Saturday, January 28, 2006


Canucks 4, Avalanche 3 (SO)
Reuters photo -- Mark Leffingwell

[posted in full Sat 4 Feb ~5:23p]

It's one thing to start out a seven-game road trip by losing three straight. It's quite another to lose four straight. It's even worse if you lose that fourth game to a key division rival. The Canucks were trying to hold off the golden sombrero in Denver for this one, and they were without the services of Markus Naslund (groin) for it.

1st period
Just 62 seconds into the game, Sami Salo chipped the puck over the glass, but the Canucks killed off the penalty. Four minutes in, Bryan Allen and Ian Laperriere got into it, and both went off for five minutes. Later in the period, Ryan Kesler was hit with a double-minor for high-sticking John-Michael Liles. On the resulting power play, Bob Boughner shot from the right point and Andrew Brunette deflected the puck past the stick side on Alex Auld.
»» 1, COLORADO, powerplay, Andrew Brunette 14 (Bob Boughner, Patrice Brisebois) 16:14
The Canucks got a hold of the puck while trying to kill off the second half of the Kesler penalty. Trevor Linden skated the puck into the Colorado zone and passed to Henrik Sedin, who didn't get a shot away, then skated into the right-wing corner and toward the right point. He centered to Mattias Ohlund, who snapped the puck past David Aebischer for a key goal late in the period.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, shorthanded, Mattias Ohlund 7 (Henrik Sedin, Trevor Linden) 17:57
Vancouver outshot the Avalanche 10-9 in the period. They were 0-for-2 on the power play, and Colorado was 1-for-4.

2nd period
Rack up some more penalty minutes for Kesler. He got into a scrap with Laperriere and was beaten. About 3:30 into the period, Brett McLean had a shot go off of Auld and toward center ice, where Anson Carter raced after it and broke past the defense. He got a shot off from just in front of the goal line on the right side. Carter scooted the shot under Aebischer's glove, but it hit the post. With about four minutes gone in the period, Alex Tanguay was going to go off for a delayed hooking penalty, and Auld raced to the bench for an extra attacker. Steve McCarthy mishandled the puck in the Colorado end, and the puck bounced backward off the boards and moved toward the Vancouver net, nearly going into it, but hitting the side of it. With 12:20 left in the period, Milan Hejduk put a deke on Auld, but was robbed by the glove. With about four minutes left, Todd Bertuzzi dropped a pass back to Daniel Sedin, who rushed the net and was robbed by the left pad of Aebischer. Inside two minutes remaining, Bertuzzi was slashed across the right wrist and there was no call, causing the fans in Denver to cheer with excitement as Bertuzzi headed off the ice in pain. Shortly thereafter, Alexandre Burrows brought the puck into the Colorado end and dished off to Bryan Allen, who blasted a slapshot from the left point that was stopped by Aebischer. Jarkko Ruutu had been going to the net and he picked up the rebound and put it through on the short (stick) side of Aebischer for another late Vancouver goal. Ruutu had ended his five-game scoring drought.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Jarkko Ruutu 10 (Bryan Allen, Alexandre Burrows) 18:30
Vancouver was outshot 17-10 in the period (26-20 overall). They were 0-for-1 on the power play (0-for-3) and Colorado was 0-for-2 (1-for-6).

3rd period
Right off the opening faceoff, Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hinote exchanged fisticuffs, with either a draw or a Bieksa win being the decision. Later, Boughner and Ohlund went off for diving and boarding, respectively. Shortly after, Brendan Morrison shot through a screen from just past the right circle along the boards and was partially stopped by Aebischer. The puck went off the post and came out, but Kesler was in front of the net and beat Liles to the puck, stuffing it through.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, Ryan Kesler 5 (Brendan Morrison, Nolan Baumgartner) 9:12
Shortly after the Kesler goal, there were skirmishes in the stands and a water bottle was thrown onto the ice in Bertuzzi's direction, which made one of the officials summon security to remove a fan from the stands. Brunette from behind the net centered the puck in front. Karlis Skarstins tried to jab it into the net but was stopped. Marek Svatos got the rebound and put it over Auld's right leg.
»» 5, COLORADO, Marek Svatos 30 (Karlis Skrastins, Brunette) 13:25
A fight broke out in the stands behind the Vancouver net after the Svatos goal, and police had entered the arena, escorting out some fans in Canuck jerseys. With the CBC off the air, Brunette came out from behind the net and centered to Patrice Brisebois, who was stopped. Brad Richardson made good on the rebound with an open net since Auld was a bit far out in front.
»» 6, COLORADO, Brad Richardson 1 (Patrice Brisebois, Brunette) 15:21
Vancouver was again outshot 16-10 in the period (42-30 overall). No power plays occurred in the period, just a fight and some coincidental minors.

