zack kassian

Jake Virtanen, Cody Hodgson, Zack Kassian: Honestly, What’s The Difference?

This seems like a recurring theme with the Canucks. With Cody Hodgson, it was the promise of a potential future captain, a top line pivot and the ability to control a game himself. Trading Hodgson for Zack Kassian after “the run” was reactionary to get bigger and tougher. It never really happened and unfortunately, Zack needed to change some things too. Jake Virtanen is drafted as a complementary scoring winger that can hit and drive play.

He has one hit to his name that’s even worth talking about, the goals are missing and most nights, so is he. Is Jake Virtanen really any different than the past versions of “hope” in Vancouver?

Jake Virtanen was sent down to Utica on Wednesday on a two-game assignment, apparently, that will solve everything. Through 10 games this season, Virtanen has 1 assist and 13 shots, hardly even worth mentioning, even on THIS Canucks team. His deployment hasn’t exactly been ideal but then again what really is the best situation for Jake?

There were plenty of signs last year that Jake wasn’t exactly in a position to excel in the NHL after the Canucks kept him up on the big club. He struggled at times and didn’t really use his size to his advantage. Maybe he just needs to bulk up and focus on what made him worth taking 6th overall in 2014. Or, maybe he should focus on being an everyday NHLer and work his butt off like everyone else.

Virtanen has had it pretty good since arriving in Vancouver. He’s a Bieber bud, he’s the face of Twitter (ok he was just a guest but still) and if he ever DOES get his power forward game in check, he will be a whole lot more. Canucks fans have longed for an aggressor since the days of Todd Bertuzzi and that role has never been filled after he left.

Zack Kassian was supposed to be that guy, he was supposed to be the next Milan Lucic (kinda ironic, hey?) but Kassian just wasn’t the right guy for that role. He is a physical player with really soft hands but knowing what we know about Kass, he isn’t exactly Milan Lucic.

Before Kassian, it was Cody Hodgson that was supposed to be the next skilled star to carry the Canucks and maybe stick up for himself a bit too. To be fair, I don’t think that was the Canucks’ intent on getting Cody, he was a skilled and was going to be a goal scorer. Unfortunately, injuries, misdiagnoses, and a meddling dad pretty much ripped those dreams apart.

For everyone.

The Canucks have always looked for a talented forward that could stick up for his teammates as well as score big goals and drive the wing. They’ve had bangers like Raffi Torres, Maxim Lapierre and I guess Anson Carter but aside from Todd Bertuzzi and I can’t really say before my time but Stan Smyl and Harold Snepts (guessing here), it’s always been a need in Vancouver.

Can Virtanen be the player the Canucks and their fans want him to be or have they missed the mark yet again when they could have had, you know what, I’m not going there; he was the guy they wanted and that’s that.

I do remember that pick and from everything I had heard, he wasn’t exactly a game breaker but man could he hit! He does offer a lot if he can get things going and it may take a few years to become the Bertuzzi heir-apparent. What Jake needs is to keep his eyes on the prize; this team is so young and he has a real opportunity to be a difference maker for years.

It wouldn’t be the worst thing to see Jake build himself up in Utica for a few months and make him earn that spot in Vancouver. It’s not going anywhere, that can be assured. Willie Desjardins might not even be the Canucks coach the next time Virtanen plays with the orca on his chest so maybe it’s just the coach, who knows?

We all remember the “murders” by Jake, and no that isn’t a play on that alt rock/boy band, so we know what’s there. Does he, though, does he know what we know?

 

Check me out on twitter: @always90four

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Jake Virtanen IS Kylo Ren

There are many times I write absolutely irrelevant posts and get ripped apart, this might be one of those. Also, I am not attaching a spoiler alert to this guy because honestly…you should have seen the new Star Wars by now; it’s been a month. So what the heck am I even talking about? A simple comparison of two polarizing figures in their respective arenas (Jake literally) and a shameless excuse to fit Star Wars into a Canucks post. 

I’ll try and keep it to the point.

