Saturday, November 04, 2006
The Canucks strolled into Denver hoping to stop a two-game losing streak. A loss would mean their second three-game losing streak, which wouldn't be so good considering this game was only the fifteenth of the season. In addition, a Colorado regulation win would result in the Avalanche hopping over the Canucks in the Northwest Division standings with a game in hand. Also of concern was the Vancouver power play, which almost singlehandedly lost the game in Minnesota two nights earlier by going 0-for-6 and also giving up a shorthanded goal. Also, with Willie Mitchell already sitting out with a concussion, Sami Salo was sitting this one out with a knee injury he sustained in the Minnesota game. Thus, the Canucks called up Alexander Edler from Manitoba. Thus, the Canucks were short two men on defense, and if Mitchell and Salo are up for much longer, the Canucks will have their hand forced as to whether or not they send Luc Bourdon back to junior. They went into this game with Mattias Ohlund, Kevin Bieksa, Bourdon, Lukas Krajicek, Rory Fitzpatrick, and Edler on defense.
With just over a minute left, Paul Stastny put a move on Lukas Krajicek on the right side and skated the puck to the goal line on the right side. From there, Stastny centered the puck and it went off Rory Fitzpatrick's skate and into the blue paint, where Roberto Luongo kicked it away with the left pad. Seconds later, Wojtek Wolski was pokechecked in the neutral zone and Alexandre Burrows came off the bench and rushed the puck the other way on a two-on-one with Markus Naslund. He skated just inside the left hash and waited out a diving John-Michael Liles trying to block a shot before passing across the slot to Naslund, who put it past Jose Theodore on the short side.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Markus Naslund 7 (Alexandre Burrows, Mattias Ohlund) 19:07
Vancouver badly outshot the Avalanche 15-6 in a period that the Canucks absolutely dominated, but they couldn't bury the pucks as often as they should have. Both teams were 0-for-1 on the power play.
Inside the first two minutes, a particular shift found the Sedins failing to clear the puck from their own zone. Furthermore, a delayed penalty was about to be called on Fitzpatrick. Joe Sakic bounced the puck from the left-wing boards to Brett Clark up high, who blasted a slapshot that deflected off Andrew Brunette and past Luongo, who he had chopped in the right leg and spun around right before he deflected the puck. No interference was called as a result. Luongo was infuriated.
»» 2, COLORADO, Andrew Brunette 6 (Brett Clark, Joe Sakic) 1:32
On a Vancouver power play about six and a half minutes in, Henrik Sedin from the goal line on the right side centered to Daniel Sedin in the slot, who was stopped by Theodore, but Theodore left a rebound, and Daniel followed his own shot and roofed it.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Daniel Sedin 6 (Henrik Sedin, Taylor Pyatt) 6:32
About nine minutes in, the Avalanche took a three-on-two rush into the Vancouver zone, Brad Richardson tried sneaking the puck through Luongo in close as he skated past, and Milan Hejduk gave chase on the rebound, but he was foiled by Luongo. Later in the period, Fitzpatrick lost the puck along the boards in the Vancouver zone, and Wolski got a hold of it. The puck got loose and went through some skates in the left circle before being found by Hejduk, who shot toward the net. The puck got caught in some other skates closer to the net before Stastny found it and put it past Luongo.
»» 4, COLORADO, Paul Stastny 3 (Milan Hejduk, Wojtek Wolski) 12:46
With just under four minutes to go, a delayed penalty was going to be called on Krajicek for hooking. Before Vancouver got a hold of the puck on the same shift, another official's arm went up, tagging Fitzpatrick for a slash. The result was two full minutes of a two-man advantage for Colorado, which somehow the Canucks miraculously killed even though both of the penalized players were defensemen. Shots were nine apiece in the period (Vancouver 24-15 overall). Vancouver was 1-for-1 (1-for-2) on the power play while Colorado was 0-for-2 (0-for-3).
