In my recent memory of Canuck season, I can't remember a season where the Canucks hadn't been fighting for the NW Division lead or a playoff spot right till the bitter end. With only seven games to go, having a 5 point on the Avalanche, and only needing 3 more points to clinch a playoff spot, the Canucks are in a good spot.
This week we'll face the Coyotes on Tuesday followed by a road back to back game (but no huge travel requirement) on Thursday and Friday against Los Angeles and Anaheim respectively. The Canucks could, by end of Thursday night, clinch a playoff spot. Next week's games are spread out evenly against the Wild, Avalanche, Sharks and the Flames to end the season.
With a 5 point lead over the Avalanche, the Canucks don't seem like they are going anywhere from the spot on top of the NW Division. Unless the Canucks have a complete meltdown, the Canucks may end up with some games at the end of the season to rest players or work on some nagging issues.
Before heading into the last four game stretch, do the Canucks think about resting Sami Salo? or perhaps Christian Ehrhoff? The second game of the back to back against Anaheim in particular is the one I'm thinking about. Both are key defencemen who both participated in the Olympics. After the Olympic break Ehrhoff in particular looked tired, and it was noticeable on the ice. He's back to his normal form now, but with no ETA for Willie Mitchell, I have concerns that the two will be worn down through the playoffs. Salo, dare I say it, has been healthy recently, shocking I know. But maybe we should give him some extra rest, just as say perhaps, a precaution?
All of this hypothetical thinking depends on how the Canucks do against Phoenix and LA first, but it's nice to be able to even have the thought of resting your players instead of playing for a shot in the playoffs.no comments
In what was suppsed to be a bounce back game for Luongo, the second period just killed the Canucks. Actually the Canucks in the second period killed themselves. Luongo himself didn't actually play that badly, it was just mistakes made by the Canucks that cost them the game, **cough cough* Edler!
The Canucks were up 1-0 after the first from a weak goal that was let in by Nabokov, the type of weak goal that we've seen Luongo make far too often recently. In the second period, Dany Heatley faked a pass then rifled a shot over Luongo's shoulder, a pretty goal if you were a Sharks fan. The Sharks then gained energy, looked dangerous and Edler decided to help them out. Alex Edler, who was at the point wasn't able to contain the puck and instead sprung forward Marleau. Clearly he then scored because Luongo, although good in shootouts, not so good on breakaways. Looks of excitement on Marleau's face after he skate away from that goal.no comments
Before any recap, Jim Playfair the coach of the Abbotsfod Heat went batshit crazy tonight.
The incident happens right around the 3 minute markno comments
I love playing the Sharks. They're one of my favorite teams to watch and I even cheer for them when they aren't playing the Canucks. Tonight the Canucks are in San Jose for a little 1 game roadtrip, then they'll be back again in Vancouver to face the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday before going back to California for a back to back game at the beginning of Easter. Who designed this schedule?
So Luongo is starting in net. Relax Vancouver, even though Raycroft looks better in net these days, we need Luongo to be back on his game. I agree that Luongo looks exhausted and isn't seeing the puck well, but if playing more games is what it's gonna take, better now than never. Plus if he doesn't play tonight, by the time the Phoenix game rolls around he will have not played a game in a week. He did have a session with Ian Clark the goaltending consultant before practice on Friday morning.
The Sharks have ended their losing skid with wins against Minnesota and Dallas.
Opposition blog over at Couchtarts
- Pavol Demitra will still be a healthy scratch tonight
- Mikael Samuelsson skated on his own yesterday
Photo from Fuck Yeah Sharksno comments
A couple quick things:
The Canucks have signed forward Aaron Volpatti from Brown University to a multi year deal. He is a Revelstoke native, who was the captain of his team at Brown, getting 32 points in 37 games played.
Demitra is (again) away from the Canucks with a family issue and will not play against the Oilers tomorrow. Easy there Vancouver, I'm sure he'll be back soon, at least we're not the Flyers who have just learned they will be without Jeff Carter for the rest of the regular season.
Game time tomorrow is 6pm Sportsnet. There is also a Canucks tweetup at Library Square, click here for the detailsno comments
Although last nights game ended as a loss, it was a great game to watch, no?