This week’s Pass it to Bulis podcast had a heavy dose of Star Wars in it and it got me thinking about the newest spectacle “The Force Awakens” and who might relate to some of the characters. I’m probably wrong on this as I really wanted to compare Zack Kassian but he isn’t a Canuck anymore and that would ring on deaf ears.

I’m not so sure this won’t.

So Kylo Ren is the new villian in the Star Wars saga and he’s dealing with some personal issues, not to mention he has a slight case of FD (forcetial disfunction). He got the force from his mom Leia so its really like 3rd generation force and it just isn’t strong enough. Ren took over as the Dark Side captain but he struggles to live up to the potential that’s been placed on him by Snoke (new supreme leader) and the force itself.

Was he ready for the force? Is he going to be Vader when he grows up or will he just be another guy that joins the Dark Side and has angst. We’ll know soon enough in a few years.

Not so much unlike rookie Canucks winger Jake Virtanen. Jake was given the mantle as the next star winger that has size, a booming hit and finishing skills. He won’t be Todd Bertuzzi, Cam Neely or really the illusion we had of Zack Kassian before the bottom fell out. Virtanen has a great frame, clearly has skill with the puck and without; his “murders” are anticipated every single game and he’s still raw.

Kylo Ren and Jake Virtanen are at the beginning of their journeys where one needs to decide if he truly is evil and can destroy the Jedi’s existence while the other one is figuring out how to fit his role with the body and talent he’s been given.

Virtanen started his season with promise; he made some monster hits early on, the McDavid one still being everyone’s favourite, but then after being granted opening night status, slowly began to fade. OK, he’s totally green to the NHL and everyone has a different path on how they get there but it got to the point where it seemed Jake needed some kind of wake up call.

Sending him to the World Juniors was supposed to be that wake up call. Turns out, Big Country had a forgettable tournament and joined the rest of his Canada team mates when they went home before the semis. Jake came back with a chip on his shoulder and a headline that could crush any kid. He turned that into confidence and he’s now getting the feel for the game on his own terms.

He isn’t dealing with the force or a a giant digital head telling him what to do; Jake Virtanen is learning the NHL game and he’s been given an opportunity that clearly Kylo Ren turned down when the Resistance came to turn him back against the Dark Side. Jake’s development won’t be a steep learning curve, he’ll need guidance he’s getting more and more chances to show what he can do.

With a few goals on the season already, might we see the Force Awak….no, that was just bad. You can stop reading now.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Canucks 2015 Playoff Survival Checklist

So the Canucks clinched a playoff spot by beating the Kings on Monday night and then celebrated as the Oilers did the same thing the next night. It has been a rough two seasons for Canucks fans; missing the playoffs last year and getting thumped by the Sharks in five games back in 2013. An underrated Canucks roster that hasn’t over achieved but maybe lived up to what they were capable of becoming now has a 1 in 16 chance of lifting the Stanley Cup in June.

Aside from the obvious excitement, what’s next? There are two more games before the end of the season and wouldn’t you know it, the Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers are the last two tests. My guess is Willie Desjardins works on solidifying his power play, having a practice solely dedicated to line changes or more importantly Nick Bonino line changes and “pretending” they are down by a goal to start the game. 

Quick note coach, playing from behind every game before they announce the lineups isn’t a surefire way to a series win. 

OK, so how does the everyday Canucks fan as well as the players get prepared for the gauntlet that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Here’s your fool proof guide to help you out this spring.

