Thursday, March 28, 2013

Honey Badger weaseling Canucks into the win column

Hansen most likely staring down a pot of honey.
With a pair of 1-0 shutout wins in the Canucks' past three games, buzz words like "the intangibles" and "workmanlike effort" have abounded.  To be fair, the Columbus Blue Jackets' 2.15 goals per game ranks last in the league.  The Los Angeles Kings, however, are seventh in that regard (2.88) and were held to just 20 shots on Saturday.  During that game, Jannik Hansen had an assist and two of the Canucks' 13 shots on goal.

It should come as no surprise then, that the Canucks' workmanlike prototype has been leading the way for the past month with 12 points in March.  The Danish winger of uniquely-pitched fame has enjoyed a much-publicized surge in production this year.  If you had been told in January that the third-line staple would be the Canucks' highest-scoring non-Sedin thirty-three games in, you might have imagined that Burrows, Raymond, Higgins, Edler and probably even Bieksa had all joined Kesler and Booth on the injured reseve.  But with 8 goals and 11 assists, Hansen sits third in team scoring at a pace that would see him approach 50 points over an 82-game season.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Jason Garrison and the Adrian Aucoin effect

I don't really do #TGATT all that often – neither following nor contributing.  But lo and behold, after following Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets online, it is possible to parlay seemingly innocuous twitter banter into a full-fledged article.  (Cheers, @kerbjack27.)  Who knew?

Ah, Adrian Aucoin.  As far as slapshots go, consider him the Canucks' antecedent to Sami Salo.  Aucoin, of course, set that record with a 23-goal anomaly in 1998–99, breaking Doug Halward's 16-year-old mark by four.  And yes, the all-time high still belongs to him.  Between Ed Jovanovski, Christian Ehrhoff, Alex Edler and the dearly-departed Salo, no Canucks defenceman has come within even five of Aucoin's mark since.¹  In fact, of the 23 markers, his 18 powerplay goals was a league-wide record until Sheldon Souray snapped it by one in 2006–07.²  It also remains the Canucks record by four.³  To put that into context, the closest total since was Salo's 9 man-advantage markers in 2005–06.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

The Canucks' February round-up [with top five plays of the month]

My, how a month can change.  The Canucks began February with a six-game winning streak (with one carried over from January), propelling them to nearly the top of the Western Conference.  Then they played Dallas on the 15th and the team went 2-4-2 to finish the month.  It's as if nobody got what they wanted for Valentine's Day and they spent the rest of February moping about it.

Meanwhile, Ryan Kesler's much-anticipated return was supposed to put Vancouver over the edge.  Dare we say Chicago territory?  But that hero's welcome was tempered in threefold.  First, his return seemed to have required the end of Malhotra's career (plug BTD video here).  And rather than bolstering the lineup, the Canucks turned into a .500 team with their number-two centre.  Finally, by the end of the month, he was back on the IR with a broken foot.  So it goes.

If after these past few games then, you need to go to a place where, like Howard Campbell's tombstone, everything was beautiful and nothing hurt, I've got just the thing.  The Canucks' top five plays of the month: