Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
This season’s Canucks don’t exactly register as an offensive juggernaut but, before Sunday’s games, they ranked second in the Western Conference with 69 goals.
How has this happened? The Canucks lineup is thinner than a super model. The power play is inconsistent. There isn’t a legitimate scoring threat on the back end. But there are the Sedins and their work through the first two months of this season is as impressive as anything they’ve done in their 15 seasons as Canucks.
Think about it. The Canucks have turned over almost half their lineup from last season. On most nights, they’re playing 20-year-old Bo Horvat as their second-line centre, 19-year-old Jared McCann as their third-line centre, 19-year-old Jake Virtanen on the wing and rookie defenceman Ben Hutton. Aside from the twins and linemate Jannik Hansen, there are two other Canucks forwards in double digits in scoring, Radim Vrbata, who’s also minus-11, and Alex Burrows.
Yet, they manage to cling to respectability largely because the Sedins have packed this team on their backs. This, we remind you, was supposed to be the season when their age started to show; when they’d start their slide toward irrelevancy, and this remains the best part of this story.
“What happened was that we came out and played with half speed, half intensity, made hope plays, just threw the puck to them. We weren’t really willing to work and play honest and try to create. Mentally we were not sharp. Things that we draw up on the board and talk about, then we come out and we’re not ready.
“The intensity part is the main thing, because when that’s not there everything else is following suit.”
-Mike Yeo, head coach of the Minnesota Wild after a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. More on the game from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants.
Watch the game highlights below...
“We have got good veteran leadership and they hold other players in the room accountable. I feel comfortable with everything, but I also know we are going to have to be a little bit better because it’s going to be a tight race in our division all year. We are going to have to start winning games to stay in the race.”
-Jim Benning, GM of the Vancouver Canucks. More from Brad Ziemer at the National Post.
The Canucks lost to the Jets 4-1 last night, with Winnipeg scoring to late goals to make the game seam more lopsided than it was.
from Jason Botchord of the Vancouver Province,
Willie believes a string of losing close games like this could be beneficial for the young players, not bad.
“This is the kind of scenario you want to bring your young guys on,” Willie said.
“Every shift, they have to play well. If they don’t, it’s not good enough.”
“Every guy has to do that. That’s how you develop players.”
“You don’t develop them when it’s easy going and it doesn’t matter.
“They’re being developed in a tough environment. It’s good for them.
“They’ve had some hiccups but overall, they’ve been pretty good.”
more on the game last night...
from Dave Hodge of TSN,
If it's true that a one-goal loss hurts more than a blowout loss, the Vancouver Canucks definitely feel worse than any other NHL team for all the one-goal losses they've suffered.
Incredibly, 11 of their 12 defeats have been by a single goal, and the other loss would have been by that same narrowest of margins had a goal in the closing seconds of a 4-2 loss to Toronto not been declared offside by an inconsequential video review.
But let's think more about how tough these one-goal defeats actually are to swallow, because six of them have come in overtime, which means that those games have produced six of Vancouver's 20 points in the standings. And that's good enough for a second place tie in the Pacific Division.
On the other hand, there's the problem of an 0-6 record in overtime. Some thought the 3-on-3 format would be made to order for the slick-passing Sedins.
continue for a bit more plus a "thumbs down" to NHL linesmen...
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
... if anyone really has a right to hate 3-on-3 during the early season, though, it’s Canucks coach Willie Desjardins.
Armed with weapons Henrik and Daniel Sedin, the Canucks are inexplicably 0-6 in the extra session this season, the worst overtime record in the NHL. No other team has lost more than three times in OT.
Vancouver squandered a 3-0 lead on Monday night in Montreal, before David Desharnais blasted a one-timer by Jacob Markstrom for the overtime winner.
It’s only mid-November, but the Canucks are slipping. They’ve registered just four wins (4-6-5) in their last 15 games after starting 3-0-1 out of the gate.
Getting through regulation tied in five of the last 15 games has kept the Canucks in the Western Conference playoff picture.
But the six points the Canucks have already let slide in overtime could loom large in April. Just ask last year’s Kings, Bruins or Panthers: all three teams would’ve qualified for the playoffs with even marginally better overtime marks.
“I don’t know what this league’s turning into.
“He had a distinct kicking motion? Going backwards?
“I don’t know. They changed the rules so you can direct it with your skate as long as you don’t kick.
“He’s moving his skate backwards.”
-Ryan Miller of the Vancouver Canucks on the no goal call agains Jannik Hansen. More on the Canucks from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province.
Watch the play below...
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
They haven’t played well defensively, have been atrocious on special teams and look like they can be physically bullied without injured bangers Brandon Prust and Luca Sbisa.
Except for rookie Ben Hutton, their entire defence is struggling. Chris Tanev, at least, is playing hurt. But veterans Alex Edler and Dan Hamhuis have been erratic, and Yannick Weber, kept in the lineup by Sbisa’s foot injury, hasn’t looked like an everyday NHL defenceman.
The Canuck power play is 0-for-11 on the trip and hasn’t scored in five games, and has surrendered a short-handed goal in consecutive games — matching in two nights the number of short-handed goals Vancouver yielded all of last season.
But the most confusing statistic is the NHL standings, which shows the Canucks somehow leading the Pacific Division at 7-4-5. They have six regulation or overtime wins in 17 games but lead their division. It’s difficult to know what to make of them.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Right wing Jordin Tootoo said Vancouver Canucks left wing Alexandre Burrows made some “unacceptable” remarks about him and his family when they were in the penalty boxes in the first period of the Devils' 4-3 overtime win tonight at Prudential Center. Tootoo's anger over those remarks led to him challenging Burrows to fight and eventually dropping the gloves with Derek Dorsett in the second period.
Tootoo was serving a holding minor at 11:06 of the first when Burrows and Travis Zajac received coincidental roughing minors following a scrum near the benches at 12:42.
That was when Tootoo said Burrows crossed the line.
“Burrows when we were in the penalty box, he said some personal remarks regarding my family and it's just unacceptable,” Tootoo said. “The penalty box guys even rolled their eyes like. 'Is this guy really saying this (expletive)?' I don't have any respect for him. I don't need an apology for him or nothing. It's just classless. We're all professionals and everyone fights a fight no one knows about and when you dive into personal issues, it's just classless. To me, that's cowardly.”
Larsson received a major for interference and a ten minute misconduct.
via Rich Chere of NJ.com,
"That's something that happens in the game in the heat of battle and the refs have to do their job. For our team and for Lars I was just trying to get a clear-cut explanation on why the reaction was so severe," Hynes explained after the Devils' 4-3 overtime win.
"It's a difficult play for referees to call in motion, but our perception was that it was a fair play."
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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