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  1. Some of you may have noticed my absence from the blog lately, and it's because there's something very exciting in the works. I'm organizing an event called Five Hole for Food. I'm driving from Montreal to Vancouver playing road hockey in the two aforementioned cities as well as Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and Victoria, raising food for local food banks. The trip spans nine cities in eleven days and sees us start in Montreal on June 29th and ending in Vancouver on July 9th. We're proudly backed by Molson Canadian as our presenting sponsor and Boston Pizza and I couldn't be more excited to be playing hockey across this beautiful country. As we go from city to city we're looking for people to play and with that in mind if you're a reader of this blog in any of the cities we're visiting I would love to meet you and have you play in our game. As a neat addition and extra Canucks twist we're very proud to have partnered with "King" Richard Brodeur as a celebrity ambassador of our event and couldn't be more excited, and humbled, to have the Canucks legend not only support our event but be a part of our team! Our Vancouver game is going to have participation from the Giants (Jack the Giant will be there), the Abbotsford Heat (Hawkey will be in attendance) and the Canucks (FIN will be supporting us!). If you want to play send us an email to info@fiveholeforfood.com. Bring a can of food an your hockey stick and come join us! You can follow us on Twitter at @FiveHoleForFood Check us out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/fiveholeforfood We'll be on Youtube at http://www.youtube.c...fiveholeforfood Or Visit our Website at http://www.fiveholeforfood.com
  2. This weekend was a big weekend for the Canucks, their fans, the record books and King Henrik himself. Henrik's play has been phenomenal this season. Even when "slumping" on the road he managed to pull things together on the tail end of the trip and end up at a point per game pace. His assault on the record books this year has been nothing short of impressive and here's a break down of what he's done. Canucks All Time Assists Leader: On Saturday Henrik tied Trevor Linden's all time assists record with his 415th assist on a feed to none other than his brother Daniel. Because of that it only seemed fitting that he should break the assist record on an assist to his brother again as the two got Vancouver on the board early in their Sunday affair with the Flames. Henrik's 416 assists marks a new Canucks franchise record and the impressive thing is he's done it in 425 fewer games and our beloved Trevor Linden. All Time Scoring Center: Henrik's record tying assist also marked his 551st point making him the Canucks all time leading scorer over former Canucks center Thomas Gradin. While Gradin did it in exactly 100 fewer games, his point per game average over his career is something I think Henrik will catch up to in years to come. Career Bests: So far this season Henrik has broken his career bests for goals and points and sitting with the league lead in assists in the NHL it wouldn't be unexpected for him to break his single season assists record too. He's positioned himself to hit the 30 goal plateau for the first time in his career and with 13 games to go this season it'll mark another achievement for him in this season that's already seen him rewrite his professional resume with his improved play. Single Season Assists Record: Henrik's league lead in assists is 65. His Canucks record for assists in a season is 71. With 13 games to go, and the pace at which he's racking up points, coupled with the fact that a majority of games are at home, he's giving Canucks fans another milestone to countdown to and get excited over. Canucks Plus/Minus Record: Last year Willie Mitchell was on pace to beat the Canucks single season plus/minus record and fell short at the end of the year. The record of +35 held by Marek Malik and Pavel Bure is set at the end of an 82 game schedule so Henrik has 13 games to make it happen. Henrik's plus/minus is right now sees him tied with his brother Daniel (fittingly) at +35 and the team lead. With their dominant 5-on-5 play and the way, they've put themselves in a good position yet again. Single Season Points Record: This is a little bit more of a stretch, but the post wouldn't be complete without mentioning it. If you do some simple math, Henrik's right now on pace for 112 points. Pavel Bure currently holds the Canucks records for most points in a single season at 110. The Canucks haven't had a 100 point scorer since the last time they had a 90 point scorer which was back in the 2002-03 season when Naslund finished the year off with 104. NHL Points Race: Henrik's play at home has been nothing short of dominating. With the majority of his games at home and with Ovechkin in his sights, the NHL points race is going to come down to the wire. He sits a few points away from Ovechkin and with a potential Ovechkin suspension looming Henrik could really take over the standings over the course of the next week. It's not unreasonable to consider when you look at the way Samuelsson's finding the back of the net and they way the Sedins have always played off each other.
