Thursday, March 30, 2006

Nice Globe n Mail Piece

Grant Kerr of the Globe and Mail did a nice piece on Trevor Linden in the paper today. You can find an online version here

Thanks for the heads up to JJ over at Canucks Hockey


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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Playoff Hunt #7

This report for the Western Conference discusses the results for games between March 19 and 25th. The point predictions are for the week March 26 to April 1st.

Period of Analysis 19-Mar-06 to 1-Apr-06

SeedTeamCurrent PointsLast 10 PointsPredicted Points
Detroit picked up points in all their games this week. The Wings lost two shoot outs: one to Nashville and one to Columbus. This week the Wings travel to St Louis and Nashville. They return home Friday for a match up with the Blackhawks. The Wings continue to roll. Expect another six points this week.

My percidtions for Dallas last week were bang on. Then again it isn’t hard when the Ducks are red hot and the other two opponents were Minny and Chicago. Dallas will host Calgary tonight. Mid week will see a home and home pair with Anaheim. The Stars end the week in LA facing the Kings. Calgary has been alternating Wins and Loses. They are schedule for a win. I figure the games with Anaheim to be split – home ice wins. I’d suspect the floundering Kings will not right themselves under new coaching in just one week. Give the Stars two wins and four points.

As mentioned above Calgary has gone into a pattern of Win-Loss-Win-Loss. The Flames lost in Minny and Columbus. Both games they should have won. This week brings four games. First is wind up of their long road trip with a win in Dallas. LA visits Calgary mid week followed by Colorado on Friday. LA is a win and Colorado is a loss. Next Saturday night will feature another battle of Alberta for the late game on HNIC. The Oil needs the win more and is on home ice. This week the Flames will pick up four points.

Nashville had an up and down week. They lost in Anaheim and LA but they won in Detroit. They blew a few leads in LA so look for the Preds to come out hard in Scottsdale on Tuesday. The remainder of the week features visits from Detroit and St Louis. Detroit will win. St Louis will not. Give the Predators four points this week.

No your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Yes your red hot Anaheim Mighty Ducks are the west’s fifth seed at this point. The Canard have taken flight with six wins in a row and nine of their last ten. March, to date, they’ve had points in eleven of thirteen games. Their PP has gone nine of fifteen in their last three games. Their PK has given up two goals in the same stretch. This week the Ducks move from Phoenix to Colorado but like have spent time at home between. Later in the week a home and home pair with Dallas is on tap. Colorado has some injuries, so I’ll predict a Anaheim win on the road. With Dallas let’s assume a split. Give Anaheim four points this week.

Colorado lost Svatos and Tanguay. Svatos is done for the year. Tanguay is out for two to three weeks with a strained wheel. Budaj has played all games since Aebischer’s exile. He has posted a very average 4-3 record in seven starts. This week will see both Edmonton and Colorado travel to the mile high city for a Sunday game. Both are coming off wins. Maybe the only difference is the Oil travel east while the Av’s travelled west. Those of you who travel a lot know ‘west is best.’ For those who don’t it is a gain or loss of time zone thing. So Avs win tonight. Mid week is a Ducks visit. I’ll given that one to the Ducks. Friday is a visit to Calgary. I’ll given that one to the Av’s. Total four points for the Av’s this week.

The Canucks didn’t start the week with a lost to Detroit. They started the week by being embarrassed big time by a vastly superior Detroit team. The only thing good to say about the night was that Igor Larionov was in the building signing copies of his DVD. Likely old Igor mentioned he used to play for the Wings without mention of the team he broke into the league with. The expected hand wringing and player’s meetings followed. And surprise it worked; almost. You’d think with three games against your closest rival that this little back to back to back affair with Edmonton would have meant something. Well thanks to these idiotic three point games Vancouver started the week on point behind Edmonton and ended the week tied with them. Edmonton played poorly in the first game. Vancouver played poorly in the third game. The middle game was the most excitement with a come from behind tie and SO win. I will admit that the Shoot Out was exciting – we were all glued to our Pay Per View or CKNW for about ½ an hour while they got that over with. I could rant about three point games until I’m blue in the face. However, on to the week ahead. So did the team meetings really work? We find out on Monday when the Kings come to town. Maybe a PP that is 1 of 17 in it’s last three games isn’t a worry. Maybe all the odd man rushes Edmonton had on Saturday, including a shorthanded goal, are not a concern. Maybe the team is all pulling on the right end of the same rope. After LA we in Vancouver get the treat of two home games with those damn Minnesota Wild. Who knows how it will go? The maximum anguish would be a loss to LA and a split with Minny. On the other hand if they win over LA, I can see them winning both over the Wild. Optimistic six points. Pessimistic two points. Let’s say realistic four points. Sorry Nucks 86 points will be good enough for ninth spot come April 1.

