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Written by Dani Toth | 20 March 2012

While watching the Lightning-Leafs game the other day I saw this during one of the intermissions on Sun Sports. I didn't get a screen cap of it at the time and now that I go back to my GameCenter, I can't watch the intermission programs anymore. But my problem was solved when I came across The Goalie Guild's post that grabbed a few screen caps of Dustin Tokarski's pads and went the extra mile to get a bit more of the back story on it.

Let's start out with a look at the pads (both screen caps are from The Goalie Guild):

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Look closely at the name stitched onto the pads...

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Luongo?

Yep, those are Dustin Tokarski's pads with Luongo's name stitched onto them.

So the story that Sun Sports was trying to explain (that didn't go into great detail as to why Luongo's name was stitched on there) was something to do with Tokarski's original pads not being suitable for the NHL when he got the callup from the AHL (maybe something to do with the sizing) and so Reebok sent him a pair of pads for him to use.

These turned out to be a pair of Luongo's returned pads. In the post by The Goalie Guild, Justin Goldman gets in touch with Mike Mole, an equipment rep from Reebok who clarified the story a bit more. From the interview, the pads were originally made for Luongo to try out at a goalie summit that Reebok conducted and these ended up going back to Reebok after the summit. Tokarski tried them out and felt comfortable in them enough to keep playing in them for the last few games while up with the Lightning. With the signing of goaltender Sebastien Caron, Tokarski might be heading back to Norfolk so who know how long these will stick around, but neat story anyways.

To bad these pads didn't give Tokarski magical powers since he's been like a sieve during the last few games. Could that have anything to do with Luongo's name stiched on there?

To read the full exchange head over to The Goalie Guild to read Goldman's post, great job by him on contacting Mike Mole for more clarification on the backstory. no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 19 March 2012

Let's get caught up on stuff that you might have missed:
  • Radulov's agent he confirms he'll join the Nashville Predators after having his KHL contract resolved via Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy. No details on how he got out of the contract but you gotta hand it to him to be able to get out of contracts from both the NHL and KHL
  • Zach Bogosian avoids a suspension on his leaping hit on Andreas Nodl (Puck Daddy)
  • Three games back into his return and Bruce Arthur is asking if Crosby is getting special treatment since he hasn't been crunched yet
  • It was funny when they chanted 'Croby's better' during the game against the Caps but the Jets fans chanted 'Jordan's better' against the Hurricanes last night and now it's just un-original. And the Hurricanes won which is kinda ending their playoff dreams (ProHockeyTalk)
  • THE WALKING DEAD!!!! What an episode and what a sneak peak of Season 3 with the prison and the first appearance of Michonne (ninja girl)

Canuck related things for tonight's game:

  • Malhotra will be back in lineup after taking some games off for personal reasons and Gordon McIntyre manages to call Malhotra a shadow of his pre-injury self. At this point haven't we all accepted that and just accepted that this is the now-Malhotra self?
  • Based on Luongo's history in Minnesota, I think we are all assuming that Cory Schneider is getting his 2nd start in a row *Update* Sportsnet's Dan Murphy has confirmed via twitter that Schneider will start
  • Tinfoil Toque hates when the media focuses on useless stats like +/- and blocked shots and idiots on twitter who chirp our own team's NHL and AHL players. If you missed it this weekend, someone chirped Kevin Connauton about how an athlete shouldn't ever eat McDonalds (Canucks Army)
  • Nucks Misconduct's game preview for tonight
  • Sami Salo and Mason Raymond are healthy scratches for the Canucks, with Malhotra and Gragnani in. Ramond falls from the top line to the press box...and it's about time he did
  • Bieksa will be back with Hamhuis as a D pairing

For tonight's enemy blog check out the State of Hockey New for your Wild perspective

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Written by Dani Toth | 18 March 2012

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Let's start off by saying that Rogers arena was reallllly drunk last night, it a fun, often hilarious way. I'm not sure I've ever heard a section of fans yell "shoot" at the team as much as I heard last night. Or saw two guys in my section on separate occasions fall up the stairs spilling their beer all over the stairs which is a terrible waste of $8 beer, and then lamenting about it to the crowd. How much of the game people actually watched is debatable and the drunkenness helped fans overlook the not so put-together plays that the Canucks made.

So the Canucks won which is great but a messy 4-3 win over the worst team in the league is nothing to be proud of.

