PLAYOFF Fever is catching, are you ready?

PLAYOFF  FEVER has hit! Has it taken over your life or the life someone you know? Prepare yourselves as tonight is only the beginning of a fantastic hockey tradition!

The 2013 QUEST for the Stanley Cup begins for 16 teams TODAY. In June ONE team will win this lengthly battle. The madness is only just beginning!!

The 2013 QUEST for the Stanley Cup begins for 16 teams TODAY. In June ONE team will win this lengthly battle. The madness is only just beginning!!

Round ONE of the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin today!! Are you ready?!

The WESTERN Conference Quarterfinal Match-ups are set as follows:

1. The Chicago Blackhawks [36-7-5] vs. 8.The Minnesota Wild [26-19-3]. Game 1 April 30th 5:00:PM

As much as I hate to admit it, the Chicago Blackhawks have been dominant ALL season long from the start of this shortened season losing just an incredible 7 times in regulation. Their first half was particularly incredible as they posted a sparkling 21-0-3 record…24 straight games where they recorded atleast ONE point setting a new NHL record [meaning that in the second half they posted a 15-7-2 record…which is still very respectable but not nearly as dominant as their first half]. The year began with a question mark in regards to their goal-tending which was soundly dealt with in the form of their goalie tandem of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery. It also doesn’t hurt that Captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane seemed to find a new level of compete that carried throughout the season. With their early dominance, it was never a question of whether they would make the playoffs. Simply put, the Chicago Blackhawks were the best regular season team this year.  Even with their dominance they cannot take an 8th seeded team too lightly as everyone learned the hard way last year.

The Minnesota Wild started the year with A LOT of hype following the TWO biggest signings of the off-season of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. They did not get off to the successful start that everyone expected from them. They showed sparks but they were very inconsistent throughout their season. Their playoff contention was in question until the final buzzer of the final game of the season. Had they lost that final game, it would be Columbus in their place, but they did what they had to in that last game. They snuck into the 8th seed of the playoffs and will have a massive challenge in having to face-off against the tough Chicago Blackhawks.

Prediction: Chicago in 6 games.

2. The Anaheim Ducks [30-12-6] vs. 7.The Detroit Red Wings [24-16-8]. Game 1: April 30th 7:30PM

No Anaheim did not set any NHL records, BUT they did play some incredible hockey this season. Did anyone actually doubt the talents of Teemu Selanne? This year we also saw Corey Perry lose his temper…A LOT and their goalie tandem of Hiller and Fasth was a pleasant surprise and helped this team post a very impressive record. Anaheim also has the added boost of Scott Neidermeyer as an assistant coach should they ever need a reminder of what it means to have playoff success.

The Detroit Red Wings began their year without former Captain Niklas Lidstrom and it was very evident from the get go that they were missing his skill set. Their game seemed to be missing something at times and then in other games they played to their strengths. The Red Wings have qualified for the playoffs 22 straight seasons and this year that impressive streak was nearly stopped but as is the Detroit way, they found a way to get it done. They will need Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Howard to play at the tops of their games if they want to go beyond the first round. This team has a history of being an extremely dangerous team in the playoffs and this year could see them activate that veteran beast mode. Look out Anaheim!

Prediction: Detroit in 7 games.

3. The Vancouver Canucks [26-15-7] vs. 6.The San Jose Sharks [25-16-7]. Game 1: May1st 7:30PM

The Canucks like most teams had ups and downs throughout the year. There were moments when they played their best games and their worst games. The goalie tandem of Schneider and Luongo proved to be a part of the team’s success. Ryan Kesler came back to the line-up only to be forced out with a broken foot BUT when he came back the second time he came back with a fire in his eyes and looks like he’s ready to activate that thing we call beast mode. The Canucks will need a 100% healthy Kesler to alleviate the pressure that is sure to surround the Sedins as it always does during the playoffs. Jason Garrison will be making his HOMETOWN playoff debut in Game 1. For the 2013 playoffs, the Canucks have recalled the following players from Chicago: Jordan Schroeder, Nicklas Jensen, Darren Archibald, Kellan Lain, Alexandre Mallet, Jim Vandermeer, Peter Andersson and Eddie Lack.

