Jets At Canucks Preview: Chillin' And Coolin'

Santa? Is that you? - USA TODAY Sports
Time Sunday, 5:00 PST
TV Sportsnet Pacific
Season Series -
Last Meeting
3-2 Canucks, Mar. 8/12
The Enemy Arctic Ice Hockey Scoring Leaders D. Sedin: 12-21-33
Little: 14-17-31
JETS
CATEGORY
CANUCKS
16-16-5 SEASON RECORD 21-11-6
37 POINTS 48
11th CONFERENCE POSITION 7th
Won 1
STREAK Won 1
4-5-1 LAST 10 8-1-1
8-8-1 ROAD RECORD / HOME RECORD 10-5-3
2.57 (18)
GOALS PER GAME AVERAGE 2.68 (12)
2.81 (19) GOALS AGAINST PER GAME AVERAGE 2.32 (8)
0.94 (17) 5 ON 5 GF / GA 1.09 (12)
14.4 (25) POWER PLAY % 14.9 (24)
83.3 (13) PENALTY KILL % 90.2 (1)
46.3 (28) FACEOFF WINS % 51.1 (13)
968 (6) HITS
740 (23)
561 (10) BLOCKED SHOTS 569 (8)
148 (26) MINOR PENALTIES TAKEN 137 (16)
NHL.COM

After a 1-1-1 road trip that ended in a thrilling 8-round shootout defeat of the Blackhawks, the Canucks are home to face the Winnipeg Jets before getting a week off for Christmas Break. The Canucks have not played Winnipeg since March of 2012. I don't even recall that game. Let's check it out:

The Ryan Kesler show it seems. Kyle Wellwood as a Jet bags one against his former team, Sammy Pahlsson scores the winner....ok that was quite a while ago. Jets captain Andrew Ladd was a -3 that night. Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien...there are 2 of the much-hated clowns that used to play for the Blackhawks when they used to kick our ass in the playoffs.  Kesler and Ladd had a heated feud going on back then:

And the KesLord made Ladd answer for that hit:

OK, not really. But you gotta love Kesler's heart, hey?

Dustin Byfuglien needs no intro:

Which inspired golden Luongo poetry:

There were no real incidences with those 2 pukes and the Canucks in March '12. Time had passed I guess. It's just awfully bitter and sweet remembering the days of yore. Ladd and Byfuglien were 2 spark plugs in the Canucks-Hawks rivalry.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

Winnipeg is sitting in 11th spot in the Western Conference, 8 points out of a playoff spot. They are a long shot to make the dance and seemingly always are. The Jets' 5-2 beating of Florida on Friday night was their first win at home in a month. They are 4-4-1 in December. However they are 5-3-0 in their last 8 road games, so they are not to be taken lightly at all.

TOP 5 JETS SCORERS

1. Bryan Little: 14-17-31. Scoring at the same pace as the Sedins. Which doesn't say much about the Sedins.

2. Dustin Byfuglien: 6-20-26. Hate the bastard, but he puts up points.

3. Blake Wheeler: 12-14-26

4. Andrew Ladd: 8-16-24

5. Olli Jokinen: 8-14-22. You guys took a chance on Jokinen? You deserve this wretched fate!

PROJECTED JETS ROSTER

Ladd - Little - Wheeler

Kane - Scheifele - Frolik

Thorburn - Jokinen - Setoguchi

Tangradi - Eric O'Dell - James Wright

Enstrom - Bogosian

Pardy - Byfuglien

Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Pavelec

Just a cruel opinion: I see solid goaltending in Winterpeg, a few good draft pics from the Atlanta days, and also a bunch of scrap and mid-bottom 6 forwards on a good NHL team.

NOEL, NOEL

Arctic Ice Hockey's thoughts on Jets coach Claude Noel from prior to the win over the Panthers:

Noel oversees a team that is 15-16-5 on the season, having just lost to the Sabres. The team sits in last place in the Central Division, well out of a playoff spot. They have allowed the 6th most goals in the NHL thus far, as porous defence and inconsistent goaltending have been compounded by special teams that fail to get the job done. In parts of 3 seasons with the Jets and an interim gig with the Blue Jackets, Noel's NHL career coaching record is 86-80-24, good enough for zero playoff appearances. Fans and media types alike have been getting restless with the lack of results, and the calls for Noel's firing grow louder every time they lose to a team like Buffalo.

More on that here.

Personally, I think you should fire your GM as well.

