Kukla's Korner Hockey
Watch as Vancouver Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa delivers a blow to the head of winger Viktor Stalberg from the Nashville Predators.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Just when you start to believe a little more in the Vancouver Canucks after some stretches that impress you, they give you the other side of the coin and do something like lose back-to-back home games to the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars.
Vancouver sits at 91 points and has a tenuous hold on the No. 2 spot in the Pacific Division, followed by Calgary (89 points, winners at Nashville on Sunday), and hard-charging L.A. (88 points).
Winnipeg (90 points) also figures in when it comes to the wild-card race, but we know for a fact two teams from that the Pacific trio of the Canucks, Flames and Kings will end up in the playoffs.
Here's the daunting reality for the Canucks, though: they are heading on the road for a four-game trek through St. Louis, Nashville, Chicago and Winnipeg. Now, the Canucks' 22-12-3 road record suggests they can play well away from home, but the chips are really down now. This trip will make or break their season.
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from Tal Pinchevsky at ESPN,
Midway through a physical 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack was beckoned to center ice by opposing goaltender Jonathan Quick, who had just ignited a skirmish by throwing two right hands at Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. Lack made it only as far as his own red line, offering a sensible explanation after the game.
"I may have a reach [advantage on Quick]," the 6-foot-4 Lack joked. "I think he's a little meaner than me."
It was a classic moment of levity after a big win for the affable Swede. In a season that has seen Lack, 27, emerge as a force in the Vancouver crease, his teammates have used all kinds of words to describe the quirky goaltender. But "mean" definitely isn't one of them.
"He's goofy," Canucks winger Nick Bonino said in describing Lack.
"Easy going, fun loving, always happy," teammate Chris Higgins said. "Almost to a fault sometimes."
"I would say he's one of those interesting goalies," forward Radim Vrbata added.
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
The sight of Ryan Miller out early Tuesday in full equipment and working with goaltending coach Rollie Melanson was certainly encouraging — especially with the stopper going into the butterfly and pushing off to replicate reactions he would normally display in a game. However, it was just one of the obstacles Miller is facing before he’s ready to be battle tested after suffering a knee strain Feb. 22.
I asked former Canucks goaltender and current Sportsnet analyst Corey Hirsch what we should read into Miller skating and working on his movements. He suggested there is the initial testing of that inside knee ligament to see if Miller is enduring any pain and the process can also be a means to strengthen the ailment. If a defenceman or a forward suffers a similar injury, the rehab process can include wearing a brace upon returning to league play. Not goalies. The next step for Miller will be to practise with his club and that won’t occur until the second week of April because it’s doubtful he would travel on the upcoming four-game road trip with just one practice day scheduled.
Everybody has a theory about when Miller might be ready for prime time. The injury was significant because of the position he plays, putting tremendous strain on the knees through contact and groins through stretching and straining to make saves. And contact is going to be a huge issue because there’s going to be a tendency to be tentative and back up initially instead of playing aggressively.
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from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Owing to an obvious flaw in their makeup and a perceived lightness in their loafers, the prevailing wisdom states the Vancouver Canucks are at their most susceptible against the NHL’s quote, heavy teams, unquote.
This was certainly the case last season when the three California teams treated the Canucks the way Mike Tyson treated Michael Spinks but this season, as you may be aware, things have changed for this team — and that’s evident in their record against the NHL’s size teams.
Tuesday night, in their fourth game in six nights, the locals spotted the husky Winnipeg Jets a 2-0 second period lead before roaring back to record a 5-2 win, further solidifying their hold on second place in the Pacific Division. But for the Canucks, that win is also part of a season-long trend in which they’ve held a decided edge over the NHL’s heavyweight division. Against Winnipeg, St. Louis, Boston, Anaheim and, just to prove we aren’t being selective, Los Angeles, their record this season is 9-4-1, including a 1-3 mark against the Kings.
If you don’t find that revealing, you should.
Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have signed defenceman Chris Tanev to a five-year contract extension that will run through the end of the 2020.21 NHL season.
“Chris has developed into an excellent NHL defenceman and is an extremely important part of our team,” said Vancouver Canucks General Manager, Jim Benning. “He’s a player you want on the ice in the most critical points of a game and we’re excited about having him with our group as we continue to play to win today, with an eye to the future.”
Tanev, 25, has recorded 16 points (2-14-16) and 10 penalty minutes in his sixth season with the Canucks. He currently ranks second on the team with a +10 rating, first on the team in shorthanded time on ice per game (2:46) and second in even-strength time on ice per game (17:55). Tanev also leads the team and ranks 13th in the League in blocked shots this season with 153.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
A minor Twitter war broke out Saturday when ESPN’s Bill Simmons posted the following: “The Sedin Twins are the worst. God I love sports-hating the hell out of those guys. And Burrows - you suck too.”
His tweet engendered a predictable response from Vancouver but, after Simmons was invited to perform several unnatural acts with a farm animal of his choosing, someone posed the question: Why does it bother you what he thinks about the Sedins?
Here’s why. Since they came into the league, the Sedins have been subjected to the basest, most ignorant insults and Simmons’ was simply the latest. The full laundry list includes Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin from this year; David Bolland from a few years back; every Bruins’ fan from 2011 and even the late Derek Boogaard, and while it’s hard to know what these imbeciles were thinking, it would appear the twins incurred their wrath because (a) they’re twins and (b) they look different.
Now here’s the infuriating part. This is the same mentality you find on a playground or a classroom where anyone who’s different is ridiculed and/or bullied. Part of Simmons’ persona is being a Richard, so maybe he’s in a different category, but the NHL likes to align itself with concepts like fair play and inclusiveness — and yet it tolerates slurs directed at two players who represent the game’s best qualities because they’re different.
In so doing, they’re sending the message it’s all right to mock or ridicule anyone who’s different: a different ethnicity, a different colour or just different looking. That’s why it bothers me.
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from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
So now the question becomes one of repetition.
Can the Vancouver Canucks duplicate that kind of superb effort — four, five, six or seven times, if necessary — in a potential playoff series against one of the so called ‘heavy’ teams?
To be sure, they walked into Staples Centre and beat the L.A. Kings in a game both teams needed desperatel,y and there were so many outstanding aspects to this tilt from a Vancouver standpoint it’s difficult to list them all and do them justice.
For starters, this gives Vancouver a decent chance to actually make the playoffs, and if and when they do, Eddie Lack will most certainly have had a huge say in this team reaching what has been their team goal all season.
And the best part about that will be how it will ruin the failure scenario likely already being hatched, particularly by media in other markets. It goes like this: “Canucks lose Ryan Miller and miss out on playoffs down the stretch without him.”
While Miller has been very solid this year and there are no complaints about his play whatsoever, the Canucks have had a tremendous goalie in Lack sitting for much of the season, and now he’s showing what he’s all about and certainly questioning the summer strategy of ripping his job away and spending $18 million for three years for a guy to play ahead of him.
Tyler Toffoli was assessed a five minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for crosschecking Alex Burrows from five feet into the boards on a line change.
Watch as Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin collides with Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and Eddie Lack thinks about fighting.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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