For analysis of how Edmonton’s game went just see Vancouver. They picked up three of six points. Vancouver picked up four of six. Edmonton started the week one up on Vancouver. They end the week tied in points but Vancouver ahead in the seeds with three additional wins. Edmonton travels from Vancouver to Colorado for a game tonight. I’ve given that one to the Av’s. The Oilers return home to face the Wild, Kings and Flames. I’ll give all those games to Edmonton. Six points this week will hold Edmonton back in eighth seed.

Outside looking in.

9Los Angeles811081
LA had a win over Nashville under new coach John Torchetti. However Pavol Dimitra is out for nasal surgery and JR broke his ankle in the Nashville game. I do not see the Kings going anywhere but down. Sorry LA no points in the death triangle – order Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton or when you return home to face the Stars.

10San Jose801688

With LA in trouble and with four games against bottom feeders this week it is time to start to watch the Sharks. In their last ten the Sharks have picked up points in nine including seven wins. The Sharks have Chicago and the CBJ’s on the road. They return home to face the Desert Dogs twice. There is no reason to expect that the Sharks wouldn’t win all of these. Eight points will put the Sharks into the post season dance. If tied at 88 points with Edmonton the Sharks get the advange from having one more win.

Current Dance Partners.

If the playoff were to start on April 2nd my predictions for match ups are as follows:

Detroit – Edmonton
Dallas – San Jose
Calgary – Colorado
Nashville – Anaheim

Bert - Nassy - Trevor six points this week or:

Capilano Golf & Country Club
420 Southborough Dr., West Vancouver, BC V7S 1M2 Canada
Call for Tee Times: 604-922-9331


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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Counting by Two’s

I was looking over the Vancouver Canucks schedule for a number of reasons, including the playoff status, pay per view games and some thoughts as to Trevor Linden. I’ll give my commentary on Trevor in early April – likely in the break between the LA and Calgary games. As for the rest of the season, today, it lines up as six sets of two games.

- Continue to face the Oilers – tonight & Saturday.
- LA Kings are played twice – 27-Mar & 3-Apr
- Minnesota Wild come to town for two games – 29 & 31-Mar.
- Face the Ducks twice – 2 & 10-Apr.
- Back to back games are played with San Jose – 12 & 13-Apr

This leaves two April, Saturday games on Hockey Night in Canada. These are with the Flames on 8-Apr and Avalanche 15-Apr.

The Canucks currently have 80 points. More than 95 are going to be required to get into the main dance. Fifteen points in 12 games or a winning percentage of 0.625. Fifteen points against 7 opponents. Not only do the Canucks have to win one of each pair they have to have a win plus a point from the other game in at least three of the pairs. The Kings and Wild don’t worry me. The Sharks and Ducks do. It is going down to the area where the Canucks have had the least success all year – Edmonton, Colorado and Calgary – the strong Northwest Division. Play my game of counting by twos as well as win the remaining games against the Northwest and everything should be fine.


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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sergey Who?

This Blogging can be an interesting thing. I have some code within the pages that tells me on a free service from a guy in Ireland what pages are being read from where for how long and other stuff like that.

Once Tom Benjamin linked me on his Canucks Corner my traffic took off. Well by take off I mean it jumped from a couple of views a day to tens of views a day. Thanks again Tom! By and far the most popular page has been the video of Ruutu’s hit on Jagr in the Turin Olympics – it is here

One interesting thing. I can see the Google search strings people are using to reach my pages. I noticed recently that for some reason I am getting hits on Sergey Mylnikov. To this my initial reaction was “huh – who is Sergey Mylinkov?” It turns out Sergey was a Russian goaltender during the 1987 Canada Cup Series. I wrote about that series as part of the coverage of Mario Lemieux’s retirement – here I had unintentionally included Sergey’s name in the piece.

By further investigation I found this interesting site - click here. It contains a list of many of the Soviet and Russian players with some connection to the NHL. For example, did you know the first Russians to win the Stanley Cup were Sergey Nemchinov, Surgey Zubov, Alexander Karpovtsev and Alexey Kovalev who were all part of the 1994 New York Rangers. The Rangers beat Pavel Bure and Evgeny Namestnikov of the Vancouver Canucks in seven games. Evgeny only played one playoff game that spring and I do not know if it was in the Ranger’s series. Regardless his name would have been added to the cup had the Nuck's won.

Sergey Fedorov and Igor Larionov have the most cup wins by Russians. Both have won three times as team mates on the 1997, 1998 and 2002 Detroit Red Wings. Given Larionov and Bure’s history with the Canucks wouldn’t that have made an interesting trivial question. Who won a Stanley Cup first? Larionov or Bure?

