This Year IS NOT Last Year

From having a new head coach, another new system to learn, injuries piling up on the blueline and a tough schedule down the stretch, the comparisons to last year have NOT stopped. In case you missed it, THIS YEAR IS NOT LAST YEAR. Much like last season there are a lot of expectations for THIS team. Last season started with a lot of potential but somewhere around a mid January hallway tirade everything changed.

LAST SEASON: The Canucks were under the leadership of head coach John Tortorella and GM/President Mike Gillis.

THIS SEASON: The Canucks are under the leadership of rookie head coach Willie Desjardins, newly minted GM Jim Benning and President Trevor Linden.

LAST SEASON: After 56 games played the Canucks had amassed 63 points with a 27-20-9 record. They did NOT register their 30th win of the season until March 12th, and their 32nd did not come until March 19th.

THIS SEASON: After  56 games played the Canucks have amassed 67 points with a 32-21-3 record. They registered their 30th win of the season on February 11th, and their 32nd on February 16th.

LAST SEASON: The Sedins under Tortorella were not as predictable as everyone has come to expect over the years and BOTH missed extended periods due to injuries. Henrik amassed 50 points (11 goals, 39 assists) in 70 games played. Daniel amassed just 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 73 games played. Questions were raised if they would be able to find their way back to playing the way they did before or if their best days were behind them.

THIS SEASON: The Sedins under Desjardins have shown us that they are not done yet making many mind dazzling SEDINERY plays whether playing with Radim Vrbata or yes that ever familiar winger, Alex Burrows. Through 56 games, they have nearly matched their points totals from last year; Henrik has amassed 48 points (10 goals, 38 assists) points and counting while Daniel has amassed 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists). Yes they are not quite on a point-per-game pace BUT they are beginning to resemble their steady reliable play that Canucks fans have been lucky enough to watch develop over the last 15 years.

LAST SEASON: The injury bug came in waves for Alex Burrows and limited his playing to just 49 games and 15 points(5 goals, 10 assists). The ever tenacious player was unable to gain ANY sort of rhythm between injuries and Torts never understanding his role.

THIS SEASON: Alex Burrows told Desjardins before the season even began that as long he was able to play, he did not care which line he was used on but that he would play wherever called upon. Burrows has been successful in each situation that Desjardins has used him from the first line to the fourth line, to the penalty kill to the power-play. Through 51 games Burrows has amassed 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists). Burrows is having fun again playing the game he loves while consistently contributing, a trend that he will look to continue down the stretch as the Canucks make a playoff push.

LAST SEASON: Not ONE player registered a hat trick.

THIS SEASON: Two players have registered a hat trick through 56 games. Jannik Hansen scored his first career NHL hat trick on November 23, 2014 versus the Chicago Blackhawks. Shawn Matthias scored his first career NHL hat trick on February 13, 2015 versus the Boston Bruins. Both hat tricks were scored in front of the home crowd making hats rain down on the ice of Rogers Arena.

LAST SEASON: The goalie drama of will they or won’t they trade Roberto Luongo came to an end. Luongo was eventually traded back to Florida leaving the Canucks with no veteran presence in net. Eddie Lack was forced to take on the veteran load the rest of the way. It was hardly an ideal situation but in typical Eddie Lack fashion, he was the epitome of professional all the way to the end.

THIS SEASON: Ryan Miller was brought it in as veteran presence and surprised more than a few people with his solid play in net while registering 6 shutouts through 42 starts (26-15-1). Millsy has brought in some much needed stability for the Canucks on the back end and been a pillar for Eddie Lack as they share the load this season. Lack and Miller have formed a great repertoire so far this season and hopefully they can continue to build on that down the stretch.

And yes it is true that there are  a few echoes that sound nearly identical from last season:

LAST SEASON: The injury bug followed that hallway tirade took endless casualties until the final game of the season.

