Posts Tagged ‘Roberto Luongo’

Last season: 54-19-9 117 pts, 1st Northwest, 1st Western Conference

Additions: Niklas Jensen (1st round pick), Andrew Ebbett, Marco Sturm, Mark Mancari, Niclas Bergfors, Byron Bitz,

Losses: Christian Ehrhoff, Alexandre Bolduc, Jeff Tambellini, Lee Sweatt, Nathan Paetsch, Rick Rypien, Raffi Torres, Tanner Glass,

Offense: While as deep offensively as the Canucks are, they are going to get a bit of a challenge early on with injuries to Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond. Still though there are plenty of horses in this stable with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows, growing Jannik Hansen, and potentially a healthy dose of Cody Hodgson this season as well.

(more…)

Advertisements

After the regular season, we took it upon ourselves to vote for five major NHL awards (Hart, Vezina, Norris, Calder and Adams).  With the awards show tomorrow night, let’s take a quick look back on how we did voting wise and who the frontrunner for those awards are.

Hart Memorial Trophy
This year, the three finalists are: Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin and Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis. Our voting had Perry, Sedin and Tim Thomas. With no disrespect to St. Louis, this is a two horse race. Corey Perry had 50 goals and dominated down the stretch. Sedin scored a career-high 41 goals, and 104 points, winning the Art Ross. Both guys are deserving but there can only be one winner. This season Perry’s been the most valuable to his team and should pick up the Hart. However, Sedin should win the Ted Lindsay (Most Outstanding Player) award.

Vezina Trophy
The Canucks’ Roberto Luongo, Predators’ Pekka Rinne and Bruins’ Tim Thomas are the finalists for the Vezina trophy. All three made were our finalists also. Thomas should dominate the voting and easily pick up the hardware this year, which would be his second Vezina (2009).

James Norris Trophy
Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber are the 2010-11 finalists. Our voting was close, with those three defenseman along with Lubomir Visnovsky finishing as our top vote getters. (Yes, I know that is four, but we had a 3-way tie for 2nd). Even though he’s not as well known as his co-finalists, Weber had a fantastic season and should win his first NHL trophy.

Calder Memorial Trophy
This year, the Sharks’ Logan Couture, Islanders’ Michael Grabner and Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner are the NHL’s finalists. Once again, our top 3 voted finalists match the NHL’s. All three topped 30 goals and 50 points. Couture and Skinner will likely go 1-2 (in some order) but Couture is the pick here.

Jack Adams Award
The NHL’s finalist for the Adams Award are: Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma, Nashville’s Barry Trotz and Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault. Unfortunately, of those three only Bylsma made our finalists. The other two were Tampa’s Guy Boucher and New Jersey’s Jacques Lemaire. The frontrunner should be Bylsma, who almost won the Atlantic Division, despite his two best players (Crosby and Malkin) being injured.

Our voting produced 12 of the 15 NHL’s finalists. So who will win some of the other awards?

Ryan Kesler seems like the heavy favorite to unseat 3-time defending winner Pavel Datsyuk (a co-finalist) for the Selke Trophy. Datsyuk isn’t even going to Las Vegas for the awards show, and could be a sign of a new winner. The Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews is the other candidate.

The Lady Byng was another Datsyuk specialty, winning four times since the lockout. However, he was in a fight this season which prompted the internet to joke that he “blew his Byng chances.” Last year’s winner Martin St. Louis is in the running once again, along with Lidstrom and Dallas’ Loui Eriksson. St. Louis will probably win the award again this year.

The Masterton trophy is given to a player that shows perseverance and this year’s field has gone through a lot. Ray Emery (degenerative hip condition), Daymond Langkow (neck injury) and Ian Laperriere (brain injury) all are deserving, but this year’s winner has to be Emery. Thought to possibly have trouble walking in the future (let alone playing hockey), Emery rehabbed most of this season, and signed with the Ducks in February, playing in 16 games (including playoffs) for Anaheim.

