Tag Archives: Vancouver Canucks

CCC – Clay’s Canucks Commentary for October 17: Reunion of the Ultimate Canucks Fans

I had a chance to catch-up with my good buddy Matt Hawkins (http://www.matthewahawkins.com) who I met through the Ultimate Canucks Search fan contest back in 2007. In fact, both Matt and I won Honourable Mentions for our respective videos.

Now, four years later, I’m doing these CCC videos and Matt is ready to launch a new hockey-related video series: he’ll be doing motivational speeches for the Canucks as a “Coach” character.

Check out Matt’s insights on this year Canucks team and see what you can expect from his video series!



Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Flying Low in Philly

The Vancouver Canucks have gotten off to their typically slow October start earning three out of a possible six points in their first three games.  I was out all evening on Wednesday so I was left to follow the game on Twitter.  Some of the tweets I was reading made it sound like was had lost game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals or something.  Whoops…too soon?

Anyway, I was able to watch the entire game against the Flyers on the PVR and here are a few things that made me go hmmm…

1.  Sloppy play.  The Canucks were not very sharp for the majority of the game.  They didn’t seem ready from the start, and after their litany of first period penalties they were already down a pair of goals.  Their passing wasn’t crisp (except for the Sedins) and they had trouble gaining the offensive zone on numerous occasions (including back to back offside calls caused by Burrows’ indecisiveness).  Two of the Flyers’ three even-strength goals were directly caused by poor line changes and the Canucks’ scrambly defensive play often reminded me of my tier 9 roller hockey team.  Throw in a powerplay that wasn’t particularly aggressive nor urgent (especially in the later stages of the third period) and it all added up to a very uneven performance.

2.  Post-goal let downs.  The Canucks gave up goals immediately following three of their four tallies.  After Mikael Samuelsson’s first period goal, James Van Riemsdyk scored 73 seconds later.  Following Henrik Sedin’s goal in the second period, Jakob Voracek scored less than two minutes later.  And after Daniel Sedin’s important game-tying goal in the third period, Andrej Meszaros scored the game-winner for the Flyers almost exactly a minute afterwards.  Thus, every time the Canucks seemed to gain a bit of momentum, they handed it back to the Flyers.  It was an uphill battle all evening.  The Canucks have not started strong in any of their first three games.  Part of last season’s success was the team’s ability to get a lead and then protect it.  The Canucks will need to work harder to earn some early leads.

3.  Stanley Cup hangover?  Are you allowed to call it a Stanley Cup hangover if you didn’t actually win the Stanley Cup?  Nevertheless, the Canucks aren’t the only Stanley Cup finalist struggling out of the gate.  The Boston Bruins have just one win in four games and it’s against inferior competition (two of the losses came against Colorado and Carolina).  Horton, Krejci, Lucic and Chara have combined for a total of only 3 points.  Contrast that to the 15 combined points of the Sedins, Burrows and Edler (in only 3 games).  Of course, it’s extremely early and many things will change as the season progresses.  However, Canucks fans can take solace in the fact that our Stanley Cup nemesis has started off slowly as well.

4.  Top-ranked anthemist?  Firstly, is anthemist even a word?  And secondly, who on earth ranks them?  And thirdly, shouldn’t a “#1 ranked anthemist” be able to keep time with the organist?

The Canucks will hardly have any time to lick their wounds or feel sorry for themselves as they take on another perennial powerhouse in the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.  Let’s hope that Vancouver plays a tighter game and avoids the post-goal let downs on their way back to the win column.

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!



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!