Tag Archives: Canucks

Eddie Lack may be giving himself the evil eye in the mirror this morning, but chances are new Canucks backup goaltender Jacob Markstrom is eyeing him and his crease even more closely. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

It’s going to be a loooooooong summer

Whatever playoff aspirations still existed in the Vancouver Canucks dressing room — misguided, maybe, but they were there — must have taken a serious thumping during the third period of last night’s 7-4 loss to the lowly, John Tavares-less New York Islanders.

Up 3-0 going into the final 20 minutes of the game, the Canucks managed to give up a converted touchdown in a single period for the first time since a kid named Wayne Gretzky swaggered into Vancouver with the dynastic Edmonton Oilers. And, as Ryan Kesler said of the present-day Islanders after the game, “let’s face it, [New York] is not one of the top teams in the NHL. We had a three-nothing lead to start the third. This just can’t happen.”

Sadly, not only can it go down, Mr Kesler, but it did happen.  On home ice. During the stretch run. Less than a week after the GM traded away a future Hall of Fame goaltender.

Eddie Lack may be giving himself the evil eye in the mirror this morning, but chances are new Canucks backup goaltender Jacob Markstrom is eyeing him and his crease even more closely. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Eddie Lack may be giving himself the evil eye in the mirror this morning, but chances are new Canucks backup goaltender Jacob Markstrom is eyeing him and his crease even more closely. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

In the first two periods, the Isles had just nine shots on goal. Fast forward twenty minutes, and they had nearly that many goals.

Sure, there were positives. Henrik Sedin got a lucky bounce off an Islander defenceman — lucky bounces have been few and far between for the Canucks of late, but it marked the first goal in 23 games for the captain. Alex Burrows didn’t get off the gorilla-choking, gut-twisting schneid he’s been riding all season, but he did get awarded an apple on Ryan Kesler’s 22nd goal of the year. Replays show Burrows gave a swing and a miss when Kevin Bieksa’s shot from the slot pinged off the post, but when Kesler put it home, the scorekeepers gave Burr the phantom assist for his 300th career NHL point.

But let’s not kid anyone. There are no moral victories in a game that goes that far south that quickly. Less than five minutes of gutless, idiot play in the third period undid 40 minutes of solid two-way hockey. Dumb penalties from Jensen, Bieksa and Sestito translated into a tie game within minutes of the third period puck drop. Add a couple that Lack would like to have back, and the Isles put a pick-six on the board before the third was halfway done.

The Canucks collapse, though, wasn’t half as scary as what awaited Eddie Lack in the dressing room.

ZOMBIE GALLAGHER!!! SAVE YOURSELF!!!

Luongone

Adios, Strombone1. We barely knew ya.

Adios, @strombone1. We barely knew ya.

If you’re a regular visitor to Pucked in the Head, you know I’ve been pumping Roberto Luongo’s tires since day one. The very day the Canucks acquired him from the Florida Panthers, the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh my god. We’re going to win a Cup.”

Nearly a decade later, Bobby Lu owns nearly every franchise record a Canucks goaltender can own. He’s second to only Martin Brodeur among active goalies for most career wins (367), shutouts (65) and shots against (>23K), and third in games played (789). Sadly, that Stanley Cup didn’t quite happen, but he did win a gold medal on Rogers Arena ice. That counts, right? RIGHT?!?!

Mike Gillis had me in his corner through the start of his tenure. I thought he was a masterful tinkerer, bringing in just the right bits and pieces to win consecutive Presidents Trophies, Art Ross Trophies and outstanding hockey. It was a stellar ride, even if the very pinnacle of achievement also included consecutive bed-poopings with that Cup just a win away. But MG has screwed up one time too many for my liking.

People Mike Gillis screwed after the jump:

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"Hey Ref! Read between the lines, will ya?" — John Tortorella. Photo scrubbed from the interweb.

Canada wins; Tortorella loses

"Hey Ref! Read between the lines, will ya?" — John Tortorella. Photo scrubbed from the interweb.

“Hey Ref! Read between the lines, will ya?” — John Tortorella. Photo scrubbed from the interweb.

John Tortorella just can’t catch a break.

After Ryan Kesler & Co. played the United States out of medal contention this weekend, Torts publicly cheered for Team Sweden. He said he “doesn’t give a shit about Team Canada” because Mike Babcock benched Roberto Luongo and sat Dan Hamhuis for all but token minutes through the knockout games. He hoped Daniel Sedin would score a brace, Alex Edler would gather three assists, and the two of them would come back to Rogers Arena with gold around their necks and fire in their bellies.