One other award up for grabs is the Messier Leadership award. Chara, Lidstrom and Phoenix’s Shane Doan are this year’s finalists. The Coyotes battled relocation rumors all season and still managed to finish fifth. Doan’s been Phoenix’s captain since 2003. He was also Canada’s captain in the 2007 World Championships. He should be recognized for his leadership.

After tonight’s Vancouver’s Game 1 victory, thanks to Raffi Torres’ late goal, there are a few things we learned during the course of the game.

1. Daniel & Henrik are brothers

Over the course of the whole game, Doc Emrick may have mentioned that the Sedins were brothers about 479 times.  I can understand mentioning it a couple times, because there are new viewers, tuning into the playoffs for the first time.  But it seemed like everytime the two were on the ice together, or passing to each other, it was mentioned.  Reminded me of the old Slapshot quote from Ned Bradon to the Hansons, “are you guys brothers or something?”

2. Zdeno Chara is in the wrong spot on the Bruins PP

Not that I’m an NHL coach or anything, but one would have to think Chara would be more effective on the powerplay at the point with his booming shot.  Yeah, Chara can out-muscle and outreach any other player on the ice for a loose puck in front of the net, but wouldn’t you want a 106 MPH cannon on the blueline?  Just ask Ryan Callahan how that feels.

2a. Speaking of the Bruins PP….

The Bruins’ powerplay woes were well known coming into the series, going 5 for 61 (8.2%) heading into tonight, including an awful 1 for 26 (3.8%) on the road.  Their woes continued tonight, as the team went 0 for 6, making their overall playoff percentage 7.5. Yikes. The Bruins failed to score on an early four minute powerplay and a 1:32 two man advantage, and it cost them in the end.

3. The referees’ whistles work

Through the first two periods, the refs called 13 penalties for 28 minutes.  Thankfully they put the penalty whistles away in the third period.  Unfortunately they still had to blow them for offsides and icing, which seemed to happen every couple minutes during the game.  Hopefully Game 2’s flow is a bit better.

4. Patrice Bergeron tastes like chicken

At the end of first period, there was a scrum, in which Patrice Bergeron got mixed up with Alex Burrows.  Bergeron picked up a minor for roughing; Burrows a double minor for roughing and a quick snack.  Video appears to show Burrows biting Bergeron.  Burrows should probably be suspended, but do the importance of the Stanley Cup Finals cancel that?  I’d bet no, but regardless, Brendan Shanahan has his new job cut out for him.

5. Thomas & Luongo are good; really, really good

Everyone knew these two guys were two of the best goalies in the league, as shown by their Vezina nominations.  But their play in Game 1 was stellar.  People talked about nerves, as these guys are playing in their first Stanley Cup.  If either one is nervous, neither is showing it.  Both goaltenders made “wow” saves throughout the game to keep their team alive.  When Pierre McGuire said, “the goaltending has been magnificent”, he actually wasn’t exaggerating for once.  The two were the clearcut first and second stars of the game, combining for 69 saves on 70 shots.  If these guys keep playing this well, we might have a bunch of 1-0 games in our future.

In year’s past we have seen goaltenders steal the show in games of the Stanley Cup Finals, from names like Antti Niemi and Cam Ward, to Marc-Andre Fleury, and the many who have come before them, goaltending plays an important role when it comes to winning the Stanley Cup. This year, goaltending will be the key to winning the series, and that pressure lies on the backs of two men, Boston’s Tim Thomas, and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo.

This could be the closest cup finals we have seen in years (PHOTO: Nhl.com)

This year is a story of two similar teams, The Vancouver Canucks, and The Boston Bruins. Both teams put up similar point totals throughout the playoffs (Boston has 159, Vancouver has 140)  Both have similar goal totals (Boston with 58, Vancouver with 50) and both are close in total shots on goal (Boston with 573, Vancouver with 562) And they share the same number of blocked shots(262). The only real difference being the powerplay percentage (Vancouver at 16.7% and Boston at 11.4%). This shows just how important goaltending is going to be for both teams in this what should be a very close series.

