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Some musings on the Vancouver Canucks, and what it would mean if the Stanley Cup Playoffs were to start today. Kesler: "Hank, did you really just squeeze that backhander top shelf? Of course you did!" Though they have six games remaining, the Canucks would face their playoff nemesis of the last two seasons, the Chicago BlackhawksThey would still have set a franchise record for most wins in a season, with 50Vancouver would already be guaranteed one trophy, the President's trophy (for best record in the NHL regular season) Christian Ehrhoff sneaks a wrister past a surprised Mathieu Garon in Columbus (photos courtesy of AP Photo) Three defensemen would be shelved because of injury, Alex Edler, Dan Hamhuis, and Andrew AlbertsBe one road win shy of a franchise record nine straight away from home (can still be accomplished in Nashville today)Would own the best power-play record in the league, 69 goals for, and 25.3 % efficiencyBe tied for best penalty kill with the Pittsburgh Penguins at 86.3 %Daniel Sedin follows in brother Henrik's footsteps, and earns Art Ross trophy (most points during the regular season)Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis tie for second best plus/minus in the leagueRoberto Luongo records third best goals against average and save percentage: 2.18, .927%, has most wins with 35 Jannik Hansen and Matt Calvert work for the puck in the 2nd period in Columbus, Ohio Daniel Sedin notches 40 goals, third most in the leagueRyan Kesler shatters previous best in goals (26 in 08-09) with 36Henrik Sedin crowned leagues best set-up man with 70 assistsWith six games to go, a large number of these stats won't change too drastically. The standings watch won't end until April 10th, but many Canucks fans are eager to see who their first test in the playoffs will be. Juicing up for the playoffs? Stay tuned to The Canuck Way for all the excitement and team developments!
During a recent NHL.com poll, Vancouver Canuck's Daniel Sedin was listed as the second best Left Winger in the NHL. Whether you agree with this ranking or not (at the quarter point in the 2010/11 season), there is evidence that he could possibly be in the hunt for hardware come late June. Daniel Sedin focused early in the season at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California Oct. 13, 2010 With the disclaimer (yet again, after forecasting Henrik Sedin early on to win the Hart Trophy) that I do not wish to 'jinx' Daniel Sedin, this is simply a review of accomplishments to date, with a dash of prognosticating sprinkled in. Pundits will usually concede that the quarter point in the NHL schedule is a strong indication of where the higher seeds will finish, as well as a decent gauge for player point totals. With 13 goals and 27 points over the first 22 games, he's on pace for a career season. Last season, though he missed 19 games, he still amassed more points than in any other (2006-07 84 pts, 2008-09 82 pts) season. He's currently ranked 5th in the League for goals, and 9th for points. On pace for 48 goals, 52 assists – 100 points. That is, of course, barring injury/illness, or any dozen other factors. Fans often marvel at how uncannily close the twins' point totals are, year after year. Were Daniel to have played the complete season as Henrik did, he was on pace for 111 points, and potentially also trophy nomination. Earlier, the poll mentioned regarding Left Wingers was lead by Alexander Ovechkin. Not much of a surprise there, but his pace has cooled from last season. Undoubtedly he'll catch fire at some point in the season, but he's on pace for 104 pts, only 32 of which are goals. One says 'only' when the individual mentioned scores 50+ annually. Anze Kopitar and Daniel Sedin race for a loose puck in the Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals (all photos courtesy of Yardbarker.com) Hockey pool guru Murray Townsend (The Hockey News) has been a professional prognosticator for 20 years. He had forecast Crosby and Ovechkin to tie for second in League scoring with 110 points. They finished with 109. Interestingly, two players that he's had difficulty projecting are the Sedin brothers. He thought that they had peaked in 2008-09 at 82 points a piece. Little could he imagine Henrik would go on a magical run to win the Art Ross and Hart Trophies. Basically, Daniel accomplished in 63 games what Townsend and others thought would take 82. But he's not sure that Henrik's performance will be duplicated. "Almost positive they've peaked," Townsend told The Hockey News. Voted NHL and TSN goal of the year (courtesy of Pouya - CanucksHD) One facet of the twins evolution that many overlooked initially was their preparation. In particular, their physical conditioning has been top notch, and aided them immensely. Each year, when they've finished the playoffs, they take two weeks off, then head back to