  3. The Sedins have been mired in some sort of a slump by many from a few games before the Olympics, until recently. With that being said there's still the thought that Daniel's slumping because he isn't scoring any goals. What's interesting is Daniel's started racking up just as many assists as Henrik on most nights. While Daniel's not scoring that's really not a concern, or at least it shouldn't be. The fact both Sedins are racking up the helpers is a sign that they're making the offense click. At the end of the day if Henrik gets the helper and Daniel scores, or they both get helpers and Burrows scores, we're still seeing goals on the board and the Twins are running this team's offense. With that in mind, with the Twins putting up point per game numbers on the 14 game road trip, goals or assists, you can't complain. The Twins, who this season have been statistically not nearly as good on the road as they have at home, put up point per game stats on the Canucks recently finished 14 game road trip and come back to GM Place with an extra days rest and the energy of the crowd behind them. Henrik, who led the league in most points on home ice, returns from the road trip to mount a final assualt on Ovechkin atop the standings, Crosby for points on home ice, Thornton for the league lead in assists, and himself as he climbs the Canucks record books looking to surpass Linden for most assists recorded in a Canucks uniform. The Canucks who have been so dominant on home ice managed to find their groove on the road and make their early season road woes a thing of the past, so with the majority of games at home and the way this team gets even better in front of it's fans, the sky's the limit! The Sedins have been great on the road after getting over being home sick, and they've been lights out on home ice. With the way Henrik's played at GM Place this year this Canucks offense is going to kick back into that other gear. With every point Henrik records being a new career high it's his time to shine. He's brought himself to within striking range of Ovechkin for the NHL scoring lead and playing at home is only going to give him that much more of a chance. It's nice to have most of our remaining games at GM Place, it's even better to have games starting at a reasonable hour, but most importantly it's great to have the boys back home. The next 15 games are by no means going to lack entertainment. I'm absolutely positive the Canucks are going to put on a show as the Cardiac Canucks, which also in many cases happen to be career year Canucks, are far from done smashing career best, Canucks records and personal best!
  4. When the Canucks got Andrew Alberts at the deadline he was in now way a replacement for Willie Mitchell, but as a depth guy he's got to step up and fill the void. In the Canucks' last game Alberts got a little lost and followed the wrong object down the ice after the puck drop. Now I've noticed for a guy that's only been around for 3 or 4 games he's unfortunately been in the wrong place one too many times and it looks like he's been the one at fault on a handful of goals thus far. Unlike others though I'm not quite ready to throw him under the bus. To be honest, not many people are throwing him under the bus just yet, but I started thinking a little about Alberts after someone jokingly said "That's it, we need to trade Alberts." Alberts is coming onto a defence that's very typically West Coast. The three previous teams he played for were all Eastern Conference teams and as we all know the Eastern Game is a much different style than that played here on the West Coast. The Canucks are also a team with a blue line in shambles. Some of our blue line pairings have looked down right bizarre. Our patchwork defence hasn't really had time to adjust because between the callings up and down of Baumgartner, Lukowich, and the injuries to Mitchell, Rome, and Bieksa the blue line really hasn't seen very many consistent pairings in a while. If you throw into the fact that the Canucks are already a team with a ridiculous amount of chemistry it's clear that Alberts just needs a few more games to learn the Canucks system. Alberts needs a little more time to mesh with this team. His head and his heart are in the right place. In his first game AV made an interesting choice to place him on the PK on a 5-on-3 kill and he looked good on the ice. He was hustling all night, he was being physical and what impressed me the most is after Seabrook decked Raymond Alberts came to his aid as if the two had been playing on the same team for the last 3 years. I was thoroughly impressed with the way he played in that first game because he was playing hockey as if he'd been in a Canucks uniform all season. Alberts isn't the kind of deadline deal player that pans out in his first game the way guys like Wolski and Mueller did in their first games after this year's deadline. Once the blue line sorts itself out and he gets a steady partner you can be sure that his 6 foot 5, 220 lbs is going to pay dividends.
  5. I'm not Hordichuk's biggest fan but one thing that's been noticeable is how his presence, or lack thereof I should say, hasn't been missed in the Canucks lineup. In fact the addition of Alberts has proven that the Canucks really don't need Hordichuk's skillset in order to get by. There was a time when the Canucks all around grit was lacking and there was the need for an enforcer. However as the team has evolved, Kesler's grit factor has gone through the roof, Burrows retained his super pest attributes even though he skates on the top line, and anything Rypien can't handle Glass will gladly take a stab at. Add to all that the recent acquisition of big boy Andrew Alberts and Hordichuk's role becomes redundant. When you look at the Canucks lineup you see a roster developed around Gillis' MO of youth and speed. Gillis doesn't go after players that are one dimensional and to that effect when he acquired Hordichuk it made sense. That being said on a team that has enforcers (and I use this term loosely as it's referring to two guys who don't physically fit the mould of an enforcer) that are smaller and can do the job they do the way Rypien and Glass do, that opens up a spot for another player who's potentially more offensively inclined. To that end, with the forwards log jam the Canucks have since Demitra's return, Hordichuk's sitting out has freed up a spot for Hansen. Hansen's case actually amplifies my reasoning that Hordichuk's taking up valuable bottom six space when he's playing a role that's not needed. On a bottom six that's struggled Hansen's made the most of his ice time making defensively sound plays and making the most of his offensive chances. Hordichuk wouldn't have scored the back to back game winners Hansen scored. Hordichuk also has as many points as Matt Pettinger does, but he's played six times as many games. With Glass and Rypien taking care of the rough stuff, Kesler and Burrows getting in on a dance or two of their own, and Alberts' size added to the Canucks lineup, going into the playoffs I really only see Hordichuk's role being a limited reactionary one. The Canucks have finally found a way to play hockey that doesn't require an enforcer. They've found an equilibrium of finesse and grit and taken the unnecessarily physical element out of the game. Unless the Canucks absolutely need an enforcer because they're playing a team like Philadelphia, I wouldn't give up a spot that a scorer could take for him. With Pettinger on a two-way contract I'd even go as far as to say if there was a further injury to the bottom six he deserves a call up over Hordichuk slotting in. Hordichuk's game is a good one, and he can skate amongst the best Canucks, but when you've got other players that can skate as well and provide more offense, it becomes a no brainer.