THIS SEASON: The injury bug has come to the blueline once more this year, but unlike LAST season, the team IS finding ways to play as a TEAM despite the injuries. The multiple injuries to the defensive core has forced the Canucks to rely upon younger players and prospects stepping up to fill in. (Ronalds Kenins anyone?!)

#17 once again LEADS the team in goals scored.                                                      

LAST SEASON: Ryan Kesler (25 goals in 77 games played).

THIS SEASON: Radim Vrbata (21 goals and counting in 53 games played).

LAST SEASON: Henrik Sedin played his 1000th game (March 12, 2014).

THIS SEASON: Daniel Sedin played his 1000th game (November 23, 2014).

And yes much like last year, there are many questions still remaining:

Will the Canucks find a second gear in the final 26 games? Will the Canucks have more than one 20+ goal scorer by season’s end? Will the Canucks stand pat at the trade deadline or will they be deal makers to find that last puzzle piece to help them down the stretch? Will the Canucks make the playoffs?

No, THIS year is NOT LAST year but the questions will continue to be debated as the season winds down but until all is said and done, we will not have a definitive answer. There is still a lot of hockey left to be played between now and April, but how the Canucks play between now and then is up to them. Will they make the playoffs? They certainly have the potential to do so but it won’t be an easy task as the Western Conference playoff race is a tight one and will probably go down to the wire.

The Canucks have 26 games left to prove just how far they have come from last year beginning with their 5-game Eastern Conference road trip (New York, New Jersey, Long Island, Boston and Buffalo) that will be a great challenge as they look to pick some important points.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E. L.

More Than JUST a Game…

This week the Vancouver Canucks are embarking a fathers and sons road trip as one way to help express their thanks to the sacrifices that were made to pave the way for their hockey careers. It takes a lot of work to make it to the NHL, but first all of that hard work began with a simple dream that was encouraged to take shape and grow over time.

HOCKEY IS MORE THAN JUST A GAME:

Hockey is more than JUST a game.

Hockey is a dream come true.

Hockey is dedication to one’s sport and physical conditioning.

Hockey is early morning practices.

Hockey is being committed to your team both on and off the ice.

Hockey is intense rivalries and unbreakable bonds between teammates.

Hockey is knowing that sometimes the impossible IS possible.

Hockey is knowing that a game is NEVER over until the final buzzer.

Hockey is epic wins, tough losses, incredible playoff runs and everything in between.

Hockey is a simple pure love of the game.

Hockey is sacrifices made by those play the game and those who make playing the game possible.

Hockey is a dream come true that once a upon a time was simply just a dream.

Hockey is knowing that your parents stood by you from the time hockey was JUST a dream to now when it is a reality.

Like father, like son.

Hockey is more than just a game.

(S.E.L. Feb.9.2015)

Panic? I Got NO Time For THAT.

You win some games, you lose some games. Sometimes you lose THREE games in a row and they say the panic SHOULD set in. At least that is how some people said fans should react when the Canucks found themselves in the thick of a losing streak and on the verge of falling into old habits that last year were all too common. Last year when things went wrong, it was hard to watch games from start to finish. This season there have been tough games where there have been flashes of last year’s mistakes that cost the team the season. There have been some tough stretches but let’s remember that THIS IS NOT last season.

It’s true that the team struggled during their recent 3-game skid scoring just TWO goals total in those three games. Each loss brought up memories from last season and the question of whether THIS team can still be a contender with playoff potential. The good news is that in the two games that have followed THAT 3-game skid has seen Ryan Miller return to top form posting back to back shut outs ON the road to keep THIS team in the playoff contention race. They will need Millsy to steal games down the stretch just as he stole the last two games but they will also need balanced offense combined with strong defense to help them find their way back into the playoffs.

Yes, they have struggled at times this season, but THIS is not last season. Last year was a comedy of errors which saw nearly everything go wrong and at times the team looked disjointed. This season has seen the team struggle at times but even during their struggles THIS season, they have found ways to come together united as a GROUP.

