Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
The Vancouver Canucks will be playing for nothing tonight in their NHL regular-season finale against the Calgary Flames, but that does not mean that the game is without intrigue.
The game could represent a final curtain call for three players who have come to symbolize Canucks hockey over the past two decades.
Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison, Trevor Linden. Respectively, the captain, the local hero, and the face of the franchise.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
Both clubs will now have a longer than expected off-season to address the problem areas that led to their decline in 2007-08.
For the Sabres, last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners and a two-time Eastern Conference finalist, the fall from grace was significant.
The loss of Daniel Briere and Chris Drury last summer to unrestricted free agency hurt the Sabres, leaving a gaping hole of veteran leadership and skill that they were unable to fill….
As for the Canucks, the lack of offensive production that got them bounced in the second round of late year’s playoffs cost them a playoff berth this season. Yes, injuries did take their toll on the Canucks but despite that, for most of this season they held onto a playoff berth before collapsing down the stretch.
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
What, Vancouver has to win to get in? That is so unfair. And, by the look of it, impossible.
With their season on the line, the Canucks went 1-6 in the seven games that mattered most. In the final of these, Thursday, the Canucks eliminated themselves from the playoffs by losing 2-1 to the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers were freshly eliminated from the playoffs and missing their No. 1 goalie, top defenceman and five forwards, including the two top scorers.
from the CP via Yahoo,
“You can’t expect guys to be jumping out of their boots here because we need help,” coach Alain Vigneault said when asked about the mood in the dressing room after the Cancks no longer controlled their playoff destiny.
“That being said, we need to help ourselves.”
Helping themselves means winning at home Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers and Saturday in the regular-season finale against the Calgary Flames.
Otherwise they’re out of the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
The Canucks, a defensive team that makes its hay protecting leads, permitted four unanswered goals, including two in rapid-fire succession during the second period, in what was a devastating blow to their now fledgling hopes of making the Stanley Cup playoffs. Vancouver has lost five of its last six games, and six straight to the Avalanche, and is on the verge of a monumental late-season collapse.
“We put ourselves in this position and we have to do whatever we can to get back,” captain Markus Naslund said. “I don’t think it was a problem with the effort. It was more the mistakes, giving them odd-man rushes.”
from the Vancouver Sun,
They need three victories to ensure a Stanley Cup playoff spot, starting with tonight’s home date against the Colorado Avalanche. They can get by on two victories if pursuing Nashville and Edmonton accommodate them by losing one more apiece. In any case, reputations (and jobs) are at stake for everyone in the organization.
Will they be winners? Or will they be losers?
“We know if we don’t go deep in the playoffs, people are going to look at us that we’re not playoff performers,” Henrik Sedin conceded Monday. “The regular season is so tough to get into the playoffs. To be there shows that the team is good and that you personally have had a good season, too.
“It’s something to be proud of, to make the playoffs, because it doesn’t happen every year.”
from the CP,
Vancouver holds a slim one-point lead over the Nashville Predators in the race for the final playoff spot in the NHL’s tight Western Conference. Both teams enter the final week of the regular season with three games remaining.
The Canucks can assure themselves a spot in the playoffs by winning their final games, all of which will be played at GM Place.
“We have to be confident,” said forward Daniel Sedin, one of a handful of Canucks who practised Monday. “We have to look forward to the last three games, play them like playoff games. If we do that we’ll be fine.”
But instead of focusing on who is chasing them, the Canucks still have visions of overtaking the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche, teams that are ahead of them in the standings.
“It’s funny how one point makes a difference,” said forward Ryan Shannon. “We’re in the playoffs right now.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Management’s job is to find players with the skill to shoot the puck into the net, and the coach’s job is to meld the people he’s given into a functioning team. It’s nice if the goal scorers happen to rush around, crunch people and fight as well—so much the better.
Everyone is after players who can do all these things. But players who don’t do all these things still often have value whether they fit a certain coach’s ideal mould or not, and they need to be treated with just as much respect as the guy who’s running around doing his thing.
KK member PuckHound 61 in the KK Forum gives us a Luongo update,
Gabriella, 7 pounds 6 ounces according to TEAM 1040 in Vancouver.
And Luongo is in Minneapolis for tonights game and will start for the Canucks.
Todd Bertuzzi has filed a lawsuit against former Vancouver Canucks coach Marc Crawford, alleging his negligence contributed to Bertuzzi’s infamous sucker punch on ex-Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore in March 2004, according to court documents obtained by CBC News.
thanks to the numerous folks for the pointer…
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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