Sure there were turnovers, lots of them actually by both teams, but that made some really exciting hockey. And with a week whose focus had been so much on suspensions and revenge matches, it was refreshing to just have a weekend of hockey. I also fear for any team that get's Detroit if they find a way to make it in to 8th spot.
The Canucks did not walk away empty handed from the loss to Detroit, no, they came out with 1 point. Luongo faced 54 shots from the Wings and unlike a couple games ago, he looked good in net. So did Edler when he calmly swept away the puck along the goal line with only a few minutes left of play. Kevin Bieksa on that lack of clearing of the puck along the goal line on the other hand did not look good. Oh and O'Brien, yea he had a goal and an assist, and kudos to him for not getting minutes in the penalty box for the gordie howe hat trick.
Kesler Contract Extension
If you follow me on twitter, you would have already known how excited I was about this. The Vancouver Canucks were able to lock up Kesler, one of their best forwards to a six year $30 million dollar contract. This will keep him with the Canucks through the 2015-2016 season with an average cap hit of $5 million a season.
I like this contract extension. Although it was not the pay cut that Kesler had urged his other teammates to take, I still like the contract. Kesler has improved each season from when he first made his debut with the Vancouver Canucks back in 2003-2004. When he first hit the ice in his first year in 2003-2004, then in 2005-2006 after the lock out he reminded me of Mason Raymond, had tons of speed (maybe too much for his linemates at the time) but not a whole lot of finish (Raymond has also improved as well). But over the years I've seen the improvement, I've seen his gritty play and know that rest easy when the Canucks are on a penalty kill and he and Burr are out their killing it.
$5 million dollars is fair money for Kesler, I would say that if they had let this go to the offer sheet teams would have offered him $5.5 million. mc79hockey.com compares Kesler to Horcoff in pay rate, skill set and production, and I do see where he is coming from but I see Kesler as having the bigger upside. I do not see Kesler's contract as being as crippling for the Canucks as Horcoff's is for the Oilers.
Mike Richards also makes the same range of money ($5.75 million) is the only other player that I think in the same range has a bigger upside to Kesler. And no it's not that Richards is the captain of the Flyers, because I see that with this signing that Kesler could very well become the next Canucks captain, but because Richards is a number one center. Kesler, being signed to a similar contract length of the Sedins will always be a second line center, but that's not a bad thing, that just means we'll have two very good lines.
Interesting that the deal with Kesler was not something they had been working on all season, but got done within a 24 hour window. He will have a no trade clause that will kick in after he is done being an RFA in 2012-2013
Schroeder played his first AHL game today and scored on his first shift with the Moose. He would go on to scored another goal as the Moose beat Grand Rapids 4-0.no comments
The Canucks lost last night against the Islanders, big whoop.
We all know that tomorrow's game is what matters. Even though the Canucks are atop of the NW Division, does that matter if we lose to the Sharks? No, you know that people will throw the team under the bus on the Team 1040 tomorrow if the Canucks lose to the Sharks since tomorrow IS the statement game.
Is it possible? Yes, the Sharks were embarrassed by the Stars last game in Dallas losing 8-2, and have struggled since the Olympic break losing to teams just on the playoff bubble. But then again I wouldn't read too far into that, don't forget last year, the Sharks were Canuck killers. I know I'm waffling here, but I don't think the Sharks are as bad as they have appeared in the last 10 games and I also feel that both teams really have had their problems. With Samuelsson out and Grabner in, it should make the dynamic interesting, and hopefully we'll see a defensive change with SOB drawing back in. Check out fellow bloguin blog Couchtarts for your SJ perspective.
Game time 7pm on TSN
Other Canuck News
What the Canucks did lose in the game against the Islanders is Mikael Samuelsson as he has been sidelined for 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury he sustained in the third period. Michael Grabner has been recalled from the Manitoba Moose to take his roster spot. As much as I am dismayed that Samuelsson is out, shit happens, and to Grabner this is his chance to show that he can bring offense to the team.
In other Canuck news, Jordan Schroeder has been signed to a three-year entry-level deal with the Vancouver Canucks. He is in Vancouver for some orientation and will take in tomorrow's Sharks game before reporting to Winnipeg to join the Manitoba Moose.
Note: The photo is from Fuck Yeah Sharksno comments