Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the OC Register,
No Vancouver players were conspicuously absent from the traditional postgame handshake line. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault made a point of congratulating Ducks counterpart Randy Carlyle and his staff. Vancouver general manager Dave Nonis went to Carlyle’s office after the game to commend Ducks coaches and management.
“I expected nothing less from Dave Nonis and Alain Vigneault,” said Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who formerly held the same position with the Canucks….
“We got beat by a better team. It’s as simple as that,” Vigneault said. “The games were tight, but overall they had more speed. They were better than we were.”
from the LA Times,
And because Luongo took a chance and allowed his focus to falter, he was in the losing locker room.
“After the hit, I thought it was an elbow and I looked at the ref for a split second,” said Luongo, who had never advanced to the playoffs in his previous six NHL seasons.
“When I turned my head, the puck was coming and I couldn’t stop it. It was a mistake that I made there and it cost us the game.”
His teammates recoiled at the thought that Luongo would assume blame for a loss that they were so sure would be averted.
more (reg. req.)
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
This being professional sport, the best team doesn’t necessarily always win, but this time, it surely did. Vancouver had no answer for Pronger, for Ryan Getzlaf, for Corey Perry. The Canucks didn’t have an answer for Travis Moen. And when the best player on the ice from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, was Sami Pahlsson and the three runners-up all played for your team, well, that’s not exactly a recipe for success.
That it stayed as close as it did for as long as it did had everything to do with Luongo’s will. That bend-but-don’t break philosophy served the Canucks so well after Christmas, when they went on their second-half run to put away all the Northwest Division challengers and made them a legitimate Stanley Cup dark horse.
Jim Hughson has been doing play-by-play duty for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada in these playoffs, to great acclaim by hockey fans everywhere. He’s currently covering the Anaheim Ducks / Vancouver Canucks series and was good enough to speak to Paul and myself immediately after the pre-game skate today, from sunny Anaheim.
You can download the audio file here, or play it on the video player below.
from the Vancouver Sun,
This Canuck team was not constructed by general manager Dave Nonis and coach Alain Vigneault to win a Stanley Cup. Yet. A year from now, two years, maybe. Were there enough truth serum to go around, few people in the Canuck organization expected when the season began to be even this far—four games into the second round, down 3-1 against a Ducks team picked by many to win everything
But Vigneault and Luongo raised the bar, so here we are. Now, the bar looks hopelessly out of reach.
Needing a win tonight to prolong their season, the Canucks have no goaltending or special-teams advantage. And the Sedins are being badly outplayed by their checking-centre neighbour from Sweden, Samuel Pahlsson, the best player you never heard of until this series.
from Mark Whicker of the OC Register,
But Brian Burke says that you should save some of your applause for Linden tonight. If not for him, Burke says, NHL players might still be working in Omsk and Hamburg and Zurich.
Because Linden was the president of the Players Association in 2005 and looked for solutions instead of scorched earth, a projected two-year lockout ended after one year. Obscured as it might be by 24-hour poker, the league is laboriously coming back.
“Without him we might still be out,” said Burke, the Ducks general manager who was Vancouver’s assistant GM when Linden signed, and was Vancouver’s GM when Linden returned in ‘02.
“He got a small group of players and management together and kept trying to get something done. He showed a lot of leadership.”
from the Hockey News,
What’s that sound you ask? That’s the din of the Canucks playoff hopes blowing up exactly one second after Travis Moen smacked a rebound past Roberto Luongo early in OT to give the Ducks a death-grip on this conference semifinal.
But why was that pop so loud? Well, that’s because a whole lot of air had been pumped into Vancouver’s Cup dreams in first 54 minutes and 18 seconds of this contest.
read on and Sabres/Rangers talk too…
from the OC Register,
Game 4 is tonight at GM Place, and the Canucks are not about to back down.
“The main thing is what we believe in this locker room,” Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo said. “There’s going to be speculation outside the locker room, but the most important thing is we believe in our group and we believe we can get the job done. We’ve proven that we can play with these guys. Apart from the first game, they’ve been all tight games. We’re just going to keep plugging away.”
While many in the media, particularly those from Vancouver, might have been guilty of writing off the Canucks after the first game of the series, the Ducks certainly did not fall into that category.
from the Vancouver Sun,
Make no mistake: the twins earned this pressure by breaking out as headliners this season, leapfrogging Naslund and his many assorted linemates, and they say they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We waited a long time to get this kind of pressure on us,” Henrik said Monday. “We want to be out there on big power plays, we like that. It’s not like we don’t want to be out there. We want to make a difference. And we know we have to do better.”
from the Vancouver Province,
For the Canucks, possibly the most dismaying part of being down 2-1 in their series with Anaheim is that the Ducks have taken the lead while their two biggest defensive stars have been, well, average.
There hasn’t been much in the way of magic, dominance or impact—as of yet—from Chris Pronger and/or Scott Niedermayer, the best defensive pairing since Mean Joe Greene and Jack Lambert….
Part of the reason the Ducks have so easily weathered any mini-slump by their defensive superstars is the fact that—as Yoda once put it—there is another.
Enter Francois Beauchemin, who has all the skills and none of the hype. He is the George Harrison to his Paul McCartney-and John Lennon-like teammates.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org