Early in the third period, the Canucks again failed to get the puck out of the zone, and Brett Clark from the right point caught the Canuck skaters cheating too far toward the puck, and he threaded it through to Brunette, who skated from the right faceoff dot through to Luongo, and he put it past Luongo's outstretched left arm.
»» 5, COLORADO, Brunette 7 (Clark, Sakic) 3:22
On the dying seconds of a Vancouver power play about six and a half minutes in, Henrik Sedin centered to Naslund, who was stopped in close by Theodore. Vancouver badly outshot Colorado 14-5 in the period (38-20 overall). Both teams were 0-for-1 on the power play, so Vancouver finished 1-for-3 and Colorado finished 0-for-4. Luongo stopped 17 shots for the game.
Three stars -- (1) Colorado's Andrew Brunette, (2) Colorado's Jose Theodore, (3) Colorado's Brett Clark
D Sedin 1-0-1
H Sedin 0-1-1
In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 35 of 66 draws (53%). Brendan Morrison won seven of 16, Ryan Kesler won 12 of 22, Tommi Santala won three of four, and Henrik Sedin won 11 of 21. Morrison and Markus Naslund led the team with five shots apiece, and each of Taylor Pyatt, Alexandre Burrows, and Daniel Sedin had four shots. Mattias Ohlund, Burrows, and Rory Fitzpatrick dealt three hits apiece. Ohlund also notched three takeaways. Naslund coughed up the puck three times. Lukas Krajicek blocked three shots and Alexander Edler blocked two. Daniel Sedin missed the net three times.
In plus-minus, the Canucks had more range than usual, i.e., numbers other than one. Plus-skating Canucks were Kevin Bieksa, Burrows, and Kesler at plus-1. Minus skaters were Luc Bourdon, Morrison, and Matt Cooke at minus-1 and Krajicek, Pyatt, Fitzpatrick, Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin were all minus-2. All remaining Canuck skaters were even.
The loss put the Canucks at 7-7-1 on the season (3-0 overtime, 1-1 shootout), good for 15 points. The bad news is that it was another division loss, and the two points Colorado got allowed them to leapfrog the Canucks in the Northwest Division. In addition, the Canucks' pathetic division record is 1-4-1, something that has to change fast if the Canucks hope to make the playoffs this season. Vancouver is five back of the division-leading Wild (who have two games in hand) and one back of Colorado (one game). Edmonton is a point back with two in hand and Calgary is five back with two in hand. Minnesota is second in the West with their 20 points. Anaheim leads the West with 24 points. Nashville is third with 19. Dallas and San Jose are fourth and fifth with 22 and 20 points but trail Anaheim in their division. Detroit is tied with Nashville in points but the Predators have a game in hand and Detroit is therefore sixth. Colorado and Vancouver are seventh and eighth in the West.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The Canucks were coming off a home loss on Halloween to Nashville, a game in which they rallied from two goals down to tie it only to lose on an incredible goal by Steve Sullivan. The Canucks then hopped a plane and headed to Minnesota to hopefully defeat the Wild. However, the Wild have started the season red hot, including a shootout win against Vancouver. Though the Canucks came into it with Roberto Luongo in goal, it turns out he's only beaten the Wild once in his career, something which has to change so as to improve the Canucks' chances in the Northwest Division.
Alexandre Burrows had the puck behind the Minnesota net and waited for something to develop. Ryan Kesler skated near the right hash with his stick on the ice and received a perfect pass from Burrows. Kesler then wristed it through the pads of Manny Fernandez.
