Saturday, October 29, 2005


Avalanche 4, Canucks 3 (OT)
AP photo -- David Zalubowski

[posted in full Mon ~7:21p]

The last time the Canucks got their rears handed to them, they beat Minnesota to avenge a 6-0 loss. How would the Canucks play after a 6-2 beating two nights earlier?

1st period
It started out pretty fast. Richard Park had a wrister go off the end of Aebischer's stick. On another play, Park centered, and Mattias Ohlund jabbed away at a loose puck in front, but Aebischer stopped it with a stick and covered it. It didn't take long for Lee Goren and Brad May to square off after a faceoff, dropping the gloves. May had the upper hand early with some rights, but Goren evened it out a bit with some lefts before it eventually turned into a wrestling match. Ed Jovanovski landed a hit on Antti Laaksonen. Matt Cooke was called for an early trip (2:55 in), but the Canucks were able to kill it off. Todd Bertuzzi apparently was skating well in the early going. Cooke was hooked by Marek Svatos while trying to get a shot on the net. After weathering a shorthanded chance, Vancouver got chances from Markus Naslund on a backhand (crashing into the goalie), and a couple of missed chances -- Ohlund slap-passed to Henrik Sedin, but the puck was tipped over the glass, and Anson Carter had a one-timer go off the heel of his stick. Svatos came rushing out of the box and put a shot on Cloutier, who luckily made a great save. Cloutier made a couple of stops on Rob Blake, but was horribly unfortunate on the first Colorado goal. Andrew Brunette deked Cloutier out of his equipment, and he scored easily. Brunette bumped into the net, but Canuck defenseman Nolan Baumgartner had backed into Cloutier, bumping him backward. Cloutier's head hit the post, then hit the ice. He took a while to get back up on his skates, and he left the game. Alex Auld took over in the Vancouver net.
»» 1, COLORADO, Andrew Brunette 2 (Marek Svatos, Pierre Turgeon) 10:42
The Canucks responded nearly immediately. Bertuzzi got onto a rush, going through the entire team of Avalanche and putting the puck out front for Ryan Kesler, who fanned on it, but Matt Cooke put in the rebound.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Matt Cooke 3 (Todd Bertuzzi) 11:17
Auld stopped a Joe Sakic wrister with the right pad. Svatos was stopped on a backhand in front. Trevor Linden stole a puck and fanned on a wrist shot, then Goren whiffed on the wide-open net. Auld held out Alex Tanguay with the left pad. Auld gloved a long slap shot from Brett Clark. Sakic broke away with a big cushion on any of the Vancouver skaters, and hit the post high on Auld's stuck side. In a fast first period, Colorado outshot Vancouver 10-6.