So did Sergey Mylnikov ever make it to the NHL? Yes he did. He was drafted 127th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989. As a rookie he played ten games (568 minutes) winning 1, losing 7 with 2 ending in ties. He gave up 47 goals one an empty netter. His GGA was 4.96 and Pct was 0.858. Sergey played for Russia in the World Cup that spring. He played four more seasons, two in Russia and two in Sweden. He appears to have retired after the 1994/95 season.


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Playoff Hunt #6

This report for the Western Conference discusses the results for games between March 12 and 18th. The point predictions are for the week March 19 to March 25.

Period of Analysis 12-Mar-06 to 25-Mar-06

SeedTeamCurrent PointsLast 10 PointsPredicted Points
Detroit won all it’s three games this week. Edmonton was the closest match with a shootout win. This week sees the Wings end their current road trip with a game in Vancouver. They return home to face Nasville, San Jose and Columbus. The Canucks are desperate. Detroit played last night in Edmonton. Maybe Schneider is still feeling charitable. Maybe Vancouver can win. Otherwise another six points for Chelios and crew.

Dallas won everything they could. Vancouver, LA and the Sharks were their victims. This week the Ducks, Minny and Chicago all visit Dallas. Let’s figure the Ducks for a high level of desperation. Give Dallas four points this week.

As expected Calgary and Colorado split a home and home set both with home ice wins. The battle of Alberta saw Edmonton win in overtime. The week ended with a thumping by Nashville. The Flames continue on a seven game road trip. They play four games in six nights this week. Four games they should win. Minny twice, St Louis and the CBJ’s all host Iggy and mates. Give the Flames eight points this week.

Nashville is rolling. They won all games convincingly this week. Vancouver (0 – 5), Phoenix (0 – 2) and Calgary (4 – 9) all fell to the Preds. This week has a game with St Louis then out onto the road for engagements in Detroit, Anaheim and LA. I’ve picked Detroit to win. I also think Anaheim is making moves. Give Kariya’s gang four points for wins against the Blues and Kings.

Colorado is rested and a good thing as they play four games on the road this week. They start fast with three California games in four nights. The order is San Jose, Anaheim then LA. I figure the Av’s to win these games. Then it is off to the Midwest for a date with the Blues. Likey another win. Give the Burnaby Joe and his mob eight points this week. If there is a surprise it will be in Anaheim.

6Los Angeles791279
My predictions for LA two weeks ago were goofy. This week I’m less than perfect again but on closer analysis it was just one unexpected loss to the Desert Dogs. The Sharks ad Stars won. St Louis lost – they again who besides the Canucks does St Louis beat. This week is quiet for the Kings but the opponents are big: Colorado; and Nashville. I suggest maybe no points for the LA Kings this week.

The Oilers played as expected and got a bonus in a SO loss to Detroit. They split games in Minny and won a battle of Alberta with home ice advantage. This week can be described in one word: Vancouver! Three in a row. One in Rexall Place followed by two in the Garage. Smyth, Smith and buds have not lost to Vancouver this season. Vancouver is better in goal. Vancouver has a better defence. Edmonton has more scoring prowess. Edmonton starts the week one point ahead of the Canucks. Why not end the week one point ahead of the Canucks. I’ve picked Vancouver to beat Detroit at home Sunday. Therefore for my prediction to come true Edmonton needs to win at home and in one of the road games. Give Edmonton four points this week. If they get six points and Vancouver only as few as two it will be time to consider booking a tee time.

Canucks lost to Dallas and lost bad to Nashville. They came out of Ohio with two points. The played marginally well enough that when the hockey gods smiled on the Team they were are to benefit. That benefit being when BMo banked one off Malhotra and into the CBJ’s net for a 3-2 win. Sunday 19-Mar-06 is a beautiful sunny day on the North Shore. One of those days when you can golf in the morning, ski in the afternoon and talk a stroll on the seawall in the evening. The time when we can flout or Lotusland noses at the rest of Canada. It is the time of year when distant memory reminds me of when you’d start to think about cleaning up the blueback gear, hoping the fairways would dry earlier in the day and consider who the Canucks might draft this time around. Are those days gone or are they about to return? Tonight the conference leading Detroit Red Wings will give us an indication. Three back to back games with Edmonton later in the week has the potential to cement it. This may be the ultimate in homer optimism but I think Nassy and the boys will beat Detroit tonight. I think they will also not make the road ahead easy for themselves and drop two of three to Edmonton. Look for the Canucks to pick up four points this week. Any less and fishing gear, tee times and draft position will be next week's topics.

Outside looking in.

