Tag:Vancouver Cancuks
Posted on: April 27, 2011 2:01 am
Edited on: April 27, 2011 3:35 am

Blackhawks fall, but don't disappoint

Failing to make the playoffs could have been an embarrassment for the Chicago Blackhawks since they would have joined the Carolina Hurricanes and the New Jersey Devils as the only teams over the last 15 years to miss the playoffs a season after winning the Stanley Cup. 

This exit --- sealed with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 --- is hardly that.  Despite the fact the ‘Hawks were forced to cede some of their best players -- including Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Antti Niemi -- due to salary cap restrictions and pushed an untested goalie into the fray, Chicago still fell to within a goal of advancing anyway. 

Not bad for a Chicago team who entered as the No. 8 seed that faced a Vancouver squad fresh off its first Presidents’ Trophy.

The Blackhawks weren't hanging their heads, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers reports:

Tired and saddened, Toews was asked to sum up the incredible 13 days. He paused. 

“We’ve had some good series in the past, but I have to say that’s been the best one,” he said. “We never gave up. You have to feel like it’s meant to be when you get to that point. You have to think it’s going to go your way and when it doesn’t … I can’t believe what just happened. There was no doubt in my mind we were going to win this game coming into it.” 

The Hawks’ bid to become the fourth team to advance in a best-of-7 series despite losing the first three games ended when Alex Burrows scored in OT. The goal came less than five minutes after Canucks goalie Roberto Lungo robbed Chicago’s Patrick Sharp on a power-play attempt.

While Luongo exorcised some demons against a team he lost seven of the previous 18 playoff contests against, the Blackhawks weren’t lacking in net --- especially as the series progressed. Rookie Corey Crawford had 36 saves in Game 7, six more than Luongo. Crawford even stopped a Burrow’s penalty shot 21 seconds into the third period, a stop that allowed Jonathan Toews to force OT with a goal later in the period. 

The Chicaog Tribune's Brian Hamilton reports that Crawford sounded like anything but a novice after the game:

"It's tough to lose in overtime," Crawford said. "I felt we could have won it in overtime. When you're a goalie, and when you give up a goal in overtime like that, it's hard to take. I wasn't really thinking about the saves or anything like that right after they scored."

Crawford had his moments all throughout the game but spiked the angst in western Canada in the third period specifically. First, with the Canucks holding a tenuous 1-0 lead, he denied Burrows on a penalty shot wrister just 21 seconds into the final period to revitalize his club.

"Same thing I always do, just get out there and close the gap on him and read and react," Crawford said. "He's a shooter, so I was ready for a quick shot like that."

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 10, 2011 11:07 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 4:31 pm

NHL Playoffs: Western Conference breakdown

No. 1 Vancouver Canucks vs. No. 8 Chicago Blackhawks 

Season series: Chicago 2-2 ; Vancouver 2-1-1

Player to watch: Daniel Sedin, F, Vancouver Canucks. The twin of last year's Hart Trophy winne, Henrik, turned in another stellar regular season, leading the league in points (104) and assists (75). He’s averaged better than a point per game over the last two postseasons. 

X-factor: The Blackhawks’ energy level. The Blackhawks, like any Stanley Cup winner, had the shortest summer in hockey. Celebrations, a day with the Cup and all the ancillary rewards can take their toll. Then you lose a good chunk of the team via salary cap moves and you struggle to remain a contender all season. Chicago eventually needed a Dallas Stars loss Sunday to make it in. Let’s see what they have left. 

Game 1 - Wednesday (10 p.m.) Chicago at Vancouver                
Game 2 - Friday (10 p.m.)  Chicago at Vancouver                
Game 3 - April 17  (8 p.m.) Vancouver at Chicago                
Game 4 - April 19 (8 p.m.) Vancouver at Chicago                            
*Game 5 - April 21 (10 p.m.) Chicago at Vancouver                
*Game 6 - April 24 (8 p.m.) Vancouver at Chicago                
*Game 7 - April 26 (TBD) Chicago at Vancouver                

No. 2 San Jose Sharks vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Kings

Season series: Los Angeles 3-3-0; Jose Sharks 3-1-2

Player to watch: Joe Thornton, F, San Jose Sharks. Thornton took only a couple faceoffs over the last five games of the regular season, although the center said on a conference call with reporters that could change in the playoffs. (As is the case, nobody is calling the move off the faceoff dot was caused by an injury.) He scored his 1000th NHL point earlier this weekend and had 70 points (21 goals and 49 assists) this season. 