Ornkoldsvik, Sweden, to commence off-season training. Since his rookie 2000-01 season, where Daniel scored 20 goals and 34 points, it's evident his ability to compete has heightened since becoming bigger and stronger. His ability to shield and protect the puck while cycling down low has increased. His shots, wrist, slap, snap and backhand, have become more potent, more forceful. His acceleration, though it will never be elite level, has reached a higher gear. In short, he is no longer a bright-eyed teenager playing a man's game. Whatever the rest of the season should hold, Vancouver Canuck fans will continue to be delighted and amazed as Daniel Sedin, part of the best one-two punch in the League, displays his quality. With files from CanucksHD, Yardbarker.com and The Hockey News, I'm Larenzo Jensen
It's celebration week for Number Crunching as we, along with the rest of Canucks Nation, congratulate Henrik Sedin for becoming the first ever Vancouver Canuck to capture the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading point scorer. In honour of Henrik's achievement, we crunch the numbers on some Art Ross history and make a case for why Hank is better than Sid and Ovie. And as a wrap-up to the regular season, we present the Number Crunching Super Stats Pack. TODAY THE ART ROSS, TOMORROW THE WORLD? <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr1010_twins_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Henrik Sedin became the first Canucks player to capture an Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer with his 112-point season (29-83-112) but his greatest challenge is yet to come as he looks to be just the 11th Art Ross Trophy winner in the last 39 NHL seasons to lead his team to a Stanley Cup victory. Since the Canucks' inaugural season in 1970.71, the Art Ross Trophy winner has advanced to 12 different Stanley Cup Finals while winning it 10 times. Working against Henrik, as far as history goes, will be the fact that an Art Ross Trophy winner has not won back-to-back Stanley Cups since 1984 and 1985 when Wayne Gretzky captured the award in both seasons while also winning the Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers both years. Last season, Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin captured the Art Ross Trophy and went on to win the Stanley Cup with the Penguins. Below is a complete list of Art Ross Trophy winners that have gone on to win the Stanley Cup since the 1970.71 season: 1972 - Phil Esposito - Boston Bruins 1976 - Guy Lafleur - Montreal Canadiens 1977 - Guy Lafleur - Montreal Canadiens 1978 - Guy Lafleur - Montreal Canadiens 1984 - Wayne Gretzky - Edmonton Oilers 1985 - Wayne Gretzky - Edmonton Oilers 1987 - Wayne Gretzky - Edmonton Oilers 1992 - Mario Lemieux - Pittsburgh Penguins 2004 - Martin St. Louis - Tampa Bay Lightning 2009 - Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh Penguins The other two Art Ross Trophy winners that appeared in the Stanley Cup Final the same season but did not win the ultimate prize were: 1974 - Phil Esposito - Boston Bruins (lost to Philadelphia Flyers) 1983 - Wayne Gretzky - Edmonton Oilers (lost to New York Islanders) NO TIME TO SPARE <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr1010_ehrhoff_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">While some critics during the race for the Art Ross Trophy have pointed out that both Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin played fewer games than Henrik Sedin, one thing that no one can dispute is that Henrik has gotten more accomplished while getting much less average ice-time per game. Henrik finished the season averaging 19:41 of ice-time - over two full minutes fewer on average per game compared to Sidney Crosby (21:57) and Alex Ovechkin (21:47). In fact, out of the top-10 leading scorers in the NHL, only Chicago's Patrick Kane had a less ice-time on average (Kane finished the season with 88 points in 82 games). Henrik is the first player since Peter Forsberg in 2002.03 to capture the Art Ross Trophy despite having fewer than 20-minutes of average ice-time per game. That season, Forsberg finished with an average per-game ice-time of 19:19 - the lowest average ice-time out of the top-13 scorers that season. On an interesting side note, former Canucks' captain Markus Naslund - who finished second to Forsberg in that year's race for the Art Ross Trophy - had an average ice-time of 19:54. As far as how Henrik measures up in points versus total ice-time over the season compared to Sid and Ovie, Henrik finished the season averaging one point for every 14.414 minutes of ice-time. He finished well-ahead of Crosby in that category (one point for every 16.315 minutes) and was only slightly edged out by Ovechkin (one point for every 14.398 minutes of ice-time) ON A HIGH NOTE <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr1010_puckup_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">For