  6. With most teams in the NHL you can point to one player on the team who is the face of the franchise. The Capitals belong to Ovechkin, the Penguins belong to Malkin, the Islanders are Tavares' and the Kings are Kopitar's. The list goes on but the point is most teams have one face, one super star that either makes or breaks the team based on how they play. With that concept in mind, these Canucks once were Luongos. The face of the 2006-07 franchise-record-49-Win Canucks, was Luongo. He won his first career playoff series single-handedly, and lost his second career playoff series single-handedly. Since then this team has evolved around a core group of players that are a combination of to tier forwards, rock solid blue liners, a passionate goalie and a desire to win. That being said, this season has exemplified one thing in particular: The Canucks don't have one leader, they play as a team. This year's Canucks define exactly what a team should be and that's been the story all year. I can remember just how many times over the years I've said, "We need secondary scoring, the top lines are in a slump", and the Canucks haven't had the depth or talent to pull it off. When you look at this year's team, secondary scoring was at one point the only reason we didn't tank. Through the Canucks injury problems all year, through the slumps, and the highs and lows, there has always been someone to step in and take over. In one particular game it was Ryan Johnson and Tanner Glass against the Avalanche resulting in Johnson's first multi-point game of his career, in another it was Mason Raymond who decided to go on a streak. When the Sedins came back and the Canucks needed to turn things around Burrows took over, but post Olympics it's been Kesler who's carried the team. With the Sedins in a pre-Olympic slump as a result of a snubbing Samuelsson has stepped his game up. What's even more impressive is that Samuelsson has stepped his game up during the Canucks most critical point in the season. Between Henrik's offensive outburst, Burrows' nose for the net, Samuelsson's response to the snub, Raymond's breakout year and Kesler's ascent to the next tier of forwards, it's no surprise that this team doesn't have one singular face. This team has learned to find a way to win. What's more important, and most important is they've found a way to win without having to rely on Luongo to perform near miracles on an almost nightly basis. The Canucks chemistry is at an all time high and with the number of players having career years what makes this year's edition of the Vancouver Canucks unique is their ability to step up individually and carry this team when it needs someone to take the reigns. The most perfect example was Samuelsson and his second period hat trick against the Avalanche, but in the streaks various different Canucks players have thrown together it's clear that when there is a hole in the offense or defense someone steps up. On a blue line that has struggled from the get go and had to give more responsibility to the likes of everyone's favourite Canuck Shane O'Brien, Christian Ehrhoff has come in and stepped up. The German Olympian who is having an outstanding year on the blue line has scored key goals for the Canucks on several occasions this season. Heck, even O'Brien has buttoned down and become a responsible defenceman. While he might have the odd defensive breakdown, he's strayed from racking up the penalty minutes and he's stepped up to the increased responsibility as the Canucks infirmary tries to spit players out as fast as they come in. This year's Canucks are not defined by one player but by many. They're not defined by one success story, and the story around this year's team has not been about individuals. It's been about a team that's had to come together over the adversity of injury, the obstacle of the NHL's longest road trip, and the sportsmanship of a game which saw players go from teammates to rivals and back to teammates in the span of two weeks. This year's Canucks are defined by their city, their fans, and their desire to win. This year's Canucks are defined by a coach that's on the verge of being a miracle worker, and players that buy into the team picture. This year's Canucks are defined by players that step up when they have to, not when they're called out to. This year's Canucks define what it means to be a team.
  7. Edler's had an off year. There's no hiding it, in the words of one Todd Bertuzzi - "It is what it is". For the number of people that have thrown him under the bus, I don't think a lot of people realize just why he's having the slump this year. Edler can thank all that he was last year, and all that he's going to be in the future to one player, Mattias Ohlund. Ohlund's departure from the team left a huge hole on the blue line that was bigger than just one player as his influence on Edler is clear this season. Edler's had to make his way through this season on his own. It's been an adventure for him, and as a fan you can see him go through the ups and downs as he's developing as a blue liner. Edler went from having someone to look up to, to being thrust into number three defenseman spot where all of a sudden he's been expected to use what he learned last year and become the Mattias Ohlund to another "Edler" on the team. You still with me? Edler's growing pains won't be here next season. Once he makes it through this year he's going to be much better off for it, and one thing that's certainly helped is the injury situation on the blue line (see there is a silver lining to everything!). The fact that Edler hasn't been benched (a la Bieksa, after poor play) but in fact seen increased minutes (because of the injuries to Bieksa and Mitchell) has forced him to work through the current situation. Edler misses Ohlund. It's plain and simple. What Ohlund did for him is what Tampa Bay hopes Ohlund will do for Victor Hedman. There's a reason we locked up Edler long term. He's having a down year, but when Bieksa returns the reduction in playing time and return of a top four blue liner is going to take the pressure of him. That extra insurance of defensive experience on the blue line (did I really just refer to Bieksa as having defensive experience?!) should allow him to settle in and play his game. The stretch drive is his tune up, the playoffs his stomping ground.