  • First things first: April 15, ditch the razor. Maybe you wax, that’s cool. No judging here. Stop raiding your wife’s cosmetic drawer though once the playoffs start. Also, the lipstick…stop that too, we don’t need freaks in the playoffs.
  • Playoff towels; cool fan giveaway at the game, handy wipe for wings, cheezies, bbq sauce and if the Canucks happen to go down early again, the odd beer spill. (This is assuming you’ve been medicating since puck drop…more than normal)
  • Personal hygene – underwear ONE PAIR until the Canucks are done, Cup win or series loss. Act like a rock star inside, outside, backwards, forwards, and a combination of all of those. Socks; change every day. They are potentially visible to the public and smelly socks are the worst. I want no part of that, none. Don’t be sick.
  • Wearing Canucks apparel on game days to work. I believe this is a right. We all wore our Canada gear during the Olympics and the playoffs are the culmination (I think I used that word right) of 8 months of anxiety attacks, heartbreak, exuberation and yummy beer with friends; let’s see this through to the end.
  • Food, bevies and the people you share them with. Have wings, pizza, beer nuts and of course beer ready to rock come puck drop. The Canucks got this far and you don’t want a growly tummy. If you’re on a health kick or some 21 day challenge or something, it’s gonna have to wait. Make sure you watch with someone that shares your dedication level.
  • Hilite packages after game wins ONLY! Wins deserve to be remembered. If the Canucks happen to lose a game. Go to bed, forget it happened. Punch out the smirky co-worker that cheers for the other team out of spite when he brings the game up from the night before.
  • Maybe you do the twitters? Odds are, you will have sweaty hands from all the stress this team brings. I get that, it’s common. Maybe lay off the twitters unless something really big, really stupid or really supidly big happens. Also, if you are social media’ing on Facebook during the games, please stop.
  • No beanies
  • Car flags and big flags ONLY. No wind socks. Decals are fine but…decals are fine. That’s all for that one.
  • ALMOST FORGOT!!!! RIOTING…gang, this has been done to death. We get it, you like to flip cars, burn stuff and break windows. It’s been done twice now and honestly it’s old. If you see a rioter, corner him/her rip off their hippy beanie and and citizens arrest those punks. I hate rioting, nothing good comes of it 

 (credit – popscreen.com)

  • Well, I guess you could make out while the city burns
  • Finally, for all your pre game, post game, in game and round the clock analysis of the Canucks during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, head on over to CanucksArmy.com  It’s for real now, nothing will be the same.

So there you have it! You are now prepared to tackle this year’s Canucks run. It’s not going to be easy,  you’ll probably lose your mind a time or two and Zack Kassian will eventually return and we can all relax. Go get everything you are going to need to survive this trek and enjoy the last few games before ti all gets started.

GO CANUCKS GO!

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

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JARKKO POLO: Millionaires Bankrupted

The bad weeks always start good don’t they? A tease of maybe what’s to come and then WHAMMY! kicked in the junk. Watching the Canucks this past week was basically that; big win against the Jets, then rocking the Millionaires jerseys should have been so much fun but no, yet another embarrassement. Of course to cap it all off, the Stars found a way to shame the Canucks.

With the playoffs literally 2 weeks away, maybe now isn’t the best time to start flirting with disaster. Call me crazy but it probably isn’t safe. To make matters worse, I had my wisdom teeth pulled out and watching that OT loss to the Stars hurt just as much as the endless throbbing pain where my teeth once were.

I know there are wins hiding somewhere, come on out wins, we need you!

THE GAMES WE PLAYED

Vs. Winnipeg Jets – WIN 5-2

RECAP: Dare I tell you how it started? So we’re down 2-0, story of the century I know; all seemed to be lost once again. BUT WAIT! Chris Higgins is back and scoring goals? Yep sure is! So that made things feel a bit better and wouldn’t ya know it, our PP scored too! Yannick Weber was the latest edition to the man advantage and his booming slapper found its way to the mesh. Radim Vrbata would add a real goal and an empty netter as would Henrik and we grounded the Jets 5-2. This one felt pretty good at the end and those slick Millionaire jerseys were next.

Vs. Colorado Avalanche – LOSE – 4-1 (BURN THOSE JERSEYS)

RECAP: Vancouver trotted out their ever famous Millionaires jerseys paying homage to the 1915 Stanley Cup Champion team’s 100th anniversary. We’re seriously doing that now. Lets celebrate losing in ’82 and ’94 while were at it. I swear I am not copy/pasting this: Canucks go down 3-0 to the Avs and it just feels like we need to burn those jerseys before the end of the game, they aren’t helping. Yannick Weber would score his second PPG in as many games but that’s all the Canucks would get. Losing 4-1 to a team that played the night before and lost, not fun. Sadly, the week wasn’t over.

Vs. Dallas Stars – LOSE – 4-3 OT (Moral Victory?)

RECAP: Thankfully, after Jamie Benn opened the scoring, yup playing from behind again, the Canucks answered back with a real good goal by Nick Bonino. I know, he still plays for the Canucks; I was confused too! Chris Higgins would put Vancouver ahead and it was all coming together. Midway through the third, Dallas tied it up and then went ahead with about 6 minutes to go. Radim Vrbata would PPG it late and off to overtime we go. I’m not sure if the Canucks know how OT works but the point is to score the last goal, they did not. A point was awarded to the Canucks but they could have used the second one.

 

3 THINGS FROM TWITTER

There wasn’t much to be happy about this week but there were a few gems:

I agree with Jeff here, but they are neato looking

Things may seem bad in Canucksland, but David Booth fought Phil Kessel in practice..Things are fine here.

I didn’t see WM but it sounds like a lot of my buds did. Sting is back?

It’s not that the Canucks are playing awful, they just are losing some games right now that hurt my feelings. Having Zack Kassian and Brad Richardson out of the lineup is huge and that extra grit and grind is missed. Hopefully on this final stretch the boys will bring it all together, or at least enough to beat out LA or Calgary. Good thing is no more Millionaires jerseys so things should be fine.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

JARKKO POLO: KASSIAN AND TURTLES FOR EVERYONE

Things are getting a lot tighter as the season gets closer to the playoffs and every game is worth so much now. It was an eventful week at the Rog bookended by Canucks wins to Anaheim and Toronto. I am obligated to talk about the disaster that was the LA Kings matchup only because this is a week in review and I would be cheating myself and all of you.

The theme of the week seemed to be “turtling“. This is the action one does when one does not wish to fight a combatant for fear of their life. On Monday, Zack Kassian would amplify his hero status when he challenged Patrick Maroon and you guessed it, this happened:

First the setup from 2014:

Now the sequel:

Twitter went bananas and thus the world was given a great gif….t. Not to be lost in all this was Ryan Kesler getting um, levelled by Kassian and when Kesler wanted to get a bit of revenge he was politely hipchecked by Chris Tanev; love that guy!

The Kings/Canucks tilt was a snoozer and we didn’t even deserve to be a part of it. Honestly, that’s all I want to talk about from that night.

Finally, the Leafs came to town and wouldn’t ya know it, the Nucks kicked their butts! Once again, turtling was the theme of the night, Leafs fans were one step closer to seeing Connor McDavid in a buds jersey. Jannik Hansen provided the reptile relief for this game and ANOTHER classic clip was born.

Hansen-Turtle

(Credit to Hockey Night in Canada and Canucksarmy.com)

Say what you will about the Canucks this year, they have made it entertaining in a ton of games this season. Sure, they have soiled the sheets and gone down by two goals more times than you can shake a stick at but they’re still in the hunt and really, thats all that matters.

So let’s get into it:

THE GAMES WE PLAYED

Vs. Anaheim Mighty Ducks – WIN 2-1 (The turtle was born)

RECAP: Ryan Kesler came back, took a puck to the noggin in warmups, got Kassian’d in the first followed by Tanev’d right after. Bo Horvat lit the lamp uh-gen, Eddie Lack had a bit of puck luck but otherwise stunning and Zack Kassian scored the GWG late in the third as well as being super cool when he tried to fight Patrick Maroon.

Vs. Los Angeles Kings – LOSE 4-0

RECAP: I mean, do you really care? The Kings beat Vancouver again, proved we still can’t quite hang with them yet and made us long for an easier opponent. Would have liked to see A goal but that didn’t happen.

Vs. Toronto Maple Leafs – WIN 4-1 (TMNT 2: Turtles involved but no Super Shredder)

RECAP: I called out Chris Higgins in my game day preview for Canucksarmy.com, and what happens? He scored. I seem to remember the last time I did that in my Shawn Matthias article, Higgy lit the lamp that time too! Derek Dorsett had a SHG and 2 assists, the power play was dreadful and we saw another turtle incident. For a Leafs/Canucks tilt it really wasn’t a barn burner. Once again, let me state this: That Hansen mock turtlnecking Phaneuf was a thing of beauty!