2nd period
This one would be full of whistles. Auld stopped Svatos on an early one-timer. Cooke was all alone on a breakaway, but Blake poked the puck away in Blake-like fashion. The first Vancouver penalty of the period came 2:10 into the period on Ohlund for a hook. Auld made a stop on Sakic, and the defense didn't break. With Vancouver a bit slow in transition, Steve Konowalchuk was able to get a shot off on Auld, who went to his knees to make a stick save. Goren centered for Cooke, who was stopped on a sharp-angle shot. Brendan Morrison passed to Park from the left-wing corner, but the puck went off of Turgeon's stick, into the air and into the net. Vancouver had the lead.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Brendan Morrison 3 (Markus Naslund, Richard Park) 7:09
Then started the parade to the penalty box. Sami Salo went to the box at 8:36 for high-sticking Ian Laperriere. Thirty seconds later, Ohlund drew a double-minor for high-sticking John-Michael Liles and drawing blood. Yes, the Canucks were going to have to withstand 90 seconds of being two men down. Amazingly, they did. Auld robbed Milan Hejduk and stopped Pierre Turgeon and Sakic twice. Salo left the penalty box, and Vancouver still had to kill off 2:30 of power play time, but now at least they wree only down one skater. That was the case until Kesler tried to clear a puck off the glass, but it went over the glass. Thus, it was another 1:39 of two-man advantage that Vancouver had to kill away. That's tough. Blake unleashed a rocket shot that beat Auld stick side, top corner. Somehow, it was only Blake's first goal of the season. He also had the worst plus-minus on the team, which also seems wrong, but hey, slow start for Colorado until this doubleheader.
»» 4, COLORADO, powerplay, Rob Blake 1 (Joe Sakic, John-Michael Liles) 11:48
Colorado was still a man up after the goal. Morrison had a shorthanded chance, getting stopped on a left-wing slap shot. Blake put a shot off of Auld's left arm. Just 57 seconds after the Kesler penalty had expired, Ohlund went to the box again, this time for hooking. Not long after, Auld was slow to get up after Svatos had dove into him headfirst. He was called for interference. Colorado had been called for their first penalty of the period against six Vancouver penalties. Daniel Sedin put a wrister on goal which Henrik Sedin and Ohlund tried to jab into the net, but it was covered. Naslund was stopped on a high wrist shot. Bertuzzi was stopped on a wrister as well, and Morrison was foiled on a backhand. Naslund was called for hooking right after the Vancouver power play expired. Vancouver somehow outshot Colorado 13-11 in the period, though they still trailed 21-19 after 40 minutes.

3rd period
Early on, Carter got deep into the zone and passed to Daniel, who passed to his brother, who faked Aebischer and put the puck through.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, Henrik Sedin 4 (Daniel Sedin) 1:56
Ohlund had a slap shot stopped, and Park was stopped on the rebound. Laperriere was stopped short side by Auld on a rush. Auld made a nice save in traffic on a shot from Blake. Cooke laid a hit on May. Ruutu deflected a Jovanovski shot barely wide. Jovanovski blocked a centering pass on a Colorado 2-on-1. Liles hit park in the side of the head in the neutral zone for no call. Carter and Henrik had a 2-on-1, and Henrik shot a bit too high to the stick side, though it was a nice chance. Hejduk hit the post under Auld's glove. Vancouver had trouble clearing the puck out of their own zone. Brunette grabbed Henrik's stick and went to the penalty box. Bertuzzi centered for Goren, who shot off the side of the goal. Vancouver couldn't take advantage of the power play. Brunette raced out of the box and centered for Tanguay, who found the back of the net.
»» 6, COLORADO, Alex Tanguay 3 (Brunette) 15:25
Cooke was tripped, and there was no call. Turnabout was fair play, and Svatos was pulled down for no call. Daniel centered for Salo, who put a shot off the crossbar for the Canucks' last best chance in regulation. Colorado outshot Vancouver 7-6 in the period and 28-25 in regulation.

Sakic had a wrist shot right away that met Auld's blocker. Brett Clark had a wrister stopped, and the loose puck in front was tipped over the glass. The four Canuck skaters on the ice fought for the puck on the boards in front of the penalty box, and when it came loose, Laperriere skated untouched to the net, where he went five-hole on Auld to end the game. Colorado outshot Vancouver 4-0 in overtime and 31-25 overall.
»» 7, COLORADO, Ian Laperriere 4 (Patrice Brisebois) 1:55

Three stars -- (1) Colorado's Ian Laperriere, (2) Colorado's Andrew Brunette, (3) Colorado's Alex Tanguay

skater, goals-assists-points
Cooke 1-0-1
Morrison 1-0-1
H Sedin 1-0-1
Bertuzzi 0-1-1
Naslund 0-1-1
Park 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1

Well, the Canucks could have swept the doubleheader and had a 12-point lead on Colorado in the standings. Instead, Colorado comes out with a net gain of three points. Not good. They played a lot better on Saturday night than they did on Thursday night, but still, it was a bit upsetting. Also, the Canucks are missing Bryan Allen, who's been an unhealthy scratch the last couple games. They're that much thinner on defense. Hell, they're thinner now in goal since Dan Cloutier had his bell rung and probably will be out a couple games. Let the Rob McVicar fan club rejoice. One-way contracts all but preclude the notion of a Wade Flaherty or a Brent Johnson coming up from Manitoba to be the backup for Auld on the big club.