The San Jose Sharks like the Canucks, had both good and bad streaks throughout the season. Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Antti Niemi will be looking to lead the Sharks past the first round. Marleau was unstoppable in the first few weeks of the season but his goal production slowed and the rest of the team had to find ways to score when he struggled. The Sharks will be hoping that their regular season record against the Canucks will help them succeed in the post-season, but they have to remember those games do not necessarily affect the post-season games at all. This will be a re-match [albeit in the first round] for these two teams who met in the Conference Finals two years ago. The Sharks will be looking for revenge and the Canucks will looking to take advantage of their home ice. It will be a very interesting series as these two teams renew their rivalry!

Prediction: Vancouver in 6 games.

4. The St.Louis Blues [29-17-2] vs. 5.The LA Kings [27-16-5]. Game 1: April 30th 5:00PM

Last year, no one properly anticipated the talent that LA possessed until they saw for themselves as LA dominated everyone in the playoffs. Last year LA swept the heavily favoured St.Louis Blues who definitely will want to change their fate this season. The newly acquired Jay Bouwmeester will be making his LONG anticipated playoff debut with his new St.Louis team. St.Louis strengthened their blue line and have been getting some solid goal-tending from Brian Elliot down the stretch. They will need use their defensive strengths and also score goals. They will be hoping to have forward T.J. Oshie back for game 1. LA will be looking to remind St.Louis that the road to the Stanley Cup goes through them and they are not looking to let it be taken from them easily.

Prediction: St.Louis in 7 games.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal match-ups also look to have some interesting storylines and I thought I’d make a few more predictions. Predictions for the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals:

1.Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 8. New York Islanders. Pittsburgh will hoping to get the boost of their Captain Sidney Crosby to help them get past the first round for the first time since the 2010 playoffs. The Islanders while not the obvious choice should not be taken lightly as they make their first trip to the post-season since 2007 and oh yeah, they have this guy name John Tavares who has been very clutch for the Islanders this season! Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6 games.

2.Montreal Canadiens vs. 7.Ottawa Senators. An all-Canadian match-up. Can it get any better for fans back East? The Canadiens have greatly benefited from a coaching change and a new team identity this season. Anyone seen that guy they call P.K. on the point? Look out for his shot! The Senators have played a very decent season despite a very depleted line-up and they got a huge boost at the end of the season when Erik Karlsson returned.  Prediction: Montreal in 7 games.

3.Washington Capitals vs. 6. New York Rangers. At the beginning of the year everyone thought New York would finish at the top in the East, and while that did not happen they did show what they are capable of with the talent in their line-up. Lunqvist may have struggled at times during the season but he got scary good down the stretch. The Rangers made some big splashes in the summer and at tht deadline acquiring Nash, Brassard, Clowe, and a few others. Washington was a major question mark in the first half leaving many people to wonder where oh where did Ovechkin go? That question was answered in the second half when the Captials were lead by #8 from the bottom of the East to the top 3. Ovechkin found his scoring touch and looks dangerous heading into the post-season. This will be a re-match of last year’s semi-final. The Capitals will be looking for a different finish. Prediction: Washington in 7 games.

4.Boston Bruins vs. 5.Toronto Maple Leafs. Prediction: Boston in 6 games. Two original 6 teams meeting in the post-season and two teams with very rabid fan bases. It will be interesting to see how the Maple Leafs handle the Bruins style of post-season hockey in their first trip back to the playoffs in nine years. It will be a series to keep an eye on.

*Some of these predictions may differ from yours or be similar, but they are just meant to be that. You may or may not agree with my predictions but that’s okay, you do not have to agree with me. As we all know, predictions made during the playoffs do not always work out the way we expect or want them to but it’s part of the tradition that is playoff hockey! [Feel free to share your own predictions in the comments!]

