Sukh Purewal: Same old same old for Roberto Luongo

After all that has happened to Roberto Luongo the last few years, I didn’t think it could get any worse for the Canucks goalie. I thought there was no way the Canucks organization could disrespect the franchise’s best goalie of all-time again.

Boy was I wrong.

With the news coming out that Eddie Lack would be starting the Heritage Classic for the Canucks, it was just another slap in the face for Luongo, who has given so much to this organization. Roberto is responsible for some of the best years in Canucks history. He backstopped them to two straight Presidents’ Trophies and took them to within one game of a Stanley Cup. Even if it is the teams’ intention is to move forward with Lack as the starter, throw Luongo a bone and give him this start.  It seems harsh to punish Luongo for the team’s recent struggles, especially when you consider the fact that Vancouver has scored 2 or few goals in 15 of their last 17 games. No goalie in the NHL is going to win when the offence in front of him is putting up those types of numbers.

To some the Heritage Classic might seem like just another game. But it’s not for Roberto. He said Saturday that he’s always wanted to play in an outdoor game and considering this Canucks team is probably not going to do much should they make the playoffs, it was likely the biggest game of the year for them. Eddie Lack is a great goalie, but this should have been Luongo’s start. Reward the guy who’s done so much for you. This is quite possibly the only outdoor game Luongo is going to get a chance to play in. New Jersey gave Marty Brodeur the start in their outdoor game even though Cory Schneider had the better numbers and has started the majority of the games since that day.

I’m not sure there is a player in pro sports who has been treated as poorly as Roberto Luongo has. He has had to put up with so much from this organization. He was relegated to backup. He asked to be traded so he could be a starter somewhere. The team agreed and tried to move him, unsuccessfully. He was then asked to come back and be the team’s leader again after he had moved on. He came back and didn’t pout about having to back in Vancouver. He has been the consummate professional the last few years. I think it’s time the organization shows Roberto some respect and trades him somewhere he will respected and can be a starter.

He deserves it.

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

 

A Canucks Fan Stranded in a Hockey-Godless City

While you’re all in Vancouver enjoying the excitement, I am in Toronto getting ready to watch a Raptors/Celtics game.  After that, at 10 PM EST, I will be grabbing some coffee to stay up for our beloved Canucks. So as Brian has shared his random thoughts, so shall I, from Hogtown.

Weber and Bitz and Bitz and Hits

Shea Weber must have a meeting with Vince McMahon in the next few weeks. He is putting together an audition reel, starting with Zetteberg’s head. How does the pro-wrestling move of  “The Bulldog” have any part in the NHL? What’s disturbing about the whole thing is, why wasn’t there more disciplinary action from the NHL on this incident? Instead Weber pays $2500, a fee he probably pays to get custom suits made, and is still playing in this series. On the other hand, I have no problem with Bitz’s suspension. In fact, after seeing the hit again, a few times, I’m cool with it. However, if Bitz garnered two games, Weber should be suspended for at least that. Someone was even inspired enough to make a Youtube video with legendary wrestling announcer, Jim Ross, giving the audio to that Weber hit.

Kings Gate, and I don’t mean mall

I was pretty upset by this coming from a corporate organization’s account. You would think an NHL franchise would have some guidelines of what to tweet, as the face of the organization on twitter. I mean, twitter! Really? That person that is running that account considers his or herself a ‘social media specialist’? But it may have sparked some interest in the Kings down in LA, since you know, there will probably be more Canucks fans down that way for Games 3 and 4.

Blame Luongo!

Yes, yes even though the Canucks crapped the bed in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, there are those still out there blaming Luongo. Why? Because it’s no longer even a surprise, in fact, I think for many of the ‘fans’ out there, it’s just fashionable to blame him. Someone was calling for his head on goal #2. Really? The Canucks were parading back to the penalty box, I thought there were some good treats on the bench for the boys to munch on.

Fact or fiction? Does everyone in Canada want the Canucks to lose?

Oddly enough, I have yet to hear too many bad things about the Canucks here in Toronto. In fact, about 3/4 of the people I have ran into and chatted hockey were hoping they were going to be the ones to bring the cup back to Canada. The other 1/4 that I asked didn’t really care, it’s baseball season now...*wink* Perhaps I should publicize an apology in the paper to Toronto fans for having such a good team on the west coast, but someone has already beat me to that.

Boston teams
Random tidbit here, but as some know, I am a big ‘hater’ of Boston based teams. As a Yankees fan, I despise the Red Sox. As a Denver Broncos fan, I hate Tom Brady and his bunch known as the New England Patriots, and the Bruins? Yeah, no need for commentary on that one. Although, tonight, I will be cheering on the Celtics. I have adopted them as my NBA team until the Sonics are back into Seattle. So I will be cheering on the boys in green and wearing my Canucks jersey.

Game Two

I’m hoping for a kick ass effort from the Canucks tonight. I’m hoping they realize they can’t coast in the first round or any round for that matter in the Stanley Cup playoffs. LA has been playing playoff hockey all March vying for the last few available playoff spots. They are already warmed up and seasoned. I don’t want the Canucks hoping they run out of gas. So the Canucks need to turn off cruise control and compete like they are President’s Trophy winners.

