Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province, T
heir best player and the guy they need to be consistently in the zone in the post-season had a meltdown here against the NHL’s worst team and admits he is searching for answers to his on-again, off-again play.
Franchise goalie Roberto Luongo allowed three goals of varying degrees of questionability in the Oilers’ first 10 shots as Edmonton took a 3-2 win on Tuesday.
“I made some good saves, but unfortunately all three of those goals I should have had,” said an emotional Luongo following a game where there was speculation he may be pulled for the eighth time this season.
“I’ve got to find the consistency in my game. Before, I might have a bad game every 10 or 12 games, now it’s every two or three games I’m getting one where I’m not at my best. I’ve got to get that consistency level back and game in and game out I have that swagger that you have to have.”
more on the loss to Edmonton…
“I’m just happy we found something right for both myself and the team. Obviously, we have most of our core guys signed, and signed for long, and it’s something we’re excited about in the room. I believe in those guys, I think we believe in ourselves, and in bringing the Stanley Cup here this year — we don’t want to wait. Now is our time.
“That’s the goal. It’s our goal, to win a Cup for the fans. They’ve been waiting long enough.”
-Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks. More on Kesler from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun.
Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that forward Ryan Kesler has agreed to terms on a six-year contract extension through the 2015-2016 season.
“Today is an exciting day for the Canucks organization,” said Mike Gillis. “Ryan Kesler has excelled as a two-way player and in his role as an alternate captain. Ryan has showcased his ability to perform under extreme pressure and we are looking forward to continuing to see Ryan develop into one of the League’s premier players.”
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
It has become an article of faith around the Canucks that Luongo is the team’s best player, its most indispensable player and its unquestioned leader. Since about the time he was named captain two years ago, in fact, a cult of Lui has taken root within the locker room and it seems to question the goalie is to question something inviolate within the Canucks.
Why is this?
The Canucks are the only team in the league which treats their goalie in such an exalted manner. Others — Marty Brodeur, Ryan Miller, Miikka Kiprusoff — are just as important to their teams. Others have recorded comparable or superior numbers. But the Canucks are the only team who chose to make their goalie the captain.
Luongo, moreover, is the only goalie of the post-expansion era to be so named, and that’s interesting because he’s never won a Vezina or taken his team past the second round of the playoffs. So why has this aura developed around him?
from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun,
When he got yanked after the second period of Tuesday night’s game against the New York Islanders, it marked the seventh time this season—and fourth time in his last 13 starts—that Luongo has been pulled from a game….
On Wednesday, Luongo blamed it on what he said is a more offensive style of play being employed by the Canucks this season.
“We are playing a different brand of hockey this year and it’s been more offensive,” said Luongo, who only got the hook twice last season. “We are not as conservative as we used to be.”
Vigneault took issue with that and said it is his team’s propensity for surrendering early leads to its opponents that is the real culprit.
“I think maybe what has happened, especially during this (recent) road trip, when you give up early goals you have to press, you have to try and make the ground up,” he said.
via the Vancouver Canucks Twitter,
Mikael (Samuelsson) will likely be out 2-3 weeks with an ‘upper body’ injury.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
A career season, and making good on a giant middle finger.
For Mikael Samuelsson, life doesn’t get better than this.
The Vancouver Canucks forward is skating with countrymen Daniel and Henrik Sedin on the NHL team’s top line and showing Sweden’s hockey establishment what it was missing at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Samuelsson was perhaps the most glaring Olympic snub – in his home city, no less – yet has responded with 20 of his career-high 30 goals since being bypassed for the likes of Mattias Weinhandl and Fredrik Modin when Sweden’s team was selected in late December.
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
The boys are back in town and going through their checklist.
Kiss wife, pat dog, change diapers, throw dirty underwear in laundry, fall asleep on couch, wake up, stretch arms and say: “Well, as far as 14-game road trips go, that was one of the better ones.”
Or maybe it will be the only one. In any case, the Vancouver Canucks emerged from six weeks on the road broken up by that Olympic thing sitting atop the Northwest Division and with a playoff spot almost secured.
The Canucks did some interesting work on the 8-5-1 odyssey. Most notably, they began it by coming back from three goals down in the Centre of the Universe to shock the Maple Leafs 5-3 on national TV, outscoring Brian Burke’s Buds 4-0 in the final period.
They also came back to win after being down two goals in Boston, Columbus and Columbus again.
from the CP at TSN,
Ryan Kesler has been on quite a roll of late.
At the recent Olympics, he scored in the men’s hockey final and emerged with a silver medal as part of an impressive young U.S. team. Since returning to the Vancouver Canucks, he has three goals in four games—with two of those goals coming in Detroit near where he grew up in Livonia.
And now the 25-year-old can celebrate being the cover athlete for the NHL 2K11 video game, following in the footsteps of Alexander Ovechkin, Rick Nash, Jason Spezza, Joe Thornton, Marty Turco, Martin St. Louis, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Drury and Brendan Shanahan.
Kesler calls it the “icing on the cake” after his Olympic experience.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
• Luongo is 3-4, with a 3.70 GAA and an .883 save percentage.
• Andrew Raycroft is 3-1, with a 2.20 GAA and a .915 save percentage.
• Luongo asked to have the night off in Ottawa, citing mental fatigue.
• Luongo has been hooked three times in his past eight games. It only happened twice all of last season.
There’s enough here to at least hint the Winter Games may have been a distraction. The last time Luongo was hooked three times in eight games was the end of the 2007-08 season when the Canucks won only one of their final eight. Months later, Luongo acknowledged he was distracted down the stretch, a key issue being his wife Gina’s “delicate pregnancy.”
Luongo dismissed the notion Saturday.
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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.
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