Though no goals were scored, it was eventful. Bertuzzi left his zone too early at one point and couldn't get back soon enough, and that led to Baumgartner hooking with 3:14 left, which isn't too timely in overtime. Even more untimely for Colorado was that Rob Blake took them off the power play by pulling down Ruutu in front of the Colorado net with 58 seconds left in their man-advantage. Thusly, fans were treated to a rare 3-on-3 overtime session and the Canucks later were unsuccessful in 62 seconds of power play time. Both teams had one shot apiece (Colorado outshot Vancouver 43-31 total) and were both 0-for-1 on the power play (Vancouver finished 0-for-4, Colorado was 1-for-7). Auld stopped 40 shots in the game, and had a few more to go.

Ruutu -- YES; lots of speed, deke and score on the backhand, roofed
Svatos -- NO; gloved by auld
Kesler -- NO; stick-side attempt, closed off
Joe Sakic -- NO; wrister hit the post, Sakic is 0-for-5 this season in shootouts
Carter -- NO; pad stack glove-side
Hejduk -- NO; five-hole closed

Three stars -- (1) Colorado's Andrew Brunette, (2) Ohlund, (3) Colorado's Brad Richardson

skater, goals-assists-points
Kesler 1-0-1
Ohlund 1-0-1
Ruutu 1-0-1
Allen 0-1-1
Baumgartner 0-1-1
Burrows 0-1-1
Linden 0-1-1
Morrison 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

I thought it to be a bit incredible that this was the fourth meeting of the Canucks and Avalanche in Denver and nothing dumb had happened fan-wise in the previous three. For the game itself, Alex Auld was incredible even as getting peppered by pucks. His confidence has to be growing, not just he stopped the 40 pucks in regulation, but also because he managed to keep pucks out of the net in a shootout against Marek Svatos, Joe Sakic, and Milan Hejduk. No small beans there. Obviously, the three stars displayed above were the ones in the arena, credited to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post, who somehow didn't have Auld in his three stars despite 40 saves and stopped those three guys in the shootout.

The Canucks were 40-for-74 (54%) in the faceoff circle. Brendan Morrison was 13-for-23, Trevor Linden was 0-for-3, Ryan Kesler was 14-for-23, Henrik Sedin was a very good 11-for-16, and Josh Green was 1-for-7. Daniel Sedin and Todd Bertuzzi led the team with five shots apiece. Jarkko Ruutu and Bertuzzi led with two hits apiece. Sami Salo and Steve McCarthy led with two takeaways apiece. Mattias Ohlund blocked a stunning six shots.

Morrison was the only plus-2 Canuck. Plus-1 Canucks were Nolan Baumgartner, Bryan Allen, Salo, Alexandre Burrows, Kesler, and Ruutu. Minus-1 Canucks were Tyler Bouck, Daniel Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, Green, and Anson Carter. All other Canuck skaters were even.

Vancouver is now 29-18-5 (2-3 shootout, two overtime losses), good for 63 points and a tie for the Northwest Division lead, except Calgary has two games in hand. Colorado got a point in this game, so Vancouver is two points up on them. The Canucks have a lead of three points on the Edmonton Oilers. Also, the win against Colorado gave Vancouver a slightly better 7-10-4 division record. Detroit leads the conference with 71 points, thanks largely to their weak division.

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Friday, January 27, 2006


ABC is televising Super Bowl XL between the Seahawks and Steelers.

In six previous Super Bowl telecasts on ABC, the NFC is undefeated.

Super Bowl XIX (49ers defeated Dolphins)
Super Bowl XXII (Redskins defeated Broncos)
Super Bowl XXV (Giants defeated Bills)
Super Bowl XXIX (49ers defeated Chargers
Super Bowl XXXIV (Rams defeated Titans)
Super Bowl XXXVII (Buccaneers defeated Raiders)

We'll see what happens on February 5.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006


Red Wings 2, Canucks 1
Reuters photo -- Rebecca Cook

[posted in full Sat ~3p]

One would hope that after losing back-to-back games against two of the worst teams in the NHL, maybe the Canucks needed some motivation instead of playing down to their competition. On this night, the competition was the Western Conference-leading Detroit Red Wings. The Canucks certainly didn't want to make it three straight losses to begin a season-long seven-game road trip.

