Friday, March 03, 2006


Canucks 5, Blackhawks 4 (SO)
AP photo -- Jeff Roberson

[posted Tue 11 Jun ~11:31p]

If you lose the first game of a back-to-back set, you always have a chance to quickly erase the memory of the loss by going out and winning the next night. The Canucks went from facing the fourth-place team in the Western Conference to facing a bottom-feeder. Of course, we're getting into the scary part of the season for top teams, the part where the also-rans of the league realize the pressure is off of them and that they're playing for a spot on the team next year or they're playing for pride. That's where the weirdness starts. In a related note, the Norfolk Admirals (AHL affiliate of the Blackhawks) play near me here, and one of my training instructors has an Admiral jersey with Craig Anderson's name and number on it. Anderson would man the Chicago net against the Canucks on this night.

1st period
The Canucks once again didn't get a good start to a game. Bryan Allen lost his footing down low and Rene Bourque from near the left faceoff dot cleaned up a juicy rebound from Alex Auld.
»» 1, CHICAGO, Rene Bourque 12 (Mark Bell, Jim Vandermeer) 1:33
Patrick Sharp passed along the right-wing boards to Brent Seabrook at the right point. Seabrook snapped a shot toward the net that was nicely deflected into the net by Bourque. Auld and the Canucks tried to argue the deflection was off a high stick. The goal went under review but was upheld.
»» 2, CHICAGO, powerplay, Bourque 13 (Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp) 8:12
Jim Dowd on the left side passed to Jim Vandermeer at the blueline, who rocketed a shot toward the net which was stopped by Auld, but Matthew Barnaby was out in front. Barnaby had one shot stopped before deflecting his own shot into the net on possibly a high stick (no review).
»» 3, CHICAGO, Matthew Barnaby 6 (Vandermeer, Jim Dowd) 8:38
Chicago outshot the Canucks 16-12 in the period. The Canucks were 0-for-2 on the power play while Chicago was 1-for-3.

2nd period
Markus Naslund from the right hash centered to Todd Bertuzzi in front of the net, who used the Marek Malik between-the-legs shootout move to shove the puck through on Craig Anderson.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Todd Bertuzzi 21 (Markus Naslund, Nolan Baumgartner) 9:29
Anson Carter passed from up high to Henrik Sedin on the right side near the goal line, who was stopped. Henrik Sedin took the puck behind the net and passed back out to Daniel Sedin, who had the puck go off his stick to Carter rushing the slot. Carter shot and was stopped, then Daniel Sedin appeared to jab it in, and both the Canucks' radio and television crews thought in the moment that it was Daniel's goal. In the boxscore, however, it goes to Carter. The goal was scored on a delayed penalty.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Anson Carter 23 (Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin) 10:47
Sven Butenschon got caught up the ice as the Blackhawks got loose on a 2-on-1. Kyle Calder rushed up the right side, where he centered across the slot and Bryan Allen got a stick on it, but the puck found its eventual destination in the form of Andy Hilbert, who passed backward to Calder on the doorstep, who jabbed it through on Auld's glove side after Auld had overcommitted on the pass.
»» 6, CHICAGO, Kyle Calder 14 (Andy Hilbert, Todd Simpson) 19:46
The Canucks outshot Chicago 9-8 in the period (behind 24-21 overall). They were 2-for-6 on the power play (2-for-8) while Chicago was 0-for-4 (1-for-7).

3rd period
Carter skated along the boards from the left corner and passed back to Henrik Sedin in the corner. Henrik saw a seam and rushed to the net, putting a backhander through on Anderson. Something out of nothing.
»» 7, VANCOUVER, powerplay, H Sedin 15 (Carter, Brendan Morrison) 8:57
With a delayed penalty to be called, Matt Cooke near the right corner centered to Brendan Morrison in the slot, who went top shelf on Anderson for his first goal in 14 games.
»» 8, VANCOUVER, Morrison 13 (Matt Cooke, Naslund) 13:04
Vancouver badly outshot Chicago 13-4 in the period (34-28 overall). The Canucks were 1-for-4 (3-for-12) on the power play while Chicago was 0-for-2 (1-for-9).