A couple thoughts on the game
-Can we stop with the musical chairs on the defensive pairings? Bieksa without Hamhuis is not a good combination. I get Vigneault juggling the forward lines, but let's please stop doing this with the defence.
-Everytime I see David Booth score it just emphasizes how bad Mason Raymond is
-Speaking of Mason Raymond, let's end the experiment with the Sedins. The Sedins did score last night but not really from help from Raymond with Raymond keeps skating wide. He hasn't busted out of his slump while playing with the twins and I don't feel like he will anytime soon
-How many times a game can Mason Raymond fall down? Even when he doesn't have the puck anyone near him
-How bad is CBJ at hockey?
-JMFJ scored a goal
-Cory Schneider had some big saves at the end of the game
-both goalies, Schneider and Mason has a point tonight
-I missed this Chris Higgins abs photo since I wasn't on twitter last night but here it is via @gutsmctavish24:

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Does he not wear a shirt under there? No? Ok, I guess not. This from earlier in the season is better though.

-That coast to coast goal by Alex Edler made everyone in the arena wet themselves:



So with the Canucks going on a four game road trip, how many starts should Schneider get? 2?

This is not Canucks but if you watched this morning's Pens-Flyers game, how good of a game was that? Great hockey to watch while having breakfast. If these two end up in the 4/5 playoff matchup it will be a scary series to watch.  The 3 on 3 hockey there are the end was interesting, some chances but you also saw how the players became more conservative while they had the puck.

And if you watched the NBC Pens-Flyers game you might have seen this commercial. Can you guess who the actor is? Answer after the jump.


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Written by Dani Toth | 17 March 2012

Before the start of every season, my ticket holder buddies and I get together to split up our pack of Canucks tickets. Everyone has their favorite teams they want to watch so the first few rounds of picks go fast and then you get stuck with the tickets no one wants. Sometimes the games picked last end up being good games to watch (Carolina a few years ago after that long losing streak) but most times they live up to expectation, which generally means they are boring. Minnesota anyone?

One of my picks ended up being this CBJ game tonight. I was hoping that Jeff Carter had grown up and would be at least a player I was interested in watching. Obviously I was wrong because he figured out that if he played shittily enough all year (with a multi-goal game here and here), he would get traded. That makes my upcoming Kings game more awesome, but it makes this tonight's game not something you get excited for. It's gotten to the point where my ticket holder buddy for tonight's game keeps asking if we have to go.

And as if I could not think this team could be anymore of a mess, I read this article from the Columbus Dispatch on Friday about how Steve Mason was wearing undersized pads (relative to league limits) and just recently changed his equipment to go bigger and looser.

“There were times with the old stuff when I was getting hit in the ribs and was full of bruises,” Mason said. “You almost become scared of getting hit with the puck so you’re turning your body, and … that’s not the right way to play. With the new stuff you have confidence that pucks aren’t going to hurt you, and because it is larger, some pucks that might have squeaked through before are now hitting a piece of equipment.”

Why didn’t he make the switch sooner?

“I never knew I could,” Mason said. “If I knew, I would have done it three years ago. I guess I was a little out of the loop on that kind of stuff. But we’ll make it work now.”

He never knew he could? How does that happen? So yeah...that organization is a mess.

But a bring spot for them has been their PR department of late. Just last week when the Kings visited Columbus for the first time since the trade, the Blue Jackets offered to change the nameplate on anyone with a Carter jersey to J. Johnson. It works out well since Jack Johnson ended up picking the same number as Carter when he got traded to Columbus, but let's not detract from how awesome of a story this was. I would have loved this if I was a Blue Jackets fan.



Elliotte Friedman posted in his 30 Thoughts this week that the total number of fans that took advantage of the nameplate change promotion was 43. Are we surprised that it is only 43? Or more surprised that 43 fans bought a J Carter Blue Jackets jersey knowing his attitude coming into the season?

And lastly, a couple of weeks ago the CBJ twitter account had some hilarious answers to questions that were asked on twitter.



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Written by Dani Toth | 16 March 2012

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Over twitter today, I came across a ProHockeyTalk post on Bieksa calling out quiet Canucks fans.

The original quotes from Bieksa come from Ed Willies' article in The Province. Do read his article in full but here are the quotes:

“I love the Jets and their fan-base,” Kevin Bieksa said before last night’s meeting with the Phoenix Coyotes.

“To see them come in here and out-cheer our fans is great from their perspective. I’m really happy for them.”

