Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

Ryan Kesler December 2009 Calendar Wallpaper!!!

Canuckz.com is back at it, bringing you another kick-ass calendar wallpaper! We present to you the December 2009 Calendar Wallpaper featuring Ryan Kesler!

1) Ryan Kesler’s just a bad-ass. A pro’s pro.
2) Heroes is a shiet ass tv show (and you should be ashamed if you’re still watching it)!
3) I pretty much followed this classic psdtuts+ tutorial (or at least tried to; it was pretty damn confusing and took forever to figure out some of the steps)!
3) Enjoy!

december2009-kesler

Download here (missing a weird resolution that you use that we don’t have? Post a comment to let us know and we’ll gladly add it!):

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Wellwood is Terrible and Everyone Loves Him

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How great was it to see Kyle Wellwood score his first goal of the season last night against the Los Angeles Kings? Sure, it was an empty netter, sure he needed two cracks at the empty net, but to have a game where the crowd chanted his name, booed the announcement that his goal earlier in the game would be credited to Tanner Glass and have a standing ovation for a meaningless empty net goal was pretty special. And Kyle Wellwood is a special character for Canucks fans.

He’s amazingly popular considering that it took him almost two months to score a goal this year (check out the jubilation on the Canucks message board) and has a mere 14 points in his last 67 regular season games! Lets face it, he’s been terrible and everyone loves him… including me! The guy is just too damn lovable. Maybe it’s cause he’s a little guy, maybe it’s cause he doesn’t like to workout and stay in shape, maybe it’s cause he uses a wood stick, but it just seems like he’s someone that people can relate to.

Wellwoodmania overshadowed the return to form of Alex Burrows. Burrows had a goal and an assist, was plus two and had seven shots on goal against the Kings last night. This return to form, not surprisingly, has coincided with the return of Daniel Sedin. Nice to see, because if the Canucks want to go deep in the playoffs this year they’ll need a potent top line.

“Welly” also overshadowed the amazing game by Roberto Luongo. He was simply spectacular, and has been very good for a few games in a row now. He hasn’t given up more than two goals in a game since returning from injury and has a .934 SV% in that time. Those are Vezina trophy numbers. Needless to say, the Canucks are at the best when Luongo is on top of his game.

So was the game against the Kings a blip on the radar or a sign that a healthy Canucks lineup will mean chalking up a lot of victories? Probably too soon to tell, especially since they haven’t played a road game since the return of Daniel Sedin. The Canucks still need to prove that they can win consistently on the road to improve their 4-8-0 road record.

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Brian Burke's Son is Gay (Not That There's Anything Wrong With That)

brian burke brendan burke

Brian Burke’s still a douche but he seems like a good enough father. Good for Brendan Burke too.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=buccigross_john&id=4685761

These kinda ESPN articles are usually pretty good. If you’re a sports fan, you need to read the “Outside the Lines” series.

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Canada Has a New Cheer! According to Pepsi That is…

pepsi_cheer

Have you seen the big Pepsi marketing campaign asking for Canadians to submit a new cheer for cheering on Team Canada in 2010? Essentially they wanted Canadians (or customers) to come up with a Canadian equivalent to “U-S-A U-S-A!” or “Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!!!”. Well, it seems as though they’ve come up with a cheer. Canada, get ready for… “Eh-Oh-Canada-Go“.

Hopefully you haven’t leaped up from your computer with excitement and are continuing to read this blog. Seriously though, is that the best they could come up with? No chance in hell that this gets off the ground. It has about the same chance as this cheer sticking:

The cheer they came up with sounds lame, is too long, it doesn’t mean anything, in a nutshell: it’s just brutal.

Not that it ever had a chance. I’d be embarrassed if we used any cheer that originated from a Pepsi marketing campaign. This is one of those ideas that sounds good in a boardroom meeting with the Pepsi marketing staff, but in reality it would never work. So can we just stick with “Go Canada Go” please? It won’t sell as much Pepsi, but it’ll work a hell of a lot better.

