luongo

Bowness Coverage – Canucks Maybe Are Good

Last season ended as a somewhat predictable tire fire and the Canucks had some obvious problems to fix. Fast forward 5 months and they look surprisingly better. Benning and Co. went younger, faster and slightly more expensive but where brass has spent their money, they’ve saved in other areas. For the first time since 1999, the Canucks start the season with 3 rookies: Jared McCann, Ben Hutton and Jake Virtanen. Its not what was expected to happen but guess what, here we are!

Its a pretty different team than last year and roles have changed throughout the lineup. Bo Horvat has earned the #2C role and has a spiffy set of wingers in Sven Baertschi and Radim Vrbata. After one game, I thought they looked pretty impressive and I have a feeling they will only get better. I would have liked to see Horvat a bit more on the PP and maybe even with the Sedins on a loaded setup with Edler and Weber at some point. Its only a game in so its a bit much to ask right now.

Elliotte Friedman has his 30 thoughts but I lose focus after 10 so that’s what I offer. Without further ado, I bring you your Bowness Coverage.

  • Nothing new for the Sedins but man do they continue to impress year after year. Their uncanny ability to find each other and make plays that still make you shake your head has not diminished. This play that lead to Brandon Sutter’s bloop single to the back of the net just shows what the Sedins can make happen. Check this out:
  • You won’t find much in the way of the Corsi here, maybe I’ve listened to a bit too much Pucks on Net lately, but I would guess Alex Edler’s corsi is crazy good after one game. The man has a boomer of a shot and he got it off what looked to be a ton (3 shots actually with a +3 rating). When Edler is shooting the way he can and his sticks aren’t breaking, he has the ability to make the Canucks PP and blue line very effective. Plus I have his t-shirt.
  • Staged fighting will continue to make the NHL a bush league. Dorsett and Prust both had tilts in the first period and I do not care for them. If there is a genuine energy boost in a game and a fight organically happens, go for it. Fake emotion though? Lame. You would think the NHL would be better than this but they’re not. Probably won’t see this end anytime soon.
  • Speaking of things that need to stop, these are two prime examples of how bonehead plays can ruin players careers and for the guys committing these stupid plays, they’ll be sitting out and rightfully so. It’s pathetic when you see repeat offenders continually allowed to offend and offend again. To be fair though, the RCMP, Provincial and Federal justice systems don’t exactly set a great example. Not the same thing but you get the idea. See exhibits A and B:
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  • It seems the fines/suspensions just don’t make it clear enough that its wrong. 41 games for Torres hopefully is his last chance. I love the way Torres plays and truly miss him as a Canuck but he plays on such a thin line that he can cross it quite easily.
  • A great initiative has been started over at the Nation Network which hosts Canucks Army, Flames Nation, Oilers Nation, Daily Faceoff and NHL Numbers; they are helping raise money for a foundation spearheaded by the Canucks called Mindcheck.ca Check out @CanucksMOTB and pledge some money to a great cause.
  • Tim Hortons has become the new place to get your overpriced 3 pack of Upper Deck hockey cards after McDonalds got out of the game a few years ago. I took part in a purchase agreement but where they get you is surprising: with a drink purchase you can get a pack of cards for a buck and tax. Any additional packs are 1.99 by themselves which is ludacris but if you purchase another drink, its only a buck again. Bravo Timmies! You are taking our money and any hope at a healthy nation with your calorie rich ice capps. McDonalds basically said “ya you can buy fries and then we’ll cap your card packs at ummmmm 80, is that ok?” Im here to help you save your hard earned paper route money.
  • Ben Hutton is the latest edition to the Canucks back end and he looked super swell! 8th in ice time after game one, his first NHL assist/point and 2:29 in PP time? Willie loves him some Hutton. That feeling won’t go away and after Frankie Corrado was waived and claimed by the Leafs, Vancouver better stick to their guns on this guy. Not like they have to worry though. Ben can look at Alex Edler and Chris Tanev and know that he can produce without being on the scoresheet. Amazingly enough, he does that too! His name may pop up more and more as the season goes on.
  • The Canucks new slogan for this season is #playforthis. The commercials that accompany it are about as thought out as this latest blog post. In an effort to sell tickets, which will be tough until this team proves itself, marketing is trying to relate to the Canucks everyman. If you want to relate maybe start with something like this: We’ve GOUGED you for years, but you showed up. We’ve won NOTHING but yet you cheer. We locked you out but you came back. We hired TORTS and then fired him right away. This is a new Canucks era and its ready to play…for you… We are ALL Canucks. And then throw in a hashtag and get a sponsor for Club 16 or Sushi.
  • Play for the fan in the 3 ferry lineup? You can do better than that. You had the Bauer/Nike guy and all he gave us was a really nice throw rug with a big 7 on it. Cliff Ronning thought it was amazing though.
  • Not at all Canucks related, well unless you count Roberto Luongo’s campaign but Jagr is bringing back his mullet and that is a great thing.
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The NHL season is finally here and there will no doubt be many more stories and sub plots in the Canucks stratosphere. Might they make the playoffs again this year? Im saying yes.

