As the Canucks and Blackhawks head into game 4, I have come to the conclusion that the Canucks are just too talented, too deep and too healthy for the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks look tired. Patrick Sharp, Troy Brouwer and maybe even Jonathan Toews are playing hurt. On top of that, they’re playing without the injured Dave Bolland and Tomas Kopecky. The Canucks are without Manny Malhotra, but other than that, they’re as healthy as you could expect at this time of the year.
With an impressive 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, the Canucks clinched first place in the entire National Hockey League. In case you’re counting at home, that’s the first time in 40 years that we can say the Vancouver Canucks are President’s Trophy winners. It’s a nice feather in their cap, and nice to have won it for the first time. Enjoy it Canucks fans… for now.
Tuesday’s win against the Phoenix Coyotes gave the Vancouver Canucks a perfect 3-for-3 record on their California/Arizona road trip and Canuck Nation couldn’t be happier. On Sunday I told you about the Canuck invasion in Los Angeles and Anaheim, and others have taken note. We were fortunate to have our article featured in Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog, which gave this story league-wide attention. Even JT the Brick (who has a nationally syndicated radio show in the US) talked about this big influx of Canucks fans at the Staples Center and Honda Center over the weekend… and those kinds of shows NEVER talk about hockey. On Thursday, the Canucks will try to make the road trip a perfect 4-for-4 and you know Canuck Nation will be there too.
The Canucks just completed a southern California sweep against the Kings and Ducks, winning both games in impressive fashion. They played two desperate teams, played them tough and fought through tight checking and a lot of physical play to get a pair of wins. What’s more impressive though, is the fan support from Canuck nation in both games!
With their win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, the Canucks moved into first place in the entire NHL. What does this mean exactly? Well, unless they start awarding Stanley Cups in January, not a whole heck of a lot. Even being at the top of the standings at the end of the season usually means squat given that the President’s trophy winners have only won the cup five times in the last 20 years. But you can excuse Canucks fans for getting a little giddy right now. After all, being at the top of the league’s standings near the midway point of the season has been a rarity during this team’s 40 year history.
First of all, let me start off this article by stating that this is not a knee jerk reaction article because of last night’s 7-1 debacle against the Chicago Blackhawks. I have been thinking about writing this article for some time now, and last night just cemented my feelings on this.
Keith Ballard sat out his fourth consecutive game this evening and it has Canucks nation puzzled. Fans and media alike have questioned this move by Vigneault which at first appeared to be a case of a coach sending a message to a player. That theory was largely thrown out after it became evident that this was more than just a couple of games in the press box. The theory also didn’t make sense to me because this was a player that got into a spirited fight in his last game and hasn’t hesitated to block shots in his first eight games.
Let me first start off by saying this is not a blog entry bash Kevin Bieksa. I’ve done plenty of Bieksa bashing in my day, and I was not in favour of bringing him back to the team this year (until Sami Salo had his “floorball” incident). That being said, he has all the tools to be an excellent defenseman.
What an eventful first game of the season. In the first game of their 40th anniversary season, the Canucks brought back all living members of their inaugural team. Pat Quinn received the biggest ovation, a classy gesture by the fans at Rogers Arena. From there, Henrik Sedin was officially named captain by receiving the C from the first captain in Canucks history, Orland Kurtenbach. I thought it was a nice ceremony that was done with a lot of class.
What a wild end to a wild playoffs. These playoffs pretty much had it all. Not one, but two miraculous 3-1 comebacks by the Montreal Canadiens, against the mighty Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins no less. The team that ends up tripping them up was a team that had the best comeback of all, the Philadelphia Flyers, who became the first team in over 30 years to overcome a 3-0 series deficit.