Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Japandroids: Not Nickelback, but not thrilling either

I like the Japandroids.  I really do.  So I want to like that "The House That Heaven Built" won the Canucks' cleverly-dubbed NU2 contest.  Of the six choices, they're the closest to my own personal taste in music (which isn't saying much given the possibilities).  But forgive me, local indie talent, I'm simply not convinced. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Luongo ties Broda in all-time shutouts, passes Hasek in games played

Unfortunately for anybody watching, it was a classic 1-0 game against the Predators last night in Nashville.  Fortunately for Roberto Luongo, it meant facing a season-low 23 shots for his second shutout in eight starts.  And in the process of blanking the Preds, he made two significant moves up the NHL's all-time goaltending lists.  Luongo simulatensouly tied Turk Broda for 15th overall in shutouts (62) and surpassed Dominik Hasek to enter the top 20 in games played (736).

Luongo remains behind Hasek in wins (344 to 389) and shutouts (62 to 81), however.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Canucks 3, Blackhawks 4 (SO): Hansen's elbow, Schneider's glove and holy crap Chicago's good this year

Post-game articles are not our forté at BTD (which I'm sure you could have gleaned from this article appearing two days after the fact).  But when you're a Canucks fan, games against the Blackhawks have this capacity for obsessive brooding, especially after a shootout loss. 

So for my own cathartic purpoes, three quick rambling thoughts I wanted to unload before tonight's contest against Dallas:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five years after Naslund, Henrik Sedin's 757th

A cross-crease one-timer to Burrows.  Poetic justice at its finest.  Henrik's 757th point to pass Markus Naslund could not have been achieved on a more fitting play.  After receiving the puck from Daniel, he unleashes one of those seeing-eye passes off the rush, landing right on the tape through a maze of sticks.  It's what we've come to expect from the captain in his historic tenure here. 

Henrik achieved the feat in his 905th game, 21 more than Naslund

Friday, February 15, 2013

[Video] Best of Manny Malhotra and the Canucks

Companion video to BTD's article on Malhotra's season-ending IR placement.  From his first goal as a Canuck to his Finals return in 2011, here are his five most memorable moments in Vancouver:

* Update: For commentary on all five highlights from Daniel Wagner, see this video featured on Pass It To Bulis and on Canucks Army's "Afternoon Headshots"! *

All the best, Manny.


Gillis on Malhotra: 'The hardest thing I have done'

When it was announced yesterday that Mike Gillis was shutting Manny Malhotra down for the season, even the most positive-minded among us could put the decision into context.  In the last year of his contract and his performance in sharp decline since his eye injury, it can be fairly assumed that Malhotra played his last game as a Canuck last Saturday against Calgary.  And as ubiquitously respected as the centreman is around the league, when your general manager declares that he cannot with a straight conscience let you play, the chances of another team signing you on is bleak.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Henrik within four points of Canucks history

Despite being held pointless in Thursday night's win against the Minnesota Wild, Henrik Sedin sits within four points of passing Markus Naslund (756 points) for the Canucks' all-time record.  And with Vancouver kicking off a four-game stand at Rogers Arena tonight, Canucks fans are treated with the strong possibility Henrik will become the most prolific player in team history on home ice.

Henrik's pending record, representing the sheer longevity of his value to the Canucks, comes on the heels of another major individual achievement on the team.  When Chris Tanev scored the most dramatic first NHL goal in recent memory earlier this week, the team and, by extension, the entire city was compelled to celebrate the young defenceman.

As far as NHL firsts go, Tanev's goal had a noticeably added flavour to it.  Playing in his third NHL season, the milestone was a long time in the making.  (Mind you, he achieved the goal in just his 63rd NHL game.). Because Tanev's value to the team had been established so much earlier than his first goal, the milestone yielded that extra level of deservedness.

Now compare Tanev's three-ish years to Henrik's career of service to the Canucks and you can begin to imagine what kind of recognition is due for Vancouver's captain when he eclipses Naslund.  Nevermind that he is mired in a slump of two points in the last six games.  Canucks fans are notoriously incapable of looking beyond a player's most recent performance, a fact that might shed light on the complete lack of media coverage regarding Henrik's forthcoming record.

Two strong games could see Henrik overtake Naslund's
franchise-high 756 career points.

