Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Sainthood Awaits

Apparently, Trevor Linden is on the Pope's shortlist for sainthood.

Getting his #16 retired is a great honor for a wonderful human being especially for someone whose career was basically that of Wendel Clark West with the
added bonus of not choking in Conference Finals. Of course, in this town to suggest Trevor was anything but average will probably bring the Spanish Inquisition around to my door.

Beam me up, Captains Kirk and Trev!

I'll just let the stats speak for themselves then:
Trevor Linden (drafted #2 overall by the Vancouver Canucks)
regular season: 1382 GP, 375 G, 867 pts, -64
playoffs: 134 GP, 34 G, 99 pts, +7
Canada/World Cups + Olympics: 14 GP, 1G, 3 pts
All-Star Games: 2
Team honors: Stanley Cup Finals (1994)
Int'l team honors: World Cup Final (1996)

The "other" 1st rd stars of the draft class of 1988
Mike Modano (drafted #1 overall by the Minnesota North Stars)
regular season: 1343 GP, 537 G, 1300 pts, +136
playoffs: 174 GP, 58 G, 145 pts, -1
Canada/World Cups + Olympics: 36 GP, 7 G, 21 pts
All-Star Games: 6
All-Star Teams: 99/00 2nd team
Team honors: Stanley Cup (1999), Finals (1991 + 2000)
Int'l team honors: World Cup winner (1996), Olympic silver medal (2002)

Jeremy Roenick (drafted #8 overall by the Chicago Blackhawks)
regular season: 1345 GP, 510 G, 1349 pts, +156
playoffs: 148 GP, 53 G, 121 pts, +22
Canada/World Cups + Olympics: 18 GP, 5 G, 12 pts
All-Star Games: 9
Team honors: Stanley Cup Finals (1992)
Int'l team honors: Olympic silver medal (2002)

Rod Brind'Amour (drafted #9 overall by the St. Louis Blues)
regular season: 1349 GP, 434 G, 1128 pts, -4
playoffs: 141 GP, 50 G, 107 pts, +12
Canada/World Cups + Olympics: 13 GP, 2 G, 6 pts
All-Star Games: 1
Team honors: Stanley Cup (2006) + Finals (1997)
Int'l team honors: World Cup Final (1996)

Teemu Selanne
(drafted #10 overall by the Winnipeg Jets)
regular season: 1092 GP, 565 G, 1181 pts, +87
playoffs: 92 GP, 31 G, 66 pts, -10
Canada/World Cups + Olympics: 41 GP, 25 G, 46 pts
All-Star Games: 10
All-Star Teams: 92/3 + 96/7 1st team, 97/8 + 98/9 2nd team
Top NHL goal scorer: 76 G (92/3), 52 G (97/8), 47 (98/9)
NHL scoring: 109 pts (96/7 runner-up)
Team honors: Stanley Cup (2007)
Int'l team honors: Olympic silver medal (2006) + bronze medal (1998), World Cup Final (2004)

Hopefully, the day will come when the greatest Canuck player will get the same honor but I feel that once spurned, there is little love for the most exhilarating player to ever lace 'em up here. Then again Pavel Bure is not a "humanitarian" who fell in love with the city or its people. In his defence, Vancouver isn't Moscow no matter how many times the term "world-class" is mentioned and let's just say the Trevor and the Pavel are coming from oposite ends of the spectrum. Not everyone can fall in love with Vancouver, right, Don Cherry?

So I'm betting the next number you will see hanging from the rafters will be Roberto Luongo's #1 which will hopefully mean the Canucks do indeed win a Cup in his (and any of our) lifetime(s). Otherwise, if Luongo's #1 gets retired here and there's no Cup to show for that, I feel extremely sorry for this "world-class" athlete not to have achieved the ultimate crown such goaltending luminaries as Cam Ward, Mike Vernon, Chris Osgood and the Michelin Man of Anaheim have in their trophy cases.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Breath Of Fresh Canuck Air

The Canucks had a rough road trip going 2-6 and Cory Schneider has shown so far he's really not quite ready for primetime yet. That and Roberto Luongo's setback in practice meant it was all doom and gloom. Then came last night's strong second period comeback vs. one of the NHL's hottest goalies, Craig Anderson, and a 5-3 win over the Florida Panthers.

This coming three days before Trevor Linden Night on Wed., Dec. 17, vs. Edmonton means the team is in a good state heading into this "event" of the winter for the cult followers of our Trev.