“But from our perspective, it’s a little sad. At times, we get that on the road when we’re in Phoenix or L.A. It seems we have a louder crowd than the home team and I know it gets them down. When you’re at home and the road team has a louder crowd, it’s a little embarrassing. I don’t think we want that to happen to us.”

“A lot time when you’re down in the game or you’re going through a lull in the second period, the crowd can give the team a boost,” he said. “We’ve got to be working together here. We both want the same thing which is the Stanley Cup. So we’ll work for you if you work for us.”


I see what he was trying to get at, but let me respond to this is a more coherent way than I did on twitter earlier today:

I think that he is misjudging his fans and the not comprehending the way that the Canucks themselves sell their product to the city.

I can acknowledge that the travelling Canucks fan is very loud in road arenas but that is kind of the point when you are an opposition fan in a visiting arena. You come to the game, you wear your jersey, you cheer as loudly as you can to drown out the other fans. I've been there, I've done the opposing fan thing and I think that is part of the experience of being a road fan. If you haven't done it yourself, I highly recommend taking a sunny roadtrip to California or Arizona next season. That's what Habs/Leafs/Jets/Calgary fans do when their team players in Rogers arena and that's what makes those games some of the most entertaining ones of the season. How many times during the Leafs game would a chant start our 'Go Leafs Go' and morph into a Go Leanucks Go" as both fans try to drown out the other fanbase. All of those are all done without any prompting from the in-arena prompts.

I will acknowledge that this past Jets game, the Jets fans were loud. But I also know of plenty of people Jets fans who drove down from places like Kelowna (they were originally from outside Winnipeg) just for the game because they haven't seen a Jets (I'm overlooking the Thrashers thing right now) game in 16 years. So that game was a big f-cking deal to them.

I also know that Canucks fans were louder than the Jets fans there that night, there is no question about it. I'm not sure what he's talking about because the Jets fans had nothing to cheer about that night, since the Canucks outworked the Jets that night. At least that's the consensus from the people I spoke with who were at the game.

Before you start throwing your fanbase under the bus and saying that from your perspective "it's a little sad" that your home fans don't cheer so much, think about who is actually going to read what you say about the 'fans' when you critique them.

"We both want the same thing which is the Stanley Cup. So we’ll work for you if you work for us.”

I have bought my tickets from the Vancouver Canucks for many seasons and there is nowhere printed on my ticket that says that when I am there that I need to work for you. I will always cheer for goals or big hits but why do I need to work for you during a lull in the second period?

I am a fan of the Canucks but I also enjoy to watch hockey. The average regular season game I attend is usually after a full day at work, usually on a weeknight where I am going to be entertained by watching a sport I love to watch played. I may have a beer during the game but often I will not because I have to get up early the next morning for another day of work. So some nights I will cheer if a spontaneous chant breaks out in my section but some nights, I'm just not that into it. I think that's my right as a paying ticket holder. But again, I'll always cheer for goals and big hits, so if you entertain me, I'll cheer you for it.

I know I will have readers that say that real fans would cheer and the fans going to the game aren't real fans. Well to that I would say that the Vancouver Canucks will sell a ticket to a real fan or just a person wanting to go watch hockey equally. Hell maybe they don't want to watch hockey but the lower bowl during a game is a great place to discuss a business deal with a client so since they are paying customer, that's cool. At least you play in a market where there are paying customers to watch the team play.

If you can pay to watch the game, the Canucks will sell you a ticket if there is one available. The Canucks don't say to me at ticket renewal time "hey ticketholder, we need you to cheer spontaneously or the team won't perform", no they just sell me the tickets. So spare me the complaint that you are a little sad that you think that we didn't cheer as loudly as the Jets fans during a regular season game in March. This is the market you play for, this is the market that supports the team financially and if you think that fans need to cheer for you in order for you to work then maybe you need to have a talk with your superiors in getting a cheering clause put into the tickets sold.

You know what fans at Rogers Arena will cheer loudly during? THE PLAYOFFS
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Written by Dani Toth | 12 March 2012

The Red Line: Say it Ain't So

For weeks I've heard about former players or people 'in the know' in hockey suggesting that the NHL should put back the red line. Their intention for this madness is that they want to make the game safer by slowing the game down; that the speed of players today is too fast for their own well being.

Egads.

Are you kidding me? YOU WANT TO BRING BACK THE RED LINE?