In a year when everyone told me that there would be no NHL season, I will simply enjoy getting to enjoy my spring tradition of 2 months of great hockey! Enjoy whatever these next two months bring, the madness is sett to begin TONIGHT!

PLAYOFFS ARE HERE! Are you ready? Where will you be watching Game 1 from? I will be watching my Canucks LIVE at Rogers Arena tomorrow and in case you missed it, I am beyond excited! It feels like Christmas Eve as tomorrow is GAME DAY for my Canucks and their playoff journey begins. Mind you it is only round one, but getting that elusive 16th victory in the finals begins with success in round one. 16 teams are fighting the same battle this week and in two weeks only 8 teams will remain in the quest for the Stanley Cup. Like I said, the madness is just beginning and no one knows what will happen.

The playoffs are when players and teams alike surprise you and sometimes it is a player or team that you did not anticipate, but that is what makes this time of year so exciting!!  I love playoff hockey, there is nothing quite like it! #GoCanucksGo!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Lucky Numbers: #22 #33 #756 #905

Daniel & Henrik Sedin constantly committing acts of #sedinery on the ice.

Daniel & Henrik Sedin guilty of constantly committing acts of #sedinery on the ice.

From Henrik to Daniel, from Daniel to Henrik, from Sedin to Sedin, or from Sedin to his brother…these have been common phrases used by sportscasters on a typical #sedinery play during many games. These two are so similar in their careers that is a little frightening at times. Needless to say the Canucks have had some incredible moments with the Sedin twins in the line up, especially in the last 4 seasons.

Since the twins re-signed with the Canucks in the 2009 off-season, the team has posted a 180-83-30 record in 293 regular season games. In those 293 games, Henrik has amassed 332 points [73 goals, 259 assists]. Daniel did miss 29 of those games BUT in the 264 games he has played in, he has amassed 296 points [112 goals, 184 assists]. It should also be noted that they BOTH had separate 100+ point seasons[the only other Canucks to do that were Pavel Bure and Markus Naslund] in the last 4 years.  Combined they have won TWO Art Ross Trophies, 1 Ted Lindsay Trophy and 1 Hart Trophy for the Canucks organization. They have solidified themselves in the Canuck history books by BOTH surpassing former Captain Markus Naslund on the all-time points list where they now sit in the #1 and #2 positions.

This year they BOTH surpassed Naslund’s 756 points at home in front of their fans in each of their 905th games. Of course it took them the same amount of games to achieve that milestone. Henrik surpassed the record when the Canucks hosted the Dallas Stars and Daniel became number two all-time behind Henrik in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

So…with all of their incredible accomplishments are you glad we kept the Sedins? Do you remember that it was at the very last second prior to the July 2009 free agency madness that rumors were swirling that they would test the free agency waters? You also remember there was A LOT of hype about Toronto tampering with the idea that they could get the twins to sign with them? Can you imagine that outcome if it had come true [if they were now sporting that blue maple leaf]? I, for one do NOT enjoy thinking of what could have happened if they had left…it just makes me irritable.

We are very lucky to have been able to watch the Sedins grow throughout their career and watch the work they put into their game and the community. The Sedins are a HUGE part of the Canucks success and will be looking to help the Canucks finish their final game of this shortened season in style and help the team get primed for playoffs.

Heading into the final two days of the regular season all 8 seeds are claimed in the Eastern Conference…except the final order has yet to be determined with many teams still having a game or two left to play. In the Western Conference much like the Eastern Conference, only the top 3 seeds are locked down with the final order still to be determined.There are still 2 seeds left to be claimed in the Western Conference playoff race, although in 9th, Columbus is just ONE point behind Detroit[currently in 7th] and TIED with Minnesota[currently in 8th] and all three teams have ONE game left that will make for a very dramatic finish. When the final standings are in we will take a closer look at the Canucks and their first round opponent.

Just two days remain in this shortened regular season and we are in for a dramatic close before the playoff excitement takes over 16 cities! Are you ready? The madness is nearly here!

