It’s time, once again, for PITB’s annual, exhaustive, retrospective compilation of all the major Canucks stories of the year that was, and let us just say this: compared to 2011, 2012 was lame.
Granted, when 2011 featured a run to the Stanley Cup Final, a boatload of NHL awards, and a nude Ryan Kesler, 2012 was in tough to come anywhere near it. But between the whole “getting eliminated in the first round” thing and the NHL lockout, which was a major buzzkill, it was like 2012 didn’t even try. Come on, 2012. You embarrassed yourself. (On the bright side, there’s almost no way 2013 can suck this much.)
But before we say goodbye to this crappy year, let’s take one final look back at the rise and fall of Cody Hodgson, the seeming end of the Roberto Luongo era in Vancouver, the Canucks’ second consecutive Presidents Trophy, and all the...
The Los Angeles Kings will have to wait at least three more days for another shot at becoming true hockey royalty after Adam Henrique kept New Jersey alive in the Stanley Cup final. His late goal secured a 3-1 victory for the Devils in Game 4 on Wednesday.
The New Jersey rookie, who scored in overtime to end the Eastern Conference final, showed poise in kicking the puck up to his stick before beating Jonathan Quick high at 15:29 of the third period.
“It seemed to come off my skate pretty nice, right on the tape. I knew it came all the across the ice,” Henrique said. “I knew [Quick] was going to have to come a long way to make the save if I was going to get up short-sided.”
The goal forced Cup keepers Phil Pritchard and Craig Campbell to put the trophy back in its case. Game 5 of the final...
In the end it came down to Anze Kopitar's hands and stick, and his memory of a shootout goal from six years ago.
He went backhand then, and figured Martin Brodeur might remember that he went backhand, which in fact Brodeur did. And so when the Los Angeles Kings centre scissored the puck and carved the 40-year-old Brodeur like a filet, he ended it with a forehand. And that was the difference in Game 1.
But that probably won't have much effect on Game 2 Friday, or the rest of the Stanley Cup final, and not just because the Devils are unlikely to surrender another breakaway in overtime to one of the two most dangerous men in the building.
On the day after the Kings took a 1-0 series lead on the New Jersey Devils, the two teams agreed on a few things: Nobody played their best game, both teams experienced nerves, and the ice was about two hours shy of...
The Los Angeles Kings will get a second shoot at earning their first Stanley Cup Finals berth since 1993 when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes tonight for Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Sports Network - The Los Angeles Kings will get a second shoot at earning their first Stanley Cup Finals berth since 1993 when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes tonight for Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
The eighth-seeded Kings jumped out to a 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven series before losing Sunday’s home contest by a 2-0 score. It was just the second loss for Los Angeles in 13 playoff games this postseason and both setbacks have come on the road,
L.A. enters tonight’s road contest with a perfect 7-0 record as the guest in this spring’s playoffs. The Kings hope to ride that road success to a win in Game 5, which would secure the club’s first Stanley Cup Finals appearance since Wayne Gretzky led...
Sports Network - The New Jersey Devils will try to even the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals tonight, when they host the New York Rangers in a pivotal Game 4 at the Prudential Center.
The top-seeded Rangers hold a 2-1 edge in this series after taking Games 1 and 3 by identical 3-0 scores. New Jersey recorded its one victory on the road in Game 2, beating New York in 3-2 fashion.
Henrik Lundqvist posted his second shutout of this series and third of this year’s playoffs thanks to 36 saves in Saturday’s triumph in New Jersey. Lundqvist, who is a finalist for both the Vezina and Hart Trophies this season, has a 1.57 goals-against average and .942 save percentage to go with his three shutouts in the 2012 postseason.
Ryan Callahan had a goal and an assist while Dan Girardi and Chris Kreider also scored for the Rangers, who are in the conference finals for the first time since 1997 and...
Think of one word to describe this year’s Vancouver Canucks, after such an early and heartbreaking playoff exit, and it’s probably this: Underachieving. So much talent, so much potential, and yet unable to emerge from the first round with more than a single win.
That in mind, maybe it’s time for a little history lesson. Maybe the antidote to underachieving, is to remember its opposite. Because for a couple of months in the spring of 1982 — 30 years ago now, unbelievably — the Canucks overachieved beyond their wildest dreams. A team of grinders and journeymen and last-minute call-ups became the ultimate underdog story, somehow powering their way to the Stanley Cup final thanks to hard work, gritty team play, and a goaltender who chose the perfect moment to play the best hockey of his life.
Sure, there was some luck involved. But for a lunch-bucket team that had never won a single playoff series before, and that swept Vancouver...
NEW YORK — When Martin Brodeur was asked about Henrik Lundqvist he said he only saw his counterpart for about 10 minutes, because the rest of the time there were too many men in blue shirts in front of him.
It was only half a joke, really; the combination of Lundqvist and the men who will do anything to protect him was how the game was won. For two periods, the New Jersey Devils were the better team. After three, they had lost, 3-0, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.
"I think whoever was going to score first tonight was going to win," said Devils coach Pete DeBoer. "And they threw a point shot at the net that found a way through. We threw a lot of those at the net, too, and didn't get one through."
There were solid reasons for that — solid, padded, self-sacrificing reasons. It was a game played in a sort of moving stasis...
