Roberto Luongo was the guest on Hockey Night in Canada After Hours Saturday night, and as you might have guessed, it was must-watch television.
This interview had three things going for it from the start. First, the Canucks won, so Luongo was guaranteed to be in a good mood. Second, Luongo spent the entire night sitting on the bench, so you know he was ready for a little banter. And third, Scott Oake is notorious for awkwardly asking the questions you’re not supposed to ask. Typically, if he’s been told he’s not supposed to ask something, he just asks it like this: “I know I’m not supposed to ask this, but I have to ask.” It’s super subtle.
Sure enough, it all came together, resulted in what one might argue was the best of many great Canuck performance on After Hours. Watch and enjoy.Continue Reading —›
Hockey is a rough game. Sometimes, you have to lay it all on the line, you have to sacrifice the body, you have to squeeze every ounce out of it in order to get the edge.
Of course, normally, when “the body”, refers to one’s own body. But if this photo of Jannik Hansen crushing Jordan Eberle’s junk with his forearm is any indication, occasionally, victory comes by laying, squeezing and sacrificing someone else’s body.Continue Reading —›
We hesitate to criticize a Canucks’ player agent, especially considering the clustercuss that happened the last time we did something like that, but one has to wonder what Mike Liut, Cory Schneider’s agent, was thinking Monday when he spoke to Brad Ziemer regarding the situation in the Vancouver crease.
Certainly, this isn’t an ideal situation, but Schneider and Roberto Luongo have both given the impression they’re relatively at ease with it and capable of handling it professionally. “I don’t cry myself to sleep at night, I don’t feel bad for myself, I just have to work hard and be better,” Schneider said at the end of January.
Then Liut spoke up.Continue Reading —›
Zack Kassian played 96 total regular-season and playoff games with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. It was an eventful tour of duty. During his time there, he led the Spitfires to an OHL championship and a Memorial Cup, he put up 113 points, he was suspended 23 total games for two nasty hits, and he got arrested for a barfight.
Also, at some point, he made this Subway commercial, which was brought to our attention on Monday by Kelvin Yu, likely after it surfaced on Reddit. How to describe it? Well, as mentioned, Kassian had some very good moments and some very bad moments in Windsor, but I think you could argue that this was simultaneously the best and the worst thing he did as a Spitfire. Watch and cringe:Continue Reading —›
There’s nothing worse than leading a hockey game by two goals (save perhaps trailing by seven, and even then, it’s a toss-up). As we know by now, opening up a two-goal lead is like reciting a passage from the Book of the Dead. It basically summons ill fortune. The Canucks have demonstrated this principle several times already this season, and they did so again on Monday night. The difference? This time, they were the team clawing their way back.
But there was another difference between this game and the recent two-goal collapses we’ve seen recently: this one ended in overtime, rather than the shootout. And speaking of things we’d never seen before, the game-winning goal was scored by none other than Chris Tanev, who will now haunt the Oilers like something out of Edgar Allan Poe. (Quoth the raven: Tanevermore.) I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
With the Chicago Blackhawks coming to town on Friday night, many had their fingers crossed that the Canucks would exact some sort of revenge for the concussion Duncan Keith caused Daniel Sedin when he droves an elbow into the winger’s face last season. Obviously, no one was calling for a Canuck to skate up behind Keith, punch him in the back of the head, then ride him to the ice (we’re not so into that anymore), but most were hoping someone would, at the very least, staple him to the boards.
That proved easier said than done. Keith is shiftier than the eyes of a dog that’s up to no good, and he evaded attempts to destroy him all night. Incredibly, the best lick any Canuck put on him was dished out by Henrik Sedin. But that wasn’t the only time that Henrik got the best of Keith. The two also came together on Alex Edler’s first period-goal, and Henrik came away from that exchange the victor as well.