X-factor: The Kings’ offense. Los Angeles lost its two top scorers -- Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams -- in closing weeks of the regular season. It’ll be up to Dustin Brown, Ryan Smyth and Dustin Penner to pick up the slack. 

Schedule:   Game 1 - Thursday (10 p.m.) Los Angeles at San Jose                
Game 2 - Saturday (10 p.m.) Los Angeles at San Jose                
Game 3 - April 19 (10:30 p.m.)  San Jose at Los Angeles                
Game 4 - April 21 (10:30 p.m.) San Jose at Los Angeles                
*Game 5 - April 23 (10:30 p.m.) Los Angeles at San Jose                
*Game 6 - April 25 (TBD) San Jose at Los Angeles                
*Game 7 - April 27 (TBD)  Los Angeles at San Jose                

No. 3 Detroit Red Wings vs. No. 6 Phoenix Coyotes

Season series: Detroit, 2-1-1; Phoenix 2-0-2

Player to watch: Shane Doan, F, Phoenix Coyotes. The last Winnipeg Jets player left on the Coyotes missed the final four games with a separated shoulder when these two teams clashed in the first round a season ago. He was the Coyotes’ only 20-goal scorer this season and led the team with 60 points. 

X-factor: Will Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg make it back? He missed the final two regular season games with a lower body injury, and coach Mike Babcock told reporters Sunday that he doesn’t expect him back for the start of the series. He led the Wings with 80 points (24 goals and 56 assists). 

Game 1 - Wednesday (7 p.m.) Phoenix at Detroit                
Game 2 - Saturday (1 p.m.) Phoenix at Detroit                
Game 3 - April 18 (10:30 p.m.)  Detroit at Phoenix                
Game 4 - April 20 (10:30 p.m.) Detroit at Phoenix                
*Game 5 - April 22 (7 p.m.) Phoenix at Detroit                
*Game 6 - April 24 (TBD) Detroit at Phoenix                
*Game 7 - April 27 (TBD) Phoenix at Detroit                                          

No. 4 Anaheim Ducks vs. No. 5 Nashville Predators

Season series: Anaheim 1-3-1;  Nashville 3-1-0

Player to watch: Corey Perry, F, Anaheim Ducks. He’s the only player to reach 50 goals this season. Sure, he plays on arguably the best line in hockey, but he did have to carry things when Ryan Getzlaf was out about a month with a sinus fracture.

X-factor: The Ducks’ goalie situation. Dan Ellis, acquired before the deadline from the Tampa Bay Lightning, could be the starter by default. Starter Jonas Hiller returned for one game (March 24) after a 15-game absence due to vertigo and went on to miss the final eight games. Ray Emery suffered a lower body injury in the penultimate game of the season and his status is also not clear for the playoffs. It's certainly not nearly as stable as Nashville, who have a Vezina candidate, Pekka Rinne, healthy in net. 

Game 1 - Wednesday (10:30 p.m.)  Nashville at Anaheim                          
Game 2 - Friday (10:30 p.m.) Nashville at Anaheim                          
Game 3 - April 17 (TBD) Anaheim at Nashville                
Game 4 - April 20 (TBD) Anaheim at Nashville                
*Game 5 - April 22 (10 p.m.) Nashville at Anaheim                
*Game 6 - April 24 (TBD) Anaheim at Nashville                        
*Game 7 - April 26 (TBD) - Nashville at Anaheim   

* - if necessary 

All times Eastern
Posted on: April 7, 2011 5:08 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2011 5:11 pm

Raffi Torres' suspension stretches into playoffs

Raffi Torres wasn't just given the standard two-game ban for his blindside head hit. 

Possibly tied to his comments that questioned the direction of NHL's push to limit head hits, the league suspended the Vancouver Canucks forward for his team's final two regular season games along with the first two games of the playoffs on Thursday. 

The suspension comes two days after Torres elbowed Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle on the side of the head. The third-period collision drew a major penalty and a game misconduct. Here's a look at the hit. Eberle wasn't hurt on the play. 

