Kukla's Korner Hockey
via the YouTube channel of the Vancouver Canucks....
Dickson Liong is a young sports writer living with cerebral palsy. Learn about his journey to the NHL as he relentlessly pursued his dream of writing about the Vancouver Canucks and received invaluable advice from Trevor Linden and Pat Quinn along the way.
We’re not going to unload on the officiating here because they weren’t the reason the Canucks lost. No, we’re going to save that for later in the playoffs.
But consider this:
The issue isn’t that there’s a conspiracy against the Canucks or any other team that feels they’ve been jobbed by the zebras. The issue is the calls are so inconsistent, so random, so disconnected that any hockey fan can reasonably look at the games and conclude their team got the shaft.
-Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province where you can read more on the Canucks...
from Dave Hodge of TSN,
Despite a fairly successful season after sweeping changes to the front office and the coaching staff, it is thumbs down to the Vancouver Canucks' less-than-rosy outlook for next season and beyond. Concern begins with their inability to defeat Calgary in the first playoff round. Entering this season, the Flames were not one of the teams that should have concerned Vancouver. Now it may be safe to say the Canucks will have Calgary to worry about, and maybe to chase, for a good long time.
And last night’s loss will leave a mark. No one expects Los Angeles and San Jose to suffer again as they did this season, and I know you've heard this before with other names attached, but Edmonton is on the verge of something big if Connor McDavid and Peter Chiarelli deliver as expected. Anaheim would appear untouchable at the top of the Pacific Division, and Arizona probably remains at the bottom.
Can the Canucks expect to do as they did this season and finish ahead of the Flames, Kings, Sharks and Oilers? Is it possible they will not finish ahead of any of them? You wonder if the Canucks have gone as far as they can go with a lineup that relies on the Sedins to lead them in scoring.
Is Ryan Miller their starting goalie when next season begins? And there are more questions. The Pacific Division wasn't its usual strong self this season. It should look plenty strong when Vancouver contemplates the future.
continue for some praise for Mike Babcock...
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Most everyone is all over Mikael Backlund for his post-Game 5 comments about how there’s no way the Flames will lose to the Vancouver Canucks back in Calgary Saturday night.
In Van they’re outraged because of the arrogance, and in Calgary they’d like to shut him up much the way Vancouverites would have loved to stuff a sock in the mouth of Kevin Bieksa when he was saying Michael Ferland was irrelevant.
Flames fans don’t want Backlund providing any extra motivation than should already exist. So he’s hearing it from everyone now, which is why quotes from hockey players at this time of year generally tend to be even more bland than usual.
But perhaps people are not giving Backlund the credit he deserves. It just might be that he is a hockey historian of some repute and is simply examining the facts, which is to say the road history of the Canucks of late. It is not a pretty picture, and if you take a very close look at it, you might conclude just what Backlund boldly proclaimed.
If history is any kind of guide, there would be no way for Backlund’s Flames to lose Game 6.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Maybe Corsi can win you a game, eventually, if you dominate the possession stats the way the Sedins have over the Flames’ top line for five games.
“I hope so,” Daniel said. “In a long series, if you can make them tired, it’s going to pay off. All you can do is create chances, and sooner or later they’re going to start to go in. That’s the way we look at it, and tonight it paid off.”
We’ve reached that point now, folks. It’s a long series, guaranteed for six games, with a genuine possibility of seven.
Calgary is quicker and heavier up front, and their game plan of pounding, pounding, pounding on the Canucks defencemen is surely paying off. Alex Edler is not the Canucks' best defenceman, which is a battle won for the Flames. He, Luca Sbisa and Kevin Bieksa have been turning pucks over in the face of the Michael Ferland-led Calgary forecheck with growing regularity.
Vancouver’s plan is more IKEA. Possess, possess, possess. Recalling that the Flames have succeeded all season in the face of the Corsi numbers, we are left to ask: Was Game 5 a product of erosion? Did four games of pretty good possession for Vancouver produce a Game 5 that they truly dominated?
