CBA meetings delayed + NHL teases fans w/ newest Schedule

NO CBA talks today, discussions have been delayed until tomorrow[Friday]. It appears that NHLPA needs more time to respond to the new NHL proposal. Could a potential lockout see Sidney Crosby playing in the KHL along side Malkin? Players continue to make alternative plans in the event that a lockout becomes reality. Is this what the fans have to look forward to next season?…a random selection of the NHL’s best players mixed in the European League, Swedish Elite League, the KHL and others? It is not good enough for me…not even close. I mean yes those are all great leagues but it just will not be the same. If the players play elsewhere and there ‘potentially’ a lockout there will be no allure of the fresh slate all teams start with at the beginning of the season. There will no battles for playoff positioning. There will be no playoffs. There will be no Stanley Cup Championship. Again. Seriously? Does this seem like a great blueprint for Bettman to follow again? Does he want to be responsible for the NHL becoming the only sport to have lost NOT just one entire season…but TWO entire seasons if it happens? NO other professional sport has EVER lost an entire season due to a lockout. Can you honestly say that you will remember his time as NHL commissioner for doing something other than procrastinating the start of a season or canceling it? When I think of Bettman in his tenure as commissioner the only word that comes to mind is ‘lockout’. It is a negative image that comes to my mind and others when Bettman’s name is uttered and if he wants to change that…he’s going to have stop forcing lockouts. It doesn’t teach the players a lesson and it certainly doesn’t win the league more fans…if anything it is detrimental to the progress of the sport itself. It prevents any progress whatsoever.

The word lockout is not a welcome one in my vocabulary. Yet it keeps forcing its way into it….

Is it a coincidence that today marks to release of the National Broadcast schedule for the upcoming NHL season?

No, I think not. It seems more like some sort of ploy that league is using to bait the fans…giving us a glimpse of what we could miss should the lockout occur. It is cruel that they tease us this way…giving us a faint faint glimmer of hope looking at the ‘official’ broadcast schedule if they are only going to take it away in 2 weeks! Seems unfair to give the fans the ‘official’ schedule if the season is not even ‘official’ yet and it might not be at all. *My fingers are still crossed that we at least get most of the season…1/2 a season would better than NO season.

The NHLPA is supposedly going to to respond to the NHL proposal at tomorrow’s meetings…we’ll see if any progress gets made or not. Both sides are going to have to give in a little more before a deal of any kind is made official or any announcements come from Bettman regarding September 15th. The players want to play and many WILL go elsewhere if locked out…but lets hope it doesn’t come to that.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Players don’t want a lockout + CBA meetings continue+ New salary cap…maybe?

The players are not shy to express their distaste in the face of a potential third lockout. Forward Zach Parise went as far as stating that he wants an on time season like the rest of the players but BETTMAN is “adamant” about a lockout. In regards to the ever endless CBA debate, the NHL and the NHLPA met again in NYC today to discuss the latest proposal that NHL presented yesterday. Fehr says that the PA will respond to the latest proposal in tomorrow’s[Thursday] meeting. Rumor has it that the new NHL proposal does not call for a salary rollback but rather suggests a drop in the salary cap from $70.2 [in 2011-2012] to $58 million for next season, a large drop and many teams are certainly over that number especially those with multiple players under long term contracts that will pay them each more than $10 million next season[ahem Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Nashville]. It will be interesting to see how the NHLPA respond to this proposal at tomorrow’s meetings. The last 5 seasons the salary cap has looked like this:

2007/2008 salary cap: $50.3 million

2008/2009 salary cap: $56.7 million

2009/2010 salary cap: $56.8 million

2010/2011 salary cap: $64.3 million

2011/2012 salary cap: $70.2 —>potential 2012/2013 salary cap: $58 million? Will this be possible to integrate within the current contracts of some teams players or will it even be considered by the PA as an option? Only time will tell…but there 16 days left to come up with a new deal signed before the clock strokes on the deadline and Bettman throws down the gavel one way or another. Each day that passes makes me despise the word “lockout” more and more, but you all know that if you follow my blog. I blogged about that just a few days ago. This round of CBA meetings seem to actually have BOTH sides talking things through…how thoroughly is yet to be seen.

The Ottawa Senators have signed Kyle Turris to a 5-year extension worth $17.5 million [or a $3.5 annual cap hit]. It pretty great contract for Turris following a year when a change of scenery made all the difference for his career. He became a much different and more influential player with Ottawa than he was in Phoenix. The Montreal Canadiens have announced that Rene Bourque[former Calgary Flame] will be sidelined 8-12 weeks following abdominal surgery. And while Doan’s agent has set a deadline for him signing his new contract there does not seem to be any urgency on Doan’s part to make that official.