3 THINGS FROM TWITTER

Courtesy of @ZoSoNuck

So all in all, a good week. Vancouver was leap frogged by Calgary but then took the lead again after the Leafs game. Zack Kassian is quickly gaining steam as the most popular player in Vancouver. I love this because he still is so raw and is finally coming into his own. Might we see the emergence of Kassian the Conquerer come April? Maybe.

Last but not least, I DO NOT HATE CHRIS HIGGINS. This team is showing they have a lot of depth and Higgins looks like he has definitely lost a step this year. He is a tough worker bee and I would love to see him come back to the 2011, heck the 2010 version and prove he still has it all going on.

You can now read my ramblings on the Canucks Army Game Day Preview. So thankful to those guys for noticing me and giving me a great opportunity. I would also like to thank former blogs The Farm Club and Two Pad Stack for the first real writing gigs.

Ok I’m done. *drops the mic*

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

WIllie Desjardins And The Really Good Scale

This has defintely been a season of adventure in Vancouver with Willie Desjardins. Under his tutelage he has created a new way of doin the bizniss. He has found a way to get Zack Kassian beastin with the Sedins, he turned Ronalds Kenins into a guy that PLAYS like he’s two people but then benched him for a few games, not sure there. Willie D said nice things to Alex Edler and got him back to being a top defensman and he has said on many occasions the team and its players are “real good”.

Recently, there was a great little clip of the real good’s Willie D has busted out this season and he just kills it. On the twitters Monday night, I revealed the scale of really good by Willie D. This was a first draft and probably won’t be the last.

 

So after thinking about the scale’s meaning, there is actually some relevance to it. What classifies “real good?” Is it a hit of Sedin wizardry? Is it Bo Horvat flipping the puck over Antti Niemi after burning, Brent Burns? Maybe it’s Eddie Lack stealing the show night after night when the team in front of him decides 1 or even no goals is a pretty good buffer.

So I think there needs to be some substance to this scale so I bring to you the ….aw crap I need a new line to make this important:

– THE WILLIE DESJARDINS “REAL GOOD” SCALE –

It ranges from 1-10 (1 being real good, 5 being really good and 10 being unreal) The 10 is pretty much like a Unicorn, affordable parking, or a setup pass from Ryan Kesler. These simply do not exist. But that’s fine. OK we could maybe say a Stanley Cup win would be unreal, that would be fair.

So let’s break this down:

1-3) Real Good – This is basically your typical WD comment on any prospect, someone that scored a goal that night, a good hustle on a shift or really anything that resembles something we all classify as alright. It can cover anything that happened in a game.

This is a regular occurance as we hear “real good” a lot.

4-6) Really Good – Also known as really well or real well. This area is something along the lines of maybe a shutout, a two or more goal performance by a player capable of such feats, Zack Kassian getting a GWG and a big hit in the same game, getting that free drink at Starbucks, a sunny day in Vancouver or snagging the first Bryan Adams compact disc hot off the presses. Any reference to WD’s Medicine Hat Tiger days or the organization in general can be labelled Really Good.

“Really good” isn’t something that is just thrown out there. Its the hockey equivalent of saying the L word to a woman. You don’t just say it, you gotta mean it. You and I can say really good all we want, it’s not the same thing. I said my frozen yogurt was really good, The Departed was really good, deep fried chicken wrapped in bacon is really good. Say it right now, I’ll wait……..see? Great isn’t it. But not the same thing.

7-8) REAL Good – not to be confused with real good. Sure, they’re spelt the same way with some capitalization on REAL but they mean completely different things. REAL Good is on a level of its own; a win where the Canucks actually scored first and beat a hard team like the Ducks or Penguins, the decision to un bench Ronny Kenins and he gets a 1st or 2nd star and maybe bumps up a roster spot in the lineup, or any player on the team that hockey’d out of his mind that night.

This hasn’t happened really much at all this year so we know it’s going to be good when a REAL Good gets dropped.

