winnipeg jets

The Canucks Parade Goes Through Penticton

WHOA! Ok, maybe a line has been crossed but the Canucks prospects knew they had to show up on Friday night when they took on the Winnipeg Jets prospects in Penticton, B.C. The Baby Canucks scored early and often and obliterated the Baby Jets 8-2 with most of the damage being done in the second period. All in all, it was a good time and for a fan base that has clearly suffered for five years now, they deserved to see what hope looked like.

I couldn’t tell you if the excitement from Friday stemmed from the Canucks game, the recently revamped Pat-Castย that dropped with Jeff Paterson and Jason Botchford, or the fact that my tax return cheque FINALLY came to my mailbox after four months, but it was a good day you can be sure.

The Canucks prospect pool, which was just ranked as the third-best in the NHL by The Sporting News, showed off its wares in an absolute onslaught of scoring and it came from the players everyone wanted to see. Elias Pettersson donned a Canucks jersey in a game for the first time and he didn’t disappoint. Jonathan Dahlen showed he was worth trading away Alex Burrows to acquire his talents, and the undersized Petrus Palmu proved to everyone that size doesn’t matter, he can play.

Access to goal hilites via “The GIF” will be found all over Twitter but if you happened to have gone out for dinner instead of joining your buds just down Highway 97 for some puck, here are a few gems to start the 2018/2019 season. It’s Canucks hockey and we’ve waited long enough.

Alright, that’s just nasty. A season of Pettersson and Brock Boeser doing things like this might end up being illegal in some provinces. People, DO NOT CHECK YOUR PHONE DURING CANUCKS GAMES IF YOU’RE DRIVING. First of all, you’ll get pulled over, second you’ll never get home, and finally, your TV has to be bigger than a phone so enjoy the artistry.

All range on that one and you have to wonder if he challenges for a fourth line spot at some point soon. He was a savvy pick and he had to have made a few fans on Friday. Dahlen was no slouch either, he would have been worth the price of admission and what he does here reminds me of LeSean McCoy aka Shady McCoy formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles circa 2010. Those shimmy-shakes and his edge work, the way he cuts, it’s just insane.

Kelowna Rockets faithful were treated to a bit of Kole Lind as well. He didn’t pot this one but Pettersson to Lind isn’t far-fetched. This could be sooner than later. What stood out for me was that Lind didn’t score on this one and he buried that all day long in Kelowna. Maybe he needed to be cut before the game so he could have tallied a hat-trick.

 

Signs of things to come? Possibly. But let’s be real here for a second: it was a prospects vs. prospects game and the best comment during the game pretty much summed up how everything “should” have been viewed:

No one is winning the Stanley Cup after this game and it’s about 10 years (woof!) before a parade schematic needs to be drawn up. On Friday however, the buzz was back and the Canucks might be a little bit closer to competitive than we all thought. Now if only they could get rid of Erik Gudbranson.

That’s for another day.

 

Cover photo – The Hockey Writers

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JARKKO POLO: Clinching, Clenching, VRBAWESOME!

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are just over a week away and every game’s importance is magnified tenfold. The Vancouver Canucks went into last week with quite the task: away games against the Blues, Preds, Hawks and Jets and hopefully enough points to keep Calgary and Los Angeles at bay. The results were actually surprising except for the patented two goal deficits….they made their return.

You have to love the midwest road games; early start times mean you are just leaving work when they get going so you HAVE to PVR them to see it from start to finish. I have two little girls so I’ve PVR’d 3/4 of the season anyways, and I said I never would. RIGHT. The Blues were first up and despite their record, they aren’t as good as they show. The Canucks played them amazingly well and got what they came for. Nashville was without Shea Weber and James Neal but they still managed to give the Canucks a full 65 + min. A showdown with the Blackhawks just ended up being too much for the Canucks.

Finally, the Nucks went to the ‘Peg and I really thought that game was going to end different.

Let’s see how our boys faired:

THE GAMES WE PLAYED

@ St. Louis Blues – WIN 4-1 (Who’s singing the blues now?)

