Oi Vey Playoff Controversy strikes again!

In the playoffs there is inevitably going to be controversy one way or another BUT hopefully not so much that it will impact the final outcome of a series. There will ALWAYS be a bad call or two made within a series, but you have to hope that those calls don’t come back to haunt a team.

Last night there was yet another playoff controversial call made that made SOME people very irate and SOME people very happy…depending which side you are on. The call made on the ice brought to mind an incident that occurred last year in the second round of the playoffs.

Let’s go back to one of last year’s worst calls that nearly determined a series…game 7 between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. The Blackhawks scored what they thought was the go-ahead goal with less than two minutes remaining in regulation only to have the refs call the goal off and nearly cost Chicago the series.

The goal was called off…in game 7 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. The team was forced to regroup and return for overtime. It was absurd in the sense that overtime should not have been required but it was and all that mattered to both teams was the next goal wins and moves forward. Had the Blackhawks NOT found a way to get the overtime goal in game 7, that terrible call made in the final two minutes of regulation would have not only determined the series outcome but haunted the Blackhawks all off-season. We all know what happened in the end, the Blackhawks scored a goal in overtime that could not be taken away ending the Red Wings post season and eventually went on to win the Stanley Cup.

THIS YEAR, A very controversial call was made in game 6 between the San Jose Sharks and the LA Kings that saw the Kings awarded a goal that in ANY other game would have been called off immediately. The game was in a 1-1 deadlock with just over 8 minutes left in regulation that seemed destined for overtime…that is until this goal by Justin Williams was scored:

Up until THAT goal it seemed as though neither team was going to budge…San Jose wanted to finally send the Kings packing and the Kings wanted to force a 7th game. I am not saying that the Kings wouldn’t have ended up winning game 6 in the end BUT that goal shifted the game from a stare down waiting for someone to blink to an LA take down in the final 8 minutes as they added two more goals to their lead and forced a 7th game. THAT goal awakened the Kings to keep

Some people will argue that it was a good goal and others will argue that it was definitely not a goal. At the end of the day, it does not matter because regardless of what the call should have been, the Kings were determined to not go without a fight and in doing so tied the series 3-3. The Kings have battled back from a 3-0 series and will look to complete the comeback in game 7 with  a victory.

There have only been 3 teams in NHL history to ever comeback from a 3-0 series deficit to win the series:

1. In the 1942 Stanley Cup Final, the Maple Leafs came back from a 3-0 deficit against the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup.

2. In 1975 the New York Islanders came back from a 3-0 deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals. The Islanders lost in 7 games in the semifinal to the eventual Stanley Cup champion, Philadelphia Flyers.

3. In 2010, the Philadelphia Flyers stunned the hockey world when they not only came back from a 3-0 deficit in the series but also a 3-0 deficit in game 7 against the Boston Bruins to win the series 4-3. The Flyers went on to the Stanley Cup Final, losing in 6 games to the Chicago Blackhawks.

There have been many teams that have been CLOSE to accomplishing the comeback completed feat but only 3 teams have stolen their series…the question is, will the LA Kings become the 4th team in NHL history to accomplish the feat? Or will the Sharks steal their thunder with some game 7 heroics? We will have our answer at the final buzzer of game 7 between San Jose and LA as their game will wrap up the end of round one. Are you ready hockey fans to see what will unfold in these last two days remaining in the quarterfinals of the 2014 NHL playoffs?

We are in for a wild ride to the finish and we’ve still got three more rounds to go before all is said and done! As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Advertisements

2013-2014 Season Debrief

It has been a few weeks since my last post but I’m back with a glimpse of what this last year held for the Vancouver Canucks. The 2013-2014 season is now wrapped for the Canucks and it featured a little of bit of everything from the good

to the bad. It will be an off-season full of questions, answers, changes and preparations for the new season around the corner. Today, we will debrief by taking a closer look at the bad and the good that made up the Canucks 2013-2014 season.

First let’s look at the not so good and follow it up with all of the good that did happen despite the final outcome.

