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!
Roberto Luongo will debut a new mask tonight against the Montreal Canadiens at Rogers Arena. To the best of my knowledge he owns the franchise record for most masks worn in a career. There’s been a lot of them. Lets revisit them…
Ok ok before you freak out after reading the headline and trash me in the comments section, let me explain. Michael Grabner is not the second coming of Brett Hull. Far from it. So why bring it up? Let me explain… In case you haven’t noticed, former Canucks 1st round draft pick Michael Grabner is on quite a tear right now. After a slow start to the season, Grabner has 15 goals and 6 assists in his last 15 games. That’s brought his goal total up to 24 this year while playing on the Islanders third line. And that’s what makes this all the more impressive for Grabner. He hasn’t been given prime time minutes. He has received minimal power play time and is averaging only 14 minutes a game. Yesterday he netted a hat trick in only 15:06 of playing time. ‘Grabby’ is now on pace for 35 goals this year, imagine what that would look like playing 17-18 minutes a night? Imagine what he could do after he matures a little more. Somewhere Dave Nonis is saying “I told you so”.
There has been a lot of nonsense spewing from the airwaves of the Team 1040 radio station in the last few days. You see, the Canucks have suffered a few injuries and in turn a few on air radio personalities (and callers) have decided that they need a heavyweight enforcer! I, for one, think it’s a gross overreaction.
Pictured above is former Canucks goaltender and current Sportsnet broadcaster John Garrett. This photo might have been taken during the 1984-85 season. That year Garrett earned the nickname “Lotto” because he finished the season with a goals against average of 6.49. To further refresh your memory, that season marked the last year the Canucks wore their flying V jerseys (possibly the ugliest jerseys of all-time), they started the year with Bill Laforge as their head coach and finished the year with a 25-46-9 record. It sucked to be a Canucks fan. Patrick Sundstrom was their leading scorer with a mighty 68 points (only 140 points behind the league leader, Wayne Gretzky). As bad as they were, they finished with the fourth worst record in the league and selected Jim Sandlak fourth overall in the draft that summer (yikes), so not exactly a great reward for finishing poorly.
Ok, maybe “like” is a little strong, but I don’t mind it. I certainly don’t hate it or think that it should be abolished (unlike a lot of members of the media). The reason I’m making these statements is because every year for about the last ten years or so, it has become fashionable to say the All-Star Game is a waste of time and should not be held anymore. In about the last three years, this movement has gained even more steam with the increasing popularity of the Winter Classic, making it the new marquee mid-season showcase.
Dear Kevin, I have an apology to make. I was in favour of trading you last summer. Well, not even just last summer. I didn’t like your game. I thought you couldn’t return to the player that the city of Vancouver fell in love with in 2006-07. Even this year, I said some nasty things. I said you were not a shutdown defenseman. But here you are, paired with Dan Hamhuis playing against the other teams’ best lines and playing great! You’re now leading the defense corps in plus-minus, are back to playing mean and lately you’ve even begun putting up points again!
Sad news yesterday as legendary local broadcaster Paul Carson passed away. Carson had been battling pancreatic cancer. I never met Paul Carson but his accomplishments were lengthy. He was the brains behind Sports Page and also started up the Team 1040. Perhaps no person has shaped the local sports scene more than Paul Carson. He did a lot of it in front of the camera, but even more behind camera. He’s responsible for essentially discovering Don Taylor, John Shorthouse, Dave Randorf, Barry McDonald, Scott Rintoul and Blake Price (among others).
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