That’s just one of many things you may have missed on the play while you marvelled at Zack Kassian’s pass. So let’s break it down.Continue Reading —›
In an interview with the Vancouver Sun’s Cam Cole back in mid-January, Mike Gillis was candid about the state of his team early in 2013. “The way we were constituted to start this year,” Gillis said, referring to the absence of ice-tilters Ryan Kesler and David Booth, “We just needed to get through this first 2-3 weeks.”
In the same breath, Gillis added, “and neither of our goalies was particularly sharp in the first two games.”
That’s your Rosetta Stone to the Canucks’ current goaltending controversy. Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault know that, without a second line and without all-situation influencer Ryan Kesler, the team isn’t strong enough to win every game on merit and skill. But fortunately, they have two goaltenders capable of making up the difference.
Schneider and Luongo may not have shown it in that first weekend set, but they certainly have since, and when they have, they’ve stayed in goal. It really just makes sense. If someone is stealing you points during a time when you admittedly need points stolen, why would you turn around and start the other guy?
You wouldn’t, and Alain Vigneault hasn’t. Wondering why Luongo is getting his third straight start Friday versus Chicago? For the same reason Schneider got his third straight start Sunday in San Jose. Vigneault is riding the point thief.Continue Reading —›
Throughout the Roberto Luongo trade saga — which appears to have no end in sight, with Luongo starting his third straight game Friday versus the Blackhawks — Mike Gillis has remained impressively stoic. But during a January 18th interview on the Team 1040, Jason Botchford did manage to get the Canucks’ GM’s ire up with a question about whether the Canucks were asking too much for the goalie.
“The notion that we were asking for too much,” Gillis responded, “was floated in the Toronto media by a team that was extremely interested in acquiring Roberto and were using every means possible to try and force us to do something that we didn’t think was right. That’s nothing new in this business and it’s not the type of pressure that I’m going to succumb to.”
So which Toronto media members were aiding the Leafs’ public negotiations? Well, we can’t know for sure, but if you follow Damien Cox on Twitter, tweets like this one or this one certainly seem to point to the Toronto Star columnist pitching in. I’d suspect that Gillis had Cox in mind when he made the statement.
I’d also suspect that Gillis isn’t the only member of the Canucks’ organization that thinks this, especially after Roberto Luongo’s little zinger Wednesday night. Upon encountering Cox in the postgame scrum following his 3-0 shutout of the Avalanche, Luongo interrupted Cox’s question to ask one of his own: “Are you here scouting for the Leafs or what?”Continue Reading —›
Alain Vigneault shocked the city of Vancouver Wednesday morning when he announced that Roberto Luongo would get the start versus the Colorado Avalanche. The controversial decision led to a boatload of speculation on what it meant. Was Vigneault simply riding the hot hand? Had Luongo reclaimed the starter’s job? Or maybe the Canucks were playing him against an inferior opponents in the Avalanche in order to showcase him to potential trade partners?
Nevermind that the showcase theory makes no sense whatsoever. Roberto Luongo has been in the NHL for more than a decade. He’s played 730 NHL games — 789 if you count the playoffs. Speaking of the playoffs, he’s gone to the Stanley Cup Final. He’s played in the Olympics. If you’re in charge of making roster moves for an NHL team and you aren’t sure who Roberto Luongo is and what he’s about in 2013, then you shouldn’t be in charge of making roster moves for an NHL team.
But if there really is a General Manager out there so braindead and incompetent that he needs to be reminded Roberto Luongo plays goal and does so fairly effectively, I’m sure he was pleased with what he saw when he, just as I, watched this game.Continue Reading —›
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?Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›
Over the past few years, Alex Burrows has established himself as one of the Canucks’ surest things on breakaways and penalty shots, most of the time by virtue of his “Blue Steel”, his go-to backhand move. We’ve celebrated it several times here on this blog, most notably in this post, which features a compilation of every single instance in which Burrows has used the move successfully.
Burrows is known for the move at this point, but as he himself said, it doesn’t matter — if he does it right, he’ll score. But it’s not entirely true. After all, the move only works because there’s still a possibility Burrows might do something else. If his going backhand shelf was 100% assured, goaltenders would simply overcommit to the right post and wait to get hit in the chest.