RECAP: A rare game that the Canucks didn’t give up the opening goal, they played the Blues hard and proved they can hang with the top teams. I don’t believe the Blues ARE a top team but their record says they are. Shawn Matthias got back on the scoreboard this week with a tight feed from Chris Tanev to give the Canucks the opening marker. Nick Bonino and Radim Vrbata both had goals with Alex Burrows adding an empty netter and the Canucks actually owned the Blues 4-1.

Have to like that start to the week!

@ Nashville Predators – WIN 5-4 in a shootout (AWFUL REFEREEING ALERT!)

RECAP: I’m just going to cut and paste this line from another game. The Canucks went down 2-0 in the first and Nashville looked like they might have the Canucks on the ropes. Here’s where the next cut and paste job comes; Vancouver ties it up in the second and wouldn’t you know it, they go ahead too! Linden Vey and Jannik Hansen netted some huge goals to get things going and King Clutch Alex Burrows scored a shorty breakaway to tie it up early in the third. Chris Higgins would put the Nucks ahead but not before Eddie Lack let in the tying goal late.

An absolute screwjob of a call against Burrows on Paul Gaustad got him ejected along with Kevin Bieksa for one can only assume taunting, but who calls that really? The Nucks had to kill off a 5 min penalty with 4 mins and change left in the game. Eddie Lack played lights out and got Vancouver to the shootout with Vrbata and Bonino scoring the goals that won it for Vancouver.

Despite the awful officiating, it was a great game.

@ Chicago Blackhawks – LOSE 3-1 (They are who we thought they were)

RECAP: This one plain and simple was not the Canucks night. The opportunities were there and blue collar Derek Dorsett gave the Canucks hope tying the game up late in the first period, but Corey Crawford proved too much for the Vancouver offense and absolutely stole the two points for Chicago. Patrick Kane is still injured and he is a huge loss to the Hawks but man, Chicago is still an amazing team! If the Canucks make the playoffs and they should, they will have to bury their chances because the goaltending only gets better in the spring.

Eddie Lack is only so good so his defense in front of him has to make their assignments and stick to them. Chicago is a good measuring stick of what the Canucks should expect from every team. They play hard, roll four lines and have timely goaltending. We all can’t wait for April 15 but the Canucks need to fill some holes if they want to play in May and June.

@ Winnipeg Jets – LOSE 5-3 (Nail Biter Central)

RECAP: I probably made mention of the Canucks going down 2-0 in this game before the puck dropped so when it happened I could only laugh. Here’s my take from the Jets/Canucks game on canucksarmy.com:

MY TAKE

Those Canucks are still at 95 points, the Kings thumped the Oilers two nights ago 8-2 to gain some ground and they still have a BEAUUUUUUUUTY matchup on Monday so I’m guessing the Canucks take care of business today to swing things in their favour. The Jets will not lay down for the Canucks – no sir – so giving up the patented 2 goal start may not end the same way again. Canucks need this one. Need it big. 3-1 Canucks is my prediction. – canucksarmy.com

 The Canucks, true to their play, obviously came back to tie it and we figured it would be last goal wins. It almost was. Ondrej Pavelec was great and made some saves he had no business making. Henrik and Daniel both put goals in the net, Vrbata hit the scoresheet a few times and Alex Burrows did his thing late in the third to get the game close.

The Canucks lost this one but in doing so, they helped keep the LA Kings back as the Jets got 2 points they desperately needed. Sometimes you have to take one for the team and we’ll know next Sunday if it all paid off and the Canucks don’t have to face LA.

3 THINGS FROM TWITTER

FINAL THOUGHTS

Going 2-2 this week was actually a good week. Real good? Well I dunno Willie. Some lessons were learned and it looks like Ryan Miller may be closer to returning than we thought. Doubt he does factor in before the playoffs but you never know. Hopefully Zack Kassian and Brad Richardson come back soon; their presence is needed. This is the final week of the regular season and I can’t wait! Final games against LA, Arizona and the lowly Edmonton Oilers will close out the season. I predict 3 for 3 and its awesome sauce time!