( Just to clarify what hockey’d or hockeying or hockeys means; it’s basically anything productive in hockey. It doesn’t correlate with Corsi or Fenwick but it can be used to describe pretty much any hockey play. Goals, assists, fights, hits, being fast, good passing, etc. These are all hockeys. )

OK nitty gritty time!

9) REAL GOOD – Sooooo, you can see this is the all caps real good version. Willie is most likely furious, uncontrollably excited, possibly just won a playoff round as an underdog or his wife just told him he gets a man weekend and when he gets home she’ll be waiting….

And finally,

10) UNREAL – So far, Eddie Lack is the only recipient of UNREAL. As I stated before this is reserved for the most epic of real goods. Its basically untouched. This is grandpas 80 year old scotch, its the first edition Spiderman comic in your safe, its borderline the Kesler beast mode in 2011, the Burrows goal against Chicago, Pavel against Calgary, Luongo arriving in Vancouver, Luongo leaving Vancouver, the first time you played Nintendo, its a fresh Willie D haircut and moustache trim.

Its basically the Stanley Cup being hoisted in Vancouver for the first time with no riot. There isn’t a better feeling than UNREAL. We can all relate to this in one way or another but you won’t see it anytime soon. Now was Eddie’s UNREAL like all these things? No, I believe Willie had a slip of the tongue and probably meant to say Real Good or REAL GOOD.

So now you know the Willie D “Real Good” scale. Keep it in your records, bring it out if you can’t quite figure out what kind of real good WD is describing and make sure you haven’t mixed them up when you’re drinking with your buds. This is real good stuff guys, take it to heart.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10

Jarkko POLO: Hank Keepin it 900, Bo Scorevat and Wins

Last week the Canucks started their week with the trade deadline. Nothing happened. It had about as much value as what Bitcoin is trading for right now. Is it even a thing still? Oh, its worth stuff, oh how bout that? They followed up a boring deadline with a Jacob Markstrom start vs. the Sharks which did not go well, not well at all. 

But thats ok because the Coyotes were next and the Canucks…oh wait, we lost that too. The Yotes wore their inaugural jerseys when they came to Phoenix for that game. For the record, they suck. I love vintage hockey, I really do; but those jerseys sucked then, and they suck now.

Before I go any further, Henrik Sedin netted his 900th and 901st points against the Sharks with 2 great Henrik goals. Class all around that guy, you know Daniel was fuming because he didn’t do it first. The Twins are really turning it on and could see some top 10, well top 15 action by seasons end.

Finally, Vancouver had the Sharks in their own barn on Saturday and they made the most out of it, and by that I mean they coughed up a 2-0 deficit yet again and found a way to win.

So let’s get to it.

The Games We Played:

@ San Jose Sharks – LOSE 6-2….and it was a bad 6-2

RECAP: Markstrom starts, we all feel good, Markstrom lets in 3 straight really early, we all feel bad. Eddie Machete comes in and Henrik pots 2. Gets his 900 and 901st points and of course that’s awesome. Canucks made it close and then the patented pull the goalie early backfires and we lost 6-2.

@ Arizona Coyotes – LOSE 3-2 (Shootout Loss though)

RECAP:  2nd verse same as the first, Canucks go down 2-0. Surprised? Nope. But the come back was mounted. After I called out Chris Higgins in my blog last week, he scored a big goal. Radim Vrbata followed that up with the tying goal and the game went to a shootout. Lack was on our side, sadly luck wasn’t and the Nucks lost to the Yotes on throwback night.

Vs. San Jose Sharks – WIN 3-2 (Huge win, big points)

RECAP: Really not sure what kind of fetish the Canucks have giving up the first 2 goals of the game but they did it again. If they make the playoffs, they will lose these games. Thankfully, their hockeys were better than the Sharks on HNIC. Radim “Vibrate” scored a beauty behind the netter to end the first and BO “Come at me bro” Horvat netted his finest of the season. Vrbata would get the GWG on one of his most patient goals of the year. Eddie Lack was amazing and Patrick Marleau missed a wide open net tap in goal of Patrik Stefan proportions.