Share your playoff traditions[if any] below in the comments!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah.E.L.

CLINCHED, 46 down & 2 to go!

Well its official: the Vancouver Canucks have officially clinched a playoff berth. To be honest, the Canucks did not play well against Detroit when they earned the clinching point, but they will take the two points and use these next three games to prepare for the playoffs. They will play a much better game against the Blackhawks.

First order of business, the Canucks will take on the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at home. A single point would clinch the North West Division title [5th in a row & 6th in 7 years], but two points would be so much more satisfactory to take from Chicago [the Blackhawks do not need more points]. No matter what happens in tonight’s game, you can expect that sparks will fly as they always do when these two teams meet each other. It will be high entertainment value as always. Perhaps THIS will be the game that Daniel Sedin surpasses Markus Naslund’s record [as we know it did not happen on the road trip, but it DID tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His assist on Kassian’s goal gives him point #757 & counting as there is still 20 minutes left to play!]

#22!!!!!!!!!!!!CONGRATULATIONS DANIEL!!!!!!!!!!! Now you just have to catch your brother!!! HUGE career moment  for Daniel as he has once again followed his brother’s foot steps! The Canucks are extremely lucky to have these two playing on the team.***UPDATE: 2 points so far makes it 758 & counting heading into the third!!!!]

Other notable moments from tonight so far: Canucks prospect, Frankie Corrado made his NHL debut wearing #26 tonight against the Blackhawks. He is paired with Alex Edler & playing very well! Keep up the strong effort tonight & let’s get those 2 points!!!

The Toronto Maple Leafs also clinched a playoff berth yesterday…for the first time since 2004. Welcome back to the post-season Toronto! In other surprising playoff contending news, the Columbus Blue Jackets are on the cusp of qualifying for the playoffs for just the second time in their franchise history. Columbus sits just one point ahead of Detroit for the 8th spot and has just three games left compared to Detroit’s 4 games to secure their position. In the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders are being led by John Tavares into the playoffs for the first time in 6 years and the New Jersey Devils will not be able to return to the finals as they have been eliminated from playoff contention. Oh and has anyone been paying attention that guy named Ovechkin? He seems to have regained his form….he has been a fun player to watch in this second half as he has taken over the lead for the Rocket!

As of today’s standings the Canucks would play St.Louis in round one, however as we all know that could all change come Sunday. There is just one week left in the regular season and the only thing set in stone is the top two seeds in the league [Chicago & Pittsburgh].

Speaking of playoffs….has anyone seen Chris Higgins and his beard? I think he got started a few weeks early….if the Canucks go into June that beard will have a mind of its own. Now that the playoff positions are being locked down, are there any special playoff traditions you take part in when your team qualifies and has a run of any kind in the post-season?

Back to reality that is the remainder of the regular season, there is still a third period to be played against the Blackhawks[currently the blue & green lead 3-0!!!]. Nothing like a game against the enemy to get the Canucks pumped and primed for the playoffs.

After tonight, the Canucks will take on the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers in their final two regular season games. TWO games is all that remains before the playoff madness begins, ARE YOU READY?

Playoffs, here we come!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Canucks Go!!! My favourite time of year is nearly here!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

“OH Danny Boy…”

In the midst of Ryan Kesler’s return to his former self and the fact that with him in the line up means the Canucks actually have a power play that works everyone has forgotten about Daniel Sedin.

Daniel has been quietly sneaking up on the Canucks all-time points list sitting just ONE point behind Markus Naslund[prior to the game in St.Louis] and will very soon be solely number two in the Canucks record books behind his brother Henrik. Earlier this season, Henrik surpassed Markus Naslund’s record and it was only a matter of time before Daniel joined his brother in the elite company, after all they seem to do everything together.

SedinTwins

Daniel has followed his brother's foot steps once more to tie a record set by former Canuck Captain Markus Naslund. Tomorrow he will look to surpass that record.

