Written by Dani Toth | 06 February 2011

Sometimes I watch a game that makes me really want to write about it. Sometimes I watch a game and just don't feel that inspiration. This last Friday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks had that inspiration that I haven't seen in a long time.

This season the Canucks have been great. But because I expected them to be good coming into the season, this season has felt like I have just been waiting for the post season to start. Is it because we know as Canuck fans that what matters for the team is not what they do in the regular season, but what they do in the post season that has me overlooking how great the team has been playing this year? I fear that I have not appreciated their success as much this season because of it.

This team has been a machine. They were winning games back in December like it was no big deal. And even if they didn't play a great game, they still were able to manage out a win. Is that what great teams do? Does the luck pop in to help find you the win even on a night when you didn't play that well?

We've had injuries. Lots of injuries to our defence in particular but even with the injuries, we've been able to see our young rookies come up and fill in the holes when needed. When everyone thought Edler's injury would spell the end of our run, it looks like the team hasn't even missed a beat (ok we do miss Edler, but we're still winning). And really how good is Chris Tanev's first pass?

There have been problems with the lack of even scoring over the last couple of weeks. But even though it seems like the majority of roster had not scored in 10+ game (as of last week), the monsters of the Sedins and Kesler kept this team scoring goals.

And in goal, we have Luongo playing his best hockey here in a very, very long time. It's almost been overlooked because of how well the Sedins and Kesler have been playing, but Luongo has been able to quietly go on an 18-1-5 run.

So for Friday night's game, I met up with a friends at a sports bar in Vancouver. So why was this game to much better than the rest of the games this season? Because it FELT like playoff game.

The pace was perfect. Chicago came out strong, but the Canucks worked their way back to playing their game. There were goals, and goals that goalies should have had. There were goals that go off of rookies, and when the camera zero's in on them on the bench (Tanev), you can see on their face that they feel the weight of their mistake. But then an assistant or trainer pats them on the shoulder and the team just works harder together.

Or there was the hilarity of Aaron Rome's return to the lineup and running into his own goalie behind the net, allowing an open net for the Hawks, only to sprawl with the Luongo in front of the net helping making the save.

Sure there was a questionable goal by the Canucks (they really were offside) but hockey is fast sometimes and the refs sometimes miss stuff. And what's a playoff game without a questionable call?

But in the end, the score is tied 3-3 and everyone at my table is nervous as the minutes wind down on the clock. Four minutes left and Burrows starts the play out of the Canucks zone to Daniel Sedins. Daniel drops it to Henrik who sends it back to Daniel and then into the back of the net. Daniel Sedins takes over the NHL points race, leapfrogging Steven Stamkos. It was effortless. And I'm cheering like this really is a playoff game. no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 19 January 2011

In a game that ended up a loss, there were quite a few bright spots in the game
1. Chris Tanev
2. Sergei Shirokov's first NHL goal:

I was pretty rah-rah about Shirokov last year, so it's nice to see him play so well tonight. But I'm quick to jump on the boat of speedy young players only to have them make me frustrated 10 games later when they stop producing (see J Tambellini). So I'll reserve the judgement on how good Shirokov actually is until I see a few more games of his, but that goal tonight was pretty, non?

So Canucks back home. Finally ended that roadtrip that really didn't go so well for how well you'd think a top team of the NHL should play. Next game Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks. no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 13 January 2011

What? You haven't heard that THE CANUCKS ARE IN NEW YORK?

This was my feeling as my sick-at-home self felt when I visited the NHL.com website today. The Canucks hardly ever get any play on NHL.com normally, but today they have gone all out with the coverage since the team is playing the Rangers tonight. The fact that the team doesn't get much coverage on the NHL website doesn't really bother me as we get plenty of cover at home here with the local papers and multitudes of great blogs out there. But it is interesting to see the sudden increase in coverage on the team because of the game.