The BAD:

November saw inconsistency that was not solved until December only to be broken apart by January with an unnatural influx of injuries.

The Canucks iron man, Henrik Sedin was injured not once BUT twice which delayed his 1000th game from being played prior to the Olympics in early February to March 12th vs Winnipeg. Have I mentioned that out of the probable injuries….NO ONE expected Henrik to be on that miss extended time list once let alone twice.

Andrew Alberts suffered a concussion late December in a game vs. Calgary where he was hit from behind into the boards. He never returned to the lineup and as of the end of the season was still suffering concussion symptoms. The league NEVER reviewed the hit or awarded any discipline for the hit that sideline Alberts for the season and the foreseeable future.

Mike Santorelli suffered a season ending should injury that took him out of the line up in January ending his Cinderella heroics for the home team.

Daniel Sedin was sidelined due to injuries more than once this year which only added to the team’s scoring woes in the second half of the year.

Alex Burrows suffered from multiple injuries(a broken foot, broken jaw, the list goes on!) that were only added to the frustration of not scoring goals.

Torts stormed the Calgary Flames dressing room following a first period brawl between the two teams. While I loved his intent to defend his players, he should not have gone anywhere near the visitor’s dressing room. The result was Torts being suspended for 6 games.

Zack Kassian struggled early in the year which was not helped by an 8-game suspension.

The Canucks lost the Heritage Classic. As a result of the controversial choice to start Eddie Lack over the Canucks franchise leading goalie Roberto Luongo were forced to hear the fans chant WE WANT LU! for a good 2-3 solid minutes midway through the game.

Following yet another season where things started off well but evolved to Luongo being relegated to the role of back up….finally saw the Canucks make the deal that could never be made. March 4, 2014 Roberto Luongo was traded to the Florida Panthers. Best of luck in Florida LU!

The panic that ensued on social media when a VANCOUVER reporter sent out a tweet that the Canucks had traded Ryan Kesler….(which thank goodness was shortly proven as false!)

Missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Following a disappointing year, Mike Gillis was relieved of both his General Manager and President duties. (Gillis worked with the Canucks since the end of the 2007-2008 season & NOT everything he did was terrible.)

In their final game of the season on home ice Daniel Sedin was hit from behind into the end boards by the Calgary Flames forward Paul Byron. Daniel Sedin collapsed, laid very still and was unable get up off the ice…cuing medical trainers and paramedics to bring a stretcher. Daniel was taken off the ice on a stretcher and straight to the hospital. Byron received a 5 minute penalty on the play which was deemed as ENOUGH discipline by the league. A very scary moment for Daniel, the team, and the fans and while it was later revealed that he would be okay…I’m sorry BUT ANY hit that SENDS A PLAYER off the ice on a stretcher and to the hospital SHOULD deem more than a quick review with NO supplemental discipline. Perhaps if it had been Crosby or Toews that had been taken off the ice on a stretcher, the league would have taken the incident more seriously. The NAME of a player and the LOGO of the team they play for SHOULD NOT matter when it comes to moments like that one…EVERY player should be held accountable. (*I apologize for the mild rant…but that HIT & its zero concern by the NHL really severely bothered me…)

The GOOD:

The Canucks had their best October in years including a 7-game road trip that saw them post a 5-1-1 record.

The announcement of the the Sedins re-signing with the Canucks for 4 more years. SO GLAD that the Sedins will be back in blue and green for four more years! No one set of brothers has quite displayed their quiet yet commanding professionalism both on and off the ice.

Pavel Bure’s #10 was FINALLY lifted to the rafters as his jersey was officially retired by the Vancouver Canucks on November 2, 2013. The team also beat the Maple Leafs 4-0 on home ice on the banner night, making the evening a WIN-WIN.

BC born and raised Mike Santorelli became an unexpected hero for the home fans as he seemed to always find a way to make the play that made a difference. Santo showed versatility by being useful no matter where he played in the line up and scoring many a clutch goal. Santo was on a roll as the NHL’s best steal prior to his injury with his low cap hit & absolute limitless work ethic.

