Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
These are the ones that get you in the end, the outcomes that keep you up at night and keep you from climbing the conference ladder.
On a night when you expected the Vancouver Canucks to grab the toothless Phoenix Coyotes by the neck, toss them to the ice and stomp the also-rans into submission, they come up with a clunker against the playoff pretenders, who had won just one of their last seven games.
A 5-1 loss on Saturday to end a four-game win streak isn’t the end of the world, but it’s a concerning look into the Canucks’ window of opportunity missed.
“I’m really disappointed,” said Canucks winger Alex Burrows, who foiled Ilya Bryzgalov’s shutout bid by banging home a rebound with 1:45 remaining. “Too many penalties and we couldn’t get any momentum going. We say all the right things before the game, but we can’t sit back and see what’s going to happen.”
...when this happens. Vancouver has the puck while a delayed penalty has been called against Phoenix…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
As for the Sedins, there are differing opinions as to the degree to which they are bound to the Canucks.
Some say they love Vancouver and are determined to sign there. Some say the Aquilini family, which owns the team, despises Burke so much for his involvement in past lawsuits that they will want to be rid of any evidence that he once ran the franchise.
It’s suggested the Sedins are liked by the Vancouver hockey public, but not loved. A weak playoff performance this spring would open the door for their exit.
The likeliest scenario, it would seem, is that the twins only become available to the Leafs if the Canucks wave goodbye first.
Even then it might not happen. The Leafs, you see, are as wary as any team about taking on contractual commitments beyond next season that will put them in a bind if the cap falls.
from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun,
Luongo stopped 30 shots for his sixth shutout of the season and first since early November and Burrows snapped a scoreless tie late in the second as the Canucks won for the 11th straight time on home ice with a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
Canuck coach Alain Vigneault credited the media for the win.
“In my mind I think you guys should be first star,” Vigneault joked after the game. “You pissed him (Luongo) off and look how well he played.”
Luongo was not happy about stories earlier in the week that focused on recent soft goals he had surrendered and his shaky play with the puck outside his crease.
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks can start talking contract extension July 1, and it would be in their best interests to start kicking those tires now and then lock up the restricted free agent long-term. Allowing Kesler to build on this career season when the final year of his deal plays out in 2009-10 would only up the ante because he will also have arbitration rights.
If Kesler is willing to agree to a sensible salary—he’s earning a paltry $1.75 million annually—coupled with long-term security, it will be music to the ears of Canucks GM Mike Gillis. Maybe not so much for Kesler’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.
“It’s important that I don’t talk contracts and important that I fly under the radar,” Overhardt said Wednesday. “Ryan has always had the skill and fortitude. It’s about opportunity and maturing.”
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
After a team gets up two or three goals in this league, there is always a parade to the penalty box on marginal calls in favour of the trailing team. In this case, it was the Colorado Avalanche who were the benefactors.
As soon as the second period began, suddenly the Canucks, who didn’t need to take any penalties, found themselves down and then down two men and the Avalanche were back in the game on a power-play goal.
The Avs were the same struggling team a step behind the play as they were in the first period, but the officiating kept the game close until Vancouver had to play so much defence and worry so much about taking a penalty that they got tentative and Colorado got their legs.
“What I take with me from what happened last year is the fear — I never want to go through something like that again. I use it to motivate. I remember the feelings I had once last season was over. I was devastated. It took me a long, long time to get over it.
“We can’t ever sit back and think it’s over, that we’re in. There’s still 15 games left and a lot can happen. Things change fast. You lose a few games in a row and, before you know it, you’re battling just for that last spot.”
-Roberto Luongo via Jason Botchord of The White Towel at the Vancouver Province.
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Six months after a dinner summit meeting when each side pledged its devotion to the other, Daniel and Henrik Sedin and the Vancouver Canucks seem no closer to agreeing on contract extensions as negotiations are about to be adjourned.
The National Hockey League franchise and its top scorers — or at least their representatives — appear to be inhabiting different worlds economically, and player agent J.P. Barry said Tuesday he’ll soon shut down talks so neither the players nor their team are distracted during the stretch drive and playoffs.
If this happens,the Canucks will have only weeks after the end of the season to re-sign the Sedins or risk losing their best forwards to unrestricted free agency on July 1.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Two nights after the high point of their season, the Canucks played the first three minutes like they were serious about sending a message to the Kings, watched in horror as Roberto Luongo fanned on a balloon from noted goal scorer Denis Gauthier, then spent the next 37 minutes or so looking worse than Mickey Rourke slow dancing with RuPaul.
True, they managed to make things interesting in the third period but if they think what they offered was good enough, they’re delusional. They can talk about brave comebacks and Daniel Sedin’s goalpost until they’re blue in the face.
The real story of this game was their 12 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes. It was the four icings in about a five-minute span in the first period. It was Mats Sundin turning two odd-man rushes for the Canucks into odd-man rushes for the Kings on the same shift. And it was Sundin taking a ridiculous minor in the offensive zone which led to Jarrett Stoll’s game-winning goal.
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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