All that said, you can understand why Burrows might occasionally want to give goaltenders another look, and he certainly did so Monday night versus the Los Angeles Kings. His move — which involved a spin and a stutter-step before a hit post — seemed forgettable at the time, but a day later, people are still talking about it, debating both its legality and ridiculousness. So let’s take another look.Continue Reading —›
I always enjoy the atmosphere the Staples Centre brings to a telecast. It’s a boisterous enemy area. But if there’s one thing I still can’t handle about the Canucks’ visits to LA, it’s that execrable, heinous bumper video in which South Park sociopath Eric Cartman screams “Go Kings go!” over and over and over. It’s the worst. “Chelsea Dagger” is “Strawberry Fields Forever” compared to that thing. If you’ve ever read Hamlet, and wondered how, exactly, one perpetrates an ear poisoning, wonder no more. Seriously. You could commit regicide with this video.
Speaking of regicide, the Canucks did their best to off the Kings on Monday night, if by “did their best” you mean played badly, but were fortunate to have Roberto Luongo in goal. However, while they were fortunate in this sense, they were unfortunate in the sense that Luongo’s incredible play wasn’t quite enough to overcome their mediocre play — which, if you watched Luongo’s performance, should make clear how truly mediocre their play was. It was clear to me, because I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Not much went the Canucks’ way Sunday night in San Jose. The Sharks scored early and often, the powerplay went 0-for-7 (hitting a whopping 5 posts in the process), and somehow, Antti Niemi only allowed one goal (which is usually a clue that the luck is favouring San Jose, because Niemi’s not very good).
But it turns out that Vancouver did catch at least one break last night.
It happened just prior to puck drop, when Alex Burrows and Logan Couture got into it at the faceoff dot. Couture gave Burrows a little push to the helmet, which led to Burrows giving Couture a little push to the chest. This summoned Ryane Clowe, who stepped in to defend Couture, which summoned Jannik Hansen to defend Burrows.
Now, Hansen isn’t exactly the most imposing of figures, but that doesn’t mean he can’t intimidate. The trick, as Will Smith once taught Ashley Banks, is to make yourself seem absolutely insane. And how better to do that than crosschecking the ref?Continue Reading —›
If you opted to tune out hockey during the NHL lockout, it’s possible that you missed one of the strangest collectors’ purchases in recent memory. At an auction of over 100 items from the historic Maple Leafs Gardens, diehard fan and Toronto Lawyer Jim Vigmond somehow managed to justify bidding $5,300 for the old building’s toilet.
Some people said that this was a stupid purchase. Vigmond didn’t entirely disagree. “They’ve got a point,” he said. “But … it’s a part of an icon. I just thought … what a rare piece and just think of all of the people that have spent time contemplating in that dressing room what lies ahead of them.”
Indeed. Just think of all the famous Maple Leafs that have used that toilet to poop. Now Vigmond owns was is, arguably, the most notable toilet in Toronto Maple Leafs’ history. Sure, he spent over $5000 on a toilet, but as toilets go, he bought the best one a Leafs fan could buy.
I bring all of this up because on Friday night, with the Canucks in Anaheim visiting the Ducks, Roberto Luongo saw fit to remind us of the most notable toilet in the history of the Vancouver Canucks when he tweeted the following, with a note saying, “And this is where the magic happened……” (as well as some yucky hashtags):Continue Reading —›
It makes plenty of sense that Zack Kassian would be the enduring story from Wednesday night’s tilt between the Canucks and the Calgary Flames. After all, the winger looked great, scoring a goal, adding the shootout winner, and looking great on the first line with the Sedins. If you were handing out report cards through the Canucks’ first three games, Kassian would likely earn an A, and his game Wednesday was undoubtedly the best of the bunch.