The Neidermayers and cast executed as expected. A lost to Detroit and two wins over bottom feeders. The Ducks have their destiny in their own hands. They are two points back of Vancouver. They have three games in hand on Vancouver and Edmonton. They have four games in hand on LA. They match the play of those teams and win the in hand games and they’re in and one of the others is out. It doesn’t come easy for the Ducks. This week they face Dallas, Colorado and Nashville sandwiched between Columbus and Phoenix. Five games in seven nights. Three of them road games. I predict six points. Wins over Columbus and Dallas.

Current Dance Partners.

If the playoff were to start on March 26th my predictions for match ups are as follows:

Detroit – Vancouver or Anaheim
Dallas – Edmonton
Calgary – Los Angeles
Nashville – Colorado


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Thursday, March 16, 2006

It is only a game folkes.

UPDATE: From CBC Sports

A letter containing a suspicious white powder arrived at GM Place Monday, resulting in the home of the Vancouver Canucks being quarantined for several hours.

According to police, contents of the letter, which had Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi's name on it, leaked onto a desk after being opened by Orca Bay staff.

None of the seven employees for Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the Canucks, who were exposed to the material in the letter became ill.

Const. Howard Chow said the hazardous materials team later determined the substance was not harmful.

The Canucks did not play at GM on Monday, as they suffered a 4-2 loss in Dallas to the Stars

Like I suggest it is only a game people.

This off the news feed at CKNW.

GM Place scene of HazMat scare - 7 quarantinedMar, 14 2006 - 12:30 AM
VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - Vancouver Police are investigating a suspicious envelope that set off a level-three hazmat scare at GM Place yesterday.Orca Bay staff called the VPD when a white powder trickled out of a letter that apparently made some reference to Canucks' star forward Todd Bertuzzi.

Harvey Jones, Vice President and General Manager of Arena Operations, says high-profile players get fan mail of all kinds, "I've never had to deal with a situation like this before. Obviously we get all kinds of mail. People are very emotional and the letters reflect how the team's doing in the standings, as a rule. But no, this is the first time I've had to deal with something as serious as this."

None of the seven Orca Bay employees exposed to the powder became ill. But they were quarantined for about four hours while tests were conducted.
They've been told it could have been flour, or at worst, rat poison.

When Bert plays bad I yell at my TV - I thought that was crazy. Seems there are far more crazier puppies out there.


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Voice of the Canucks

Vancouver, B.C. – The Vancouver Canucks and CHUM Radio are pleased to announce that, beginning next season, TEAM 1040 will become the exclusive radio carrier of Canucks games. For the next six years, TEAM 1040 will be known as the official radio station of the Vancouver Canucks and General Motors Place, and will carry every Canucks game. In addition, CHUM Radio has committed to arranging for the radio broadcast of the games throughout British Columbia.

“Our fans will be well served by TEAM 1040’s all sports format which provides the means to bring our game day activities to our fans. We look forward to TEAM 1040 providing the very best experience in radio and continuing CKNW’s tradition of delivering a consistently high-calibre broadcast,” said Vancouver Canucks Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Dave Nonis. “In addition to the game broadcasts, we have negotiated an increased Canuck presence on TEAM 1040 by licensing a weekly show that will run through each season of the agreement. CHUM Radio has also brought to the Canucks a major commitment to support the team’s community and charitable initiatives.”

Voice of the Canucks
Jim Robson 1970-1994
Jim Hughson 1994-1999
John Shorthouse 2000-present
Team 1040 – back to Jim Hughson for the 2006-07 season?

Above press release by Team 1040


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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Playoff Hunt #5

This report for the Western Conference discusses the results for games between March 5 and 11th. The point predictions are for the week March 12 to March 18.

Period of Analysis 5-Mar-06 to 18-Mar-06

SeedTeamCurrent PointsLast 10 PointsPredicted Points
Detroit had three home games this week with Phoenix, LA and Chicago. No peril there. But the Coyotes did surprise me and the Wings. Next up is some travel. Out to Chicago, home for Anaheim and then out to Edmonton. They have lots of travel time between games. Anaheim maybe be pissed with them over resting the Olympians event. But that game is at home. I’m going to have to predict six points for Detroit this week.

Dallas picked up six points with wins in Chicago, Edmonton and Vancouver. Calgary beat them. Considering their trip into the west they did quite well. Dallas plays Vancouver again in the second half of a home and home. Late in the week they go out to Anaheim and San Jose. Six points for Dallas this week. I made the homer mistake on thinking Vancouver would win last week. Dooh!

Calgary had only two games both at home. They managed a win over Dallas in a close one. This week could go either way. They start with a home and home against Colorado. Then travel to Edmonton and Nashville. Yikes. How to pick this. I do not understand Colorado’s moves in goal but let’s give the two home ice wins. In a battle of Alberta I think Edmonton at home is a winner. Maybe take Nashville at home given they beat the Flames in Calgary this week. That gives us two points for the Cowtownians this week.

