Canucks and Beyond
"He was scary with the puck. I mean, he could do stuff that made other players look like they were playing in another league. It would be 'boys playing with men' sometimes." *Arthur Griffiths' comment in the video belowI don't think I'd watched a sequence of Pavel Bure highlight moments in literally years before I saw this video, and seeing it again now I'm struck by the idea that he sometimes seems to be a bit forgotten. I realize he's not really forgotten, of course; many of us carry memories of the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs at the very least. And it's nearly impossible to forget how remarkable a player he was. But still, remembering it and experiencing it again are two different things, and watching this video was a jaw-dropping reminder to me of how damn good he really was. Electrifying. An obvious modern comparison is to consider the skills of Alexander Ovechkin in Washington, another Russian with buckets of talent, determination and personality. In Bure's case, the narrator of this vid describes him in equal measure as both 'athlete' and 'rock star' -- that same tribute could be applied to both players, I expect.
I participated in the NHL’s media conference call with Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo a few minutes ago. I was able to ask a couple of my own questions, which Roberto was good enough to answer. Paraphrasing from memory, I asked:
(1) You’ve mentioned numerous times this season that you’re not seeking individual records, but more concerned about the team’s performance. But is it perhaps exciting to be closing in on Bernie Parent’s record for season wins?
He responded “No, not really,” and pointed out that with overtime wins and shootout points, he doesn’t really feel like his achievement could be compared to a record like Parents’.
(2) Now that you’re assured your spot in the playoffs, will your focus now change to mentally preparing a game plan thinking of the different possible opponents you might face?
He responded that he isn’t thinking of any one team at all yet. Given that things are so bunched up in the standings it could be any of 4-5 teams they could be facing, so it’s not something he’s focusing on at this point.
Numerous other media members asked interesting questions about Luongo’s excitement as he heads into his first post-season. The complete transcript should be available here in about an hour or so.
Update Added 1:10 pm PT: Interview Transcript
(questions asked by various media members)
The Colorado -- Vancouver series continues tonight -- a game that we can expect both teams to be extremely motivated to win. Vancouver to continue fighting for home ice advantage and the division lead; and Colorado to simply get a playoff spot.
Here are the reasons that Vancouver will win:
(1) Canucks have been sucking their oxygen tanks extra time. No chance of falling over from the altitude problems.
(2) Avalanche fans
are can be tools. (I know of 2 obvious exceptions to this rule -- and there are probably a few others -- but I still think it's a safe generalization.)
(3) Luongo and the D didn't have their greatest game Sunday night. But when's the last time you remember their suckitude happening twice in a row? Exactly.
(4) The Canucks have analyzed the issue and decided that only TWO shots in each of the final two periods is not quite a winning strategy. They will adjust accordingly.
(5) History of the Avs discourages God from giving them more happiness in the future:
From Paul Kukla's Mailbag on NHL.com this morning:
Greetings from Canada, I have never watched the playoffs, can you tell me a little bit about them? What should I expect and it really can't be that difficult, can it? -- Roberto L, Vancouver Roberto, it's all overblown. Stay out all night before a game night, party hardy, then sit back and relax. If you happen to be "watching" a game with a team wearing a winged wheel, stay out an extra few hours; you will thank me later.What a wiseass.
Today is Open Practice at GM Place, an event at which around 19,000 fans will be watching the Vancouver Canucks do their practice drills. (Crazy, no?) Unfortunately the event is sold out -- free tix with just a $2.50 handling fee disappear quickly -- but I'm sure some scalper will take pity on you if you want to be there; maybe hand you a ticket for a price of a nice dinner for six. Anyway members of The Crazy Canucks podcast will all be there today, as the Vancouver Canucks have invited us to bring in our equipment and do some live recording around the concourse and in the stands. So if you happen to be there and spot us (which shouldn't be too hard; we'll be wandering around with microphones and beer for godsakes!) be sure to come up and say a few words. Perhaps say something inspiring like "Colorado Sucks!" and you may end up as a guest star. Here's the latest episode, by the way, recorded on Tuesday. And these are all the members of the crew. Later.
I'm not saying this with any degree of judgment, just stating the facts -- and these are da facts: it's kinda SLUTTY to get NAKED and offer your "SERVICES" on CRAIGSLIST for CANUCKS TICKETS! Here is the NOT SAFE FOR WORK LINK! (NSFW! for those who might be functionally idiotic...) Note 1: Thanks to David at TIB. Though I'm very disturbed wondering how you found that link. Note 2: Of course, getting naked for playoff tickets would not be slutty; sometimes it's just practical. DO NOT judge me if things descend that far, dammit... Update 1pm PT I guess they got their hockey tickets -- the posting has been removed. (Maybe I shouldn't have called them "slutty". Perhaps "resourceful" would have been a better word.)
Just in case anyone is worried the Vancouver Canucks won't win the Cup (is anyone really worried about that?) then feel free to buy it from shop.NHL.com.
The Vancouver Canucks have blown past a one-game-under-.500 record before Christmas, to a 45-23-6 record for the season. An astonishing turn of events that doesn't just give them a solid chance at a home ice spot for the post-season -- it also puts them on the map of contenders for the President's Trophy. Are the Canucks in that class? Brendan Morrison: "I don't know if a lot of teams think we're for real. That's fine with me. Guys in here believe we can win. Whatever is said outside the room is irrelevant. In the past, guys might have got caught up in what people said. Now, nobody cares." Whatever others may or may not think, the Canucks do have a shot at it, though the current standings are tight and would almost certainly mean winning their way through the rest of the schedule. Not to mention catching a couple breaks from the competition.
Mark Messier has bestowed his monthly Cold-FX award on Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (a.k.a. Goalie of Dominance, a.k.a. G.O.D.). From the NHL's news release today:
COLD-fX, the official immune enhancer of the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association, will donate $5,000 to the charity of Luongo’s choice. "Roberto Luongo has steadily emerged as one of the premier goaltenders in the NHL," said Messier. "His growing maturity over the last six years is evident in the ways he has led the Canucks this year in the battle for first place in the Northwest Division. His continued support for programs like the Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon, which raises money for the Canuck Place Children's Hospice, speaks volumes about his commitment to reach out to vital local charities that support those most in need."It's always nice to have NHL recognition for a Canucks player, and certainly G.O.D. deserves it. But still... from Mark Messier?! It's almost scary to think of how much bad karma is involved in this.
Courtesy of the all-knowing Grant Kerr at the Globe & Mail:
Vancouver will be missing injured defencemen Sami Salo and Willie Mitchell when the Canucks play the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night in the Alberta capital. But equally as more important, will Markus Naslund be missing from the power play? The Vancouver captain was yanked from the odd-man unit Saturday after a below-par performance when the Canucks beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Naslund has had a less than inspiring season, with 22 goals in 72 games despite oodles of power-play time, although mostly on the second unit. He has been slow moving the puck and his once feared shot no longer finds the corners of the net. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault explained his handling of Naslund against Detroit as, "He wasn't playing well. It's as simple as that."Kerr spends some time considering the "theory" that Naslund's performance is tied to Bertuzzi's absence. (Gee... how very "2005" of you to bring that up, Grant.) Anyway, Alexander Edler's playing tonight. And for godsakes, you can bet your season tickets that Naslund will see some power play time in this game. It's not like anyone else is scoring on the damn power play lately that can or will logically replace him. P.S. Pre-game
About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]