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Canucks Fan
Canucks Fan
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Chad Klassen
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Canucks Fan

Vancouver Canucks Strength, Weakness and Stanley Cup Chances posted by Canucks Fan

The Vancouver Canucks finished 5th in the pacific division of the Western Conference. This was one of the worst performances for the team in recent years. It was the first time in six years that they failed to make it to the playoffs.

New Leadership

As a result a number of changes in leadership were made. Coach John Tortorella was replaced by Willie Desjardins and Mike Sullivan was relieved off his assistant coach duties. Trevor Linden was made president of the Canucks. These changes will help inject new leadership and allow the Canucks to start the new season a Fresh.

The main strength of the team comes through Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin who have been the team’s top performers. Henrik managed 50 points with 39 assists. Daniel Sedin made 224 shots and had 47 points in 73 games last season. Some fans feel that the team relies heavily on the two players. However, as long as they have any of the two they do not have two worry about their center depth.

Goaltender Ryan Miller

The acquisition of Ryan miller is one of the smartest decisions the team has made. He is one of the best goalies in the league and has the mental power and strength to take over goaltending for the Canucks. He finished the last season with the Sabres with a 2.81 GAA and a .915 save percentage.

Conclusion

One of the main weaknesses of the team is the power play. The team had the fifth worst power play in the league last season. The power play coach of the team was retained as the other coaching staff were sacked. This is an area that needs urgent attention. If coach Desjardins fails to fix this problem then the team will be in trouble. 

Continue reading "Vancouver Canucks Strength, Weakness ..."


Richard Kagan

Hossa Knocked Out By Ugly Hit posted by Richard Kagan

Raffi Torres unloaded on Marian Hossa in The Blackhawks loss to Phoenix in Game Three of their first-round matchup.  That was one of the ugliest, brutal hits I have seen in a while.  Yeah, I'll admit I'm a Chicago fan.  But that was a brutal hit, a vicious hit.  That play was uncalled for.  Jeremy Roenick, a former player for both Chicago and Phoenix, now a NBC commentator showed how a "correct" hit would play out and Torres' hit on Hossa looked nothing like what Roenick demonstrated to Dan Patrick.  If this was a boxing match, that hit would be a cold-cock sucker punch.  Hossa was carried off the ice on a stretcher.  He wiell might have a concussion and be out for the remaining games.  If Chicago doesn't play their game, that could be soon.  Hossa was in a scoring slump.  But he was the leading points getter for the Hawks and his veteran presence will be missed. 

Hockey is a tough game played by great athletes.  But that hit was not athletic.  It was a move you'd see in an alley fight.  Hossa didn't have the puck. He just got leveled by a player who is known to do that.  In fact, his hit on Brent Seabrook of the Hawks took him out of last year's Vancouver series.  That hit woke up the Hawks and they almost pulled off a miracle finish taking the Canucks to OT of game 7.  Now, their season is in jeopardy and the Hawks must play their best, without one of their key players.  Expect the NHL to come down hard on Torres.  He deserves it.

Continue reading "Hossa Knocked Out By Ugly Hit"


Jeff Ponder

Behind the Numbers: Does the Power-Play Really Make a Great Player? posted by Jeff Ponder

Over and over again, we have seen penalties hurt a team’s chance of winning games in the 2010-11 NHL Playoffs.  These penalties have been turning into power-play goals with one flick of the wrist or one wind-up from the point.  How important is it to be that guy that gets the all-important power-play goal to give his team a mental edge?

Looking purely at the numbers, the Canucks’ powerhouse offense is led by the Sedin twins.  Currently with 17 games played, Henrik leads the NHL with 19 points (2G, 17A).  His brother, Daniel, finds himself tied for sixth with five other players in the point race with 15 points (8G, 7A).  Taking a deeper look, the power-play helps boost those numbers to what they are.

Henrik has amassed 10 power-play points (1G, 9A), while Daniel adds 9 power-play points (5G, 4A).  Henrik’s power-play points add up for 53% of his total points, while Daniel has scored 60% of his points on the power-play.

How does this stack up to other leaders in the NHL? 

Teammate Ryan Kesler, currently ranked fourth in points, has scored 17 points this current playoff (6G, 11A) with 8 of those coming with the man-advantage.  This totals for 47% of his total points.

Shifting over to Tampa Bay, the Lightning have had two impact players putting up impressive numbers at the most important time of the year.  Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier seem to have found their stride and battle amongst the three Canucks for the top six spots in points-scored.

St. Louis has scored 17 points (8G, 9A), 9 points coming on the power-play (3G, 6A).  This adds up to be 53% of his total point production. 

Continue reading "Behind the Numbers: Does the Power-Play ..."


Jeff Ponder

Kesler the Key to Vancouver’s Success posted by Jeff Ponder

The fate of the one Canadian city left in the Stanley Cup playoffs will be rested on an American.

Ryan Kesler, born in Livonia, Michigan, was a dominating force that the Canucks needed to get past the pesky Nashville Predators.  The feisty center put up an amazing 41 goals in the regular season to lead the Canucks, but was held scoreless in the first round of the playoffs against Chicago.  He did not turn it on until game three of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.