Might they get past the first round, Im saying no.

Might Bo Horvat end up being the best bang for your buck NHLer this season, sure hope so.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

JARKKO POLO – THE CANUCKS WEEK OF JAN 5/15

In an effort to do something to establish Always90four as a more consistent and relevant piece, I have added two new feature posts, one today called “Jarkko Polo“. This feature will focus on the past week of Canucks hockey in a quick, fun and almost ridiculous fashion. If anything, I am dumbing down my own dumb downness, if that’s possible. So hopefully you enjoy what I have to offer and please continue to read the other stuff.

I don’t get paid to do this, so kind words are valuable currency.

Well, last week the Canucks only played 3 games, THANK GOODNESS!!! They didn’t exactly fair well and I bet they are happy last week is done. Vancouver had what looked like a nice little homestand against the Islanders, Panthers (LU ALERT) and the once lowly Calgary Flames.

The Islanders were first up and Eddie Machete got the start. We all remember last year when the fishermen exploded for 7 taters in the 3rd period to wax the Canucks. The result was different this time. Vancouver would prevail 3-2 with goals from the obvious Nick Bonino….yup he got one again, It’s been awhile hey bones? Ryan Stanton got his first goal since basically the last episode of The Sopranos aired and the man of a million puns, Linden Vey, scored a beauty of a breakaVEY goal.

On to the game of the week, the one many had circled on their calendars across British Columbia and well….Roberto Luongo’s house in Florida. The Panthers came back to show off their up and coming star goalie.The Panthers hadn’t won in Vancouver since the FIRST riot so it was kind of a big deal if they did. In typical Luongo fashion, he stole the show with a 3-1 win. A touching tribute to Lu for his time in Vancouver and on the ice he was nothing short of LUdacris. Still stings when we see him tearing it up in a non hockey market. Welcome home Lu, you are missed. He showed us why we missed him too, he’s on his way to the Vez.

The last game of the week was supposed to be a typical waxing of the Calgary Flames at home on HNIC. Not only did the Canucks NOT score ANY goals, they let a guy who just finished his shift at Denny’s post a shutout on them for the 1-0 decision. Don’t get me wrong, Vancouver was the better team as far as “moral” victories go, but they couldn’t have crowd funded a goal on Saturday night. It’s time for this team to decide who they want to be.

This week has the Canucks in Nashville, Philly and Carolina. If there are more than 3 goals this week, progress has been made. Oh and Dan Hamhuis is coming back.

JARKKO………….POLO

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Canucks fed up with moral victories

Team builders, character games, good shifts, blah blah blah blah blah….ENOUGH!!!! At some point, moral victories have to be nauseating in the Canucks dressing room. If you aren’t scoring, eventually none of that stuff matters. The Canucks need to start putting the puck in the net more consistently and they need to get it done now.

Looking through the lineup there are voids by the names that commonly are littering the score sheet every game. Henrik, Daniel, Santorelli, Garrison, Kassian; they are all supposed to be the guys putting the puck in the gaping 6 x 4…or has that changed recently? It sure seems like it. The Canucks just can’t seem to score goals this season. As soon as they do score a few, its followed by silence for days. When are the guys that are supposed to be our offense leaders going to step their game up and show everyone that it isn’t just the great play that Vancouver is praising.

Its definitely not for a lack of trying. The Canucks have looked pretty impressive lately and really a few bounces their way or heck a call every now and then, might flip the switch. There has to be something out for the Canucks as they never seem to get calls to go their way. They bring on a fair amount themselves but the absolute ridiculousness that the refs are missing BOTH ways is unreal. The diving by the usual guys (Burrows and Kesler) seems to be down considerably and they have learned their lesson. No reason to see this bias continue. This isn’t just a Canucks fan saying this, watch a handful of games and you might see the same thing too, who knows?

If it wasn’t for the goaltending tandem of Luongo and Lack, this year’s team might look a lot worse than it does. Losing hurts, but losing bad hurts way more, ask Calgary. Roberto and Eddie have had spectacular seasons thus far and injuries aside, these two guys have really stepped their games up. Currently, Eddie Lack is making sure, if the puck ain’t going in 200 feet down the ice, it better not go in passed his legs either. A pleasant change from Cory Schneider, there was a chance Lack may have not been able to live up to Schneider’s #1 status type play, but he has been everything the Canucks have asked of him and he keeps shutting the door.

John Tortorella has done a marvelous job this season getting the grit out of the team and onto the ice. Alain Vigneault did not get this type of team, not even in the run of 2011. Torts just needs some goals to start flowing his way and he might get a run he never saw coming. The team is by far one of the best defensively, at least on the PK anyways. It doesn’t seem like they are during 5 on 5 but the combination of great goaltending and stellar defensive responsibility, Vancouver is hanging around every game despite the scoreboard. Torts isn’t afraid to let his tough guys loose either if the game permits. They are a more tight knit group that stands up for each other and its stars.