So…will I panic because of a recent 3-game skid or because of potential upcoming skids? NO, I got no time for that! You win some games, you lose some games. Some nights you need your offense to step up, some nights you need your goal-tender to step up to steal you games, some nights you need luck on your side and some nights you need a combination of all three. There is no guarantee that says the Canucks will OR will not make the post-season this year but they are geared with the potential to be a contender come April. Where they finish in the final standings is dependent upon HOW they play between now and April.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E. L.

To “LU” or not to “LU”…

Roberto Luongo will make his highly anticipated return between the pipes at Rogers Arena as the opposition for the first time since being traded back to the Florida Panthers. Will you “LU” or will you “Boo” when the Canucks former number one goal-tender hits the ice? The answer SHOULD be simple: Lu deserves respect and the fans owe him respect, so you SHOULD most definitely: “LUUUU”. Love him or hate him, Roberto Luongo will go down in history as one of the all-time best goalies to ever don a Vancouver Canucks jersey. His had endless critics during his entire tenure in Vancouver from the fans to the media but no one was a bigger critic of his time in the crease than Luongo himself. In his first presser since returning to Vancouver, he expressed disappointment in not being able to bring a cup here.

Yes there will still be the critics who say that Luongo was not good enough. Yes, it’s true that he did not win a cup here in this city but that truth will still never undo the incredible feats that he DID accomplish during his eight years as a Canuck.

  • 448 games played with an overall record of: 252-137-50. Those 252 wins make him the all-time leader in franchise WINS.
  • 38 shutouts.
  • 6 Divisional Championships.
  • 1 Jennings Trophy.
  • 1 Western Conference Championship.
  • Back to back President’s Trophy seasons.
  • 1 Stanley Cup Final appearance that capped off an incredible playoff run that took the city on a thrilling ride to lead this team within ONE game of their first championship.
  • Winning an Olympic GOLD medal in HIS house in front of the home crowd!

Many incredible moments that can never be taken away no matter how hard the critics are sure to try. Yes, he asked to leave Vancouver but can you blame the guy after the way the last 2 1/2 years of his tenure went? Trade him, they said. It felt as though the entire city had turned their back on him, always calling for the back up and quick to blame him for every fault with the team. It got to the point where it seemed even the coaches had turned their back him or lost faith in his abilities with the final straw that saw him NOT play in the Heritage Classic. That was absolutely a low point and an unfortunate way to end his eight year tenure with the team.

He gave THIS city everything he had EVERY single time he was on the ice. Roberto Luongo was and still is the epitome of a class act both on and off the ice. If you are also at the game on January 8th, then I hope you will join me in a LOUD resounding “LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU” when Bobby Lu steps on the ice. No matter how the game between the Canucks and the Panthers ends at final buzzer, this shall remain true: Roberto deserves our respect and he has more than earned it.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

A tale of 33 games…

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted a blog, but I promise, I did not disappear. A heavy work schedule and a few days off for Christmas kept me away. I’m back and ready, so let’s get back to work, shall we? Talk hockey to me!

HockeyISLast season the Canucks had a December to remember posting a 10-1-2 record and the month that followed was when everything began to unravel. This season, December has not exactly been THAT memorable save a 5-game losing streak but perhaps that could be a good thing. Last year in December, it seemed like THIS team was capable of greatness and then the chain of everything that could go wrong, did go wrong when the new year began.

Yes, the Canucks have had their struggles THIS December…but they also have something that they did not before last year’s 33 game mark: 20 wins and instead of focusing on their individual bests, they are working together as a TEAM. Scoring on any given night is being done by committee. Can you recall a time in recent Canucks history when scoring was somewhat balanced? It feels like it has been a long while. They are not solely relying on the Sedins every single night but rather EACH line is contributing.

