- How can I start this post any other way than with Zack Kassian? He scored another goal – his 2nd in as many games, he was ferocious on the forecheck and he scored the shoot out winner. He’s showing the potential Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault have been talking about since the Hodgson trade was first made. I think Bertuzzi when I see him. Let’s hope he keeps up the intensity and develops some consistency. No streakiness please.
- Mason Raymond scored a beauty on the PP with a laser of a wrist shot. Wish he shot like that all the time. If he produced a shot like that for every time he fell over he’d have 1000 career goals by now. Maybe not 1000. More like 200.
- I thought Schneider was back on form this game. He made some very strong pad saves, was sound positionally and won the shoot out. He even produced some puck handling moments of panic, which is totally Schneids.
- Chris Tanev was awarded the 3rd star in this game by being completely… un-noticeable. He’s solid defensively and oh so patient with the puck. When he gets the puck in his own zone it’s like bullet time for Tanev. If only he had some kind of shot.
- It was Jordan Schroeder’s NHL debut and he did not look out of place. In 14:49 of ice time he got his first minor penalty and not much else. Still, he threw a couple of hits, took a couple, planted himself in front of the net and looked sound defensively. He even played strongly along the boards. He should stick for a while, I hope he sticks for a while, but I’d like him to be a little more cocky with the puck and test his playmaking skills rather than sticking his tiny body in front of the net. Jeff Paterson said it best when he tweeted: “Hate to say it, but Schroeder does resemble a smurf in #Canucks blue”.
- Burrows scored in the shoot out with his signature forehand backhand move. He should never try anything else.
- With the shoot out win the Canucks now sit 9th in the West, equal with 8th placed Columbus and with a -4 goal differential. 45 games to go.
Lots of things went wrong for the Vancouver Canucks this post season. Daniel Sedin was out. Henrik Sedin was almost knocked out. Ryan Kesler pouted so much he played like he was out. Coldplay completely stole their momentum after game 4. Guts McTavish’s Twitter ball avatar simply would.. not.. change. Still, you can’t dwell on the negative. Instead, let’s take a leaf out of the Zombieland Rulebook and enjoy the little things about the 2011-2012 edition of the Vancouver Canucks.
- Jannik Hansen had a career year offensively. He finished the season with 16-23-39 and a +18. That’s 7 goals and 10 points higher than last season’s totals. Plus he earned himself a new nickname:
- Maxim Lapierre still has a face every opponent of the Canucks wants to punch but he backed up his extra curricula activities with strong play between the whistles this season. He led the team in hits with 244 in the regular season (good for 11th in the NHL) and did something many people never thought he would – fight. Max dropped the gloves 7 times this season, including once at center ice at TD Garden against Gregory Campbell. He played at center and wing in the bottom 6 and when called upon to fill in on the 1st and 2nd lines he never looked out of place. Plus, he’s responsible for this:
- David Booth was traded for in October, got hurt, then came back to be voted the Most Exciting Canucks Player by the fans. Not sure I agree with that one, but he had his moments. Strangely enough, for me it wasn’t his goal scoring that was the highlight, it was his fight with Mark Olver. Booth is very Christian, so you wouldn’t expect him to lay the smack down like this:
- Manny Malhotra may not quite be the same player he was before his horrific eye injury last year but the simple fact that he is out there is truly incredible.
- Cody Hodgson made the pipes sing on 2 of the most memorable goals of the Canucks season:
Such sweet music. I’m concentrating on the positive so I’m not even going to mention “the trade” here. Oh wait, I just did. Damnit.
- But it was Aaron Rome who kicked off the impressions this season, doing his best Ray Bourque as he scored 3 goals in 4 games back in November. Rome finished the season with a career high 4-6-10 but was a career low -4. (Sorry, I’m trying to be positive!)
- January 7th 2012. Rematch day against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. In many ways this was the semicolon that punctuated the sentence that was the Canucks’ season. After this game things changed – nothing was quite the same. The Canucks won in Boston, which is something many thought they could never do. They won it on the back of special teams, which was something they could not do in the Stanley Cup Finals. Cory Schneider was in goal – the first true sign that the Canucks may go to him in vital games. It was a memorable win, one that partially soothed the wounds left behind from last season.
- Finally, the Vancouver Canucks won a 2nd straight Presidents’ Trophy. Despite what everyone says this is a great achievement and one the Canucks should be proud of.
It’s a long wait until next season and there will be lots of head scratching and cynicism to deal with during that wait. I’ll do my best to remember the good times (I’ll probably read this post 20 times) and remain excited and hopeful for the next NHL season.
