Here We Go Again…

Here we go again. Are you ready?

Is the sky falling yet? So it would seem as a lot of (media driven)people would like us all to believe.

Was it a disappointing home stand? Yes…in part because of the 1-2-3 record that the Canucks posted in those 6 games but mostly due to the times they COULD have won at least a couple of the games they ended up losing based on their dominant play.

Was it frustrating to see them struggle on home ice? YES. Was it frustrating to see bad calls happen? YES…BUT bad calls happen in games across the league and teams have to rise above them.

Did they lose some games that they perhaps should have won? Probably. Every game is important and every point makes a difference come playoff time as there is little margin for error (especially in the Western Conference!).

The Canucks have done a lot of good things in the last games despite only winning once BUT most people only want to see the negatives. Disappointing outcome or not there were multiple positives to take away from this home stand.

– It is no secret that the Sedins struggled offensively prior to this home stand where they picked up  a combined 10 points (5 points each…they are twins after all).

– The power play which in the prior 20 games had only clicked for 6 goals seemed to find life at home with the Canucks potting 4 power play goals in the last 6 games.

– John Tortorella’s shot-blocking Canucks continue to improve their play on the penalty kill. Vancouver has the league’s number ONE ranked penalty kill with a success rate of 89.5%.

Next up for is a stop in the Capital as the Canucks face off against the Ottawa Senators….and hopefully we will see an effort much like this one from two years ago:

This road trip is a great opportunity for the team to take the positives from the last 6 games and translate those positives into full 60 minute TEAM efforts. Every player will need to put their best game on the ice. Torts hasn’t given up on this team yet and neither should you.

Also on this road trip the Canucks will faceoff against the New York Rangers, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Nashville Predators.

The Canucks will have a CAPITAL test when the puck drops just after 4:30 PM (Pacific time) Thursday. The Canucks will be looking to rediscover their #RoadWarrior ways!

Here we go again…Go Canucks Go!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Skid row…

The Canucks are currently on a 5-game losing streak (0-3-2)…or haven’t you heard? The local media has gone out of its way to repeat that very fact incessantly as the streak has extended.

I hate losing streaks and I hate being constantly reminded of that streak. Do they think the fans have missed the last 5 games? Do you think we are blissfully unaware?

We get it, the team is on a losing streak that currently sits at 5 straight and it needs to end sooner rather than later.

How many different ways can the media taunt Torts with the SAME incessant “Why is the team losing?” line of questioning? Do they think he has been absent from the last five games? Torts has been very quick to acknowledge when the team hasn’t played their best or when he doesn’t agree with a call the refs have made or when he has simply had enough of the media’s poking.

Losing streaks are zero fun and always bring with them relentless negative media attention that is even worse in this age of social media. Everyone has an opinion as to why the team is losing, moves they should make or what the team can do to make themselves better.

Most fans dislike extended losing streaks immensely and as much as the fans dislike the losing, the team hates it more. Unfortunately losing streaks are a part of professional sports and all teams will and do endure them at some point throughout every season.

The thing about a losing streak is that is talked about ad nauseam until the tide changes. The worst part is the non-stop reminder every time you open the paper, turn on the sports channel,or even chance looking at what is posted on social media. Like I said, I hate losing streaks BUT losing streaks are a part of journey that is an 82-game season.

The Canucks have said all the right things about wanting to get out this funk that has seen them drop 5 straight, and now it is about putting those words into action when the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks come to town this weekend. The team will need all of their best players to step up..and these two games will be a great test to see them get back their groove. It’s big 4 points up for grabs this weekend and I don’t need to remind you that picking up points early is extremely important to a team’s chance at a playoff berth.

This team has a great opportunity to turn the tide this weekend. We all know that one game in particular will have all the players wanting to play their best…yes its the one featuring those pesky but very talented Blackhawks. These two teams always put an entertaining game on the ice when they meet and I’m sure Saturday will be no different.

Here’s to the Canucks rediscovering their groove this weekend as they look to #endtheskid and pick up some very important points to help them catch up in the very tight Pacific Division.