33 games in and as has been said many times this season, we have seen a little bit of everything from the good, to the bad and everything in between. First goals, milestones reached, back to back shutouts, games won, games lost, overtime glee and overtime heartbreak. Lots of little and big moments that have yet to be seen as the team has 49 more games to leave their mark on the season at hand. As they return from holidays, the Canucks will have to be ready to play their best with a trio of games versus the Californias. It will not be an easy task for the team but they are proving to be competitive within their division with an impressive 9-2-1 record through 12 games.

33 games in and despite a few lopsided losses, THIS team has evoked hope in a way that never seemed to happen last season even when they were playing well. This team still has work to do in the remaining 49 games to prove that they are in fact playoff contenders but they are off to a good start in working towards that aim.

33 games down, 49 more to go before all is said and done and it all begins tomorrow when the puck drops in Anaheim. The Canucks will look to build upon the momentum of their two-game win streak they took into the holiday break. Keep your eyes on these next few games, Canucks fans- Henrik Sedin’s next goal will be his 200th career goal.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

November Close Up

Yes, it is now December, but today we will take a closer look at the November 2014 that was for the Canucks.

CanucksNov2014One year ago, over the course of November 2013, the Vancouver Canucks had posted ZERO back-to-back wins posting a 4-5-4 record over that span. That struggling November 2013 brought the team’s overall 2013-14 record to 13-10-5 (31 points) through 28 games. One year later, over the course of November 2014, the Vancouver Canucks have posted a 9-4-1 record bringing their overall 2014-15 record to 16-7-1 (33 points) through 24 games.

The first 24 games have given the fans a closer look at what this team is capable of this season. Suddenly all of those who said the team was destined for a rebuild are suddenly saying: “is THIS team for real?”

Yes much like October, there were a few bad moments but there were also some incredible unforgettable moments in November.

The Bad:

A 5-1 loss to the LA Kings.

A missed call or two that resulted in the go ahead goal versus Nashville and perhaps cost the team the game and delayed Eddie Lack’s first victory of the year.

A 5-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes that featured a Martin Hanzal hat trick on home ice. Need I say more?

Dan Hamhuis suffered a lower body injury in the opening minutes of the November 20th game versus Anaheim that will leave him out of the lineup indefinitely and force the rest of the defensive core to step up until he returns.

The power-play clicked just 4 times in more than 40 tries and will be an area that the team will have to address moving forward as special teams success can translate to post-season success. (**In their first game of December, the team tried new power-play alignments and found success scoring 3 goals on the man advantage.)

The Canucks and hockey world is a little less bright since the news of Pat Quinn’s passing on November 23rd.

The Good:

Through 14 November games, the team picked up points in 10 of those games. Desjardins continues to instill the team with the belief that ANY line CAN be the difference maker on any given night.

Remember that road trip that was dubbed a “death march” by the media? The one that went straight through the Californias and Colorado? With the exception of the game against LA, the Canucks were impressive on this trip picking up wins in the remaining three games. The Canucks stole two points from Anaheim in a shootout thriller, two points from Colorado with 5 unanswered goals and 2 points from San Jose in the Shark Tank thanks to one of the best games played by Ryan Miller. It was especially nice to see the team earn a victory in San Jose as the Sharks have had the Canucks number in recent years.

Remember that OT Sedinery magic from October against Montreal? Well, they did it again, this time against Ottawa! (perhaps they will strike for a third time in Decemeber?) The Sedins continue to dazzle us with mind-boggling impossible angle goals in OT magic:

Nick Bonino scored the GAME WINNER in the shootout in his return to Anaheim and Eddie Lack picked up his first victory of the season. In his victory, he helped the team rebound from a tough LA game with some big saves including a stop on Ryan Kesler and all three shooters in the shoot out.

Bo Horvat scored his FIRST NHL goal on home ice against Anaheim and began the team’s battle back to steal a point from the Ducks:

He picked up his FIRST three assists the very next game against Chicago. Bo was also informed that he would be staying with the Canucks instead of returning to junior, making this a November that he will never forget. Have I mentioned his faceoff skills that are near to tops in the league with 59.7%?