Plus skaters were Brendan Morrison, Richard Park, Wade Brookbank, Ed Jovanovski, and Anson Carter, who all registered at plus-1. Minus skaters were Nolan Baumgartner, Sami Salo, Lee Goren, and Todd Bertuzzi, who were all minus-1. All other skaters were even.

In the faceoff circle, the Canucks were 51% (32-for-63). Brendan Morrison was 13-for-22 (good), Trevor Linden was 3-for-7, Ryan Kesler was 7-for-14, and Henrik Sedin was 8-for-14.

In the superstats bonanza, Morrison led the team in shots with five, Bertuzzi had four, and Naslund had three. Matt Cooke recorded five hits.

What's next? Minnesota again, though in Vancouver on Wednesday. The Canucks also host Columbus on Friday before traveling to Calgary for Hockey Night on Saturday.

The Canucks are now 8-2-2 (one shootout loss in the third column) and have 18 points in the standings.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005


Avalanche 6, Canucks 2
Reuters photo -- Mark Leffingwell

[posted in full Fri ~2:22p; posts now massively enriched by the incredible HockeyDB.com player encoder.]

Walkover doesn't really begin to describe this. Avalanche fans got their fill in the form of booing Todd Bertuzzi (though not quite as lustily as expected) and being able to watch a full-on throttling of the Vancouver Canucks on home ice. The Canucks came out flat and paid dearly. They were able to tie it early on, but they were a stride slow on everything in the first 40 minutes of play.

In short, the only thing they have on which to build is that they outshot the Avalanche 23-0 in the third period. The zero shots against in the third period is a team record for Vancouver. Other than this, the Sedins with Anson Carter along with Ryan Kesler were the best players on the ice. On the flip side, all of the slowness and sluggishness as well as having Bryan Allen as an injury scratch didn't help.

1st period
The Canucks put themselves into a hole early as Steve McCarthy was called for hooking just 41 seconds into the game. Dan Cloutier had to weather a flurry of chances from Pierre Turgeon, Milan Hejduk, Rob Blake, and others. On somewhat of a rush, (Burnaby) Joe Sakic deflected a centering pass from Brett Clark past Dan Cloutier stick side. With almost a buzzkill effect, the fans wanted to cheer Sakic's goal, but then Marc Crawford put Todd Bertuzzi into the game, and the boos hailed down.
»» 1, COLORADO, powerplay, Joe Sakic 4 (Brett Clark) 2:37
Bertuzzi was hit by Ossi Vaananen just after the goal, and cheers were had in Denver. Trevor Linden was knocked down with no call. The Sedins stepped onto the ice, and stuff happened. Henrik tried a backhander that was stopped and covered. On a 3-on-1 rush, Daniel Sedin passed to twin brother Henrik Sedin on the right side, who put it on the net. It looked like Anson Carter pounced on the rebound and put it past Aebischer, and he was originally given the goal, but it was later given to Henrik, who must have had the puck deflect in off of Aebischer's equipment or something.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Henrik Sedin 3 (Daniel Sedin) 5:40
Bertuzzi fell when play resumed, and the crowd cheered. Matt Cooke was called for roughing, though Vancouver radio color man Tom Larscheid pleaded that the officials still have to allow some bodily contact. Cloutier held out good chances from Sakic and Blake. On a give-and-go, Steve Konowalchuk took an Ian Laperriere pass from the left corner and roofed it over Cloutier's left shoulder.
»» 3, COLORADO, Steve Konowalchuk 4 (Ian Laperriere, Antti Laaksonen) 10:33
After a whistle, Brad May threw a hit on Daniel Sedin. Cloutier got a bit lucky and was given a whistle even though he hadn't covered up or found the puck. Ed Jovanovski put a hard hit onto Laperriere. The defense left Ian Laperriere wide open and Cloutier left his entire stick side open as well, and Laperriere took a pass through the slot from Brunette and put it into the yawning cage. Larscheid on the radio called it a "comedy of errors" when neither Brendan Morrison nor Cloutier had sticks on the ice.
»» 4, COLORADO, Laperriere 3 (Andrew Brunette, Clark) 12:32
The Canucks killed off a Daniel Sedin hooking penalty before they got their first two power plays of the game late in the period. Paul Healey went off for interference. Markus Naslund had a wrister covered, Bertuzzi was stopped on a centering pass from Morrison, Mattias Ohlund had a one-timer stopped and the rebound bounce over Daniel Sedin's stick, and the twins were stopped on their slap-pass play. Morrison was hooked by Patrice Brisebois with eight seconds left in the period. Colorado outshot the Canucks 17-14 in the period.