Like with all things CBA related we will all have to wait and see if the NHL and NHLPA can reach an agreement before Bettman throws down the gavel to complete his lockout hat trick[3 lockouts in less than 20 years? is this the legacy that Bettman wants to leave behind…because that is all many people including myself will remember about him should a lockout occur this season].

That is all for today….until tomorrow, as always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Bettman okay with lockout while CBA meetings aim to progress + other NHL happenings

Dollars and sense. Economic issues seem to be the main focus of Tuesday’s meeting between the NHL and the NHLPA executives. Rumor has it that the NHL will be presenting a new proposal. The question remains whether or not the two sides can come together before economically September 15th. Both sides are looking to make progress in negotiations as the deadline looms. No one wants to hear the word ‘lockout’ uttered by Bettman. I really truly do loathe that word and all that comes or does come with it. Bettman’s legacy during his tenure as NHL Commissioner will be the 3 lockouts rather than advancements in the game, everyone will remember him stalling its progress 3 times. Time will tell whether he’s willing to take the gamble that could make or break apart the league its many fans. Will the fans return? Probably…but it will have nothing to do with Bettman calling us ‘the best fans’. It will be because we want to see their team and favourite players play the game again. I hate when Bettman makes suggestions to how the fans will respond because how can he know when he never HEARS us? We do not want the lockout….and should it happen….there will be MANY calling for him to be replaced. Keep your fingers crossed as this next round of CBA negotiaton begins and that real progress is made this time because otherwise we will all be stuck watching ESPN classics until the lockout is ended or worst case scenario until October 2013. Let’s all hope that does not happen.

In other news the Vancouver Canucks announced the re-signing of goal-tender Eddie Lack to a 2-year contract. He has spent the last few seasons playing with the Canucks AHL affiliates[The Manitoba Moose/ and current Chicago Wolves]. He seems pretty happy to return to the organization, we shall see how impacts the team whether it is with the Wolves or the big club next season. Talks are ongoing between Burrows and the Canucks regarding his extension.

A lockout may be looming and the Phoenix Coyotes may not have all their ownership issues in order but one thing is certain. Shane Doan will indeed sign a new contract prior to September 15th deadline.

Question marks are surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers and their fading blue-line…with all eyes waiting to know one way or the other if Pronger can or cannot play again. Philly has lost many of its rear guard to injury or free agency, but the biggest loss to their defence is the concussion that has sidelined Pronger since early last season. It would be an enormous void to fill should Pronger not be able to return. Time will tell.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Lockout looming & I hate the word LOCKOUT even more…it is not welcome in my vocabulary…

Seriously…the players are needed to keep this great tradition called HOCKEY going. The word lockout is not a welcome one in my vocabulary…except for in this post…

I absolutely hate the word lockout and all that it embodies. The word lockout is one that ALL sports fans [but mostly hockey fans] loath to hear coming from the league executives. It is a word that brings with it days, months or even a year without the sport that gives every player the chance to rise above themselves. 30 teams vying for the same goal and in the end only ONE will be left standing after 82 regular season games[or maybe less if there is a short lockout or none until October 2013] and 4 intensely fought rounds in the playoffs. No other professional sport has ever lost an entire season due to a lockout and there is a possibility that with Bettman there will be a second one lost. Like I said I hate the word lockout and all the negatives it brings about. A lockout will take away the excitement that comes to each city as the calendar turns to October. There will be no Saturday night hockey nights. There will be no can’t miss games between bitter rivals. There will be no All-Star game and possibly no Winter Classic.There will be no moments of the unexpected, no hat tricks, no moments of sheer magic that can occur in one game on a particular night. There will be no streak achieved. There will be no games to remember. There might be a few exhibition games between NHL and KHL players should there be a lockout…but that would only be a handful of games….and would not compare to the grind that is the regular season and the level of excitement when playoffs begin. Playoffs are an entire different level of excitement..16 teams qualify…but ONLY one will win it all. There will be no victory parade for the team that wins because with a lockout NO ONE wins. There will not be any playoffs if Bettman gets his desire to stick to his gamble that the players must give in and that league will not lose any fans.Get real Bettman…we have been here before and YES the fans returned last time…but a second full season lockout will not be taken lightly at all. The fans have spoken but will we be heard? Not too mention a lockout will cause the NHL to lose more money than the last lockout…is it worth it? Simply put, NO. It is not worth another entire season lost just to make a ridiculous point…how many more points does Bettman want to make? It would be the 2nd lockout in less than 10 years?! Does that not sound wrong to anyone else? Who’s with me? It is not too much to ask that he return some respect to the fans and in turn they may start to respect him?…did I just say that? yikes…I must miss hockey! If Bettman wants to gain some respect back first the fans will have to be given a FULL season…and he WILL have to hold EVERY team and player to the SAME standard regarding the rules[aka when a player breaks another player’s vertebrae{Pacioretty when Chara rammed him into the stanchion received only a penalty!} or puts another player in a back brace{Raymond game 6…Rome got 4 games for causing a concussion…Boychuk got NOTHING for breaking Raymond’s back..disgusting!}….there should be more than the nothing that was given to either Bruin….or when a goalie is full on attacked outside his crease{when Lucic took out Miller.. he got ONE game…that is all…that was ludicrous!} there should be some accountability for ALL players{and then there was the example of Torres getting 25 games….} and NO favoritism or antagonism for one team or player whenever the league begins again.