Nashville picked up points in every game this week. Two wins and two OTL’s. The wins were in Vancouver and Calgary. They lost in OT to both Edmonton and the Sharks. This week brings Vancouver, Phoenix and Calgary to Music City, USA. Vancouver will be playing the second of two nights in a row. Phoenix is out of it. Calgary will be starting a long road trip and lost to Nashville at home last week. I’ll suggest six points for the Pred this week.

Colorado botched an easy week by losing to Minny before wining in St Louis and Chicago. They have big four point games this week as they play a home and home with Calgary. Then for whatever reason the schedule God’s game them a five day rest. Maybe the all seeing knew Jose would be needing heel heal time. Only two points for Colorado this week. See Calgary for why.

6Los Angeles771382
My predictions for LA last week were goofy. They did lose in Detroit. They won in St Louis and Minny. Why did I think they wouldn’t? This week is BUSY. Start with a commuter flight up to San Jose for a game with the Sharks. Then play at home the next night with Phoenix. Dallas and St Louis round out the week. Eight points on the table. Phoenix and St Louis should be OK. Sharks and is 50-50. Expect the Stars to win. I’ll estimate five points this week.

As expected, St Louis handed the Canuck’s their hats and sweep their season series 4-0. The silver lining: the Canucks can’t face the Blues in the play off as they (let’s hope I mean the Blues) aren’t making the play offs. The week was down hill from there. Two reasonable efforts against two good teams. One point on a OTL to show for it. The injection of a two top six defencemen into the team is going to help. Auld will get one night off so Crawford can see Noronen. If he wins maybe Auld will see a second night off. If not *roll your eyes* and mutter something about a goalie graveyard. This week Nucks go on the road to Dallas, Nashville and Columbus. Let’s be charitable and say two points against the CBJ’s. Let’s not and say Noronen gets his first start and loss in Columbus. Let’s split the difference and say one point this week unless these Canucks can reinvent themselves pronto.

The Oil lost a bunch of games that they shouldn’t. They did pick up some points via OTL route. The Oilers have another busy week. They play two games in Minny before going home to face the Flames then the Wings. I pick them with home ice to beat the Flames. They should also come out of Minny with at least two points. Remember this will be the return of Rolly the Goalie. Let’s predict five points for the Oilers this week.

Outside looking in.

The Ducks won two and lost one. They dropped a game at home to the CBJ. Had they won that one they’d be tied with Edmonton now. The wins were in their own division so they hold the Sharks and Dogs from making any moves towards playoff spots. The Ducks face Phoenix first in the second half of an away and home set. They go out on the road to Detroit and Chicago later in the week. Give Anaheim four points this week.

Current Dance Partners.

If the playoff were to start on March 19th my predictions for match ups are as follows:

Detroit – Vancouver
Dallas – Edmonton
Calgary – Los Angeles
Nashville – Colorado

If Anaheim has a good week or Vancouver has a bad week look for the Ducks to move into the top eight. Calgary and Colorado play each other twice. The potential for Colorado to end the week in first in the Northwest is real.


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Three Losses

St Louis 4 at Canucks 1 – 5-Mar-06
Nashville 3 at Canucks 2 (overtime) – 9-Mar-06
Dallas 2 at Canucks 1 – 11-Mar-06

Shots on Goal
Opponent 35-37-33 105
Canucks 24-25-19 68

Power Play 0 for 13
Penalty Kill 13 of 16

Face Off %
Opponent 49-52-61 54%
Canucks 51-48-39 46%

What’s Wrong

Easy to see – badly out shot. Anaemic power play. Still losing key faceoffs. Two of the three lost in the third period by giving up power play goals on marginal penalites. Right Park, Brookbank and Cooke?

More specifically.

Power Play

Maybe this should be special teams and not just the power play. The penalty kill hasn’t been all that good with six consecutive games having given up a power play goal. The power play lacks imagination. There is a need to mix things up. Against the Stars, Turco killed the first few penalties by himself. The Vancouver defence dumps it in – Turco dumps it out. Over and over until half way midway through the second Ohlund realizes softly loft it into the corner – into the no fly zone – and you take that option off Turco. Crawford knows Turco is good at moving the puck behind the net. Why wasn’t this the game plan going in?

The Sedin, Sedin, Carter unit has some set plays and does well to get set up in the offensive zone. They retain and reacquire the puck well. The slap pass routine is getting to be known. It is hard to defend. Teams though are starting to expect and anticipate it. The Twins need to use the points a little more. Salo’s canon is missed. Carter needs to be a bit more of a presence in front of the net.