#GoCanucksGo

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

[Side note**Two years ago when the Canucks had their best season in franchise history, it is important to remember that they didn’t find their groove until late November. In their first 23 games posted a 13-7-3 record in the 2010-2011 season…which is fairly comparable to their 11-8-4 record in 23 games this season. Late November led to a nearly unstoppable December.]

 

Secret SANTA surprise!

Coming into this season there was a lot of negativity [and criticism] surrounding this team and the lack of BIG signings by GM Mike Gillis. Gillis did not make the BIG signings but rather took a few gambles in signing the hometown Mike Santorelli and former LA forward Brad Richardson. Both have some great clutch moments for the team early and today, we take a closer look at SANTORELLI.

Santa has arrived early for the Canucks or so it would seem with the emergence of forward Mike Santorelli.       The announcement that the Canucks had signed local Mike Santorelli in the offseason was one that came with very little expectation. No one was really sure what would happen when Santorelli came to camp and he impressed the coaching staff and fans alike in the preseason.

1/4 of the way into the 2013-2014 season and Mike Santorelli’s ability[or versatility] to play up and down the line up has allowed John Tortorella some flexibility with his lineup with all the early injury saga that took over this team in October.

In just the Canucks third game of the year, Santorelli made his mark with his overtime magic sealing the COMEBACK victory for the Canucks.

The Canucks cameback not once BUT twice in this game to win in OT thanks to this very memorable goal from SANTA!

The Canucks cameback not once BUT twice in this game to win in OT thanks to this very memorable goal from SANTA!

How did Santorelli follow up his OT heroics? Glad you asked! He did exactly the same thing the following game 2 days later. The Canucks came back to tie the game at two and force overtime for the second straight game and who should once again be the over time hero? SANTA for the WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LU v. Schnieds Part 1: OT HERO SANTA

LU v. Schnieds Part 1: OT HERO SANTA

Game 12 saw the team at the tail end of a season high 7-game road trip and facing off once more against the New Jersey Devils and former teammate Cory Schneider. The Canucks found themselves down again and once again were the comeback kids forcing extra time against the Devils. Overtime solved nothing and the dreaded shoot out would be required. ONE goal was scored in the shootout…by yes that’s right…MIKE SANTORELLI.

LU v. Schneids Part 2: SHOOT OUT HERO: SANTA!!

LU v. Schneids Part 2: SHOOT OUT HERO: SANTA!!

In 21 games, SANTA has accumulated a respectable 12 points [5 goals, 7 assists] and counting while quickly becoming a fan favourite. Many people did not know much about Santorelli before he joined the Canucks other than the fact that he had played in Florida previously and grew up in British Columbia. In 21 games Santorelli’s versatility allowed Torts some flexibility with his injury riddled lineup and gave this team some much needed reliability.

Santa arrived early for the Vancouver Canucks and looks to continue his reliability as the season progresses. Here’ s to a continued great season from Mike Santorelli!

Time to get back to watching the Canucks game as they are taking on the surging Dallas Stars as they continue their 6-game home stand. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Road Trip #2: Part TWO

Vancouver Canucks vs. LA Kings

Vancouver Canucks vs. LA Kings

Stop #3: LA LA land. Where to begin? Fresh off of their victorious return to the Shark Tank, the LA game lacked the same tenacity.

The second period was the turning point in this game…all the momentum went to LA as they scored goals in bunches to take a 4-1 lead. Lack came in this game to try and shake this team awake and very quickly the Kings made it 5-1.

Eddie Lack closed the door in the third period but the Canucks were not able to provide any extra offense. Luongo cannot be blamed solely for this one as defensive break downs were costly in this game; it is a team game, and as a team they win together and they lose together.

The game wasn’t as bad as it seemed if you take away the second period, but full credit to LA who earned the two points. The Canucks did not manage offense on this night but their penalty kill was perfect as they did not allow the Kings to score with the man advantage.

Some nights there will be games when few things go the way a team desires, but that is the nature of the game…you cannot win them all.

Stop #4: Mighty Ducks indeed. The Ducks have set themselves at the top of the league and done so in a very impressive fashion. They make it very difficult for their opponents to get their offense going and despite many shots from Vancouver, Anaheim managed to do just that on Sunday evening.