1st period
On a rush four minutes into the period, Mattias Ohlund shot from the left side and was stopped, and Ryan Kesler's attempt on the rebound was stuffed as well by goalie Manny Legace. Later, Daniel Sedin floated a pass across the slot to Anson Carter, who deked to his left and got Legace leaning to his right before flipping it past his glove into the net.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Anson Carter 19 (Daniel Sedin, Mattias Ohlund) 13:10
On a Detroit power play at the midpoint of the period, Alex Auld put a stick save on a Robert Lang shot from the goal line on the left side. With 5:43 left, Tyler Bouck ran Andreas Lilja into the end boards behind the Detroit net. Detroit outshot the Canucks 9-4 in the period and were 0-for-2 on the power play. Detroit was called for zero penalties.

2nd period
With Brendan Morrison freshly in the penalty box for a debatable holding call, Mathieu Schneider had a shot stopped by Auld's arm. Just 42 seconds after Morrison went to the box, Josh Green was called for hooking, though video evidence showed he'd barely brushed Tomas Holmstrom. In the two-man advantage that followed, Robert Lang passed from the goal line back out to Nicklas Lidstrom along the slot on the left side, where he blasted the puck past Alex Auld. The Canucks had killed off 74 of the 78 seconds on the two-man advantage. It wasn't quite enough. This goal gave the Red Wings four players with 10 power-play goals each on the season.
»» 2, DETROIT, powerplay, Nicklas Lidstrom 10 (Robert Lang, Mathieu Schneider) 11:03
Detroit badly outshot Vancouver 14-7 in the period (23-11 overall). Detroit was 1-for-3 on the power play (1-for-5) and Vancouver was 0-for-2 on their first two chances of the game.

3rd period
Auld did his best to keep the team in the game in the third. He covered an early Kris Draper wrister. Midway through the period, he stopped a Henrik Zetterberg one-timer from the slot. He could only do it for so long though, and with Morrison once again in the box for hooking, Jason Woolley passed to Brendan Shanahan, who skated to the right hash before wristing the puck through the short side on Auld, using the screen by Steve Yzerman in front. It turned out to be Shanahan's 100th career game-winning goal.
»» 3, DETROIT, powerplay, Brendan Shanahan 23 (Jason Woolley, Steve Yzerman) 13:00
In the final minute of play, Markus Naslund in the right-wing corner centered to Todd Bertuzzi in front, who took multiple jabs at the puck, which went in, and the goal light went on and everything, but referee Mike Leggo waved it off immediately, saying he'd blown the whistle beforehand. Detroit again outshot the Canucks, this time 12-4 (35-15 total). They were successful on their only power-play chance of the period (2-for-6) while Vancouver was 0-for-2 (0-for-4). Auld stopped 33 in the Vancouver net.

Three stars -- (1) Detroit's Brendan Shanahan, (2) Detroit's Robert Lang, (3) Kesler

skater, goals-assists-points
Carter 1-0-1
Ohlund 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1

Vancouver held an early lead despite being badly outshot, but the penalty box doomed them again much like it did in Columbus two nights earlier. Of course, you could go after the officials for the iffy calls on Morrison and Green, because they all but turned the game. That can also be said for the Bertuzzi jab-in that was whistled dead.

The Canucks were whipped in the faceoff circle, going only 17-for-47 (36%). Brendan Morrison was 5-for-10, Trevor Linden was 1-for-4, Ryan Kesler was 3-for-7, Henrik Sedin was 5-for-12, and Josh Green was a not-so-good 3-for-13. Mattias Ohlund and Anson Carter led the team with three shots apiece. Kesler dished out five hits in an inspired performance near his hometown of Livonia, Michigan. Markus Naslund led the team with two takeaways.

The only plus skaters for Vancouver were Ohlund, Daniel Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, Henrik Sedin, and Anson Carter (i.e., everyone on the ice for the Carter goal). Since Detroit scored their goals on the power play, all other Vancouver skaters were even.