The other power play unit is Naslund and Morrison with either Bertuzzi or Cooke. It takes them an eternity to get set up in the offensive zone. Once there they lack the polish of set plays like the Sedin’s unit. Bert or Cooke needs to be a presence in front of the net. Exactly opposite to the twins, Naslund needs to use the points less and move the puck to the blue ice. Work the puck to the slot, get shots and let the Bert clean up the garbage. I’m afraid Naslund is the guy to do this as Morrison doesn’t seem to have the skill confidence combination to quarterback the PP. I’d like to see Naslund be the shooter rather than the set-up guy.

Supplemental Scoring

The lack of goals is the elephant in the room. No one but the Sedin’s / Carter have scored since Chicago. The problem seems to be a lack of shots. Naslund has his wheels back. He started well after the Olympic break with two goals in two nights. But since then the well has gone dry. Morrison and Bertuzzi both scored in Chicago and had dominate offensive zone games. While you could not point to either and say they’ve played poor games. The proof is lack of production on the score sheet. Bert with Kesler and Ruutu is a good combination but they need to put the puck in the net. Cooke with Naslund and Morrison was the combination when the league sat Bert out back then. They should also be a good combination. I believe separating Bert and Nassy is the right thing to do. It is now up to Kesler, Morrison, Cooke and Ruutu to step up.

Face Offs

Linden used to be the go to guy for key face offs. I still see him out there for those key duels. Trevor’s hands are aging like the rest of his body. Of the active players with more than 100 face offs taken the stats are: Morrison 50.3%, Henrik 49.1%, Linden 48.5%, Kesler 46.5% and Bertuzzi 42.9%. Top ten face off men are at 55%. Top twenty are 54%. Morrison’s 50.3% places him 52nd in the league. I tend to harp on this one a bit only because it is a stat that can be improved. It takes personal commitment. Eye hand and speed of hand drills do work and will resulting more wins.

Role Players – Cooke, Ruutu, Kesler, Burrows and maybe even Linden and Park.

OK let’s accept it. The ‘big line’ is Daniel, Henrik and honorary brother Carter. The second line you pick Morrison between Nassy and Cooke or Kesler between Bert and Ruutu. This leaves Linden with Burrows and Park as the fourth line. The even strength production of Cooke, Kesler and Ruutu has to improve. Cooke I’m not so concerned about. Kesler and Ruutu seem to have disappeared along with Burrows. If even one of these can score every other night then we are looking at being on the winning end of 3 – 2 scores rather than the losing end of 2 – 1 scores.

Next Up the same Dallas Stars in Dallas on Monday 13-Mar at 5:30PM on SportsNet Pacific. The Canucks currently have 76 points which places then 7th in the west. Edmonton is two points back and LA is one point ahead. If the playoff were to start today Vancouver would play Dallas in the first round without home ice.


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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Playoff Hunt #4

This report for the Western Conference discusses the results for games between Feb 28 to March 4th. The point predictions are for the week March 5 to March 11. I’m lined up now with the game calendars at ESPN (Example) which makes the job a lot easier. I’ve also tried to add links to each team's ESPN Clubhouse – hope it worked out…

Period of Analysis 28-Feb-06 to 11-Mar-06

SeedTeamCurrent PointsLast 10 PointsPredicted Points
Detroit spent the week on the road out west with a loss in San Jose and wins in Anaheim, and Phoenix. The SJ loss will be commentary until 2010 as Detroit management decided to send their Olympians direct to Anaheim. Did they take a pass on the Sharks game? When you’re best in the west and second overall, I guess you can take a chance like that. Detroit has three home games this week with Phoenix, LA and Chicago. No peril here. Give the Red Wings another six pints this week.

Dallas only got ½ the job done this week. They lost bad to Phoenix in Phoenix. They did win over the Av’s at home on Saturday night. I predicted four points of which they picked up only two. Dallas is a team with no where to go. They are six behind the Wings and four plus ahead of the pack. Dallas looks to be headed into the number two seed spot just as much as Detroit has first seed locked up. What a week Dallas has on the schedule. Games on the road every other night ending in the Western death triangle – Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. I’ve heard, as well, that the Dallas PP is struggling. I’ll go safe with 500 hockey. Points in Chicago and Calgary. Loses in Edmonton and Vancouver. Four points will leave them with 85.

Calgary has only two games both at home. The opposition is beefy with the speedy Nashville and strong Stars coming into Cowtown. I’ve already picked Dallas to win. I might guess that Vokoun might come out over Kiprusoff. Sorry Flames maybe no points this week. Last week the Flames did almost all that was expected. They beat both St Louis and San Jose. The Canucks opened the week with a surprise win over the Flames.

