Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
For three games over a 10-day span, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith sat at the end of the bench as a spectator to the action.
And in his first start since Dec. 11, it didn't take long before Smith was back in what's becoming his regular perch.
Smith's return Monday barely lasted a period as he was beaten for four goals on 11 shots by the Canucks and chased after 21:41 en route to a 7-1 loss in front of 18,794 at Rogers Arena....
It was the second time in his last three starts Smith's been unable to finish the game. After being on the hook for five against the Predators in his previous appearance, Smith has now given up 17 goals in his past five games. Since back-to-back wins in early November, Smith has gone 1-9-2.
The natural order of the Western Conference begins to reassert itself, after the unlikeliness of Vancouver and Calgary in the early going. The likes of Chicago and San Jose surge, and Vancouver and Calgary regress to what consensus figured them for in the early autumn: the Canucks a fringe playoff team, and the Flames a Connor McDavid contender.
There remains, of course, a lot of hockey to play. But it does not look good for Western Canada’s hockey teams, the Oilers obviously, the Canucks on the edge and the Flames cratering. Like an errant pass, bouncing all the way back into your own empty net. Wideman was frank Saturday night: “It’s kind of the way things are going right now.”
-David Ebner of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on the Canucks and Flames.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
How do you analyze this one?
Six minutes in to Saturday night’s statement game against the New York Rangers, the Vancouver Canucks were down 3-0, had surrendered 18 odd-man rushes and generally looked to be in the middle of a nervous breakdown.
The shakeup to the lines, occasioned by three straight substandard starts on the road, had only succeeded in causing mass confusion and panic. And that was on the ice and in the stands.
Sadly, it wouldn’t get any better over the next two and a half hours.
So, faced with this horrific display, the faithful have two choices. Either they believe this is really the Canucks, in which case they’ll start screaming and might not stop until April. Or they believe this is just one of those spells every NHL team confronts during the season and the real Canucks are the team of October and November.
That, at least, would be the more comforting option. But there was something about the Canucks’ performance in their 5-1 loss to the Rangers and Alain Vigneault that’s not so easily dismissed.
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
After being levelled by a Stephane Robidas elbow to his chin Saturday in Toronto — and struggling to regain his balance and leaving in the second period to be evaluated in the league-mandated quiet room — the Vancouver Canucks winger is trying to regain his stability. And he’s trying to wrap his head around the NHL’s decision not suspend the Maple Leafs defenceman, who only received an elbowing penalty.
Matthias was also levelled by a Mike Ribeiro cornerboards hit to the head on Nov. 2 at Rogers Arena, a crushing left arm shot that sent him to the ice and he struggled to regain his balance. The Nashville Predators forward was assessed a minor penalty for a hit to the head. That’s it. Two crushing blows. Not one suspension.
Alex Burrows was suspended three games after a late hit to the head of Montreal Canadiens defenceman Alexei Emelin on Oct. 30, even though there was no penalty on the play.
“If we say anything we’re looked upon as complainers,” said Matthias. “I don’t know why that is. I was always taught to get up when you might be hurt. I had may parents in the stands (Toronto) and I’m not going to lay on the ice — I’m going to try and do my best to get up and get to the room. On both hits I got up right away and didn’t say anything to the media after. We were respectful and didn’t say anything out of context, and I don’t know why that would be the case. They were blatant hits to my head and there was no call (suspension). Nothing.
more and you can review both hits below..
Derek Dorsett had some strong words about his altercation with Chris Neil on Sunday, saying that the Ottawa forward’s behaviour lacked class and is proof of just how ‘stupid’ he is.
Tough no-call and I probably agree with it. Bo Horvat did have the puck so no interference for me.
Johan Franzen's skate caught the face of Alex Burrows who did return to the bench after going for repairs.
Mark Donnelly with a version of "Danny Boy" in remembrance of Pat Quinn.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Some people keep waiting for the bottom to fall out on the Vancouver Canucks, and and it certainly hasn't been pretty every single night this season. However, Sunday night's full-value, 4-1 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks improved Vancouver's record to 14-6-1.
This was a team rival GMs pointed to most during my preseason conversations as a potential surprise. The new Trevor Linden-Jim Benning-Willie Desjardins regime has not disappointed, that is for sure. An important theme from the outset has been whether they could get enough secondary scoring to contend for a playoff spot.
Jannik Hanen's hat trick Sunday night was yet another example of that kind of secondary scoring the Canucks have got so far this season. If that continues, the Canucks should be playoff-bound.
read on for Burnside on Tikhonov for the HHOF, Custance on the Rangers and Strang on the Blues...
No update on the extent of the injury and it will be tough on the Canucks if Hamuis is lost for a lengthy period.
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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