The overtime saw Anderson standing on his head in the Chicago net and Baumgartner slashing Calder after the horn. The Canucks outshot Chicago 7-2 in the overtime (41-30 total). No power penalties were whistled in the period, so Vancouver finished 3-for-12 on the power play and the Blackhawks were 1-for-9. Auld stopped 26 shots in the game.

Naslund -- YES, deke backhand to forehand, off the post and in
Bourque -- NO, deke to backhand, Auld stops him
Ruutu -- NO, forehand stopped
Radim Vrbata -- NO, stopped
Richard Park -- NO, slow, confused, forehand stopped, in too deep
Mikael Holmqvist -- NO, right pad save on a deke to forehand, kinda just ran into Auld's pad

Three stars -- (1) Naslund, (2) Chicago's Rene Bourque, (3) Morrison

skater, goals-assists-points
Carter 1-1-2
Morrison 1-1-2
H Sedin 1-1-2
Naslund 0-2-2
Bertuzzi 1-0-1
Baumgartner 0-1-1
Cooke 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1

Well, the Canucks showed some resilience, coming back from down 3-0 to win the game. Of course, another person could wonder why the Canucks were falling behind 3-0 to the Blackhawks in the first place.

In the faceoff circle, the Canucks were 29-for-67 (43%). Brendan Morrison was 9-for-21, Trevor Linden was 4-for-10, Ryan Kesler was 2-for-4, Henrik Sedin was 10-for-19, and Todd Bertuzzi was 3-for-11. Markus Naslund led the team with six shots. Nolan Baumgartner and Bryan Allen had five shots each. Matt Cooke led the team by dishing out four hits. Daniel Sedin led the Canucks with two takeaways. Sven Butenschon led with four blocked shots while Allen and Steve McCarthy blocked a pair apiece.

In the world of plus-minus, there were so many penalties that nobody is grossly plus or minus. Plus-skating Canucks included Morrison, Naslund, and Cooke, all at plus-1. Minus skaters included Baumgartner, Alexandre Burrows, Jarkko Ruutu, Bertuzzi, and Butenschon at minus-1 and Allen, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Anson Carter at minus-2.

The Canucks used possibly the weirdest win of the season to push them to a record of 35-22-5 (3-3 shootout, two overtime losses), good for 75 points and the Northwest Division lead by virtue of having one more point than Calgary, though the Flames have three games in hand. Detroit and Dallas hold up the top two seeds of the Western Conference. It is entirely possible that four of the five teams in the Northwest Division will make the playoffs. Since only one of the teams can win the division, that means the other three will be spread out among seeds four through eight. These teams have been beating the tar out of each other all year in what is the most competitive division on hockey. If you're Detroit or Dallas, I'd be a bit weary of drawing an Edmonton team in the first round -- a team that's beaten the Canucks five out of five teams this season.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006


Predators 3, Canucks 1
AP photo -- John Russell

[posted in full Mon 10 Jul ~10:46p]

Fresh off the big win at Calgary, the Canucks hoped to keep the emotional high and parlay it into a couple of points against the Nashville Predators, who had slumped before the Olympic break. The injury woes of the Canucks' defense were still in force, with the top three defensemen still being out.

1st period
The Canucks outshot Nashville 13-8 in the period. They were 0-for-3 on the power play while the Predators were 0-for-2.

2nd period
Fresh off a faceoff to start a two-man advantage (hook by Marek Zidlicky and puck over glass by Shea Weber), Nolan Baumgartner had the puck inside the blueline and found Markus Naslund down low on the right/short side, who beat Tomas Vokoun above the left shoulder.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Markus Naslund 28 (Nolan Baumgartner, Todd Bertuzzi) 2:15
Just past the halfway point, the puck was dumped into the Nashville zone and Steve Sullivan crushed Kevin Bieksa into the boards. Seconds later, Daniel Sedin had a shot blocked by Ryan Suter, but Anson Carter swooped in on the right side to get a good shot on the net, but it was stopped by the pad of Vokoun. Later, Jarkko Ruutu had a quick shot in the slot stopped by Vokoun. Late in the period, Paul Kariya faked a shot from the back of the right circle and passed to Yanic Perreault down low on the right side, who got the puck through on Alex Auld.
»» 2, NASHVILLE, powerplay, Yanic Perreault 21 (Paul Kariya, Adam Hall) 17:01
Vancouver badly outshot Nashville 17-7 in the period (30-15 overall). They were 1-for-5 (1-for-8) on the power play while Nashville was 1-for-2 (1-for-4).