Daniel has followed his brother’s foot steps once more to tie a record set by former Canuck Captain Markus Naslund. Tomorrow he will look to surpass that record.

Henrik won the Art Ross in 2010 and Daniel won it 2011. Henrik surpassed Markus Naslund’s record in February and Daniel will do so within the next few games [perhaps also against Dallas JUST LIKE Henrik?!] Daniel DID tie Naslund’s record during the Blue’s game with an assist on the Edler goal and will be looking to surpass 756 points in the game against Dallas. Can you script this story any better? They won back to back Art Ross trophies and Daniel also has the chance to pass Naslund’s record in the same fashion as Henrik did. When one achieves something great, the other is quick to follow.

The Sedins really are special players despite what some people say about them, they probably wish they could have these brothers on their own teams. Sure there are brothers playing together in the NHL, but these two have something unique in the fact that they have played EVERY level of hockey of their careers TOGETHER.

Throughout their careers their regular season stats look like this:

Daniel Sedin: 290 Goals, 466 Assists [756 points] /902 games played/ 378 penalty minutes

Henrik Sedin: 182 Goals, 607 Assists [789 points] /935 games played/ 532 penalty minutes

Season after season since the 2005/2006 season they have put up respectable numbers averaging more than a point per game. Since the 2005/2006 season, Henrik has 643 points in his last 617 games and Daniel has 605 points in his last 587 games! Canucks fans are very lucky to have not one, but BOTH Sedins as part of their team’s history. It will be quite a story when/if they are able to go all the way and get that ring.

Following a disappointing effort in St.Louis, the Canucks will look to close out the road trip with a win and one step closer to closing in a playoff berth and the division title. Are you ready for the final countdown? There are just 5 games left before playoffs begin and anything can happen. Daniel WILL reach his milestone, the question remains will it be in Dallas or when they return home against Detroit? Personally I think it will be in Dallas and it will be a night full of #sedinery.

Rumor has it that the NHL will be announcing an outdoor Stadium series that will feature NOT one but SIX outdoor games in 2014: [including one featuring the Canucks!]

1. January 1st – The WINTER CLASSIC – Detroit vs. Toronto @ Michigan Stadium

2. January 25th – Anaheim vs. LA @ Dodgers Stadium

3. January 26th – New Jersey vs. New York Rangers @ Yankee Stadium

4. January 29th – New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers @ Yankee Stadium

5. March 1st – Pittsburgh vs. Chicago @ Soldier Field

6. March 2nd – VANCOUVER vs. Ottawa @ BC Place

What are you thoughts? Are you excited about the potential for MORE outdoor games next season? Will you attending any of the games or boycotting them? It will be interesting to see if the NHL goes through with this plan [to win back fans] and how the fans in the various city will react.

Amidst the excitement for the playoffs some teams are surprising fans around the league. The New York Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs are on the cusp of reaching the playoffs for the first time in over 5 years. The Columbus Blue Jackets are fighting for 8th with the Detroit Red Wings. The Canucks have an opportunity to catch Anaheim in the standings if they get on a roll in their final 5 games and the Ducks win just 2 of their remaining games. It’s an exciting time of year for hockey fans and it is only just the beginning as each team closes out this final stretch before the playoffs begin!

I am excited to see what the Canucks will do in the final 5 games and beyond. There is an air of excitement that comes every year at this time as fans around the league await the playoff match-ups and every city colors their cities in their team colors.

As always, until next time nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Canucks Colorado Slide= No Time to Waste

I hate, no, I loathe the matinée game that is prone to show up every so often in the NHL season. It tends to at times, be the Canucks kryptonite. As you know by now, the Canucks did not play to their best ability. After an impressive streak of going 18-0-2 against Colorado since November 2009, the Avalanche earned this one in regulation. Yes they put the game away and stole the Canucks’ thunder scoring the game winning goal with just 7.6 seconds left in regulation. Yes, you read that right, 7.6 seconds!

