March Madness Activated…

MARCH MADNESS is in full swing around the NHL from intense playoff drives, to playing with jobs on the line for next season, to playing spoiler, there is no shortage of dramatics around the league. Expectations will be met and not met as teams keep battling for divisional positioning all in the hopes of holding onto or grabbing onto a playoff qualifying position. Who will be left standing when all is said and done? Will any teams manage to pull off a last minute upset to steal playoff berths? Who will miss the playoffs in shocking fashion and who makes their playoff comeback? Time will tell who will be left standing when the dust settles before the storm that is the NHL playoffs begins.

As for the Vancouver Canucks, despite an insane injury bug that came calling in early 2015, they are once again playing meaningful games in March.  Meaningful games being played by the Vancouver Canucks in March! That feels good to write…who would have thought after the torpedo that was their 2013-2014 season under Torts, that they could be capable of a quick turnaround?! Or perhaps when the injuries began to pile up between January and February, any hopes that were once sparked have turned into doubts? Or perhaps you were of the cautiously optimistic variety? This season could not be more different from last season despite a massive injury pile up. For much of January and February the Canucks had a myriad of different players being asked to step up game after game due to the ever growing list of injuries. Somehow they found ways to win games despite a depleted lineup giving themselves an opportunity to go on a stretch drive run for March madness and an April tuneup.

March madness indeed! 21 games in March and early April with a near healthy lineup for the first time since the start of the season. Divisional rivals and wildcard holders trying to keep pace with the Canucks or even potentially pass them in the standings. Every game has playoff implications. Every game will dictate where the team stands when all is said and done after 82 games. As they have done all year, they have won games they should, they won games that were considered impossible and lost games they presumably should have won. Through 11 games in March, they have amassed a 7-3-1 record (15 points) to help them maintain second place in the tight Pacific Division. These final ten games will set the tone for the post-season should the Canucks earn a playoff berth.

One thing is certain, that no matter what situation the Canucks find themselves in after the final buzzer on April 11th, this team is slowly beginning to turn THIS city into BO-lievers once more! 72 games down, 10 games to go. Playoffs looming and anticipation of what could be grows with each victory. March Madness will soon be followed by the April rush that sets up the ever exciting race for Stanley.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Trade Deadline Insanity…

Forget about College Basketball March madness and try on the NHL’s version of March Madness which is the ever looming trade deadline…March 5th, 2014 for size. Pure insanity is about to break out as teams make the drive to find their missing piece and fans speculate like crazy what MAY or may NOT be…

I don’t know about you, but I have a love/hate relationship with the trade deadline. The part that I hate the most and drives me the most crazy is how quickly the rumor mill spins spreading before you can ever possibly catch up with the actual facts. The social media web better known as the sensation of twitter is best at speeding up how quickly rumor can become “fact”. Some of those “facts” will be proven to come true and others will be proven to be fiction as always happens this time of year.

This year has been no different. Rumors have been rampant all season long just like they are every year. Every team will have to make the decision to make or not to make what appears to be an insane deal in acquiring what they deem the missing piece OR to simply stand pat.

I will not participate in speculating any trade rumors of any kind until any of the said rumors become fact and the deadline passes at 12:00 PM (PT) on Wednesday. The media and twitter speculate enough without my help. Speculating what could happen will not change what DOES happen on Wednesday. I will say the following:

Trades are a part of the game. Sometimes you LOVE what a trade brings to your team and sometimes you HATE what it takes away. The truth is there will never be a way to please everyone. No matter what happens once the trade deadline passes, some will be very happy and some will be very upset with whatever their teams decide to do or not do. Some decisions will be predictable and some will shock you with their unpredictability.

Welcome to Trade Deadline Insanity…when the NHL turns into fruit basket upset as players move back and forth. Will you be watching or staying far away until the madness subsides? More than likely most deals will happen in the last moments before the deadline expires and twitter will explode. I will hold off making any comments in regards to trades until trades have happened or not happened and the deadline passes. It’s sure to be an interesting few days to say the least for hockey fans across the league no matter what the outcome.

The question is to stand pat or to be bold? We will see what’s in store for the 30 NHL teams and their fans as the trade deadline ebbs ever closer and moves are made or not made.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

March Madness, here we come!

So it begins, the phenomenon we call March Madness[and no, sorry but it has nothing to with NCAA basketball].  Let the madness begin. Usually March is synonymous with NHL teams solidifying their rosters and making their playoff push as the season winds down. This year while it is true that EVERY game in March is extremely important to the playoff drive, this week is merely the halfway mark. This year it will truly be March Madness as the halfway mark will be even more significant in a shortened season. Teams have until [3 PM Eastern] April 3rd to make any roster changes to their teams in their quest for the cup. April usually marks the beginning of playoffs, but this year it marks desperation month as teams will try and squeeze as points as possible out the 12-15 games they will play. First all 30 teams [minus Chicago] will battle through March Madness before Absolutely ‘Must Win’ April begins.

March Madness will be a test. Every team will use Chicago’s ridiculously brilliant first half of the season as a measuring stick[seriously…their first half was nearly perfect going 21-0-3!]. By the end of March the frame work of the playoff picture will begin to become clear as desperation teams will look to steal points and momentum from teams that seem locked in. The playoff picture will change a lot between now and the beginning of April.

What better way to begin the madness then to take a look at a revealing statistic? Fun fact: Did you know that no player in the NHL has more points than Henrik Sedin since 2008? True story. That is an incredibly impressive feat considering the offensive talent that has been in the NHL the last 5 years.

Since the beginning of the 2008/2009 season:

Henrik Sedin (Vancouver) –391 points [personal best 112 points in 2009/2010]

Alex Ovechkin (Washington) –386 points [personal best 112 points in 2007/2008]

Daniel Sedin (Vancouver) –360 points [personal best 104 points in 2010/2011]

Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh) –359 points [personal best 113 points in 2008/2009]

Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh) –351 points [personal best 120 points in 2006/2007]

Jarome Iginla (Calgary) –327 points [personal best 98 points in 2007/2008]

Corey Perry (Anaheim) –326 points [personal best 98 points in 2010/2011]

Patrick Kane (Chicago)–324 points [personal best 88 points in 2009/2010]

Patrick Marleau (San Jose)–309 points [personal best 86 points in 2005/2006]

Marian Hossa (Chicago) –274 points [personal best 100 points in 2006/2007]

Jonathan Toews (Chicago) –290 points [personal best 76 points in 2010/2011]

Teemu Selanne (Anaheim) — 265 points [personal best 132 points in 1992/1993 ***rookie season]

Ryan Kesler (Vancouver) — 261 points [personal best 75 points in 2009/2010]

Alex Burrows (Vancouver) — 232 points [This was the beginning of Mr.Clutch goal scorer. Prior to 2008/2009 season Burrows only had 52 points total in the previous 3 seasons!]

March has only just begun, we’ve still got three weeks left for the real madness to ensue. After March Madness will come Absolutely Must Win April. The shortened season has set up lots of home and home series within the mandated conference play leading to many playoff type atmospheres. Are you prepared? Let the madness and desperation begin!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

P.S. Congratulations to Jannik Hansen and his wife who welcomed twin boys[Daniel & Lucas] into the world March 3rd. Congratulations also go out to Alex Burrows, whose wife Nancy gave birth to their 2nd daughter[Lexie] March 4th.