Speaking of Team Canada, it’s interesting in seeing how hockey experts are picking much different looking rosters for 2010. Eric Staal and Vincent Lecavalier looked to be locks for the team in the summer. Right now, they look like long shots. How many people were picking Steve Stamkos and Ryan Smyth in the summer? Not many, but they’re being picked by many now. The pick that really seems to be en vogue at the moment is Jonathan Toews, and I just don’t get it. He’ll be a star in the future, but right now how does he supplant guys like Crosby, Getzlaf, Thornton, etc. on a scoring line or a guy like Mike Richards on a checking line? The best reason to have him on the team in my opinion would be because of his shootout prowess.

We won’t have to wait too much longer for the announcement of Team Canada, the decision will come on New Year’s Eve. In the meantime, enjoy the predictions.

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Nazzy's Coming Out of Retirement! To Play in Sweden….

forsberg_naslund

It appears that Markus Naslund and Peter Forsberg will be returning to pro hockey together, playing for their hometown team of Modo in Sweden. The two of them are clearly very loyal to Modo, as they are reportedly going to play for FREE! This will mark the third (and presumably final) time that Forsberg and Naslund have played together for Modo. The two played together previously for Modo before their NHL careers and during the lockout canceled season in 2005-06.

sweden

The most interesting part of this new development could be the impact on Team Sweden for the Olympics in February. Forsberg has reportedly shown interest in playing in February but up to this point, Naslund hasn’t. He may or may not be interested, but if Naslund and Forsberg click well together in Modo, why wouldn’t Naslund want to have his swan song in the Olympics? It would mark his first return to play hockey in Vancouver since he last played for the team in 2008. He also missed the chance to play for Team Sweden in the 2006 Olympics, thus missing a chance at a gold medal. Consider further that Team Sweden doesn’t exactly have the best depth right now, and I think there’s an outside chance that Naslund could be in the 2010 Olympics.

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Forsberg Update: "Thanks But No Thanks"

forsberg_colorado

According to the Team 1040, Peter Forsberg has told the Canucks “Thanks but no thanks” in regards to him returning to the NHL. He will apparently return to pro hockey, but with Modo of the Swedish Elite League.

Too bad, he had potential to be a difference maker that could be acquired for nothing. At least he didn’t drag it out like Sundin did last year though.

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Middleweight Champion of the NHL, Rick Rypien

rypien_fight

With four days to go until the next Canucks game (weird schedule this year, isn’t it?), I thought it’d be nice to shine the light on a still very underrated Canuck: Rick Rypien. I think this guy was a little bit forgotten about because of the injury/personal troubles he’s had the last few seasons. He hasn’t played an AHL game in two years, but has only played in 51 NHL games since. In that time, he has shown a great ability to fight, hit, and add-in the odd goal. While his fighting ability has gotten some notice of late, his offensive abilities haven’t had near the focus. Not only does he score goals, he scores highlight reel goals. Not bad for a guy playing with guys with stone hands (sorry Ryan Johnson and Darcy Hordichuk, but it’s true). If he was placed on the third line full-time and stayed healthy, he could score 15 goals. I think most people forget that Alex Burrows was initially called up from the Moose in 2005-06 after Rick Rypien.

With that said, here’s a few of few highlights of one of the “middleweight champion of the NHL”, as Tommy Larscheid likes to call him, Rick Rypien!

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Treading Water

treading_water

At the quarter-way mark of the 2009-10 season, the Canucks have successfully treaded water. With a record of 10-10-0, you’d think that the Canucks would be disappointed, and perhaps they are. For me, this is about what we should have expected, all things considered. If they had been 100% healthy, you’d maybe expect a record of 13-7 through 20 games. Consider that Luongo has started only 13 games, Daniel Sedin has played only four games, Sami Salo has only played 12 games and Pavol Demitra has missed the entire season, not to mention the other countless missed games here and there, a 10-10 start should be considered par for the course.

luongo_canada

With that said, there are more than a few alarming trends through the first 20 games:

Injury or no injury, Roberto Luongo hasn’t been lights-out yet. He has a very mediocre 6-7 win/loss record, 2.74 GAA and .903 SV%. Those are not Team Canada numbers. It’s also alarming that he got injured, again. He needs to stay healthy.

