Tag:Vancouver Canucks
Posted on: December 9, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 1:52 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Flyers, Lightning meet again

By Brian Stubits

This could be interesting. For people who like boring hockey, this Saturday's game in Philadelphia could be just for you.

Now that we've really sold the game, let me clarify. This weekend the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers will meet for the second time this season. And for some reason, the first game was a bit memorable -- or forgettable, depending on your viewpoint.

Who can forget when the Flyers refused to play into the Lightning's 1-3-1 trap and the Lightning refused to forecheck? What resulted was the biggest stalemate heard 'round the hockey world. Since then there have been discussions about the validity of Tampa Bay's defensive system. Should it even be allowed?

Here's a refresher on what that looked like.

Of course that's all silly talk. It obviously isn't hurting teams from scoring against the Lightning. The Bolts enter the weekend have surrendered the third-most goals in the Eastern Conference.

I highly doubt we'll see a replay of that ugly display in Tampa Bay from earlier this season, especially if Peter Laviolette wises up and remembers he has arguably the most explosive offense in the game. It's not the time to over-coach when you have Claude Giroux on your team.

There were a lot of questions about the Flyers entering this season. Would Ilya Bryzgalov be the missing piece? Can Jaromir Jagr still perform at a high level? (The answers are still undetermined and unequivocally yes).

But the one that everybody wondered about the most was who, exactly, was going to replace the scoring load that was carried by Jeff Carter and Mike Richards? Some assumed it would be James van Riemsdyk, others thought Danny Briere. I think the most popular answer, though, would have been Claude Giroux.

Well those folks were right, but I'm not sure they knew how right they would be.

Not only is Giroux leading the Flyers in points (by 14, no less), he leads the entire NHL in that category, passing early leader Phil Kessel.

It's a bit insulting to call this a breakout season for Giroux, after all, he did have 76 points last season, but it is just that. His 16 goals through just 27 games already brings him within 10 his career-best 25 one season ago. He's on pace for close to 100 points.

Oh, and he's only 23 (he turns 24 in January).

So here's a bit of a plea to Laviolette: let your offense go. Teams aren't having trouble scoring against the Lightning (the goalies share a good chunk of that blame, too). That's a particularly good idea with Giroux around.

Then again ...

"We might sit there for four or five minutes at a time," Laviolette was quoted as saying.

Be prepared for another night of non-action.

Oh my Michalek

Phil Kessel has received a lot of the early season headlines for his goal scoring. Jonathan Toews and Steven Stamkos haven't been getting the same amount of pub, but people know about their scoring prowess too.

Alex Ovechkin has received a lot of talk too, but for his lack of goal scoring.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to take this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine, this time on the NHL's goal-scoring leader, Milan Michalek of the Ottawa Senators.

Maybe it's because he plays all the way up in Ottawa. Perhaps it's because the Senators had such low expectations this season. Whatever the reason, the player the Senators acquired in the Dany Heatley trade is blossoming into a major player and there's little attention being paid to him.

Michalek gets a bigger stage to make an impression on Saturday when the Sens will host the Vancouver Canucks on Hockey Night in Canada.

How Wild is this?

The Minnesota Wild are the best team in the NHL based on the standings. It's impossible to give them enough credit right now.

Especially when they head to Phoenix having won six games in a row and completing the California sweep for the first time in franchise history.

Before the season began, how many people really, truly believed that when these teams met on Dec. 9, they would both be in first place in their respective divisions? That's simply ... wild.

Is there any doubt who the front-runner is for the Jack Adams Award in the NHL right now? Sure, Kevin Dineen of the Panthers has to be in the conversation, but as of this moment it's clearly Mike Yeo on the Minnesota bench.

Not even injuries have been slowing his team down. Lose two goaltenders? No problem. Just call up Matt Hackett from the AHL to make his NHL debut and watch him go more than five periods before allowing a goal. Have a defense few people outside of Minnesota can't recognize? No worries. The Wild are still incredibly stingy when it comes to giving up goals.

Pretty soon, people won't be able to ignore the Wild, no matter how much they might try.

Return of the matinee (and Kaberle)

Now that the college football season is done -- seems as convenient a reason as any -- Saturday matinees are returning to the NHL schedule. Last week it was the Canadiens visiting the Kings. This week it's again the Canadiens, this time visiting the Devils.

The game will also be the debut of Tomas Kaberle with the Canadiens. After being traded to Montreal on Friday for Jaroslav Spacek, this will be Kaberle's first opportunity to change the minds of fans of his new team: that he doesn't stink.

That's going to be a hard task, considering the view of Kaberle league-wide is so low. You know it's bad when a GM who signed you a few months ago essentially admits to it being a mistake.

It's also big for Jacques Martin, the Habs coach. The talk surrounding his job security had died down after the Habs had appeared to right the ship, but it's starting to leak again. And with that, people are wondering about Martin's status once anew. Beating the Devils, a team they are battling with at the bottom of the playoff picture right now, would be a helpful start.

We're going streaking!

These are your streaks at play going into the weekend.

Flyers: The Flyers enter Saturday's game with the Bolts having won four straight.

