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.
We’re finally in the home stretch and we’ve saved the best for the last month of the regular season, the Sedin twins! PS, WHAT A F’N BARGAIN @ 6.5 MILLION!!!
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.
Great news for Canucks fans. The Canucks announced this morning that Ryan Kesler has signed a six year contract extension with the team. Kesler has proven that he can not only be a checker, but a scorer as well. He’s one of the best second line centres in the league, and could win the Selke Trophy this season. As early as the start of last season, nobody thought he had the potential to be the offensive producer that he is today. Again, it’s great news, depending on the price of course. If I were to guess I would say it’s worth between $4.5 and $5 million.
After calling the Canucks “Cup pretenders” last Friday, I must admit that I was starting to believe they were contenders with one of the most impressive outings of the season against the Senators on Saturday followed up by a 1st period knockout of the Calgary Flames the next day. But then came the Islanders game on Tuesday night. Now I’m not suggesting that Canucks fans should begin panicking about this team because of it, but it certainly didn’t help. Another thing that didn’t help was losing first star of the week, Mikael Samuelsson. He’ll be gone 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury or so we’re told (and we’ve been lied to before, see Dan Cloutier). With that said, here are a few random thoughts going through my head as the playoffs loom:
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).
Am I the only one that had a little bit of trouble adjusting to life after Olympic hockey? What an amazing tournament with such speed, skill and intensity. Then two days later, we have to watch the Canucks take on the Blue Jackets? Tough transition, but I think I’m getting back into the swing of things.
After a long absence (bloggers get caught up in the Olympic hoopla too you know), Canuckz.com is back with a look at the Olympic hockey tournament. Most notably, what’s wrong with Team Canada, and what is head coach Mike Babock going to do about to fix things?
It’s late but it’s here! Alexandre Burrows.. easily one of the best contracts in the NHL! If this reverses the mini-slump, you’ll know who to thank!
It looked pretty weird seeing Dion Phaneuf and J.S. Giguere in Leafs practice gear today. Once the faces of the Flames and Ducks respectively, both were traded to Toronto on Sunday. A day later, Calgary sent Olli Jokinen to the Rangers. For those of you that haven’t heard yet, here’s how the trades shook down: