Have you heard? Is it true? NHL deadline is nearly here…

Have you heard the rumors? Have you heard the facts? Have you heard the completely crazy? You will hear it all before April 3rd. The trade deadline is merely a few days away as the rumors, speculation and desperation picks up speed. Who will make the big moves? Who will make the small but very important move to improve their roster? Who will stand pat? Which teams will be buyers? Which teams will be sellers? Will some of your favourite players find a new home before playoffs? April 3rd will undoubtedly be the busiest day with most teams making their moves in the final hours permitted. Oh how I love and hate the trade deadline. More and more waves of trades and rumors will come to pass in the next two days as this deadline saga draws to an end.

Speaking of rumors and facts, Jarome Iginla’s fate has been decided. Well by now, everyone knows that Jarome Iginla is now a Pittsburgh Penguin and he made his debut today. The Flames did indeed trade their long time captain on Thursday. There were some misleading reports that Iginla had been traded to the Boston Bruins[met with many mixed reviews] but as we all know, those reports were false. Boston apparently was quite put out by the news as they believed that they had won the Jarome Iginla lottery, they even had a press conference to talk about it. Back to Jarome, I am happy that Iginla is getting the much deserved chance to play for a contending team, but I am slightly mystified as to the way Calgary dealt with the matter. Instead of allowing him one last chance to play for the home fans when they knew they were getting close to a deal, they made him a healthy scratch and sent him home. He was not even in the arena to hear the raucous crowd chanting IGGY and hoping for at least one glance of their captain. That is extremely unsettling considering he played in Calgary for 16 years and was a huge part of that community. The fans deserved better from team management. I understand they wanted to protect their asset prior to moving him, but they should have allowed him one last time to be part of the team. Jarome Iginla is one of the most stand up guys in the league, so it is no surprise that he was very classy in addressing the media when this roller coaster finally came to a stop. Iginla after clearing up some immigration issues[getting a working visa for the US] he officially made his debut with the Penguins on Saturday[Mar.30]. Unfortunately in Iggy’s first game as a Penguin Sid the kid broke his jaw and will out of the line-up indefinitely, so it will be at least a few games before they can test their on ice chemistry. Best of luck in your new city IGGY! The Penguins have made some great additions to their team in the last week as they are preparing for a LONG playoff run. They finished the month of March undefeated, a perfect 15-0-0 [in the NHL NO team, I repeat: NO TEAM has ever registered an entire month completely undefeated!].

All teams have questions they will address with the impending deadline ever so closely approaching. Will the Sharks move Ryane Clowe? What happens now in Buffalo, does Ryan Miller stay or go? Will Tampa and Florida become sellers or buyers to bulk up for next year? What happens in Ottawa when Craig Anderson returns, do they move Bishop or Lehner? Will Chicago bulk up on defense? With Perry and Getzlaff now locked in, do the Ducks look to fill other holes? Will the Rangers actually trade Marian Gaborik? What oh what will the struggling Philadelphia Flyers do? What happens with Columbus, now that they are in the top 8, do they make a splash to help secure playoff positioning?

As for my Canucks in regards to the trade deadline, anything could happen. Like I said earlier I both love and hate the trade deadline. I loved it when we added Higgins & Lappy two years ago BUT I HATED when we traded COHO last year! I will be absolutely 100% heart broken if Luongo does indeed get moved, but I will always cheer for him no matter what jersey he wears. I would prefer that if Luongo gets traded that it happen in the summer because as the Canucks move down this playoff drive stretch, it would be ideal to have not one but TWO great goalies for their entire playoff run. As we have seen this season when one struggles the other has stepped up and it would be an absolute shame to have no one to turn to in the playoffs if Cory struggles to find consistency. As I have also said many many times, Luongo deserves A LOT more respect than this city gives him. It seems like if he is going to be traded it should have happened before the season or at the end of the season but not this week[at least, I hope not!]. Personally I think we need BOTH, Lou & Schneids this season. We will have to wait and see what moves Mike Gillis has up his sleeve this year!

In other news the Canucks had their 6 game win streak snapped by the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday and will be looking to get back in the win column when they take on the San Jose Sharks Monday evening. The Canucks are also hoping to learn good news when Ryan Kesler goes in for a CT scan, if all goes well he could be cleared to play later in the week BUT we will have to wait before getting too excited [but perhaps we could all cross our fingers? The Canucks are desperately missing #17 in the face off dot and the powerplay!]. NICKLAS JENSEN has been recalled from the Chicago Wolves and will make his NHL debut with the team in SAN JOSE!!!!!!! Keep your eye on the kid tomorrow night, hopefully he will be another honey badger like fellow Dane, Jannik Hansen!

April 3rd is right around  the corner, for some people its like Christmas, for others it is torture waiting to learn the fate of their team. Some trades will surprise us and some will be expected. Decisions will be made and there will be no turning back. All teams will hope that whatever decisions they make at the deadline will ultimately make them a better team.

We will know more once Wednesday comes and goes. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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Rumors, Trades, and Facts

March Madness continues to pick speed as the April 3rd trade deadline approaches. Now that Anaheim has settled the matter of signing both Getzlaf and Perry, the rumor mills are picking up speed every day in regards to the fate of Jarome Iginla. Everyone seems to believe that he will be moved by the trade deadline, it just a matter of where. It seems Calgary management may be willing to part with their eternal Flame[admitting that it is time to rebuild] and Iginla willing to admit that the Flames are nowhere near being the contender they want to be and he deserves to play with a contender. Iginla gave the Flames the green light to wave his NTC[no trade clause] and supposedly also a list of teams he would be willing to go to. Teams rumored to be Iginla’s list are: Pittsburgh, Boston, LA, Detroit and Chicago[even Vancouver has been mentioned but that is a highly unlikely destination]. The movement of Iginla is sure to upset many fans but at this point moving Iginla and beginning their rebuild seem to be their only options. Last night may or may not have been his last game as a Flame, and only time will tell which destination becomes his next reality. Following last night’s game, Iginla refused to comment on situation not wanting to add fuel to the fire. Reports have suggested that in exchange for Jarome, Calgary would like one young promising prospect and two draft picks. The rumors will only grow louder as more and more players are thrown into this fruit basket upset that is known as the trade deadline draws ever closer.

Speaking of rumors, the whispers became fact yesterday when the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired [now former] Dallas Stars Captain Brendan Morrow in exchange for a draft pick & defensive prospect Joe Morrow. Add the the San Jose Sharks to the trade talk mix as rumor has it that they may be looking to move Ryane Clowe, Dan Boyle or Douglas Murray as the team has struggled to find that consistency they had at the start of the year. Make the SJ trade talk official as the Pittsburgh Penguins continue to push for an extensive playoff as they have acquired Douglas Murray from the Sharks in exchange for two 2nd round draft picks. The Penguins have been the most dominant team of the East with the dynamic duo of Crosby & Kunitz, as well they are currently on a 12 game win streak. Looks like the Penguins will be the ones to beat the East. The question now for San Jose is do they continue to sell in order to collect draft picks or do they make one or two BIG moves prior to the deadline in the hopes of making a playoff push?

Outside of the growing trade talk madness, this weekend also marked Tampa Bay’s Guy Boucher as the latest coach to meeting the chopping block. The firing comes following a second straight disappointing season leaving many to suggest that either veteran coach Lindy Ruff or the Tampa AHL affiliate coach Jon Cooper will be asked to take his place.

Back to my Canucks.The Canucks have returned home having completed a 3 game road trip with a perfect 3-0-0 record and are back atop the North West Division [Minnesota is only 2 points behind & have 2 games in hand, they will play tonight]. With the road trip success it brings the Canucks win streak to 4 in a row, and I must say it is much more fun to watch win streaks than losing ones! The last two victories came with the Canucks missing Alex Edler on defense as he was forced to sit both of them out due to a two game suspension[he will return to the lineup March 26th]. With Edler out of the line-up the rest of the defense had to step up and they did. Also it certainly helped that Cory Schneider seems to have found his game again and that consistency that everyone came to expect from him last year! Welcome back Schneids! It will be fun to watch both him & Lou down the stretch over the next 4 weeks as they both drive one another to play better.

In other Canucks news, they learned this week that David Booth will be out for the season following season ending surgery [small sliver of hope he could be back for playoffs], and with his absence the Canucks have had to recall Schroeder who has been EXCELLENT since his be recalled. Jordan Schroeder when combined with Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond has had great chemistry. It is extremely fun to watch those three play together! The Canucks also had to call upon defenseman Keith Ballard to play forward for a couple games as they were short-handed in the forward department. He played fairly well and had some pretty decent scoring chances.