December was a month when the team could do almost no wrong. They picked up points in all but one game. My FAVOURITE moment during December was the game versus the Bruins…the team was absolutely determined and took over the game after a timely time out by Torts early in the game.

Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler brought home silver medals from the Sochi 2014 Olympic games. Dan Hamhuis and Roberto Luongo brought home gold medals from the Sochi 2014 Olympic games.

The Canucks participated in their very first outdoor game experience when they hosted the Ottawa Senators at BC Place as part of the Stadium Series in the 2014 Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic.

Henrik Sedin played in his 1000th game both of his career and in a Canuck uniform. (March 12, 2014)

The 2014 Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon held on March 19th, raised over $500,000 to help kids in BC!

Shawn Matthias was acquired in the Roberto Luongo deal with the Florida Panthers. He showed some amazing skill and potential in the final stretch. He will be one to watch if he stays with the team next season!

Alex Burrows may not have found the back of the net as much as he would have liked (he did eventually break through with a few beauties!) but his game still had a lot of positives…he was purposeful in most areas of the ice and a large part of the team’s first half amazing PK unit!

Ryan Kesler score 20+ goals for the 6th time in his career.

Ryan Kesler setting the record straight that he didn’t ask for a trade and that he hopes to stay with the Canucks for the entirety of this career.

Zack Kassian became a beast hitting his groove in final part of the season despite the final outcome. He will be fun to watch next season!

Following the news of Mike Gillis being let go, the rumor mills were spinning that Trevor Linden was returning to the Canucks. Rumor became FACT on April 9, 2014. Trevor Linden returned to the team that drafted him and where he played 16 of 19 seasons when the Canucks named him, the new President of Hockey Operations.

The Canucks are not partaking in the post season but hey there is a silver lining in getting a top 10 draft pick! The Canucks will draft 6th overall in the 2014 NHL draft in June.

In CONCLUSION: So ends the tale that was the 2013-2014 Vancouver Canucks season. Yes, it was not perfect in any way shape or form and yes the end was disappointing but there is plenty to be excited about for the team’s future despite what most of the local media might say. The Canucks prospect pool with the likes of Frankie Corrado, Brendan Gaunce, Hunter Shinkaruk, Bo Horvat, Dane Fox, etc. is a very exciting group of players nearly ready to make their mark on the NHL.

The first half of the season expectations were very high and then came the injury brigade that took the team by storm. I cannot recall ANY season where a team was so overtaken by injuries throughout the year…it felt absolutely absurd at times. Sure nearly everything that could go wrong did and everyday felt like there was yet another injury or incident that affected the roster…but sometimes that is just how it goes. There will be bad seasons for every team just like every team will have great seasons, but not one season will ever be exactly the same.

Every season is an 82-game journey full of ups and downs, twists and bends…and sometimes if you’re lucky that journey extends into the post season but if it does not extend that does not change the thrill of the journey…it may be disappointing but it does not change my loyalty.

I would have loved to see my Canucks in the madness that is 2014 playoffs but I understand why that did not happen and I know that there is work to be done before the puck drops on the 2014-2015 season. Still even so I am optimistic for the off-season and upcoming season and mark my words they will make the post-season next year! (I know not everyone will agree that statement…but hey that’s okay, we don’t have to always agree. Let’s wait and see what happens come next April!)

OH and ONE LAST note before moving on…Eddie Lack never asked for the cards he was dealt. He never came in with the intent to steal Luongo’s spot and send him packing. Roberto Luongo was and is a player that Lack idolizes and was an incredible example of what being a professional both on and off the ice should look like. Goalies never get the credit or the respect they deserve in the NHL, particularly from the fans…especially when a season does not go according to plan. Vancouver fans have been very hard on their goalies…LOVING them when all goes well and absolutely tearing them down when things are wrong. Let me remind you, that while goalies will steal games for their teams…they do need a little help in the scoring department to win games as well. Lack had the weight of an entire city thrust upon his shoulders when Luongo was traded. It could not have been easy to see his mentor leave and suddenly all the pressure was on him. I remind that you LU advised us(the city) to take care of Eddie during his tenure! He deserves a chance to prove himself and wouldn’t it be something to see this city show their support for their goalie from the very beginning? Eddie Lack is a star in the making and will make his mark yet on this team…all we need to do moving forward is support him and allow him the chance.

