Two days before Markus Naslund is set to become the third player in Canucks history to have his number raised to the rafters, I can’t help but feel like anyone excited about this is forced to defend him. No question, his detractors are out there and there are a lot of people not in favour of his number being retired. Why? A lot of people didn’t like his demeanor, blame him for lack of playoff success or his perceived lack of leadership. But the real reason? A lot of fans have short memories.
The more and more I watch Canucks games this year, the more I find myself thinking “what does Keith Ballard got to do to get some playing time?” The guy blocks shots, hits (hip checks!) and fights. He does this while having a great upside given what he has accomplished in the league and the fact that he’s relatively young. Still, Alain Vigneault treats him like a Manitoba Moose call-up by giving him minimal ice time and even sitting him as a healthy scratch on multiple occasions. I don’t get it, and I haven’t gotten it all year long. Take last Sunday’s game versus St Louis for example. He received just over 13 minutes of ice time (fewest among Canuck d-men), was a +2 and was a goal short of the Gordie Howe hat trick. AV, give this man some ice time!
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.
So the NHL is changing their All-Star Game format to let captains pick out their teams. I like it. It’s novel, it’s unique, and as far as I know no other league has tried it before. But what I’d really like to see is for the NHL to go back to the day when it used to be the Stanley Cup Champions taking on a group of All-Stars.
Hockey fans, the unthinkable has happened. That’s right, George Parros has shaved his mustache! Parros, who had the best porn stache in professional sports is doing it for a good cause. In honour of Movember, Parros has shaved the stache and will regrow it to raise funds for prostate cancer.
We are just under one month into the 2010-11 edition of the Vancouver Canucks. Despite pre-season Stanley Cup predictions, this season began with a bit of a whimper. The Canucks started off the season 2-3-2, beating only bottom feeders Florida and Carolina. It also featured a fan fueled goaltending freakout of Dan Cloutier proportions.
Last night’s shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks brings the Canucks record to 0-2 in shootouts this year, which begs the question: do the Canucks miss Kyle Wellwood? Now, I’m not suggesting that replacing Wellwood with Malhotra this year on the third line was a poor decision, but they sure do miss his shootout prowess. Remarkably, Canucks shooters haven’t been the main problem, that distinction goes to Roberto Luongo and his .000 SV% in shootouts this year. Luongo has a decent save percentage all-time, so he should get over his early season shootout troubles.
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.
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