  8. The comeback kids have done it again. The Canucks now lead the league with their 10th 3rd period come from behind win after Samuelsson's 2nd period hat trick helped them stage a 6-4 win in a big NW division tilt. It's reached a stage where the Canucks level of confidence is so high that they can give up the first goal in nearly every game, they can give up a multi goal lead, and still fight back. The first time around you could argue that maybe it's a fluke, and while I'm not suggesting that this is some sort of strategy, it's certainly something that doesn't phase them. After overcoming two 3-goal deficits in the game to win 6-4 and stun the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center, a lot of people get completely caught up in the win and neglect to look at the most important part of the game which isn't the comeback so much as it is the start. The Sedins are coming alive at the right time (if their play in the last few games is any indication of comeback) but Luongo's play has to be addressed. It's alright to let in one soft goal here or there, the best goalies do it at the worst of times. Luongo however seems to be making it a habit though. The worst part is although he's coughing up early leads, because the Canucks are coming back his shoddy first period play is going unnoticed. While I agree with Vigneault when he says "You never critique a win" you can't give Luongo a free pass. Luongo allowed more than one soft goal today and you can't blame the defense as much as we've started to do. He's paid the big dollars to put up the big saves. Of course many people will point to his stellar saves in the second and third period, but the bottom line is those don't mean a thing if the Canucks aren't still in the game, and his weak goaltending in the first detracts from just how well he played in that second and third period. At this point in the season the Canucks need their highest paid players to be their best players. That goes without saying regardless of the roster station, but becomes even more important based on the current blue line injuries. The Sedins have definitely turned their game back on with their play in the last few games and Luongo really needs to shut down. This stretch drive is the tune up for the playoffs. Teams don't blow three goal leads in the playoffs and the Canucks can't expect to play the comeback game when the second season starts. With one more game on the Canucks road trip, heading home is going to be a nice change. Raycroft's been fantastic for the Canucks on this road trip so going into tomorrow night the Canucks should be able to ride the momentum from this game to start well against a Coyotes team that is as tough as any team in the West. Luongo better use the night off to get his head together because he's been shaky in first periods since coming back from the Olympics and if he's not giving the Canucks a chance to win every night the Canucks have bigger fish to fry.
  9. The Canucks head into the windy city having not done half bad on this road trip. With a win tonight they can finish no worse than .500 on the road trip. When you consider who we've played and the length of the trip I'd say that's not half bad. Come to think of it, we really should be well above .500, but when you run into goalies like Halak who are just blind on nights there's not much you can do. The Canucks losses haven't been bad losses and I think that's something to reflect upon once this road trip is over. Tonight the Canucks go for win number 40. Now lets throw things into perspective. The Canucks are sitting at 39-22-2. They are one win away from 40 wins and it's game 64 tonight. Two seasons ago the Canucks total wins were 39. Lets look at this a little more. The Canucks have 19 games to play and to hit 50 wins they would need to go 11-8. That's a winning percentage of .578, not unattainable when you look at the Canucks winning percentage over the season which through game 63 is .619. So, let say the Canucks hit 50 wins. This will be the first time the Canucks have ever broken that 50 win plateau and it would set a new franchise record. The previous franchise record is 49 wins set by none other than the 2006-2007 Alain Vigneault Canucks which started their season on the blockbuster trade by then GM Dave Nonis that saw Roberto Luongo bring Lu's to this city. Oh, and that Lukas Krajicek kid came over too, but the Lu's weren't for him. We cribbed earlier in the season about not having over time losses, but when you look at the pace the Canucks have been winning at, and really the pace they've been dominating with, it's no surprise that they're close to this milestone. With an offense ranked 4th in the league and 3rd in the West, this is really the best poised Canucks team we've seen in a while. As the Canucks go for the big 4-0 tonight we'll also get to see Andrew Alberts suit up in a Canucks uniform for the first time. He has several ties to this team before joining which is interesting. He played college with Cory Schneider, played in Boston with Andrew Raycroft and Yan Statsy (who ironically was also picked up at the deadline) and he played internationally representing the US on a team with Ryan Kesler. The 28 year-old handles the puck like a train, but also hits like a train. There's nothing that says "Hey Fans, my name's Andrew Alberts and I'm glad to be a Canuck" more than railing Dustin Byfuglien, so here's to hoping he just wrecks B-Fug tonight.
