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.

 

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OLYMPIC DREAMING…

The Olympics are drawing ever closer every day as athletes are announced for their respective teams and sports…BUT none cause the endless debates like that of the hockey rosters.

Will they or won’t they announce the players who SHOULD be locks or who we deem has earned a spot? Will the rosters reflect the best players in the NHL given that the players were officially given permission to partake in the games if they were called upon by their countries? Will there be standout players from other leagues? Will some players that “should have been” named to the Olympic rosters be left off?

In answer to all of the above questions: YES, YES, YES and YES. The NHL is full of talent from all around the globe AND every roster has been debated ad nauseum from the moment the 2014 Olympics were on the horizon, and will continued to be debated until the final buzzer of the gold medal game [and probably beyond as the 2018 games sneak up on us and everyone will have opinion how to improve the rosters that were named for the impending games in February].

The Canucks will be sending 7 regulars from their lineup to the Sochi 2014 Winter Games in February. For these 7 Canucks [& many other players league wide], the Olympic dream is becoming a reality when they put their country pride on the line.

ROBERTO LUONGO & DAN HAMHUIS will both be sporting the maple leaf in red & white when they represent CANADA at the 2014 SOCHI games in February.

ROBERTO LUONGO & DAN HAMHUIS will both be sporting the maple leaf in red & white when they represent CANADA at the 2014 SOCHI games in February.

Roberto Luongo being named to Team Canada should come as no surprise to anyone, he has international experience AND he was after all a BIG part of 2010 GOLD MEDAL team. For all the critics out there, let’s take a closer look at Roberto’s resume in the last four years.

Going back to the start of the 2010-2011 season Roberto Luongo has posted a very respectable 94-45-24 overall record and 14 shutouts in 163 games played.

2010-2011: 38-15-7. *4 shutouts. *0.928 SV %. *2.11 GAA. [Career best numbers]

2011-2012: 31-14-8. *5 shutouts. *0.919 SV%. *2.41 GAA.

2012-2013:    9-6-3.  *2 shutouts. *0.907 SV%. *2.56 GAA.

2013-2014: 16-10-6. *3 shutouts. *0.922 SV%  *2.22 GAA. ***We’ve only just passed the 1/2 mark & Luongo could still catch his career best numbers in SV% & GAA that he posted in the 2010-2011 season! 

It’s hard to believe that despite all the drama that Luongo has endured, his consistency has hardly wavered in his on ice play. People didn’t think that he’d be a game changer in the 2010 games but I remind you of his SAVE on Demitra in the last minute of the Slovakia game that secured Canada’s place in the GOLD medal game…that my friends was a game changer…that stop was the difference between bronze and gold qualification. Playing in the Olympics will only serve to raise Luongo’s game to another level.

Dan Hamhuis will be representing Canada and perhaps that surprise a lot of people yes? True Hamhuis struggled to start the season and it wasn’t always pretty to watch BUT in the last 6 weeks with the injuries piling up on the back end, Hamhuis has been called upon to help solidify the blueline [he leads the team in the +/- category with +12! That’s impressive considering that Edler who has only played 27 games mind you, is at -12].

Most people tend to forget that he represented Canada in the 2013 World Championship and played impeccably well defensively on the same BIG ice that will be required in the SOCHI games. His experience on the big ice will only serve to help Hamhuis thrive on the Olympic stage. The Olympics are going to be a great experience for Hamhuis to learn from moving forward.

Ryan Kesler will represent the USA in the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February!

Ryan Kesler will represent the USA in the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February!

Ryan Kesler has had an interesting 4 years since his 2010 silver medal performance to say the least! He started on a high posting career highs and winning the 2011 Selke trophy before being dogged by injuries 2 years in a row before finally being able to play 100% healthy as this current season began. In the last 4 years, Kesler has accumulated 164 points [84 goals, 86 assists] in 221 games played.

He seems to have rediscovered his determination that he lost when he was overcome with the injury bug.Torts has a lot to do with Kesler finding his game again. When Ryan Kesler in 100% healthy he is almost always a game changer on your roster. He will be an asset to team USA.

Alexander Edler, Henrik and Daniel Sedin will represent Sweden at the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February.