The Canucks did not bring their best compete level to the third period against Colorado and lost all control of the game and its 2 point value. Give credit to the Avs for playing a hard competitive game in which they earned the win and the two points. The Canucks did not deserve win that game by any means. Colorado may be near the bottom of the league in the standings but that does mean they have no fight or compete in their game. You do remember, it was this same Avalanche team that broke Chicago’s unbelievable streak right? Just because a team may not be playoff bound is no reason to under estimate them, these are the teams that will play for pride and play spoiler to those who want to move up in the standings.

Cory Schneider has had a very nice run, but he struggled a lot in the Colorado game. Maybe it was exhaustion, maybe he was 100% over the flu, maybe it was just an off game. The Canucks have 7 games remaining to maintain a spot in the top 4. After an impressive [surprise] start for Roberto Luongo, it is time for him to have a run of games before the playoffs begin, he has more than earned some time in the net. The Canucks need to begin utilizing their asset of having BOTH Schneids & Luongo[both will need to be at their top level come April 30th!].

Perhaps the only good news in this game was the fact that both Dan Hamhuis[5 games] and Ryan Kesler[3 games] extended their points streaks.

Time to forget about yesterday’s ugly loss and move on. The Canucks will look to get back on track when they visit the Nashville Predators tomorrow. The puck drops just after 5:00 PM[pacific time], Luongo will get the start. Despite yesterday’s disappointing loss, the Canucks second half record is a respectable: 12-5-0 with 7 games remaining to solidify their playoff position. The Canucks will be looking to improve their record against the Predators to a perfect 3-0-0. Just 7 games remain on the schedule, and no team should be taken lightly as every team will be playing with desperation. There is no time to waste as the Canucks must rebound quickly back to form if they want to stay in the top 3 and hopefully clinch their playoff berth in the next week.

There are just 2 weeks left in this short season and the final standings will probably come down to the wire before all is said and done. There are no guarantees come playoff time, but generally one knows that Detroit will be a part of the tradition but this year that could change for the first time in 21 years[they sit in 9th today with Columbus & Phoenix on their heels, a win today would help them immensely….anything can happen over the next two weeks!]

The season is nearly over…can you feel the excitement building as teams start to move into their playoff mindset? 4 playoff berths have been claimed,12 remain…if they Canucks play well on the remainder of this road trip they could clinch when they return home. Two weeks is all that remains before the real dramatics begin and all the first round match ups are set. It’s about to get really exciting as inevitably a few surprises are bound to happen.

The playoffs do not begin until April 30th but already you can feel intensity rising in every game as each game brings each player closer the elusive tradition that is known as the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Are you ready Canucks?! Time to reset #beastmode

The #finalcountdown is on! #7games2go #goCanucksgo

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Surprise start & Canucks aiming for 5

Well that may have taken you by surprise seeing Roberto Luongo start last night for the first time in 12 games. Yes heaven forbid Cory should miss a game, perish the thought! Some may have been worried he would struggle or let a bad goal in. Did you see what happened ? He was extremely sharp early and late, making 40 saves on 41 shots[18 stops in the 3rd period alone!]. Luongo is the reason we won the game as he made sure to keep it a tight 1-1 tie until the rest of the team took over to score 3 late goals in the final 7 minutes to secure the victory. Luongo’s ability to win games needs to stop being a media hot topic, he is more than capable and proved that last night which was impressive given that he has had to watch Schneider play the last 11 games. The Canucks are extremely lucky to have the luxury of 2 excellent goalies down the stretch and heading into the playoffs.Let’s enjoy this tandem or one-two system while the Canucks are lucky enough to have BOTH goalies.

If you missed the Luongo starting surprise, you also may have missed Kesler notching two assists late in the game, giving him 3 points in 2 games since returning to the line up. HELLO power play! That has been missing nearly all year long from the Canucks resume! That was the tic tac toe play from the Sedins and Kesler that has been missing ALL season long. Hopefully their recent success will carry over the final 8 games of the regular season and into the playoffs.

