Press Round-Up: MAR.14.08
Jason Botchford said that opposing defenders are playing the Sedin twins hard with the intention to knock them off the puck:
The two forwards who have carried the Canucks offence so much of the season were shut out again and that was the good news. The bad news is they looked as bad as they have all season doing it. They were stapled to the boards, knocked off their skates and were both on the ice for two Phoenix goals in a 2-0 loss to the Coyotes that does some Scud missile-like damage to Vancouver's playoff chances.
It was Henrik's giveaway 7:32 into the third which allowed the Coyotes to put the game away. Martin Hanzal picked the puck off Henrik at the point, slid down the half boards where he hit Daniel Winnik across the ice. Henrik couldn't pick up Winnik who beat Luongo.
The Sedins, Markus Naslund and Taylor Pyatt have now gone 11 games without a goal. But it is Sedins' production which will be the focus in the days to come. The twins are arguably the most important players on the Canucks. Vancouver is now 2-13-5 when they are held scoreless. Though they haven't score, they have played many strong games in the past few weeks. Thursday was was not one of them.
The Canucks had everything to gain Thursday, playing after losses by Nashville and Calgary.
They had everything to prove after a disheartening loss in Anaheim the night before, a game in which they were steamrolled.
They were playing one of the worst home teams in hockey. It was set-up to be their night. But instead of taking control of the game, and their post-season position, the Canucks looked worn out, overmatched and a little soft.
They were outshot in the first period 24-7 by a slow Coyotes team which barely registers "average" on the talent meter. More troubling, the Canucks were pushed around again. The Sedin twins were rubbed out and knocked down. The other Canuck forwards didn't fair much better, especially Alex Burrows who got some pay back in a first-period pounding at the hands Dan Carcillo.
Roberto Luongo, bouncing back from a troubling game in Anaheim, helped keep the Canucks in it during the first 20 minutes, although he only had to make a handful of difficult saves on the 24 shots.
He did make a key kick save with 15 seconds left in the first on a Keith Ballard cannon slap shot.
Luongo had no chance on the Coyotes first goal, a power play marker scored by Niko Kapanen. With Ryan Kesler, their bet penalty killer, in the box serving two minutes for an interference infraction, the Canucks couldn't contain the Coyotes. The Coyotes just missed on two scoring chances when Alex Edler blocked a Ballard slapper. The puck deflected to Kapanen who made a great wrist shot, hitting the top corner over Luongo's shoulder.
The goal soured a strong middle frame by the Canucks, who outshot the Coyotes 12-6. Markus Naslund had the best chance of the game when he had two whacks at the puck from the edge of the crease at 6:13 into the second.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault made some key lineup changes but they were ineffectual. Mason Raymond failed to re-ignite the Sedin twins, who are admittedly pressing in what is becoming their longest, most worrisome drought of the season.
The line was able to control the puck in spurts but couldn't generate any real scoring chances, especially on the power play where they failed to set up, and laboured just trying to move the puck.
Jason Botchford said Mattias Ohlund is gone for the rest of the regular season:
With Mattias Ohlund gone for the rest of the regular season and, almost certainly, for the start of the playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks are facing questions about why their top-four defenceman waited a week to have surgery after an MRI revealed he had bone chips in his left knee.
Ohlund underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee Thursday in Vancouver after leaving the Canucks, flying home from Los Angeles early in the morning.
The decision to have surgery was made Wednesday night because Ohlund's knee continued to swell, even becoming partially immobile, despite rest, treatment and anti-inflammatory drugs.
The Canucks waited a week after the MRI results because they felt there was a reasonable expectation Ohlund could ride the injury out until the off-season with a reduced schedule of playing every second or third day.
The hope was that treatment could get the swelling in the knee significantly down in the one or two days he had off between games. They hoped it would be enough to get him ready to play again.
But it quickly became apparent that wasn't going to work. The swelling didn't go down. It got worse.
"Mattias wasn't really complaining about the pain, it was that it was so swollen he couldn't bend it," Canucks general manager Dave Nonis said.
"It was affecting his play. ... We probably would have tried to ride it out, but the swelling wasn't going down."
The Canucks believe Ohlund can be ready to play in four weeks, which could have him back during the first round of the playoffs -- if the team makes the postseason.
TSN.ca said the NHL will not discipline Chris Pronger for his stomp on Ryan Kesler:
Anaheim Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger will not face any disciplinary action from the National Hockey League for stomping on Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler on Wednesday night.
The incident happened in the opening minute of the second period in Anaheim's zone after a dump in from the blue line by Canucks defenceman Sami Salo.
Kesler - one of two Canuck forwards who chased down the puck behind the goal line - collided with Pronger along the boards and fell, and the Ducks captain appeared to deliberately step on him. Kesler did not suffer any injuries from after the incident.
"He stomped on me," Kesler told reporters after the game. "He got me on the calf." It isn't the first time the former Norris and Hart Trophy winner has been involved in such incidents.
Pronger received a one-game suspension from the NHL last May for his hit on Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom in Game 3 of the Western Conference final, and was suspended for a game in June for hitting Ottawa's Dean McAmmond in the head with his forearm during the third period of the Senators' 5-3 win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.