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

JARKKO POLO: Sweatpants, Sharkbait and Kass Hands

The week coming out of the All star break wasn’t entirely amazing. The Canucks ongoing struggle to compete has raised a lot of questions as to what is going to be done come trade deadline. This past week the Jets, Sharks and Penguins came to town and man was there stuff to talk about. On top of all this we unearthed some new story lines. So without further ado, JARKKO!………..POLO!!!

Ok what? Why is he a healthy scratch? Nevermind, we’ll get to that. The Winnipeg Jets came in to Vancouver losing 4 straight, but the Canucks came into this game hoping to score. Eddie Lack got the start and he was ready to make the most of it, you know, because it might be his last….just kidding, it’s not like he has a 10 year contract. Vancouver gave up the early goal again and had their work cut out for them. Alex Burrows took a swede feed from Daniel and tied it all up.

Back and forth they went and rising star and multiple named Ronalds Kenins tied it up once again and scored his 2nd in as many games. The game would need overtime and the obvious happened: a 2 on 1 break with Radim Vrbata setting up Luca Sbisa for the GWG. Just like we all drew it up. Lack got the win and it looked like the week was starting out great!

So later on we would find out Evander Kane wore sweatpants to the game and was not asked to participate. There are many reports of how this all came to be but at the end of the day, Kane looks like he is on his way out of Winnipeg; Vancouver’s gain? But really, SWEATPANTS??? CMON MAN!! They must really not want him on their team. I hope Kane comes back with a vengeance and torches those old planes.

Next up was the San Jose Sharks. The Canucks just can’t seem to beat these guys and this game was no different. Injuries to Chris Tanev, Frankie Corrado and Kevin Bieksa have totally maxed out what the Canucks can offer on the blue line. Adam Clendening and Luca Sbisa are now top 4 dmen. Not good.

Ryan Miller had to put on his hard hat to start the game and was peppered all night. 11-2 were the shots in the first and thankfully it was only 1-0 at that point. It didn’t end well for our Canucks and they were willfully beat down by the Sharks 5-1. Radim Vrbata was the lone Nucks scorer but he can’t score 5 a game.

With the healthy scratching of Zack Kassian for 3 straight games, all the questions about where the goals were coming from and inconsistent goaltending, something had to give. The Canucks were about to host the Penguins and quite frankly, we were all expecting to get plastered. That could be taken a few ways 1) drinking heavily because that helps the pain and 2) the score was going to be unwelcoming.

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Sidney Crosby was in town and again the Canucks were facing a team that had played the night before. Ryan Miller got the start again as number ones usually do but it was the play of pretty much everyone in front of him that was the story on Hockey Night in Canada.

Burrows put the Canucks up early, Bo Horvat got his name on the scoreboard and the Canucks were up 2-0 after one. Pretty happy team. It didn’t end there. A disallowed goal by Pittsburgh and a Shawn Matthias laser had Vancouver up 3-0. The real story though wasn’t Crosby, the team’s swiss cheese defense or Miller’s soft goals every game; it was Zack Kassian.

Late in the 2nd, Thomas Greiss misplayed the puck behind his net and Linden Vey set up Zack Kassian with a wide open net and he buried it. A slump buster for sure and potentially a sign of things to come, Kassian was rewarded for going to where he needed to be. Canucks fans right through Rogers Arena applauded Kassian like he had just scored to win a series.

Earlier on, Zack was in a tussle and questioned what his hands needed to do. Looks like scoring a goal was the cure. Kassian has been on a roller coaster from when he first arrived in Vancouver and it’s tough to say how his story will end here. The fans love him and want to see him succeed but he has to want to give that extra effort to make it happen.

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(Insert pretty much any awesome self realization joke here)

The Canucks shutout the Penguins 5-0 and they looked like a team that could beat anyone. It was a welcome change from the swamp hockey they were playing for chunks of the season.

We should have a better lineup again soon, injuries only last for so long. It’s great to see the smile on Zack Kassian’s face; he has potential but everyone has to be patient. As for Ryan Miller; he needs to up his consistency because he’s getting paid to be consistant.

All in all a fun week despite the lack of people in the stands.

Jarkko…..POLO!!!!!!

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