Breaking news: Henrik Sedin will be nominated for the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP. He will be joined by Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby on the ballot. I don’t think he’ll win, but what great company to be with. I know that there was a movement for Ryan Miller to be on the ballot, but I don’t know if his numbers were stellar enough to get him on there with this crop.
The moment Canucks fans have been waiting for all season is almost upon us. That’s right, round 1, game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Canucks faceoff against the Kings in what promises to be an entertaining series. Lets see how the series breaks down.
From the people who brought you such bold predictions such as the Edmonton Oilers making the playoffs this year comes Canuckz.com’s 2010 Playoff Predictions! Tomorrow we will do an in-depth analysis of the Canucks-Kings series, but in the meantime, lets take a look at the other seven series that begin tonight.
After Henrik Sedin’s amazing four assist performance last night against the Calgary Flames, all that was left to do was sit back and wait for Alex Ovechkin to go out Sunday afternoon and beat him… wait a minute! Ovechkin was unable to beat Henrik, picking up zero points. What a great way for Henrik to win the scoring title and finally he’s getting a bit of recognition. No longer can I say that nobody is talking about him.
Both have been keeping me up at night. Thankfully, Sami Salo is taking tonight off against the San Jose Sharks. The underrated Nolan Baumgartner will fill-in in his place. Did you know that ‘Baumer’ is a career +22 in 97 career games in a Canucks uniform? He’s played in ten games this season and has been a minus player only once. So this is a good move for the oft-injured Salo. Every time he goes into the corner to retrieve a puck I’m worried that he’s going to get injured. The “new Mitchell” has stepped up his game this year, and in my estimation has been the team’s best d-man this season. He’s also been remarkably healthy, which can only mean one thing: he’s due. A Sami Salo injury, combined with Willie Mitchell’s injury, could cause the Canucks to get bounced in the first round of the playoffs.
Ok, maybe there’s not a true goaltending controversy in Canuckland these days, but if it weren’t for Roberto Luongo’s reputation, there would be. Luongo is having his worst season in a Canucks jersey, being pulled more times than ever, while Andrew Raycroft is enjoying the the best season by a Canucks backup since Alex Auld. Statistically speaking, Raycroft has better numbers. They share essentially the same save percentage (Luongo at .913, Raycroft at .914) and Raycroft has a better goals against average (Luongo at 2.55, Raycroft at 2.31). These stats should be skewed a bit given the fact that Luongo plays fatigued more often and usually plays the tougher teams, but this is still highly unusual for Luongo. Luongo typically has numbers far superior to his backup and is usually at the top of the league in GAA and SV%. This year, he’s middle of the pack, 18th in GAA and 17th in SV%. To put that in perspective, Dan Cloutier was 16th and 18th in GAA and SV% in 2003-04.
There are a few interesting things going on with the Canucks these days. This team, seemingly poised to go on to win the Northwest Division (barring a late season collapse), has been up and down of late. The team followed up a great road trip with two big wins in back to back nights and looked great doing it. They followed that up by losing to the Islanders and then rebounding to beat the Sharks. They narrowly got beat by the Red Wings after that and then Roberto Luongo collapsed against the basement dwelling Edmonton Oilers.
With 15 games left in the regular season and the nightmare record road trip behind them, one thing is still not clear. Are the Canucks contenders or pretenders? It’s a question that doesn’t elicit a unanimous response. I think that we as Canucks fans underrate this edition of the Canucks (just as we overrated the Naslund-Bertuzzi era Canucks).
Mike Peca called it a career today. Hardly a surprise given he hasn’t played a game this year, but still notable nonetheless. From a Canucks perspective, I will remember Peca for a couple of different reasons. At the 1995 draft, then Canucks general manager Pat Quinn pulled off one of the biggest blockbuster trades in Canucks history.
Alain Vigneault is fuming mad at a member of the media and his name is… Ron MacLean?! How weird is that? This, the same man who is beloved so much in this country that when the CBC decided to let him go, that the entire nation rose up and demanded (successfully) that he get whatever contract demand he wanted? A bizarre situation, indeed. For those that missed MacLean’s comments and Vigneault’s rebuttal:
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