3rd period
Right out of the gate, a pass went to the right point for Nolan Baumgartner. Baumgartner passed to Bertuzzi, but it went off of him and to center, where Greg Johnson got a hold of it and pushed it through center as a 2-on-1 developed with Adam Hall, but Johnson ended by putting the puck through Auld from the right side.
»» 3, NASHVILLE, shorthanded, Greg Johnson 7 (unassisted) 0:45
A pass through center was picked off by Scottie Upshall, who took the puck into the Vancouver zone and dodged Ruutu, then centered to Daniel Hamhuis in the slot, whose shot was nicely stopped by Auld, but not covered. That's when Mike Sillinger, just traded to the Predators from Saint Louis, made good on the rebound.
»» 4, NASHVILLE, Mike Sillinger 24 (Daniel Hamhuis, Scottie Upshall) 6:09
Vancouver outshot Nashville 12-5 (42-20 total). They were 0-for-3 (1-for-11) on the power play while the Predators were 0-for-3 (1-for-7). Auld stopped 17 shots in the game.

Three stars -- (1) Nashville's Tomas Vokoun, (2) Nashville's Greg Johnson, (3) Nashville's Scottie Upshall

skater, goals-assists-points
Naslund 1-0-1
Baumgartner 0-1-1
Bertuzzi 0-1-1

Mike Sillinger has done a number on the Canucks this year.

In the faceoff circle, Vancouver was 27-for-65 (42%). Brendan Morrison was 5-for-14, Trevor Linden was 7-for-13, Ryan Kesler was a nice 9-for-12, Henrik Sedin was a brutal 5-for-19, and Todd Bertuzzi was an icky 1-for-7. Matt Cooke led the team with seven shots. Bertuzzi and Anson Carter had six shots apiece. Jarkko Ruutu led the team by dishing out six hits. Bryan Allen led the team by blocking four shots.

The Canucks had no one on the plus side of the plus-minus ledger. Bertuzzi was the lone minus-2. Minus-1 skaters were Nolan Baumgartner, Morrison, Markus Naslund, Kesler, Cooke, Kevin Bieksa, Steve McCarthy, and Ruutu. All other Canuck skaters were even.

The loss bumped the Canucks to 34-22-5 (2-3 shootout, two overtime losses), good for 73 points and still a lead in the Northwest Division, though it's basically not a lead since Calgary has two games in hand. Vancouver has 21 games left in the regular season.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Canucks 2, Flames 1
AP/CP photo -- Jeff McIntosh

[posted in full Sun 9 Jul ~1:20a]

The Olympic break had just ended. For the Canucks, it didn't completely pass without incident. The good thing was that Markus Naslund was able to rest his injured hip, though he did miss out on Sweden's gold medal by doing it. For bad things, both Sami Salo and Mattias Ohlund were injured during the Games and weren't available for this game, further depleting the injury-riddled Canuck blue line. In addition, Nolan Baumgartner was out of this game with an ankle injury. Needless to say, Ed Jovanovski has been out for a long time. Thus, the Canucks needed to hold it together with Moose callups Tomas Mojzis and Sven Butenschon holding down two of the six defensive spots. The Canucks needed to hold it together against the Calgary Flames. Vancouver lost the first four meetings against Calgary this season and won the following two. How would the seventh meeting go?

1st period
Just 2:40 into the game, Wade Brookbank and Chris Simon got into a tussle and Simon pummeled Brookbank, which wasn't so good since Brookbank has had concussion problems. Later, Bryan Marchment punched Alexandre Burrows in the face well away from the play. On the ensuing power play, Markus Naslund put a low shot on Miikka Kiprusoff that was nicely stopped. At 7:24 into the period, the Canucks were whistled for a rare double-waveout penalty on a faceoff. The Flames got a power play opportunity as a result, and they made good. Kristian Huselius passed from the right-wing boards and fed Robyn Regehr in the high slot for a goal through traffic.
»» 1, CALGARY, powerplay, Robyn Regehr 5 (Kristian Huselius, Jordan Leopold) 8:53
After the goal, Shean Donovan threw a punch at Matt Cooke and drew a penalty. On the Vancouver power play, Rhett Warrener and Jarkko Ruutu exchanged fisticuffs as the Canuck power play remained intact. Todd Bertuzzi wiped away the last seven seconds of the power play with an interference penalty. As the Bertuzzi penalty expired, Henrik Sedin overskated the puck in the crease as Kiprusoff had left a wide-open net. With 4:40 left in the period, Auld made a nice save on a close Tony Amonte shot. Just inside three minutes remaining, Trevor Linden mustered some speed and drew a hook from Regehr. Henrik Sedin and Regehr were sent off for roughing after a whistle late in the period. The Flames outshot the Canucks 9-7 in the period. Calgary was 1-for-2 on the power play in the period while Vancouver was 0-for-3.

2nd period
Cooke drew an interference penalty just 46 seconds into the period, and it set the tone. Steve McCarthy then put a puck over the glass, putting the Canucks two men down for 57 seconds. Brendan Morrison won the first faceoff after the second penalty, which was key. Alex Auld made a nice save on a one-timer with 18 ticks left in the Cooke penalty. After Cooke came out of the box, Kristian Huselius hit the post beside Auld. Cooke drilled Daymond Langkow at center ice and Langkow reacted and got the gate for unsportsmanlike conduct, bailing the Canucks out of having to kill off the last 44 seconds of the McCarthy penalty. Just 27 seconds later, Kevin Bieksa coughed up the puck and Tomas Mojzis had no choice but to trip up Stephane Yelle. Luckily, the penalty was killed. Later, Jarome Iginla had Sven Butenschon beat for a breakaway chance but he lost control of the puck. At one time in the period, the Flames led 13-2 on shots as Auld stood on his head in net. Bieksa had a point-blank chance stopped by Kiprusoff. McCarthy was grabbed by Donovan and the Canucks went on the power play with 6:28 left in the period, but made nothing of it. On a quick end-to-end play, McCarthy put the puck down the ice from his own corner and it found Morrison along the left-wing boards in the Calgary zone, where he passed to Naslund moving down the slot, who beat Kiprusoff on the stick side to tie it.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Markus Naslund 27 (Brendan Morrison, Steve McCarthy) 18:20
Right after the Naslund goal, the Canucks won the faceoff and moved down the ice quickly as the loose puck moved across the blueline and Daniel Sedin dove to push it to Anson Carter up high, who shot from the right hash and beat Kiprusoff on the glove side to turn the tide of the entire game.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Anson Carter 22 (Daniel Sedin, Bryan Allen) 18:29
The Canucks showed some resilience. After being horribly outplayed for the first 18 minutes of the period, they managed two goals in quick succession. Best of all, Vancouver took a 22-2-1 record into the game when leading after two periods of play. Calgary badly outshot the Canucks 15-7 in the period (24-14 overall). The Flames were 0-for-3 (1-for-5) on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-3 again (0-for-6).

3rd period
With Chris Simon getting a roughing penalty after the second-period horn, the Canucks started off the third period with a power play, but didn't do anything with it as the CKNW McDonald's Power Play jackpot reached $308 (it starts at $98 after the Canucks score a power-play goal). Later, Iginla fired wide on a rebound of a Huselius shot as Auld had to hurry to get back into position. Further along, Tony Amonte had a one-timer stopped. Some time after that, Yelle shot wide after the puck found him in the slot. With 6:39 gone in the period, Ruutu delivered a flying hit, but he drew a charging penalty since he left his feet. McCarthy later (after the penalty) set Ruutu loose with a pass but Ruutu sent the backhand shot wide. Naslund later gave a two-handed slash to Simon but it wasn't called. Andrew Ference knocked one of the Sedins on his back. Kesler tied up Iginla, who was breaking to the net, and a 4-on-3 power play resulted. As the minutes wound down, Naslund was barely stopped on a wraparound attempt by Kiprusoff. Vancouver outshot the Flames 8-7 in the period but were outshot 31-22 in the game. The Flames were 0-for-1 (1-for-6 total) on the power play while the Canucks were 0-for-2 (0-for-8) and were scoreless on their last 23 power plays. Auld stopped 30 shots in the game.

