Friday, March 28, 2008

Do or Die: Canucks vs. Wild Gameday

To say that the last 3 games were a nightmare for the Vancouver Canucks is oversimplifying it. First they have a chance to move into 1st in the division, and outplay the Wild, but lose. Then, they have a 2-1 lead in the 3rd, take a bunch of dumb penalties and lose 3-2 to the Flames. And I am still not able to talk about the collapse we witnessed in the Colorado game. So now, once again without Brendan Morrison and now without Roberto Luongo, the Canucks head into Minnesota with a simple problem. Lose, and they can pretty much rule out a playoff berth. Win, and there is still hope. They had the situation fairly well in hand, controlling their own destiny. Now they are floundering, and may need help just to get in, to take on Detroit in the first round. Sometimes you have to wonder if it wouldnt be better to miss them than face the Wings. Gametime is at 5, and we will have a new podcast up soon with post game wrap up and a preview of Sunday's rematch against the Flames.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Minnesota 2 Canucks 1

Remember last year, when the losses came in games where we outplayed the opponent and deserved to win, but just didn't? Deja-vu eh? They outshot and outhit the Wild last night, but apart from Sami Salo's beauty point shot on a 3rd period power play, the Canucks didn't get the bounces last night, while the Wild did, especially on the opening goal. The thing that struck me last night was the lack of flow and emotion in the game. Very few scrums after the whistles, no fights. It was like they were playing a team from the East or something. Those of you "you can't blame the refs" people need to chill now. The calls in that game were mind boggling. Chris Simon initiates contact with Luongo twice, no call. Alex Burrows is steered into Backstrom, into the box. And when you add in that finishing your check is now a penalty, except when Derek Boogaard does it, well there's your lack of flow. Seriously, you could use a sundial to time how late Boogaard's hits were, yet no penalty time was given to that missing link on skates. Overall though, it was not a bad game from a hockey standpoint, just frustrating we didn't get a point out of it, and in the process dropped to 7th as the Flames now have the game in hand. I had promised pictures, but as is the case with every road trip we take, something always gets forgotten. The babysitter for our fabulous dog Ed (remind me to post a pic of his Canucks colored dog bed lol) bailed on us just as we were about to leave, pissing me off and making me forget to grab the camera. Sigh. But it was the only blemish on an otherwise awesome trip to the big city. Laurie's first Canucks game was memorable (though a certain Alex Burrows owes her a goal lol), and a trip to Scrape Records to pick up the re-release of Iron Maiden's Live After Death dvd will wrap it up nicely. New podcast coming when we get home, as well as a new Mass Hypnosis podcast...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gameday: Canucks vs. Oilers

Game 74 for the Canucks sees them travelling to Edmonton to take on the Oilers, and it will be the first time the 2 teams have met since that fight-filled contest in February. The Oilers have quietly snuck up the standings to get within striking distance of the 9th place Nashville Predators, and are 5 behind the Canucks, Flames and Avalanche. Worst case scenario for the Oilers? Regulation loss to the Canucks and OT in the game between the Flames and Avs. Let's face it, that the Oilers clawed their way back to get this close is admirable. They have suffered through injuries as much as anyone in the league, and with hot & cold goaltending and a slew of youngsters the Oilers somehow have managed to not yet be eliminated from playoff contention. But they have about as much chance of making it as the Leafs do, it would take a big time hot streak and a lot of help. The Canucks are coming off big wins over Dallas and Phoenix, and would love to take another person off the long scoring drought list tonight. Henrik Sedin had a pair and Taylor Pyatt got his first in 20 games in the 3-1 win over the Coyotes. Only Daniel now remains on the list, but a couple assists against Phoenix shows he and his brother may be coming out of that funk at just the right time. As always, Roberto Luongo will start for the Canucks tonight, while considering his recent good play, Dwayne Roloson should get the nod for Edmonton. The Oilers have won 3 in a row and are 10-0-2 in their last 12, it makes for a good test for the Canucks. Expect Ryan Shannon back in the lineup tonight as Mason Raymond will be gone a minimum of 4 weeks after a 2nd degree MCL sprain in that knee on knee hit by Phoenix's Keith Ballard Monday night.