Looking ahead there will be questions that will need addressing during the off-season and come October.

QUESTIONS:

Who will be the Canucks select with their 6th overall draft pick? Draisaitl? Ehlers? Nylander? Virtanen? Ritchie?

Will the team be able find a way to come together as a cohesive unit for the 2014-2015 season?

Will Torts return as coach for a second season or will he be let go as the team brings in a new voice? (Honestly I don’t quite think it fair to judge Torts one year where nearly everything that could go wrong did….I’d like to see him have a second chance to prove what he can do when he has a nearly 100% healthy roster!)

Will Trevor Linden be able to find a way to bring the team together with the right combination of current players, new players, coaching staff? Can he complete the puzzle?

Who will be named as the Canucks new General Manager? (Lots of names being thrown around from current assistant GM Gilman, to Benning to former players. Linden said there WILL be a GM in place prior to the draft at the end of June.)

What moves will be made in the 2014 off-season that will impact the team in the new season?

What will the final roster look like at the start of the 2014-2015 NHL season?

The above questions are merely just a few of MANY questions that I have seen and heard since the season came to a close. It will be a long off-season for the team, but it will also be an opportunity for them to comeback EVEN stronger and MORE determined come September. None of them were happy with the ending and all of them expressed a desire to come back and prove that sentiment when they return for the new season.

Are you ready for a wild ride Canuck nation? It is not going to be a quiet summer by any means as the team looks to find the missing piece(s) of the puzzle prior to the puck drop on the 2014-2015 season..

In the mean time are you all enjoying the madness that has been the 2014 NHL playoffs so far?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

Hockey is like a Roller Coaster

Hockey is MORE than just a game...

Hockey is MORE than just a game…

Sometimes it is a smooth ride along the track that is an 82 game season and sometimes its a very bumpy one. The Canucks 2013-2014 season definitely falls in the bumpy route category. It came down to a long shot in which everything had to align just right in order for the Canucks to sneak their way into the playoffs but of course things never go as planned and the Canucks will not be participating in the 2014 NHL playoffs.

Does this mean I will stop supporting the team or that I will not watch any playoff games? No. There are STILL 3 games left for the team to play &¬† I don’t know about you, but I WILL support the team nice & LOUD. I will be there all the way to the final buzzer of game 82, all off-season, & come October when it all begins anew. In regards to that official playoff hockey, while I wish my Canucks were in that group, I will of course still be watching. The Canucks are my team BUT I am also a hockey fan at the end of the day, and there is something special about playoff hockey no matter who is playing. Hockey is like a roller coaster, there will be ups & downs BUT nothing can take away the thrill.

It has been a very trying season between an insurmountable number of injuries and just plain bad luck. I guarantee that this was not how the team envisioned their season going as the mission always is to be in the final 16. Bad seasons will & do happen to EVERY team in the NHL…but that is not when we stop supporting a team. It is seasons like THIS when we should support them more!

Changes will happen as they always do after a season like this one and the changes have already begun. Rumor became fact with the announcement that Mike Gillis had been relieved of both his GM and President duties and that was the right decision. I am to the first to admit that while I didn’t I always agree with Gillis, he DID do some great thing with this team -helping them get to the playoffs 5/6 years including the 2011 SCF, brought in Sundin, Samuelsson, Malhotra, Higgins, etc., so rather than focus on the negativity that the local medal will tell me to, I’m choosing to focus on the positives that he brought to this team. The Canucks are holding a press conference at 10:30 AM (PT) at April 9th, 2014 to address Gillis being let go and potentially announcing his replacement. Questions are mounting as to whether there will be a separate General Manager and President (or one combined) and WHO could potentially be stepping into those shoes. Rumors are swirling from Bob Nicholson to Trevor Linden and even potentially Markus Naslund. Tomorrow more answers on this front will be revealed.