After Tuesday's game, Torres was hardly repentant. 

“If they are trying to get rid of clean hits like that, what’s this league going to be in a couple of years?,” Torres told the Vancouver Sun

Torres will forgo $10,752.68 in salary for the two regular season games he'll miss.

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 6, 2011 5:50 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 5:53 pm

Torres to speak with NHL officials over hit

Vancouver Canucks forward Raffi Torres will reportedly speak to NHL officials Thursday for the hit he delivered to the side of Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle’s head. 

The conference call, the Vancouver Sun reports, likely means Torres faces a one or two-game ban. The Canucks have two games left in the regular season. 

The collision took place late in the Oilers' 2-0 victory on Tuesday. (Here’s a look at the hit.) Eberle was not injured on the play and is expected to be in the lineup as the Oilers take on the Calgary Flames Wednesday night. 

“I was in a pretty vulnerable position reaching for the puck and I think he blindsided me a little bit,” Eberle told the newspaper. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a concussion. Sometimes you feel symptoms the next day, but my head is fine. Maybe there’s nothing in there."

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 6, 2011 12:37 am
Edited on: April 6, 2011 12:48 am

Canucks' Torres ejected for elbow to head

Vancouver Canucks forward Raffi Torres could very well become the latest NHL player suspended for a blindside hit to an opponent’s head. 

Torres elbowed Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle in the head during the third period on Tuesday. Along with getting confronted by Oilers forward Ryan O’Mara, Torres also received a major elbowing penalty and a game misconduct to go along with a fighting major. 

Eberle popped right back up and remained in the game, a contest the Oilers won, 2-0. 

This is the kind of hit that will certainly be reviewed by the NHL and Torres could be front and center in a conference call with league officials on Wednesday. Torres faces the standard two-game ban, which will effectively keep him out the rest of the regular season. 

Torres, however, didn't feel like he did anything out of bounds. 

“It was a fine hit, I was finishing my hit and he had his head down,” Torres told the Vancouver Sun. “We were both going for the puck, I have to finish my hits.

“If they are trying to get rid of clean hits like that, what’s this league going to be in a couple of years?”


-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: March 29, 2011 3:32 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 3:41 pm

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

Manny Malhotra may not have had to travel across the continent to see a surgeon in New York had the Vancouver Canucks center used one piece of equipment. 

A visor. 

The thin piece of shatterproof plastic likely would have absorbed the errant puck that struck his left eye in a game two weeks ago. The injury ended his season and could very well endanger his career --- not to mention his enjoyment of life after hockey. 

Unlike helmets that became mandatory more than 30 years ago, visors are an option in the NHL. It doesn’t help when wearing a visor is seen as a less macho in a sport that’s all about toughness. That stigma has waned in recent years, but there may be a good portion who still thinks like CBC commentator Don Cherry. He infamously said during a broadcast seven years ago that “most of the guys that wear them are Europeans or French guys."

Fortunately, a survey conducted last season by The Hockey News shows the younger players get it. The review found 65% of players 30 and younger wear a visor. It also showed that only 45% of players 30 and older do. 

“It’s tough to see the injuries like the one to Manny Malhotra,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson, one of the last players to play minus a helmet, told CBSSports.com in a Q&A. ”We recommend and encourage our players to wear shields. I wish they all would. All parties involved should be looking out for the players’ best interests.”  

Visors are already mandatory in the American Hockey League and in international play. Is it time the NHL follows suit? Or will this be another missed opportunity -- like when Bryan Berard had his career altered by a stick to the eye in 2000 -- to keep another player from suffering the same scary operation similar to the one Mahlotra underwent today?

-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 5:20 pm

Canucks' Manny Malhotra out for season

Vancouver Canuck forward Manny Malhotra will miss the rest of the season due to the eye injury he sustained in a game last week, the club announced Monday. 

“Following an initial procedure and continued treatment it has been determined through consultation with team doctors and specialists that Manny Malhotra will not return to the Canucks lineup for the remainder of this regular season and playoffs,” the Canucks said in a news release.

Malhotra, 30, was injured during Wednesday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche when a puck hit him in the left eye. He underwent surgery, but the Canucks have not released the specific injury Malhotra sustained. The team said in an email Monday that it would have no further comment. 