»» 1, VANCOUVER, Ryan Kesler 1 (Alexandre Burrows, Lukas Krajicek) 8:08
The Canucks didn't wait another minute to score. A Mattias Ohlund slapshot from the blue line was stopped by Fernandez, but he left a huge rebound with Jan Bulis jockeying for position in front. Bulis had his back to Fernandez but managed to backhand it past Fernandez to five the Canucks a nice 2-0 lead in the first period of a road game.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Jan Bulis 3 (Mattias Ohlund, Trevor Linden) 8:59
The Wild were on a power play inside the final 30 seconds of the period. Mikko Koivu on the right side behind the circle centered the puck and it went off the skate of Todd White and past Roberto Luongo. The goal was immediately waved off by the on-ice officials. Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire lobbied for a review. During the video review process, the Canuck radio crew of John Shorthouse and Tom Larscheid also hashed over the video and agreed with the on-ice ruling, saying there was a kicking motion, or in Shorthouse's words, a "backheel" motion. The final decision of a goal was made by the Minnesota video goal judge in conjunction with the Toronto league office. Apparently Toronto said White "propelled" the puck to the net but didn't use a kicking motion. During the second intermission, Larscheid had Steve Tambellini on as guest but did most of the talking about the goal since Tambellini's actual thoughts on the goal would probably draw a fine. Larscheid cited that the word "propel" doesn't show up in the rule book for such a situation. In addition, Larscheid defended the on-ice call (definitely the adamant nature of it) and derided the video overturn, saying "why in the hell do they even make any calls anymore?"
»» 3, MINNESOTA, powerplay, Todd White 4 (Mikko Koivu, Brian Rolston) 19:45
Vancouver outshot Minnesota 11-8 in the period. The Canucks were 0-for-1 on the power play while Minnesota was 1-for-1.
Lemaire put backup Finnish export goalie Niklas Backstrom into the net to start the period. Two and a half minutes into the period, Luc Bourdon played nice on the backcheck and stapled Stephane Veilleux to the end boards. On a Vancouver power play just past the 12-minute mark, Daniel Sedin from the end boards on the right side centered to Taylor Pyatt on the doorstep, who was absolutely robbed by Backstrom. With 2:59 left in the period, a soft penalty shot call went Minnesota's way (some probably thought it should have been a hook or hold), and Brian Rolston got a free shot on Luongo. He skated to the high slot and unleashed a slapshot that beat Luongo easily on the glove side. Minnesota has 19 penalty shots in franchise history, and six of them are against the Canucks.
»» 4, MINNESOTA, shorthanded/penalty shot, Rolston 10 (penalty shot) 17:01
Vancouver outshot Minnesota 7-6 (18-14 overall). They were 0-for-3 (0-for-4) on the power play and didn't take a penalty.
A neutral zone turnover led to the Wild's next goal. Veilleux's centering pass from the end boards was deflected out to the blue line, where Nick Schultz blasted a slapshot that went through a bunch of traffic but didn't deflect off anyone, beating Luongo cleanly to the glove side.
»» 5, MINNESOTA, Nick Schultz 2 (Stephane Veilleux, Martin Skoula) 4:31
The Canucks didn't do themselves any favors to try to get back in the game as they started taking penalties late. Kim Johnsson along the end boards centered the puck, and White shot to the net from in close but was stopped. However, Pascal Dupuis was right there to pick up the scraps and put it through on Luongo.
»» 6, MINNESOTA, powerplay, Pascal Dupuis 1 (White, Kim Johnsson) 15:25
Vancouver failed one final time on the power play, their sixth of the game. Veilleux's high-sticking penalty put Vancouver on the power play with 3:04 to go, and the Canucks also pulled Luongo for stretches to get a six-on-four advantage, but they still couldn't put the puck through. The final Minnesota goal was completely meaningless. Mark Parrish left the puck for Branko Radivojevic, who blasted a slapshot from the back of the right circle that beat Luongo.
»» 7, MINNESOTA, powerplay, Branko Radivojevic 2 (Mark Parrish, Koivu) 19:57
Vancouver outshot Minnesota 12-10 (30-24 total). They were 0-for-2 (0-for-6) on the power play while Minnesota was 2-for-3 (3-for-4). Luongo stopped 19 shots for the game.
