With Daniel Sedin out with a sore back (hopefully not from picking up a cracker), Mark Mancari was called up from the Chicago Wolves and Mason Raymond was promoted to the top line. That turned out to be a good move, as Raymond was the Canucks best forward, leading the team in shots and picking up two points. His best play of the games should have led to the game-tying goal, were it not for Cam Ward making one of the best saves of the year.

Ward being incredible turned out to be the theme of the game, rather than a more Canucks-friendly theme like “Heart of a Canuck” or “Win da Turd.” I watched this game.

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Cody Hodgson’s faceoff apprenticeship

Back in October, I wrote about Cody Hodgson’s faceoff prowess and how the young centre’s injection into the Vancouver lineup gave the Canucks 5 quality options in the circle. At the time, Hodgson was winning 52.0% of his draws, and while it was quite early in the season, he had posted an identical win rate in the preseason as well. It didn’t seem far-fetched to assume he could maintain these numbers.

Turns out it was. Through 30 games, Hodgson has won only 74 of 177 faceoffs, or 41.8%. To put this into perspective: the other four Canuck centres all have winning percentages above 50%. Hodgson is the team’s worst faceoff option by far.

There are, of course, only four lines. This means that, to make room for Hodgson to centre one of them, the Canucks are going to lose ground in the faceoff circle. And before you say, “Shift Hodgson to the wing,” rest assured that it’s been tried.

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Weird Crafts: Hand-painted Canucks tree ornaments

Christmas is only 10 days away, which is absolutely crazy to me. While Christmas frequently sneaks up on me, it seemed especially ninja-like this year. Maybe it’s because I’ve been distracted by the birth of my son, Ozymandias, or maybe I don’t get out of the house as much now that I’m a full-time blogger.

In any case, when my wife came in with our two-and-a-half week old son dressed in a green-and-white striped sleeper with reindeer on the feet, I was a little puzzled. She said she dressed him up so he would look festive while we put up Christmas decorations. I was thinking, hey, there’s no rush. Christmas is ages away.

Nope. Less than two weeks.

I noticed, however, that we don’t have any Canucks-themed Christmas decorations. We don’t have any Canucks ornaments to go on our tree that we haven’t bought yet. A quick perusal of NHL.com’s online shop reveals three uninspiring ornament options: a chubby light-up snowman with a puck for a body, a creepy glass hockey player whose eyebrows make him look like a no-name brand Alex Burrows, and an uninspired glass ball featuring the Canucks logo surrounded by clip-art snowflakes.

Those options aren’t exactly inspiring and the prices they’re asking for a piece of Canucks kitsch are a little off-putting. Fortunately, there’s another option: handpaint your own glass ball Christmas ornaments.

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