Monday Musings: Canucks still have work ahead of them | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMonday Musings: Canucks still have work ahead of them

Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 | 08:00 AM

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Jannik Hansen (36) of the Canucks is chased by Torey Krug (47) in a 6-2 victory over the Bruins at Rogers Arena on Dec. 14. (Derek Leung/Getty Images) Jannik Hansen (36) of the Canucks is chased by Torey Krug (47) in a 6-2 victory over the Bruins at Rogers Arena on Dec. 14. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

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This week's Monday musings take a look at the Vancouver Canucks big win over Boston, the Canadian junior team and all the latest suspensions.

Some Monday morning musings from the NHL and the rest of the hockey world to prepare you for the upcoming week:

  • The Vancouver Canucks will attempt to extend their win streak to eight games as they begin a three-game road trip in Minnesota on Tuesday, followed by stops in Dallas on Thursday and against Chicago on Friday.
  • A week after Jarome Iginla returned to Calgary for the first time as a member of the opposition, Iginla and the Boston Bruins will play host to his former team on Tuesday.
  • Original teams in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto will be in action on Thursday to commemorate the opening night on the NHL back in 1917.
  • Ottawa Senators centre Kyle Turris plays his old team, the Phoenix Coyotes, for only the second time since he was traded to Ottawa two years ago. 
  • In a prelude to the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, the Detroit Red Wings will visit Toronto to play the Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Victory city

The Canucks have taken some big strides this month under their new head coach John Tortorella. But they downplayed the latest addition to their seven-game win streak, a 6-2 victory over the Bruins at home on Saturday.

And they should have categorized it as nothing more than a solid win in mid-December and something that wasn't worth getting too excited about.

This was the Canucks second win against Boston since the Bruins beat Vancouver in the 2011 Stanley Cup final. In the next meeting between the two clubs, the Canucks beat Boston 4-3 on Jan. 7, 2012, but they not only haven't won a series in the post-season since, they have won only one playoff game in nine tries.

"What do you think?" Bieksa told reporters in a scrum after Saturday's win.

"You've been in this dressing room a lot. Is it any more exciting in here than usual?

"We won a big game. It's two points.

"Other than that, who cares? I'm not lying and I'm not telling you something you don't know.

"Like, who around here is high fiving and doing cartwheels? We won a game in December and we have a long road ahead of us."

Still, it will be fun when these teams meet again in Boston on Feb. 4. There always seems to be some intriguing shenanigans between the rivals.

On Saturday, Bruins superpest Brad Marchand admittedly allowed his emotions to get the best of him. He feigned hoisting the Stanley Cup as he skated by the Canucks bench and also mimicked that he was kissing his championship ring. He claimed that his actions were in reaction to an eye-gouging incident, thanks to Vancouver's Ryan Kesler.

Kesler's response was that Marchand lacked in the class department.

Golden dreams

Head coach Brent Sutter and the Canadian junior team departed Toronto on Sunday evening for a weeklong training camp in Copenhagen, Denmark. Sutter and his coaching staff still have to trim three players from their roster before the teams open the world junior championship against Germany on Boxing Day in Malmo, Sweden.

All 25 hopefuls from the four-day camp in Toronto travelled to Copenhagen because of injury concerns. Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Josh Morrissey, a native of Calgary who is a Winnipeg Jets prospect, has a groin injury. Junior star Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads is recovering from a concussion. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect hasn't played since Dec. 6 and was kept off the ice in Toronto.

Sutter is not likely to make any cuts until after Canada plays two of its first three exhibition games.

One interesting line combination for Sutter's squad on Saturday in an exhibition game against a Canadian university all-star team had 16-year-old stud Connor McDavid on a line with Kootenay Ice forward Sam Reinhart, 18, and speedy Canucks prospect Hunter Shinkaruk.

Monahan and Rielly

It doesn't appear that the Canadian junior team will receive any late help from the Flames and Maple Leafs in the form of centre Sean Monahan or defenceman Morgan Rielly, respectively.

Monahan returned to action on Saturday's 2-1 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres after missing seven games with a hairline fracture in his left foot. He played much better in Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss at New York and scored his 10th goal of the season against the Rangers.

After some time in the press box, Rielly has suited up for the Maple Leafs in last three games.

"My feeling on all of it is it would certainly be great if something happened and we ended up with one of those guys or both of them," Sutter said. "As far as myself is concerned, this is the group that we're going to be picking the 22 guys from."

Suspension update

After the dust settled on a busy 10-day period for NHL chief disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, let's take a minute to add up all the regular-season games lost and salary forfeited in suspensions levied this season.

The 2013-14 campaign will hit the halfway mark around Christmas and already there have been more games lost to suspension and salary forfeited than during the lockout-shortened season of a year ago.

Season     Players   Games    Salary Lost    Players Fined   Amount

  • 2011-12        57          204          $2,457,906          35             $87,500
  • 2012-13        24            64           $714,829            7              $49,376
  • 2013-14        23          101          $1,425,137           4              $14,474

Canadian Olympic goalies

Each week, we rank the top contenders for the three goalkeeper spots on the Canadian Olympic team based on their play to date.

1. Roberto Luongo (Vancouver) - He has reeled off five consecutive wins and has surrendered only six goals during this impressive five-game run. 

2. Josh Harding (Minnesota) - Among Canadian goalies with 15 or more starts, he has the best save percentage at .939 and lowest goals-against average at 1.49.

3. Carey Price (Montreal) - He dropped two in a row earlier last week, but recovered with a 21-save shutout on Long Island on Saturday.

4. Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh) - He bounced back with successive wins at home over the Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils last week to expand his season total to 18.

5. Corey Crawford (Chicago) - The Stanley Cup winner has missed four games with a lower-body injury and hasn't played since Dec. 8.

By the Numbers

18 - Consecutive games the Los Angeles Kings did not yield a first-period goal until the Chicago Blackhawks scored three times in a 3-1 win at home over the Kings on Sunday.

36 - Career shootout goals for Brad Boyes when he scored on Saturday to take over the all-time lead from Minnesota Wild veteran Zach Parise.

47 - Career shootout wins for Sabres goalie Ryan Miller when he beat the Senators 2-1 in a shootout last Tuesday to become the all-time leader, one more than Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers.

684 - Career NHL victories for Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville to tie Pat Quinn for fourth on the all-time list. The top three are: Scotty Bowman (1,244), Al Arbour (782) and Dick Irvin (692).

13-0-2 - Home record for the Anaheim Ducks after their 3-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers at the Honda Center on Sunday. Since the implementation of the shootout in 2005-06, this is the second best start at home after the San Jose Sharks opened with a 20-0-2 run in 2008-09 season.

Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC

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