I really didn’t want to be writing about the Canucks goaltending situation again but it’s the story that just won’t go away.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault confirmed earlier today that Cory Schneider would start tonights elimination game 4 against the Los Angeles Kings. As put by @SirCanuckles on Twitter “/Internet Explodes/”
There is no doubt any more as to who the number one goalie is in Vancouver and I’ll give you the hot tip – it’s not the emotional Italian guy from Montreal.
If I am Roberto Luongo I do not take this well. Luongo signed a 12 year contract as a the bona-fide starter for the Canucks. He’s been through it all with the team, he’s been the Captain, he’s been the hero, he’s been the whipping boy. This team was his. Was being the operative word there. Luongo is a competitive guy. If he could play every game of the regular season he would. But since he came to Vancouver he’s seen a slow decline in the number of games he has played per season. Over the past 2 seasons he’s seen a rapid decline in the number of playoff games he has played. Before last season his preferred goalie coach (Ian Clark) was shipped out in favor of Rollie Melanson – not his choice. He enjoyed having the ‘C’ by all accounts but it was taken away from him. With the exception of the big contract, Luongo hasn’t had his way in Vancouver.
Now he’s been supplanted in goal by a young upstart who has outperformed him, who has gained the favor of his team mates and who is already, arguably, more beloved by the fans and media too (Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows impressions go a long way).
After the announcement that Schneider is starting tonight Luongo has not been made available to the media.
This situation has all the hallmarks of a bitter breakup between player and organization. I, and it seems like every other Canuck fan on the planet, am expecting a trade request from Luongo any time now.
I surmised in my last post about the goaltending situation that perhaps it was the Canucks plan all along to start Cory Schneider in road games. If Luongo had come out this morning after the announcement and spoken to the media then this theory may have had some wind behind it. But the fact that Luongo has gone into hiding says to me that this is just not the case. There’s a bigger situation coming to the boil here.
Max Lapierre was playing for Montreal during the Price vs Halak controversy and he had this to say this morning:
“Both places had two great goalies. That’s all I’ll say about it.”
Soon after the Canadiens were beaten in the Eastern Conference Finals they made their intentions for the future very clear by trading Halak to the St Louis Blues. The next season Price was extraordinary thanks in no small part I am sure to a new found confidence in knowing that he was the undisputed starter for his team.
The Canucks will have to do something similar to end the drama and settle things down well in advance of next season.
If you’re wondering who I think the Canucks should go with next season, check out my post on getrealhockey.com
I haven’t changed my mind about that. As much as I’d love to have Schneider with the Canucks long term, it’s just not the safe move. Schneider is unproven, Luongo is. Schneider could definitely be worth more on the trade market than Luongo, mainly because there will be a slew of teams scrambling to acquire him whereas Luongo will have a very short list of teams that he would be willing to play for.
The bottom line is – the Canucks need to re-affirm Luongo as the starter and get his faith in the organisation back on track, no matter what happens tonight against the Kings.
The Vancouver Canucks head into game 3 of the NHL Western Conference Quarter Finals against the Los Angeles Kings down 2-0 in the series after losing 4-2 in 2 straight games on home ice. The Canucks have not only played poorly but they have given the Kings confidence and fired them up with somewhat idiotic, antagonistic play. The Kings are on the front foot in this series and the Canucks have a long road ahead of them if they want to come back and win it.
That long road could start with a win tonight at the Staples Center in LA. The Canucks will need a big turn around in play if they want to do that. The only positive out of the first 2 games of the series was the play of their goaltender Roberto Luongo. He made several impressive and important saves over the course of the first 2 games and was the sole reason that going into the 3rd period in each game the Canucks still had a chance to eek out a win.
So heading into game 3 in LA the Canucks have chosen to start… Cory Schneider? The Canucks best player of the past 2 games will be sitting on the bench watching the most important game of the season so far? It sounds crazy. Coach Alain Vigneault has justified the decision by saying:
“Two great goaltenders, I’ve used both of them all year long. Obviously, being down 2-0 is not a reflection on the goaltending we’ve had so far, but we feel that it’s time to change the momentum a little bit – and this is one of the cards we might have.”
Captain Henrik Sedin added this little snippet:
“Goaltending has not been the problem this series. We’re trying to do something new tonight. We have total confidence in both goalies Schneids has played unbelievable when he’s been there. It’s tough for him to come in when he needs to for us – a lot of times, it’s in a back-to-back. He’s played in some tough buildings this year and he’s done a great job for us.”