Three stars -- (1) Minnesota's Brian Rolston, (2) Minnesota's Todd White, (3) Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom
In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 27 of 45 draws (60%). Brendan Morrison won eight of 11, Ryan Kesler won six of nine, Daniel Sedin lost both of his, Marc Chouinard won four of nine, and Henrik Sedin won eight of 12. Markus Naslund led the team with six shots and Taylor Pyatt had four. Kevin Bieksa and Matt Cooke dealt out three hits each, with Alexandre Burrows and Jan Bulis dishing out two apiece. Bieksa and Sami Salo (before leaving the game with a lower body injury) blocked a couple shots each. Kesler missed the net with three shots.
On plus-minus, the plus-skating Canucks (all plus-1) were Mattias Ohlund, Luc Bourdon, Lukas Krajicek, Burrows, Trevor Linden, Kesler, Cooke, Chouinard, and Bulis. Minus-skating Canucks (all minus-1) were Bieksa, Pyatt, Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin. All remaining Canuck skaters were even.
The Canucks' second straight loss dropped them to 7-6-1 (3-0 overtime, 1-1 shootout), good for 15 points. This leaves them five points back of Minnesota and one ahead of Edmonton, and both of those teams have two games in hand on Vancouver. Colorado is a point back as well, but with one game in hand. Calgary is eight back with three in hand. Vancouver is seventh in the Western Conference. Minnesota is second. Anaheim leads the conference and has seven points on Vancouver with a game in hand. Dallas is fourth and has the same amount of points as Minnesota. Nashville leads their division with two more points than the Canucks. San Jose has a three-point lead on Vancouver and sits in fifth while Detroit is two up with a game in hand in sixth.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
It was Halloween night and the Canucks were set to host the Predators. Nashville came into the game trying to exact some revenge after the Canucks stole two points in the Music City on their last road trip. Helping matters was the Canucks' recent smashing success on the penalty kill. Hurting them was their recent lack of success on the power play. The good thing was that the Canucks hadn't lost a game against the Central Division coming into the game. Of course, Nashville is a very good team and Tomas Vokoun is a very good goaltender. In related third-period madness, the Canucks were 3-22-3 last season when trailing after two periods of play. Coming into Halloween, the Canucks were 3-2 this season when trailing after 40 minutes.
Dan Hamhuis fired a shot from the right point that was deflected wide of the net. Alexander Radulov ran down the puck on the left-wing boards and flung it toward the goal, where it went off of Mattias Ohlund's stick in front and into the net past Roberto Luongo.
»» 1, NASHVILLE, Alexander Radulov 2 (Dan Hamhuis, David Legwand) 5:33
Jason Arnott on the left-wing boards passed to Steve Sullivan past the goal line to the left of the net. Sullivan passed across the low slot and found Ryan Suter just inside the right hash, who beat Luongo inside the far post.
»» 2, NASHVILLE, powerplay, Ryan Suter 2 (Steve Sullivan, Jason Arnott) 8:11
Nashville outshot the Canucks 10-7 in the period. They were 1-for-3 on the power play and didn't take a penalty.
With the Canucks shorthanded early on, Trevor Linden dropped a pass back to Matt Cooke along the boards on the right side in the Vancouver zone, but Cooke was stapled to said boards by Shea Weber. Just past the halfway point in the period, Ohlund coughed up the puck in his own zone, and Sullivan spotted Vernon Fiddler in the high slot to get a quick chance on Luongo, who made the nifty glove save. On the dying seconds of a late Vancouver power play, Ohlund faked a slapshot from the blue line, then took it and it got through on Tomas Vokoun.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Mattias Ohlund 2 (Jan Bulis, Brendan Morrison) 17:41
Nashville outshot Vancouver 8-7 in the period (18-14 overall). Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play, leaving Nashville 1-for-5 and Vancouver 0-for-2.