This team needs to drive the net a bit more in fact, a lot more. They need to establish a more dominant net presence with Sestito or Weise or someone, anyone that can hang around and get bumped up a bit. Bertuzzi never found that to be a problem and look where he is. His body took a huge toll but he became one of the best power forwarrds ever in the league. Zack Kassian could learn a lot by just cementing himself in there and building that role. Its time for the guys that were brought in to make the impact they were asked to do.

With Alex Burrows coming back very soon and Alex Edler making his return in the the game they are calling “The game that penalties were called”, as well as Roberto Luongo hopefully coming back asap, the Nucks might just have some aces up their sleeves yet. If not, Eddie Lack might be asked to start shooting 200 feet down the ice. I feel like I have said this before about another one of our goalie, oh ya, I did.

Its getting frustrating waiting for all this to come together though, but thats what we do with this team, that’s what we do.

Check me out on twitter. @hankthetank10

It’s enlightening and humorous and Etalk! Daily gives it zero reviews and maybe 22 stars at best

photo courtesy: sports.yahoo.com

NUCKING AWESOME 2014 PREVIEW

I am happy to say the 2014 Canucks season is days away. No more talk about who will produce, how far will we go or what kind of sushi does Zack Kassian like, its go time. Below is yet another preview, with pictures though. I bring pictures to the table.

Taken from Google images

I am soooo DY-NA-MITE!!

  

Its been a long summer in BC; hockey was stolen from us early, unless you cheer for the Blackhawks or something. Many changes have come and some have altered the reality we know every day. Is it possible that the Canucks used addition by subtraction to get better? No one really knows, they never tell us anything.  

The home team bench at the Rog will have some new faces there this season and will miss a few faces, except for Raymond, man did he suck hey? Out is head coach Alain Vigneault and in is the controversial John Tortorella. Torts will bring an immediate change to the Canucks by adding shot blocking to every player’s resume, the twins killing penelties and hey! why not some scoring too? He has warned everyone however that his press conferences have a chance to be swift, not quite taylor, but swift. Check out this little diddy: 

So you can see that Torts already has laid down the ground rules and I kinda like it. AV just let everything flow after awhile and as good of a coach as he was, that doesn’t work forever. A nice kick to the pants for everyone is what the doctor ordered. Did I mention the shot blocking? Ya, they’ll be doing that on the ice this year. Somewhere, Ryan Johnson is happy he’s not here anymore.

Just when you thought Vancity was going with the youth movement, they sent all the kids down to junior. Mike Gillis must know what he has in house already because from what I could see, the kids were alright. Too bad really, Hunter Shinkaruk looked to be the lead candidate to make the team. His knack for big goals and game awareness was surprisingly good. I suppose letting them blossom another year doesn’t hurt too much.

I guess that means that its somewhat status quo this season on the West Coast. The Twins (Daniel and Henrik..but you knew that) will start the season with “Win da turd” himself, Alex Burrows. Nothing new here, but healthy and hungry for change, the start could look ok.

Line two has a 100% healthy Ryan Kesler in the middle. This excites me. Pretty much to level of when a 15 year old girl finds out Justin Bieber is singing at her birthday party.

Im singing at your birthday, but my likeness is on your screen Taken from Google images

Im singing at your birthday, but my likeness is on your screen
Taken from Google images

On the wings this season are going to be what I believe solid linemates. To start Hansen and Higgins will flank Kes, but eventually it will be Burrows and Higgins. The Canucks know what they have for talent and its time to see it stabilize.

Higgins is re-signed and looking to be a Terminator on the ice and he does have some chemistry with Kesler. You gotta believe that eventually things will turn around on this line.

Burrows and Kesler have chemistry from a long time ago and really, that’s what put Burrows on the top line in the first place. Re-lighting an old spark could pay huge dividends, both 5 on 5 and on the PK.

Lines three and four have a bit more work to do but they look like they will have lunch buckets every night. Incoming Zac Dalpe will slot in with Hansen and Booth. David Booth needs to prove himself this year and IF he’s healthy he may get the opportunity to be a big player for Vancouver.

I have liked Booth since the trade a few years ago, he just hasn’t been healthy enough to prove his true worth. He has the hands, a good shot and he can grind. Tough to figure out if he will pan out but it would be a really nice surprise if he did.

I suppose you want me to clean up this mess? Taken from Google images

I suppose you want me to clean up this mess?
Taken from Google images

 And to Luongo we go.

No more trade talks, no more goalie controversy, no more poop jokes. Just kidding, those are still going to hang around. Roberto Luongo is back! He is ready to be #1 again and a new coach, running mate in Eddie Lack and some renewed confidence going into an Olympic year are what Lu is hoping to base his play on.

We all know what Bobby Lu brings to the table; both good and bad. Its time to see what he can do when its on his shoulders again. He has the pedigree to get it done. He has the knowledge of knowing he isn’t going anywhere and has the support of his team mates. He also has a pretty darn good fantasy football team, but that will change come week 13. IM COMING FOR YOU STROMBONE1!!

This Canucks team is ready to take on a new division, a damaged fan base and the rest of the haters across the league. There is ONE Canucks team, ONE goal to win it all and ONE time to get it done: THAT TIME IS NOW.

The puck can’t drop quick enough. Let’s get it on already!