 

All in all, the Canucks are stepping up their 60 minute game but as I said, giving up 2 goal leads every game isn’t healthy. Zack Kassian is really coming into his own and Bo Horvat is looking like we have a star on our hands. With Ryan Miller out still, Eddie Lack hasn’t missed a beat and if they can find a way to move him in the offseason, Miller might lose that starter job.

This hasn’t been the best hockey Vancouver has played but its been pretty darn exciting. There might be playoffs this year, just maybe.

And finally: 3 things from twitter –

Yep he missed that one.

Finally here is the Bo Horvat goal

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10

Canucks And Their Multi Purpose Shower Drain

We’ve all done it; you’re in the shower and you forgot to go before you wash up for the day. So why not just do what’s natural, pee in the shower. It all goes to the same place and you’re gonna be clean after anyways. You’ve done it, I’ve done it, heck George Costanza’s done it.

In a recent article on sbnation.com, Rick DiPietro talks about the time HE took a leak in the team shower when Bill Guerin became Captain in Long Island. Hard hitting stuff. So I started to think, does Henrik Sedin allow his team to be free in the showers?

Hank’s a classy guy and a real team leader. He has quite a cast of characters in the dressing room and I bet some of them pee in the shower when he’s not looking. Maybe he doesn’t care though? Is it that big a deal? I’ve never been in a pro sports locker room after a game so I have no clue about the shenanigans that may or may not go on.

I just think, if I’m on the team and no one is close, or even in there, am I disappointing the franchise? I’m a fan favourite, how can I go wrong? The Canucks have let a few championships go down the drain as well as years where their playoff hopes were flushed, so its really minor when they literally do it behind closed doors.

However, that new improved spaceship like dressing room does demand a little respect, and  they all wear flip flops in there, I assume, so thats good. Maybe the real question is how many Stanley Cup Champions pee in the shower? What if teams all over the league are doing it and the Canucks are too uptight?

In a interview with Roberto Luongo on CFOX radio in Vancouver, linked here on Pass It To Bulis, Bobby Lu discusses the subject; it seems not every goalie is into the peeing in the shower deal.

What if in some crazy way, and im stretching here, that correlated to a Cup? I say we live and let live, pee and be free!  What if Luongo actually did and he’s covering up? Should we judge him, I mean the guy does use the washroom mid game, I’m sure he has stories.

The Vancouver Canucks are a team of blue collar guys and a lot of them are real hard workers, so give them a break, let em pee. They have enough problems to worry about, like losing to teams with combined win records equalling their own.

I don’t want my Canucks stressed out come April, May and June. You shouldn’t either. But I’m one man.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10

Facebook: Always90four

Shawn Matthias Is The New Higgins, Time To Go Higgy

Chris Higgins was a great deadline deal for the Canucks and former GM Mike Gillis. His soldier like effort game in and game out made him a fan favorite and a great match for his coaches. He could be put anywhere in the lineup and produce. Well even though he has signed that nice little deal, there are cheaper options already making their mark and it looks like his time could be up. 

Shawn Matthias has a lot of those same characteristics, 4 years younger and producing at a higher clip. Matthias I believe, has also been very impactful to Zack Kassian. While Kass was busy being healthy scratched, he had time to see how the power forward position is played. Driving to the net, playing along the boards and the sweet finishing touch has given Jim Benning an upgrade at the 7th forward. Jannik Hansen has seen plenty of time at that spot and the natural progression is taking place.

Because Kassian is so young, emulating that type of player can only benefit his game and might be the stepping stone he needs to get to the next level of his career. Matthias is a UFA this summer and Benning would be smart to keep him around. Every team needs its stars but they also need a solid bottom six and having Matthias heading up that area is good for business. 

In 2011, when it all seemed to come together, Higgins and Maxim Lapierre were brought in at the deadline. Having those two experienced playoff performers put the Canucks over the top, well until Game 3 anyways. We uh, we lost the Cup after that. With Matthias here, he seems to be filling that role now.

