NHL: Behind The Numbers – The Canucks’ Penalty Kill
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

Over the past several seasons the Canucks’ have relied on their polished, effective special teams units. Its been a key feature of this club’s DNA, and a critical reason they’ve managed to win back-to-back President’s Trophies. Just in terms of their conversion rates, they’ve been a top-ten power-play club for three seasons and a top-ten penalty killing club for the past two.

If you’ve been paying attention you already know that, through 19 games this season, Vancouver’s special teams effectiveness has atrophied in a major way. The […]


NHL: The Return of Booth and Kesler to the Canucks’ Roster
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

At beginning of this 2013 lockout shortened NHL campaign, the Canucks were short-handed due to a couple of injuries to their best two-way forwards Ryan Kesler and David Booth.

Now Ryan Kesler is a Selke winner well known for his defensive prowess, but few observers tend to think of David Booth as a two-way ace. But he is. Booth doesn’t kill penalties generally speaking, and isn’t a guy who often appears to be doing the hard work in his own end. Largely that’s because he doesn’t have […]


NHL: Friday Five For 22 February
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS 

In today’s instalment of the Friday Five, I take a look at Kevin Bieksa’s recent scoring exploits, why Lindy Ruff was a scapegoat in Buffalo, the best hockey movies of all time, and much more.

5. NEW SEASON, SAME RESULTS IN EDMONTON
Phoenix Coyotes at Edmonton Oilers (-120, 5)
2013 started with so much promise for the young Oilers. They were supposed to be one of the most exciting teams in the NHL. And things started really well – Nail Yakupov made an immediate impact with some […]


NHL: Canucks at Stars Preview
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars (+120, 5.5)

The Canucks head into Big D tonight looking for some revenge. The Stars, powered by a late third period tally from defenseman Brenden Dillon, surprised the Canucks for a 4-3 victory last Friday night at Rogers Arena. That game marked the first time in over three years (October 2009) that the Canucks lost a game in regulation at home after leading through two periods.

The Canucks are turning to Cory Schneider tonight, while the Stars will counter with Cristopher Nilstorp. […]


NHL: Quick Hits – Do Not Panic About The Canucks’ Defensive Issues
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

To say that Vancouver’s defensive play was “permissive” against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night is a massive under-statement. It was, quite easily, the worst defensive performance the club has put in during a single game over the past three years, and of course the mood in Canuckistan is grim as a direct result. But before you go making Jason Garrison – and his positive possession play against tough opposition – a healthy scratch in favour of Cam Barker, you should probably take a deep breath.

There’s […]


NHL: Five Teams That Fans Love To Hate
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

There are a lot of reasons to dislike an NHL team – it could be because the team is a close rival of your favourite team. It could be that team is a very successful franchise and beats up on your team with consistency. That team’s roster may feature a player or two (or three) that you dislike. Whatever the reason, we all love to hate certain NHL franchises for a number of reasons. Here are five of the most hated teams in hockey (and in a […]


NHL: Ryan Kesler Versus Regression
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

On Friday night, Ryan Kesler will return to the Canucks lineup against the Dallas Stars (Dallas Stars at Vancouver Canucks (-200, 5)). His return couldn’t have been timed any better, really. With Manny Malhotra exiting stage left due to the lingering impact of his eye injury, and Vancouver’s special teams sputtering mightily to begin the season a Kesler injection was pretty much exactly what the doctor ordered for the Canucks.

To the credit of the entire organization, the Canucks managed to do a lot more than merely […]


NHL: Friday Five for 15 February
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

In today’s instalment of the Friday Five, I take a look at the Ryan O’Reilly holdout in Colorado, Alexander Semin’s impact in Carolina, the return of Ryan Kesler, and more.

5. COLORADO MISSES RYAN O’REILLY
Colorado Avalanche at Edmonton Oilers (-162, 5)
It appears as if O’Reilly’s days as a member of the Colorado organization are over. The club and O’Reilly have been unable to close the gap in terms of expected salary – O’Reilly wants a contract with an annual cap hit in the […]


NHL: The Loss Of Manny Malhotra
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

The news broke at Canucks practice on Thursday that the Vancouver Canucks will be placed on injured reserve and is likely to miss the rest of the season. Which has since been confirmed by the Canucks, but the reasonings of it have not. But, it is widely assumed that the injury sidelining Malhotra now is related to the eye injury he suffered when he was struck by the puck in the Spring of 2011.

Malhotra’s on-ice effectiveness had diminished since his return from that fearful, freak accident; […]


NHL: The Goalie Tandem Is Saving The Canucks
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

Vancouver’s goaltending has helped the club overcome woeful special teams so far.

Through twelve games this season, the Vancouver Canucks have posted an impressive 8-2-2 record and a solid +10 goal differential despite relatively weak special teams and injuries to two of their top-six forwards in David Booth and Ryan Kesler. They’ve managed this feat thanks to a correlation of factors, however, mostly the club can thank their All-Universe goalie tandem of Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo for their lofty perch atop the moribund Northwest Division (Vancouver […]