Florida Panthers: People are still stunned by them, and they take a three-game run into Buffalo and then, if it survives, Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Winnipeg Jets: Yes, another Southeast Division team. The Jets are starting to make a push to stay relevant all season and have won three in a row. Their weekend consists of a game vs. the Hurricanes and at the Red Wings.

Wild: No team is playing better than Minnesota in the NHL. None. As mentioned, they head to Phoenix with a six-game win streak in hand.

Vancouver Canucks: Don't look now, but the defending Western Conference champs are starting to roll. Their streak is three games going into Ottawa.

Los Angeles Kings: They are the only team who come into the weekend with a losing streak in the works. They'll have a chance to snap that against the Stars on Saturday.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 8, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Kevin Porter suspended four games for kneeing

By Brian Stubits

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kevin Porter was suspended four games for his knee-to-knee hit on Vancouver Canucks forward David Booth from Tuesday night.

It was ugly, nasty and was a hit that has no place in hockey. Even worse, it resulted in Booth spraining his MCL and he'll miss the next 4-6 weeks as a result.

Here is the recap of the decision from discipline chief Brendan Shanahan.

This is the first time Shanahan has issued a suspension for kneeing, but if any was worth it, this was. As Shanahan points out, there were a couple of clear factors for the large suspension. First of all, Porter comes from a good ways with his leg fanned out. Secondly, Booth makes no alterations to his path that would lead to accidental contact or anything.

Booth's injury also played a role.

I'm pleasantly surprised. I was a bit skeptical that Shanahan would issue a suspension for this hit, but obviously he did. It was cheap and a message needed to be sent.

More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Leino, Porter have hearings with Shanahan

By: Adam Gretz

It appears that Brendan Shanahan's schedule is full. Again.

Not only does he have to deal with (we're assuming) Edmonton's Andy Sutton for his hit on Alexei Ponikarovsky during Wednesday's game, it's also been announced that Buffalo's Ville Leino and Colorado's Kevin Porter will have disciplinary hearings for seperate incidents over the past couple of days.

As always, it's important to keep in mind that a hearing does not mean a suspension is automatic, but it sure seems like it's possible.

Porter is being called in for his knee-on-knee hit against the Vancouver Canucks that resulted in David Booth being sidelined for the next four-to-six weeks with a sprained MCL. There was a debate as to whether or not he would face any supplemental discipline, and  the fact Booth is going to be out of the lineup for an extended period of time is not a positive development for Porter.

He was issued a five-minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing.

Leino, meanwhile, is having a hearing because of an elbow he delivered to the head of Philadelphia's Matt Read during the Sabres 5-4 overtime loss to the Flyers on Wednesday night. He was not penalized on the play, but when watching the video, it's not hard to see why Shanahan wants to have a word with him, as he deliberately stuck his elbow out and made contact with Read's head as he skated past him.



More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 7, 2011 8:54 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 8:57 pm
 

David Booth out 4-6 weeks with MCL Sprain

By: Adam Gretz

During their 6-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night, Vancouver Canucks forward David Booth was injured when he was on the receiving end of a knee-on-knee hit from Kevin Porter. Porter was issued a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct, and the discussion as to whether or not he'll face any discipline from the NHL has already started.

Booth, meanwhile, is going to miss an extended period of time as it was announced on Wednesday night by head coach Alain Vigneault that the forward has a sprained MCL and is expected to be out of the lineup for at least four-to-six weeks.

The Canucks acquired Booth earlier this season in a multi-player trade with the Florida Panthers, picking him up when his value was at its lowest point and taking the chance that he would regain his top-line form in Vancouver. After a slow start he had started to pick up his production in recent weeks with five points over his past six games, including a three-point effort during a 5-1 against the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

In 19 games since the trade he's scored five goals to go with 12 assists after recording just one assist in six games with the Panthers to open the season. He's scored at least 20 goals three times including a career-high 31 during the 2008-09 season.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 7, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 3:23 pm
 

Reviewing Kevin Porter's kneeing on David Booth

By Brian Stubits

On Sunday, Vancouver Canucks winger David Booth had one of his hits scrutinized, his collision with Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff in Vancouver's win. He was eventually cleared despite a lot of similarities to the hit that got the Predators forward Jordin Tootoo a two-game ban.

A game later and now a hit against Booth is going to get the ol' Shanahan review.

In the first period of Vancouver's 6-0 win over the Avalanche on Tuesday night, Booth was knocked out of the game after a knee-to-knee hit from the Avs' Kevin Porter. Here's a look at the play.

Porter was given a five-minute major and game misconduct. Worse, though, is the fact that Booth appeared to have sustained a bad injury on the play. He limped his way off the ice with help, unable to put much pressure down on his injured leg. MRIs are scheduled for Wednesday to determine the severity of the injury. Hopefully for Booth, it's just a situation of a bruised knee cap.

The question now turns to how many games will he be given in the form of a suspension, if any?

