Saturday, October 23, 2010

Doughty heads list of slow starters

The NHL season is only a couple of weeks old, but if you've been following the NHL, you may have noticed some of the game's biggest names mysteriously absent from the leader board in scoring.  In fact, many high profile stars are off to such lousy starts that they've been scratched for mysterious reasons (Ilya Kovalchuk).

Some are forwards, some are defencemen. They all impact your fantasy hockey team, or office hockey pool. Here are the top ten slow starters this season as determined by PuckWatch.

Cory Schneider Earning His Keep

Is it too soon to say there's a goaltending controversy in Vancouver?  Okay, maybe it is.

Luongo is not at risk of losing his starting job, but backup goaltender Cory Schneider has played two great games on home ice, backstopping the Vancouver Canucks to identical 5-1 wins over the Carolina Hurricanes and the Minnesota Wild.

On Friday night, Schneider stopped 23-24 shots and appeared well composed and in great position.  He was on pace to record a shutout until the Wild got a late goal with just over two minutes left.  Schneider has been one of the season's early highlights for Vancouver, who has endured a slow start out of the gates this year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rick Rypien Attacks Fan

Not only was it ugly on the scoreboard tonight for Vancouver, but Canucks' forward Rick Rypien will most likely be hearing from the National Hockey League after his altercation with a fan that will most likely result in a suspension.

The Canucks posted a season worst effort in a disheartening 6-2 loss, where they collapsed in the first period giving up three goals.  Roberto Luongo allowed 6 goals on 17 shots, but the real story involved Rick Rypien's altercation with a fan.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Andrew Alberts proving his value

It's been an interesting year for Vancouver Canucks' defenseman Andrew Alberts, but after a strong off season training regimen, he is asserting himself on the Canucks' blueline.

Last year towards the trading deadline, Alberts was dealt from the struggling Carolina Hurricanes to the playoff bound Vancouver Canucks - but the good news did not last.  Alberts was an instant goat in Vancouver for frequent giveaways, poor defensive play, and horrible penalties that resulted in power play goals against, especially in last year's playoffs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NHL's own 'Obscene Gesture'

Chicago Blackhawks D Niklas Hjalmarsson hits Buffalo's Jason Pomminville
The NHL is starting off this season the way it conducted itself most of last year - making odd decisions regarding suspensions with surprisingly little knowledge or regard for previous offences, or what actually is harmful to the game.

During a matinee game earlier this week, New York Islanders' Defenceman James Wisniewski was suspended for two games for making an 'obscene gesture' toward New York Rangers' super pest Sean Avery.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wisniewski makes 'obscene gesture' to Sean Avery

Anyone watching the Rangers @ Islanders game on Sunday afternoon might have seen quite the gesture from Islanders' Defenceman James Wisnieswki.  Wisniewski was standing near the Islanders' net when Sean Avery approached, and the two began chirping back and forth.  The Islanders' new defenceman then made an obscene gesture towards Sean Avery that was caught on tape.

TSN is reporting that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance but did not happen to see the incident when it happens. 

Rangers' fowrard Sean Avery is often at th ecenter of controversy.  Of course he may actually have a right to be annoyed if the league does nothing to Wisniewski for his actions on Sunday.

Avery was only 23 games into a US$15.5-million, four-year deal with the Dallas Stars in December 2008 when Bettman suspended him for six games for a crude remark Avery made about ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players. That incident ended Avery's time with the Stars and led to his return to the Rangers that season after a stint in the minor leagues. Avery also underwent counselling for anger management
"It's pretty obvious what the guy was doing," Avery said of Wisniewski, "but I'm sure nothing will happen to him because nothing ever happens. It's interesting, he'd get a warning for something like that. "Can you imagine if I did that? They sent me to rehab the last time I did something. It's crazy."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Canucks' Larscheid Fired from TEAM 1040

In what appears to be a potential Public Relations nightmare, the beloved Vancouver Canucks colour commentator for the past 33 years has been released - his last game to be versus Los Angeles this Saturday - due to what appears to be the result of posturing prior to a bid for Canucks radio broadcast rights, and the result of censorship.