Of course, it’s Hammer and @strombone1 bringing home the shiniest of shiny baubles, as the Swedes went without two of their three important Henriks — they even went without the equally viktig Nicklas Backstrom, as his migraine medication was found to be in violation of the IOC anti-doping policies. Even with those three in the lineup, they likely wouldn’t have touched this particular iteration of Team Canada, which was built not for sexy offensive flair, but rather for defensive tautness. But I digress. These are problems for Peter Forsberg and Tre Kronar, not for Torts.

More after the jump.

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Dean Arsene rocks a wicked beard during a 4-3 overtime loss in AHL action. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Heat – Comets photo gallery

The Utica Comets took consecutive overtime wins off the Abbotsford Heat this past weekend. Sadly I don’t have time to write anything pithy about the Heat’s current scoring woes (16 goals during three wins and seven losses in 2014), or Utica’s recent dominance in head-to-head matchups (six losses in a row and counting).

Dean Arsene rocks a wicked beard

Dean Arsene rocks a wicked beard. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

If there were time, it would be easy to point to Heat goaltender Joey MacDonald’s comical giveaway behind his own net on the tying goal late in the game, or to defenseman Chris Breen’s stick snapping in half at the opposition blueline, directly leading to Benn Ferriero’s game-winning goal.

But there isn’t. So after the jump, I’ll just share my Heat – Comets photo gallery.

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jokercard

Wild Card Hunting

jokercardWhen the Vancouver Canucks won their fourth straight game Sunday night, they did more than just beat the Colorado Avalanche. They moved into sole possession of the second and final Western Conference wild card spot.

Gone are the days these Canucks could bank on a post-season berth for steamrolling their sadsack Northwest Division brothers. Sure, the Oilers and Flames still stink like day-old skunk sandwiches, but in the realigned NHL, the Canucks have to catch one of Anaheim, LA or San Jose for a legitimate Pacific Division playoff spot.

The win was no easy feat. Sure, Vancouver has spanked the Avs over the past few years — losing just once in ten tries, and that was in extra time. But this year’s Avalanche look very different under head coach Patrick Roy. Ignoring that 8–2 loss to Edmonton the other night, Colorado has been one of the league’s eye openers this year. They’ve got ten road wins already, more than twice what they picked up last year and three more Ws than the Canucks have earned at home so far this year.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Canucks managed to hold the fort. When they took a 1–0 lead into the third period, those who had managed to stay awake through forty were pleasantly surprised. First Ryan Kesler donned the cape to double the lead, setting up a scoring chance from behind the net before shovelling in a rebound from the blue paint. Then Mike Santorelli sniped his second of the night, a gorgeous shot top cheese on a 2-on-1. (This shouldn’t shock anyone, as ‘Santorelli’ is of course Italian for ‘roof daddy’.)

More after the jump.

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Vancouver Canucks prospect Kellen Lain and Calgary Flames property Carter Bancks line up for a face-off in AHL action. Clint Trahan photo courtesy of the Abbotsford Heat.

Comets get icy reception, win anyway

Michael Ferland of the Abbotsford Heat knocks Utica Comets defenseman Kent Huskins off his feet with a single punch in AHL action. Clint Trahan photo courtesy of the Abbotsford Heat.

Michael Ferland of the Abbotsford Heat knocks Utica Comets defenseman Kent Huskins off his feet with a single punch in AHL action. Clint Trahan photo courtesy of the Abbotsford Heat.

The Abbotsford Heat find themselves worrying about the Vancouver Canucks affiliate Utica Comets.

They don’t need to concern themselves with a 3–2 decision to the lowly Comets on Friday night. Even after the loss, the Heat have won eight of their last ten games and sit in first overall in the AHL standings. The Comets, for their part, picked up just their fifth win of the year, and would not have done so without some serious heroics on the part of their goaltender. Under siege most of the night — including a third period that saw the Heat outshoot the Comets 13–2 — Joe Cannata made 35 saves for unanimous first star honours.

No, the Heat this season haven’t had to wring hands as they’ve done in the past about the number of pucks hitting the backs of the net. What they have worried about, though, is the ever-dwindling number of bums in seats at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre.

More after the jump.

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Goals Goals Goals!

Vancouver forward Dalton Sward collected an assist as  the Giants doubled up on the Seattle Thunderbirds 6-3 on Saturday night. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Vancouver forward Dalton Sward collected an assist as the Giants doubled up on the Seattle Thunderbirds 6-3 on Saturday night. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

We at Pucked in the Head encourage you to play the Mötley Crüe’s Girls Girls Girls at full volume during this post. We would have recorded a hockey version, but Harrison Mooney was busy mixing his Christmas album.