The loss sank the Canucks to 28-18-5, leaving them frozen at 61 points after a third straight loss. Amazingly, Adam Munro pitched a shutout for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Calgary Flames later in the night, so the Canucks lost no ground in the Northwest Division. Colorado lost in a home shootout to Dallas. Edmonton picked up a win. Thus, Vancouver trails the Flames by two points for the Northwest Division lead with Colorado and Edmonton one point behind. The Northwest Division -- the toughest division in the NHL.

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Sports Illustrated Jan. 30 issue

I checked my mailbox today, expecting the latest issue of Sports Illustrated and sure enough, it was there. Only it featured Steelers running back Jerome Bettis on the cover and not Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander.

Bettis is on the national issue's cover while Alexander is on the regional cover. The regional issue, of course, being sold in the Northwest. Since I'm in Arkansas, well, I get stuck with the national issue.

I'm cool with it. When SI did their regional covers deal last week for the conference championship game, guess who was on the national cover?

Jake Plummer

Oh, and if you don't know by now, Bettis is from Detroit.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Blue Jackets 6, Canucks 5
Reuters photo -- Matt Sullivan

[posted in full Sat ~9:55a]

The Canucks looked to split a back-to-back set against two of the worst teams in the NHL by beating the Blue Jackets after losing to the Blues the night before. Surely it'd be a better way to kick off a seven-game road trip than with two losses. There was a catch -- Columbus was much healthier here than earlier in the year.

1st period
Vancouver got off to a bad first shift the night before in Saint Louis that didn't set a good tone for the rest of the game. This game was different, however, as the Canucks got some good jump off the opening faceoff. However, that was nullified after Todd Bertuzzi got a bit lax on the boards after Columbus got control of the zone. Ron Hainsey's shot from the left point went off the post, and Jason Chimera pounced on the rebound, putting it into a near wide-open net to Alex Auld's glove side.
»» 1, COLUMBUS, Jason Chimera 10 (Ron Hainsey, Manny Malhotra) 1:14
Rostislav Klesla shot from up high on the right side and had his shot stopped. Auld steered the rebound in front of himself to Jan Hrdina, who had skated untouched from the right-wing corner to the front of the net. Funky Cold Hrdina scooted the puck past the stick side on Auld, who was down on a knee. The Canucks were down 2-0 barely four minutes into the contest. The Canucks had 26 seconds left to kill before Brendan Morrison was to come out of the penalty box (hooking), but he came out early.
»» 2, COLUMBUS, powerplay, Jan Hrdina 6 (Rostislav Klesla, David Vyborny) 4:13
Todd Bertuzzi next to the trapezoid passed through traffic in the crease and found Sami Salo from inside the left circle, where he wristed the puck past goalie Marc Denis on the short (stick) side with only 38 seconds gone in the power play.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Sami Salo 10 (Todd Bertuzzi, Markus Naslund) 13:54
Rick Nash was serving a double-minor for a blood-drawing high-stick. Ed Jovanovski left the game with five minutes remaining in the period and never returned for what was later revealed to be a reaggravation of his groin injury that had kept him out of action for 11 games. In the final minute, Nolan Baumgartner's straightaway blast from the blue line found its way over Denis' right shoulder and into the net, erasing Vancouver's two-goal deficit from early in the period.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Nolan Baumgartner 5 (Daniel Sedin) 19:06
Vancouver outshot the Blue Jackets 17-15 in the period. The Canucks were 2-for-3 on the power play, and Columbus was successful on their only chance.

2nd period
With Bryan Allen in the box for a high-stick, Sergei Fedorov and Nikolai Zherdev skated side-by-side to the left side when Fedorov threaded a pass between Sami Salo and Mattias Ohlund onto Zherdev's stick. Zherdev found some room over a sprawling Auld.
»» 5, COLUMBUS, powerplay, Nikolai Zherdev 15 (Sergei Fedorov, Bryan Berard) 7:14
Daniel Sedin had a huge cushion in the attacking zone and skated straight in on Denis, putting it in just past Denis' toe. Daniel Sedin couldn't believe it wasn't called a goal. At first, play was whistled dead to indicate a save, but the powers that be on video replay goals gave this one a go, and the Canucks had tied the game again. Denis had made the toe save, but not until the puck had crossed the goal line. Thus, Daniel Sedin ended a 15-game goal drought.
»» 6, VANCOUVER, D Sedin 12 (Henrik Sedin, Baumgartner) 9:31
Zherdev and Berard passed back and forth, but the final pass ended with a one-timer in the high slot off of Berard's stick that beat Auld low to the glove side. Allen, again in the penalty box in the period, spent only 12 seconds in the penalty box serving his high-stick penalty.
»» 7, COLUMBUS, powerplay, Berard 11 (Zherdev, Vyborny) 14:21
After being tied up by a defender for a few seconds, Bertuzzi took the puck from behind the net and powered out into the slot, where he put a backhander through the five hole on Denis.
»» 8, VANCOUVER, Bertuzzi 17 (Naslund, Brendan Morrison) 17:53
Vancouver was badly outshot 14-7 in the period (29-24 overall). They were 0-for-1 (2-for-4) on the power play. Columbus was 2-for-4 (2-for-5).

