Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Gordon McIntyre of the Vancouver Province,
Vancouver Canucks centre Henrik Sedin will become the first Canuck to win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s regular-season scoring champion.
Sedin’s four-point effort on Saturday night against the Calgary Flames, followed by Alexander Ovehckin’s goose egg this morning in the Washington Capitals’ 4-3 shootout loss against Boston, gave the Canuck a 112-109 advantage as the regular season came to an end.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
With perhaps the best team they have ever had entering the NHL playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks completed their season Saturday awaiting an opponent, three teams still very much in the running to face Vancouver.
But the club is always fond of saying they are concerned about their own play and the process by which it is evolving, changing and hopefully improving. It’s that process which you certainly came away from the easy win over Calgary wondering about after great fun was had by all, particularly the Sedin twins.
First and foremost you have to start in goal to examine this team, where Roberto Luongo would appear to be one of the big keys to how far they will be able to travel in the postseason.
Daniel Sedin between the legs.
“We don’t mind facing anyone, but as far as Detroit, the only thing I dislike is having to fly there and having to stay there, to have to spend a couple of days in that city.”
“Hockey-wise, they’re a good team, but they’re very beatable. The last time we were at their building, we won 6-3.
“All the teams in the West are good, and any team you play is a tough challenge. No one is a walk in the park.”
-Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks when asked about playing the Red Wings in the playoffs. More on playing the Wings from Tom Mantzouranis of NHL Fanhouse.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
As bulge-battling defenceman Shane O’Brien attempts to hit his prescribed playing weight, consider that one size does not fit all in the Vancouver Canucks dressing room.
Perennial weight-watcher Kyle Wellwood is up in pounds and production since the 2010 Olympic break. Steve Bernier, 12 pounds trimmer this season, is having his worst NHL campaign. And general manager Mike Gillis’s focus on fitness is still working out the kinks in its second season.
“It’s trial and error for a long time,” said Wellwood, who is up eight pounds since last October, something that would normally indicate trouble if not for an up-tick in his game.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
...there also remains something disturbing about the play of the Canucks’ leaders as they prepare for the playoffs. Other teams — i.e. those who’ve won something — might be able to relax down the stretch without their fans going into a panic.
The Canucks, sadly, just haven’t earned that right.
Prior to Daniel’s goal, for example, the Sedins’ contributions had been uneven. Daniel got a gift when Salo’s shot from the point took a bizarre ricochet off the boards and right to the Canucks winger in the Avs’ crease. But, until the tying goal, they were largely ineffectual. Just prior to Daniel’s game-tying goal, the twins were booed off the ice after a series of turnovers during the man-advantage.
OK, they came back when it counted. But Henrik now has three assists in his last four games while he’s been battling Alex Ovechkin for the NHL scoring lead. The plain fact is Hank is now judged by a different standard — the standard which is applied to the game’s very best. And right now he isn’t measuring up.
from Ben Kuzma of The White Towel,
The Vancouver Canucks received good and bad news Tuesday.
The good news is Christian Ehrhoff is expected to recover from a left knee strain suffered Sunday in time to re-join the Northwest Division champions for the NHL playoffs next week. The bad news is shot-blocking specialist Ryan Johnson will miss four to six weeks after breaking his foot while blocking a shot in the same game against the Minnesota Wild.
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Nearly three months after the hit, Willie Mitchell still has a headache. Now, the Vancouver Canucks have one, too.
Christian Ehrhoff’s sprained knee is a potentially critical blow to the Canucks, who were able to survive the severe concussion suffered by Mitchell on Jan. 16 but are ill-equipped to handle another major injury on their defence. Not with the National Hockey League playoffs starting next Wednesday.
The good news is Ehrhoff did not appear to be limping Monday as he left General Motors Place for further, off-site medical tests, and the initial indications are the knee damage he sustained Sunday night during a puck battle with Colorado’s Andrew Brunette is minor enough for the Canucks’ top blue-liner to be ready for the Stanley Cup tournament.
The bad news is Mitchell, who made one of his periodic check-ins at GM Place later Monday, is nowhere near playing. Mitchell declined to speak on the record about his condition, but is still bothered by headaches and unable to undergo any rigorous exercise.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
It’s hard to say the Wild got the shaft after referees Dennis LaRue and Brad Meier awarded them eight power plays, of which the Wild only scored on the final one, BUT, the Wild got the shaft.
After the Wild shockingly forced overtime on goals by Cody Almond and Antti Miettinen 23 seconds apart in the final 42 seconds of the third period, Alex Burrows, the king embellisher in the NHL, drew a bogus penalty in overtime when he lifted Greg Zanon’s stick into his own face and then shot his head back like he was nailed by a Matt Cooke elbow.
Zanon was called for high-sticking even though Burrows essentially high-sticked himself. It’s clear as day on video.
The refs bit, the Canucks got a 4-on-3 power play and the Canucks won it on Sami Salo’s blast through traffic. So, basically, Burrows—as is his reputation—once again made a pair of refs look bad.
Now, this was not an easy call. In real time, the refs see Zanon’s stick in Burrows’ face, so it’s hard to blame LaRue and Meier. So here’s the solution: Burrows is a known diver, an embellisher and really I’m amazed refs ever give him the benefit of the doubt.
continued and I looked for a video of the play but no luck. Did anyone see it and if so, do you agree with Russo?
added 8:38am, You can watch the game recap at TSN which shows the penalty, although brief.
“I don’t think I have issues. I’m a single guy and I like to go out and have a good time every now and then. Do I need to pick my spots better? Maybe. This time of year definitely. When you go through something like that, you look at yourself in the mirror.
“I need to realize how lucky I am to be in the NHL and the privilege it is and you’ve got to be ready to go every night. Some days, I take that for granted and maybe enjoy myself too much. That’s just me, I guess.”
-Shane O’Brien of the Vancouver Canucks. More from Ben Kuzma of the White Towel a the Vancouver Province.
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.
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