The Canucks’ win in Colorado Saturday was nothing short of ridiculous. They were thoroughly outplayed by the Avalanche for the entire game and outshot 46 to 29. The Avs even missed two shots at the empty net in the game’s final minute. Then, fortunes changed in an instant when the puck took a weird bounce off a stanchion in the Colorado end and landed right on Kevin Bieksa’s stick. He buried it, tying the game, and the Canucks would go on to steal the two points in a shootout.
It was a shameless miracle.
Frankly, the Canucks have been getting by on shameless miracles for awhile now. They’re 4-0-1 in their last five games, all of which have required last-minute heroics, the most recent four of which have gone to overtime — three of which have gone to a shootout. The Canucks of the last 5 games look nothing like the team Vancouver fans are used to, a team that defeats opponents with strong puck possession, hard forechecking, and a lethal powerplay. Rather, this recent team is getting by on nothing but “clutch” performances, where “clutch” means “heroic albeit unnecessary if they had played better.”
So what happened prior to this five-game stretch to turn the Canucks from the team Vancouverites know into a hapless group relying on cheap miracles to eke out wins?
Ryan Kesler Tebowed.Continue Reading —›
fter the disappointing loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night, Canucks’ coach Alain Vigneault was asked about the performance of Ryan Kesler, who has been struggling of late. With just 3 points in his last 8 games, Kesler has not looked like his dominant self.
Part of Vigneault’s response was that Kesler needs “to use the players around him a little bit more so he can get into open space.”
Understandably, the media wanted to get Kesler’s take on the issue, so they cherry-picked the statement and brought it to the Canucks’ centre to see what he had to say. He was a little miffed:Continue Reading —›
Here we are at Day 3 of PITB’s list of our 50 favourite Canuck goals of 2011. Today features a heaping helping of beast mode Ryan Kesler, as well as a selection of the most curious pieces of Sedinery 2011 had to offer.
Have you ever seen a guy pass the puck through the legs of a goaltender, or away from the goalmouth with the goalie down and out? Have you ever seen a guy come to a complete stop directly in front of his defender? If so, you watched the Sedins in 2011. My friend, they don’t think like you and I. It’s pretty great. I suspect you’ll enjoy these 10 goals.Continue Reading —›
Welcome to Day 2 of PITB’s countdown of the top 50 goals the Vancouver Canucks scored in 2011. This afternoon you’ll be treated to a Daniel Sedin hat trick, a brilliant Ryan Kesler power move, and the bowling ball that is Raffi Torres.
There’s also a hat tip to what was a very common theme in the year that was: the victimization of the Pacific Division, as both San Jose and Dallas get burned multiple times. Provided you’re neither a Sharks fan nor a Stars fan, you’ll probably enjoy today’s goals.
Like life (according to John Lennon), we begin at 40.Continue Reading —›
2011 was a fabulous year for Canucks hockey. Sure, the Stanley Cup Final may not have ended quite the way Vancouver fans wanted it to, but the Canucks were still in it, and that’s a rarity deserving of some serious appreciation.
If you ask me, so was the 2011 team in its entirety. Between the wizardry of the Sedins, the raw power of Ryan Kesler, the stable of offensive-minded defensemen, the occasional flashes of brilliance from the skilled corps of middle wingers, and the gaggle of set plays the team employs, the fans in this city are spoiled right now. We may never see another team like this one again.
With that in mind, it would be crazy to let this year in Canucks hockey lapse without looking back at some of its incredible goals. What follows is a countdown of our favourite 50, which will run Monday through Friday at 9am sharp. Please feel free to disagree with this highly subjective list in the comments.
So it begins.Continue Reading —›
In the postgame scrum following the Canucks’ 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators, Alain Vigneault described Dale Weise’s end-to-end rush as “phenomenal,” and while I don’t disagree that it was an impressive individual effort, it wasn’t my favourite goal of the game.
Nice as it was, I was far more taken with the one that preceded it: Ryan Kesler’s second goal of the game, which stretched the lead to 3-0. It was both a fantastic example of the strengths of the Canucks’ first powerplay unit and a comedy of errors for the Ottawa penalty kill. Let’s break it down.Continue Reading —›
Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few topics that deserve mention.Continue Reading —›
In case you were on a media fast yesterday, you are aware that Ryan Kesler will be making his season debut tonight against the New York Rangers. It’s hoped that his return will aid the ailing penalty kill, boost their middle-of-the-road record at even-strength, and send them to the top of the NHL in faceoff percentage.
To make way for his return, Chris Tanev was sent down to the Chicago Wolves, meaning fellow waiver-exempt Canuck Cody Hodgson was not. Here’s the thing: Cody Hodgson is a natural centre and the Canucks now have five natural centres on their active roster. While this may do wonders for the team’s faceoff numbers, it means one of those centres will have to play on the wing. With Kesler and Henrik Sedin sewing up the top-six roles and Malhotra and Lapierre doing the yeoman’s work in the defensive zone, Hodgson will line-up alongside Kesler on the second line.