Reading between the lines on these quotes brings up some awkward questions for the skeptical blogger and fan. Was starting Schneider in away games the plan all along? Despite Luongo’s strong play do the Canucks actually prefer to have the calm, professional Schneider backing them up instead of the emotional and very flappable Luongo? Is this the beginning of the end for Roberto Luongo as a Canuck?
Perhaps AV and Henrik were not speaking in half truths or media talk at all and the truth really is that they feel starting Schneider (as opposed to benching Luongo – big difference) will give the team the kick in the ass they really need.
If that is the case it is a luxury that the team would be stupid to neglect. Schneider can be every bit as good as Luongo, perhaps better. If something as simple as having a different goalie behind them makes the whole team play better then there’s no reason not to change things up every now and then.
As for the other questions this situation raises, I’m just taking the rest of this season one game at a time, just like the Canucks and Canucks fans need to. I’ll dwell on those questions once the season is done and dusted, for better or worse.
The crowd at Rogers Arena got ugly yesterday as they booed Roberto Luongo off the ice when Alain Vigneault decided to pull him in favour of Cory Schneider. I’ve said my piece about Luongo vs Schneider over at Get Real Hockey (@getrealhockey) but I felt that post needed an exclamation point of sorts. So with that in mind, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dan Cloutier.
Yep. That guy in goal who couldn’t stop a slapper from center ice? He was the man in Vancouver from 2001 to 2005.
If you think Luongo is so bad and you want him gone, just watch that clip above, and maybe this one, and be thankful for what we have right now.
My take on the Joe Cannata signing, Cory Schneider’s future and who could be backing up Luongo (or Schneider?) next year
John Shorthouse, John Garrett, Dan Murphy
There’s always something with Shorty and John “I’m a burger” Garrett. Tonight Garett joked about everyone being tired after the deadline when the Canucks lineup was being questioned before the puck drop. Shorty and Garrett managed to get themselves lost wandering the streets of Phoenix. Garrett dropped a comical “Where’s the golf course?” and Shorty complained about getting sunburnt in the desert. Then there was Garrett’s exitement at Shane Doan’s appearance on Mantracker. Garrett was so excited, Shorty sounded like he didn’t care.
My favourite call of the game was by John Shorthouse: “Mason Raymond…. falls down”
Now Onto The Game:
Chris Lee, Ian Walsh
I must admit I didn’t watch this game too closely but even with just one eye on the TV screen I saw a number of non-calls. How about Raffi Torres barging Sami Salo into Schneider after a whistle? Or those two times Canucks players were held without a call (Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin in attacking positions). Overall, fairly average.
Final SO Canucks 1 Coyotes 2
Alexander Edler PPG
Whitney 2 (Shootout winner)
Are there actually hockey fans in Phoenix? As is usual in warmer climates there were a tonne of Canucks fans in the arena, but this time it seemed like they completely outnumbered Coyotes fans.
I enjoyed the arena DJ playing Breaking The Law by Judas Priest when Bieksa was sent to the penalty box.
Aaron Rome seemed really happy about something. He just kept on smiling, constantly. Perhaps he was happy to still be in Vancouver?
It was really nice to watch Schneider play and not have a single thought about him being traded before the end of the season. Us Canucks fans are lucky to have him. For now.
The first penalty of the game came when Kevin Bieksa high sticked Martin Hanzal. Seriously, Hanzal is huge, how Bieksa got his stick up there is beyond me.
This was the first game for new Canucks Samuel Pahlsson and Zack Kassian and I thought they both looked pretty good. Kassian started on the 4th line with Manny Malhotra and Maxim Lapierre but ended up playing shifts with the Sedins and Kesler and Raymond. He only just missed out on his first goal as a Canuck but was stopped by a great save from Mike Smith. Kassian was strong on the puck all night.
Samuel Pahlsson had a great wrap around attempt in the first that led to a great fight in front of the net. Unfortunately, like he did the whole game, Mike Smith held strong to keep the puck out.
The Canucks PP looked dangerous all night but could only convert on one attempt from four when an Alexander Edler shot deflected off 2 Coyotes players and into the net. Mike Smith had no chance on that one.
Schneider was strong all night and it was a pleasure to watch. He got embarrassed in the shootout but at some point every goalie does in the stupid shootout.
Mason Raymond was the usual Mason Raymond – speedy but ineffective overall. His spin-o-rama move in the shoot out should have worked but Mike Smith stuck his left leg out and stopped him dead. Awesome save by Smith but Raymond… ahh Raymond. I hope they don’t re-sign him. Unless he scores 10 goals on the way to the Stanley Cup winner in June.
The game in Phoenix was the last of the road trip for the Canucks. It was a fairly successful road trip, the Canucks scored 8 out of 12 available points on the trip.