But still, it seems odd to me that no one is mentioning that strange moment when Mikka Kiprusoff latched onto Kevin Bieksa’s leg like a squid or a leech and refused to let go.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks really needed this win. It wasn’t just that they were 0-1-1 heading into it. It was much worse than that. As a colleague who will remain nameless because I’m about to make fun of him pointed out to me, they weren’t just winless in their first two. They were 1-4-2 in their last seven, dating back to last postseason. Ah, but I pointed out to him that if we’re just going to trace the Canucks’ record back to arbitrary dates, we should point out that they’re actually 52-26-11 dating back to the beginning of last season. Perhaps, my colleague responded, but they’re a mediocre 1353-1455-391-83 dating back to the beginning of the franchise.
That’s almost 100 games under five hundred. You can see how badly they needed this win. Sure, it’s a big hole to crawl out of, but you’ve got to take these things one game at a time. Tonight was one such game, and I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
There haven’t been a lot of bright spots for the Vancouver Canucks through their first two games, but I think most observers can agree that Dale Weise has been one of them. His strong play versus both Edmonton and Anaheim came as a surprise to just about everybody, Dutch fans excluded. It was so noticeable that Mike Gillis mentioned him in a recent sitdown with Cam Cole, and on Tuesday, Alain Vigneault promoted him to a line with Mason Raymond and Jordan Schroeder. (Or maybe he demoted Mason Raymond. We’re not quite sure.)
Weise even landed on the front page of NHL.com Tuesday, although, unfortunately, it was for the image you see above. Yes, Weise had a few lesser moments as well over the Canucks’ first weekend. Granted, it was easy to overlook them when he was making things happen at both ends of the ice, but apparently, one Canucks fan decided it was time to throw a little water on all the Dale Weise love. Youtube user “4skinWillie” — who we’ll infer from his username is 12 years old — has put together a brief collection of those lesser moments Sunday night versus Edmonton. It’s totally uncalled for. But it’s also pretty funny.Continue Reading —›
It went unnoticed by almost everybody, what with actual hockey being played all weekend, but for a brief moment, all was quiet on the Luongo trade front. It began the moment Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri scored a goal each in the Leafs’ opener and Canuck fans did the math, realized both were on pace for 48-goal seasons, and deduced that Toronto would never trade them now.
Suddenly, all that Funny Bob-to-Toronto chatter went silent. And then the Canucks crapped the bed, so there were more pressing things to speculate about, like whether Roberto Luongo should start the game he was always scheduled to start.
But on Monday night, the Luongo trade frenzy picked right back up when, in an interview with Cam Cole of Pass it to Bulis (and sometimes the Vancouver Sun), Mike Gillis suggested that the team was making some progress in bringing this saga to a close.
“We have a potential deal in place with one team that has to do something with another player that they have — and it’s not who anybody thinks it is — and so we have to wait,” Gillis said.Continue Reading —›
If you’ve watched a lot of programs with witches (Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, et al), you may be familiar with the concept of the 24-hour spell.
The 24-hour spell is a mystical occurrence, something that happens to drastically change someone’s fate for exactly one day. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but either way, it usually serves to give somebody a special perspective he wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience. It could be a body swap. It could be a sudden aging of thirty years. It could be temporary magical powers. Whatever it is, it lasts exactly 24 hours, and then, the moment time is up — zap! — everything switches back to normal (or, in the case of Groundhog Day’s 24-hour spell, it starts over again).
I bring this up because we witnessed a perfectly-timed 24-hour spell this weekend in the Canucks’ crease. You could be upset about how this weekend’s set went. Or you could marvel at the fact that you saw magic happen.Continue Reading —›
Sometimes when there’s a lot to talk about in the world of Canucks hockey, our employers at the Vancouver Sun will send the in-house video team outside to get some fan insight on the chatter of the day, and considering the inflammatory events of the Canucks’ home opener, Sunday night was one such time. Sun videographer Mark Yuen — director of viral sensation “Call the Union” — was dispatched to Rogers Arena to capture fan sentiment regarding the Canucks’ goaltending controversy.