3rd period
Morrison went to the box for a slash. Vyborny's shot from the left side was stopped, but Auld couldn't corral the rebound and Hrdina was right in front to stick it through to Auld's right.
»» 9, COLUMBUS, powerplay, Hrdina 7 (Vyborny, Duvie Westcott) 12:16
Kevin Bieksa passed to Ryan Kesler near the slot, who put a quick shot onto Denis that was nicely stopped, but Alex Burrows fished out the rebound from in front and shifted to the backhand to stuff it into the net.
»» 10, VANCOUVER, Alexandre Burrows 4 (Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa) 13:15
A former Canuck did the final damage. Trevor Letowski along the goal line on the left side put a move on Bertuzzi and blew past him, skating untouched to the net and putting it through the five hole on Auld.
»» 11, COLUMBUS, Trevor Letowski 6 (Chimera, Berard) 15:23
Ohlund had a shot stopped on Vancouver's final power play of the game, and Columbus nearly took it back the other way for a goal, but Nash hit the post. Vancouver managed a final scurry with six attackers and Auld pulled from the net, but it was to no avail. Vancouver again was outshot, 14-9 in the period (43-33 total). They were 0-for-2 (2-for-6) on the power play. Columbus was 1-for-4 (4-for-9). Auld stopped 37 in the Vancouver net.

Three stars -- (1) Columbus' David Vyborny, (2) Columbus' Jan Hrdina, (3) Columbus' Trevor Letowski

skater, goals-assists-points
Baumgartner 1-1-2
Bertuzzi 1-1-2
D Sedin 1-1-2
Naslund 0-2-2
Burrows 1-0-1
Salo 1-0-1
Bieksa 0-1-1
Kesler 0-1-1
Morrison 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1

Vancouver never led in this game, though they tied the game four times and came back from a two-goal deficit in the first period. Their penalty killing left a lot to be desired, which is the case when you give up four goals in such situations. The game also featured common Canuck bug-a-boos, namely the schizophrenic play of Todd Bertuzzi and the rebound control adventures of Alex Auld in net. It's almost a cinch that they're going to ride Auld for as long as they possibly can since they're right up against the cap and probably can't trade for a top-name goalie without giving up a lot, so they're stuck with Auld, which is good and bad. Dan Cloutier's still under contract for a couple more years, but Auld is getting some valuable experience as a number-one goalie this season at the NHL level. The rebound control, though, that could use work.

The Canucks were 34-for-66 (52%) in the faceoff circle. Brendan Morrison was 14-for-21, Trevor Linden was 2-for-4, Ryan Kesler was 7-for-17, Henrik Sedin was 8-for-17, and Todd Bertuzzi was 2-for-5. Sami Salo, Morrison, and Daniel Sedin led the team with five shots each. Kesler dished out five hits. Morrison recorded three takeaways. Mattias Ohlund blocked three shots.

Minus-skating Canucks included Bryan Allen as the lone minus-2 and Linden, Josh Green, Bertuzzi, and the injured-again Ed Jovanovski as minus-1s. Plus Canucks included Alexandre Burrows, Kesler, Daniel Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, Henrik Sedin, and Jarkko Ruutu at plus-1 and Ohlund and Nolan Baumgartner at plus-2. All other Canuck skaters were even.

The loss made the Canucks wholly unsuccessful in their back-to-back set against Saint Louis and Columbus. They are now 28-17-5 (1-3 shootout, two overtime losses), two points back of the Calgary Flames (who have a game in hand) for the Northwest Division lead. Colorado is close by, trailing by only two points. Edmonton is five back.

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THE 3-4, OH NO! 

The Pittsburgh Steelers run the 3-4 defense.

