Kukla's Korner Hockey
Mikael Samuelsson, his second of the game, with the game winner.
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
We are a hockey nation. Except in June.
Makes you wonder if Ron Wilson, then coaching the San Jose Sharks, was on to something a few years back when he argued Canadian teams can’t win the Stanley Cup because the pressure, scrutiny and expectations they face at home — not just at the rink, but the grocery store and everywhere else — is lethal.
The Canucks must contend with more than the Kings.
“I can’t wait to see the towels going and the excitement in the building and the buzz in the city,” defenceman Shane O’Brien said. “The first time, it can play into your nerves a little bit.
“I got asked today about my first playoff game. It was my rookie year with Tampa [in 2007]. But I was way more nervous for Game 1 last year against St. Louis because you could feel the electricity, feel the excitement. I think it can affect you.”
But Canuck coach Alain Vigneault believes the idea that it’s harder for Canadian teams to win is nonsense.
from Kevin Dupont at NBC Sports,
Before the 2009-’10 NHL season began I picked the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup. Well, I’m not turning back now. ‘Nucks all the way, baby.
I see it clearly: first Cup in the franchise’s history. Old Canuckleheads Harold Snepsts and Tiger Williams tag team Roberto Luongo amid the wild on-ice celebration at GM place, wrest the Cup away from the stunned team captain and disappear with it into Gastown before Henrik Sedin gets a chance to hoist it above his head….
Let’s look at some of the other top Cup contenders and why they won’t measure up to the distant sons of King Richard Brodeur:
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.
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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