What do the fans want? We want the season to start on time. Will that happen? That is yet to be determined….as the ever looming September 15th deadline from Bettman inches closer.

The season is supposed to begin October 11th…but it very well could be delayed or be canceled completely. If it is a brief lockout[aka 2 months or so] that wouldn’t be the worst thing…yes there would not be an 82 game schedule…but each team would play same amount of games in the shortened season…but still need the elusive 16 wins to earn the Stanley Cup. A shortened season does not diminish the victory…just ask the 1995 cup winning Devils and their at the time rising star Martin Brodeur[he now has 3 cups to his name & 2 Olympic GOLD medals!] or this year’s NBA Champion Lebron James and the Miami Heart! A shortened season may cause some disappointment but it would be WAY better than a full season lost because of sheer stubbornness.

I really truly do despise the word lockout and all that comes with it whenever it comes to pass in sports…but especially when it follows the acronym NHL.

DEAR, NHL & NHLPA…lets get this deal done PLEASE! -Sincerely, the fans.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Bettman vs. Fehr on CBA progress + No Rentals 4 Sweden + Give LOU the respect he has earned!

The NHL and NHLPA ended their meetings yesterday after 90 minutes of deliberation…one has to wonder how they much they were really able to discuss in such a short meeting. Bettman said that the only was to make any progress before the deadline is to solve key financial issues. He also said that the NHL was able to recover from the lockout was because they have they have the BEST fans. Really warms your heart doesn’t it?[yeah right!…does he not realize that the fans support their teams regardless of the words he spews?]. Fehr stated that the PA does not separate issues the way the league does but rather believes all things are inter-connected and that there is a lot to do. Fehr has always believed there is enough time. The NHL executives [i.e. Bettman & Daly] and the NHLPA executives [i.e. Fehr and his brother] are expected to meet again on Tuesday in New York about economics and attempt to get on the same page. Both sides will have meet on some middle ground and really make some progress this week so that the season has a hope of starting on time…the deadline is 3 weeks away…and training camps are nearly here…

The Swedish Elite League has made it official..if ANY NHL players wish to play for them next season they may only do so IF they commit to the ENTIRE season. They will not allow part-time or ‘rental’ players come and go should a lockout be announced & then come to an end.

Interesting fact…but did you know that in all professional sports, though many have had lockouts NO OTHER SPORT has had an entire season canceled due to a lockout. Look at last season when the NBA had a lockout but all was resumed by Christmas and business went as usual with the HEAT winning a championship. Seriously NO other professional sport has ever lost an entire season, except the NHL when the 2004-2005 season was canceled.

Shane Doan’s agent has stated that Doan WILL sign a new contract before the current CBA expires on Sept.15th regardless of the Phoenix ownership situation.

Seriously Vancouver where is the love for #1 R.LUONGO? I am tired of everyone saying that he did nothing for this city…that is simply untrue. Must I remind you as I did in this post:  that he has more than earned the respect of YOU, VANCOUVER…??!! The guy has 339 NHL wins & counting…224 of which are with the Canucks[in 6 seasons he has garnered a record of 224 WINS-115 Losses -41 Overtime/Shootout Losses +33 SHUTOUTS] And if the day comes that ends up back with Florida or somewhere else…I will tell you this…I will only ever root for him[even he wins a CUP elsewhere but I hope its here] and SO should you. This guy deserves a lot more respect than most of this city and most of the fans have ever given him.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Buffalo responsible for BIG offer on the table + CBA meetings resume today + Edmonton in for the long HALL