Tim Thomas (PHOTO:AP)

For Tim Thomas, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing to get to the finals. He has let in multiple goals in 12 of 18 games this postseason, but has managed to make a playoff leading 560 saves along the way, as well as maintain a .930 save percentage and 2.29 goals against average. So this is by no stretch a bad playoff for Thomas, but there have been some goals, some by fault of defense, some by his own doing, that he would have liked to have had back. Thomas has stolen multiple games this playoff season (Game 5 Vs. Montreal, Game 2 Vs. Philadelphia, Game 2 Vs. Tampa Bay)

Against Vancouver, he will need to be on the top of his game, as he is looking at one of the most dangerous duos in hockey (Daniel and Henrik Sedin), as well as one of the hottest scoring centers and shotblockers in the playoffs (Ryan Kesler). He needs to not be as aggressive as he was last round against Tampa Bay, they lit him up when they got him moving out of the crease. And when Vancouver gets on the powerplay, Thomas will have to be their best penalty killer, bar none. If all of this comes together for Thomas, the biggest prize in hockey could be his.

Roberto Luongo looks to give the Canucks their first cup win. (PHOTO:AP)

For Roberto Luongo, the name of the game this playoff season has been consistency. Luongo has maintained a 2.99 goals against average and a .922 save percentage making 487 saves along the way. He, like Thomas, has had games he would like to forget, including the series vs. Chicago in which he was pulled 2 times after rough starts. But after that first round, he has caught fire making at least 20 saves in each game since, including brilliant performances in game 2 against Nashville (46 saves), and games 4 and 5 against San Jose ( 35, 56 saves).

Against Boston, Luongo will face shots from all angles, especially from snipers Nathan Horton and David Kreijci. Not to mention he will have to face Zdeno Chara’s bombs from the point, this is where one of his best assets, his shot blockers, will come in handy. Luongo needs to stay calm under pressure as Boston has a habit of bringing offense in waves, if he can ride out their offensive storms, he will give his team the best chances to win. He also needs to work on rebound control, multiple times he has lost the puck on simple shots he should have covered, and those have turned into scoring chances, and goals. If Luongo can do these two things, the Canucks will have the best chance to end their 41 year cupless drought.

(PHOTO: NHL.com)

We see in the ads “History will be made”. Every year, that sentiment rings true, but this season, the men in the pipes will be the ones who will hold the key to changing that history. Will the Bruins win their first cup in 39 years? Will the Vancouver Canucks win their first cup since coming into the league 41 years ago? The answer lies between the pipes.

As the NHL season comes to a close, we are going to vote on the NHL Awards, and four of us will pick one candidate each to “campaign” for. At the bottom, you will see balloting and the final results.

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers by Gabbi

This might seem like a homer-analysis to some and that’s fine. But from a statistical standpoint, Henrik Lundqvist was left out of the running for the top goaltender in the league. Yet again. Of course, this year, Tim Thomas is an essential lock for the trophy. So why not throw Lundqvist a bone and give him a nomination? In his 6 seasons as an NHL starter, he has been nominated in his first three seasons of play, and has never won. He’s currently the only goaltender in NHL history to have 30 or more wins in his first 6 seasons of play (he held the record for 5 and shared the record of 4 with Ron Hextall). This season, he was 36-27-5 with a 2.28 Goals Against Average and a .923 Save percentage. Comparatively, his GAA was 7th best in the league, his save % 8th, Wins 8th, and lead the league in shutouts with 11. (He was also #4 in the league with shootout wins.)  King Henrik should have been recognized for his efforts in New York as their team MVP and have been given a Vezina nomination.

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks by Joey

Though considered a bit of a long shot, Roberto Luongo should garner more of your thought, attention, and votes for the Vezina this season. Like the fine wine adage, he only gets better with age as he has set personal bests in goals against (2.11 GAA) and his best save percentage (.928) since joining Vancouver. Though there is a few standout netminders that have even better statistics, its more than simply a numbers game. As solid of defense as Vancouver has, it’s not like Luongo only faced 20 shots a night and had tea and crumpets in the goal crease most games. Quite often he more than kept his team in games providing his fair share of pavement on the Canucks road to the President’s Trophy. Don’t get fooled just by numbers. Strongly consider Roberto Luongo for the Vezina.

Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators by Realdeal

Rinne had a breakout year for Nashville, posting career highs in wins (33, 14th in the league), GAA (2.12, 3rd), Save Percentage (93.0%, 2nd).  He also posted six shutouts, good enough for sixth in the league.  On a team with a less than potent offense, Nashville relied on Rinne, and he rose to the challenge. He put the Predators on his shoulders and led them to fifth place in the West.   He faced the sixth most shots in the league (1771), more than the other two Vezina finalists. Put Rinne on a team with more offense support like his Vezina competitors and he surely increases his win total.

Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins by Cujo

Tim Thomas should get your vote and pretty much be a lock for the Vezina trophy. While the other goalies may have had great seasons, nobody could touch Tim. Setting the record for highest regular season save percentage with .938 , throw on top a league leading goals against average of 2.00 and 9 shutouts, and you have yourself prime Vezina material. Another note of interest, this was the second highest amount of saves he’s had to make in his NHL career in one season (1699, the MOST he’s faced was 1796 in 06-07).

Final Voting

(more…)

Revenge Is a Dish Best Served On Ice

Posted: October 16, 2010 by goaliesgetmorebetches in Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks
Tags: ,

 

Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo sobs after the Kings' Justin Williams scores.

Kings celebrate Justin Williams' 2nd period goal in the corner as Roberto Luongo sobs. (Image: Getty)

 

Back in April, the Vanouver Canucks ended the Kings’ hockey season by defeating them 4 games to 2 in their first round playoff series. Along the way, the Canucks and many of their fans became mortal enemies of the LA faithful. First their was the blatant disrespect handed down from Vancouver press toward the Kings. Second was Canucks’ fans whining about officiating and even going so far as to propose conspiracy theories about the NHL “not wanting a Canadian team to win” simply because off ice officials made a CORRECT call about a deliberate kicking motion. Then it was Alex Burrows’ dirty antics and Roberto Luongo flopping to the ice like he’d been shot with a 12 gauge every time a King forward got within two feet of him.

If I haven’t made it clear by now, I’m still bitter about that loss. A couple of bounces go the other way and the Kings win that series in 5 games. Even so, they gave the Canucks all they could handle and came up short in the end. I want revenge. The team wants revenge. If you’re a Kings’ fan reading this, I’d bet money you want revenge too.

The Kings have played two solid games against the Canucks this season, and have won both. Last Saturday’s season opener was a 2-1 shootout victory in which Anze Kopitar and Jack Johnson absolutely torched Luongo in the shootout and Jon Quick slammed the door on Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler. Quick was the first star of that contest.

Friday night in LA, the Kings again bettered Luongo. While LA managed only 19 shots against Luongo, they scored on four of them. Vancouver outshot the Kings 26-19. The low shot total was indicative of two quality defenses, the difference being the Kings got clutch goaltending from Quick while Luongo was less than stellar.

 

Jon Quick makes one of 25 saves against Vancouver (Image: AP)

 

Speaking of Quicker, he’s been the #1 star in all three of his starts this season. He’s currently 3-0-0 with a paltry 1.0 goals against average and a save percentage of .963. He looks more focused and refined, and his play has been nothing short of dynamite. Quicker came to camp 15 pounds lighter and in better shape. I don’t think you can understate the effect of Jonathan Bernier’s graduation to the NHL on Quick. When the two were teammates in Manchester 3 seasons ago, Quick rose to the occasion. This year, the same is happening early on. You could easily argue that Quick has been the best goalie in the entire National Hockey League during this first week of the season. I’d take him over Roberto Luongo right now, without thinking twice.

So, the Kings have earned no worse than a season split with the hated Canucks. I wonder if the Vancouver papers are still calling the Kings “lucky” and “inferior”?

The real opportunity for revenge, will come in April once the postseason starts. I expect both to be division winners, but we could see a Kings-Canucks matchup in round two. It’s a long ways off yet, but I wouldn’t bet against the Kings right now.

I have a feeling next time these two conduct a post-playoff series handshake, it won’t be the Kings heading home to play golf.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and what’s colder than serving it on ice?

GO KINGS!