2nd period
Bertuzzi was hit early on by Blake. The Sedins had a decent shift with some offensive pressure and some pucks to the net. Shortly after Wade Brookbank came into the game, Pierre Turgeon took a long pass from Andrew Brunette and blistered a roofer over Cloutier's right shoulder from behind the hash marks of the right circle. Cloutier was subsequently pulled, giving up four goals on 18 shots.
»» 5, COLORADO, Pierre Turgeon 3 (Brunette, Marek Svatos) 3:44
Brookbank tried to lure Laperriere into the fight, but the latter just took a couple of jabs and let Brookbank walk alone to the box. Brett McLean went off for holding, though the Canucks spent a portion of that power play trying to fight off a Colorado shorthanded rush. Not long after the power play expired, McCarthy went to the box again, this time for a trip. Patrice Brisebois put a one-timer off a leg and wide. John-Michael Liles put a centering pass off of Sami Salo's skate in front of the crease, and Milan Hejduk picked up the trash and put it past a sprawling Alex Auld. The goal was originally waved off as the officials thought the puck made a direct hit on the crossbar and stayed out, but that's where video replays come into play. It was a goal.
»» 6, COLORADO, powerplay, Milan Hejduk 3 (John-Michael Liles, Patrice Brisebois) 11:47
Brookbank took an elbow in the neutral zone, and May challenged him, though nothing came of it other than Brookbank getting sent off for roughing and a ten-minute misconduct. After a Liles one-timer was deflected, Blake and Ohlund exchanged pleasantries. Ohlund went off for a cross-check. Auld made a stop on Marek Svatos, and Brisebois had a slap shot tipped wide before Liles shot in from beyond the circles, and Andrew Brunette tried to tip it in, but was unsuccessful. On the same play, Turgeon took the rebound, went along the end boards, then fired the puck off a skate or something in front of the crease and past Auld.
»» 7, COLORADO, powerplay, Turgeon 4 (Brunette, Liles) 14:02
Matt Cooke centered to Richard Park, who had the puck tipped away. Jarkko Ruutu and Karlis Skrastins got into it a bit. May wasn't as willing a participant in the ruckus, trying to pull Ruutu away. Ruutu and Clark went to the box, but Healey got a ten-minute misconduct. Carter had a one-timer stopped by a nice Aebischer save. Svatos was stopped on a wrap attempt, and Alex Tanguay was nailed by Cooke by the end of the period. Colorado outshot Vancouver 13-5 in the period and led 30-19 in that department after 40 minutes.