  10. Where to start with this guy. I for one was his biggest fan to start the season, and still would gladly get a Johnson #10 jersey but the man's stock has been falling and on a bottom six that is under the microscope of every arm chair GM and Canucks fan his play has stood out even more, for the wrong reasons. Granted due to his shot blocking antics he has missed games due to injury, there's something else up with RyJo this season. I think simply put RyJo has lost some of his mojo. I'm not sure how else to word it. He's looked out of sync now for the better part of the season and with the bottom six getting so much attention from everyone due to their inconsistent and sub par play when he has been in the lineup he's not standing out as the 4th line center he stood out as last year. For a guy who doesn't bring a lot of offence, as a role player he becomes even more important because if he's not playing his role he's not doing very much for the team. On a penalty kill that Ryan Johnson was once the staple of has now been identified as Kesler and Burrows' and on that same penalty kill that has struggled the role of Ryan Johnson has stood out even more due to his lack of, well anything. Since coming from St. Louis he's seen his offensive numbers dip considerably, and this season through 40 games has a whopping 10 shots. He's looked out of sync on a fourth line that has been host to under achievers like Hordichuk, and a rotating Bernier who's seen time on both lines in the bottom six. Johnson's still trying to block shots, but you have to imagine that the 33 year old's body is catching up to his game. With the likes of Burrows and Kesler who are becoming regular shot blockers, Johnson's got to try and fall back into sync. He just doesn't look like the same player he did last year and after about 60 games it's time to start noticing. Johnson's gone from 80+ shots a season but two years ago, to exactly 10 this year. He takes the second most faceoffs on the team. His faceoff number are up, but that's of little consolation when he's expected to be one of the more consistent players on the bottom six. Johnson, as a package, comes as a shot blocking, grinding, gritty, penalty killing specialist. So far apart from his faceoffs won this year he's struggled and the only plausible conclusion seems to be that his body is finally catching up with him. It's pretty clear that this season is going to see a revamped bottom six and with the guy a free agent this off season I wouldn't be surprised if he was gone. RyJo plays a risky kind of hockey, he's gutsy, ballsy, and plain stupid with some of the blocks he makes (I watched him at GM Place dive head first to block a shot in an earlier game this season against Detroit). He's a player that has little else to offer the team and and out of step Johnson, on an underachieving and under performing bottom six is reason for second thought.
  11. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov1709_chbsmall_smallt.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed"> Now that the Canucks last home game before the Olympics is done it's time to look forward to those 45 days away from GM Place that includes a 14 game road trip interrupted by the Olympics for two weeks. The Canucks leave GM Place in the hands of VANOC and embark on a 14 game road trip which has a lot of fans worried because going into this road trip they currently own the second worst road record amongst any of the playoff teams in the East and West. That doesn't paint an accurate picture though as the Canucks in their last 10 games away from home, after a terrible start on the road this year, are 6-3-1. The Canucks main concern isn't even going to be the first half of the trip: Jan. 30 at Toronto Feb. 2 at Montreal Feb. 4 at Ottawa Feb. 6 at Boston Feb. 9 at Tampa Bay Feb. 11 at Florida Feb. 12 at Columbus Feb. 14 at Minnesota The first half of the trip the Canucks do a swing through Eastern Canada and if there's one thing the Canucks have been able to do it's devour teams in the East. When you look at the East teams the Canucks are playing they have better goal tending, and the fact that they rarely see these teams gives them the advantage because the other team's lack of familiarity should let the Sedins run rampant. The six of the first eight games on the road swing should be a breeze. Even if the Canucks go 6-2 through that stretch that'll be a fantastic lead up to the two week Olympic break. The tough part is after the Olympic break. The Canucks six games after the Olympics looks like this: March 2 at Columbus March 3 at Detroit March 5 at Chicago March 7 at Nashville March 9 at Colorado March 10 at Phoenix In the first eight games of the road trip the Canucks play only one, maybe two playoff teams (depending on the standings fluctuation). In the back end of the road trip, post Olympics, they're ploughing through some of the toughest teams in the West and taking on a list of Western Conference playoff teams. They're also hitting four teams in the Central Divsion, a division they've improved against lately but one that has been unkind to them all season. The other concern for the Canucks is going to be the Olympic hangover. This could work both for and against the Canucks. The Canucks are going to have 7 of their stars play throughout the two weeks and you have to imagine fatigue will kick in. The rest of the team should be nice and rested, but it's a double edge sword if the rest just leads to a sluggish start and they take a few games to find their legs. That being said every NHL team is in the same boat so that should even the playing field and the Canucks stars will have to lead the team having been the ones that played through the two weeks off. The thing everyone's going to be watching the most on this trip though is going to be Henrik Sedin's play. He leads the NHL in the points race going into this road trip, but of the 76 points he's scored this year, 49 of them have been on home ice. That's the most by any NHL Player this season, but means if Henrik is going to contend throughout the remainder of the season his road numbers are going to have to go up drastically. This road trip is going to define the Canucks season. It's been said before and sounds somewhat cliché, but it plays a role in determining whether the Canucks chase a playoff spot down the stretch or sit comfortably while watching the rat race, and it's going to determine just how good Henrik Sedin really is. Either way, with the last three games of the regular season versus NW division opponents, you can't help but think this season is going to come down to the wire yet again. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov1709_mozy_small.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Richard Loat writes for Canucks Hockey Blog and is a fan of the underdog – first Bryan Allen, then Alex Burrows, and now Jannik Hansen. His passion for the Canucks led to the Canucks Hockey Blog and a lot of #Canucks tweets on his Twitter account.
