February Roundup

Today’s edition of nucksaid is what I like to call the “February Roundup”:

The Canucks placed Aaron Volpatti on waivers, and he was claimed off those very same waivers by the Washington Capitals. Best of luck in the Capitol #peppermintpatty! The Canucks also learned earlier this week that Ryan Kesler will sidelined for a lengthly period due to a fractured bone in his foot. Awesome news[enter sarcastic tone]. Kesler was just beginning to hit his stride with 5 points in 7 games! I sincerely hope that this latest injury of his heals sooner rather than later as it is extremely important that come playoff time, Ryan Kesler must be 100% healthy. Andrew Ebbett has been recalled from the Chicago Wolves. With Kesler missing more games, now is the time for players like Ebbett, Kassian and Schroeder to step up. They say one player’s injury is another player’s opportunity which is exactly true, it is up to the under dogs to prove they are more valuable than people realized.

Despite a complete debacle by any and all angles in the Detroit game, Roberto Luongo[5-1-3 —2 SO] is still the Canucks most consistent player. That was the first and only game he let in more than 3 goals in 9 starts. Despite the 8 goals[please no comments, it was a disaster game by the entire team] Luongo’s GAA is just 2.11 [up from his sparkling 1.45, but still very respectable]. Cory Schneider[5-4-1 —1 SO] has yet to show his rock solid consistency from a year ago letting 3 or more goals in 6 of 10 starts. I do think that Luongo will rebound from the Detroit game and Schneider will find his consistency despite the ridiculous cloud of negativity that media and fans are prone to creating.

My favourite fact about the Canucks in February is that despite the two losses to close out the month, the #triplets [Sedins & Burrows] rediscovered their chemistry after being reunited. The Sedins have found their mid-season form. Combined Daniel, Henrik and Burrows have posted 49 points in 19 games [Daniel 20, Henrik 18, and Burrows 11]. That is the definitely #1 line material.

The Canucks have a new entrance song for home games. Gone is “Where Streets Have No Name” by U2, and in its place at least for now is “The House That Heaven Built” by the Japandroids. I am not convinced that this is it and I think the search should continue.

Canucks fans were given the news that Manny Malhotra’s season would be cut short and they would be missing a very important part of their penalty kill for the rest of the season. Manny Malhotra addressed the media for the first time since it was announced that he was not able to finish the season due. He stated that although it is difficult to be on the sidelines, he is greatful to be a part of the Vancouver Canucks organization because it is like being a part of a family.

The Chicago Blackhawks are still playing scary good and have extended their points streak to 19 game [16-0-3] not including tonight’s game[which despite the loss of Crawford, the outcome looks good up 3-0]. It does not matter whether Crawford or Emery is in net, both have been lights out. It also helps that the team is getting scoring from the top line guys, the defense and secondary scoring from every other line. As much as I dislike the Blackhawks, I cannot deny the talent they have displayed 19 games and counting to start this season.

The San Jose Sharks on the other hand who started off the season red hot with 7 straight wins disappointed in February winning just 2 out of 11 games [not including tonight’s game]. The big three of Big Joe[Thornton], Marleau and Little Joe[Pavelski] have to find their game if they want to turn things moving towards March.

In a move that shocked the waves most so far into the shortened season was seeing that Bufflalo dismissed head coach Lindy Ruff who has been the cornerstone of that franchise for nearly 16 years! The only other coach to be tenured that long is Barry Trotz in Nashville. It bothers me that coaches are blamed and dismissed first when a team struggles. Are they to blame? Perhaps on some levels, but I do not think that Lindy Ruff is one who can be blamed for Buffalo’s struggles. They desperately need more than one line to provide their scoring.

In the media circus that is swirling around the Colorado Avalanche and the Ryan O’Reilly conundrum has reached new heights as the Calgary Flames have signed him to a 2-year $10 million offer sheet. The Colorado Avalanche have 7 days to respond by either matching the offer or losing their best player from last season. O’Reilly has yet to play in any games this season due to the fact that he is currently without a contract. Rumor has it that other teams [including the Canucks] also made offers. Will Colorado let Ryan O’Reilly walk? Well we did not  have to wait too long before the Avs responded. Colorado has matched the 2 year $10 million offer sheet. The new deal comes with a guarantee that the Avs cannot trade him for at least a year from today’s signing date and the second year will see O’Reilly paid $6.5 million. It seems absurd that it took nearly losing O’Reilly to a division rival before Colorado would budge on the contract issues. Let the ‘overpaid’ comments commence. Perhaps Colorado will finally get some scoring help that they so desperately need with O’Reilly’s return.

19 games in and there are still so many things that will determine the path of each team. Teams and players will continue, end and begin streaks. Trades will happen for some teams prior to the trade deadline[April 5th]. Each game is a clean slate, but as the halfway mark approaches every single point is extremely important for teams wanting to make the playoffs. I look forward to all the drama still to come as the season continues to unfold.

Thank-you for the NHL and the NHLPA finally ending the “lockout madness” in January so that my birthday tradition can continue! I am happy to announce that I will be going to see my Canucks play on my birthday with my entire family…it shall be priceless. The games live are an experience that each hockey fan should have at least once.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

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