So leave it to the national media guys to bring that fact up when it comes to the Seahawks. The Seahawks faced the Dallas Cowboys back on Oct. 23, who, you guessed it, ran the 3-4. Sports Illustrated's Don Banks has fallen victim to the most overhyped storyline this side of Jerome Bettis returning to Detroit:

1. Expect Seattle to struggle against the Steelers' 3-4 defense. The Seahawks have faced only one 3-4 formation all season, at home against Dallas in Week 7. The Seahawks won 13-10, but they needed a gift Drew Bledsoe interception to help them score 10 points in the game's last 40 seconds in avoiding defeat. Seattle only had 289 yards of offense against the Cowboys, with Shaun Alexander being held to 61 yards on 21 carries. The Seahawks were just 3 of 13 on third downs against Dallas, which stuffed the Seattle ground game by putting so many bodies at the line of scrimmage.

What Banks and the rest of the national media have failed to bring up is that the Seahawks were without their two top wide receivers, Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram, against the Cowboys. As most Seahawks fans know, when in doubt, you throw to Engram on third down. Trust me, the Seahawks won't be 3-of-13 on third down against the Steelers. Not with Engram in the lineup.

But hey, the ignorance is cool. I love it. My smirk over the last two days has been as big as a redneck's belly. You know how great it is to finally brag about a Seattle sports team? In the South? It's awesome, let me tell you.

Oh, and I've already spotted a few Steelers "fans" over the last two days. One guy was wearing a Jerome Bettis jersey while his wife was wearing a Antwaan Randle El jersey. Folks, the Steelers Nation is big. It's as bad as the Red Sox Nation.

(Note to self: Any fanbase that is a "nation" automatically loses points in my book.)

Nobody is picking the Seahawks to win. Even though they're 13-3, they're an underdog to the 11-5 wild card Steelers. Hey, it's cool. Fine.

It just means that when the Seahawks win the Super Bowl, we'll be smirking for eons and eons. And for the record, I love to smirk. It's not very "Southern-like", but then again, who said I was "Southern"?

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Monday, January 23, 2006


Blues 4, Canucks 0
AP photo -- James A. Finley

[posted in full Sat ~7:17a]

The Canucks were second in the Northwest Division just behind the Calgary Flames. Though they were starting a seven-game road trip, the first two games were a back-to-back set against two of the NHL's worst teams in the Saint Louis Blues and the Columbus Blue Jackets. This game was in Saint Louis, but coach Marc Crawford elected to give Alex Auld a game off and put Maxime Ouellet between the pipes for only the third time as a Canuck and for the first time in ten games. It was also the return for Ed Jovanovski after 11 games on the shelf with a groin injury.

1st period
About seven minutes into the game, the Canucks were foiled on a scoring chance when Sami Salo centered to Markus Naslund in the low slot, but Naslund couldn't get a hold of the puck and it was tipped away by goalie Curtis Sanford. Shortly after, Anson Carter went to the box for drawing blood on a high-stick, and the Canucks killed off the four-minute penalty. Steve McCarthy and Mark Rycroft got into a scrap ten seconds after Carter left the box. Later on, with Ryan Kesler in the box for a hook, Scott Young rifled a slapshot from the point that was deflected into the net past goalie Michel Ouellet by Mike Sillinger. Later, Kevin Dallman passed to Vladimir Orszagh, who wristed a shot from the high slot past Ouellet.
»» 1, SAINT LOUIS, powerplay, Mike Sillinger 19 (Scott Young, Doug Weight) 16:24
Vancouver outshot the Blues 8-5 in the period. They were 0-for-1 on the power play, and Saint Louis was 1-for-4.

2nd period
Near the midway point of the period, Daniel Sedin from behind the net centered to Anson Carter in front of the crease, but Carter was foiled by Sanford.
»» 2, SAINT LOUIS, Vladimir Orszagh 1 (Kevin Dallman, Christian Backman) 17:06
Shortly after the goal, Sillinger, who has torn up the Canucks this year, got the wrath of Mattias Ohlund finishing a check, as he was mashed into the boards and didn't return to the game. Vancouver again was 0-for-1 (0-for-2 overall) on the power play, and Saint Louis was 0-for-3 (1-for-7).

