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Canucks vs Blackhawks, Sunday at 6:30PM - Tickets available

Press Round-Up May.01.2007

Tuesday, 01.05.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
Vancouver Canucks
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Press Round-Up May.01.2007
Courtesy of Daniel Fung

THE SUN REPORTS

Twins need to power to net

The twins brought this pressure on themselves by having a fantastic regular season, now they have to answer to the call, especially when it comes to the power play. Both openly admit they relish the pressure and they want to be the ones to make the difference, but as Cam Cole wonders, is it a matter of will not matching up to skill?

"When the No.1 deficiency on the power play is a failure to get bodies in front of the net - a matter that is more about punishment than it is about skill - you wonder whether the twins' give-and-go preoccupation, often to the exclusion of the third man on the line, is an asset or liability," writes Cole. "You wonder why it is only Trevor Linden and Taylor Pyatt, neither overburdened with offensive panache, who seem to want to mix it up in the hurly-burly in front of Jean-Sebastien Giguere."

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault knows is well-aware that in the playoffs, the types of goals that are going to be scored won't often be the ones to make the highlight-reels and in order for his team to score, they're going to be willing to pay the price in front of the net.

"Our best players are getting those minutes on the power play and they need to find a way to go to those tougher areas," head coach Alain Vigneault said, rather pointedly. "That's how you score the goals, you don't see a lot of bang-bang, tic-tac-toe plays in the playoffs. You see guys go to the net, take a couple of whacks and cross-checks and find a way to put in the first or second or third rebound. Our players on the power play need to do that for us."

Canucks need to abuse Anaheim's top two D-men

So far in this series, neither Chris Pronger nor Scott Niedermayer have looked like the perennial all-world superstars they usually are. After three games, Pronger has been beaten a handful of times by Canuck forwards while Niedermayer is among the Ducks' leaders in giveaways, writes Iain MacIntyre. And with the Ducks' tending to rely heavily on their top-four defencemen, making life miserable on Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger could go a long way in this series, particularly if it becomes a long one.

"We're trying to make it as tough as we can on them,' Canuck grinder Josh Green said. "We have to get pucks behind them and make them go get it, make them make plays. And we can't pass up an opportunity to get a lick in.

"They are prone to make mistakes; everyone makes them. We have to capitalize on those chances when they do make a mistake because it doesn't happen very often."

Taste of own medicine

The Vancouver Canucks plan to take a page out of the Anaheim Ducks' playbook: Get traffic in front of Giguere and get the puck to the net. Sounds simple enough, but it's something that Canucks admit they haven't been doing enough, writes Brad Ziemer.

"Any good goaltender, they don't like having a lot of traffic in front of the net," said Vancouver defenceman Mattias Ohlund. "It makes it a lot tougher for them to make the stops. I think the key for us is to get more people in front of [the] net and create traffic and score off a few rebounds. It doesn't have to be complicated. Usually the best power play takes a lot of those shots and has people in front of the net."

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault also admitted he was considering the possibility of tinkering with the personnel on the power play although it wouldn't be an easy decision either way.

"We have been very patient with this group, the personnel that we are using," Vigneault said. "We are at a point right now where, do we stick with patience and hope that guys can do what they did in Game 7 [against Dallas] and the power play makes the difference, or do we change it up and tinker with it a little bit. There's only so many things you can do. There's not 300 options here. We'll have to wait and see what we decide [Tuesday]."

Canucks on the Street

The Score's Cabral Richards, better known as Cabbie on the Street, made an appearance in the Canucks locker room on Monday. Among the topics discussed, included probing Henrik Sedin on whether or not he had ever issued a rallying cry to the troops in between periods.

"It's usually a one-word speech," replied Hank.

"What's the one word, then?" countered Cabbie.

"Well, actually it's two words," said Hank. "Let's go!"