Rumor has it that it was the BUFFALO SABRES who offered Shane Doan that 4-year $30 million deal but the question remains…if it’s money he’s after why has he not signed on the dotted line? Perhaps it is not the money he is after or maybe it’s as simple as he does not wish to go to Buffalo. His first choice remains returning to the Coyotes unless they cannot assure that the franchise stays in Phoenix. We all kno w that Buffalo is not one to afraid to spend the big bucks…Ville Leino & Christian Ehrhoff[remember that contract that will see him having earned nearly $18 million by the end of next year!] last season and now with the hopes of landing Doan they are at it again. It would appear that while Buffalo has made this lofty offer…there is still no clear answer from Doan aside from he wishes to remain in Phoenix if possible. Once again, only time will tell.

CBA meetings were set to resume yesterday in Toronto between the NHL and the NHLPA following a somewhat shocking development…meetings were canceled for the afternoon yesterday and rescheduled to resume today[Thursday]. It is unclear as to why the meeting was canceled but the move follows a separate meeting the NHL & NHLPA executives[Bettman & Daly vs. Donald Fehr & his brother] had yesterday morning. The canceling and rescheduling of the meetings suggest that both sides have much to consider during this ‘make or break’ session as the ever near deadline looms. Some think this is the CBA session that will determine the future of the pending upcoming season…but no one can really know until the Sept.15th deadline comes & goes. Yesterday also marked some NHL executives, NHL GM’s and NHL players meeting to discuss officiating standards and new rules. Can we just hear the news we are all waiting to here instead of gossip about the latest meeting?! Hopefully some positive steps are taken by both sides to shorten the gap that separates them & moves them towards starting the season on time…wouldn’t that be nice instead of all the negatives?

In other news the Edmonton Oilers shall indeed continue to be ‘taylor-made’ as they announced signing Taylor Hall to a 7-year contract extension worth $42 million [an annual cap hit of $6 million…that is some precedent that the Oilers have set with signing one of their young core!]. With this contract the Oilers have insured that Hall remains with them through the prime of his career [w/ one year left on his current contract..and the 7 that will follow, he will 28 by the end of the contract] making him an integral part of their franchise. One would think that the Eberle extension of near identical money will be announced any way now. The Oilers newest young gun Nail Yakupov is suffering an apparent leg infection.

It appears that the former San Jose Shark backup goalie Antero Nittymaki is going back home regardless of a pending lockout..he has secured a one-year deal to play in his native country of Finland.

Still waiting to hear an official announcement on Burrows being signed to an extension…but I have a feeling that we’ll be hearing about #14 staying in Vancouver long-term any day now…

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

NHLPA meeting w/ Fehr + Neuvirth opens can of worms + Fisher extended

Director of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr began a round of CBA meetings with the NHLPA[prior to resuming meetings with the NHL tomorrow]  in Kelowna yesterday and expected to continue today.The focus of these meetings with the NHLPA is the details of BOTH the NHL and NHLPA proposals. Players representing the NHLPA at these meetings include: Ryan Getzlaf, Shea Weber, Jarome Iginla, Tyler Myers, Brayden Schenn, Jordin Tootoo, Dan Hamhuis, Manny Malhotra, and James Reimer. Jeremy Roenick has spoken about his distaste for the ’embarassment’ of the NHL’s first proposal to the NHLPA and agreed that there was NO way the players would agree to such a deal. While the players will resume meeting today, it is also expected that some NHL representatives will meet to discuss officiating standards. Fehr and Bettman are expected to resume formal CBA tomorrow and Thursday in Toronto. Both sides remain anxious to come to an agreement and avoid another full season lockout. With the deadline drawing nearer…it will be quite dramatic whichever way the coming announcement goes.

In other news the Edmonton Oilers are reportedly close to signing Taylor Hall to an extension, and are beginning the pursuit of also signing Jordan Eberle to an extension. They are looking to keep their young but at times potent offense signed long-term.