May I also take this moment to remind you that it is nearly time for Ryan Kesler to return to the lineup as the Canucks prepare for the stretch drive. He could return as soon as within the next week but probably not until the first week of April. The Canucks could definitely use some extra depth at center, particularly in the face-off circle! Wanted: Ryan Kesler 100% healthy and beast mode ready.  #RK17

And just in case you missed this beauty of a gem last night, here it is, Alex Burrows GWG[P.S. that was the 23rd game winning goal of his career!] What a goal!! Enjoy.

Let’s hope that as the Canucks return home they are able to continue their recent success and continue to fight Minnesota for that NW Division leading spot! #GoCanucksGo

Trades, rumors and facts = March Madness indeed! Only time will tell the drama that is sure to continue to unfold as the April 3rd deadline nears and teams make moves for that elusive playoff run.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Birthday= Canuck’d Tradition

Hello faithful readers & possible spring breakers! Yesterday the Canucks did not get the win, and currently sit two points out of the NW Divisional lead. Stop rushing to push that panic button, there are still 20 games left in which a lot will inevitably happen and it will be a fun battle to watch down the stretch. It does not matter where in the top 8 a team finishes, just that they are in the top 8 prior to the start of playoffs. Be excited, the end of the season picture is still to be determined.

Today’s post however shall take us back to the Canucks match with the Predators.

Picture it, it was Thursday March 14th 2013, a day like any other except for the fact that it was my birthday. If you have followed blog from the beginning than perhaps you remember me mentioning, it has become my special tradition to go the Canucks game every year on my birthday. This year however that tradition was put in jeopardy because of the lockout and the uncertainty of what the shortened schedule would look like. So first, thank-you to those lovely people charged with the complicated NHL scheduling task for making this tradition once more!  The day started as any other game day would, checking the stats of all teams heading into all the day’s action. I like to know what’s going in the league to get myself into game day mode. Next up is getting Canucked up in team colours and making predictions for the game. I made 3 predictions that morning: Luongo would start, Kevin Bieksa would return & the Canucks would win by 3, [and if you watched the game then you know that all three of these became the end results]. The hours winded down and everyone returned from work to also get themselves ready for the game. In the end, all six of us were in Jerseys ready for puck drop.

Heading on the train to the game blue and green was every which you looked as many other fans were also decked out head to toe in Canuck apparel en route to the arena. Ticket and bag checks were mandatory heading through the doors prior to finding our seats in the lower bowl. We had seats just behind Luongo’s net, the view was excellent. We got to see the pre-game warmups up close:

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Some of my favourite Canucks[Garrison, Lapierre, Booth, Higgins, Schneids] getting game ready prior to the puck drop.

Warmups ended and then before we knew it was time for the ceremonial face-off and both anthems to be sung. No one expected there to be any type of quick pace to this game, let alone 11 goals. Games between Vancouver and Nashville tend to be snooze fests and extremely tight defensively, that cannot be said for this goal fest. In their previous match up this season it was a 1-0 victory for the Canucks and most people expected a similar type of game heading into the match. That is not what happened. Two minutes in the Canucks took a quick 1-0 lead,

The first of 7 Canuck goals! The atmosphere was absolutely electric...

The first of 7 Canuck goals! Ebbett got the party started, & the atmosphere was absolutely electric…