Daniel Sedin played in his 1000th career NHL regular season game on November 23rd.

It seems like people are always harping on Jannik Hansen for his contributions or lack of contributions on the ice. Suddenly in late November saw Hansen find his scoring touch scoring 5 goals over three games, including scoring his FIRST career hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks on November 23rd.

Alex Burrows continues to flourish this season with linemates Chris Higgins and Nick Bonino and being the benefactor of some great passes:

Ryan Miller posted BACK to BACK shutouts against New Jersey and Columbus. By November’s end, Ryan Miller had improved his record to 15-4-0.

The Canucks final home game in November featured an incredible Forever a Canuck tribute to the legend that was Pat Quinn. More than 18,000 fans in the building and you could hear a pin drop as Mark Donnelly sang a moving rendition of “Oh Danny Boy”:

This season is for you, Pat!

In Conclusion:

October saw the Canucks mildly surprise folks. November saw the Canucks build upon their early success and continue to be one of the best surprises around the league this season. Last year, even when things were going well, you could see the team struggling. This year, even if the team goes down by a goal or even two, you see them battle back and there is no giving up when the going gets tough.

True, they have not won every game and nor will they, but through 24 games in the first two months, there is STILL a long way to go but this team is doing something they did not do all of last season: enjoying the game and playing the game for EACH OTHER.  Every player has been instilled with the belief that they can make an impact or be the difference on any given night. Every line is given an opportunity to contribute, no one line is being singled out as the sole line responsible for all of the scoring. It has been incredibly refreshing to see BALANCED and SECONDARY scoring.

From an impressive October, a balanced November to a December that currently sees the Canucks in the middle of their longest road trip of the season (7 games) and looking to stay atop the Pacific Division. Here’s to seeing the good, the bad, the big, the small and everything in between that will make December memorable for the Canucks. There are still many games left to be played before all is said and done, but this team through October and November have re-ignited something among their fan base that was lost last season: hope. Hope that once again anything is possible, hope that maybe just maybe last year did not mark the end but simply a new beginning.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

RK17 Returns…

For the first time in his NHL career, when Ryan Kesler hits the ice in Rogers Arena on November 20, 2014…it will not be for the home side. It is his second game facing his former team but first at the arena that he once called home. How will the crowd respond to his return to Vancouver? Will there be cheers to welcome back a former franchise player who gave this city some incredible memories for over ten years or will he be met with boos to acknowledge the way in which he left?

Flashback to last season when the rumor mills spun out of control that Ryan Kesler wanted out of Vancouver. Follow up that memory with the incessant denial on the part of Ryan Kesler, that of course those were only rumors and he wanted to finish his career as a Canuck. And then came that fateful day in June at the 2014 NHL draft when rumor became fact and Kesler had been traded to the Anaheim Ducks.

Love him or hate him, there is NO changing the fact that Kesler was a HUGE part of the Vancouver Canucks success in recent history. He may not have left in the best possible way BUT prior to his feisty exit, he gave this city and this team some incredible franchise moments. More than ten years of history that will in no way be changed, no matter what the final outcome is when Kesler returns to the arena he once called home with his new team. Ryan Kesler has moved on. The Vancouver Canucks have moved on. BOTH sides have moved on and BOTH sides being in the same division will have their paths cross multiple times during a season.

I always loved Kesler’s tenacity on the ice and ability as a two-way forward but I was definitely disappointed in the way he left. I have no doubt that he will have success with Anaheim and that the Canucks will have their own success moving forward. When the puck finally drops between the Canucks and the Ducks in Rogers Arena, the dust will settle and one team will walk away with two points. No matter which way the crowd views Kesler when he skates out with his new team, there is no changing the history he gave this city and there is no erasing his new chapter with Anaheim.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

7 Games Played, 75 more to go…

Seven games in and we have seen a little bit of everything from the 2014-2015 Vancouver Canucks from the fantastically wizardous sedinery to an improved power play to badly timed penalties to defensive slips to a soft goal and to some great saves. Through those seven games, the Canucks have amassed a 4-3-0 record and with it the question of whether or not this team has improved upon last season? Seven games in and you can feel the tensions starting to rise in the city as expectations begin to be adjusted.

