Closing out the Blues and Where’s the Beef?

Closing Out the Blues

As the Canucks head into Game 4 with a 3-0 lead, I’m sure many fans, media and observers alike are thinking the “S” word. Yes that’s right, “sweep”.  Can the Canucks sweep these Blues? Sure they can. Will they? That remains to be seen.

Personally I don’t care for a sweep, it would be nice, but I am confident in the abilities of the Canucks to close the series out at some point, but they will.  I cannot see the St. Louis Blues beating Luongo four games straight. I just don’t see it.  Not with the way he has been playing, not with the way the Canucks have supported him scoring, it seems like an impossiblity.

As I said in my previous  blog, there is a recipe for playoff success that the Canucks are following. A lot of it has to do with the belief in each other. The team believes in Luongo and it’s evident that Luongo believes in the rest of the team.  So far, the Canucks have contained the St. Louis scoring threats to a minimum. TJ Oshie has not been as effective, and despite all the chances Andy McDonald has had against Luongo, he shows only one goal. The Canucks have done their job. [Read more...]

Canuck Musings: Down the Stretch

Just a few random thoughts popped in my head as I was thinking of the last stretch of the regular season concerning the Vancouver Canucks.  Since February 1st, the Canucks are probably the most consistent team in the NHL.  Looks like every single player has picked up their game, with the exception of the Phoenix game last Saturday, the Canucks are looking good and finding ways to win.  Even good teams like Detroit have bad games, just as Chris Osgood in Calgary.

Roberto Luongo and his infamous comments about winning a Stanley Cup, and it didn’t matter where. I do not recall at any point in that interview that Luongo made reference to leaving the Canucks was a certainty. If the Canucks can build a winning team around Luongo next year, and they have a good playoff run this year, I don’t see Bobby Lu not considering re-signing in Vancouver.  Get your knickers out of a bunch people! Luongo is a driven, hard-working, and competitive individual that would like his team to do the same. Is that such a bad thing?

Shane O’Brien and his public comments about coaching decisions. People think already think I don’t have any love for O’Brien, but that’s not the truth.  I do think there is a lot of potential with him, I just find that he is more of a reactionary player.  I feel he is a guy that plays with raw emotion and that’s ok, I like guys that play with passion and heart, but at the same time, there has to be some semblance of control to his game. Shane O’Brien has yet to master that.  Also, his word-waging war with management and coaching decisions via the media comes off a bit whiny and unprofessional. Take it with stride big man and find ways to get yourself back into the line-up. Actions speak so much louder than words, especially this time of the season.

Sedins: “Tubthumping” seems to be their Anthem in win over Dallas. Daniel Sedin looked like he got his tooth knocked out and also his upper lip stitched up.  As the famous lyrics go,

“Oh Danny Boy
Danny Boy…”
I get knocked down
But i get up again
You’re never goin’ to keep me down

(thanks Mr. Bjorkloven) *wink*

Everyone can say what they will about Hank and Dan. Many fans around the league find them ‘soft’ and some out there still have the audacity to call them ‘sisters’, but make no mistake about it, as much as these two get knocked down. They keep getting back up, and playing on. No words of complaints, just taking it in stride, like men, and doing what they are supposed to do on the ice. Take note Sidney Crosby.

Ryan Kesler: His drive for a winning franchise
I am not sure what the big deal was for Kesler to talk about wanting to win and keeping a winning team and people taking a few paycuts here and there to sustain winning ways. In the long run, Kesler is right, but we live in a “show me the money, results now” type of world.  At the same time, Ryan Kesler is earning his paycheque.  With 23 goals on the season and playing wonderful two-way hockey, Kesler is a bargain at $1.75million this season.  Bobby Clarke saw something in the boy with that offer sheet back in ’06 and Kesler has lived up to and beyond it.

Alex Burrows: True Grit Alex Burrows is the ultimate ‘feel good’ story of the Canucks recent times. Here is a kid that wasn’t drafted and worked his way into the regular line-up with hard work. Thing is, many of us didn’t think Burrows had the talent to back-up his hard work.  Now, we see differently. A tweener project of Marc Crawford has made his way to the first lines with Hank and Dan. Seeing major ice time with the ability to play on the PK makes Alex Burrows hot commodity in the NHL. I’m am very happy that Canucks GM, Mike Gillis, saw that and locked him up for four years at $2million per annum.

As we head in towards the post season. I do want to say that the Canucks barring major injury have addressed their issues of weakness from this time last year. The Canucks were not deep on the back end and were in a lot of injury trouble. As a collective unit, they were pretty small and soft. This year with the addition of Bernier, O’Brien,and Hordichuk, I don’t see the Canucks being a team to push around.  Roberto Luongo looks more focused and I have more confidence in Jason Labarera than I did in Curtis Sanford. All and all, I do believe although the Canucks aren’t supposedly at the echelon of the big teams like Detroit, San Jose, and apparently Calgary, I believe the Canucks can give anyone they face in the playoffs a good run for their buck.

Just some musings from the mud.
LotusBlossom

My Top Ten Favourite Hockey Memories

Yes it’s that time of the year again, and at this time we all reflect about the year passed.  I’ll say one thing for me, it’s been good, bad, and ugly. All things occurring, I have to take responsibility and credit.  I’ve had a great year getting back into doing what I love most, writing. I want to thank Brian and Canuckscorner.com for giving the opportunity to continue to hone my skills and write about my favourite sports franchise in the world, the Vancouver Canucks.

I’m going to take a trip down memory lane today and talk about my 27 year tenure of being a Canucks fan.  My most memorable moments, not just on the ice, but just as a fan.   As I read, in another blog and article, the Canucks mean a lot to my life. In fact, I got the privilege to be a part of the Canucks family via work at one point in my life.