Kesler, who had no goals and just five assists prior to game three, was finally awoken against Nashville.  Kesler tallied two power-play goals and one assist in the game, one of the goals coming as the game-winner in overtime.  It was his play along the boards that put Nashville’s top penalty-killer, Shea Weber, in the penalty box that resulted in Kesler’s game-winner.  Agree with the call on the ice or not, the 26-year old forward did his job to ensure a victory.

That game started an offensive onslaught by Kesler, since posting three goals, four assists, seven points and one more power-play goal.  Scoring a total of ten points in four games catapulted Kesler to the top of the NHL leader-board, tying Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk for the league-lead with 15 points in the playoffs. 

Timely goal-scoring and rough-play along the boards are not the only reasons that Kesler is a monumental factor in Vancouver’s success as of late. 

Kesler’s +6 is the best plus/minus for the Canucks.  His 23:23 ice-time is also the most average time-played amongst Canucks forwards.  In the three overtime games that the Canucks have had, Kesler seems to be out there every other shift.  Canucks Head Coach Alain Vigneault also used Kesler in every situation against Nashville.

Continue reading "Kesler the Key to Vancouver’s Success"


Richard Kagan

Vancouver Wins Game 7, 2-1 in OT posted by Richard Kagan

The Chicago Blackhawks lost to their rival, the Vancouver Canucks,2-1, in a rugged, determined Game 7 that went to OT,

Alex Burroughs scored on a Hawks turnover with the 5th minute of OT to send the home crowd into a frenzy, and leaving the Hawks to ponder, how close they came to making history.  The Hawks put up a valiant fight, thanks to the outstanding goaltending of Chris Crawford.  He was stellar in net, turning back a penalty shot, and three close-in saves in the 3rd period, any which would have won the game for the Canucks.  But Vancouver played well in front of their home ice fans at Rogers Arena and slayed the dragon,  the Chicago Blackhawks.

Jonathan Toews scored a short-handed goal with under two minutes left to play stun the crowd and the game went into OT.

The issue would be could Roberto Luongo make the saves to keep his team in the game.  He did.  He stopped a great attempt by Patrick Sharp in OT, and shortly after, Vancouver capitlized on a critical turnover and Burroughs came through.

He was denied early the third period by Goalie Crawford on a penatly shot. But the withering pressure of the Canucks paid off, and they scored the winning goal. 

It was a great effort by Chicago.  If they won the game, it would have propelled them into the second round against San Jose and their former goalie Annti Niemi.  But the season ended, after a stirring comeback which saw the Hawks win 3 straight games and push the 7th game into OT.  I am sure the Canucks breathed a massive sigh of relief.  Chicago has to know it played like a champion after coming back from an 0-3 hole.  They made a great showing and it came up a goal short. 

Continue reading "Vancouver Wins Game 7, 2-1 in OT"


Jeff Ponder

Weak Northwest Division Could Benefit Blackhawks posted by Jeff Ponder

Vancouver is the heavy favorite heading into the 2011 NHL playoffs to win the Stanley Cup.  Their Northwest Division foes can vouch for that.

 The Vancouver Canucks, who won the President’s Trophy by a landslide-ten points over the East’s Washington Capitals, posted an impressive 54-19-9 record for a league-leading 117 points in the regular season.  Obviously, the Canucks head into the Quarterfinal Series as the top seed in the Western Conference where they will meet the eighth-seeded Chicago Blackhawks.  But how much did Vancouver playing in the Northwest Division help bloat their point total?

The Northwest Division, which features the Canucks, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers, saw only one of its teams make the playoffs.  This is the only division in the NHL to do so.

The Canucks had a whopping 18-4-2 record against their Northwest Division foes.  With a record like that, it is easy to see how the Canucks can steamroll through parts of the regular season.  Still impressive?  Yes, very much so.  Anytime a team can dominate in their own division usually means that team will be a top-seed in the playoffs.  But what if Vancouver played in a better division?

Let’s say Vancouver goes .500 against the Northwest Division (12-12-0).  Their record drops down to 48-27-7 and they post 103 points.  While these are still very respectable numbers, that drops them to the third seed (keep in mind that they would still hold onto the division title), and puts them just six points ahead of their current playoff matchup, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Continue reading "Weak Northwest Division Could Benefit Blackhawks"


Jeff Ponder

Time for a New Disciplinary System posted by Jeff Ponder

The NHL may be the greatest hockey league in the world, but it may not have the best system for dealing with disciplinary action.  It seems that they could learn from leagues that play under them.  Way way under them. 

Jason Miller runs a roller hockey league in St. Louis, Missouri that is a glorified pick-up league.  He calls players every week to play, which goes in order of the amount of times played in past games.  He even hires a referee every Sunday night to facilitate the two 44 minute games and also has a scorekeeper to keep track of goals, assists and penalty minutes.  As if that wasn't enough, he even keeps track of everything on sundayrollerhockey.com, the league's website for everyone to view in the comfort of their own homes.  But the most notable feature of Miller's league may be the way that he handles the discipline that needs to be handed out time to time.