NEWARK, N.J. — Alexei Ponikarovsky scored on his own rebound with 2:39 left in overtime and the New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Patrik Elias, Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise also scored for the Devils, who killed off two penalties in overtime before Ponikarovsky came through with his first goal of the postseason on a backhander that sneaked past Ilya Bryzgalov on his left side.
“I didn’t have time to celebrate because everyone jumped on me right away, but I had a great time in the pile,” said Ponikarovsky, whose goal was set up by a wonderful pass from Kovalchuk that forged a 2-on-1 break into the zone.
Martin Brodeur made 25 saves for New Jersey, which will look to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series here Sunday.
Kovalchuk, who missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury, also had two assists in his return,...
Sergei Fedorov defected in Seattle during the 1990 Goodwill Games, and he used his first signing bonus to get a two-bed-room apartment and a Corvette, and it was still all very difficult. He was the second Soviet hockey player to leave; Alexander Mogilny was the first, in 1989 in Stockholm. They were following in the haunted foot-steps of violinists and ballerinas, playwrights and scientists, mathematicians and chess masters. Russia was a hard place to leave; North America was a hard place to be.
"[Russian players] come to this country and obviously, we took some - I want to put it so people understand it nicely - we took some, let's say, top positions in every team because of our talent, and coaches wants us to perform, and it's never been easy," Fedorov said in a 2009 interview. "We sacrificed a lot, and we certainly bent over back-wards to make it work. Especially early generation, we know we can-not come...
Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun
VANCOUVER — Barring some last-minute additions, the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks will only have two players participating in the upcoming world hockey championships.
Winger Alex Burrows joined Team Canada on Monday and skated in practice on a line with Corey Perry and Jamie Benn. Fellow winger Jannik Hansen will play for Denmark.
Several other Canucks who received invitations or feelers from their respective countries declined because of injuries or fatigue. That includes Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who turned down invitations to play for Sweden, and Ryan Kesler, who passed on playing for the United States because of a shoulder injury.
"I don't want to risk another concussion," Daniel Sedin said last week.
World championship rosters are always stacked with players from teams that missed the NHL playoffs, but it is unusual that the Canucks don't have more players at the worlds given their early post-season exit.
The Detroit Red Wings, who also went out in the first round, have eight...
NEW YORK — The New York Rangers are likely more relieved than ecstatic now that they have outlasted the pesky Ottawa Senators.
It wasn’t easy, and after a home loss in Game 5, it almost wasn’t likely. But the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded team gutted out a big road win and then made it count Thursday night when the Rangers held off the Senators 2-1 in Game 7 to advance to the second round.
“You don’t want to relax too much,” said forward Derek Stepan, who had three points in the Rangers’ Game 6 win and then helped set up the opening goal in the clincher. “We have a big round ahead of us and we have to make sure we stay focused and keep that emotion high.”
Defencemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi scored 4:18 apart in the second period, Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves and the Rangers eliminated the eighth-seeded Senators — completing a rally from a 3-2 hole after...
BOSTON —The Stanley Cup will be hoisted by a different team this season.
Joel Ward’s goal 2:57 into overtime gave Washington a 2-1 win over Boston in Game 7 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Mike Knuble blocked a Benoit Pouliot dump-in and brought the puck into the Boston end down the left wing. He crashed the net and got a backhand off that Tim Thomas stopped.
The puck, though, came back out and Ward was there to backhand the rebound in for the win and series victory.
Boston came into this series as the defending Cup champion and the second seed in the Eastern Conference after winning the Northeast Division, but were unable to advance in its quest to become the first repeat champs since the Red Wings won the Cup in 1997 and 1998.
Much of Washington’s success can be contributed to goaltender Braden Holtby, who made 31 saves on Wednesday to help the Capitals advance to the conference semifinals.
Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun columnist
VANCOUVER — We’ll know that Daniel and Henrik Sedin are the identical faces of the franchise when the Vancouver Canucks are known universally for their talent, professionalism, humility and candour. Until then, it’s Ryan Kesler’s team.
It’s not like Kesler doesn’t also possess those noble traits, especially since humility made a late charge to the front of the pack on Tuesday when the Canuck centre discussed his National Hockey League season gone wrong.
But just as Kesler is the Canucks’ catalyst — the straw that stirs the non-fat, soy chai latte — so is he the antagonist whose reputation largely colours the team’s reputation, too.
His impact on this organization, on the ice and off, is impossible to overstate. Exhibit A is the decline of the Canucks’ game when Kesler tried to play through injuries the last two playoff series, including the five-and-out loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the opening round of this Stanley Cup...
VANCOUVER — Mike Gillis thinks his team peaked about three months early.
In his season-end post-mortem today at Rogers Arena, the Vancouver Canucks general manager said he didn't think his team was ever the same after its emotional 4-3 win over the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on Jan. 7
"I really felt the game in Boston for some reason was such an emotional and challenging game, it was almost like playing a Stanley Cup final game in the middle of the season and from that point on I don't think our team ever really collectively got their emotions together," Gillis said.
"We had some injuries that disaffected us and we just didn't seem to play consistently as well from that point. There were certain points where our goaltending was so good it got us through. As a group I didn't think we executed as well or played as well from that point for the remainder of the season."