Monday, January 23, 2006

Where have I been?

With all the rain the Missus decide it was time to escape to the tropics with the kids to try and dry off. They’ve been gone a week and a bit and they’ll be back in a week and a bit. With the new domestic duties of care and feeding of myself I’ve had less time to update the Nuck’s game reports.

NJ Devils 3 Canucks 0 – 13-Jan-06

A typical ole time Devils game. The boys just could not get out from under the blanket the Devils threw over them. The key to the game was a late first period power play in which the Nuck’s didn’t score. All three of NJ’s goals were in the third period and on the Power Play. Had the Devils been down one starting the second period maybe they’d have been forced to open up a little and provide us some entertainment.

Islanders 1 Canucks 8 – 14-Jan-06

The game was on Pay Per View so it was a radio affair for me. Radio is not all that bad. John Shorthouse calls a good game. Tom Larscheid, shrill as he is, provides the ultimate homer colour commentary. Larscheid is far more entertainment than the incessant drivel of John Garret. Jim Hussen in my opinion is one of the best but he does go to the well a little to often – “Great Save {insert goalkeepers name here}!” and “The fans call a penalty: the refs don’t.” Roll you eyes now. Shorty is good. However I’m off topic.

The thing about the game with the Islanders was damn why couldn’t they have spread the eight goals out over two nights. A 4-3 win in New Jersey paired with a 4-1 win on the island would have left one feeling a little more satisfied. Bert got a hat trick even if his contribution to the first goal was to have Cooke bounce it in off his butt. As strong a game as Bert had, I felt the Triplets were the stronger line on the night.

One other item of note was Colley of the Islanders ill advised attempt at a momentum swing with his team down 3-0 a little more than half way through the first period. Colley picked Kevin Bieksa as his dance partner. Bieksa obliged by laying a beating on Colley that likely had more than a few sit up and take notice that the ‘Nucks new kid on defence is not one to be lightly taken into a scrap. Any resulting momentum swing was all Canucks.

Penguins 2 Canucks 4 – 16-Jan-06
Or ‘Sid the Kid’ 1 Canucks 4 and Penguins 1

It was interesting to see Sidney Crosby in an NHL game. He certainly has skill and he carried the Pens for the night as I believe he does most games. His goal was on a two man advantage. Sid was under the skin of a few Canucks including Bryan Allen who dumped him on this ass more than a few times. I’d say all in all pretty amazing at 18 years old. What Crosby lacks in Pittsburgh is Dave Semenko. That may be the politically incorrect thing to say in ‘the New NHL’ but it amazed me that the Pittsburgh players never stepped up to defend Crosby. When I played the game, in no way could you ever confuse me as an aggressive player. Put me in that game and I’d have fought a Canuck or two including Allen to protect my marquee player. Perhaps all Crosby’s chirping is also not endearing himself to his team mates. It is one area he might be advised to tone it down a little. Think back to the early eighties when Gretzky and the Oil used to come into the Coliseum. Back then Wayne wasn’t ‘the Great One.’ He was ‘Whiner Wayne.’ So Crosby is like Gretzky was in too many ways. Difference is Wayne had Semenko to keep things calm. Crosby looks like he’s going to have to do it all by himself. Side Note: Notice how Wayne still whines a little too much from behind the Coyotes bench.

Other observations of the game were that given the blow out the prior game with the Islanders it was nice to see the team back it up with a solid and hard effort in a physical game. Steve McCarthy played his best game as a Canuck and had the team’s first goal.

Canucks 4 Sabres 1 – 19-Jan-06

Before we start you do realize that Buffalo is one of the best teams in the east. It is nice to see them have turned their franchise around and I’m happy to welcome them back to the NHL’s first class.

The Canucks returned home from a successful road trip which saw them pick up 4 of 6 points. On the road they out scored the opposition 2 to 1 (12-6). Again, too bad some of those goals could not have come in New Jersey. The Sabres and the Nuck’s played a pretty much ‘cat n mouse’ game through the first 40 minutes and entered the third period tied 1-1. Alex Burrows opened the scoring with his second of the year on a huge individual effort after Kesler set him free and short handed to boot. Burrows willed the puck into the net through sheer determination that at least three Sabres were unable to cope with.

In the third period the Nuck’s put it to the visitors and Auld stood up in defence when Buffalo tried to battle back. Auld earned himself the first star for his effort. Baumgartner from the twins on a power play and Morrison from McCarthy and Naslund gave the Nucks all they needed and insurance before Ruutu added an empty net marker.

I should point out a trend that I noticed sometime during the previous road trip and has been a welcome change introduced by the coaching staff. Maybe even as far back as the Toronto win on January 10th the Triplets are playing the first half of the power play with the West Coast Express taking the second rotation. I believe this change has been a positive one as the triplets seem to either wear the top PK unit down or set up our other brother Carter for a goal. Crawford should stick to this until whatever it is that is keeping Naslund out of domination of games passes.

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