Anaheim scored first and the Canucks came back to tie the game at one before the Ducks took a 2-1 lead. The Canucks pushed back to get the equalizer but Anderson was lights out for Anaheim.
It remained a one goal game for remainder of the game…and as is tradition for most teams down by one goal, the Canucks pulled their goalie in attempt to force extra time. 9/10 times the other team scores the empty netter which is what happened on this night to seal the victory for the Ducks.

The Canucks may not have won this game BUT Richardson continues his clutch play by setting up this pretty goal for SESTITO[no that is not a typo…Sestito!]:

The road trip comes to an end with a 1-2-1 record and brings their overall road record to a 7-4-2. It may not have ended the way they had hoped but there is a lot they can take to learn from as the season progresses.

Up Next: The Canucks begin a 6-game home stand Thursday (Nov. 14) when they face off against the San Jose Sharks. David Booth will return to the lineup after a 3-game conditioning stint with the Utica Comets.A home stand could be just what the doctor ordered for the Canucks to find their groove again while playing in front of the home crowd.

ONE last thought: The injury to Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos is unfortunate in the worst way as he is now out indefinitely with a broken tibia. Accidental play or not, an injury that costs the league one of their best players long term is simply terrible. All the best to Stamkos as he recovers and begins the road back!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Road Trip #2: Part ONE

Game 17: Canuck vs. Coyotes.

Game 17: Canuck vs. Coyotes.

Stop #1: The Desert otherwise known as Phoenix. In past years playing against Phoenix nearly always meant a close defensive game. In a surprise twist that no one expected, the Coyotes have turned their game into an offensive roulette, heading into this game Phoenix had scored 4 or more goals in their previous 7 games. So which team would face off against Vancouver?

As has happened more often than not this season, the opposition opened up the scoring. Despite the one goal it was a pretty even first road period and it stayed a one goal game after 20 minutes. Cue the comeback kids [aka the Canucks] who wasted no time getting on the board at the start of the second period to tie the game 1-1. The goal came just 25 seconds into the middle frame from a point shot by Dan Hamhuis.

The Canucks did something in this game they haven’t done very often this season by scoring a power play goal in back to back games to take a 2-1 lead. The Canucks were in control of the play until late in the second period when the Coyotes came back to tie the game 2-2.

The third period was a goal-tender’s duel as neither team wanted to give in. Overtime would be needed but yielded no results and you know what that means…a shoot out. Yes a shoot out, everyone’s favourite tradition or most hated depending on how you look at it. Phoenix struck first in the shoot out and BURROWS tied it to keep Vancouver in it. 6 rounds were needed to solve this one in which Phoenix got the go ahead goal to take the two points.

The Canucks may not have won the game but they manage to steal a road point and did some good things: the power play stole a goal, Luongo was rock solid, the second line solidified itself as a game changer [Burrows, Higgins & Santorelli] and Henrik stretched his points streak to 12 straight games!

The Canucks may not have won the game after that 6-round shootout BUT Ryan Kesler did score this beauty on the power play!

Next mission to achieve a feat they have not managed in 9 straight games against San Jose going back to January 2012.

Game 18: Canucks vs. Sharks

Game 18: Canucks vs. Sharks

Stop #2: The Shark Tank. Playing the Sharks has not been an easy task in the last 9 games or so for Vancouver and the media has made sure to remind them of that fact every time they have faced off against San Jose. This year the Sharks have been dominant and in the previous two games versus San Jose this year, the Sharks have outscored the Canucks 8-2.

This time going into the Shark Tank, the Canucks would bring with them a very different lineup than had previously faced off with the Sharks…aka more than one line.

The start of this game was a strange bounce that found its way in the back of the net to give the Sharks the quick 1-0 lead and make Canucks fans hope that it wasn’t a sign of things to come.

The concern did not last long as the unsung hero Brad Richardson scored on the Canucks first shot of the game to tie the game 1-1. The pace seemed to pick up and quickly we again saw an exchange of goals from the teams [Santorelli for the Canucks and Brown for the Sharks] just ten minutes into the game. Offense anyone? The pace slowed down until late in the period when Burrows set Higgins up for the go ahead goal to put to the Canucks up 3-2.

The Canucks dominated the second period outshooting the Sharks 17-5 and chasing Niemi from the net when they went up 4-2 [credit goes to Bieksa who took the initial shot from the point & Kassian who tapped it in front]. Remember when the second period was one to be dreaded? This year it has been one of their strongest periods.