The Canucks have put together a strong 2nd half, so far posting a 12-4-0 record with 8 games remaining. They currently sit 6 points up on Minnesota[the Wild play tonight] and will have to continue their solid play to stay atop the North West Division. The Canucks are 3rd overall in the West but there is just a 2 point differential between everyone in the Western Conference that sits in 4th-7th; which means the playoff match ups change daily. There are just two and half weeks left in the regular season and we will see a surprise or two yet before playoff match ups are set and the quest to win 16 games begins.

Next up for the Canucks, they will play the Colorado Avalanche in a matinee game Saturday afternoon [12 PM pacific time]. It is the 2nd game for them on a 5 game road trip. The Canucks will be looking to extend their win streak to 5 games [fun fact: that win streak also coincides with Derek Roy’s Canuck debut, making the Canucks 4-0-0 with him in the lineup!]. Ryan Kesler has points in back to back games and will be looking to extend his points streak to 3 games.

I look forward to whatever these last 8 games of the season bring and to seeing how the standings will eventually finish determining what the first round match ups will be for all teams. There is still a lot of hockey to be played before it is all said and done.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

One last thing, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX BURROWS!!!!!!!!!

Sarah E.L.

How important is #17 to the Canucks?

Just how important is Ryan Kesler to the Vancouver Canucks? Many people found themselves asking this question on Monday, following the news that he would be returning to the line up vs. Phoenix. Just how big of an impact did #RK17 have?

Kesler wasted no time in getting into this game with speed and net presence. He scored the game’s opening goal just 7:26 into the first period:

In case you were wondering, that goal was also the game winning goal. Pretty good for a guy that has only played 8 games this season. The Canucks notched a season high 42 shots on net and were dominant for a full 60 minute effort. They controlled the puck while playing with a 1-0 lead for 52 minutes before Phoenix inadvertently scored on their own net making it a 2-0 lead. [Admit it, you felt slightly terrible for the Coyotes knowing that we would gladly take the insurance goal but glad that the situation was not reversed].

Ryan Kesler was more than ready for this game putting 4 shots on net and registering two penalty minutes. The poor guy has spent most of the season watching from the sidelines and we ALL know that Kesler is not one who enjoys being on the outside. The plan is for Kesler to get these final 10 games of the season under his belt so that come playoff time he has gained more than enough much needed preparation.

The question remains do the Canucks need Kesler in order to be successful? Answer: Yes, especially when Kesler is able to give 100%. When Kesler is firing on all cylinders, it is reflection of how the whole team is playing. Last night with Kesler fired up, the entire team looked different than they have for the majority of the season. They looked like they had their swagger back that has been missing for the better part of the season and they looked dominant in all areas. They looked like the team that we all know they are capable of being when they are firing on all cylinders. If they keep this off on the upcoming road trip it will be quite a fun final stretch of the season to watch. Last night felt like playoff hockey and the Canucks will need Kesler to keep playing this way, leading by example of his strong play. It is especially important that as the playoffs edge ever closer[3 weeks away!] that EVERY player on each team plays to the BEST of their abilities.

The Canucks will need Ryan Kesler to play the next 9 games and all through the playoffs as strong as he played in his comeback against the Coyotes. As Kesler plays so does the rest of the team and they will all have to play at their highest level if they want to have success into June.

Ryan Kesler finally looks like he is 100%, lets hope that the dominance from him and the team against Phoenix was just the beginning of what is to come down this final stretch of the season! His success is directly linked with the success of the rest of the team.

The Canucks will look to continue their winning ways on their 5 game road trip which begins tomorrow evening in Calgary. Hopefully Kesler will pick up where he left off against Phoenix and score another goal or perhaps two. Puck drop is at 6:30 PM[pacific time].

#Beastmode #WelcomeBackKESLER #goCanucksgo #playoffdrive #9games2go

So, how important is #17 to the Canucks? Simply put: extremely. Just look to the 2011 playoffs or any time when he is 100% healthy for an example of the beast mode we know he possesses when his game is in tact which it currently appears to be.

As always until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.