Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson
Just think about it folks, you have just witnessed history, the likes of such you may never see again in your life time! The Vancouver Canucks had not lost in regulation time since December 5, that’s 38 days and 17 games ago. During that stretch they accumulated a total of 31 points from: 11 outright wins (22 pts), five points on three shoot-outs and four points on three over time games.
If you do not have any children at present, one day when you have them, you will be able to sit them down and tell them you were there when they went on that magical run in 2010-11. So now, the Canucks will go about starting another one.
In the previous articled I wrote about where the Canucks stood in relation to other teams in the NHL in the Hits department. It did not come as any surprise when the Rangers, who are second in the NHL in Hits, went about their game plan to utilize this asset to beat the Canucks.
New York outhit the Canucks 38 to 31, which created a number of Grade A chances for them. Cory Schneider, who stopped 34 of 35, probably played his best game this season and could not be faulted for the loss. That was his first loss of the season in regulation time having gone 8-0-2 previously.
Canucks had trouble penetrating the Rangers defense as they kept them on the perimeter, clogging up the shooting lanes (24 blocked shots) and trapped them to death. Yes that was the trap out there that you were watching.
Neutral ice was clogged up with at least two opposition players and when the Canucks got into the offensive zone, there were three Rangers back to greet them. I didn’t see more than one outmanned rush from the Canucks in the whole game. Open ice space was non-existent and it must have felt like playing in a phone booth.
So the Rangers executed a real good game plan and beat the Canucks with their special teams, backed up by the solid goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist. The result was a 1-0 shut-out victory.
You didn’t have far to look for the turning point of the game. The second period power play where the Canucks held a two man advantage for close to a minute — was the capper. After that the Rangers gained even further momentum and carried their defensive play (trap) into the third period.
Tonight the Washington Capitals will be looking to add to the Canucks loss numbers.
On another matter of interest is the Sami Salo saga. It seems that GM Mike Gillis is not happy with the way that the Vancouver media is throwing out names and speculating on who might be traded IF and when Salo returns to the line-up.
Gillis said “I am very concerned about that.” I don’t think it is fair. There’s a lot of hockey to be played before any decisions are to be made. To speculate about it and put guy’s names in the paper who we have not discussed with any other team in this league is unfair and I don’t like it.”
Problem with that Mike, is that the media and fans love to speculate on who’s actually going to be traded. That’s what we do. We love to look at the cap space and figure out who the team could sacrifice in order to get a premier defenseman like Salo back into the line-up. It would be like making a trade for a top D-man towards the end of the season.
The Canucks just signed Mason Raymond to a new two year deal and even with his struggles this year, his age and potential does not warrant giving up on and trading him away. Raffi Torres name has also been tossed into the circle maybe because he is a UFA at the end of this season. That makes no sense either since the reason they brought him in was his grit element. Besides that, he has also helped establish the third line by scoring11 goals and adding nine assists. With a contract at $1 million per season what’s left of that amount wouldn’t be enough to clear the cap space anyways.
I have mentioned this before so I will reiterate once again. Can the Canucks get by without Mikael Samuelsson? He may not be having as good a season as last year but his eight goals and 17 assists is currently fourth in team scoring, with 25 points.
If Cody Hodgson and been able to stay healthy and show that he warranted a promotion to the NHL, then maybe it would have made sense to bring him up for Samuelsson but with no apparent replacement, who takes his place, provides the points and playoff experience?
As far as a defenseman goes, I have been saying this for four years. The Canucks will need every healthy NHL experienced D-man to go any distance in the playoffs. Kevin Bieksa who has been playing the best hockey of his career would not make sense to trade and Christian Ehrhoff is needed also.
Even though bought will be UFA’s after this season, you can’t be concerned about that with the window of opportunity for a long playoff run, staring you in the face.
No, what I think will happen is that the Canucks will keep Salo on the LTIR as long as possible. But with that brings a problem, as this LTIR amount is recalculate each day of the season. Also, the league is always requesting doctor’s reports on the medical state of that injury, so that teams don’t stash away players using the LTIR.
However this turns the speculation will be something that does not go away because the GM doesn’t like it. It’s now 45 days to the trade deadline. Mike would you like to know what we think about that and who might be traded before then?
To catch all the news, updates and new articles as they occur, along with the Canucks farm team the Manitoba Moose you can follow me @twitter.com/nucksiceman.com (I love this tweeting because it’s like small 140 character type articles).
Filed under: Vancouver Canucks