Saturday, April 30, 2011

Canucks lack penalty calls and finish

Mason Raymond gets hauled down in overtime
If you're wondering why the Vancouver Canucks offense has vanished, there's probably a few factors.  Firstly, the team has faced some incredible goaltending performances the past three or four games from Chicago's Corey Crawford, and Nashville's Vezina Trophy nominee Pekka Rinne.

In Game 7 against Chicago and Game 1 against Nashville, the Canucks were the superior team and if they were able to bury their chances, they would have won by three or four goals on each night.  However, after 2-1 and 1-0 victories, the Canucks failed to fire many pucks at the net in Game 2 against Nashville.

The Sedin twins appear to be out of their groove, while Kesler and Raymond have yet to light the lamp in the post-season.  When the victories are rolling in, you can attribute the defensive focus of Kesler and Raymond for the goose eggs, but when the team struggles and when the Kesler line has no obvious shut down opponent, it's tough to give them a free pass.

O'Brien's Predators regroup for Game 2

Lookin' Good Shane
In what Iain McIntyre and Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun called 'the closest blow out I've ever seen', the Canucks took Game One by the slimmest of margins (1-0), and opened their second round series against Nashville on a winning note.

Game Two should see this series pick up, and a safe bet would be that we will see more scoring.  Heck, it can't get any lower.  Pekka Rinne was at the top of his game on Thursday's opener, and Roberto Luongo was solid as well.  The Canucks did in fact carry most of the play, and while most of the media felt the Canucks would have an emotional let down, they also should have considered that a let down from the amazing level of play they had in Game 7 would still probably be enough to push them over the top in the opener of their second round series against the new opponent.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Canucks' Gillis Questions NHL Referees

Canucks GM Mike Gillis has questioned the league's referees, and the lack of a 'level playing field' through six games of the Vancouver Canucks Western Conference Quarterfinal match up versus the Chicago Blackhawks.

Found below is a video of many of the missed calls and weak calls from Game 6 that results in Gillis' frustrations.

Bickell hit on Bieksa a Double-Standard?

In Game 6 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup, Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell knocked Vancouver Canucks' D Kevin Bieksa for a ride in overtime with a high hit reminiscent of the Raffi Torres hit on Brent Seabrook in Game 3.  One key difference is that Bieksa had the puck, while Brent Seabrook was standing watching it glide beside him.  Another difference, Raffi Torres didn't leave his feet, while Bickell does his best airplane impression.

Suggesting that Bickell should be suspended may be a 'leap', but it will be interesting to see if the Chicago and Eastern Media (read: Ron McLean etc...) will organize a public lynching for Bickell as they did for Raffi Torres.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What if Canucks lose Game 7?

That is the question.  What if the 40 year Stanley Cup drought in Vancouver that has fed this city's desire to see it's first place team win the Cup is not satisfied?  What if the best version of the Vancouver Canucks ever, and the best team during the NHL's regular season is on the wrong side of the history books for one of North American Pro Sports largest collapses of all-time?  What if the Canucks lose Game 7 on home ice Tuesday night against their hated rival, the Chicago Blackhawks?

Again, this article is written under the hypothetical assumption that the Canucks lose Game 7 against Chicago.

Well, let's start at the top.  After being nominated as one of the league's top three executives, Canucks GM Mike Gillis will have a lot of questions to be answered.  Indeed, it would be frustrating a good team that was one goal away from advancing is now being scrutinized for every weakness imaginable, but that's exactly what will happen.  Many fans are already increasingly frustrated with his off-season additions. 

Blackhawks force Canucks to Game 7

Where does one begin? This series is clearly like two heavyweights duking it out.  Don't think you can find a series with more drama and story lines than this one in recent memory.  Game 6 begins with a shocking announcement that Vancouver will start Cory Schneider in goal instead of Roberto Luongo.  Luongo, named a Vezina trophy finalist only 1-2 days prior is being yanked in favour of his rookie back up for the biggest game of the Canucks season.  If that isn't an indictment of Luongo's playoff failures in Chicago, I don't know what is.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mike Gillis Binoculars Contest

Henrik? Daniel? Anyone Out There???

Best Caption wins a prize!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Torres Hit on Seabrook Suspension Worthy?

In Game Three of the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks first round series, Canucks' forward Raffi Torres caught an unsuspecting Brent Seabrook with a huge hit behind the Chicago goal.  Torres received a two-minute minor penalty on the play for interference.  It's tough to see whether or not Seabrook touched the puck, but the interference call would have been made based on Torres arriving on the scene a moment too soon, rather than for the placement or outcome of the hit.

Seabrook popped up fairly quickly, but did not look right on his next shift. Torres hit him once more and Seabrook seemed a bit woozy, and left for the remainder of the period.

Here is Torres' original hit on Seabrook:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Canucks Hopeful Versus Blackhawks?

Vancouver Canucks' fans may be holding their collective breath this year in the first round series against Chicago, but should they be?

Many fans in Vancouver feel the Blackhawks have the Canucks' number - which admittedly is hard to argue.  However, many of those same fans felt as if the Canucks were the favourites heading into the series.  In 2008-09, the Canucks swept the Blues and were a higher seed.  The Blackhawks were young and it was not supposed to be their time.  In 2009-10, the Hawks boasted a better record, but the Canucks were supposed to redeem themselves and get revenge.  That didn't materialize.

Canucks, Blackhawks renew rivalry

Dustin Byfuglien taunts Canucks fans
For the third time is as many years, the Vancouver Canucks will take on the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL Playoffs.  This time around, the teams are playing each other in the first round, as opposed to the second round.

A year removed from their Stanley Cup triumph in 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks are a much different team, as are the Vancouver Canucks.  Game One goes Wednesday night in Vancouver at 7pm PST.