Alexander Edler, Henrik and Daniel Sedin will represent Sweden at the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin will be representing Sweden at the Olympics for the 3rd time when they go Sochi. They come to the team with an incredible amount of experience both in the NHL and on the international stage. In the spring of 2013 they won the GOLD medal at the World Championship. In the last 4 years the Sedins have combined for 508 points [149 goals, 359 assists], back to back Art Ross Trophies, 1 Ted Lindsay award, 1 Hart trophy and mesmerizing the league with their ridiculous chemistry that Canucks fans are lucky to watch every night. The Sedins will be able to utilize their sedinery ways with the assistance of the likes of Zetterberg and Kronwall!

Alexander Edler will also be representing Sweden as he makes his Olympic debut [Edler was also a part of the 2013 GOLD medal World Championship team]. Edler when 100% healthy which he will be prior to the Olympics, is an asset to the blueline from his shot blocking, big hits, defensive play and timely scoring [& oh yes he can score in the shootout!].

All three of these players will be an asset to team Sweden in Sochi as they look to find the formula that made the team successful in Turin.

Yannick Weber will  represent Switzerland at the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February.

Yannick Weber will represent Switzerland at the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February.

Yannick Weber perhaps does not have the most NHL experience BUT he will be representing Switzerland for the SECOND time as he debuted with his home country in the 2010 Olympics. Weber has been very solid for the Canucks since being recalled from the farm team [due to the injury bug that hit the defense!]. His shot from the point can be lethal when unleashed.

Olympic dreaming…will soon be reality for Roberto Luongo, Dan Hamhuis, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Alexander Edler and Yannick Weber. The 2014 Sochi Winter Games are drawing near and will draw the attention of the world as we all hold our collective breath waiting for the puck to drop. Every country will be vying for gold BUT only ONE can walk away with coveted prize of hockey gold.

Are you ready?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

December 2 Remember

Happy New Year hockey fans!

While we will all be keeping our eyes on the 2014 Winter Classic and the announcement of the USA Olympic hockey roster[Congratulations Ryan Kesler!], I will be taking a closer look at the December that was for the Canucks. Spoiler alert: it was fantastic!

November was NOT a good month for the Canucks as they could not solve the riddle of how to win back to back games no matter how good they played. November was the month they survived and December was the month they thrived.

In December the team posted an impressive 10-1-2 record picking up 22/26 points.December wasn’t exactly easy either as the team lost Burrows, Sestito, Edler, Stanton, Luongo and Alberts to various injuries throughout the month. Sestito is the only one to return to the line up so far.

Coming into December the Canucks had not posted back to back wins since October…which sounds pretty unbelievable YET it is very true. They knew they had to be better from top to bottom and it would require everyone to step up. Points are vital to divisional standings and the wildcard spots…and while they have not yet caught the leading Anaheim Ducks, they have closed the gap between themselves and LA and San Jose as they have stacked up some points.

Step up indeed they did. They opened December with 7 straight, yes you read that right…7 straight WINS including 5 straight at home and points in 8 straight over all.

During that 7-game win streak there were some stand out performances from a few players in particular. The line of Higgins-Kesler-Santorelli showcased some fantastic chemistry while the goal-tenders each posted shutouts.

The month opened with Ryan Kesler leading the charge with back to back 2-goal game performances against Carolina and Nashville.

The Canucks saw their 2-goal lead disappear very quickly when Carolina scored twice in 10 seconds early in the middle frame to tie the game. The team could have easily buckled in that moment BUT instead Ryan Kesler was quick to take back the lead for the Canucks.

Kesler put on a show in the third period against Nashville and made absolutely certain the team took two points home.

Phoenix came calling and the Canucks were trying to catch them in the division standings as the gap between the two was closing.

Now this game would end up going to overtime before the Canucks eventually won BUT this goal from Henrik is just ridiculous:

After Phoenix came the young Colorado Avalanche who have been aptly coached by the ever colorful Patrick Roy. The Canucks were in complete control of this game from the puck drop however as the Higgins-Kesler-Santorelli line took care of the offense while Luongo stood on his head to lead the team to a 3-1 victory.