Other thoughts
  • James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail put together a list of the top defensive forwards at the mid-season mark. On his list of 30 players, four Vancouver Canucks make his list: Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen, Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra.
  • With Sami Salo skating more and more these days, and the Canucks needing to clear up more cap space for his return (about $1.8 million), lots have talk is about whether Raffi Torres will be on the way out. Since my expectations of him were low to begin with, sure he was a surprise with regards to how well he has played, but can't say I would be upset it's because Salo is ready to play.
  • But how much would it suck to answer questions about how you would feel about being traded when no timetable has been given for Salo's return? It's one thing to not read the papers to get you down, but obviously you know what they are writing based on the questions they are asking you day-in and day-out
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Written by Dani Toth | 06 January 2011

There's something about having someone make you an omelette to order at the breakfast bar of your hotel that really just elevates your vacation to a whole new level. And having a fruit station of cut papaya's, white pineapples and passion fruits galore may just be resort heaven.

To put it into persepctive, I went to the store near my house when I got back and spent $4.56 on ONE papaya. And don't get me started on the passion fruits that are priced at $2.50 EACH. Clearly I still gave in a bought my one papaya...but had to pass on the passion fruit as I felt the grocery store was attempting to rob me of all my money. I'm happy to say that the papaya was well worth the $4.56 I paid as it helped me get through these last couple days of crappy rainy weather in Vancouver.

So that's where I was on my little blogging vacation away from hockey and the internet. I was on the beach with weather that I imagine that Tampa Bay has all year around, followed by some time spent with family back home. But I'm back now. all refreshed (I hope) and ready to get back into hockey. I've been home a few days now trying to get my grasp on all that has gone on in the world of the Canucks.

So I checked the standings...



And our record is an unbelievable 16-1-2!!! It just seems like it's so much more unbelievable to come back from a vacation to hear stats like that. And then you wonder, what is Tony Gallagher writing about these days? Can he even write positive articles?

You may have read a version of this post on my Lightning Hockey Blog, apologies since I didn't want to be creative twice
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Written by Dani Toth | 13 December 2010

via Lightning Strikes, Cristodero's Lightning blog on the St. Petersburg Times, here is Mattias Ohlund on his standing ovation that he received in Vancouver on Saturday night:

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Written by Dani Toth | 06 December 2010


Lately the Bieksa trade rumours have been cropping with more regularity. It seems each week we have a new rumoured team that Bieksa is being headed to. Last week it was Colorado, this week it seems it's Ottawa. It's getting a bit trying, non?

Don't get me wrong here, I love to make quips about Bieksa. It really is such great fun to blame everything on Bieksa, whether or not he was actually at fault for anything. If you don't do it yourself, you should really give it a go. Find some mistake he makes during the game, and then exclaim 'Bieksa!' in a tone of frustration, it really is pure joy some nights.

But let's get serious, Bieksa is not going to get traded in the next couple of weeks. It really isn't going to happen right now as he really is needed on our blue line. He'll probably get traded eventually as we just won't have the cap space to re-sign him for next year, but I just don't see the trade happening right now.

Sami Salo has only just begun to start skating again. I think I read somewhere today that he skated for like 15 minutes or something, which really doesn't put him at the point of being ready to return just yet. I think we are expecting him to be back maybe in the new year, but that depends on how well his recovery goes and how he ends up feeling on the ice. And what if, just for arguments sake, Sami Salo doesn't come back at the same level as before? Does Bieksa become more valuable to the team then? That's a question that you have to ask yourself.

Continue reading after the jump...

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Written by Dani Toth | 06 December 2010

So it being Markus Naslund's jersey retirement ceremony at the end of the week, you know the next few days until Saturday night will filled with Naslund stories about how the city is gushing over him. Let's not forget that the city and it's critical fans is one of the reasons he was driven away from here...but ok we'll forget that while we think up our favorite memories of #19.

I was asked by a certain Canucks blogger about what my favorite Markus Naslund memory was for a blog post that they were putting together (link will be posted one their post goes up). And I spent the weekend digging through my memory of favorite on ice moment. I think of the Westcoast Express line when I think of Naslund's time here in Vancouver. I think of his leadership and all the stories of how really genuinely NICE he was to fans. But favorite on ice moment?

Fastforward to Ed Jovanovski going crazy in the penalty box when he sees that the Canucks have scored for some youtube joy. no comments