|THE GLOBE & MAIL
|Break on the Road
Published: October 20, 2007
Grant Kerr points out the Canuck loss last Friday at home against the L.A. Kings, breaking the King’s on-the-road losing streak.
“The Los Angeles Kings finally found someone they could handle on the road, defeating the Vancouver Canucks, a team badly in need of a getaway from home,” said Kerr.
“The Kings scored three times in the second period in a spirited comeback highlighted by Mike Cammalleri's eighth goal in nine games for 4-2 victory last night. Los Angeles lost its first three away games of the regular season before finding a patsy in the Canucks, losers of four of five home games.”
"We need to get some wins on the board and put ourselves into more of a race," Kings head coach Marc Crawford said before the game. "It's early in the season, but it's important to keep things close and get some points."
“The Canucks got the only goal of the opening period, when Matt Cooke converted a rebound at 12 minutes 19 seconds after tenacious fore-checking by Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows. A week ago, Cooke was a healthy scratch for the first time since his rookie season nine years ago,” Kerr said.
“Defensive-zone coverage has been a problem for the Canucks early in the season, and remains a problem for a team that prided itself in defence last season when it finished first in the Northwest Division.”
|Time to Rest
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2007
Jason Botchford comments on Roberto Luongo’s need to take a break from the ice and Canucks defensemen.
“According to the Canucks, not starting Roberto Luongo today against Columbus was all part of a long-term plan and not a proactive move to nip a budding case of Post Tap-in Stress Disorder,” Botchford said.
“Even so, the scheduled mental break from anchoring the Canucks disaster-prone defence seems just in time.”
“Luongo has had an uneven start to the season, similar to last year's, leaving him with some unflattering statistics,” said Botchford. “Luongo's 3.15 goals-against average and .890 save percentage are reminiscent of his November to forget in 2006, when he struggled while tinkering with his stance and other parts of his game (he was 5-7 with a 2.72 GAA and an .895 save percentage).”
Botchford said, “It's not that Luongo has played poorly. He hasn't. It's that he hasn't often enough been the spectacular, all-world, game-changing force the Canucks need him to be to win right now.”
"Our last four games we've been under 13 scoring chances against," Vigneault revealed Saturday, throwing some support behind his maligned defence. "We gave up 11 Friday and four of those became goals. Some of those are bang-bang plays. Sometimes goalies can make those saves. If they don't, it's not a bad goal.”
"It seems right now, we're not capable of getting that timely save or that timely goal."
|Two Points in the Standings
Published: Monday, October 22, 2007
Jason Botchford assesses the Canucks' unlikely win in Columbus Sunday night, that saw Vancouver without a shot for 31 minutes.
Botchford said, “They won without Roberto Luongo. They won even after giving up 10 power plays. And they won even though they went more than half the game without registering a shot on net, a vanishing act that instantly becomes this year's new benchmark for in-game lapses.”
"We should have won the game [Friday], but I don't think we should have won this game with the way we played," Ryan Kesler said, understating things. "It's a funny game that way. They didn't capitalize on some of their opportunities in the second and we capitalized on our few."
“People had to check the scoreboard twice, maybe three times, when the game ended. It read 4-1 Canucks. You can look it up. But it was grisly to watch, ugly as a pug. But, for the Canucks, just as lovable,” said Botchford.
"If you want it put in the [ugly file] that's fine, but it goes in the win category," said Kevin Bieksa, who had a strong rebound game, playing physically and scoring a goal. "We're happy with the two points."
Botchford said, “It started to go sour for the Canucks after a strong start. Bieksa's goal put them up 2-0 just 13:17 into the game. But it proved to be the last shot the Canucks would register for an astonishing 30:52 of game time.”
"It was frustrating in the sense you take six penalties [in the second] and that's 10 minutes with someone in the box," Vigneault said. "Sometimes, you need to fight through that stuff and you need some saves. And we got some saves, and because we got those saves we were able to get our game back in the third."
|THE VANCOUVER SUN
|Sanford steals the show
Published: Monday, October 22, 2007
Brad Ziemer writes about Cutis Sanford’s success in the net on Sunday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets stopping 35 shots, allowing only 1 goal.
Ziemer said, “No one had to remind Curtis Sanford just how important Sunday's game was to him. First impressions count. He knew that.”
"I looked at this game as the most important game of my hockey career so far, that's how important it was to me," Sanford said after backstopping the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"Curtis is a real hard worker and for him to play the way he did in front of his teammates is real good for him and real good for our team," said Canuck coach Alain Vigneault. "He started off making a couple of big saves that sort of gave him confidence and then from there he just did what he had to do and did a real good job."
“The Canucks were lucky to have Sanford. He didn't have to make any really spectacular saves, but did make several very good ones. Especially in the second period, when Columbus outshot Vancouver 14-0,” Ziemer said.
"It was a barrage out there, that's for sure, but that's what happens when you kill penalties for the whole period, I guess," Sanford said of his busy second period. "Just to calm their storm and come in after that and get a breather and regroup and get focused for the third was probably the best thing that happened to us tonight."
"We talked about it before the game, everybody in here wanted to get him the win, especially in his first start," said Canuck defenceman Kevin Bieksa. "He works hard in practice and deserves our best effort when he's in there."
|Kesler gets back to his basics
Published: Monday, October 22, 2007
Jason Botchford said that Ryan Kesler was at his best playing against the Columbus Blue Jackets last Sunday.
“It was the best Alain Vigneault has ever seen Ryan Kesler play. It just may have been the best game of his career with the Vancouver Canucks,” said Botchford. “He hit, he scored -- two goals -- he killed penalties and he played 22:10. He started everything with the Canucks' first goal and then he ended it with their fourth.”
"He was great," Markus Naslund said. "He wanted the puck ... I think he got us going, him and his line. It's great to see Ryan controlling the puck like that and using his speed, taking it to the net and making things happen. I'm happy for him."
"I started to focus on what I'm good at -- speed and getting in on the forecheck and being hard to play against," Kesler said. "I got away from that in the first couple of games. When I'm skating and playing hard, that's when my playmaking and everything comes together.”
"That line [Kesler, Matt Cooke, Alex Burrows] tonight was by far our best line," Vigneault said. "All three of them played a solid game. They did a great job killing penalties. They were very productive."