The stand out in this game aside from Luongo’s stellar goal-tending was Mike Santorelli who has quickly become a fan favourite as he has been easily one of the most consistent players all season long.

Did I mention the BIG wins against Boston and Chicago? The atmosphere in Rogers Arena during the Boston game was electric, as loud as a playoff game. It was the first time the Bruins have played in Vancouver since June 15, 2011 and the while the stakes were not high, both teams wanted this victory. Both the Canucks and the fans were ready for this game…and the fans made sure to be heard all game long. Did I mention the unconventional time out called by Torts early in the 2nd period that turned the tide back to the Canucks and they never looked back.

Canucks went into the madhouse following a disappointing game in Dallas [their ONLY regulation loss in the month] and did not have the start they hoped for as the Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead. Cue the comeback kids…Daniel Sedin tied the game midway through the third period forcing this game to go to extra time. Over time did not solve the game although Santorelli came awfully close to tying the game with the clock winding down. Eddie Lack took part in his first NHL shootout…an 8 round shoot out in the mad house…and came out on the winning side stopping the likes of Kane, Toews & Hossa!

Have I mentioned the injury bug that bit the team in the very first game by taking away Burrows with a broken jaw. Alex Edler and Ryan Stanton were soon to follow…and left our defense seriously drained. Luongo’s injury came in late in the month against Winnipeg and was determined to be day-to-day and left Eddie Lack with the reigns to manage until such time that Luongo returns to the lineup. Lack has been more than capable in helping this team close out the month 2-0-1 picking up 5/6 points including posting his 2nd NHL shutout in his career and in the month. The latest injury came as the month drew to a close to Andrew Alberts, who suffered a concussion after taking a hit from Brian McGrattan early in the game against Calgary.

The injury bug hits every team (just look at Pittsburgh!) and if they want to have success they have to find ways to win despite missing key pieces. Injuries while frustrating, allow an opportunity for other players to step into a bigger role and bigger minutes as they help the team move forward. December is a month in which not every win was pretty but the team has had to redefine the ways in which they have won while different role players have stepped up as hero.

Torts has made it clear since day one that shot blocking and special teams would be vital to his team’s success. Special teams will be key as they always are moving forward and the Canucks will look to keep improving their power play and penalty kill teams. Shot blocking is expected of each and every player in every situation [5-on-5, 5-on-4 or 5-on-3]. If I have mentioned their power play once, I’ve mentioned it 100 times…it is no secret they struggled with the man advantage early but it has most definitely improved as of late [6 power play goals in their first 20 games, 13 PPG in their last 21 games]. Special teams may not win you every game BUT success long term is much easier attained when your special teams are successful. The Canucks have relied heavily on their strong penalty kill and slowly their power play is catching up as December closed and the season progresses. **Did I mention they have the league’s number ONE ranked penalty kill?

It truly was a December to remember,

As 2014 begins, January will see the return of Luongo, Burrows and potentially Edler. There is no sense in rushing Luongo with Lack’s steady play, but the belief is that Luongo will be back in the lineup by the weekend road trip in California. Alex Burrows will be a spark plug as he always is when he is in the lineup when he makes his comeback. Burrows does more than just score goals, he does all the little things and is a huge asset to our penalty kill unit. Alex Edler will be a welcome addition back to the backend as the defense has taken a few hits thanks to various injuries. Lucky for the Canucks, they have been able to rely on Hamhuis and some unexpected depth but they will gladly welcome back some regulars as the season moves forward. A healthy line up will be key to having success down the stretch and into the playoffs.

41 games in, we are officially at the halfway point in the season, can you believe it? 41 more games remain during which we will see an Olympic break as the Sochi games take the world captive. 41 more games before the playoff madness of a new playoff format will unfold and the wildcards are determined. 41 games before the real work begins for all the playoff contenders.

The Canucks closed 2013 with an impeccable 10-1-2 December and an overall 23-11-7 record in the first half of the season. Here’s to a great 2014 for the Canucks and all the teams in the NHL. It’s going to be a wild ride to the finish and we are lucky to be able to watch as it unfolds.