This is one of those rare instances that an achievement can summarize all of a player's contributions to a team.  In this case, Henrik's inevitable 757th point might call to mind an Art Ross, a Hart, countless divisional titles and a run to the Finals.  Canucks fans have the opportunity to tangibly celebrate the era of success that both Henrik and Daniel have led in this city.

And while all the pomp and glamour and attention just seems so... un-Henrik, Vancouver owes him the melodrama that these kinds of achievements warrant.  Anything less would be an insult.

So whether it's a tap-in to Burrows or a one-timer to Edler, make the 757th one memorable, Vancouver.  Four to go and counting.


Monday, February 04, 2013

Top 5 Plays of the Month | January 2013

New CBA in hand, January began with a renewed purpose to sit for hours in front of the television.  As far as first months of the season typically go for the Canucks, Schneider's Luongo's team was not half bad.  With a 48-game season, much had been said about the Canucks not being able to afford their usual sluggish start.

After an unclimactic and severely embarassing home opener, it seemed like that's the direction Vancouver was headed.  A final January record of 3-2-2 isn't going to do much to change the team's reputation, but signs of life abound for the reigning Presidents' Trophy winners, nonetheless.

The Canucks' first month was highlighted by 5-0 and 3-0 wins against the Ducks (returning the favour for their home opener) and Avalanche, respectively.  With a different goalie in net for each win, Schneider and Luongo's matching shutouts reflected the month's central storyline in Vancouver.  Whose team is this?

For the first time since the tandem was established, the pressure is squarely on Schneider to perform and it's Luongo who's playing with nothing to lose.  With the exception of Schneider's shutout against Anaheim, it shows.

As pervasive as the crease drama continues to be, however, goaltending wasn't the only emerging storyline in Vancouver to start the year.  It's been nine months since the Canucks' first-round exit, but playoff Edler is still here.  And judging by Jason Garrison's play, he's contagious.  Meanwhile, Mason Raymond actually looks like he could score 25 goals in this league again.  And finally, Zack Kassian.  (No explanation necessary.)

As a 3-2-2 record suggests, you take the good with the bad.  Luckily, if there's one place Edler can play defence, it's in BTD's Top 5 Plays of the Month.  January edition.  Enjoy!


Friday, February 01, 2013

Sedins look to snap rare streak vs. Keith and company

With 10 points between them through the first four games of the season (6 for Daniel, 4 for Henrik), the Sedins produced pretty much as we've come to expect for the past half decade.  Since then, however, the twins have been pointless in three consecutive contests against the Sharks, Kings and Avalanche.

Besides retribution against Keith,
Daniel should look to snap he and
Henrik's current 3-game pointless slide.
Preparing for their rematch against Duncan Keith's elbow tonight, the Sedins are faced with the exceedingly rare prospect of going four straight games without a point.  The scenario is as inconceivable as either Sedin actually seeking retribution against Keith tonight.  (Though Dustin Brown might be quick to argue.) 

Daniel and Henrik have gone on similar pointless streaks, individually, since hitting their prime.  But the prevalence of neither of them recording a point for an extended span?

Imagine that both Sedins are held off the scoresheet once more tonight.  It would mark just the fourth time since the last lockout that they have gone four straight games without a point (details below).  Playoffs, notwithstanding.  That accounts for seven full seasons.

As far as other contemporary duos in the NHL go, that has got to be an unprecedented statistic.  Sure, the Sedins have been overshadowed in that seven-year span by, say... Spezza-Heatley, Perry-Getzlaf or currently, Thornton-Marleau.  But none of those combinations have been as consistent over as long a period of time as the Sedins.

The genetic advantage, no doubt.

Nonetheless, current circumstances rank near the very bottom of the Sedins' capacity as one chromosomally-mashed-up unit.  In the trio of instances in which they have both gone four-or-more games without a point, the Canucks are 6-8-0.  Over the current 48-game schedule, Vancouver can't afford sub-.500 play.  As it has so customarily been the case, that's up to the Sedins.  And against the 6-0-1 Blackhawks, it starts tonight.

Sedins' pointless streaks of 4-or-more-games since 2005–06
*March 1–10, 2012 (STL, BUF, DAL, WPG, MTL; Canucks record: 2-3)
*March 10–15, 2008 (LAK, ANA, PHX, DAL; Canucks record: 2-2)
*April 13–21, 2007 (Playoffs, games 2–6 vs. DAL; Canucks record: 2-3)