Tag Archives: Vancouver Canucks

CCC – Clay’s Canucks Commentary for October 9: Thankful to be a Canucks Fan

On Thanksgiving weekend I reflect on 5 things I’m thankful for with respect to being a Vancouver Canucks fan. I touch on team management, ownership, the players, Ryan Kesler’s photo in ESPN Magazine and Canucks social media.

I also give a quick shout-out to Canucks Hockey Blog, a great hockey blogsite that I contribute to: http://www.canuckshockeyblog.com

As well, I debut a brand new CCC logo designed by my good friend Dave Lee-Son!

http://www.claytonimoo.com

http://www.twitter.com/canuckclay

Things That Make You Go Hmmm: The Home Opener Edition

The Vancouver Canucks took their first steps on the long road back to the Stanley Cup Finals with a 4-3 shoot-out loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Rogers Arena on Thursday night.  I was in the arena for the home opener and I noticed a few Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

1.  The sluggish crowd.  Just like the team, the crowd seemed very tentative for the first half of the game.  It was a classic chicken and egg example:  it’s hard to tell if the crowd was relatively quiet because the team started slowly or if the team had trouble drawing energy from the quiet crowd.  Regardless, once the Canucks figured out how to stay out of the penalty box, both their play and the energy in the arena improved dramatically.

 2.  Keith Ballard is exciting.  There are many Canucks fans, this writer included, who want to see Keith Ballard have a bounceback season this year.  With the departure of Christian Ehrhoff, the door is wide open for Ballard to stroll on through.  Last night, we saw both the risk and reward of Keith Ballard.  On the second Penguin goal, Ballard had trouble retrieving and clearing the puck from behind the Canucks net, leading to Matt Cooke’s power-play goal.  And there were a couple of shifts where Ballard and defence partner Chris Tanev were scrambling around in their own zone.  But also, there was Ballard streaking down the left side and scoring the game’s nicest goal late in the second period.  Add this to a couple of end-to-end rushes and it made for a very eventful night for the Canuck blue-liner.

 3.  Dan Hamhuis is solid.  Hamhuis had a very solid game in his first full-game back since game 1 of last spring’s Stanley Cup Finals.  He made numerous poke checks on Penguin forwards and played with enough physicality to keep Pittsburgh at bay for most of the evening.  I’m convinced that he was the missing ingredient in the Canucks’ series against Boston:  if we have a healthy Hamhuis, we have a Stanley Cup.

 4.  Where was Cody Hodgson?  The prized rookie was unnoticeable all evening until the final 6 minutes or so.  It doesn’t help that he is flanked by aging forwards who are both coming off of serious injuries.  The entire second line struggled and was clearly the weakest of the four lines.  Granted, it’s early, and they will likely need a few games together to develop some chemistry.  Hodgson had a chance to score a game-winning goal, but his nice scoring chance was barely foiled by Marc-Andre Fleury when the puck squirted though his legs but a couple of inches wide left.

5.  Wishful thinking.  Buoyed by the inflated 50/50 pot (it included unclaimed money from last season), my friend Mike and I bought a few tickets.  Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as the huge $65,000 prize went to someone else.  And with the new ticketing system and numbers, we were only 300,000,000 (yes…that’s 300 million) numbers away from winning.  The computerized 50/50 tickets is just one of many changes in Rogers Arena for this season…check out my latest Clay’s Canucks Commentary for a look at some of these changes.

All in all, it was an entertaining game between two teams predicted to do well this season.  And don’t fret Canucks fans – the team lost their first game of last season via shoot-out too.  The regular season turned out all right.

CCC – Clay’s Canucks Commentary for October 5: Changes in Rogers Arena

We’re only one day away from the start of the 2011-2012 NHL season, with the Vancouver Canucks set to host the Pittsburgh Penguins as one of three games on the opening night slate.

In this CCC, instead of taking a look at what we can expect on the ice, I take a look at what we can expect off of it – in particular some of the numerous changes at Rogers Arena. While BC Place has received a major facelift, Canucks fans will notice some changes at Rogers Arena – some subtle and some not-so-subtle.

Watch this video and see what you can look forward to on your next visit to the rink!

http://www.claytonimoo.com

http://www.twitter.com/canuckclay

Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Looking Ahead to the New Season

After a remarkably short hockey summer, we’re already just a few sleeps away from the start of the 2011-12 NHL season and the Vancouver Canucks’ home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins sans Sidney Crosby.  As the pre-season comes to an end, here are some Things That Make You Go Hmmm:

1.  The first power play unit.  I was at the Canucks’ final exhibition game, a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers this past Saturday night.  While I was impressed with many things, I was very unimpressed with our first power play unit.  Granted, the full unit only played a couple of games together but on Saturday night their execution was quite sloppy.  Alex Edler and Mikael Samuelsson had trouble at the point: they were both unable to get shots off and had trouble keeping the puck inside the zone on numerous occasions.  With Samuelsson’s defensive shortcomings (mostly because he’s not a defenceman), I think it’s quite risky that he’s manning the point.  I would much rather see Sami Salo and his wicked slap shot at the point, although I’m not sure who would want to stand in front of the net to screen the goalie and look for deflections.  Speaking of which, it’s obvious that the Canucks are going to miss Ryan Kesler’s effective net presence on the power play… it’s simply not a strength of Alex Burrows’ game.

 2.  Getting off to a good start.  October has traditionally been quite unfriendly to the Canucks.  Over the past five seasons, the Canucks have a 29-27-3 record in October, amassing only 61 of a possible 118 points.  Part and parcel to the club’s performance is the play of goaltender Roberto Luongo, who is traditionally a slow-starter.  Luongo, like all of the veterans, only played in a few pre-season games but he looked extremely sharp on Saturday night.  As mentioned above, the Canucks employed a strategy of playing the veterans in only a couple pre-season games after last year’s long playoff run.  The purpose was two-fold:  to give the players a bit more rest and to make them hungrier coming out of the gate.  We’ll see if it translates into a strong October performance.  And we’ll see if other teams follow suit if the Canucks do well right off the bat.

 3.  Lamenting my hockey pool choice.  On Sunday, I hosted an annual hockey pool for my buddies and wound up picking 4th overall.  Not surprisingly, Steve Stamkos went first, Daniel Sedin went second, and Alex Ovechkin went third.  I spent my 90 seconds agonizing between picking Henrik Sedin (and his guaranteed 90-100 points) and the ultimate wild-card Sidney Crosby.  You’d think it would be an easy choice for an avid Canucks blogger, a no-brainer.  But, for whatever reason, I decided to take a chance on the guy who will NOT be playing at Rogers Arena this Thursday night.  As the rest of the guys in the room started to murmur, I immediately regretted my decision, especially after the next poolster took Hank within 0.7 seconds of me taking Crosby.  Oh well… I hope the winner of the pool will do something nice with my 35 bucks!

 Will the Canucks be able to leave their slow October starts in their rear-view mirror?  We’ll get our first indication this Thursday night.