May I remind everyone that we are only SEVEN games into the regular season. You have 75 more games to watch before all is said and done. Everything that happens in the first seven games in no way indicates HOW a team will finish when the final buzzer rings in game 82.

Let’s take a closer look at the first seven games of THIS season, the first seven games of the last few seasons and the team’s final results after game 82.

First seven games record in 2014-2015: (4-3-0). We have seen a little bit of everything in these first seven games, some great moments, some not so great moments and glimpses of what is to still come as the season progresses. The Sedins look to be near their 2010-2011 game form having combined for 19 points (5 goals, 14 assists) giving the Canucks some very much needed offense.

Result after game 82: Still to be determined in the remaining 75 games.

First seven games record in 2013-2014: (4-3-0). If someone had told me after seven games last season that the Canucks would not be playoff bound or that the Sedins would have their worst season since the 2004-2005 lockout…I may have called them crazy.

Result after game 82: The team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Torts was relieved of his coaching duties after one season at the helm. Jim Benning was hired as the new GM by newly minted President Trevor Linden. Ryan Kesler said adios Vancouver and hello Anaheim. Willie Desjardins was hired as the new head coach and began developing a relationship with his players immediately.

First seven games record in 2012-2013: (3-2-2). Coming off back to back President’s Trophies expectations were once again high and with a shortened season anything was possible.

Result after game 48: The Canucks were swept in the opening round of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks. Alain Vigneault was relieved of his coaching duties. Questions were asked about what changes needed to be made. John Tortorella was hired as the new head coach.

First seven games record in 2011-2012: (3-3-1). Was this the same team that just took the city on an epic four round playoff run? Could they repeat their success or would they suffer from shortened off-season? Looking at those first seven games it’s hard to imagine that they could were able to nearly duplicate their regular season success from the year before.

Result after game 82: After going to game SEVEN of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, the Canucks followed that up by once again being the best regular season team winning their second consecutive President’s Trophy. The team was eliminated in five games by the eventual cup winner, LA Kings in the opening round of the 2012 playoffs.

First seven games record in 2010-2011: (2-3-2). The first seven games showed the team was capable of greatness but also that they had some areas that needed a lot of work. No one could be sure that their season would turn out as epic as it did when all 82 games were over and the Canucks stood atop the league standings.

Result after game 82: The Canucks lead the league with 117 points as the top team heading into the post season. The Canucks began a playoff run that will long remain one of their best moments in franchise history.

Year in and year out, media and fans alike make endless predictions about all the ins and outs of the regular season. Sometimes we get those predictions right and sometimes they end up being far from what we could have possibly imagined.

So… will the Canucks be able to find their way back to the playoffs? With only seven games played, THAT is yet to be seen, but they have 75 games left to make their case as to why and if they should be in that sweet sixteen equation come April. Time will tell and I look forward to being there supporting them every step of the way whatever the journey may entail.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Canucks Re-ignited?

Yes, it’s only been two games out of eighty-two, but in these first two games, I have seen something that I never once saw last year, an absolute determination to keep pushing back when the going gets tough. Could the Sedins find their way back to a point-per-game status? So far, in two games they have combined for 8 points, add in Vrbata and that total goes up to 11 points for their line. The twins making and completing plays in a way that makes them successful instead of focusing on how to change their game is a completely refreshing concept after last year’s debacle of a season.

