Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
If the Vancouver Canucks have demonstrated one trait over their 45 years — it is this.
They will never, ever let their following get comfortable with their success. If we'd forgotten about that during their modest run of the last couple of weeks, it came rushing back in one hideous evening against the NHL's worst team.
It wasn't just that the Canucks lost to the Buffalo Sabres. It's that they surrendered six goals (including an empty-netter) to a team that had scored 20 fewer goals than any other NHL team. It's that they gave up two goals, including the game-winner, to Torrey Mitchell, who hadn't scored in 28 games. It's that they were unprofessional and unprepared from the first minute, when Yannick Weber took the game's only penalty — to the last minute, when Eddie Lack served up the insurance goal on a silver platter.
How do you explain this one? You can't, but isn't that always the beauty of the Canucks.
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller will be sidelined four to six weeks while he recovers from a lower-body injury, general manager Jim Benning confirmed to ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun on Wednesday..
Miller left Sunday night's game against the New York Islanders with an apparent leg injury sustained early in the second period of his team's 4-0 victory.
Jim Benning, GM of the Canucks says sprained knee for Miller, 4-6 weeks.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
The storylines continue to change on a daily basis. Is Zack Kassian the new triplet? Is Eddie Lack the new starting goalie? Are they buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?
But amid all the intrigue one thing remains constant for the Vancouver Canucks this season — they’re winning a lot more than they’re losing, and with the finish line now in sight, they still sit in a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Sunday afternoon on Long Island, the Canucks started the game without six players who were in their opening night lineup, then lost goalie Ryan Miller early in the second period and they still bounced the New York Islanders 4-0, who were sitting in second place in the East when the day began.
The offence? Naturally it was led by Kassian — who couldn’t get out of the press box last week and now has three goals in two games while playing with the Sedins — and the unlikely pair of 19-year-old Bo Horvat and Latvian rookie Ronalds Kenins.
The defence? Naturally they were without three of their top four, then lost Luca Sbisa for much of the third period and still blanked the NHL’s second-ranked offence with Miller and Eddie Lack combining for the rare tag-team shutout.
Ryan Miller left tonight's game after suffering a lower-body injury.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
This is Benning's first trade deadline as an NHL GM, although he worked many alongside Peter Chiarelli in Boston and let's not forget how Benning was barely five minutes into being hired last spring when he had to deal with Ryan Kesler's trade request, making a nice deal with Anaheim at the draft last June. So he's already been under the gun.
... the key for Benning is that, while making the playoffs is important this season (the Sedins after all aren't getting any younger) there's also a paramount plan here to re-tool this team on the go. It's a real tough thing to do, to worry about the now and the future at the same time, but that's what Benning was hired to do. It's why, if he's able to get that top-six forward that helps the team not just now but past this season, it's mission accomplished.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
... suddenly with their outstanding five goal performances against two of the teams thought to be solid in the eastern conference in Boston and Pittsburgh and that up-and-down win in Chicago, the fans have not only actually had something to cheer about they’ve had something to hold their attention virtually every shift. The no-hit Canucks have actually been physically engaged for a couple of games in a row, and with a vacation in Minnesota in between, it’s been three of the last four and they even ignored the constant series of calls favouring the trailing team in Friday’s third period officiating example of "game management."
But as well as waking up the patrons and actually having them pay attention, they’ve signalled to the very same people that this may well be a playoff team after all. Perhaps they’ve even shifted the question from "can they make it" to "is there any conceivable way they could win a round?"
On first blush the answer to that last question is pretty easy, but the two wins against Chicago and Boston whereby they forced both teams into uncharacteristic give-aways makes you wonder for just a moment.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Few teams are in as complex a situation as the Vancouver Canucks are heading towards the NHL trade deadline just 20 days away.
Hour by hour, it seems, the Canucks hold on a Western Conference wild card berth seems to be slipping away. Calgary has now passed them. Red-hot Minnesota, which hammered the Canucks Monday night, is just two points back, albeit having played one more game than the Canucks.
Then there’s the reigning champion Los Angeles Kings, three points back with a sense they can’t be declared truly dead until somebody puts a stake in ‘em.
Battered on the back end and suddenly offensively challenged down the middle, the Canucks seem vulnerable indeed as they head into Chicago tonight for a key game at the United Centre against a Blackhawks team that will undoubtedly be revved up after losing on home ice to Arizona two nights ago.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Over the past eight games the Vancouver Canucks have been exactly what many observers thought they would be this season: a decent team, not a great team, one that could challenge for a playoff berth but likely fall short.
The Canucks' loss to red-hot Minnesota Monday night continued a win-one-lose-one pattern that has seen them descend to the very edge of the playoff bubble. Ryan Miller allowed five goals on 18 shots to take the loss and is now 2-5 in his last seven appearances.
Over that period Miller has allowed 21 goals. With the Wild goaltending situation stabilized behind Devan Dubnyk and Jonas Hiller on a tear for the Calgary Flames right now, the Canucks have the kind of team defense and goaltending that seems destined to see them end up just where many thought they would at the start of the season: contemplating the playoffs from the outside looking in.
read on for including LeBrun on the West, Strang on the Flames and Custance on the Sharks...
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Penguins (30-15-6) faced a 2-0 deficit at the time, and the goal would have given them a serious spark. Instead, Shawn Matthias and Zach Kassian scored later in the period to trigger the rout, which wraps up a 2-1 Western Canada trip.
Johnston explained that nothing was called or said on the ice. The only thing he heard or saw was a whistle and a referee with his arms up.
“There was no call made on the ice,” Johnston said. “There was just a wave of the arms. It wasn't a call that was waved off. The play was stopped because the net was off.
“They decided on the ice that it was no goal. Then they waited for Toronto. Toronto couldn't decide. That's the way the ruling went.
“When I watched it again ... boy, it's a goal for sure. I thought that was a key turning point in the game. Would have given us a lot of momentum at that time.”
Watch the no-goal below...
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
The Vancouver Canucks weren’t very good at Rogers Arena Thursday night — but then neither was referee Chris Rooney.
You see, his ‘game management’ wasn’t very good, judging by what NHL referee Tim Peel has been saying when he chats with bloggers on the record.
According to Puck Daddy, Peel says that the NHL evidently tells it’s referees when certain penalties are appropriate and when they’re not. And while we are not privy to these ‘game management’ guidelines or whatever they might be called, we would assume that when the home team is down 2-0 late in the second period having had only two scoring chances in 38 minutes, calling an unsportsmanlike penalty on one of the most sportsmanlike captains in the history of the NHL from afar to put them down two men for a full two minutes wouldn’t be recommended.
What could Henrik Sedin possibly have said to bring about such a severe, game-impacting call? We’ll let your imagination run with it while you consider the ramifications of what Peel really said to Greg Wyshynski in a story that went largely unnoticed around the league. Instead, everyone got all excited about a picture of Peel with Wyshynski hoisting a drink which went viral, something the officials and media have done for years, albeit without the pictures and quotes.
While the NHL referee wasn’t quoted directly in the story other than the ‘game management’ reference, the pretty clear implication from the piece was that there are times in certain games when a penalty should be called, but not in others. You know, flexible rules depending upon who is winning and what the game situation is. No word on whether that ‘management’ stretches as far as which teams are playing but there are certainly no end of fans who might think it does....
“I was surprised he called it,” said Henrik, who indicated he didn’t think he had ever received an unsportsmanlike penalty in a similar situation in the past. “I used the “F” word but I’ve said a lot worse things to a referee than that. As I said, I was surprised.”
Watch the game highlights below...
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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