3rd period
The Canucks would have ample scoring chances in a third period, though a five-goal deficit proved much too large to overcome. Park was stopped on the short side, then had a wrister stopped in close. Ohlund had a wrister stopped. Nolan Baumgartner fanned on a rebound. Todd Bertuzzi made a nice pass from behind the net to Ryan Kesler, who went high on Aebischer, stick side.
»» 8, VANCOUVER, Ryan Kesler 2 (Todd Bertuzzi, Matt Cooke) 2:24
Kesler nearly had another one on an Ohlund rebound, but it was cleared just afterward. Park stole a puck and had a wrister stopped by Aebischer. Bertuzzi put a deke on Aebischer but was robbed. Blake went to the box for holding to put Vancouver on a meaningless power play. Morrison had a shot meet the left pad of Aebischer. Naslund had a wrist shot stopped. An Ohlund slap shot was blocked by Laperriere, who limped off the ice as a result. Cooke had a centering pass put wide by Lee Goren, and Cooke had words for Tanguay, who had put a leg out to get him. Blake went off once again, this time for interference. Bertuzzi missed a wide-open net after Vaananen had gone to the box. Bertuzzi also had a puck go off of Aebischer's arm. The Sedins and Carter closed out the game with some scoring chances, but no dice. The game had been long over. Vancouver outshot Colorado 23-0 in the third period as the Avalanche were much too content to sit on a five-goal lead coming into the period. Cloutier stopped 14 of 18, while Auld stopped 10 of 12.

Three stars -- (1) Colorado's Ian Laperriere, (2) Colorado's David Aebischer, (3) Colorado's Pierre Turgeon

skater, goals-assists-points
Kesler 1-0-1
H Sedin 1-0-1
Bertuzzi 0-1-1
Cooke 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1

Canuck play-by-play man John Shorthouse said that trying to find positives from this game was like "putting lipstick on a pig." The lipstick consisted mainly of the second line and Ryan Kesler. There was much more bad. The defense on a Ian Laperriere goal was a bit lacking, and that was the dagger goal of the game. It all started out with Vancouver coming out flat, however. The early power play goal put them in a hole right away, and though they were able to tie it up shortly after, the momentum was taken away about five minutes later, and it never came back.

Vancouver won 48% of their faceoffs, which isn't horrible but isn't that great either. Brendan Morrison was 7-for-16, Trevor Linden was 5-for-10, Ryan Kesler was a great 8-for-11, and Henrik Sedin was a bad 5-for-15. The plus-skating Canucks, all plus-1, were Sami Salo, Kesler, the Sedins, Matt Cooke, Steve McCarthy, and Anson Carter. Nobody was minus-1. The minus-2 guys were Mattias Ohlund, Ed Jovanovski, and Todd Bertuzzi. The minus-3 guys were Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund. The names that I just reeled off that went minus-2 and minus-3 can't be doing that if the Canucks are going to win. Of course, this type of game has largely been an anomaly for the Canucks so far this year.

In the superstats bonanza, Todd Bertuzzi was credited with a team-leading six shots. Park, Naslund, and Daniel Sedin all had four shots apiece. One small positive was that they had ten takeaways to six giveaways. Again, lipstick on the pig.

The Canucks are now 8-2-1 and remain at 17 points in the standings, though now with only a six-point lead over the Avalanche that could have been a ten-point lead. Best-case scenario would have had the Canucks blowing open a 12-point lead over the Avalanche, but they had to lose sometime. A six-game winning streak isn't bad at all. The last time the Canucks opened a doubleheader, they lost 6-0 to Minnesota, then won the rematch on Saturday night. Apparently the trend in back-to-back sets in the same venue is that they usually end up in a split, and that held true in Minnesota. For the Canucks' sake, they should hope it holds up here too.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I've been a busy man lately.

However, I haven't been so busy where I haven't been able to realize what could happen tonight at Enron Field/Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Freddy Garcia could own a world championship ring after tonight

I'm a Seattle sports fan, so I'm used to this crap.

By the way, Freddy was a former Astros prospect.

I'm headed to Kansas City for the National College Media convention in about an hour or so. No Seahawks game this weekend, so this convention couldn't have come at a better time this fall.