Game ONE saw the team open the season on the road against divisional rivals the Calgary Flames. The Canucks opened the scoring in the first period with a POWER-PLAY goal, yes one of those ever so elusive man-advantage goals that were near impossible last season from the one and only Alex Burrows. It sure was nice to see Burrows get rewarded for his hard work after being bit by the bad luck bug all last season! The question of whether or not the Sedins could find their offensive prowess was answered with the game winning goal on which vintage sedinery was on full display as they set up their newest partner in crime, Radim Vrbata. The most entertaining moment however was saved for the final minute of the game when Henrik scored an empty net goal….that was pure skill and individual effort and perhaps the best empty net goal scored that I have ever seen:

Game TWO saw the team play their first home game of the year and with it, came great expectations as the fans and players alike had anticipated all summer what could be. Would the fans support the team after the train wreck that was last season?

The anthem was sung, the puck dropped and the building was buzzing from the first minute to the last. It was a game that perhaps from the outset, no one expected it to be particularly high scoring and certainly no one saw the Canucks falling to THREE separate 2-goal deficits before coming all the way back to force overtime AND a shoot out? Let’s be honest, last year a situation that saw the team fall behind would NOT have resulted in the resilience that was shown in this game. Every time the Oilers re-gained their 2-goal lead, while there may have been panic in the eyes of the fans remembering the ghosts of last season, there was ZERO panic in the eyes of the players.

You know what they say, 2-goal leads are never safe and that rang true for Edmonton who had three 2-goal leads but could find a way to stop the resilience that Vancouver was determined to put on display led by the Sedins starting with the first Canucks goal of the night and ending with the game tying goal….and included this beauty they set up for Vrbata:

Let’s be honest, last year had the Canucks been in the situation of being in a two-goal deficit three times, let alone ONCE in one game, they would not have found a way to come back. This time, they not only came back to force a tie, they came ALL the way back to steal two points in the shootout. Ryan Miller, after a shaky start to the came closed out the game with some big saves including stopping ALL three shoot out attempts to preserve his first home ice victory in a Canucks uniform. Seems nearly divine that in the days leading up to this back and forth game that the team was practicing shoot outs right?

It may not have been the ideal game plan that the team envisioned but this game with its back and forth pace had more of a playoff feel to it than simply the second regular season game. Both teams battled for every inch of the ice and kept the fans on their toes as the ending was yet to be determined. It was nice to see the Canucks re-ignite some excitement into their on ice game and in stands.

Oh and hey remember that oh so awful power play from last season? I know it’s early to say that it’s any different…but just two games in and we have been given a glimpse of hope with the team going 3/10 on the man advantage. The passes seem crisper, the shots have increased and momentum seems to actually be gained rather than be detracted. As I said, it is no guarantee of what will be, but it gives fans something that did not exist last year; hope.

Yes, it has only been two games into the 82-game journey that make up the madness that is the NHL’s regular season, but in these two games the team has shown that they won’t go down without a fight. There is a new fire within this team and more smiles in these two games than all of last season. Will they make the post-season? It’s far too soon to tell, but whether they do or not, is up to them and how they play the remaining 80 games. The rest of the story has yet to be written.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Is it October Yet? (Part II)

Is is October yet?

No, not just yet, but I can hear the echoes of what is just beyond the bend.

The whispers of excitement and anticipation, growing louder as each blade hits the ice

faster than the day before as players and teams gear up for training camps.

The entire city is buzzing about the season that will be,

as a new era begins with Captain Canuck at the helm.

Coaches and players prepare mentally for all the ups and downs

of the eighty-two game grind and think ahead with earning a playoff berth in mind.

Fans hold onto hope with a bated breath following a year when hope was lost,

as the team looks to rebound on the ice, reigniting the excitement within the stands.

Faces old and new will take on the challenge with fire in their eyes and ice in their veins,

vowing to play with greater determination than ever before.

The puck will finally drop after five long months, goals will be scored,

saves will be made and each shift will tell a tale of changes made in the off-season.

Losses will be torn apart at the seams, while every win will be savoured,

as fans enjoy the absolute bliss of seeing their team skate away with victory.

Is it October yet?

No, not just yet, but I can hear the echoes of what is just beyond the bend. 

-Sarah Laug (September 16, 2014)

As always, until next time, nuck said.