While this is a tremendous opportunity for the rookie, as Kesler has a tendency to be awesome, it also presents a challenge. Will he be able to adapt? If you ask Hodgson, it’s not going to change anything at all.Continue Reading —›
The Vancouver Canucks announced today that Chris Tanev has been assigned to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. This may initially come as a bit of a surprise: while Tanev hasn’t been outstanding, finding himself a healthy scratch twice, he also hasn’t been terrible. It appeared that Vigneault was rotating Tanev and Alberts in and out of the lineup depending on the opponent, with Tanev in against speedier, more skilled teams and Alberts in against larger, more physical teams.
This move wasn’t about how well Tanev was playing, however. Instead, it’s about his contract status. Since Tanev is on his entry-level contract and hasn’t played in enough NHL games, he’s exempt from going through waivers to get down to the AHL. The only other player on the Canucks’ active roster who is exempt from waivers is Cody Hodgson.Continue Reading —›
While Ryan Kesler initially hoped to be back by opening night after his off-season surgery, it instead appears that he is on track to return by November. This means he will miss anywhere from 11 to 23 games, depending on when in November he comes back. His absence will have a ripple effect on the rest of the Canucks lineup, with some of the repercussions being immediately obvious and some of them being a little further under the radar.Continue Reading —›
Early Wednesday morning, it was reported that Ryan Kesler will be posing nude for ESPN Magazine’s 2011 “Body Issue.” The Canucks centre will be the first NHL star to pose nude for the magazine since 2009, when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and three members of the Edmonton Oilers appeared in the inaugural edition of the “Body Issue.”
The choice of Kesler makes sense: he was a star for the USA Olympic team, which makes him far more recognizable to ESPN’s audience than, say, any other hockey player in the world.
Oh…and he already has a tendency to remove his clothing at every opportunity.Continue Reading —›
As you may have heard, Ryan Kesler stated recently that he does not think he will be ready for the start of the season, a reversal from his earlier optimism. This news has been met with various amounts of panic from Canucks fans and it’s understandable why. Kesler was phenomenal last season, scoring 41 goals on his way to winning the Selke. In the playoffs, he almost single-handedly defeated the Nashville Predators in the second round, then battled through an injury against the Sharks to help the Canucks into the Stanley Cup Final.
Ideally, of course, Kesler would be 100% healthy to start the season, but if wishes were fishes I wouldn’t have to throw dynamite into the ocean. Instead, I will accept the reality of the current situation, mine the silver lining, and turn it into a fashionable necklace. Here are 3 reasons it’s a good thing that Kesler will not be ready by the start of the season.Continue Reading —›
In light of the Canucks’ disastrous trip to Boston, we expect some significant line-up tweaks from the occasionally esteemed Coach Vigneault. During the last Canucks’ meltdown (the first round near suicide swoon against Chicago), we threw out some ideas for roster changes (see our April 23rd posting where we recommended reuniting Ryan Kesler and Alex [...]Continue Reading —›
Clearly, there is no easy path to the glory. And if there is, the Canucks mostly refuse to follow it. And when they do, they get dragged into the alley. Yes, there is plenty wrong in Canuck land right now. Roberto Luongo seems incapable of making a big save to bail out a team that [...]Continue Reading —›
With the Canucks in full command of a series that they could just as easily be trailing two games to nothing, you have to like their chances to finish off the Bruins sooner rather than later. No doubt the Boston faithful feel that their team is most unlucky to be returning to Beantown without at least [...]Continue Reading —›
With the Canucks now just four wins away from Canada’s first Stanley Cup in 18 years, you’d think that the head talking head at the CBC might be just a little more complimentary of Canada’s team. Despite predicting the Canucks’ game 5 victory against San Jose (dandy Don even got the score right), it’s hardly like [...]Continue Reading —›
The lexicon of sport is riddled with mantras that are so oft repeated, they sometimes sound hollow. And as the battles intensify, the calls of our “best players need to be our best players”, “we’ve got to leave it all out there”, and “you gotta be good to be lucky” can be heard everywhere. And [...]Continue Reading —›
Indeed, it is time to cue up the Bon Jovi; the Canucks are half way there. But forget about “Livin’ On a Prayer”, for this team it’s clearly “Livin’ On a Kesler”.Continue Reading —›
On a night where Ryan Kesler continued his remarkable play (has there ever been a Canuck playoff performer post a three game run of this dominance?), the Sedins were again noticeable for all the wrong reasonsContinue Reading —›
At the outset of this series, we warned that it would be like watching the 2007 seven game paint drying championship versus the Dallas Stars. And while this series might be marginally more entertaining, on paper, it is shaping up in almost identical fashion. After four games in that snoozefest, the Canucks also led three [...]Continue Reading —›
Entering last night’s pivotal game 3 match-up with the Predators, the Canucks had a grand total of zero goals from their top two centres in a combined 18 playoff games. And despite this, the Canucks found themselves in decent enough shape.Continue Reading —›
In his early days in Vancouver, Coach Alain Vigneault was known to juggle his lines at the slightest adversity. Though as the Canucks have morphed into an elite team, his juggling act has reduced greatly.Continue Reading —›