December to remember indeed as the Vancouver Canucks posted a 10-1-2 record. (Eerily similar to their December 2010 when they posted a 11-1-2 record)

Here’s December 2013 at glance! December to remember indeed as the Vancouver Canucks posted a 10-1-2 record. (Eerily similar to their December 2010 when they posted a 11-1-2 record)

October was the month that the Canucks surprised a lot people as they adjusted to Torts’ style. November was the month that the Canucks survived. December was the month that the Canucks thrived and will be looking to build upon that success as they open 2014 with a New Year’s Day game against Tampa Bay [yes I know, not quite as big as the Winter Classic BUT the 2 points that come with it are vital with the ever tight in the Pacific Division].

***The Team Canada Men’s hockey team Olympic roster will be announced January 7, 2014. [& I expect one or two Canucks to be named to that roster..see what I did there?].

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.

Lou & Schneids: Best Friends Forever!

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

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

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

#Millionaires #GoCanucksGo

As always, until next time, nuck said!

Sarah E.L.

Game 7 & 8 resound in LOUUUUUUUUUU

In today’s game edition of nucksaid we look at Luongo’s impressive week. Why was everyone so surprised to hear the announcement that Roberto Luongo was given the start against Colorado last week? Was it really that big of a surprise? To be honest, that decision did not shock me at all. In the previous game Luongo played a strong game despite the shootout loss. On Wednesday against Colorado, Luongo posted his 61st career shutout [34th as a Canuck] that night. Making his best stop of the night just over a minute into the game with the knob of his stick…did you see that one? It set the tone for the rest of the game. He was deep in the blue paint, tight on his posts and strong with glove.When the Canucks got a 2 goal lead, he made a very important stop on Matt Duchene on a short-handed breakaway to preserve the lead. The forwards rewarded his patience by extending the lead to three on the powerplay curtesy of #ZackAttack Kassian. P.S. that was his team leading 5th goal of the season! Did you happen to notice that at the end of that game as the final buzzer went…the ENTIRE arena was on their feet chanting LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU? Pretty surprising giving to the fact that many of those ‘bandwagoners’ were hoping he would have left by now. Some of us never doubted that he deserved credit long ago and STILL does.

The next day people were once again shocked when the Canucks announced that Luongo would start against their nemesis the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. Seriously why the shock? Luongo has always had a strong work ethic. The guy is posting his BEST season start numbers with a 1.46 GAA and a 0.944 save percentage! Not mention posting a 2-0-2 record…that means he has picked up 6 of a possible 8 points for the Canucks and is undefeated in regulation. This game lacked the punch of many previous meetings between the bitter rivals. Many expected there to be bad blood following hit by Duncan Keith that ended Daniel Sedin’s season last year. Both teams said simply, that it was getting the win and the two points that was important and not focusing on what happened in the past. And so it was. There was hardly any of the physicality that was expected and the only player to actually knock Keith down was Henrik Sedin. The Canucks may not have exacted revenge on Keith, but the fans were very loud in letting him know their distaste of what he did by booing him EVERY time he touched the puck. Alex Edler was the one to get the Canucks on the board in the first period and it stayed a 1 goal game until midway through the third period when that pesky Patrick Kane tied the game. It looked like the Blackhawks were going to steal the two points with a mad scramble in Luongo’s crease in the final minutes but the puck did cross the line and the crowd erupted in #LOUUUU chants as the buzzer ended regulation. Overtime was all Chicago and Luongo denying them goals…the Canucks had one nice rush short-handed near the end of the overtime period, but like regulation it ended tied. The entire arena, and all the fans watching from home were on the edge of their seats anticipating the Canucks going to a shootout for the 4th time in 8 games! Oi vey! The shootout has never been the strong point for the Canucks….the tension was palpable. The Canucks opted to go with Burrows, Kassian and Lapierre. The Hawks went with their snipers Toews, Kane, and Sharp. All six players were denied[no stop more brilliant than Luongo’s glove save on Sharp to extend the shootout to a 4th  round!]. Cue sudden death…first team to outscore the other would win. The Canucks tapped rookie Jordan Schroeder…and he came prepared….he changed his speed midway getting Crawford to bite…just sneaking the puck through the five hole! Cue the arena screaming. All that was needed was one save by Luongo to win the game or a goal by Chicago to extend the shootout to a fifth round. The Hawks tapped Leddy…and Luongo said NO. CANUCKS win and Luongo was brilliant in the shootout stopping ALL 4 shooters. Did I mention that Captain Henrik Sedin played hi 900th NHL game on Friday[fun fact: he will play his 1000th NHL next season!]