Nashville has a crazy week. Four games. Each game against a team who will play Dallas the next night. So this also means a trip into the Western death triangle. Last week the Pred lost in Chicago then beat Vancouver. This week the order is Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver then off to the Shark Tank on Saturday for an afternoon game. I’ve picked them to win in Calgary. They should also beat the Sharks. I’d suggest four points for the Predators this week.

The impact of missing three of five top defensemen has yet to sink in with the Canucks. Add to this Ryan Kesler, the spark of the team, on too many nights, was carried off the ice in Chicago. On the flip side Naslund is healed. He had two goals in three nights and points in every game this week. Bertuzzi shows signs of awakening. Carter was picked one of the top five free agent signings by TSN. Bob Mackenzie, who rarely can see past Toronto, has noticed Kevin Bieksa. The Canucks did ok, considering, on their road trip. They picked up four of six points. The Canucks spend the week at home and have a little three day break after playing St Louis on Sunday. Nashville and Dallas come through late in the week. In both cases the opponent will have played in Calgary and Edmonton the nights before. I figure Vancouver to take advantage of getting spent teams. Ah but St Louis! That one is a toss up. Let’s give Vancouver four points this week.

Colorado’s results were as expected. They continue their road trip this week with a swing through the bottom feeders. Games in Minny, St Louis and Chicago should mean six points. Eighty points should be first place in the West by week’s end.

7Los Angeles731076
LA also played as expected with two easy wins. Next week they go out on the road for games with Minny, Detroit and St Louis. I’ll give them a loss in Detroit and OTL point in one of the other games.

The Oilers has a busy week. Nashville then Dallas come to town. The Oil end the week on the road with games in San Jose and Columbus. I’ll go bold and say wins at home paired with losses on the road. Give the Oilers four points this week.

Outside looking in.

The Duckling won one and lost one last week. This week they face the CBJ’s and Sharks at home. They end the week with a game against the Coyotes. I’ll predict 4 points with the lost to the Sharks.

Look for Colorado to make a move on Calgary and Vancouver this week. Also Edmonton should leapfrog LA.

Current Dance Partners.

If the playoff were to start on March 5th match ups are as follows:

Detroit – Edmonton
Dallas – Los Angles
Calgary – Colorado
Nashville – Vancouver


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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Character Builder?

Canucks 5 at Blackhawks 4 – 3-Mar-06

Well you certainly got full value for your ticket. The Chicago Blackhawks stormed out to a 3 – 0 lead at home to the Vancouver Canucks before the first period was one half over. Then Ryan Kesler when down hard and was carried off the ice with what was clearly a left leg injury. The Vancouver faithful, self included, were ready to write the game off. If not the season. In a tight playoff hunt what expectations can one realistically carry if your team can’t even spank the dismal Chicago Blackhawks? Then it happened.

The Canucks started to come on. The shot totals started to even out. Some runs were taken at the Hawks players perhaps in response the Kesler situation. There were fights: Burrows and Keith; then Brookbank and Barnaby. The Hawks took undisciplined penalties. Big Bert scored; a pretty one on the power play at 9:29 Beteruzzi (21) from Naslund and Baumgartner. A little over a minute later, still on a power play, Carter (23) from my brother Daniel and my other brother Henrik. The scoring play featured more undisciplined activity by Barnaby. You started to think “yup we’ve got their number. They’re on the ropes.”

Oh but your Vancouver Canucks! Not ones to take the direct route to a win, more anguish and excitement were to follow. With only 14 seconds left in the second period the defence is caught up ice and the forwards can’t catch Hilbert and Calder on the back check. Allen is left alone to deal with the two on one. Auld gets a piece of the initial shot, the puck bounces around and ends up in the net. Four two. Interesting. Time for a pop and consider doing the dishes as a more fruitful pursuit.

I think the third period showed why the Hawks firmly planted near the cellar of the Western Conference. Wow more and more undisciplined play. The Canucks took advantage of it. This time put Hilbert in the box. Have only 3 seconds left on the PP and Henrik (15) pots one from his brother Anson and (huh) other brother Morrison? – Oh yeah power play with all those missing defenseman and B Mo and Park have been taking turns on the point. Morrison (13) hits the score sheet again. This time from Cooke and Nassy. Tie game. McCarthy made some nice rushes. Nassy did a lap in the offensive zone. Even Bertuzzi carried the puck to the net with the determination that you felt this game was going to be won – it was just a matter of who would bring it home.

In a way the game tonight and last night in Nashville reminded me of the ’94 Canucks. Back when Bure and Trevor were in their prime. On any given night the bounces may not have gone their way yet but it was just a mater of time. Given long enough anyone was beatable. Teams never beat the ’94 Canucks: the games ended before Vancouver had scored more goals than the opponent.