Halfway into a Vancouver power play just past the five-minute mark, Kevin Bieksa coughed up the puck along the right-wing boards in the Vancouver zone, enabling Sullivan to walk to the doorstep on Luongo with a great chance, but Luongo came up with a great glove save. Just over eight minutes in, Sami Salo took a slapshot off a draw that was blocked in front, and the puck found its way to Markus Naslund, who from behind the right circle put the puck on the net and had it trickle through Vokoun's legs as Jan Bulis was inconsequentially pushed into Vokoun and the net by Marek Zidlicky.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, Markus Naslund 6 (Sami Salo) 8:12
A cross-ice pass by Bulis was easily intercepted by JP Dumont and the Predators ran it the other way. Dumont sent Sullivan away with a pass, and Sullivan tried stuffing it through Luongo but was stopped. The rebound leaked to Luongo's glove side. Sullivan had skated past the goal line on the same side, but he spotted the puck and reached for it with his stick, lofting it over Luongo as the Vancouver goaltender was diving over to try and cover it up.
»» 5, NASHVILLE, Sullivan (JP Dumont) 14:19
With about 2:30 left to play, Kevin Bieksa left a drop pass on the left side for Daniel Sedin, who shot toward the net, where brother Henrik tipped the puck on the net, but Vokoun stopped it. The Canucks had a final flurry of scoring chances in the final 20 seconds with Luongo pulled for an extra skater, but none of the attempts were fruitful. Nashville was outshot 10-6 in the third as shots finished 24 apiece. Nashville was 0-for-1 (1-for-6) on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-2 (0-for-4). Luongo stopped 21 shots for the game.
Three stars -- (1) Nashville's Steve Sullivan, (2) Naslund, (3) Nashville's Tomas Vokoun
In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 30 of 58 draws (52%). Brendan Morrison won 12 of 19, Ryan Kesler won four of eight, Josh Green won one of two, Marc Chouinard won six of 12, and Henrik Sedin won seven of 15. Mattias Ohlund, Markus Naslund, Green, and Henrik Sedin led with three shots apiece. Kevin Bieksa dished out three hits and Luc Bourdon, Taylor Pyatt, Rory Fitzpatrick, and Matt Cooke dealt a pair each. Bieksa notched two takeaways and coughed up the puck three times. Lukas Krajicek blocked two shots. Fitzpatrick missed the net with three shots.
In plus-minus, there were very few non-even Canucks. Both at plus-1 were Krajicek and Sami Salo. Both at minus-1 were Bieksa and Fitzpatrick. All other Canuck skaters were even.
The loss dropped the Canucks to a record of 7-5-1 (3-0 overtime, 1-1 shootout), good for 15 points. They are second in the Northwest Division. They are three points back of Minnesota, one up on Edmonton, and three up on Colorado, all of whom have two games in hand. Calgary is eight back having played three less games. Vancouver is sixth in the Western Conference. Anaheim (one game in hand) has zero regulation losses and leads with 21 points, Minnesota is second, Nashville has the same amount of points as Vancouver but leads the Central Division and is therefore third, Dallas is fourth and three up on Vancouver with two less games, and San Jose is three up on Vancouver having played the same amount of games.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Daylight savings time isn't observed in Hawaii. It isn't observed by the Seahawk defense either, which got the daylights pounded out of it to the tune of 499 yards yesterday.
I didn't expect the Seahawks to walk out of Kansas City with a win. They didn't. No surprise there. Personnel change year to year, sure, but when your team has lost 18 of the last 20 games they've played at Arrowhead, sometimes you gotta wonder.
Seneca Wallace didn't actually do too badly for his first NFL start. Granted, 15 of 30 is a pretty low completion percentage for a quarterback in Mike Holmgren's offense, which signals that it's not really clicking on all cylinders, but that's not news at all. When you have absolutely no running game and you end up forcing more passes, you're probably not going to complete a high percentage of them. He'll hear about throwing underneath to Mack Strong for eight yards on 4th-and-15 (Seahawks' last snap) all week, but other than that, pretty okay by Wallace.