When I think red line, I think terribly slower hockey, and trap hockey. Sure the red line will slow the game down make players have to come up with more creative neutral zone passing instead of just keeping the game a north to south forwards moving game, but  will it lower the injury rate? Because lowering the injury rate is the point of bringing it back, right? Unless you can show me data that having the red line back in the game lowers the injury to player rate significantly, then I don't want to entertain the thought of bringing it back.

Hockey players play this game with the knowing that there is a chance of an injury. It's a collision sport and I think they understand that. If the players can't help themselves from injuring each other at high speeds, then bring on more punishment. Bring on Shanahan suspending more players for a longer term until the players get it that those plays aren't acceptable anymore, but please don't bring the red line back. I am a lover of the fast paced game and goddamn a good two-line pass is just sexy.

Steve Ott

This afternoon's Marek vs. Wyshynski had Steve Ott on as their guest today. One thing about his interview with them that surprised me is that I didn't know how great of an interview he is. He carried on the banter well, answered questions with thought and was really interesting to listen to. I didn't think he was stupid, but I was surprised by how well he came across in the interview.

Hodgson Twice Asked to be Traded (At least)

Maybe I missed this after the aftermath of the Hodgson-Kassian trade since I tried to abstain from reading the 300 stories about it, but in today's The Province, Ed Willies writes that Hodgson asked for be traded at least twice which one time being after Game 7 of the SCF. Curious. no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 28 February 2012

Sometimes to get to know what kind of player you are getting it's best to ask the people that knew him best, the bloggers of his former team.

Next up in the blogger opinions on Zack Kassian, is Philip of Black & Blue & Gold for his thoughts on Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani. You can follow him on twitter at @PhilBBG

"First of all, it's pronounced "Kass-e-in".

Zack Kassian was the Sabres pick in the 2009 draft, taken 13th overall. At the time, he was the sometimes-scoring, often-punching captain of the Petersborough Petes. It was for this reason that the Sabres drafted the big winger. The spring after he was drafted, he was traded from the Petes to the Windsor Spitfires to boost their jam in the top six. His first game in Spits red, he laid out his infamous missile check to the head that earned him a 20 game suspension. Once he got back on the ice, he was a force along the boards and helped chip in offensively as Windsor won their second straight Memorial Cup. His final season in junior, Kassian was a scoring juggernaut and the undisputed heavyweight champ of the OHL before the WJC in Buffalo. In the tournament at then-HSBC Arena, he played the role of human wrecking ball alongside future Amerks teammate Marcus Foligno. Fans and media alike were impressed by his powerful hitting and offensive instincts.

His play petered off after the WJC tournament, both offensively and aggressively. Critics noticed, but a strong showing in the Traverse City prospect tournament brightened fans on his future. He certainly got his offensive game back in Rochester, but the toughness seldom showed up. He struggled to play consistently when called up by the Sabres as well.

Consistency has been the only real knock on the winger. Kassian is a big boy, capable of fending off multiple defenders with a single arm (it's really impressive how strong he is) and claiming territory on top of the crease. How often he does is another story. He doesn't have the best wheels but is hard to stop when he gets rolling. He doesn't have the best shot, but has shown off "silky mitts" more than once. He can own the ice but rarely challenges for it. e can punch, too. Holy jumpin', can he punch. Just look him up on Hockey Fights. NHL scouts and local pundits question his motivation and heart. If he finds the drive to go hard every game, he's a productive second liner who can score 20 goals, control play along the boards, and defend his linemates. If he doesn't, he could wind-up a 4th line goon with some offense to spare. Is he NHL ready this season? No - he's barely an AHL rookie, much less NHL rookie.

Marc-Andre Gragnani isn't so promising. An offensive defenseman, MAG (or Grags) is a guy whose defensive play was wretched enough that he didn't even dress every night and when he did, he was given bottom pair minutes and scant power play time. Alain Vigneault coached him in the QMJHL, which is why the Canucks might have wanted him, but otherwise he won't be an impact pick-up anytime soon unless something dramatic happens to him. With the depth in Vancouver, he might wind up on the Chicago Wolves' roster. "

***

So there we have it, though I feel like I've come out of this question feeling less sure of Kassian helping the team this post season than before I started asking questions about him. At least I know how to pronounce his name correctly.

Big thanks to Philip for answering my questions on our new acquisitions so quickly. Give his site Black & Blue & Gold a visit and follow him on twitter at @PhilBBG
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