The entire arena was up on their feet cheering loudly for the home side. It only took a few minutes for Nashville to respond back with their own goal tying it 1-1. For a while it seemed as though that’s how the game would stay, until an Alex Edler point shot found its way behind Pekka Rinne making it 2-1 Canucks. Nashville had some late pressure but the arena erupted in #LOUUUS as Luongo stood tall keeping Nashville at bay. The final minutes of the first period saw some incredible Sedinesque passing from Bieksa to Ebbett to Hansen to Raymond who unleashed a highlight reel wrist shot to beat Pekka Rinne giving the home side a 3-1 edge heading into the 2nd period and the crowd was on their feet once more. There was a palpable sense of ease at the end of the first period. Cue the second period when the refs beginning to hand out penalties much to the fans chagrin. Nashville had some dangerous zone time but the Canucks were able to keep the door closed and the momentum on their side. On their final clear down the ice, the puck found Lapierre just as he exited the penalty box  and he made no mistake on his breakaway putting the home side up 4-1. The crowd was ecstatic and not afraid to make their cheers heard. Cue Nashville pulling Pekka Rinne for the for 3rd consecutive outing at Rogers Arena. It seemed as though the game was decided, that is until Nashville was quick to come back within two, making it 4-2. The crowd was slightly apprehensive at the quick turn around, but each time the Canucks had the puck their cheering became louder. Jannik Hansen would ensure that the Canucks 3 goal lead was re-instated before the end of the 2nd period giving the Canucks the 5-2 edge heading into the third period. Sounds pretty good, right?

The Canucks began and ended the third period with a three goal lead. The lead nearly disappeared when Nashville launched their comeback, making it 5-3 with lots of time left on the clock, and just like that Nashville scored again making it 5-4 seemingly taking all the momentum to their side[or so they thought!]. The goal only made the fans in the stand cheer louder for the home team with just over 4 minutes left in regulation, NO ONE wanted overtime or a dreaded shootout. Heading into the final minutes of the game, Nashville had cut lead to just one and you could suddenly hear a pin drop as 18,860 fans sat in silence collectively holding their breath. Cue another shift in the game as the Canucks instead of collapsing started a charge into the Nashville zone with Henrik leading the way. It looked like he was about to score before he got taken down and much to Nashville’s dislike, the Canuck Captain was awarded a penalty shot. Coach V wanted a powerplay but was not given one and Hank had to take the shot. As Henrik skated to centre ice, the entire arena stood in silence hoping to see the goal light come on. When he pulled that move and gently slid the puck in the net, the entire arena was jumping, cheering and high 5’s all around!!!!

Henrik skated in all sly, faked Mason to force him out the net only to gently slide the puck into the net...SCORES!!!! The entire arena went crazy[in a good way!]

Henrik skated in all sly, faked Mason to force him out the net only to gently slide the puck into the net…SCORES!!!! The entire arena went crazy, the atmosphere was electric.

Henrik’s penalty shot goal seemed to calm the crowd with just over 2 minutes left. Nashville did indeed pull their goal-tender for one last chance to tie the game or pull within one. However what occurred is what seems to happen more than not when a team pulls their goalie, the team that was ahead added to their lead. After many close calls, Booth finally got his first goal of the year[thanks in large to Lapierre who could have taken the shot himself instead of passing the puck to Booth]! The home was now ahead 7-4 with the entire crowd still on their feet. As the final buzzer sounded the team jumped from the bench to celebrate the WIN at home with a salute to the fans. It was great to be there in the stands, especially for that Henrik penalty shot goal[that was insane! the guy should seriously be in shootouts more often!!!]. I am so very ecstatic that my birthday tradition is one that got to continue despite the lockout. Thank-you to the Canucks for getting the win and helping to make it a very memorable outing!

And here is my favourite shot of the night: LOU & SCHNEIDS!

Lou & Schneids celebrating the 3/14 win vs. Nashville.

Lou & Schneids celebrating the 3/14 win vs. Nashville.

Back to business for the Canucks as they are right back at it tonight. Heading into tonight’s game the Canucks will be looking to get back into the win column when they face off against the St.Louis Blues. Puck drop is just after 7:00 PM[pacific time]. David Booth is out with an injury he suffered in the Detroit game and Zack Kassian will return in the line up. It will be interesting to see how it goes! #GoCanucksGo!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Lou & Schneids: Best Friends Forever!

The team of TSN analysts took it upon themselves to investigate the relationship between Canuck goal-tenders: Roberto Luongo & Cory Schneider. This is what they came up with:

What do you think Canucks fans? I thought it was hysterical and hope it makes you laugh as well! Thanks to TSN for sharing this gem of a video!

And in case you didn’t hear, it looks like Louie’s starting tomorrow!

#Millionaires #GoCanucksGo

As always, until next time, nuck said!

Sarah E.L.

Playlist of the Week: Canucks Edition

I am going to the Canucks game tonight and thought I’d tackle the Playlist of the Week challenge, nucksaid style of course. This playlist is for any Canucks fan.

