Friday, December 09, 2005

The Measuring Stick?

So, the best team in the NHL is in town tonight and the Canucks are finally back in action after a long layoff. Tonight's game is probably the most anticipated of the season and has been hyped ad nauseum by the Vancouver media.

Since their six game winning streak in late October, the Canucks have had a long run of inconsistency and, at times, mediocrity. Vancouver is 9-8-1 since that winning streak. One game above .500 over six weeks is simply not good enough for this hockey club.

There are several contributing factors to the inconsistency, but there is one recurring theme and that is a lack of work ethic. I hate to harp on this fact, but it's unavoidable. The Vancouver Canucks do not work hard enough.

Tonight they'll have to bring their work boots or it will be a very long night. The Ottawa Senators have been dominant, routinely embarrassing teams. They are a powerhouse and Vancouver will have to be at the top of their game, somewhere they have rarely been this season.

This is a big test for Vancouver. They need to play a 60 minute game and they need some goaltending out of Alex Auld. Tonight we find out how they measure up against the league's best.

  • Vancouver has been nearly perfect on home ice at 12-1, while the Senators are 9-2 on the road.
  • Markus Naslund and Henrik Sedin have both been nursing groin injuries, however both will be in the lineup tonight.
  • Unfortunately for the Senators they will be without Wade Redden who is still out with a knee injury, and of course they begin life without Martin Havlat who is out for the remainder of the season.
  • Rob McVicar will be backing up Alex Auld. McVicar is being re-called from Victoria
  • No other players will be re-called, so that means both Wade Brookbank and Lee Goren will be in the lineup.

TV: SNET 7:00

Notes from Nuckland (and Mooseland)

Time to catch up on a few things...

  • Jason King is on the road to recovery from his concussion problems. He is now participating in full contact practices and could join the Moose soon.
  • The Canucks have one less option from the farm as Josh Green is out for 6 weeks after injuring tendons in his hand. Tough break for Green and the Canucks as he was playing rather well, especially considering the amount of travel he's had to endure.
  • Rob McVicar was assigned to the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL, rather than the Manitoba Moose. This is a move to reduce the travel for McVicar while Cloutier is out. Victoria is not an affiliate of Vancouver, but there is strong speculation that Vancouver will change their ECHL affiliation (currently with Columbia) next season.
  • Newcomer Maxime Ouellet is 2-0 with a 2.61 GAA and .907 SvPct in 3 games with the Moose.
  • Jozef Balej had a good showing in his one game callup and now has 12 goals and 9 assists in 27 games for the Moose.
  • Sven Butenschon has been great for the Moose with 7 goals and 11 assists and a +10 rating in 24 games.
  • Tomas Mojzis has 8 points in 10 games since returning from his broken jaw.
  • Nathan Smith may be out for the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery.
  • According to Crawford, Matt Cooke could be ready to go next week.

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