The biggest game the Canucks franchise has played since game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup finals did not disappoint on Tuesday night. It wasn’t easy, but the Canucks finally got their revenge over their arch rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. It took good goaltending from Roberto Luongo, a smart defensive corps and a gritty effort by their forwards to edge the Blackhawks, 2-1 in overtime.
The Canucks announced on Monday that they have re-signed Mason Raymond. The restricted free agent re-signed just minutes before his arbitration case was to be heard. But that’s not the surprising part, the surprising part is that Mike Gillis was able to get Raymond to sign a two year deal, worth $2.55 per season. There’s no doubt in my mind that Raymond would have been awarded more in arbitration, perhaps well more. In fact, most pundits (including myself)were predicting $3 million or more.
Well, we’ve all had a chance to take a deep breath, sit back and really think about the year that was for our beloved Vancouver Canucks. Gone is the emotion/heartbreak/disappointment/anger from their second straight second round loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. What’s left is a better chance for impartial analysis as to what they did, what they have and what they should do.
After an impressive 4-1 win, the Canucks will live to play another game. So just how did this team, that looked so beleaguered on home ice in game 3 and 4, manage to extend the series? Remarkably, the keys to victory have become astonishingly clear (to this blogger at least).
What a debacle game 3 of the second round turned out to be. A 5-2 result in which the Canucks looked out of it past the 10 minute mark of the 1s t period. At the end of the night I felt like the Blackhawks had won, and won easily. In game 2 they had to scratch and claw their way to victory, but not in game 3.
What an entertaining game we saw on Monday night. High intensity, high drama, complete with a last minute goal to win the game. Unfortunately for Canucks fans, the Blackhawks prevailed on this night, winning 4-2 and evening the series coming back to Vancouver. Lets take a look at the bad, good and what to look forward to.
Game 5 was the first one sided game of this entertaining series. For the first time in the series, Roberto Luongo clearly outplayed Jonathan Quick, who was chased in the second period. For the second game in a row, the Canucks power play equaled the Kings power play, perhaps indicating that this penalty killing jinx is at least close to ending.
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:
With a pair of goals on Monday against Nashville on top of last week’s NHL number one star of the week honour, Alex Burrows is red hot at the moment. But it’s the controversy that revealed itself on Monday night that is all anyone can talk about.
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.
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