Are you ready? Here we go,

Because today is game day, we begin with the obvious:

1. RKB Productions – “Game Day”:

2. Terell Safadi – “Black, Red, Yellow” This is just a fun parody made during one the playoff runs.

3.Ceelo Green Remix cover -“Canucks Rule” This also was from a playoff run, but like the original it parodies, it is extremely catchy.

4. Stompin’ Tom – “The Hockey Song” (How can you have a hockey playlist without this classic?! Rest in peace Tom Connors, hockey fans are forever grateful for this anthem you penned.)

5. U2 – “Where the Streets Have No Name” [no Canucks playlist would be complete without this one! For a long time, this was the Canucks entry song for every home game. Every time I hear it, I think of being in the arena prior to puck drop.]

Honourable mention: The Legend of Johnny Canuck [this is not technically a song, but just something I think any Canuck fan will enjoy!]

I know this was different from my usual posts, but it was fun to do! I hope that whatever songs made up your week, that all of you find time to be inspired this week!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Here’s looking to #LOUKID

Have the Canucks been struggling as of late? Yes, but that does not mean you immediately fire the coach and make rash trade decisions! A four game skid is hardly the time to panic. Now, that everyone has started to relax due to the Canucks much needed victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Let’s look at it like this: last night marked Game 25 for the Canucks, their official start to the 2nd half of their season, and 1-0-0 to start.

The win in Columbus finally put the Canucks over the 30 point mark. Did anyone think that the talk heading into last night’s game would be about the Columbus Blue Jackets being the hottest team in the NHL over the last 7 games? No, because hot streaks just do not encompass the Blue Jackets of old. Beating Columbus is not as easy people seem to think it used to be or should be. Despite them being 13th in the conference, they have just had 8 straight games with a point [5-0-3].  And even though the Blue Jackets are slightly under the .500 level of wins, in 5 games vs. Detroit this year they have gone 4-0-1, pretty impressive for a team everyone expects to beat. Not too mention their goal-tending from Bobrovsky has been incredible as of late. Enough about Columbus. Did you hear Chicago lost 2 in regulation in a row? [yes I know, no big deal for a team that already has 45 points!] Or how about the fact that Sidney Crosby is leading the scoring race with 45 points & counting?[he seems to picking up right where he left off before his concussion]. Or how about Steven Stamkos yet again being the first forward to surpass the 20 goal mark?

Rumors are getting louder in regards to the Flames, Iginla and Kiprusoff. Rumor has it is not whether Iginla will be moved but a matter of WHEN he will be moved. Buzz is also surrounding Kiprusoff’s long-term status with the team. The problem with the these rumors are that if the Flames ever moved Iginla, not only would their fans want to riot, but it would extremely disrespectful to the face of their franchise. Iginla has been with the organization for his entire career [nearly 18 years!]. The other major issue with moving either of these players is the question of their asking price and what other teams would be willing to give up in exchange for Iginla or Kipper.

BACK to BUSINESS:  Last night also marked just the 2nd start for Roberto Luongo in two weeks. Yes that Detroit game was a debacle and the Calgary game was anything but pretty. Luongo was the first one in both of those games to admit he was not at his best in either game, but then again where was the rest of the team in BOTH of those games? It was not just that Luongo was shaky in those games, it was the fact that the ENTIRE team seemed to disappear in both. It made sense that Cory Schneider would get a chance to build off his victory against LA following those games, but instead of rising to occasion what followed was 3 straight losses which exposed some major inconsistencies to Schneider’s game. Yes I know shocking to think that the ever praised Cory should struggle when called upon, but true. The thing is all those fans who demanded for Luongo to be sent packing[and are now begging him to stay!] were so certain that Schneider would be the answer. I admit the guy is a great athlete, but he has not played anywhere near the level he was at last year. This season has been a constant ‘be kind, rewind’ year for Schneids as his play has been consistently inconsistent much to the chagrin of his fans. There seems to have been this false belief that he could and would never fail built up, so when his struggles began it was hard for his major fans to understand. Relax, the guy is human, and humans much to our chagrin are prone to making a few mistakes.