Tonight the Canucks will once again lean on the goal-tending of Roberto Luongo when they play in Edmonton. Luongo has been incredible the last three games in particular and I look forward to seeing that continue tonight. Relax Schneider fans, he will get his chance, but Coach V and many other coaches tend to go with the hot hand. And right now that is Luongo as he is playing ridiculously well…why not let him play while he’s in the zone?! It should be an interesting match up tonight…Dubnyk vs. Luongo in Oil Country….go Canucks!

#GoCanucksGo #CanucksG9 #LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

The puck drops at 6:30PM. Enjoy the game everyone!

In a shortened season every game matters and every point counts. Until next time as always, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

Relax, It’s Only Been SIX Games

6 games in and how quick the tides have rolled in. Fickle fans seem to be already passing judgement on the Canucks season calling it a slow start. Relax. How quick people are to forget that the Canucks typically start slowly[last year they had 2-3-1 start in their first 6 games vs. 2-2-2 this year!] It has only been six games, it is hardly time to panic with 42 games left on the schedule to be played. The Canucks typically are slow out of the gate…and follow that slow beginning with a BIG second month….they usually get hot in November[aka February this year!]. There is also usually BIG game when they turn it around…..the last two seasons it has been against Colorado[the very team that they are playing TONIGHT!] when they got their groove back. Let’s hope that, that trend continues against Colorado tonight. #GoCanucksGo

FYI. In the last 17 games versus the Avalanche the Canucks have posted a 15-0-2 record dating back to 2010. Going a perfect 6-0-0 last season! Luongo gets the start following a stellar performance[despite the shootout] in LA. I have never doubted Lou’s ability since all this drama of controversy was snowballed by the media. Luongo has a 10-0-2 record against the Avalanche heading into tonight’s game. I don’t know why people are so quick to decide that Schneider should get the start because they think he’s the ‘starter’ this season…he has been extremely inconsistent thus far night in night out whereas Luongo has been very consistent…and earned the right to start tonight. In 4 games Scneids has a 3.13 GAA and Lou has a 2.21 GAA.  Coach V is going to play whichever of the two is playing best. and right now that is Lou. Schneids will get his chance to rebound and play consistently, but do not be so quick to assume that Lou will be going anywhere. With Eddie Lack out for 6 months or more, that does not give the Canucks any reliable backup or tandem options with Scheids. If the Canucks want to contend this season in the playoffs they are going to need BOTH LOU & SCHNEIDS.

Zack Kassian. Oh how quick all of us were to judge this kid last season when he came into the organization in exchange for Cody Hodgson. No one wanted to see the potential of this kid and last season it did not seem possible that he could ever compare to what CoHo brought skill level wise. This season has been a complete 180 compared to last season when he seemed out of place. Kassian began the year with the Chicago Wolves[Canucks AHL affiliate] and it was exactly that experience that brought his game to a new level. He so far has been one of the best Canucks players on the ice. He is currently on a 4 game goal scoring streak…and playing along side the Sedins. Kassian scored the shootout winning goal in the Canucks first win of the season…and has begun to win over Canucks fans and will continue to so as long he continues his consistent play. I look forward to seeing what this guy will do the rest of the season!

Is anyone else sick of seeing Chicago’s ridiculous successful start to the year [6-0-0…not including their current game against Minnesota!] If they win tonight…wouldn’t it be fun to see the Canucks ruin their streak of perfection? I personally think it would be fantastic….it would remind me of the way the Canucks snapped the Red Wings 23 game home streak last year! You know all of you Canucks fans would LOVE to see Chicago lose when they play the Canucks on Friday. Oh that would be fun to see on Friday…we shall have to wait and see.

That’s all for tonight. I’ve got a game to watch as do all of us Canucks fans! Enjoy the game tonight!! #GOCANUCKS

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.