  12. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov1709_chbsmall_smallt.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">When I see highlight reel goals night in and night out from the Sedins it's hard to find a place to start when trying to talk about them, but if you start by looking at the most recent highlight reel treat did anything stand out to you? To me it was the fact that the absolutely beautiful between-the-legs-no-look-feed was by Daniel and not Henrik. This season the twins have done something special that's changed them from just a double threat, to a quadruple threat and it is all a result of that injury Daniel sustained at the beginning of the season. Before the injury, the Sedins were solvable. It was Henrik pass, Daniel shoot. They still put up very respectable numbers, they were point per game players, you threw Alex Burrows with them and they had a trigger man. However the fact remained that they were not as versatile as they could have been. For arguments sake they seemed like two halves that made a whole. Two singles that made a double threat. It was good, it was effective and they lead the Canucks and have gotten better in each of the 10 years they've been with the organization thus far. Since Daniel went down to injury he was forced to find the other side of his game and now with a career high in goals and on pace for his first 30 goal season ever, the leading Hart Trophy candidate at the moment has seemingly become a whole threat instead of being one half to his brother's other half. Likewise, Daniel has come back and has started racking up assists like he's a second Henrik Sedin. Both players have found this other dimension to their game and now we see a set of Sedin Twins that are simply potent. There's no longer the predictable answer to "Who passes? Who shoots?". Daniel can dish it as well as Henrik can, and Henrik's taken charge and at times seems like he can score at will. All of a sudden we're seeing Sedin twins who are not just a double threat, as a duo, but they're double threats individually. Whether it's Henrik setting up his brother, the two of them setting up Burrows, or Daniel feeding Lukowich, the twins have finally stepped out of that shadow and criticism that they were predictable because they're a living highlight reel night in and night out and no body predicted what they'd be doing this season. Both Sedins are averaging an assist per game this season, Henrik has 52 assists in 52 games played and Daniel has 34 assists in 34 games played. The Twins are no longer just a one-two punch. They've turned themselves into the one-two combination right before hitting you with the left hook. This is what Brian Burke must have envisioned when he went into the '99 draft claiming no one was going to leave that draft with both Sedins if it wasn't him. The Sedins have finally found a way to silence the critics. Before this season their only "flaw" was that they were predictable and now with both of them wheeling, dealing, and pulling the trigger, shutting down the Sedins went from hard to nearly impossible. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov1709_mozy_small.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Richard Loat writes for Canucks Hockey Blog and is a fan of the underdog – first Bryan Allen, then Alex Burrows, and now Jannik Hansen. His passion for the Canucks led to the Canucks Hockey Blog and a lot of #Canucks tweets on his Twitter account.
  13. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov1709_chbsmall_smallt.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">For Canucks fans online, most in the last week have seen the blog written by Edmonton's Dan Tencer following an Oilers loss. It reeks of the bitterness and frustration that Oilers Nation echoes, and after reading some of the responses to his blog like the one by Brian over at Canucks Corner I feel Tencer's missing one other perspective. What frustrates me is that Dan Tencer attacks the fans. It's one thing to attack the team and get off on the fact that they have (and as a Canucks fan I'll admit this) been a little more prominent in the news these days, but to get off at the fans is something that infuriates me. What's wrong with feeling your team is entitled to win something? How does the fact that your team hasn't won it all at least once in their 40 year history mean the fans shouldn't be passionate? How does the fact that Vancouver fans hold a high standard of expectation for their team make them out to be "cocky" and "entitled"? Sure the Canucks have never won anything, but according to Dan Tencer that means we're not allowed to get up in arms over any issue whatsoever. Because the Oilers have won 5 Cups, they're entitled to make some noise in the leauge, but because the Canucks haven't they don't hold the same weight with the NHL? To be honest what frustrates me is the fact that writers like Tencer create the breed of fan we should be trying to eliminate. We don't want GM Place filled with these passive fans who just sit there. We don't want fans that don't care. The bottom line is the reason Canucks fans voice their opinion is because they care. At the end of the day Mr. Tencer, it's just that, an opinion. Everyone's entitled to one and the fact that so many Vancouver fans make theirs vocal is something more fans should learn from. In fact it's the distinct lack of passion and voice that leads to embarrassments like the Phoenix Coyotes. When only 500 fans turn out to a rally intended to show support for a flailing NHL franchise your fans left something to be desired. As a fan we're entitled to support our team through thick and thin, as fans we're allowed to get up in arms over an incident and our previous records should have no bearing on how it's received. I don't want to be a fan of a team in a league that perpetuates this elitism to it's fans. I haven't seen Canucks fans cocky in the days when we had nothing to get excited about but the fact is we have a superstar goaltender, the leading Art Ross candidate at the moment, one of the more dominant offenses in the league right now and every reason to expect our team to win a cup. There's nothing wrong with setting your expectations for your team high. That doesn't make you entitled. That just means you care and you expect a lot. Being a fan of any team is about passion and getting your hopes up even when you're not supposed to. Canucks fans aren't entitled. Are they cocky? Some can be, most I'd say are extremely passionate. We care about our team. Just because we have a reason to get excited about our team doesn't mean you need to transfer your frustrations to us Dan. Dan Tencer's dangerously close to sounding like a fair weather fan and I'd venture a guess as to who used to drive the bandwagon in Edmonton, in particular on that miraculous cup run back in 2006, but that might be going to far. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov1709_mozy_small.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Richard Loat writes for Canucks Hockey Blog and is a fan of the underdog – first Bryan Allen, then Alex Burrows, and now Jannik Hansen. His passion for the Canucks led to the Canucks Hockey Blog and a lot of #Canucks tweets on his Twitter account.