Three stars -- (1) McCarthy, (2) Calgary's Robyn Regehr, (3) Auld

skater, goals-assists-points
Carter 1-0-1
Naslund 1-0-1
Allen 0-1-1
McCarthy 0-1-1
Morrison 0-1-1
D Sedin 0-1-1

Great win. The Canucks got by against a good Calgary Flames team despite having a patchwork defensive corps of Bryan Allen, Kevin Bieksa, Steve McCarthy, Wade Brookbank, Tomas Mojzis, and Sven Butenschon. This win was no small feat.

Vancouver was 28-for-28 (50%) in the faceoff circle. Brendan Morrison was 8-for-13, Trevor Linden was a stellar 8-for-11, Ryan Kesler was 3-for-7, Henrik Sedin was an icky 3-for-12, and Todd Bertuzzi was 6-for-12. Markus Naslund led the Canucks with five shots. Kevin Bieksa was the only other Canuck with three or more shots (he had three). Matt Cooke dished out four hits. Bryan Allen and Kesler delivered three hits apiece. Steve McCarthy led the team with four blocked shots. Bieksa and Tomas Mojzis blocked two shots each.

The Canucks had no skaters on the minus side of the plus-minus ledger in this one. All the plus-skating Canucks were plus-1. Allen, Morrison, Naslund, Daniel Sedin, Cooke, Bieksa, McCarthy, Wade Brookbank, Henrik Sedin, and Anson Carter were all plus-1. All other Canuck skaters were even.

Thanks to possibly their biggest win of the season to date, the Vancouver Canucks are now 34-21-5 (2-3 shootouts, two overtime losses), good for 73 points and a share of the Northwest Division lead with the very Calgary Flames (who have two games in hand) they beat on this night. After losing the first four meetings with the Flames this season, the Canucks have won all three meetings since. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Wild couldn't hold up their end of the bargain, losing in Colorado. Thus, Colorado trails Vancouver and Calgary by only one point. Edmonton is five points back with two games in hand on Vancouver. The Canucks have a mere 22 games left in the season, and thanks to a stacked Northwest Division, the playoffs are by no means a certainty at this point.

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Sunday, February 26, 2006


It's a pretty lean time for Sports and B's, in case you haven't noticed. Compared to last year at this time, the busy factor now is the exact opposite. When you know enough that the Times posts their latest online sports articles at around 12:15am and that the P-I refreshes theirs usually by the half-hour before midnight -- you had to have a lot of time on your hands. The only joys of being unemployed in Bremerton and living with the 'rents was that the sports got me through, and I had the daily post routine going and everything. Additionally, I wish the Seahawks could have gotten to the Super Bowl a year earlier -- my coverage would have been nuts. Even as I worked through last summer (after I got the connection at my place), I was able to crank out the Mariner game posts on a fairly regular basis.

Where we're at now is that Jeremy is deep into the four-year college thing, and I've had fairly grueling job training here (like a school, which means studying a whole bunch after work and stuff) in Virginia since the start of October. If I had my way, I'd be posting about ten to twenty times more often that I have been since the end of the baseball season. I guess the good thing is that I haven't had to sort through the wreckage that is the Seattle SuperSonics or the arena situation, or that the team might move or whatnot (the city of Seattle cannot lose Kevin Calabro).

What's on the horizon? I leave for Hawaii on March 22nd. If all goes as scheduled, I should have the connection over there on the 25th. So, I should be back to normal just in time for baseball season. I don't know what the game post format will be this season, but if it's within my power, game posts will happen.

Believe me, I haven't felt like myself without being able to post regularly. Geology camp two summers ago was six weeks, not six months. Of course, the six weeks was a near-total detachment from sports altogether. But hey, all I was missing was the worst Mariner season in over a decade. Over the past six months, I've known what I've wanted to post about, yet couldn't. The Seahawks went to the freakin' Super Bowl, for goodness' sake.

Basically, wait a month and things will pick up on my end. I wish I didn't have to wait.

My goodness, did I just see Jerry Rice say that winning Dancing With the Stars would be right up there with winning a Super Bowl? Yikes. He didn't win though. And Kenny Mayne was around for the closing credits.

Anyway, yeah, the baseball season is coming soon, and hopefully a return to normality around these parts.

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