Michael Neuvirth has unleashed a can of worms with a few controversial statements about a few teammates and former coach in an interview in the Czech Republic. He has said that ‘Alex Ovechkin is no long the player he used to…once you reach the top you can only fall…he hopes that Ovie starts to play the way he used when he was at the top’. He then said that ‘Ovechkin is a team player and great guy to have in the locker room’. Regarding Alex Semin he said that he ‘ didn’t have the best work ethic and could be the best player in the world but he doesn’t want to everyday and that is wrong’ and ‘him leaving the team is a minus for the Caps…but maybe its a good thing’. Regarding new coach Adam Oates he said ‘he is a Captials legend that it is a new beginning and it means Dale Hunter isn’t staying [the coach that took over for Bruce Boudreau last season] Holtby was Hunter’s #1 but I didn’t find a way to him after having good relationships with Boudreau and my former farm team coach… it’s good that he left’. In regards to Hunter’s #1 Holtby he had this to say : ‘I have played just over 100 NHL games and I am going into this season expecting to play 40-50 games and will finally try to be the #1..I have always had others in front of me in the net [Varlamov, Vokoun]…but this time will be a turning point…Holtby is my weakest competition ever[in comparison to the more experienced Varlamov & Vokoun]…he was my #2 when we both played for the farm team.’ Wow…that is a quite a few interesting statements for him to make about a former teammate [Semin] and current teammates [Ovechkin & Holtby] and some might not like what he had to say. One would have to think that there will be some sort or repercussions about such statements made. It’s up to Semin how he will play each game, & speaking of Holtby, he was the rookie goalie last season that in the playoffs took down the BRUINS in an epic 7 game series…and played valiantly in a 7 game series against the Rangers & Ovechkin is still a world class player and deserves a lot more respect than what Neuvirth gave to him [especially as Ovie is team captain…not too mention his many other accomplishments since joining the league]. Neuvirth showed much confidence in this interview, but I do think it is misguided to start calling out your teammates in such a disrespectful way.

The Nashville Predators have signed forward Mike Fisher to a 2-year extension worth $8.4 million[an annual cap hit of $4.1 million] that will kick in  at the start of the 2013-2014 season. Great signing by Nashville, Fisher is a very dependable player….putting up 63 points in 99 regular season games & 11 points in 22 post-season games with Nashville. Mike Fisher is a class act on & off the ice and my favourite part about this guy? He’s a Christian and not afraid who knows it! There are more and more hockey players that are not afraid to speak about their faith openly to media and it is amazing to hear…[David Booth, Dan Hamhuis to name a few others who aren’t afraid to speak the truth]. Way to go Fisher, best of luck as you continue your career in Nashville!

That’s all for today folks! I’m off to work! As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Canucks & Burrows talking + BEAM me up SCOTTY extended in Philly + Cherry Commentary

The Vancouver Canucks Assistant GM Gilman has been quoted saying that YES they are in the beginning stages with Burrows agent to get him re-signed beyond next season long-term. Burrows has positioned himself in a place of receiving a well deserved raise (he has scored 26 or more goals in each of the last 4 seasons…MOST of those were even-strength goals as he gets limited if any power play time with the Sedins & Kes being the #1 power play unit. Rumor has that the Canucks are also looking to lock up Edler with an extension beyond next season…#23 has been becoming more & more consistent the last few years…he put up 49 points(incredible saying as no one was supposed to get those type of numbers except Ehrhoff…fascinating tidbit: last year Bieksa also hit +40 points with a total of 44 points & Hamhuis hit 37 points….our top 3 offensive D combined for 130 points…that’s sensational!). Let’s get Burr signed quickly, MG & then Eddy too!

Rumor has it that the San Jose Sharks in trouble….reports have come out that they lost $15 million last season despite having sold out every home game. We’ll have to wait and see how accurate those reports are and how it will affect the franchise, if at all.

While the Philadelphia Flyers have a fading blue-line…they have secure one of their most exciting forwards in signing Scott Hartnell to a SIX-year extension[$28.5 million with an annual cap of $4.75…extra note:BURROWS could request that type of $$ but he probably wouldn’t]. Way to go Scott, the contract was well earned…this guy scored 37 goals last season!  Hartnell is always fun to watch…one of my favourite moments was watching him in the ALL-Star game last year and he kept razzing Phaneuf  or him & Lupul commentating while they were mic’d up so the viewers could hear.Plus that guy has a habit of scoring some clutch goals…like another gritty player I know(#14 in green & blue)! Solid signing Philly! Now they just need some help on the defense.

In the world of CBA negotiations, the ever colourful Don Cherry[you either love the guy &his suits or you hate him] is back at it, giving loud commentary regarding the NHL. He has stated that he believes its a shame that there is going to be a lockout as both sides have yet to come to a new agreement, however he predicts that it will only last two months. Could we have a lockout and hockey in November? People may not always like what Don Cherry has to say, but this guy has NEVER been afraid to call them like he sees them and in this comment…he could very well be correct. While the idea of a lockout is disturbing to me and many other hockey fans…I would take a shortened season any day over NO season. Let’s hope that should there be a lockout, that is a very brief work stoppage. The next round of CBA meetings are set to resume Wednesay between the NHL & the NHLPA and both sides will have to give a little in order to make a new CBA a reality.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Roberto deserves better from you Vancouver & you should give him the respect he’s earned.