Even though the league is played amongst friends, tempers do flare on the rink.  Miller has set up a unique way to handle these situations.  If he feels that it is necessary to pursue action off the rink (suspension or expulsion from the league), he takes the matter to his board of players that was voted in by everyone that participates in Sunday Roller Hockey.

“Its mostly made just to curtail violence and stupid behavior,” Miller said, “and its worked pretty well because its at least made people think twice about what they want to do before they actually do it.”

Is this something that could be adopted in the NHL?  Vancouver Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell would vote in its favor.
Continue reading "Time for a New Disciplinary System"


Goon Squad

USA! USA! USA! posted by Goon Squad

Has it been 30 years now since the US beat the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid?(It seems like only yesterday...)

The Americans went on to win the gold medal in hockey that year - something that hasn't happened since, but don't expect any miracles next month at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. No, the United States still isn't favored to win a gold medal in hockey. In that respect the Americans remain underdogs. But with a roster stacked with young talent, they certainly are a medal candidate - one that the powerhouses from Canada, Russia and Sweden can't afford to overlook. "A little bit different situation [than 1980] in my opinion," said United States team captain Jamie Langenbrunner, a forward with the NHL's New Jersey Devils. "As much as Canada deserves all the credit that they're getting for the players they have, the 23 players named to the [United States] team play in the same league as those guys and we feel quite comfortable playing against them on a nightly basis. We feel we belong on the same ice."

That's a far cry from goalie Jim Craig and the 1980 team! US coach Herb Brooks had to convince that group of college All-Stars that it could compete with the grown men the Soviet Union sent over. But since 1998 the NHL has allowed its professional players to compete at the Winter Olympics. So this group of Americans is baffled by the notion that they would be intimidated by any of the major hockey powers.

Told of stories in the Canadian press that listed him as the only American capable of making the loaded Team Canada roster, forward Zach Parise chuckled. "I think that's kind of a bold statement," said Parise, also a New Jersey Devils forward. "I don't think there's going to be too many people that would agree with that."

Continue reading "USA! USA! USA!"


Goon Squad

Uh Oh, Skettio's! posted by Goon Squad

Officiating has become so intolerable that one general manager filed a protest in a league that doesn't allow protests and several coaches have talked about reading the rulebook again to see if it had changed.

Bettman has put out many fires in his time as NHL commissioner.

On Tuesday, with the Burrows allegations, it was just a spark – and now smoke can be seen coming from Detroit.

NHL rules state that if a call on the ice is to be overturned there must be substantial video evidence to back up overturning a call. 

In this case there was none whatsover--just the word of Mike Leggo, the trailing official who claims he saw what no video camera could--the puck crossing the goal line.

What is the point of having video replay if it's not going to be used for it's intended purpose?

With two teams battling for a very important extra point, assuming the puck crossed the line and going against standard practice, which is substantial video evidence, is absurd. Yet, for the second time in a few days, we have an officiating controversy.

Maybe the call was correct, but the point is that we cannot assume a puck crossed the line.

It was an injustice to the Red Wings, who for the second time this season have been on the wrong end of, plainly stated, an incorrect call.

Coincidentally or not, both games were against Dallas:

Continue reading "Uh Oh, Skettio's!"


Jeff Ponder

Team Sweden Making Some Questionable Moves posted by Jeff Ponder

Does anyone in North America remember Peter Forsberg?  You know, that guy that scored 885 points for the Nordiques, Avalanche, Flyers and Predators? 

Forsberg has attempted many comebacks to the NHL and other professional hockey leagues since playing in his last NHL game for the Colorado Avalanche in April 2008.  His nagging ankle injuries has limited his play, but he has continued working on his game, earning a spot with fellow Swedish countryman Markus Naslund on Modo Hockey of the Swedish Elite League.  Forsberg played in just three games last season, but has stormed back this campaign scoring eight goals and seven assists in nine games.  Is this worthy of a roster spot on the 2010 Swedish Olympic Team?

Team Sweden Head Coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson thinks so.  On Sunday, Gustafsson announced his 23-man roster for the Swedish Team, who will be defending their 2006 Gold Medal victory in Turin.  This roster includes 19 NHLers, three Swedish Elite League skaters and one KHL player.  Forsberg is one of the few men that are not playing on an NHL club but squeaked into the lineup.

One person did not seem too happy about the Swedish club's decision.  Mikael Samuelsson of the Vancouver Canucks was snubbed from the lineup and did not have very nice words for Gustafsson and his staff.

"Probably going to get in trouble for this, but they can go (expletive removed) themselves," Samuelsson stated after the Canucks' win over the Flames Sunday night.

The truth is that Samuelsson is enjoying a good season with the team he signed with over the summer.  Being tied for third on the team in goals with ten and adding 14 assists, the right wing has been a great addition for the Canucks.  Samuelsson could add size (6'2” 212 lbs.) and endurance (17:11 TOI/G) to a Swedish team that could be lacking grit.

Continue reading "Team Sweden Making Some Questionable Moves"

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