Iain MacIntyre reports that Larscheid will call his last game this Saturday.  Larscheid was an Americanborn former football player when he was hired in 1977 to work with play-by-play icon Jim Robson on Canuck broadcasts.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

EA Sports: Canucks to win Stanley Cup

EA Sports' yearly simulation of the NHL's regular season concludes that the Vancouver Canucks will end their drought and hoist the Stanley Cup.  The game that predicted last spring’s Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory has called for the same team to be knocked out of the first round of the playoffs this year.  While at the same time the Vancouver Canucks look to dominate the season and leave all teams in their wake en route to their first Stanley Cup victory since they were named the Millionaires back in 1915.

Many in the media have predicted the Canucks are pre-season favourites to hoist the cup.  Time will tell if this team is equipped to shoulder the load of expectations heaped on them thus far.

According to EA Sports, the Canucks will beat the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, and Los Angeles Kings en route to an exciting seven game finale against the Boston Bruins, where Daniel Sedin will earn Conn Smythe honours.

Canucks cap woes: re-assign Schneider, Tambellini, Bolduc

As is reporting, the Vancouver Canucks have recalled D Lee Sweatt, and re-assigned G Cory Schneider, F Jeff Tambellini, and F Alexandre Bolduc.  This is a somewhat curious move, but can be explained by the Canucks need to be under the salary cap before the year begins.

Cory Schneider was slotted to be Roberto Luongo's backup for the season, and undoubtedly will be.  So why was he sent to Manitoba?  Well according to Dan Murphy of Rogers' Sportsnet. the Canucks are going to activate Alexandre Burrows and Sami Salo for the first game of the year, just so they can put them on Long-Term injury to get their salaries off the books.  It's a bit of a quirky move by Canucks' 'salary capologist' Laurence Gillman to ensure the best long-term strategy for the Canucks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

NHL Fantasy Hockey Draft Tips

Sitting atop the standings by season’s end usually takes a little bit of luck.  Avoiding injuries, and predicting who will have a career year can literally make or break your chances.  Stick to our plan, and you’ll guarantee yourself a finish at or near the top.  By following some simple principles, you can ensure you’re in the money.  Let’s start with 7 simple rules to beat your friends and show up your coworkers.  These 7 tricks will mean the difference between being the laughing stock of your office and the subject of ridicule, or the person collecting some crisp bills and bragging rights.

Morrison signs with Flames

Brendan Morrison is a man without a contract no longer.  One day after being released by the Vancouver Canucks, Brendan Morrison has chosed to sign with one of their main rivals, the Calgary Flames.

Morrison will likely play on one of the top two lines in Calgary and may even get some time against a man he used to make a living against checking closely, Jarome Iginla.

As TSN is reporting, The Flames have been looking to add a centre after a rash of injuries struck them down the middle.  Daymond Langkow, Matt Stajan and David Moss are all expected to miss time, while Olli Jokinen just returned from a back muscle injury.  Morrison should add some veteran experience and play-making ability and may well work his way on to one of the Flames' top two lines.

The deal is for one year and is worth a reported $725,000. 

While the Flames are looking to fill holes created by injuries, the Canucks meanwhile look to reduce their roster by as many as five more players before opening night.

Here's a clip of arguably the biggest goal of Morrison's career, a triple overtime winner for the Canucks against the Flames in the playoffs a few years back.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Canucks waive O'Brien & Hordichuk

On Saturday, the Vancouver Canucks waived Shane O'Brien and Darcy Hordichuk.  Likely due to salary cap constraints, and solid competition for their roles, the two hard-nosed players will see if anyone claims them, before potentailly reporting to the Manitoba Moose.

Darcy Hordichuk saw spot duty on the fourth line for most of last year, taking on the tougher foes and defending his teammates, but not providing much else other than an untimely hooking call.  That was the bad side of Hordichuk, the good side was his team play and his contributions in the community - which were greatly appreciated by the team and their fans.

Shane O'Brien meanwhile enjoyed a more permanent role with the club, but did fall out of favour for what reportedly included showing up late for practice a couple of times and for potentially enjoying himself too much socially.

What does this mean for their future? Well, the Canucks may have the option of having them play for the Manitoba Moose.  What this likely means however is that either Aaron Rome or Andrew Alberts wil occupy the last two spots on defence, after Edler, Ehrhoff, Hamhuis, Ballard and Bieksa.

Other NHL teams will have an opportunity to claim O'Brien or Hordichuk, but odds are that their contracts may prohibit them from being picked up.  Of course, they could serve as injury recalls and will likely see some time with the Canucks this year if they do report to Manitoba.