**I apologize, this post is a little long but there was so much to address.

Roberto Luongo deserves better from you, VANCOUVER. There is one thing that all of Vancouver fans owe to one Roberto Luongo and that is RESPECT. If there is one thing he has earned, it is at least respect. The guy could never do anything right in the eyes of some whether the team was winning or losing. Did he let some bad goals at times? Yes…but so has every other good goalie. He took on the burdens the city and media laid upon him, .and in the media placing the blame or glory on him, the city followed suit. One day everyone would love him and the next people wanted him gone and so the pattern would go. Oh how soon most of you all forget the good things that he has done for  this team and city.

Let me tell you a story, picture it: it was April 2006 and the Canucks were without a bonafide #1 goalie with Dan Cloutier injured and Alex Auld flailing to fill the void(he was supposed to be the back up BUT had to play as starter when Cloutier went down) and there would be no playoffs. The playoff miss brought with it change, not just in coaching but on the roster too. Marc Crawford[had been coach for 8 years!] was fired and Alain Vigneault was named head coach. In a bold move, June 30, 2006 the Canucks traded Todd Bertuzzi & Auld to Florida in exchange for Roberto Luongo and Lucas Krajcek. He brought with himself high expectations to win and the certainty that the Canucks would return to the playoffs.The following season was one filled with many expectations and it lived up to it…although it was a slow beginning…the play down the stretch was something special. Luongo led the team to become the 2007 NW Division champion & playoffs with 47 WINS(P.S. the team had 49 W’s total that year…!) and was nominated for the HART & the VEZINA trophies. Round 1 of the 2007 playoffs brought the Dallas Stars…7 games….it became a goalie showdown…it was incredible to watch…4 OT periods that first game before Hank scored…but game 7 LOU was amazing…and Linden sealed that one. It was his 1st ever playoff series experience and victory. The 2nd round was not our forte….but there were some great moments despite the loss and the blame cannot all be placed on ONE player so do NOT go there. The following season [2007-2008] brought some more great moments for our city….Loungo’s 1st 3 game + shutout streak in November…Linden’s last game but there were no playoffs this time, only the promise that the team would be better next season. The[ 2008-2009] season opened with the Canucks beating the Flames 6-0….that was certainly an amazing opening act. November brought Loungo’s 2nd 3 game+ shutout streak(I was at the 2nd game of that streak…it was incredible to watch!) in which he beat his record from the year before! Things were going well until Luongo was injured and there began an 11 game losing streak in January brought all the questions from the year before….what about playoffs? blame being placed everywhere….and then a game in early February….at home vs. Carolina…tied 3-3 with less than 5 minutes to play…the Canucks short-handed seemed destined to lose yet again…but a BIG save & even bigger goal by BURR snapped the streak. That win got the Canucks back on track and they played unbelievable down the stretch to win their 2nd NW Division title in 3 years and just like that the city became crazed in playoff dreams. The first round brought the St.Louis Blues and 2-0 series lead gained at home…including a shutout in game 2. ***let me just say that going to a playoff game is even more incredible than during the regular season…! The Canucks would go on to gain a 3-0 series lead with a chance to sweep..something they had never done before EVER and of course it came down to less than 20 seconds of OT[looking certain to go into a 2nd overtime] but who else but BURR gets to goal for the SWEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great goal-tending & an excellent PK won the series hands down….the next round brought out the Chicago Blackhawks….and well it started out great….1-0 series lead….2-1 series lead….a back & forth game 6 that looked briefly as thought the Canucks would win….but of course we all know what happened…they didn’t and this was the 1st heart-ache the Blackhawks caused me and also ignited a deep loathing of all things Chicago Blackhawk related. The [2009-2010 season] brought out special circumstances with the Winter Olympics being smack dab in the middle of February and requiring the NHL to pause their season for 2 1/2 weeks while many players represented their countries in the event. Luongo was supposed to back up Brodeur…and was given game 1 to play with the understanding that these would be Brodeur’s games. However when Brodeur faltered against the USA, Luongo was handed the reigns and never gave them back. Yes it was CROSBY that scored the GOLDEN GOAL but it was LUONGO that made that ridiculous save against Slovakia to insure that team Canada was able to play in the gold medal game.