  14. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov1709_chbsmall_smallt.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed"> Off the bat if it's not clear yet I'll let it out, I'm one of the biggest proponents to getting Kovalchuk at the deadline as a rental for this team. Heck I'd be over the moon if we could trade for him and get something of it, but there are several complications that come up and over the past week in talking to <a href="http://opiatedsherpa.com">The Opiated Sherpa</a> and my friend <a href="http://twitter.com/mechanixfetch">@MechanixFetch</a> I think there are somethings that need to be laid down as far as ground work for the Kovalchuk Pipe Dream as far as a long term stay for the Russian goes. The Cap It's no secret that Kovalchuk wants a gajillion dollars. Okay, he wants something in the area of 10 million a year. The Canucks are already locked up for 6 million per Sedin, and 5 million for Luongo, and that's before even considering re-signing Kesler or do you let him walk? Even still, barring Kovalchuk signing a 30 year contract that was front loaded just so that his seasonal cap hit was low enough there's no way we could sign him at the price he wanted. Even if he took less, we're still talking enough money that it doesn't look feasible. Team Chemistry One of the biggest issues with bringing in Kovalchuk is where do you slot him. He's a shoot first winger and the first instinct is to put him with the pass first Sedins. But why mess with Burrows? So do you put him on the second line? Kesler, Raymond and Kovalchuk sure would be a sweet line, but then you have Demitra and Samuelsson to deal with and after being snubbed by the Swedish Olympic team I hardly think Samuelsson will take being relegated to the 3rd line. The other important thing which might tinker with the locker room is how do you tell your franchise players, the ones you couldn't afford to pay more, or the ones you pay 10 million dollars in a single year (Luongo), that you're going to bring in a player that warrants more money? How do you tell the Sedins they're only worth 6 million and then throw 10 at Kovalchuk? The Vigneault Project The bottom line is Kovalchuk isn't a Vigneault player. He's not defensive minded, he's shoot first (something this team needs, but still) and he's a lone ranger. He doesn't fit AV's style of play and mould and while his offense is a thing of beauty he's your typical Russian (nothing racial or derogatory meant here) hockey player and he's in many ways exactly like Ovechkin (minus the physical play). He's just not exactly the kind of guy that's going to back check as hard as AV wants him to. With that in mind that's not to say it wont change. We have to remember that he has played on a team where there haven't been many other stars and if he was brought to an environment with other players that can actually play we might see a change. His play on the Olympic team this year will be a really good eye opener as to what Kovalchuk looks like when he's on a team with other stars. The Gillis Era Gillis has preached a system of speed, youth, and built a team around players that buy into his system. This ties in to the Vigneault system of play and if Kovalchuk doesn't fit one mould, he's not going to fit the other. Gillis goes out after players who serve multiple facets of the game and players that aren't one dimensional. Kovalchuk is a pure goal scorer and unfortunately on a team run by Mike Gillis that might not fly. There's no doubt Kovalchuk is a talented player and I would love to see him on this team, but there are so many things that would have to change in order for him to work on this team it just doesn't look probable. If you put aside all that we'd have to trade to get Kovalchuk, as a long term stay it just doesn't look like it would be a good idea. As a rental, if the price was right, I'd say go for Kovalchuk in a heart beat. On the power play, skating with Kesler and Raymond, that could be a thing of beauty. The deadline's still a ways away so we have time to see how things unfold. I doubt that we'll see any significant injury, but this season we've been hit by injuries no one saw coming and maybe there just might be a way to fit the Russian sniper in. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov1709_mozy_small.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Richard Loat writes for Canucks Hockey Blog and is a fan of the underdog – first Bryan Allen, then Alex Burrows, and now Jannik Hansen. His passion for the Canucks led to the Canucks Hockey Blog and a lot of #Canucks tweets on his Twitter account.