Vancouver was awash in red lights Saturday as the Giants and Canucks collectively exploded for a dozen goals in a single night. These are teams that have moved in opposite directions in the standings of late. The Canucks had lost five straight, scoring just six goals in that span. The Giants, on the other hand, had picked up points in six consecutive games. (In fact, since a disastrous 1-9 start to the season, the Giants have gone 10–4–3.) Their 6–3 win over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, coming on the strength of a four-goal second period, was their fourth home win in a row, and brought them to a .500 record for the first time in recent memory.

Jared Rathjen earned his third win of the season, stopping 24 of 27 shots; at the other end, Danny Mumaugh allowed five goals on 31 shots and was chased after forty minutes. Trace Elson scored his first career WHL goal, and completed the Gordie Howe hat trick with a first period fight and an assist in the third.

More after the break. 

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Miley the Cat

Just saying

Three things:

1) The Vancouver Canucks have started their season with a loss. Please refer to the last three years’ opening week articles about how this team will be just fine, and that we shouldn’t judge them based on the first ten games of the season.

2) Inside info from someone in the Abbotsford Heat organization (someone who doesn’t blow smoke unnecessarily): “This team has more talent, more passion and more speed than last year’s team. It’s going to be an exciting year in Abbotsford.” Listen to Heat games live on CIVL Radio or at 101.7 when you’re out in the valley. Schedule here.

3) Just saying:

Miley the Cat

Hockey’s back, baby

With the Vancouver Canucks just days away from training camp, players have slowly trickled into town. As they do, they’re hitting the ice at UBC for informal team skates, like the one Pucked in the Head hit up for some photos last week.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Jason Garrison lines up a hit — albeit at 25% — during an informal team skate at UBC's Father Bauer Arena. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Jason Garrison lines up a hit — albeit at 25% — during an informal team skate at UBC’s Father Bauer Arena. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

There’s not much to report — Luongo had yet to hit YVR, and David Booth came in skating and left answering media questions about hunting. Other than that, all I have to say is hockey’s back.

To wit, after the jump I’ve got something a little more tangible from the Vancouver Giants pre-season game at Bill Copeland Arena in Burnaby.

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Bo Horvat, 9th overall selection of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has his work cut out for him to convince YVR audiences that he was worth giving up Cory Schneider. Photo lifted from the CBC.

Samira Noor, Prospect Hunter

Samira Noor, seen here at Five Hole for Food, offers up her thoughts on the Canucks Prospects Scrimmage that took place a couple of Thursdays back. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Samira Noor, seen here at Five Hole for Food’s Vancouver finale, offers up her thoughts on the Canucks Prospects Scrimmage that took place a couple of Thursdays back. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

This month has been a remarkable one round these parts — after a couple of years of poor-to-middling weather, we’ve quite literally basked in a glorious summer so far this year. YVR didn’t have a single drop of rain in the month of July, which made the trek to Rogers Arena for the 2013 Canucks Prospects Scrimmage a particularly odd way to spend a Thursday afternoon. Still, thousands upon thousands of people did it, including Samira Noor (@ChaoticAppeal on the mighty Twitter), who filed this piece with Pucked in the Head. Be kind, folks. Jordan Subban broke her heart, dammit.

Prospector Samira Noor, reporting for duty

Without hesitation I willingly gave up the sunshine to sit in that cold, familiar arena for a small dose of summer hockey. Prospects — young players drafted and/or signed by the Vancouver Canucks — hit the ice to a hesitant cheer from a crowd, and immediately the whispers began.

“Who is [insert player number]?”

“His name is what? Why have I never heard of him before?”

“Where is Bo Horvat? I’m only here to see him.”

The state of confusion was shortlived, as everyone (including myself) trundled out their phones to pull up a roster list. Even then, a sense of familiarity sunk in with only a handful of players. Nicklas Jensen, 2011 Canucks draft pick and mini Great Dane, was the easiest to spot. His competitive glare made the scrimmage feel like a regular season game, and his ability to shuffle the puck through defensemen woke up the overly polite crowd.

Frankie Corrado quickly became another favourite, spending every free moment he had near the boards interacting with folks looking his way. A wink or two, a few cheeky grins, a couple of pucks flipped over the glass. Soon enough, he had people making signs for him on their iPads and pressing them against the glass competing for even a second of his attention. It wasn’t difficult. This guy was drinking it up.

More after the jump.

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