I Find This Photo Odd: Canucks leer at Amanda Seyfried

Doing my usual scan through the photos taken at the most recent Canucks game, I came across this one, of Manny Malhotra, Aaron Volpatti, Jason Garrison, and Dale Weise. Now, according to photo caption, this is a picture of the four of them “skating during warm-up prior to the NHL game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on January 28, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.”

Now here’s the thing: I never played hockey, so I can’t claim to be an expert on what skating looks like, but I do know a thing or two about leering, and I don’t see as much skating in this photo as I do creepy ogling.

So I asked myself: what could they be ogling?

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Jordan Schroeder in: how to win faceoffs and influence zone starts

When David Booth got hurt at the Canucks’ abbreviated, two-scrimmage preseason, I opined that this spelled the end of Jordan Schroeder’s chances to be the Canucks’ second-line centre on opening night. My theory: Schroeder might have had a shot when he would be skating between two veterans in Booth and Mason Raymond — much like Cody Hodgson did the year before, beating out Ebbett in training camp and lining up between Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm on day one — but with the young’un Zack Kassian stepping up to fill in for Booth, I suspected Vigneault would uncomfortable doubling down on inexperience on that line by making Schroeder its centre. Hence, safe, forgettable Andrew Ebbett had the edge.

I got that one right.

Since then, however, it’s become clear that Alain Vigneault didn’t. Ebbett was quiet through the first two games of the season — quiet enough that the Canucks eventually called Schroeder back. In the Canucks’ third game, Schroeder drew in and Ebbett drew out.

But then Manny Malhotra’s wife gave birth to a baby boy, and Malhotra stepped away from the team for two games, leaving Vigneault with no choice but to dress both Ebbett and Schroeder. What followed was yet another two-game showdown between Ebbett and Schroeder for a middle-six centre job. This time, Booth or no Booth, Schroeder won it clean.

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How will we know when there actually is a goaltending controversy?

Roberto Luongo will start his second game in a row tonight against the Colorado Avalanche, a move that seems to contradict any assertions that Cory Schneider is the number one goaltender for the Canucks. If Alain Vigneault were just riding the hot hand, it would make sense: Luongo has been, objectively speaking, the better goaltender to start the season, posting a .917 save percentage and 2.21 goals against average as compared to Schneider’s .897 and 3.13.

The issue is that Vigneault has claimed that isn’t his strategy. Supposedly, he and Rollie Melanson mapped out the two goaltenders starts well in advance and it’s entirely possible that Luongo was slated to start against the Avalanche right from the start of the season. Accordingly, this wouldn’t be the sign of a goaltending controversy or any indication that the Canucks lack confidence in Schneider.

So what would? How do we know when there actually is a goaltending controversy in Vancouver?

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