Offense from the D. Alex Edler (he of the minus seven rating so far), Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo have combined for ONE, just one, goal.

Kyle Wellwood. He’s been absolutely invisible through 20 games.

Team toughness. Where is it? The Canucks were a nasty piece of business to deal with last year. Perhaps injuries have changed that a bit, but still. They’ve got to get back to that blue collar attitude.

So will the real Vancouver Canucks please stand-up? We haven’t seen them yet, and might not this season given Pavol Demitra’s status, but once they get Daniel Sedin back (and that should be soon). The excuses will be all gone. And hopefully the losing will be gone too.

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Forsberg to Vancouver? Maybe…

forsberg_sweden

It’s that time of year again folks. Yep, the time of year that Mike Gillis tries to coax an aging Swedish future hall of fame centre to not retire and come to Vancouver. Peter Forsberg played in the Karjala Cup tournament in Helsinki this week, and is apparently contemplating a return to the NHL and possibly play in the 2010 Olympics this February. And Mike Gillis is interested.

The issue with Forsberg is of course his health. If he’s healthy, he’s still a very good player, but nagging foot problems have plagued him over the last bunch of years. So where will Forsberg land? Not Philadelphia according to reports. There are also rumours that he’s considering the KHL, but I would find that hard to believe. The Canucks should have the cap space to sign him because of Demitra’s injury, but would Forsberg consider Vancouver out of loyalty to the Avalanche? In the past he has reportedly felt that way, but lots has changed since then. Both teams have completely revamped rosters (gone are the likes of Bertuzzi, Cooke, Ruutu for the Canucks and Sakic, Roy, etc for the Avs), and are no longer the bitter rivals they once were. I’d still consider the Canucks a long shot to get him, but it sure would be nice to see him in a Vancouver uniform.

Imagine what a healthy Forsberg could do for the Vancouver lineup:

Sedin-Sedin-Burrows

Demitra-Kesler-Raymond

Samuelsson-Forsberg-Bernier

Those are three pretty potent scoring lines. If he gets injured, you throw Wellwood into his spot, and you’re back to where you are now.

david_pratt

TEAM 1410 Sports Radio

That’s right, there’s a new all-sports radio station in Vancouver, and it can be found on 1410 AM. It appears that it will be the home for the BC Lions as well as some US syndicated shows such as the Jim Rome Show. Pretty good idea if you ask me.

vaccinated

The current Team 1040 lineup has a lot of the same kind of show with the same kind of guests. I love listening to it, but sometimes it’s nice to hear about, say, the World Series instead of the Calgary Flames’ H1N1 flu shots.

schneider_chair

Schneider in Goal Tonight

No, not Mathieu Schneider (wouldn’t be too surprising considering all the positions Canucks defencemen are playing lately), but Cory Schneider will get the start in goal tonight against Dallas. A little surprising considering how well Andrew Raycroft has been in goal this year (did you know he’s first in GAA and 2nd in SV% this year?!). The move is probably a good one, considering that the last time Raycroft played in the 2nd of back-to-back games he was pulled.

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The Return of Matt Pettinger and Your Daily Injury Update

pettinger

How bad are the Canucks injury woes? Well, they’ve brought back a Tampa Bay Lightning cast-off! Yeeesh. Actually, I don’t mind this signing. Matt Pettinger was re-signed by Mike Gillis yesterday. With all their injuries at the moment, bringing a veteran NHL forward who can skate and kill penalties probably isn’t a bad idea. He’ll be here on a temporary basis in all likelihood though. The best they can hope for is a Trent Klatt effect. Klatt was sent down to the minors early in his Canucks tenure, and when he came back up was a changed man. His intensity was up considerably and he became an effective player. Surely, Pettinger will be a motivated player.

Speaking of Canucks injuries, this is getting ridiculous. In what seems like a daily injury update, Michael Grabner will be lost for six weeks with a fractured ankle. Amazing how you can be chased around at high speed by 220 lb defencemen for your career and it’s casually kicking a soccer ball that knocks you out.

After watching the following video I started to think that maybe Canuckz.com should consider spicing up its injury updates? Just a thought…

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