Upon returning to the regular season Luongo led to team to their 3rd NW Division title in 4 years and HANK won the Art Ross. Luongo had 40 W’s. The 2010 playoffs brought more excitement to the city still high off the winning gold on home ice at the Olympics. Round one went back and forth with the Kings[some great glove saves on both sides..particularly that one LOU had on Smyth!]…but it was the lack of penalty kills and WAY too many penalties being taken that nearly cost this series…..I remember thinking just kill ONE penalty and stop taking more….and finally they killed one and then another and then a few big saves…and a game 4 won to tie the series..and suddenly they were in control of game 5…and game 6 WON! Round 2 once more brought the Blackhawks from the windy city…and once more it started out great…1-0 series lead….but then down 3-1…….and then game 5 WON…..and hope once more….but we all know what happened in game 6… wasn’t pretty. 2 years in a row….twice in 6 games the Canucks were eliminated by Chicago…twice they were the better team. It ignited an even greater dislike of all things Chicago Blackhawk related.
The [2010-2011 season] was special in many ways. Luongo set the bar even higher….becoming to most winning Canuck goalie….reaching his personal 300th career W….helping lead the Canucks to their BEST franchise record EVER…[54-19-9…earning 117 points to earn the Presidents trophy securing home ice for the entire playoffs] in which they led in all the important categories : #1 powerplay #1 penalty kill(*3rd by playoffs, still amazing), #1 in goals scored and #1in least goals allowed. They won the NW Division title for the 4th time in 5 years and won the entire regular season in the West & the East….the next best team had 109 points. This time it was DANNY that won the Art Ross. The Canucks opened the playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks…yes I know..3 years in a row…how is that even possible?! The Blackhawks were lucky to make the playoffs in 2011…but still they had a talented team. The Canucks knowing that if they were to go a long way MUST beat the previous Stanley Cup champion team. It was a fantastic 1st 3 games…the Canucks led the series 3-0!!..yes I know amazing…but then the Blackhawks started playing the way they always do…and got themselves back into the series…tying it 3-3….leading to the inevitable game 7…do or die. There were so many implications going into that game….and then it started…LOU opened with some great saves and then KES to BURROWS…SCORES!!!!!!!!! and the score remained 1-0 for nearly the entire game…a missed penalty shot….then there was a last minute powerplay which ended up with the Blackhawks tying it shorthanded rather than 2-0 it became 1-1. Overtime for all the marbles….Canucks take a bad penalty….SHARP goes for the goal…but STOPPED BY LUONGO….and suddenly the penalty is over. Campoli misses the clearing attempt BURROWS steals and SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the dragon has been slayed…or as Jim Hughson said it: “it’s a great day for an exorcisim, Vancouver!”.

The games that followed were an amazing run….and one of these days the Canucks will win the cup[every team will have their day]. This season we just had…maybe it wasn’t as amazing as the 2010/2011 season…but it was still a great one…that ended in a 2nd President’s trophy. BURR scoring & LOU standing tall to end the streak in Detroit….these two teams always play great against one another. And maybe there was no magical playoff run this time…but DO NOT place all the blame on #1….was it his fault that the Canucks couldn’t beat Quick? No. What is supposed to make saves and score too? That is illogical. It breaks my heart a little to think of how quick when things go wrong that the local media(The Province & The Vancouver Sun in particular) followed by the fans are to solely blame Luongo…even if the team in front of him struggled greatly…but all anyone ever mentions is the bad goal let in…or if he just stopped that one…..but what about if the defense had just blocked that shot? or if the forwards had just got that one goal? or if the powerplay clicked? I’m sick of it. In comes Cory Schneider…yes he’s a great athlete…yes he’s played 60 NHL games(peanuts compared to Lou) but he is not a bonafide starter and he could STILL benefit greatly from having LOU in tandem with him this coming season. Luongo holds most of the Canuck goalie records…or don’t you remember? I enjoy watching these two play and they make each other play better…it is not a coincidence that suddenly Schneider was playing amazing this year, but he has not yet earned the respect that everyone is so quick to give him. Yes he has earned the right at playing more and getting a chance…but he has NOT earned the respect of Lou’s experience. Luongo has given this team an amazing 6 years…5 playoff appearances….solidifying himself in the Canucks record books…5 Division titles…1 Western Conference Championship…2 Presidents Trophies…not to mention his work with Canuck Place, Canucks For Kids Fund, & his other charities…so do not start telling me to give Cory that same respect because he has not earned that just yet. Maybe he will, but he isn’t there yet. To me Luongo will always be a Canuck and I secretly(or not so secretly since I’m sharing it with all of you] hope that he stays in Vancouver this season and should Cory falter that LOU takes those reigns and does not relinquish them until the Canucks win their 1st Stanley Cup. What is so wrong with having potentially one of the greatest goalie-tandems in the league..I will answer you, nothing…it would be amazing. I have nothing but the greatest respect Luongo and always have…I will always LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU no matter where he plays but like I said I hope that he stays in my city with my team. #foreveraCanuck in my eyes!