Zach Bogosian on how to play the Canucks:

"We have to be physical against them," Bogosian said after practice Saturday. "There’s a lot of skilled guys that can make some plays if you give them some time. I think any time you can eliminate their time and space, and make sure that they can’t make those tic-tac-toe plays that they’re capable of, that’d be a good thing... for us."

That from the Winnipeg Free Press.

CANUCKS MISC

SANTA

Mike Santorelli could not keep a full-time gig in Florida. Winnipeg claimed him off waivers on April 2, 2013. But Santa struggled to put up points and only had 1 assist in 10 games with the Jets to end the season. He became an unrestricted free agent and was signed by the Canucks last summer. He has 8 goals and 18 assists in 38 games with the Canucks this season and is headed for a career year if he keeps this up. So expect Santorelli to really bring it in this one.

SUCK IT

What a win over Chicago to salvage that 3-game road trip. The Canucks have shown a lot of resolve from many bad situations. I like the character of this team under John Tortorella.

I don't recall where I read it, but some people wanted Dan Hamhuis off the top power play unit. Oh right, it was on the HF Boards. But now I just found a piece by "Gollum Gollum!" Tony Gallagher after the loss to the Stars:

Patience in a coach is usually a very good trait but with John Tortorella, at times, you really wonder when patience crosses over into being downright stubborn and goofy. Seriously, how long can you watch Dan Hamhuis playing as much and as poorly as he has on the first power play unit this year? At what point do you try something else, something that might have a chance to work,  like Yannick Weber out there on the first unit while Hamhuis can catch a rest. Instead, the coaches watch the same alignment try to do the same thing over and over again with the same results most of the season. Seriously, Hamhuis had so many attempts on the Dallas goal Thursday night you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he couldn’t move his arms this morning. Shot after shot he throws at the net but, this season at least, he seems to have no knack for shooting when there is at least a screen in front of the goalie or a teammate there with an opportunity to make a deflection. He just keeps wailing away as he has all season with the same lack of success, while Tortorella and Glen Gulutzan sit patiently and wait for something to change. The fellow has just one power play point, an assist,  having spent almost the entire season on the first power play unit. Yet despite having Weber dressed, these guys simply won’t use him other than the closing few seconds he got at the end of the second period when Hamhuis had just finished a shift. You can call it patience if you like, but repeating the same behaviour over and over again and expecting a different result has quite another connotation in other lines of work.

LINKY

Lovely. Does Gallagher go to scrums post game? I would love to see Torts rag doll this old grinch in an Xmas street fight.

I understand Gallagher's thoughts on it, because I have often felt the same way about Hamhuis on the PP. But there is another part of me that thinks exactly what John Tortorella sees in Hamhuis:

"I think he settles us down. Even with the power play, he doesn't have the big shot, he doesn't have a lot of power play points, but he settles our power play down. That's what he brings, he is cerebral and he just brings is that type of attitude."

I think Torts is right too. But the Canucks need results. If their penalty kill was not tops in the NHL the power play futility would be very-much in focus.

Speaking of Hamhuis, check out this Canucks.com vid about him choosing to play here and now being a mentor:

Is that great or what? I wish all of you could meet him. He is so down-to-earth and composed and friendly. A very cool dude.

SCORE-PREDICTING WIZARDS UPDATE

Some movement over the past few games. Twitchy 2010 got 2 points over 2 games and the top spot is very crowded right now:

FormerHab: 12

gmonk33: 12

marcness52: 12

Passive Voice: 12

Zanstorm: 12

Geordie Nuck: 11

Nathaniel Perlow: 11

Bobby Canuck: 10

Tengeresz: 10

Twitchy2010: 10

Coach Ryan: 9

nucksandpucks: 9

Azzy Mahmood: 7

itsahardknocklife: 7

jwolf0: 6

Nose_Face: 6

vancitydan: 6

Nathan k: 5

westy99: 5

seedvt: 4

Tim Burke: 4

AK_nuk: 3

BigPDog: 2

Brock: 2

canuck89: 2

ChuckinNux: 2

John Carroll: 2

kiwinuck: 2

prairienucker: 2

Smoboy41: 2

Vancouverguy: 2

CombattlerV: 1

hookedoncanuck: 1

Kent Basky: 1

Puckhead1: 1

thesporteditor: 1

MOAR VIDEO

For all you kids out there, One of the biggest hits in NHL history happened in a Canucks-Jets game:

That massive hit of course started a war that started like this:

...and is very well-documented here.

The title of this game preview post has been brought to you by Run-DMC:

FUCK YOU, YouTube. I knew you would jack your ads content/longevity on videos at some point. But I didn't think you would do it a Christmas. FUCK YOU.

GO CANUCKS GO!

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