Keep in mind that so far, Shanahan has issued suspensions or fines for a lot of different dangerous plays, but none of them have been kneeing. So there isn't a precedent to speak of for Shanny on this one. Actually, there is a precedent, it's that he hasn't done anything with it in the past. There was a previous kneeing incident this season featuring Ryan Whitney of the Oilers taking out Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck. Nothing came of it.

They are both (referring to Porter's and Whitney's hits) dirty and, to me at least, are just about as bad as hits to the head. There is no place for this kind of play. I suppose you can argue that the kneeing is unintentional, but that's going to happen when you try and slide into the skater's path with bowed out legs.

If I were to venture a guess, I would say this like does not get Porter any additional punishment. Until I see an instance of kneeing being penalized by Shanahan, then I'll sing a different tune.

More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 7:22 pm
 

Miss Congeniality among 25 charged in Van. riots

By Brian Stubits

Nothing says Miss Congeniality like rioting, am I right?

From the stories you just can't make up section, here's a real whopper. The first round of charges have been filed for the rioting in the wake of the Vancouver Canucks' Stanley Cup loss last summer, and among the 25 people charged is a woman by the name of Sophie LaBoissonniere.

Other than a long and interesting (and I submit nice) name, why would anybody outside of the LaBoissonniere family care? Well, she just happened to be named Miss Congeniality in a beauty pageant. Really.

Here's a little more from the Daily Mail:

The beauty queen was allegedly among the mob that went Wild on June 15 in the city following the Vancouver Canucks’ defeat by the Boston Bruins in the cup.

She is also accused of being part of a group that broke into the London Drugs store that night, globaltvbc.com reports.

Naturally, this has brought out the cavalry in LaBoissonniere's defense, including Katherine Grefner, director of Miss World Canada.

"She's just an all-around good kid," Grefner told CTV.

I just don't see the need to rush to her, or anybody's defense on this. A lot of people did things they aren't proud of when they were young. Obviously this one might be a little bit more extreme than most, but it happened. Make your apology/pay your price and be done with it

And let us enjoy in the irony of the situation.

Photo: From LaBoissonniere's no-longer existing blog

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 4, 2011 11:44 pm
 

Flames goalies Karlsson, Kiprusoff run into

By Brian Stubits

We had more goalies being run into on Sunday night. Of course it happened between two teams that don't like each other all that much (you could probably say that about any pair of Canadian teams).

With the Vancouver Canucks cruising 5-1 over the Calgary Flames in the third period, there was an unfortunate accident that took Flames goalie Henrik Karlsson out.

On the play the Canucks' Jannik Hansen was driving to the net and being chased by Tom Kostopoulos. Both guys eventually go down and Kostopulous slid right into Karlsson who immediately began grabbing at what appeared to be his knee. Karlsson left the game after the hit and limped toward the locker room.

This was just an unfortunate accident, a little friendly fire. Seemed to be nothing more than a freak play leaving a player perhaps injured, we'll know more later how seriously.

But then Miikka Kiprusoff came on to relieve Karlsson and, wouldn't you know it, he was run into too.

This time the hit was actually levied by an opponent as David Booth tried to cross in front of the crease but was held up by Joe Piskula and was left with nowhere else to go. So he ran into Kiprusoff.

Of course, a melee ensued. The Flames were already being beat and lost a goalie from a hit, so they took exception to this one. Plus, it really didn't look good for Booth, who seemed to follow through the impact high. Granted, it looks worse than it was, but with the heightened sense of protection around the goalies right now, it will raise some eyebrows.

You just know that this will remain a hot topic until something is done about it. What, I'm not entirely sure. But there is a lot of clamoring for clarification of the rules if nothing else. Soon they will be protected with the same ferocity that we see in football with the quarterbacks.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Barry Trotz: 'Our games started being optional'

trotz1By: Adam Gretz

The Nashville Predators are fighting through a rough stretch right now, having lost five of their past six games and head into Vancouver on Thursday night to play the suddenly streaking Canucks, winners of five straight and eight of their past 10. Two trains that are, for the time being, headed in completely opposite directions.

Barry Trotz, the only coach the Predators have ever known, sounds as if he's starting to become a bit frustrated with his team's work ethic and had some strong words on Thursday afternoon for why their team skates are no longer optional.

Said Trotz, via Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province, “Our skates aren't optional anymore because our games started being optional.”

Under his watch the Predators have always been a team that's been praised for their work ethic, discipline and defensive structure. Through their first 24 games this season they've been out-shot 18 times and are giving up over 32 shots per game, the third-worst mark in the NHL, better than only Dallas and Phoenix. An obvious drop from recent years when the Predators have usually finished the season in the top-half of the league in terms of shots allowed.

The additional shots and chances are obvously creating more work for goaltender Pekka Rinne. A lot more, actually. Especially when you add in the fact he's started nearly every game the Predators have played this year.

The team has been riding Rinne all season and relying on him more than any other goaltending in the NHL. He's started 22 of the team's 24 games, and if is asked to continue at this pace would face one of the heaviest workloads of any goaltender over the past three decades.

He's been great, and they've needed him to be, because the offense has struggled, entering Thursday's game 18th in the NHL in goals-per-game, and having scored just 10 goals over the past six games.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

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