So the next time you think about following the media’s standpoint on criticizing a player..just think back to what they have done for the team, the city, and the fans…do not just adopt their attitude present in their article because it is not always true.The fans should not be taken in by the media’s tirade on the team or their players…as a fan you should always root for your team and the players that make up your team.I would hope that the local media would report the accurate facts but also when things aren’t going well for the team instead of attacking the players and coaches and placing the blame that they would encourage the fans and the city to still cheer loud because positivity can go a long way.  I will never understand the local media when things go bad can never find one decent thing to say about the team…but only the negatives…and if that is all the fans are reading…suddenly those become the thoughts they are thinking when a similar spiral begins and they too start sharing the same negative blame placing attitude. It is unacceptable and hopefully in the coming season things will change. How would you feel if every time you opened the paper there was a new article about how everything that is going wrong is yet again somehow YOUR fault….it would be ridiculous. The local media has become so absurd that I stopped by the local papers following this last season because it each day the excuses implied by them was that the blame all fall on one individual…and as we all know hockey is a TEAM sport…a TEAM game…and like any TEAM game…TEAMS win or lose TOGETHER.

That is all.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Fans uniting + More CBA meetings still to come + Philly honours Jessica Redfield

In light of a lockout looming…fans around the world are taking action or threatening to take drastic measures. Do we want a lockout? NO! Some have started initiatives to start boycotting all things related the NHL…including no longer purchasing any merchandise for a particular team & un-following any social media outlet for a particular team. There are groups popping up all over social media [facebook, tumblr, & twitter] inviting all fans to un-follow the NHL groups & any associated with the NHL. They want to show Bettman & company that the fans will not accept a lockout quietly and willingly. I like that the fans want to have a voice and do not want to be silenced by Bettman & company. Will I boycott my Canucks…probably not, but I do understand that fans want to express their absolute distaste of a lockout. I absolutely HATE the impending threat of a lockout and would like nothing more than there to be an official agreement that both the NHL & NHLPA are satisfied with so that the season can start on time [not delayed or canceled!]. I cannot think of any real hockey fan that wants to see another lockout…04/05 was brutal…please do not let there be a repeat, Bettman, PLEASE.

On that note, Director of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr has stated that the “players are unified” in face of an NHL lockout essentially, united they stand]. Fehr has also been quoted saying that NO ONE on the players side is talking about stopping the season and that he would like to speak with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman before the next CBA meeting [Wednesday, August 22].The NHL would like an official response to their initial proposal[not the alternative view!] whereas the NHLPA feel that their proposal[alternative view] was proactive & addressed existing problems. There is A LOT of work to be done before both sides will come to an agreement and both will have to make compromises before meeting somewhere in the middle.

In other news defenseman Scott Hannan[played for Calgary last year] has signed a one-year deal with Nashvile. Rumor has it that Dany Heatley has filed an $11 million lawsuit against his former agent for withdrawing $4 million from his bank account & not receiving financial returns that he was promised from a real estate deal. No news yet on Doan as he continues to await the Phoenix ownership saga before any official decision is made, although none will be surprised to see him stay with the Coyotes. The Vancouver Canucks continue to work with re-signing my favourite #14 to an extension [get on with MG …lets get this deal signed & sealed!]. Philadelphia may becoming decimated on the blue-line, but they gained a ton of respect in creating the “Jessica Redfield Internship” in memory of Jessica who lost her life in the Aurora movie theater shooting. The internship will be for female college students with ambitions of getting into the field of sports journalism, just as Jessica was pursuing the same dream. She was working as an intern with the “You Can Play” project and had gained many followers on twitter and her blog. This is an amazing way to honour her memory and help other achieve the same dream that she aspired to become.
The jury is still out on the lockout and all moves made and yet to made during this off-season. All will become more clear as the CBA situation eventually comes to a close. Keep your fingers crossed that both sides can come to an agreement by the 15th or atleast before the Winter Classic…I’d rather a shorter season than NO season. I say if Bettman leads the NHL to another lockout…there will be a need for a NEW Commissioner[but that’s just my opinion!…but seriously a potential 3rd lock out in less than 20 years with Bettman at the helm? anyone else with me?]
As always, until next time, nuck said.
Sarah E.L.