Archive for December, 2011
Booth collided with Avs defenceman Kevin Porter half way through the first and went down violently. He had to be helped off the ice and did not return. He is scheduled for an MRI tomorrow.
Early in the second period Luongo took a puck off the throat and went down causing a smile on Cory Schneider’s face. Luongo would miss the rest of the game but did sit on the bench for the third period. The injury is reported to be minor and he is expected to start versus Montreal in the Canucks next game.
Schneider made a couple big saves early, allowing the Canucks to maintain their lead. JanHan and Bieksa executed a give and go to perfection in the slot with JanHan driving home his 8th goal of the season giving the Canucks a 2 goal lead.
It was all Canucks in the third as Daniel scored 2 more to complete the hattrick and JanHan tied his career season high with his 9th goal of the year. Schneider completed the shutout as the Canucks cruised to a 6-0 win in Rogers Arena.
The Chicago Blackhawks were one of the worst NHL teams for nearly a decade. This poorly run franchise did just about everything wrong on and off the ice and lost a once rabid fan base. But if a team is going to be bad long enough, it’ll eventually earn enough top draft picks to build a solid core of young players upon which to build a contender. The Hawks built this core just as the owner of the team passed away, allowing new management to establish a new business model where they could capitalize on the strengthening product on the ice.
Two years later they were Stanley Cup champions. But the following summer the team was met with overwhelming salary cap issues. A lot of those younger players contracts expired at the same time and when you’re on a team that has just won the Cup, you’re going to want a raise.
This forced management to fire the GM, Dale Tallon, and expert at evaluating talent but sub par at negotiating contracts. They brought in Stan Bowman to fix the salary cap issues. He did so by trading away 13 players from his Stanley Cup roster and focussed on rebuilding the team around Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharpe, Marion Hossa, Brian Campbell, and Dave Bolland, as good as any core in the NHL. They brought some young rookies into the lineup, including goaltender Corey Crawford, who has played liked a 10 year veteran. They relied on young talent and the young talent responded.
The main reason they’ve been able to maintain this success is because of the man behind the bench. Joel Quenneville is a master at developing young players and putting them in a position to succeed. He builds their confidence and makes sure they know that they can compete on a daily basis in the NHL. And they’ve responded. It’s refreshing to see a coach have so much confidence in players who are just learning the game. And as long as that core stays intact and Quenneville continues to do his magic, the Blackhawks will continue to contend for the Stanley Cup.
The Leafs beat the New York Rangers 4-2 tonight, ending their fathers/sons road trip with a 1 – 1 record. They played a solid game against the Rangetrs who are one of the suprise teams in this early NHL season, sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
Recent Leafs acquisitions Tim Connolly, Cody Franson, and Joffrey Lupul scored for the Leafs while David Steckel added an empty netter. Franson has had a frustrating start to the season spending a lot of time in the press box, but with a few injuries on the back-end, he has now been given an opportunity and has played well.
This is one of the key differences this year for the Leafs. They have NHL caliber players sitting in the press box where as the last few years they had AHL calibre players playing significant NHL minutes.
On Saturday Ron Wilson told the media that Gustavsson would be playing that night against the Bruins, but at game time James Reimer got the start, causing a bit of a radio, twitter, media rift. Burke threw his 2 cents in defending his coach to what is essentially a non issue. So when Ron Wilson said that Gustavsson would be starting today, it was a surprise to the Toronto media when Gustavsson actually got the start. The Monster had a solid game and came up with 30 saves.
The Leafs will try and build off this win when they suit up versus the New Jersey Devils tomorrow night at the ACC.
It took the NHL board of govenors an hour to discuss and approve league re-alignment where there will be four conferences and no divisions. As posted yesterday, here’s what the new Conferences will look like:
Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, San Jose, Los Angelas, Anaheim, Colorado, Phoenix
Winnipeg, Nashville, Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, Dallas, St. Louis
Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Buffalo, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Florida
New York Islander, New York Ranger, New Jersey, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, Washington, Carolina
Teams will play a heavily weighted schedule within their own conference and then have home and away games against the rest of the teams in the league.
For the Canucks this means playing a lot more games in their own time zone as they will face LA, Anaheim, and San Jose up to 7 games a season. This year, the Canucks will only play 6 road games in their own time zone, the toughest road schedule in the NHL.