Back to the present. Some weird carry over of penalties into the overtime frame. You needed a degree in advanced math to figure out who would play how many and when. There was 5 on 3, 5 on 4 and 5 on 5 all in the 4 on 4 overtime. The play was representative of the Nucks’ out shooting the Hawkes 7 – 2. Yet nothing was settled. I hate the shoot out, but it worked in our favour tonight. Naslund scored his first every SO goal and the goalies won all the other battles. Canucks 1 Hawks 0 or Canucks 5 Hawks 4 on the official score sheet. Phew 3 hours 21 minutes to get two points from the Blackhawks.

The win vaulted the Canucks back into first place tied with the Flames. Both one up on the Avalanche. Edmonton and Anaheim also won. In the tight Northwest five points separate third seed Vancouver and eighth seed Edmonton. Anaheim remains three points out of eighth spot.

Next up, oh heck, those damn St Louise Blues. Could someone tell Jackman and crew they are out of it and they should be playing dead. Or did we indeed see a character builder on this last road trip? Will Vancouver return home and play the Blues like the last place team they are. Sunday night PPV, 7:00PM in the Garage.


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Friday, March 03, 2006

Two that got away.

Canucks 1 at Predators 3 – 2-Mar-06

Coming off a win in Calgary the Vancouver Canucks continued their three game road trip with a stop in Nashville, Tennessee tonight. If it was fishing – they hooked it, they played it, then had it up to the net but they could get it in the boat before it wiggled away. The Nucks’ out shot Nashville 42 – 20 and won two of three periods but came out on the losing end of a 3 – 1 score. Nashville who were coming off a loss in Chicago the previous night didn’t look good for 40 minutes. But as we saw in Calgary sometimes you only need to look good for eight seconds to land a win.

Nolan Baumgartner returned to the line up after a lengthy absence. He played a little over 16 minutes. Unfortuantely he gaft on the game winning goal but then again he hasn't played in a month so let's give him a pass this time.

Auld let in two on five shots in the third period. He was also the victim of some lucky puck bounces on the Sillinger insurance marker. Auld would have liked to have the Johnson short handed goal back. But I’d tend to pin a short hander on the power play unit more than the goalie.

And oh that Canucks power play! Technically OH for Round II. They were 0 for 8 in Calgary and 1 for 11 in Nashville with Naslund (28) scoring during a second period five on three. Nashville pulled even with a power play marker of their own by Perreault. The Canucks ended the second period with a good chance. You were left with the thought they’d get it done when the power play resumed in the third. That was 180 degs off the Nashville plan and eventual result. With the fresh, ice 45 seconds in, Mike Johnsson was in alone on the right wing and popped the puck in high on Auld.

With the ridiculously tight Northwest Division, wins by Calgary and Colorado dumped the Canucks from First to Third or from Third to Sixth in the Conference. The good news is that Edmonton remains five points back. LA won. Dallas lost bad to Phoenix - go figure. With one point between the Nucks’ and Av’s expect that they, including Calgary, will flip flop positions now for a few weeks. The Av’s represent the Canucks’ last game of the regular season. Somehow I think that night will come to matter.

The Vancouver Canucks are third in the Northwest and sixth in the West with 71 points in 61 games played. If the playoff were to start today the opponent would be Calgary and Vancouver would open on the road.

Next up the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night on SportsNet Pacific.


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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Two Unexpected Points

Canucks 2 at Flames 1 – 28-Feb-06

The Vancouver Canucks when into the NHL Round II season without four of their top five defensemen. It was a road game and against a divisional opponent with a higher season point total. The twins and Ruutu were blurry-eyed off flights from Europe. Everything said a loss. But the opposition was the Cargary Flames with first place on the line. And nothing gets the Nucks more up than a date with the squad from Cowtown.

On the night I’d say the Flames out chanced the Canucks and certainly didn’t pay a price for taking too many penalties. The Canucks power play was 0 for 8 and is 1 for 24 (or something similar) going back to the four the games before the break.

My Notes:

Naslund looked healed! He seemed to have that extra step that has been missing all season. He got the Nucks' first goal on a nice feed from BMo.

The Moose defense recruits looked ok. McCarthy had one of his best games of the year and played 20 plus minutes in 30 shifts. Mojzis played 15:23 and fit in. Bieksa played nearly 22 minutes and added some toughness when the Donovan, McCarty, Simon crew were doing whatever it is that Brent Sutter has them doing.

Given the Nucks’ situation there must have been some alarm bells in Calgary after the game. Only one goal scored on a team that is missing their top four D-men is amusing. We knew Calgary isn’t an offensive team; but wow!

Auld played well in his 26th win. Isn’t it interesting that we no longer watch him night in night out wondering of he’s a first string tender. OK – no he isn’t going to win us a Stanley Cup but you know what? He isn’t going to lose us one too.

Next up Mr. Karyia and the music city Preditors.


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