It's good to be back... and the podcasts will be returning on the weekend with post-game wrapup of the Friday night tilt against the Wild. We're gonna be at the game, and hope to have some good pics to post when we return.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Game preview: Canucks vs. Predators

Welcome to the Most Important Game Of The Year, part 67. The Canucks have lost 4 straight, and another loss could potentially kill their hopes of making the post-season. Ok, let's cut to the chase here. This team has been absolutely baffling since the trade deadline. Maybe it's a letdown because GM Dave Nonis wasn't able to land that Top 6 forward. Maybe it's because Coach Alain Vigneault separated Markus Naslund and the Sedins. Either way, the Canucks need to go at least 10-6 the rest of the way in order to get enough points to make the playoffs. It's not easy, especially with the majority of those games against teams with a plus .500 record, and a good chunk against teams from their own division. As if that weren't enough, Mattias Ohlund has bone chips in his knee that will see him out the rest of the week for sure, and possibly the rest of the regular season. Once again, Luc Bourdon has been called up from Manitoba to fill in, and you can expect Byron Ritchie and Mason Raymond back in the lineup against Nashville. The Preds have won 2 straight, but the 2 previous games before that saw them get blown out 8-4 and 6-3 by Buffalo and Dallas. Their most recent win was a 5-1 romp over Edmonton, so expect a rested and confident Nashville team tonight at GM Place. They are now 2 points up on the Canucks and sitting above us in 8th, so do you really have to be told how important this game is?
I expect the Preds to start Dan Ellis tonight, who has won back to back starts and has played well against the Canucks this season, while Chris Mason is winless in 3 career starts against the Canucks. Roberto Luongo will be looking for a strong defensive effort tonight and a little puck luck, as he and the Canucks have been getting killed by bad bounce goals all season long. Shutting down Jason Arnott will be key for the Canucks, Arnott has 5 points against Vancouver this season and 9 points in his last 6 games. J.P. Dumont has also been hot lately, with 4 and 4 in his last six contests.
Primary scoring will be front and center as the Canucks need Markus, Henrik and Daniel to play like the stars they are. Ryan Shannon has been hot lately, and hopefully we will see more impressive play from the youngster. And yet in all this doom and gloom, some bright spots (yeah, you knew it was coming). Here's one for all your Canuck bashing friends: Ask them to name the only team in the NHL this season who haven't lost 3 straight in regulation? Yup.

I may do more live-blogging tonight, if I feel up to it. Been struggling with the ol' asthma lately (which is why there is no podcast today).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Didn't we already hit rock bottom?

Having had a chance to finally look at the game (I didn't watch it live) I am very, very dismayed at the poor performance shown by this team. They were out of it from the get-go, and showed absolutely no interest in getting back into this game. I am finding it really hard to keep from reaching for that panic button and thus, making myself into another of the 98% of the CDC users right now. The problem is, everything that most of the posters you think are bandwagoners seem to be happening. The Sedins do look soft. Markus doesn't seem to have any heart. Bieksa does seem to be overrated. This team doesn't look like it can compete. They had an awful October, but their play over the last 2 1/2 games has been worse than anything I have seen (save for the game against the Flyers). There is a chance for redemption Tuesday against the Avs, but this team must treat every remaining game like it's the one that gets them into the playoffs. For me, there is no such thing as a bandwagon. I bleed blue & green. But being a fan sometimes means you have to accept things you don't want to happen. New podcast up tomorrow.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Pregame Blackhawks

Given the other results in the last 48 hours, the Canucks need a win to put some separation between themselves, Colorado and Nashville... Perhaps a nooner with the Blackhawks can jolt them into being a little more responsible in the final frame...
Canucks/Blackhawks gameday on WAACH

listen here

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Are you kidding me???????

Those of you who have followed the podcasts, or the 11 of you that read my blog know that I am a pretty positive guy when it comes to this team. I don't overlook bad stuff, but I can always find a positive. Last night's collapse (the 2nd straight, I would add) is of the kind that can shake my faith in this team. This team's inability to clear the zone right now is gonna give me an ulcer. A night that should have seen us going "yeah, the D is intact and now we're ready to rock!" instead finds us wondering where the hell the Sedins have gone, why Willie Mitchell is unable to get the puck an extra 15 feet away from him and ultimately, is this team ready for the playoffs? The boys are in Chicago tomorrow at Noon pacific, check back for more on last night's disaster and the pregame show. Just a note, Dave-o from the Crazy Canucks and Canucks Outsider podcasts has a new episode up, with more about his unfortunate run-in with yours truly :)