Malhotra, like his stops in Columbus and San Jose, was respected in the locker room in Vancouver. He’s a faceoff specialist and was one of the Canucks top penalty killers this season. He had 11 goals and 19 assists this season. 

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Category: NHL
Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:25 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 8:50 am

Morning Skate: Canucks, Sharks don't disappoint

An overtime with only four skaters per side, the shootout and the date were the only elements that ruined the illusion Thursday's Vancouver Canucks-San Jose Sharks tilt wasn't a playoff game. 

The Sharks, who trailed by two goals early, tied the game on three occasions -- the last with 20.3 seconds left as Ryane Clowe's one-timer beat Cory Schneider as his counterpart, Antti Niemi, sat in favor of the extra attacker. (It was actually 6-on-4 since the Sharks were on the power play.) The Canucks won the game, 5-4, as Schneider was perfect in the shootout and Vancouver's Alex Burrows scored the only goal. 

For two teams who could meet in the postseason for the first time, it didn't get much better for the second week of March. 

“It really was (a playoff vibe),” Sharks captain Joe Thornton told reporters after the game. “These are two really good teams. We're on our end still fighting for our playoff lives, so we need to get as many points as we can. The atmosphere was great and it was an exciting game to be a part of.”

The Pacific Division-leading Sharks pulled within a point of Detroit Red Wings, who sit second in the Western Conference. Still, the Sharks are also seven points away from falling to ninth place and out of playoff picture. 

Vancouver, meanwhile, has won four in a row and remains seven points ahead of Philadelphia in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. 

Schneider again showed he's not a bad second option as starter Robert Luongo rested. He made 44 saves, probably none better than when Clowe directed a crossing pass that Schneider somehow got his right pad on early in OT. It was one of his nine saves in the extra frame as the Canucks, who have the second-best best penalty kill in the NHL, snuffed out a Ryan Kesler high-sticking penalty. 

"Tonight you could say they were the better team on the ice," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault told The Associated Press. "But at the end of the night, our goaltender kept us in the game and we found a way to win."

Line Changes
  • Injured Max Pacioretty joins Twitter
  • Eye on Hockey: Habs owner critical on NHL
  • Eye on Hockey: Bettman defends Chara decision
  • Eye on Hockey:Kubina suspended 3 games
  • Blues' Halak beats former club

  • THORNTON, SEDIN WEIGH IN: Thornton may have a little ax to grind when it comes to the team he traded him. Henrik Sedin, the usually soft-spoken Vancouver Canucks captain, doesn't wade into controversies often. 

    But before Thursday game, each came to the same conclusion: The NHL got it wrong by not suspending Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara for his check that led to the scary injuries to Montreal's Max Pacioretty. Here are Thornton's comments via The Vancouver Sun.

    “It's just something with Boston; it seems like they have a horse shoe,” Thornton said. “There's just something about Boston and the disciplinary (decisions) are on their side. I'm not sure why that is or anything. I'm not assuming that Colin's kid being on the team, that's why.”

    That was Thornton's not-so-subtle jab at league disciplinarian Colin Campbell, whose son, Gregory, plays for the Bruins. It was his second in command, Mike Murphy, who made the call not to fine or suspend Chara as Campbell recused himself. 

    Thornton's comments weren't exactly a hit in Boston. 

    “Win a big game when it counts,” Boston TV analyst Mike Milbury retorted. 

    Sedin, however, backed up Thornton’s sentiments and said the fact that Chara isn't considered a dirty play should not have entered into Murphy's decision like it did. 

    “Exactly,” Sedin said. “What are you doing to do the next time Trevor Gillies comes down and runs a guy into the thing? You can't give him anything. And you tell the guys (Chara) has no history, so the next time he does it he still has no history because he didn't get suspended. I don't see the reasoning behind it. Give him at least something to show that's not acceptable.”

    Buffalo 4, Boston 3 (OT)
    Philadelphia 3, Toronto 2 
    Ottawa  2, Florida 1 
    Nashville 4, Minnesota 0 
    St. Louis 4, Montreal 1
    Phoenix 3, Calgary 0 
    Vancouver 5, San Jose 4 (SO)
    CBSSports.com playoff tracker

    Photo: Getty Images

    The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com