The Sharks picked up the pace in the third period out shooting the Canucks 13-8, but Luongo closed the door for Vancouver helping to the team steal 2 points in regulation. Henrik’s point streak came to an end [worry not, a new points streak will begin] BUT more importantly the team ended their 9 game skid in San Jose.

Yes, it really did happen, the Canucks finally earned a victory in the Shark tank! The Canucks got goals from 4 different players and none of them were named Sedin or Kesler. Secondary scoring…yes please! It sure is nice to see the line up taking shape! Three stand outs this year have been the unexpected trio or Richardson, Santorelli & Stanton. Gillis has taken a lot of heat in the last two year but 18 games into this season and the signings of Brad Richardson and Mike Santorelli and the acquiring of Ryan Stanton have been absolute steals. All three of them have been integral to the team’s success this season.

Canucks players and fans alike are buying into the Torts systems.

Next up: The Canucks will face off 7:00 TONIGHT [Nov.9] against the never to be taken for granted LA Kings on hockey night in Canada. The Canucks will close out the 4-game road trip TOMORROW [Nov.10] against the league leading Anaheim Ducks. #goCanucksgo #roadwarriors

As always until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

How to define BURE?

Pavel Bure scoring one of the most iconic goals in Canucks history...Round 1: game 7 vs. Calgary....BURE SCORED & helped the team onto the incredible 1994 playoff run. The Canucks confirmed that Pavel Bure's #10 will be retired in the upcoming season!

Pavel Bure scoring one of the most iconic goals in Canucks history…Round 1: game 7 vs. Calgary….BURE SCORED & helped the team onto the incredible 1994 playoff run. Pavel Bure’s #10 will be retired November 2, 2013 prior to the Vancouver Canucks hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs.

How does one define the ever mystical Pavel Bure? Is it even possible?

BURE: Russian Rocket. Calder Trophy winner. TWO-time Rocket Winner. Clutch Performer. Two-Time Olympian. All-Star. Speed Racer. Goal Scorer. Legend. Hall of Famer. Forever a Canuck.

Pavel Bure may not have been a Canuck at the end of his hockey career, but to nearly all Canucks fans, he will always be a Canuck.

Bure’s NHL career began when he was drafter 113th overall in the 1989 NHL draft by the Vancouver Canucks. His NHL debut would come in the 1991-1992 campaign and go on to win the Calder trophy as the rookie of the year.

For 7 years Canucks fans were mesmerized by the magic that was Pavel Bure. Every single time he had the puck, he made a play that seemed impossible. The energy Bure brought was electric to the team and the fans in the stands.

In 362 games with the Vancouver Canucks, Pavel Bure amassed an incredible 418 points [220 goals, 198 assists].

Is it even possible to think of Bure without remembering the improbable 1994 Stanley Cup Final run and that all-time highlight reel goal against Calgary in game 7?!

Pavel Bure brought a high level of excitement to team in 1991 that reached all new levels when he sparked the 1994 Stanley Cup Final playoff run.

Wondering what some of the Russian Rocket’s favourite hockey memories are? He sat down with Stan Smyl and Joey Kenward to answer a few questions prior to his Jersey Retirement evening:

Say what you will about Pavel Bure, but there is no denying his talent and the excitement that helped bring an elite level of hockey to this franchise.

On November 2, 2013, nearly 22 years after making his NHL debut [November 3, 1991], the Vancouver Canucks will raise his #10 to the rafters. His #10 will join, Stan Smyl’s #12, Trevor Linden’s #16 and Markus Naslund’s #19.

Pavel Bure with his unforgettable speed and electrifying playing style captured the hearts of Canucks fans and this city. Vancouver will never forget the lasting impact that the #RussianRocket had on this franchise.

It’s an early 4:00 PM[Pacific time] start as the Canucks take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The pre-game ceremony [will delay the puck drop] is bound to be full of surprises that will be met by many LOUD cheers as the crowd salutes Pavel prior to the game.

It’s going to be one heck of a ceremony! Congratulations Pavel Bure! #RUSSIANROCKET #foreveracanuck #10totheRAFTERS

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.