But instead, Yuen captured something a little more unique. During an interview with a Canucks fan in an orange tuque, a family of three passed by. The interview was interrupted when the father, who was pushing a stroller with a kid in it and obviously didn’t have his eyes on the road, walked the stroller directly into a lamppost.Continue Reading —›
As if you didn’t already feel sort of dirty about your unqualified excitement for Game 1 of the Canucks’ season following yet another NHL lockout, consider the following factoid from Matt Baker: the last time the Canucks opened their season against the Ducks was in 1997, in Tokyo, with Mark Messier scoring in a 3-2 win.
Disgusting, right? I mean… Tokyo. I’ve heard it’s very overpopulated.
I kid. Anyway, despite the fact that the Canucks iced Mark Messier, the 1997 home opener was a much more successful outing than this one. If you were, as mentioned, a little uncomfortable with your excitement heading into Saturday night’s affair, the Canucks did their best to stomp all of that passion right out for you, serving up one of the worst stinkers in recent memory. This game was so bad, I almost missed the lockout. Almost. As bad as it was, it was still Canucks hockey. The circumstances could be better, but for the first time in nine months, I’m pleased to say I watched this game:Continue Reading —›
In the lead-up to Saturday’s opening night tilt with the Anaheim Ducks, the Canucks announced a number of fan outreach initiatives aimed at, hopefully, making fans feel a little less uneasy about returning to the loving arms of a league that just punched them in the gonads. There would be cheap food, 50% off merchandise, and a patronizing new video, but chief amongst these initiatives was the special opportunity for a season-ticket holder to drop the puck for the ceremonial faceoffs.
That season-ticket holder was selected and informed Friday. His name: Dr. Jeffrey Bell. And for an extra-special treat, the Canucks enlisted Ryan Kesler to tell the doctor. The phone call that was filmed for Canucks.com, and thank goodness they did that, because otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to prove that Kesler somehow managed to call during a pelvic exam:Continue Reading —›
With opening night only a day away, the Canucks made their final training camp cuts Friday, trimming the roster down to the league maximum 23.
It was simple, really: they just gave the Chicago Wolves their team back.
The Canucks had borrowed 9 members of their AHL affiliate for training camp, not so much to actually give them a shot to make the team, but so they’d have enough guys to stage a scrimmage on Wednesday and Thursday night in anticipation for the real action on Saturday. Friday morning, they sent home 8 of them: Peter “Laser Eyes” Andersson, Darren Archibald, Joe “Debbie Downer” Cannata, Kevin Connauton, Andrew “Escaped mental patient” Gordon, Derek Joslin, Anton Rodin, and Bill Sweatt.
Of course, there was a few notable absences among this group. Jordan Schroeder and Zack Kassian didn’t catch the private jet home.
Schroeder was a surprise. A night after doing what some thought to be the impossible — turning Mason Raymond into an unstoppable scoring machine — it appeared as though Schroeder had done the truly impossible by convincing Alain Vigneault that the Canucks should ice a raw rookie over a trusted veteran in the top-six. Did he make the team?Continue Reading —›
The Canucks closed out their two-game scrimmage series Thursday night at Rogers Arena, and once again, we were unable to be there. On Wednesday night, we turned things over to award-winning Vancouver Sun columnist Cam Cole, who shared his scattered but kind of awesome notes with us on this very blog. Smartly, however, he turned down a repeat appearance. After all, blog once, and you’re a highly-respect journalist doing the underlings a favour. Blog twice and you’re a blogger. There is no greater shame.
Fortunately, reader and longtime Bulie Dan Donkers volunteered to fill in for him. Granted, Donkers hasn’t won two George Gross awards, but the self-described “freckled hurricane” still managed to meet our stringent criteria: not asking for money. Thus, we turn things over to Mr. Donkers for a few notes on last night’s game, which saw Mason Raymond lead Team Grey to a 3-0 win.Continue Reading —›