Let's face it. The only reason the Seahawks were able to get back into the game was because the Chiefs were busy almost coughing it up. The muffed field-goal snap by Dustin Colquitt (and resulting Kelly Herndon fumble return to the end zone) cut the Chiefs' lead to 27-21 late in the third quarter. The Chiefs got a holding call to put them into long-yardage situations on second and third down on the ensuing possession, and Colquitt punted for the first time in the game early in the fourth quarter, giving the Seahawks more hope. Herman Edwards gave the Seahawks yet another chance on the next possession, letting Lawrence Tynes attempt (and miss) a 50-yard field goal attempt, and 7:07 remained on the clock. It was a Kansas City defensive holding penalty that bailed the Seahawks out on 3rd-and-10 when they got six yards. The very next play was the play where Ty Law fell down and Darrell Jackson caught a pop fly down the right sideline and ran to the end zone. That was two plays after Law nearly picked a pass.
After the Chiefs got their lead to 27-14, the Seahawks got the ball back and Wallace was subsequently picked on the first play from scrimmage. After Colquitt finally punted, the offense went three-and-out, basically ending the game. After Tynes missed the field goal, the Seahawks got the lead on the Jackson touchdown.
Did anyone out there think the Seahawks would hold that one-point lead with 6:30 left? Me neither.
Some time during the 2005 season, the Seahawks failed to bottle up some of the aura from the defense. This defense we're seeing in 2006 is the 2004 defense, and it hurts like hell to say that. We got spoiled last year watching that defense. What's frustrating about this defense is that other than Julian Peterson (who's the best Seahawk defender so far), Ken Hamlin returning, and Marquand Manuel leaving, these are the same exact guys, and we're seeing the exact opposite result.
They need to play SIXTY MINUTES of football, NOT forty-five. I said it in the thread, and I'll say it again: things like Week 5 against the Rams in 2004 need to stay in the past and never ever come back.
--- Me in the game post following the Week 4 game against the Giants
People pooh-poohed it at the time, saying it'd be hard for the Seahawks to be motivated in the fourth quarter when they had a 42-3 lead on the Giants, which can be somewhat arguable. What I do know is that the defense has absolutely not been the same since. They gave up 27 points in that fourth quarter, and gave up 37, 28, 31, and 35 points in the four following games. That's 158 points given up over 17 quarters of football. Obviously, that's terrible. That's an average of 9.3 points a quarter, and that adds up to about 37 points a game. The Seahawk offense when fully healthy rarely puts up 37 points, so when the defense is allowing close to 37 points a game, it doesn't even give the team a chance.
Looking back on that quote, I wish playing sixty minutes of football was the main concern right now. Now they're rarely showing up for 45 seconds, let alone 45 minutes. After Shaun Alexander and then Matt Hasselbeck got hurt, everyone got concerned about the offense, but in the Minnesota game, how bad the defense was stepped to the forefront as well.
What I'm trying to say is that I went from worrying about complete games of football being played by the team to the offense functioning well to the offense getting just enough done to win.
What are we worried about now? The defense can't tackle and the defense can't cover. What they can do is get beat downfield by crazy-ass plays. As brought up earlier, it doesn't say much for the defense when the Chiefs never had to punt until early in the fourth quarter. Actually, it does say a lot about the defense, just nothing good.
Let's say Bobby Engram, Matt Hasselbeck, and Shaun Alexander all get magically healthy and are all available next week. The only thing that might do for the defense is keep them off the field for slightly longer periods of time. That'd be good since right now, the defense can't get themselves off the field. Well, they actually can. They'll allow some crazy 53-yard pass play, and three plays later the other team gets into the end zone. Then the defense gets some rest.
My basic feeling toward this team right now is something along the lines of "wake me when Hasselbeck and Alexander get back onto the field." Until then, I barely even want to pay attention to this team.
One day, the Seahawks will get their offensive cogs back so that the defense has big leads with which to blow. Of course, if the Seahawk defense tried to be bad, they'd probably be bad at that too, so bad that they might be good instead.