Yet here comes Darcy Hordichuk letting slip that maybe this year's team is a bit more of a team. Certainly you do notice the youngsters are stepping up without the old guard (Linden, Naslund and Morrison) around but Hordichuk's comments are quite refreshing. Here's the quote (thank you, Vancouver Sun):
"We need energy and we're having fun out there. Everybody gets everybody going by having a little bit of a celebration. I think when Trevor Linden was here not too many guys were celebrating or were allowed to. It's all about fun and when we're winning we're having fun."

Read into that what you will, but isn't it great to actually hear at least one person not drinking the Linden Kool-Aid.

Drink up, Trev fans!

So, Darcy Hordichuk, just to let you know, there are fans out here who are definitely in your corner. We love seeing emotion and passion which is why Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burows also rank up there in our books. So celebrate those big goals as Alexander Ovechkin-like as you like.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sticks And Stones May Get You A Few Games But Words...

So, apparently, I support a sport where players have the freedom to say whatever they like on the ice (or from the bench to be more exact), but come up with a brilliant/stupid way to insult both your ex-girlfriend and your opponent (apparently Dion Phaneuf's mini-Bill Cowher appendage meets Heath Ledger look with his ode to Depeche Mode were off-limits) in a sound bite and you sit for six games.

This is sloppy seconds?

Let's review the 2008/09 NHL standard:

6-game suspension + anger management sessions
Sean Avery (Dallas)
Flapping his gums on TV

5-game suspension
Oct. 11
Michael "Don't Call Me Mike" Peca (Columbus)
Abuse of officials

2-game suspension + 3-game suspension
Oct. 6 + Oct. 15
Ryan Hollweg (Toronto)
The 2-gamer from an Oct. 6 incident where he got his third career game misconduct for checking from behind proved to be just the lesson he needed. Maybe just nine days later he picks up another game misconduct for the same thing and is suspended again. Yet strangely no suspension for a bad impersonation of a third-rate John Belushi clone.

3-game suspensions
Oct. 8
Ben Eager (Chicago)
Swinging his stick at Avery (Eager's girlfriend was also sloppy seconds?)

Nov. 10
Tom Kostopoulos (Montreal)
Boarding Mike Van Ryn (and to appease NHL announcers who get him confused with Chris Kotsopoulus) who's out until mid-December because of said hit

Nov. 24
John Zeiler (Los Angeles)
Boarding an Av of note (this just in: Adam Foote is still alive and has not joined the poker tour just yet) which Zeiler blames on his unlucky #13 jersey and for his name sounding too much like a certain ex-NHL president

2-game suspensions
Oct. 17
Daniel Carcillo (Phoenix)
Gets into it with Eager in an homage to Rob Ray minus the fan
(probably just angry that Eager whiffed on his attempt to knock Avery's noggin over the fence)

Nov. 12
Jarkko Ruutu (Ottawa)
Upset that Elisha Cuthbert was not on the cover of a current issue of his fave magazine, he elbows the Habs' Maxim Lapierre

Nov. 22
Mike Mottau (New Jersey)
Elbowing Islander Frans Nielsen (knocking him out for weeks) for not getting him his Danish compatriot's phone number

1-game suspension
Oct. 31
Jared Boll (CBJ)
Instigator penalty in last five minutes of a period plus for being named after the Subway sandwich guy

Now that we're clear that words hurt more than physical violence, the only question I still have is: Does Sean Avery's comment mean Hollywood is a cesspool of born-again virgins?

Road Trip Update: 0-3 And Woe are We!

The longest road trip of the season is seriously driving the season towards a cliff. Of course, it's too early to panic but three losses in the first three games of a brutal seven-game trip is worse than the reviews for the latest Vince Vaughn train wreck.

The strange thing is the special teams have been solid. The PK unit is killing penalties at an 84.2% clip and the PP is cashing in 30% of the time. The problem is the Canucks can't seem to draw enough penalties (10 PP chances thru 3 games) and take too many (19 PP chances for the opposition) so the advantage is a wash (3 PP GF, 3 PK GA). Each game the Nux have given up at least one PP goal which could be construed as the difference in the past two one-goal losses.

The reality is a combination of that and poor defensive play. Given Roberto Luongo is out, the D needed to step up to give both Curtis Sanford and Son a chance. The Nux have been outshot 98-75 through the three games.

Mitchell now forced to play w/o the A and the logo

This is not out of the norm for the Nux as the team does get outshot on the road on average by about four shots a game (26.9 shots for per 60 mins vs. 31.3 shots against). The problem is our captain is not in net to save our back bacon. The D, especially Willie "-4 on this trip and counting" Mitchell, need to step it up.

With no rest after a tough loss to the Wings and having to play Minny tonight, followed two days later by a game at altitude in Denver, it doesn't get any easier. Is there any chance the Nux could use that Mats Sundin cap space and steal another player from Florida in Jay Bouwmeester?