just the third time in team history, the Canucks ended their regular season tallying seven-plus goals in their final contest. Vancouver's 7-3 win over the Flames on Saturday night was the most goals they have scored in a regular season finale since they lit up the Los Angeles Kings for eight goals back on April 15, 1993 - an 8-6 win at The Forum. That season, the Canucks finished in first place in the Smythe Division and knocked off the Winnipeg Jets (4-2) in their first round playoff series before falling in their second round series to those same Kings (2-4). The first and only other time the Canucks tallied seven-or-more goals in their regular finale was back on April 4, 1982 which also came against the Kings - a 7-4 at the Pacific Coliseum. That 1982 Canucks team, which finished second place in the Smythe Division, went on to become the first Canucks team to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals knocking off the Flames (3-0), Kings (4-1) and Blackhawks (4-1) before eventually falling to the New York Islanders (0-4). NUMBER CRUNCHING SUPER STATS PACK Number Crunching took the liberty of compiling some interesting statistics throughout the 2009.10 season. Here's a look at some of the best numbers from the regular season: <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr0810_sharks04_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">The Canucks' record when... A defenceman scores: 24-5-2 Daniel Sedin scores: 17-3-3 Henrik Sedin scores: 19-4-1 Mikael Samuelsson scores: 18-5-3 Alex Burrows scores: 22-7-0 Ryan Kesler scores: 18-6-0 Mason Raymond scores: 14-5-1 Jannik Hansen scores: 7-2-0 Kyle Wellwood scores: 7-4-2 Sami Salo scores: 9-0-0 Alex Edler scores: 5-0-0 Sami Salo is not in the lineup: 9-4-1 Kevin Bieksa is not in the lineup: 18-7-2 Willie Mitchell is not in the lineup: 21-9-2 Mikael Samuelsson is not in the lineup: 4-3-1 <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr0610_grabs_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">They score two-or-more power play goals: 13-4-0 They surrender two-or-more power play goals: 4-9-0 They don't allow a 1st period goal: 22-4-2 They don't allow a 3rd period goal: 32-5-4 Score a short-handed goal: 9-0-0 Surrender a short-handed goal: 1-4-1 Don't allow a power play goal: 30-5-4 When getting more power play chances than opponent: 27-12-1 When getting fewer power play chances than opponent: 19-13-1 When getting equal power play chances as opponent: 3-3-3 They play on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada: 11-2-2 They play on Rogers Sportsnet: 22-21-1 They play on TSN: 8-1-1 They play on Canucks TV Pay-Per-View: 8-3-1 Highs and Lows... <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr0410_happy_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Canucks Most - One Period Goals: 5 (NOV.28.09 vs Edmonton, first period) Goals Allowed: 5 (MAR.05.10 at Chicago, first period) Shots: 22 (OCT.30.09 at Anaheim, third period) Shots allowed: 22 (NOV.06.09 at Dallas, first period) Canucks Fewest - One Period Shots: 0 (MAR.14.10 vs Calgary, third period) Shots Allowed: 2 (MAR.13.10 vs Ottawa, first period) Canucks Most - One Game Goals: 8 (NOV.14.09 at Colorado) Goals Allowed: 8 (APR.01.10 at Los Angeles) Shots: 47 (FEB.02.10 at Montreal) Shots Allowed: 54 (MAR.20.10 vs Detroit) Penalty Minutes: 68 (NOV.10.09 at St. Louis) Penalty Minutes Opposition: 58 (APR.08.10 at San Jose) Canucks Fewest - One Game Goals: 0 (twice - most recent NOV.22.09 vs Chicago) Goals Allowed: 0 (five times - most recent FEB.11.10 at Florida) Shots: 15 (OCT.29.09 at Los Angeles) Shots Allowed: 14 (MAR.13.10 vs Ottawa) Penalty Minutes: 2 (JAN.25.10 vs Buffalo) Penalty Minutes Opposition: 4 (three times - most recent MAR.20.10 vs Detroit) Canucks Largest - One Game Margin of victory: 6 (twice - most recent NOV.14.09 at Colorado, 8-2) Margin of defeat: 5 (three times - most recent APR.01.10 at Los Angeles, 3-8) <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr0410_spray_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Individual Most - One Game Goals: 3 (eight times - Daniel Sedin x2, Alex Burrows x2, Henrik Sedin, Mason Raymond, Mikael Samuelsson, Michael Grabner) Goals Allowed: 3 (four times - David Perron, Erik Cole, Martin Erat, Dustin Brown) Assists: 4 (Henrik Sedin - APR.10.10 vs Calgary) Assists Allowed: 3 (six times - Rick Nash, James Wisniewski, Brad Boyes, Daniel Alfredsson, John Tavares, Patrick Marleau) Points: 4 (five times - Henrik Sedin x2, Alex Burrows, Mikael Samuelsson, Daniel Sedin) Points Allowed: 5 (John Tavares - MAR.16.10 vs New York Islanders) Saves: 50 (Roberto Luongo - MAR.20.10 vs Detroit) Saves, Opponent: 45 (Jaroslav Halak - FEB.02.10 at Montreal) Statistics and other information appearing in this blog are for entertainment purposes only and a sense of humour is recommended when reading. 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