THE PROVINCE REPORTS

Lack of experience doesn't phase Canucks

Forget the fact that Roberto Luongo is only in his first NHL playoffs. Forget the fact that guys like Krajicek, Cowan, Hansen, Burrows, and Bieksa had played a combined 0 playoff games entering this season. Forget that Niedermayer has 170 career playoff games and three Cups, that Pronger has 117 playoff games experience, or J.S. Giguere is a former Conn Smythe winner. None of that matters anymore because as we've seen so far after three games in the series, aside from the difference in power play, there is not much separating these two teams.

"The Canucks have not collapsed under the pressure of the moment," writes Ed Willes. "They have not succumbed to the Ducks' vast stores of experience, nor do they seem intimidated by the pedigree of the Ducks' best players."

Despite showing no fear, the Canucks still find themselves down 2-1 in the series and, it's hard to imagine where they would be if they had a hard time coping with the situation. The Canucks however, are still confident and still believe they can come out on top of this series.

"In the past we were a team, well, I don't want to talk about the past," said Brendan Morrison. "This is completely different. Guys are comfortable. There's never been a sense of panic. Guys believe in what we're doing and believe we still have a chance to win this."

THE LA TIMES REPORTS

Special teams fueling Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks have only lost two games so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the biggest reason may be their dominant special teams, writes Eric Stephens.

The Ducks have nine power plays goals, tied for first in the playoffs, and lead all teams with a 93.6% success rate on the PK.

Their penalty killing has been the most impressive, considering they have killed 44 of 47 in the post-season, including seven of eight in Game 3, two of those coming while two-men short. Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle pinned much of that success on his number one netminder, J.S. Giguere.

"Our goalie has given us an opportunity to stave off some real grim situations by not giving up that juicy rebound or not giving up that extra second and third whack at it," said Carlyle.

Roberto keeps mum on crease crashers

While might has been made of the continued efforts of the Anaheim Ducks getting in the face of Roberto Luongo, Louie' insists he's not going to make it into a big issue, reports Eric Stephens.

"I've talked about it enough since the beginning of the playoffs," Luongo said. "I don't want to start any controversies because [the media] kind of stirred up some stuff in the first round, and that's not my intention.

"I just want to play hockey and do my job. You guys see the game like everybody else sees it and if you think there's injustices there, then you should write about it. But for me, that stuff is part of the game, and it's obvious they're going to try to do that. That's all I've really got to say about it."

Neidermayers on Tonight

The Canucks versus Ducks series won't be featured on NBC in the U.S., but that won't stop the two Niedermayer brothers from making a cameo appearance on the U.S. network, reports Eric Stephens. Instead of appearing on the NHL on NBC however, the two Ducks will be appearing on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Wednesday. The two taped a sketched with comedian Harland Williams back in March.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER REPORTS

Winning Cup could spell end for Giguere

The Anaheim Ducks have a dilemma, one that could particularly costly should they be unable to win the Cup this season, writes Mark Whicker. With the likes of Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, backstopped by J.S. Giguere, the Ducks are in prime position to win the Cup. With Giguere set to become a free agent at the end of this season, likely to earn a raise from the reported $3.99 million, it seems unlikely the Ducks would have room to fit him under the cap given the raise he is sure to command, but if they don't win the Cup this year, they may be forced to bring him back no matter what.

"Giguere was voted the No. 4 goalie in the league, behind Luongo, Martin Brodeur and Miikka Kiprusoff. That puts him ahead of Dallas' Marty Turco...[a]nd Turco averages $5.7 million a year for four years," writes Whicker. "That money won't happen for Giguere in Anaheim, not with Niedermayer and Pronger making a combined $13 million. But if the Ducks win the Cup, Giguere could command more...[i]n which case the Ducks could present Giguere with a laurel and a heart handshake and send him on his way while they burnish the Cup.

"If the Ducks don't win the Cup? That's very different. They will need a goalie of Giguere's quality to make sure '08 is the year they get it right. Ilya Bryzgalov, 3-1 against Minnesota and 9-5 in playoffs, might become that guy. But this isn't a "might" proposition. You don't buy thoroughbreds like Niedermayer and Pronger and leave the barn door open."