Drew Doughty, that fella wearing number eight for the Los Angeles Kings is about to add ‘Conn Smythe winner’ to his resume. This will sit nicely beside ‘two-time Olympic gold medallist’, ‘two-time Stanley Cup champion’, ‘Norris trophy nominee’ and ‘filthy, stinkin’ rich cat who let’s face it ought to be able to afford better hair care’.
Godawful facial growth aside, Doughty is every bit the MVP, anchoring the back end of the most feared defense in the land. At just 24, he’s got credentials among active NHLers only rivalled by countrymen Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby. Barring injury, and assuming he doesn’t get bored, he’ll have built a Hall of Fame career long before he hits the traditional defenseman’s peak of 30 years old.
Fans in Vancouver are predictably blasé about the NHL playoffs; the Canucks have missed the post-season for the first time since 2008, and YVR hockey fans aren’t exactly renowned for loving the game so much as their team. (Case in point: the Abbotsford Heat are shutting up shop at the conclusion of their playoff run after years of decreasing returns in the Valley. People out thisaway are so scared of Calgary Flames cooties they’ve refused to see professional puck for $20.)
We at Pucked in the Head believe in celebrating the game, even when our local team comes up lame. Here are Jason’s picks for this year’s post-season. He’s so concussed by the ascension of Zack Kassian and the retirements of Teemu Selanne and Ryan Smythe — not to mention the bizarre first-round matchups determined by the NHL’s new wild card system — that he’s thumbing for Stanley Cup supremacy… the San Jose Sharks (!?!?!?!)
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’.)
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.
Props to rookie goaltender Reto Berra, who picked up a win in his very first NHL start, in overtime over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks no less. He made 42 saves on 44 shots — that’s a .955 save percentage, earned against the likes of Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews.
Not too shabby, Mr Berra. Keep that up, and something tells me this Abbotsford Heat paint job might need a flaming C or two thereupon.
In an age of hyper marketing, intense competition and tightly controlled PR, it’s amazing that truly horrible ideas can still make it past the brainstorming stage. Whether it’s the nightmare of design by committee or just a conflagration of mediocre talents pulling the wool over the eyes of out of touch rich CEOs, we occasionally see awful designs rolled out in an underwhelming explosion of anticlimax. Today, we analyze the most recent NHL obscenity with the resurrection of Somebody Approved This.
One month ago today, the Anaheim Ducks warned the world that they hated us all. Instead of disconnecting our cable, building shelters and indiscriminately hooking up with old flames, it seems that hundreds of people instead lined up to purchase a retro maroon Mighty Ducks of Anaheim jersey. You say you don’t remember, but you do: it’s the one replete with angled grey stripes and Disney’s duck-faced Jason mask.
During tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators, the Ducks will wear these abomaroonations, play early 90s music, and charge just 93 cents for popcorn, candy and soft drinks. That’s right, folks, today you can look bad, sound worse and develop type two diabetes — all for a single greenback!
More, including the always-entertaining Withers Haiku, after the break. Continue reading →
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.
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.
Here’s episode 53 of the Pucked in the Head podcast, in which Chris admits to having “pale delicate skin that blisters easily” but makes up for it by calling Jason out on several vocabulary errors. Oh, and we also talk hockey.
As many of you have observed, Chris and I don’t have much of a track record when it comes to laying down podcast tracks. Thus, when we do manage to throw one together it’s a bloody miracle of the first order. We hope you enjoy!
• Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
• WTF is a ‘Metropolitan Division’?
• Do you know Conn Smythe’s full name?
• Wherefore art thou Ilya?
• Time to wrap it up
• Time for a Change by the Orchid Highway
• Thanks for Listening