No one is perfect, but alas that is problem yes? That is the same thing that has been plaguing Luongo since he started playing for the Canucks…every time he plays brilliantly EVERYONE loves the guy, but heck a few bad games and the ENTIRE city turns on the guy!  The city has not completely turned on Schneids, but more and more cries for Luongo to stay[for atleast this year] are getting louder. I still cannot understand the rush to send the guy away. Do Canucks fans remember the last time we had a goal-tender of Luongo’s caliber? It was back in 1994. Since Luongo began his tenure in 2006, the Canucks have only missed the playoffs once[2008], won 5 division titles, 2 presidents trophies, 1 Western Conference Final, and took the home team to game 7 of the Final. Not to mention him winning an Olympic Gold Medal in 2010 in front of the home fans. When Luongo arrived, he brought with him a winning attitude and the drive to push himself and his team mates to be better. Coming into this season, even though the media decided that he was now the backup net minder that did not deter his work ethic, he spent 7 weeks in Florida training with all-star goalie coach Francois Allaire. With all the attention thrown at Schneider, Luongo has been very patient and never uttered one negative word towards his friend, simply being supportive. Both Luongo and Schneider have dealt with this media perpetrated controversy with a high level of maturity. Schneider has not had to deal with any real negative press until his inconsistent play this season. It is easy to talk to the media when you are playing well, but extremely difficult when you are struggling. Last year Schneider was not the starter and always coming in to play hero as the back up, so there was no pressure whereas this year he was supposed to be the undisputed starter. That is not what happened as his season began with less than stellar play. Luongo knows the pressure that comes with playing in the hockey crazed Vancouver spotlight and all the ups and downs that come with it. When you’re on a roll, the whole city is behind you but start to go on a skid and suddenly the whole city is calling for your head. Maybe its the pressure, maybe its something else that is responsible for Cory’s struggle for consistency this year, but now is not the time to go for the gamble, it is time to go for consistency on a nightly basis. Cory has been given many many chances to secure himself as the number one, but thus far has been unable to do so, which has paved the way for Luongo to provide the consistency the Canucks are in need of. I don’t know about you, but I am glad that the Canucks were not in hurry to  give Luongo away with the way the season has gone [not too mention just about every team in the league this season has depended on the play of BOTH their goalies]. Here’s to an intriguing second half!

A closer look at Cory & Lu’s stats thus far:

In 14 starts Cory Schneider is 6-5-3 [15 points earned]. In that span he has earned 1 shutout, sports a 2.63 GAA and 0.910 SV %. in 14 starts, 7 times Cory has allowed 3 or more goals.

In 11 starts Luongo is 6-2-3 [15 points earned, earning points in all but 2 starts]. In that span he has earned 2 shutouts, and sports a 2.08 GAA[yes even with that debacle in Detoit!] and a 0.917 SV %.  If you take away the Detroit game, his numbers improve to somewhere near the neighborhood of 1.63 GAA and a  0.943 SV%.

The season started with Schneids holding the reigns, but with recent struggles, the tides have turned back to Luongo. Heres looking at #LOUKID

The season started with Schneids holding the reigns, but with his recent struggles, the reigns have returned back to Luongo.  Heres looking at #LOUKID

Tomorrow is #gameDAY!  Cannot wait to see my #Canucks take on the red hot #Predators live at Rogers Arena tomorrow for my birthday! My birthday wish for tomorrow is for Luongo to get the start, Bieksa to return & the Canucks to get a HUGE win at home! We will have to wait and see what AV’s coin reveals tomorrow, but for now: #GoCanucksGo!

25 games down, 23 to go.

Here’s looking to #LOUKID!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

Why SO serious[again!]? & NHLPA says YES to RA!

Is that panic I hear? Why yes, yes I think it is. It is hardly time to panic just yet. Yes, it is nearly the halfway mark of the season for every team but it is certainly not time to panic by any means. Yes the Canucks have gone 1-1-2 in their first 4 games of March [which means yes they have lost 3, but they have picked up points in 3 of those 4 games]. The Canucks still have 25 games left to play and personally, I think the best is yet to come!

