He killed any sort of hope I had in about four minutes after he scored his last goal and scored to make it 4-2. Kesler made a late attempt to try for a comeback but fell short 4-3.
By that cup run, I have been to about 20 Nashville games in a few different arenas including the ACC, the then-called Gaylord Entertainment, Complex Rogers Arena, the Saddledome, and as well as that woe-ful day in Buffalo.  All the games with me in attendance? The Predators have won. So when it comes to the January 23, 2014 game vs. Nashville for the Canucks, my spouse is taking a very good friend of mine instead. I will not be to blame if the Canucks somehow manage to lose that game. I will as far away from Rogers Arena as I can muster and away from giving any winning vibes to the Nashville Predators.
Justine Galo

Top 10: Big Bad Bruins Bruising

Not since Game 7 in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals have the Boston Bruins come back to Vancouver. It was a much anticipated game and was the biggest topic when the Canucks schedule was released in the off-season. Anyone who lives in the 604 who say they didn’t think it was that big a deal, book an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon and get your nose sawed down, liars.  There was a lot of material to pick through about Saturday night, so where do we start?

Bruins come to visit Rain City. Iginla and Kesler have at it early in the first period.

Bruins come to visit Rain City. Iginla and Kesler have at it early in the first period.

  1. Dan Cloutier’s Ghost: Jannik Hansen scores on Tuukka Rask from just past centre ice.It took a strange deflection off Chara’s stick and into the back of the Boston net. Rogers Arena erupted and soon “TUUUUUUKKKAAAA” was being chanted.  
  2. Mount St. Tortorella Erupts: In the second period, after the tying goal, Canucks coach decides to give a “pep talk” to his team and get them going. It worked.
  3. Workhorse: 39 saves out of 41 shots on goal effort from Roberto Luongo. This was after shutting out the Oilers the night before.
  4. “Barbwire” Taunt Moment: Brad “Barbwire” Marchand had the taunt of the night. Kissing your ring finger and a “Raising the Cup” blurb would have made Vincent K. McMahon happy. There is life after hockey for the Stanley Cup “Champian”
    "Barbwire" Brad Marchand kissing his ring finger as a poke to the Canucks and their fans at Rogers Arena.

    “Barbwire” Brad Marchand kissing his ring finger as a poke to the Canucks and their fans at Rogers Arena.

     

    Looks like he could make a great 'heel' in the WWE. How about that spinner belt, Brad?

    Looks like he could make a great ‘heel’ in the WWE. How about that spinner belt, Brad?

  5. Tonka Tough: Jerome Iginla dislocates his ring finger in a first period fight with Ryan Kesler and came back in the second period to play the game. He also got in a short altercation with Canucks Dman, Dan Hamhuis, later on in the game. I have always liked Iggy and Saturday showed why he is my all-time favourite Kamloops Blazer.

    Iginla's ring fingers appears to be dislocated. Tough as nails, he came back and played the rest of the game.

    Iginla’s ring fingers appears to be dislocated. Tough as nails, he came back and played the rest of the game.

  6. St.Michael: Mike Santorelli keeps adding more depth to his game. He is proving to be a gem of a pickup in the off-season with the way he has played here in Vancouver. He was a huge part of the Canucks win on Saturday night.
  7. Bear Hunter: He does it in the off-season and he did it here on Saturday with a beauty of a tally. David Booth responded with a “this is why we signed you” type of goal after Torts’ blowup at the bench. We need to see this more consistently. He’s too talented of a player to not play like this. This goal was the catalyst for the 6-2 on slaughter of the evening.  
  8. Old School Mentality: This is in a good way. Bruins Coach, Claude Julien, came out and publicly chastised Brad Marchand in saying those antics will not be tolerated. He also said of Marchand to be too good of a player to act the way he did.
  9. Library is Closed: On Saturday night, the vibe was electric! THAT is how Rogers Arena should sound like each and every night. Well, as close to it as possible. It’s too bad, and often times too hard, when you play teams like the Oilers and Flames.
  10. We’re Going Streaking: The Canucks have now won 7 in a row. They have caught up 9 points on the San Jose Sharks and have moved into 6th place in the Western Conference. If they can sustain the level of play and keeping finding ways to win games, expect to see them in the post season.
Even with being the hottest team in the NHL at the moment, the Canucks are still looking up from 6th place in the Western Conference. However, the team is getting contributions from the most unlikely of sources (or so what thought at the beginning of the season) like Mike Santorelli and Brad Richardson. There were many positives to take away from the Bruins game, but as Kevin Bieksa has pointed it, it was two points, not a Stanley Cup. So it is time to move on and focus on 2013/2014 and not 2011.
In conclusion, the Canucks are undefeated in December and aren’t looking to slow down any time soon. I am hoping it continues, because their play of late has been, “beyond good” (Thanks, Milan).
Justine Galo