Basically, this is an open post. Same as it ever was.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Canucks 3, Wild 1
AP photo -- Paul Battaglia

[posted in full Wed ~6:44p]

On a back-to-back set in Minnesota earlier in the month, the Canucks got drubbed 6-0 in the first game, getting outplayed and outworked in every facet of the game. The Canucks haven't lost a game since. Would it continue?

The Canucks put backup Alex Auld in the net against the Wild, and Minnesota went with Manny Fernandez instead of Dwayne Roloson, who despite the loss in these teams' second meeting this season still has a crazy-good record against Vancouver.

1st period
Henrik Sedin centered to Anson Carter for a one-timer that went a bit wide. Bryan Allen had a wrister stopped by Fernandez' blocker. Trevor Linden had a shot in close go off a stick and over the glass. Brian Rolston recorded the first Minnesota shot of the game, and it was stopped by Auld's left pad 4:49 into the game. Carter made a bad pass that Rolston nearly turned into a rush on the other end, but he mishandled it. The Canucks were unable to take advantage of a very long Minnesota shift for Alexandre Daigle and Andrei Zyuzin, though they put a bunch of shots on Fernandez in the process. Rolston pounced on a rebound and Auld went to his knees to stop it. Mattias Ohlund went to the box for hooking not long after. On the Minnesota power play, Auld made a save but couldn't find the puck afterward, and luckily Trevor Linden came in and cleared the puck. Brent Burns went to the box for a slash, nullifying the Wild power play and making for some 4-on-4 hockey. Both penalties were killed off by the respective teams. Brendan Morrison took a centering pass and deflected it toward the right-wing boards, where he passed to Sami Salo on the point, who put the puck on the net. Jarkko Ruutu banged home the rebound under Manny Fernandez, who didn't fall fast enough to stop the puck on his right side.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Jarkko Ruutu 1 (Sami Salo, Brendan Morrison) 13:45
Ed Jovanovski had a long wrister stopped, and Markus Naslund whiffed on the rebound. A Canuck turnover led to a 2-on-1 Minnesota rush for Todd White and Chouinard, but Auld was able to cover the shot attempt. Ryan Kesler went to the box for hooking. On the ensuing power play, Alexandre Daigle blistered a shot inside the far post from the right circle, beating Dan Cloutier stick side.
»» 2, MINNESOTA, powerplay, Alexandre Daigle 1 (Andrei Zyuzin, Pierre-Marc Bouchard) 18:13
Right after the goal, Auld was caught out of his own net, but Carter raced over to block a shot by Willie Mitchell. Jovanovski was called for holding. Vancouver led 13-12 on shots after the period, and the Wild won 65% of the faceoffs in the period, with Morrison losing all six of his faceoffs.

2nd period
The Wild started the period on the Jovanovski penalty and had a few shots blocked, along with Wes Walz' wrister, which got to Cloutier, who stopped it. Matt Foy got to a short-side shot by Matt Foy, and he covered it. Right after the Jovanovski penalty expired, Henrik Sedin went to the box for hooking, putting the Canucks on the penalty kill yet again. The kill came through. Morrison centered to Naslund, who snapped a puck to the net, but Fernandez covered. The Canucks had a 2-on-1 rush with Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi. It wasn't the cleanest of rushes, as Bertuzzi lost control of the puck a bit, but he eventually put it back across to Naslund, who put it through the short (stick) side on Fernandez.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Markus Naslund 7 (Todd Bertuzzi) 6:53
Bryan Allen was hit by Andrei Nazarov after an icing call, and the latter went to the penalty box. Sami Salo had a long wrist shot deflected into Fernandez' glove. Ohlund had a one-timer blocked. Carter was called for a trip, though he was more burned by a dive. Seven seconds later, Randy Robitaille took Minnesota off the power play by doing some hooking. Auld gave a big rebound after a Stephane Veilleux shot, but it was cleared. Both the Carter and Robitaille penalties expired. Reversing their roles from the Colorado game, Daniel Sedin slap passed to brother Henrik Sedin in the slot, who redirected the puck over the left shoulder of Fernandez.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Henrik Sedin 2 (Daniel Sedin, Nolan Baumgartner) 11:26
Allen had a wrister get gloved by Fernandez. Ohlund had a one-timer go off a skate. Bertuzzi and Naslund had a couple chances to get a shot on the net, but didn't. Richard Park centered, and Matt Cooke took a quick shot, which was stopped, and his second chance went off Park's shate and past the post. Rolston shot a laser off the crossbar and over the glass. Auld made a great save on a Scott Ferguson one-timer. Walz was called for a crosscheck late in the period. Vancouver outshot Minnesota 13-7 in the period and 26-19 after 40 minutes of play.