3rd period
With a Vancouver power play just expiring, Ed Jovanovski had a shot blocked by Dean McAmmond, who made a long pass to Backman steaming out of the penalty box, who broke away and tucked the puck in on Ouellet's glove side.
»» 3, SAINT LOUIS, Backman 3 (Dallas Drake, Jamal Mayers) 1:38
On another early power play, Daniel Sedin took a quick centering pass but couldn't snap the puck past Sanford. On a power play with just under eight minutes remaining, Sanford stopped a Naslund shot from the left side with Todd Bertuzzi trying to provide the screen in front of him. But it all ended when Bryan Allen had one last shot blocked and Petr Cajanek ran it the other way into the open net.
»» 4, SAINT LOUIS, emptynet, Petr Cajanek 5 (Dean McAmmond) 19:20
Vancouver outshot the Blues 21-5 in the period (34-23 overall) and still couldn't get any pucks past Sanford. Vancouver blew it on four power plays (0-for-6 total) while Saint Louis didn't have a power play (1-for-7). Ouellet stopped 19 shots total.

Three stars -- (1) Saint Louis' Curtis Sanford, (2) Saint Louis' Barrett Jackman, (3) Saint Louis' Vladimir Orszagh

skater, goals-assists-points
none for Vancouver

Not the way the Canucks wanted to start the road trip. An interesting stat is that the Canucks missed the net entirely with a grand 20 shots. Shots off goal, if you will.

Vancouver was 31-for-57 (54%) in the faceoff circle, though it definitely didn't amount to a win. Brendan Morrison was 9-for-15, Trevor Linden was 2-for-4, Ryan Kesler was 5-for-14, Henrik Sedin was 7-for-14, Josh Green was 6-for-12, and Todd Bertuzzi was 1-for-3. Markus Naslund led the Canucks with seven shots. Mattias Ohlund dished out a pair of hits and blocked four shots. Ed Jovanovski blocked three shots. Bryan Allen was the lone minus-2 Canuck. Mattias Ohlund, Sami Salo, the newly recalled Tyler Bouck, and Anson Carter were even. All other Canucks were minus-1.

The loss dropped the Canucks to 28-16-5 (1-3 shootout, two overtime losses), leaving the Canucks at 61 points. It wasn't exactly a great way to kick off a seven-game road trip. Luckily they only had 24 hours until the next game, so maybe they could get this one out of their system.

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AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The Seattle Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl!

The Super Bowl has always been a big deal. Now that the Seahawks are actually going to play in the biggest football game in the world, it means so much more to me and Seahawks fans across the Northwest and the entire globe. Yes, the 12th Man reaches far beyond Qwest Field. I'd have to say I was pretty loud yesterday and I wasn't even in Seattle to witness the game.

The 2005 Seahawks aren't a mirage. They really did finish 13-3, they really did earn the #1 seed in the NFC. And yes, they really are the NFC Champions. It doesn't matter at this point that the Seahawks were expected to fall flat on their faces once again in the playoffs. Fact is, this Seahawks team doesn't give a damn about the past. The past is just that, the past.

Shaun Alexander shut up his critics yesterday with a 132-yard performance. Matt Hasselbeck proved that he's an elite quarterback. The defense, led by rookie Lofa Tatupu, shut down Steve Smith. How can anybody doubt the Seahawks at this point?

Of course there will be doubters. For the next two weeks, we'll hear about Jerome Bettis returning to his hometown of Detroit (we get it, he's from Detroit!). We'll also hear about how Ben Roethlisberger can do no wrong and how the Steelers fans are second to none. Trust me, we'll hear a lot of Steelers hype over the next two weeks.

And you know something? I'm cool with it. After all, the Redskins were supposed to beat the Seahawks. They didn't. The Panthers were supposed to beat the Seahawks. They didn't. The Steelers are already an early favorite in Super Bowl XL. So what?

Seahawks fans, now we know the feeling of what it's like to talk about our team being in the Super Bowl. It's fun. The air of depression that has sucked the will out of my life after so many disappointing losses over the years is going away very quickly. And let's face it, fans like myself deserve something like this.

The Seattle Seahawks are in the Super Bowl!


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Sunday, January 22, 2006


AP photo -- Elaine Thompson
photo by me in front of the television

You know, the best part is that they're not done yet. This can get better!

A Super Bowl! For Seattle! Yes, Seattle!

How different will it be going through two weeks of Super Bowl hype when your team is actually in it?

Okay, I'm going to watch PrimeTime now.

We'll be back with more at different points in the week, or next two weeks.

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Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks, 3:30 p.m. Pacific (FOX)

It's the NFC Championship Game.

There isn't much more to say than that.

Get loud, 12th Man.

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