Henrik and Daniel have returned to their point per game status quo [remember how 8 games in people were asking what happened to the twins?! well they certainly are back on track aren’t they?]. The biggest blow to the Canucks so far this season was the loss of Ryan Kesler to a broken foot and Manny Malhotra being shut down for the year. In Kesler’s absence Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond have stepped up their respective games with providing secondary scoring. Both have found ways to score and make some great defensive plays. Raymond has looked very good since being moved to centre but just needs a little work in the face off circle. It is nice to see that there are players in the line up able to put up goals on a more regular basis which takes the pressure off of the twins. The forwards combined through 23 games have put up 119 points[46 goals, 73 assists].

If Alberts is going to stay in the line up could he please not take terrible penalties or can we just put Ballard back in?! The defense definitely needs some work with Kevin Bieksa still out of the line up. Hopefully Juice[Bieksa] is back in the line up soon to give the Canucks a little more dependability defensively as they have lapsed slightly defensively in his 5 game absence. The defense has been solid at least offensively this season putting up 42 points[15 goals, 27 assists] combined in the first 23 games, that an average of 1.8 points per game[not bad hey?]. The Canucks will need to tighten up defensively as the stretch drive to the playoffs is right around the corner.

Goal-tending controversy smontroversy! Take a chill pill people. You all lobbied for Schneider[6-4-3] to get the starting position and lobbied to send Lou[5-2-3] packing. How quick all the band-wagoners are to jump back on the #LUUUUUU train every time Schneids struggles. I do think that while Cory has earned the chance to prove himself, he has struggled to find any kind of consistency in this shortened season. Maybe he will find his bearings, maybe not, in the mean time can we please give LOU the chance that he more than deserves after everything this city of finicky fans have put him through? Here’s #Looking2LOUKID! I like BOTH goalies and think both are capable of helping the Canucks towards their end goal for the season, but Luongo has more than paid his dues with his never wavering patience this season and he too has earned his chance to play.

Major news from around the NHL rink this last week was that the NHLPA finally gave approval of the re-alignment going into next season[2013-2014]. That is a HUGE boost moving forward with the re-alignment, and next it must be approved by the owners and the Board of Governors before it can be official. The re-alignment should it be approved by all parties will change and re-ignite rivalries new and old. It will be interesting to see how the NHL will address the playoff format with uneven conferences next year. Gone will be the 6 division/2 conference set up that is currently in place and in its place will be a 4 conference system. New details are sure to be released the closer to reality this becomes.  Let’s hope that they have better names for the conferences than Conference A. B, C & D.

Sad news in the NHL as hockey anthem writer #Stompin Tom Connors passed away. He was responsible for writing the hockey anthem “the Hockey Song”: the good old hockey game is the best game you can name & the best game you can name is the good old hockey game…” Oh how I miss that song on Hockey Night in Canada[I think that CBC should make that the theme song!]

In other news, the Chicago Blackhawks FINALLY lost a game in regulation. It only took 25 games! As much as I cannot stand Chicago, that was sincerely an impressive run of 24 games[21-0-3] before their defeat in Colorado last night. Congratulations on achieving a record that will be extremely hard for any other team to match. Congratulations also to the Avalanche for being the team to break the streak! [P.S. I think Colorado is greatly benefiting from Ryan O’Reilly being back in the line-up as they have greatly improved offensively since getting him back last week!].

Now that the O’Reilly drama is settled with Colorado there is room for other signings. The biggest re-signing so far this season was announced just yesterday by Anaheim. The Ducks have re-signed Ryan Getzlaf to an 8-year $66 million extension[that’s an average of $8.25 million per year]. The question is now that they have invested the big money into Getzlaf’s contract, can they afford to keep Corey Perry who is also in line for a raise from his last contract. If they cannot afford to sign Perry the rumors are already swirling that they may move him the trade deadline[unlikely as that would greatly anger their fans] or he will test the waters of free agency in the off-season.

Did you hear the Pronger news? He addressed the media for the first time on his post-concussion status. He may not be near playing condition, but he stated emphatically that he is NOT ready to hang up the skates just yet. That does not mean he will or will not play again, it just means he is still hanging on to a sliver of hope, and who can blame the guy for wanting to hold out for one more chance. Best of luck Pronger whatever your future may hold, you’ve had a heck a career!

#MarchMadness has only just begun and the best of the season is yet to come! Are you ready?

23 games down for the Canucks, 25 more to go. #GoCanucksGo Best of luck in the final 25 boys! I look forward to seeing the boys live at Rogers when they return home this week to play Nashville on Thursday[3/14]!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.