3rd period
Lee Goren had a sharp-angle shot stopped by Fernandez. Auld covered a shot from Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Auld put the right pad on a Robitaille shot. Rolston shot wide, and Nolan Baumgartner and Foy went off for a hold and a dive, respectively. Chouinard had a slap shot covered by Auld. Daniel Sedin had a shot and a rebound stopped by Fernandez. A giveaway by Steve McCarthy led to a Bouchard chance on which Auld made a blocker save on a rush. Jovanovski centered to Naslund, who put a sharp-angle shot off the side of the goal. Shortly after, there was a sequence where the Canucks played keep-away with the puck, annoying the fans at the XCel Energy Center. Foy had a slap shot stopped by Auld's stick, but the puck nearly landed behind Auld and could have gone into the net. Allen hit Nazarov for a boarding penalty, though Nazarov dropped the gloves anyway, though there really wasn't a fight. The Canucks had a 3-on-1 shorthanded rush, but Cooke couldn't get a shot away. Nazarov went off for a hook. Baumgartner had a one-timer go off the bottom of Fernandez' pad, and it grazed the post. Morrison was stopped by a left pad on a rebound of a Baumgartner slap shot. Bouchard was called for goalie interference after making contact with Auld while following his own backhander into the crease. That was killed, and the game was in its waning stages. Morrison went off for holding with just under three minutes left to make it interesting. Cooke had a 2-on-1 rush with Kesler, but two shots were stopped. Minnesota never got within a goal, and Fernandez was never pulled from the net for an extra skater. Vancouver outshot the Wild 10-9 in the final period and 36-28 for the game. Auld stopped 27 for Vancouver.

Three stars -- (1) Naslund, (2) Auld, (3) Minnesota's Alexandre Daigle

skater, goals-assists-points
Naslund 1-0-1
Ruutu 1-0-1
H Sedin 1-0-1
Baumgartner 0-1-1
Bertuzzi 0-1-1
Morrison 0-1-1
Salo 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1

Vancouver took their six straight game to equal their best ten-game start in franchise history. Yes, it's crazy. I guess the scary thing is that they really aren't totally clicking yet. Todd Bertuzzi's back isn't totally healthy, and the top line isn't totally clicking. The third line, the speed line of Matt Cooke/Ryan Kesler/Richard Park, isn't producing on offense lately. But hey, the defense has ten goals, the Sedins look great on the power play (though Anson Carter is still adjusting a bit), and Alex Auld and Dan Cloutier haven't let too many fluky goals past. They've won six straight, but there's still room for this team to improve.

Markus Naslund's goal stood up as the winner, and it extended his point streak to six games. The final goal of the game extended Henrik Sedin's point streak to five games.

The Canucks had zero minus skaters. Brendan Morrison was the only plus-two skater, and that was good considering he lost 12 of 17 faceoffs. Bryan Allen, Sami Salo, Markus Naslund, Steve McCarthy, Lee Goren, Jarkko Ruutu, Todd Bertuzzi, and Ed Jovanovski were all plus-1. All other skaters were even.

As mentioned, Brendan Morrison was whooped on draws. Vancouver as a whole was 29-for-65 on faceoffs, though if you take out Morrison's numbers, they were .500 on the night. Trevor Linden was 10-for-17, Ryan Kesler was 5-for-10, Henrik Sedin was 5-for-13, and Todd Bertuzzi was 4-for-5.