  15. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov1709_chbsmall_smallt.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed"> <p>When you look at Burrows numbers there's no denying that he's been a huge success because of the Sedins. One can't argue though that he's not been partially responsible in helping get up the Sedins numbers to point per game averages that are the highest of their career. Burrows has been through a lot to get where he is and after working his way up through the Canucks system right from the ECHL I can guarantee you he never saw him self leading any NHL team in goals at any point in the season outside of perhaps game one of the season. Yet here we sit over 40 games into the season and the Canucks leading scorer is a tie between Henrik Sedin and none other than Alex Burrows. </p> <br /> <p>To put things into further perspective Burrows not only leads the Canucks in goals this season, but he's in the top 10 goal scorers in the NHL. That's right. Little Alex Burrows the super pest turned super hero to Canucks fans in Vancouver is tied for the 8th most goals in the NHL. With that in mind, when you look at the fact that Mats Sundin was operating at about 1 goal for every million dollars paid, when you look at Alex's contract, he's scored so far, one goal for every $100,000 he's been paid. With that said, that serves to go down as we still have over 30 games to play and you know Burrows is going to tear past that 30 goal plateau this season (knock on wood).</p> <br /> <p>If you number a crunch a little you find out Burrows actual worth. Right now, over the 48 games the Canucks have played this season, Burrows is costing the Canucks $95,328 per goal and about $51,282 per point. When you compare it to all the players in the top ten for goals scored this season it looks like this:</p> <br /> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" bordercolor="#666666"> <thead> <tr> <th bgcolor="#E6EEEE">Player</th> <th bgcolor="#E6EEEE">Goals</th> <th bgcolor="#E6EEEE">Points</th> <th bgcolor="#E6EEEE">Salary</th> <th bgcolor="#E6EEEE">Cost/Goal</th> <th bgcolor="#E6EEEE">Cost/Point</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td>Patrick Marleau</td> <td>32</td> <td>51</td> <td>$6,300,000.00</td> <td>$196,875.00</td> <td>$123,529.41</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Alex Ovechkin</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">30</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">64</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$9,538,462.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$317,948.73</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$149,038.47</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Sidney Crosby</td> <td>30</td> <td>57</td> <td>$8,700,000.00</td> <td>$290,000.00</td> <td>$152,631.58</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Marian Gaborik</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">29</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">57</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$7,500,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$258,620.69</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$131,578.95</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ilya Kovalchuk</td> <td>28</td> <td>53</td> <td>$6,400,000.00</td> <td>$228,571.43</td> <td>$120,754.72</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Dany Heatley</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">27</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">53</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$7,500,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$277,777.78</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$141,509.43</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Steven Stamkos</td> <td>25</td> <td>47</td> <td>$3,725,000.00</td> <td>$149,000.00</td> <td>$79,255.32</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Michael Cammalleri</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">22</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">40</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$6,000,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$272,727.27</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$150,000.00</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Henrik Sedin</td> <td>21</td> <td>67</td> <td>$6,000,000.00</td> <td>$285,714.29</td> <td>$89,552.24</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Rick Nash</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">21</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">44</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$5,400,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$257,142.86</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$122,727.27</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Jarome Iginla</td> <td>21</td> <td>43</td> <td>$7,000,000.00</td> <td>$333,333.33</td> <td>$162,790.70</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Dustin Penner</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">21</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">41</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$4,250,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$202,380.95</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$103,658.54</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Alexandre Burrows</td> <td>21</td> <td>39</td> <td>$2,000,000.00</td> <td>$95,238.10</td> <td>$51,282.05</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Bobby Ryan</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">21</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">39</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$1,921,667.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$91,507.95</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$49,273.51</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Patrick Kane</td> <td>20</td> <td>56</td> <td>$3,725,000.00</td> <td>$186,250.00</td> <td>$66,517.86</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Zach Parise</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">20</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">47</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$3,125,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$156,250.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$66,489.36</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Alexander Semin</td> <td>20</td> <td>43</td> <td>$4,600,000.00</td> <td>$230,000.00</td> <td>$106,976.74</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Nicklas Backstrom</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">19</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">54</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$2,400,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$126,315.79</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$44,444.44</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Corey Perry</td> <td>19</td> <td>47</td> <td>$5,325,000.00</td> <td>$280,263.16</td> <td>$113,297.87</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Anze Kopitar</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">19</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">46</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$6,800,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$357,894.74</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$147,826.09</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Loui Eriksson</td> <td>19</td> <td>45</td> <td>$1,600,000.00</td> <td>$84,210.53</td> <td>$35,555.56</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Stephen Weiss</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">19</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">42</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$3,100,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$163,157.89</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$73,809.52</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Mike Richards</td> <td>19</td> <td>40</td> <td>$5,750,000.00</td> <td>$302,631.58</td> <td>$143,750.00</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Ryan Malone</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">19</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">38</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$4,500,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$236,842.11</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$118,421.05</td> </tr> <tr> <td>James Neal</td> <td>19</td> <td>35</td> <td>$821,667.00</td> <td>$43,245.63</td> <td>$23,476.20</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">Patric Hornqvist</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">19</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">30</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$620,000.00</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$32,631.58</td> <td bgcolor="#F0F0F6">$20,666.67</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <br /> <p> Burrows is producing well above his pay grade and am I complaining? Hell no. Just trying to make sure more people appreciate just what this guy is doing when compared to the names he's sandwiched himself between in the points standings.</p> <br /> <p><img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov1709_mozy_small.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Richard Loat writes for Canucks Hockey Blog and is a fan of the underdog – first Bryan Allen, then Alex Burrows, and now Jannik Hansen. His passion for the Canucks led to the Canucks Hockey Blog and a lot of #Canucks tweets on his Twitter account.</p>
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