As for Torts, I say give him another year. Letting Torts go would be a mistake. Let’s give Torts a real chance to prove himself with a healthy roster & see what happens.Torts has proven himself with every previous coaching post he’s held that he improves over time and you can hardly blame the guy for everything that went wrong this season. Let’s see what Torts can do without everyone second guessing him every other day and a ridiculous amount of injuries piling up all at once.

I do NOT fall in the camp that believes a FULL rebuild is necessary…some changes YES BUT more importantly we NEED a healthy roster for the FULL 82 games & remember our prospects: Horvat, Shinkaruk, Jensen, Fox, Gaunce & co. will be looking to crack the roster. Chin up Canucks fans, the future looks much brighter for our team than most realize! Let’s enjoy these final three games and look forward to the changes that will come.

As for the rest of you hockey fans, are YOU ready for some incredible playoff hockey? The madness is set to begin April 16, 2014. Where will you be watching the madness from? Being a hockey fan is like riding a roller coaster from initial anticipation to the ups and downs to the irreplaceable thrill of the ride. Every season is a different story and every season a new champion emerges and come mid-June the book on the 2013-2014 NHL season will come to a close. Are you ready to discover the ending?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Out of Odds & Down to a Long Shot?

From game 1 to game 82 every season, I will always be a Canuck.

From game 1 to game 82 every season, I will always be a Canuck to the core.

It’s incredibly easy to cheer for and support a team when everything is going well but can be incredibly difficult for some to do the same when things are not going well with a team. Like my Vancouver Canucks for example, has this season been picture perfect for them? Not even close. So many things that seemed like absolute impossibilities did in fact occur this year. Rumors of rebuilding and throwing Torts under the bus have become a part of the everyday vernacular with the local media.

I cannot recall there EVER being a season in which nearly every big name player has been injured at some point of the season and often more than one of them at the same time. It has been an extremely rare occurrence to have a complete roster in the second half of the season. The impossible has hit the team in the most ridiculous ways: injuries galore, a suspension to Torts, a trade that couldn’t be done felt like it was done over night, iron man Henrik Sedin who has almost never missed a game was forced to sit out not once but twice this season due to injury.

To be completely honest, I do not think it fair to judge John Tortorella on a season in which he never had a complete roster at any point of the season for a long stretch to the absurd injury massacre that hit the team this season. Torts not returning to the Canucks come September would BE a mistake in my books. Why not see what actually happens when he has a FULL roster and the odds are not stacked against him? Torts has proven in his past coaching experiences that he improves over time getting BETTER once he’s past the first year. I’d like to see what will happen in year two and potentially a healthy roster before we send him packing. I think it would better to have Gillis step down from his GM duties and bring in a new voice as General Mangager…perhaps someone like Markus Naslund(*familiar with the organization, players, fans & media as well brings his experience with MODO in the Swedish Elite League).

Am I an optimist? Probably but I am also realistic and I am well aware that the odds are stacked against the Canucks making it to the playoffs this season BUT whether they make the playoffs or not does not make or break my support for the team. I am now and have always been and always will be a fan and supporter of the Vancouver Canucks. Bad seasons will and do occur for every team in the NHL. Is it easy to watch when the bad seasons happen? No, but bad seasons are not why you chose to support a team and bad seasons are not a reason to stop supporting a team. If anything, that is when you should support them even more.

It is down to long shot and getting a lot of help from other teams while winning. The odds may not be in their favour according the near impossible to overcome stats or the every day doomsday media opinion, but that doesn’t mean I will cheer any less or quieter when the Canucks hit the ice. Five games remain on their regular season schedule to be played out and no matter what the end result I will still be a Canucks fan to the end.

Did I mention that playoff hockey is nearly here? (yes I know that may not include my Canucks BUT no matter who the final 16 teams are…ALL hockey fans are in for some great playoff hockey where ANYTHING can and will happen!)

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.