In other superstat bonanza stuff, Sami Salo dished out three hits, and Mattias Ohlund and Steve McCarthy delivered two hits apiece. Henrik Sedin recorded two takeaways. Markus Naslund led the team with six shots. Salo took five.

The Canucks are now 8-1-1 on the season, good for 17 points in the standings. The Canucks play at Colorado for a couple of big games on Thursday and Saturday.

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Monday, October 24, 2005


Yesterday is the reason why I'm a sports fan.

Yesterday is the reason why I'm still a Seattle Seahawks fan.

Yesterday is the reason why I think this is a special football team.

Historically, the Seahawks never win these games. But so far in this young 2005 season, the Seahawks have won 3 games that they would have blown in the last 2 seasons. Atlanta on Sept. 18, St. Louis on Oct. 9, and yesterday against Dallas.

Yes, it's early. It's only October 24. But you know what?

The 2005 Seattle Seahawks are a special football team, folks.

Sure, they couldn't do anything offensively against a very solid Dallas Cowboys defense in the first 59 minutes yesterday. Give credit to Dallas, as they shut down Shaun Alexander. But in the end, it was the Seahawks who came out on top. That's all that matters.

I watched the game at my friend's house near Mountain Home, Arkansas. I couldn't help but tell my friend and his father that the Seahawks never win these games. I also mentioned the fact that on that final offensive drive, the Seahawks were playing without their top 3 wide receivers (Darrell Jackson, Bobby Engram, and Joe Jurevicius). So, it was fitting that the game-tying touchdown was caught by third-string tight end Ryan Hannam. From? Northern Iowa.

You want to know why the New England Patriots decided to keep Tom Brady instead of Drew Bledsoe? Brady would have never been picked off in that situation. That's why Bledsoe will never be a great quarterback. He doesn't have the poise of a Brady. Fair or not, Brady is a better quarterback than Bledsoe.

When Jordan Babineaux (SOUTHERN ARKANSAS! MULERIDERS!) picked off Bledsoe, I was stoked. Immediately after the interception, my mind turned to three weeks ago when the Seahawks were at Washington. Kelly Herndon picked off Mark Brunell to give the 'Hawks the ball back. Josh Brown hits the left upright. You know the rest. Let's stop there.

Anyways, I've said from day one that Josh Brown is money. David can vouch for me on this one. And sure enough, when Brown hit the 50-yard game-winner, I was right. There isn't a kicker I'd rather have right now than Josh Brown. Other than the Redskins debacle of three weeks ago, Brown has been a solid kicker for this football team. Point being, he's no Jose Cortez. Pray for Mr. Cortez, because he may be on the unemployment line (again) soon.

Dare I say it, but this win over Dallas is bigger than the St. Louis win from two weeks ago. What a week it has been for the Seahawks franchise, on and off the field. After last Sunday's rout of the Houston Texans, Ken Hamlin is involved in a awful incident outside of Larry's Nightclub in Pioneer Square. Yeah, and the Minnesota Vikings have to deal with adversity? Last time I checked, the Vikings didn't have one of their key players having to deal with the thought of never being able to live a normal life again. I can tell y'all that the state of Arkansas is praying for Kenny at this time. Once a Razorback, always a Razorback. That's how the Razorbacks fans are here, folks.

Yes, it's been awhile since I've posted. But as some of you know, I'm a busy man these days. On Wednesday, I'm headed back to Kansas City for the college media convention. Yes kids, I'm a "real" journalist. College journalist, but a journalist nonetheless. So I've done my fair share of writing over the past two months. Of course, that fair share of writing hasn't been here. I'll do my best to post here at Sports And B's in the coming weeks, as time allows.

The Seahawks have a bye this weekend. Great timing, I'd say.

November 6, Valley Of The Sun. Media Darlings. HA!!!

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