Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Flames Insider,
Yes, the Flames deserved far better. No question, Calgary should’ve walked out of GM Place on Tuesday with the Northwest Division pennant tucked safely in their back pocket.
But, chill. All is not lost. Quite the contrary.
Roberto Luongo was sensational. Give the man his due. But give the vanquished theirs, too. That was the finest game Mike Keenan’s backtracking battalion has played since trashing the Flyers 5-1 in Philly on March 5.
And for those Sea of Red zealots in full angst mode, bemoaning the criminal unjustness of the Vancouver netminder’s scene-stealing performance - take a deep breath and a small cup of perspective. How many times has Miikka Kiprusoff left other teams cursing in exactly the same way over the years? Hey, it can happen to YOU, too, you know.
In point of fact, outside of that absolutely impotent (now 0-for-37) powerplay, there wasn’t much to quibble about.
continued and watch video highlights of the game below…
from Bruce Dowbiggin at the Calgary Herald,
To the consternation of Vancouver management and fans, their best player simply hasn’t stepped up as advertised. Luongo’s erratic play largely escaped criticism while the Canucks’ forwards and defenceman were red-hot in their 20-5-1 streak. The whiffs and bobbles were written off to rust from the extended six-week stay Luongo spent on the injury list. Give ‘im time, they said.
Well, time has passed, but with the club slumping to three straight losses as they head into tonight’s showdown with Calgary at GM Place, followers of the Canucks are coming to the uncomfortable conclusion that Vancouver may have to win in spite of their highly paid goalie. Holy Stan Smyl, could it happen at a worse time for fans of the Orcas? (Or a better time for Flames’ fans?)
Radio talk shows in this city are buzzing with complaints about their one-time hero. Luongo is being roasted for not committing to the Canucks past the end of his contract in 2010 and getting too big for his hockey britches for taking the captaincy. A loss against the Flames and he’ll likely be pilloried for starting the subprime mortgage mess.
The Vancouver Canucks talk about the tragic death of Taylor Pyatt’s fiancee, Carly Bragnalo.
The Vancouver Province has details of the accident.
from Bruce Constantineau of the Vancouver Sun,
When the Vancouver Canucks clinched a coveted playoff spot this week, they assured themselves of at least two home playoff dates and a seven-figure boost to the team’s bottom line.
At a time when the global recession has forced some NHL teams to cut ticket prices and absorb millions of dollars of losses, the Canucks suddenly hear that joyful sound of money….
A 200-per-cent ticket-price increase would generate more than $3.4 million in revenues for each Stanley Cup final home game in Vancouver — a whopping $2.3-million boost over regular season games. Ka-Ching!
The profit numbers don’t even include other income sources that would kick in on a long playoff run — like corporate advertising and sponsorship deals and merchandise sales that will surely skyrocket in this NHL-championship-starved market.
from Ben Kuzma of The White Towel at the Vancouver Province,
The full-moon phase in the Vancouver sky is still a week away.
It only seemed like it arrived early Thursday because there were too many weird occurrences on full display at GM Place.
Long before Corey Perry scored in the shootout to provide the Anaheim Ducks with a 6-5 shootout win over the Canucks to end Vancouver’s franchise record home-ice win streak at 11 games — a result that still clinched a playoff spot and allowed the locals to retain a share of the Northwest Division lead — there was wackiness.
Good goals. Bad goals. Hard hits. Soft coverage. Three fights. Two great Daniel Sedin scoring chances in overtime. And, oh yeah, one big fish.
continued and watch the game hightlights below…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
...You might question the overall mobility of Vancouver’s blue-line corps, but certainly not its depth. When you have a talented player such as Kevin Bieksa slotted in recent games as your fifth defenseman behind the Willie Mitchell-Sami Salo and Mattias Ohlund-Alexander Edler pairings, you know it’s a decent group.
Outstanding in goal, solid on defense and now balanced offensively up front. Anyone like this team’s odds?
“Once you’re in the playoffs, I think anything is possible for any team that’s in there,” Vigneault said. “It’s a matter of getting on a roll at the right time and getting your players to believe in themselves.
“Right now, our guys are feeling pretty good about their game and pretty good about their teammates.”
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The Vancouver Canucks have done a great job down the stretch reeling in the Calgary Flames in the battle for the Northwest Division title. The biggest reason why may be the play of a pair of youngsters.
You can colour me surprised because if you had told me at the beginning of the season that Alexandre Burrows and Ryan Kesler would be the top two players on the Vancouver Canucks, I would have said ‘I don’t think so.’ Valuable guys yes, but most valuable? Well that’s exactly what they are.
via Chris Kuc of Icing at the Chicago Tribune,
During the melee, Vancouver’s Alex Burrows and the Hawks’ Duncan Keith got tangled and Burrows yanked Keith to the ice by his hair and continued pulling on the defenseman’s mane as they wrestled on the ice.
“That’s not something I’ve ever had happen to me,” Keith said. “My little sister never even pulled my hair when I was a kid. It’s kind of comical when you have a grown man trying to pull your hair on the ice.”
“I don’t know what the ruling is,” Keith said. “I don’t know if the league reviews that or not. It’s pretty blatant he was pulling my hair.”
The pulling of hair is prohibited and normally would draw a match penalty. However, none of the officials on the ice saw it as they were tending to ther other fights on the ice.
“I think it’s silly,” Hawks forward Adam Burish said. “There’s no spot for that. I think that’s stupid the way he was pulling [Keith’s] hair. Especially a nice haircut like Duncan has. I didn’t see it at the time [but] I’m sure I would have been more mad than I was already.”
The video of the whole incident was posted on KK early today if you missed it.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles and the Chicago Daily-Herald,
After what happened Sunday night at the United Center, you’ve got to wonder if it would be better for the Hawks to face Calgary in the first round of the playoffs than Vancouver.
The Canucks can be a physical, nasty team with a more complete defense than Calgary, a more intimidating goalie in Roberto Luongo and a more dangerous top line with the Sedins and Alex Burrows.
Then. the fights broke out.
Canucks went on to shutout the Blackhawks 4-0.
You can checkout the boxscore at TSN for all the penalties.
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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