With every game  Bo Horvat plays he climbs up the depth chart;  the emergence of Ronalds Kenins, as well as Kassian’s improvement, Higgins is being out youthed and simply outplayed. His ice time unfortunately doesn’t neccesarily dictate that but having to be paired with Radim Vrbata keeps him safe. 

Eventually Brad Richardson comes back and Linden Vey and Derek Dorsett will flank his wings; Chris Higgins will really need to prove he still holds value in a Canucks jersey. 

The Canucks didn’t need to make any moves this year and the term “stand pat” was used a bunch and if it’s one thing I love, it’s a good catch phrase. It sure says a lot about the future of the team when we still have Virtanen, McCann, Jensen and a good stable of picks. Benning wants to see this team through and didn’t want to jeopardize the future for a quick fix.

Higgins isn’t the only guy that most likely will be moved after this season and if for whatever reason the Nucks miss the spring dance, there is a boatload of talent in the top 15. Don’t be surprised if Bieksa and/or Hansen is moved as well, might be worth a hefty ransom.

Chris Higgins is still a very good player but at 31, and thats not old, his job can be done by a 25 year old. I’ll save the Ryan Miller debate for another day.

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Photo credit – metronews.ca

Jarkko POLO: Lack Is Back, Losing Sucks and BOOM!

Remember last year when Luongo was traded and Eddie Lack was given the keys? A year later it’s the same thing but now he has some backup. It’s amazing how the story has kind of been the same but the results are different this time. After watching all the NHL.com recaps, it’s a shame Eddie Lack can’t just face warmup shots; he does really well against those. Maybe just have the players yell “WARM UP” when they are in the Canucks zone.

It was interesting week to say the least. Vancouver continues to lead the Stanley Cup Final of 2011, 7 games to 5. The Bruins put up a fight but Lack shut the door at the end. On to Buffalo where lead changes were as regular as costume changes for the host of the Oscars and then finally a last shot wins game against the Blues.

Bruno Mars said uptown fun gonna give it to ya’, so here’s the uptown funk:

 

The Games We Watched:

@ Boston Bruins  – WIN 2-1

RECAP:  Two early goals and a tight fought game, the new hero Zack Kassian nets the winner and of course we all loved that. We beat Boston AGAIN and Zack is back! Eddie came up big on a big test. NUCKS WHAAAAT?

@ Buffalo Sabres – Loss 6-3 (Price is right losing sound)

RECAP: Down 2, tie game, Up 1, tie game, 3 goals against and everyone sits in amazement as the worst team in the league beat a team they had no business losing to. Did I mention Buffalo was without Ennis, the guy that starts with Z AND Dominik Hasek? Still lost, not good.

Vs. St. Louis Blues – WIN 6-5 in a SHOOTOUT

RECAP: Early on this one seemed like last shot wins, it basically was. Ronny Kenins quietly got 2 helpers, LOVE THAT GUY, Zack Kassian carried on maybe one of the longest conversations in the penalty box with Ryan Reaves and despite giving up a 3 goal lead, yep, the Nucks pulled ahead in the shootout and man they made it fun.

 

This last week had trade deadline implications as well. Would they trade Kassian, how bout the goalies, is Shawn Matthias going? We all asked this and wondered out loud I’m sure “Does Jim Benning Trade Like A Boss?” We would all find out on Monday.

I do believe we need to start questioning the readiness of Eddie for the true starter’s role. He has let in more stinkers than Ryan Miller this year and hasn’t quite been lights out. However, he still has managed wins and really, that’s all it’s about.

There was also a moment during the Blues game that should never be forgotten, but don’t you worry, Twitter was all up in that bizniss.

3 Things From Twitter:  1) When Shawn Matthias scored, something happened that was the new cool, too bad there wasn’t a Vine.

2) This Matthew Henderson guy is wicked awesome. Every game with these amazing recaps! I hope to one day work with this chap.

3) I mean we like Kassian right? He just is easy to root for. And when he scores, he screams.

 

The Canucks are still in the thick of it but seriously, they gots ta win the easy ones. The reverse California Road Trip is coming to Vancouver so the test is coming. I hear the troops are getting healthy too! We might be ok. Until next time….

Jarkko…..POLO!!!!

 

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