Or, was that a one-off by a desperate team on the brink of elimination? Will Calgary’s way beat the Canucks way when we get back to Calgary for a Saturday night Game 6?
from Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald,
The mission is simple.
But getting it done, the outmuscling, outworking, and outscoring of the Vancouver Canucks in Thursday’s Game 5 of the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series, is not as easy as it looks.
“When you play with nothing to lose, it’s sort of a different style,” TJ Brodie was saying before the Calgary Flames jetted off to the west coast on Wednesday afternoon. “You take a few more risks in the game and if they get the bounces, a couple extra chances can be the difference between winning and losing.
“At the same time, it’s momentum … it’s such a big factor in playoffs.”
And with the Calgary Flames in the driver’s seat, ahead 3-1 in the best-of-seven series with two straight victories at home under their belts, you’d think they have the bulk of that momentum, right?
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks, who came into Calgary four days ago with the series tied 1-1 and eager to capitalize on their veteran poise and savvy, demonstrated neither quality as the younger, hungrier, more physical, more talented, more — OK, you get the picture — Flames depantsed Willie Desjardins' team for the second straight game.
The final score was 3-1 which, in a neat bit of symmetry, is also where this series stands.
The Canucks, however, don't find anything neat about their situation.
"This isn't our hockey," said Kevin Bieksa. "We didn't play very good overall and that's disappointing. If you put your best game on the ice and you lose, that's fine. But we can't be very happy with where we are right now.
"It's overall. We're not generating a whole lot. We're not getting a lot of chances. We're not controlling the tempo of the game. We're a lot better team than what we're playing right now."
Game 5 on Thursday night, then, might be a good time to demonstrate that.
Game highlights are below...
During practice earlier today, Burrows was seen grabbing his wrist and asking for help while he skated off.
added 3:40pm, Mark Spector of Sportsnet was on the scene and followed a video report, watch below...
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Following the Calgary Flames’ 4-2 victory in a physical, emotionally charged Game 3, Kevin Bieksa offered this assessment of the Vancouver Canucks.
“We’re a lot smarter team,” said the Canucks defenceman. “We’ve been through a lot of this before.
“It’s not about pushing the other team around. That doesn’t win the series. It’s about executing and making plays and controlling your emotions.”
This, it should be noted, is an excellent plan. It would be even better if the Canucks implemented it for Game 4.
Monday night, the Flames seized control, and the initiative in the opening-round series, by pounding the Canucks into submission with their physical forecheck.
The stratagem not only produced two first-period goals when the Calgarians hemmed in the Canucks for two prolonged stretches, it also seemed to drive the visiting team to distraction.
In the third period, the Canucks handed the Flames four power plays and gift-wrapped the insurance marker on a five-on-three. Willie Desjardins’ team was also lucky to escape a suspension to Alex Burrows, who drew an instigating minor in a late fight with Kris Russell.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Vancouver has all the experience, but in that case they ought to know that the team that wins the physical battles to the extent Calgary won them Sunday almost always wins at playoff hockey.
Bieksa is looking a tad old. Luca Sbisa looks more than a tad scared. And the Vancouver Canucks as a group, well, when the game was in the balance on Sunday night, they simply could not handle the fast, hard-hitting and emotional Flames.
“Combination,” said Bieksa. “They played well, they came hard on the forecheck, but we weren’t as clean. We were a little too spread out. They kept a lot of pucks in on us, we weren’t as clean as last time.”
That’s fair. We’ve seen, over the years, too many playoff series that look to be going one way, turn on a dime. A win here on Tuesday and the Canucks will have reclaimed the momentum heading home.
But that prospect seems a distant dream after Game 3, where the Calgary forecheck was simply too much for Vancouver’s defence to handle.
more including videos of some of the 'physical play'...
Video highlights are below...
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org