From the Centre of the Universe,

Justine Galo

Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

Canucks Wagonwatch: Game 40 vs Sharks

Throughout the season, the Canucks Wagonwatch series will track how much room is on the team’s bandwagon. In addition, it will also track the completely separate Luongo wagon.

The Sharks were well rested, as the last time they played was December 28 in a 3-2 OT loss to Vancouver. Meanwhile, the Canucks have played twice since then, winning in Anaheim, and losing in Los Angeles. After the playoff-like atmosphere that last time these clubs met a few days ago, tonight’s game was a little disappointing in that regard.

Canucks Bandwagon: 80% full

After the last game versus the Sharks in San Jose, I expected a similar energy level from both clubs, but there were very few stretches of good play from either team. Even though the shot totals were good, it felt like there weren’t that many solid scoring chances for the Canucks. The had good secondary scoring from Hansen and Hodgson, but the top 2 lines couldn’t beat Niemi tonight.

Luongo Bandwagon: 70% full

Sometimes I am guilty of listening to the Team 1040 post game, which brings all kinds of crazy callers. The first caller after the Kings game immediately called out Luongo, calling him a flopper and a incapable of standing up to make a save. Haters gonna hate, but for better or worse, Luongo is held to a higher standard than the rest of the team. He was pretty good tonight against the Sharks, and made some nice saves – including one lunging from right to left to stop Joe Thornton from 6 feet. He even made two saves in the dreaded shootout, but couldn’t stop Handzus with the game on the line. Canucks shooters were 0-for-3 in the shootout tonight, but in Vancouver, people don’t blame the shooters for a shootout loss.

#Coho4Calder is Back, and The Honey Badger Keeps Eating

Jannik Hansen maybe shouldn’t have scored on that mad scramble, but he was rewarded for his hard work tonight. The first assist on Hansen’s goal was from Cody Hodgson. It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for Coho, so it was extra sweet to see Hodgson get rewarded tonight with 1G 1A, and even played out the final seconds in OT. We’re not so deluded to think that Hodgson has a shot at the Nuge Trophy .. er .. Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year, because he’s not that kind of a flashy player, and the Canucks are loaded at Center with Henrik and Kesler eating up the top minutes. If you consider that – then 12-13 minutes isn’t bad for a 3rd line center on this team, which could roll all 4 lines successfully on most nights.

I honestly believe that Hodgson will be one of the key pieces of this hockey club in the future – he’s lucky to be an understudy to two of the great centers in the game today – Captain Henrik is the soft spoken pure passer, and Kesler is the shutdown guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. Just because we are massive Cody Hodgson fans, this video should give you something to drool over.

Bruce Ng: Canucks Wagon Watch: Game 33 versus Minnesota

Luongo tells the fickle fans how he really feels.

Throughout the season, the Canucks Wagonwatch series will track how much room is on the team’s bandwagon. In addition, it will also track the completely separate Luongo wagon.

The Wild played the first half of a back-to-back set tonight, playing in Calgary tomorrow night. The Wild started off with a strong first period, but were down 1-0 after one period after they gave up late goal to the Canucks power play. It wasn’t a typical Canucks power play goal, as it came off a rush and was scored by Henrik Sedin. The 2nd period saw the Canucks score 2 more. The Canucks 3rd goal was particularly nice – Sedin to Sedin to Burrows.
Canucks Bandwagon: 85% full

After Saturday’s big win in Toronto, I expected the Canucks to come out a little flat – the road trip hangover effect – but was pleasantly surprised to see them put in a good effort. The Sedins were particularly effective – beautiful passing tonight – for 6 points between the twins. John Shorthouse and John Garrett indicated that it would be tough to pick the 3 Stars for the game – Luongo, and the Sedins seemed about right from a statistics point of view, but many other Canucks looked pretty good tonight.

Luongo Bandwagon: 70% full

Luongo was full credit for the win and the shutout tonight – holding his team in the game early in the 1st period, as the Canucks were outshot in the opening frame. After the Canucks scored at the end of the first, the Wild were not able to generate much pressure, or many scoring chances. No such thing as an easy shutout, and Luongo did well to maintain his focus. Maybe the haters will say he looked awkward in the 1st. Or that he shouldn’t have looked over his shoulder in the 3rd. Not much to complain about in this one, as Luongo made it look easy. Very good positionally, and very economical movement. Another 3 shutouts in a row, and who knows, maybe the wagon will be at capacity. Or maybe not.

What the Honey Badger wants, the Honey Badger gets

It is more than a mere rumour that the Canucks have animal nicknames for each of their players (reference: Pass It To Bulis). Jannik Hansen is known as the Honey Badger. Tonight the Honey Badger scored his 11th goal of the season; his previous season high was 9 – done twice. Hansen is looking more like a player that can provide some serious secondary scoring, along with speed and good physical play. At this pace he will have between 20 and 30 goals.

Hansen is given the Honey Badger moniker because he plays with a tenacious and fearless style. If you watch this video, and if you’ve seen Hansen play, you will understand it.