Sports and particularly hockey have been a big point of bonding with my father, who didn’t have any sons, so he took his eldest daughter to all the sporting events he could muster. Well, Dad, I just want to say it worked.  I am now more of a fanatic than you are. Thank you, Dad. I miss you and I will see you soon!

10) A Canucks Fan is Born: Before I was a Canucks fan I was a Winnipeg Jets fan, and my first ever NHL game I can recollect was at the Pacific Coliseum. It was the Canucks vs. Jets and I was so excited. My father got us great seats. Section G row 11. Oddly enough those were my season tickets to the Giants.  I remember I fell in love with the Canucks that night. They were my new team.  I was amazed by the play of two players in particular, #12 Stan Smyl and probably my early favourite #23 Thomas Gradin.  We didn’t win that night, but I remember Gradin scoring 2 goals and I was hooked.  This was the moment I was hooked as a Canucks fan. That was 1981,  a 6 year old Canuck junkie was born.

9) Canucks and Friendships: My first Canucks game with my friends without my father. It was 1985, I was 10 years old and our neighbourhood parents decided to buy a block of tickets for us neighbourhood kids to go to a game together. These were the days our parents could drop us off at the arena and pick us up after the game and be safe. It was an exciting time, we all had a blast. The Canucks actually beat the Oilers that night and were in rare form. I got the see Wayne Gretzky not score a goal that night. It was a rarity indeed. I remember my friend Mike yelling, “I’m a Canucks fan for life!”.Great time, good memories

8) Birth of Towel Power: Although I wasn’t there, I got to see this on TV, but I’m sure all Canucks fan remember Roger Nielsen’s “white towel” surrender to the officials. It was Chicago stadium, I was at home watching it with my family. When the Canucks came home to the Pacific Coliseum, my dad took me to that game and I’ve never seen so many white towels being swung ever. The Canucks came home to a hero’s welcome. I was just very fortunate to be a part of it. Towel Power was born.

7) The 1982 Cup Run: Being 7 years old, it was more about the excitement that surrounded me than the actual games themselves. The Canucks were a bunch of muckers and grinders with a few talent players here and there. Nothing like the Stanley Cup Final opponents in the Islanders. The Islanders were THE team back in those days. Although we were slaughtered in the finals in a sweep, I will never forget Bernie Pascal and his enthusiasm during his sports broadcasts talking about how this lunch bucket team has captured the hearts and imagination of the city.

6) Los Angeles 1988: I got to see Wayne Gretzky live for the first time as an LA King at the Great Western Forum. My dad had made that trip to see the Lakers and the Celtics with my uncle, and he saw how much I wanted to go and so he packed me up in the car and drove down to LA with him and my uncle. We went to the Lakers game the night before, which they won, and then got tickets to watch “The Great One” as an LA King for the first time. That was a new era in hockey. Gretzky scored two that night against the St Louis Blues.

5) Pavel Bure’s first game: I’ll never forget his first game at the Pacific Coliseum. It was against my old Winnipeg Jets. Wow. I was off my seat so much I must have hit the end of it when it was raised a few times too many that night. I was 16 years old.  The Russian Rocket was the most exciting player to ever put on a Canuck uniform bar none. Many good memories of the Russian Rocket, but seeing him for the first time that night, I knew he was the real deal.

4) Sweden 2000 Canucks Training Camp: Luckily for me, I was given the opportunity to go Sweden in 2000 and watch the Canucks do their training camp and part of their pre-season there. It was the first time I got to see the Sedins and of course Stockholm, Ornkoldsvik and many other things in Sweden.  Fascinating trip, outside of Canada, I don’t think there is a county that loves their hockey as much as the Swedes.

3) 2005 IIHF World Championships, Austria: Loving my work very much at this point and also my very last assignment for this conglomerate, I was able to see international hockey with NHL stars. It was the lockout year. I balanced my time between babysitting our favourite broadcaster and hanging out and getting some fantastic interviews with members of all the teams involved. I must say the one that I had with Brenden Morrison, his wife Erin and his parents, who live in Europe, one of the most fun. It was unfortunate that the Canadians didn’t win that tournament, but it showed how much the Czech team wanted to win it in front of many of their fans.

2) 1994 Stanley Cup Run: I know that this would be most peoples’ favourite hockey memory if you’re a Canucks fan, but it’s only second compared to mine for very personal reasons.  That run captured the imagination of not just the city but of the whole entire nation.  From the Calgary series when Robert Reichel was stoned by Kirk McLean and Bure’s winner in OT, from the Toronto series, the hardest fought 6 games and finally that heart breaking loss in the game 7 at MSG. I remember being at the airport and waiting for the team and they were applauded. I remember my friend getting arrested for lewd conduct on Robson Street, prior to the disgraceful rioting. It was just a magical run, it was just so sad, and to this day it still hurts, that the Canucks didn’t have the gas to finish the race.

1) January 2001, My Daughter’s first Canucks Game: Yes, this has got to be most memorable moment. My then three year old daughter was hooked on hockey. It was great to see her cheer for our boys and see her reaction to the crowd and take in the atmosphere of a hockey game.  She got her hot dog, her drink, her Canucks shirt and she was all set and very happy.  Passing on the love of hockey to my child to me is my most fond memory. It’s wonderful to know that she can share something I am so passionate about.

Yeah those are some pretty big memories for me as a hockey fan, and especially a Canuck fan.  I just wanted to share them with you all out there.  Remember why you love this team and why you love hockey. It’s beyond what goes on in the game.

Musings from the Mud…

Lotus Blossom