Despite Saturday's disappointing loss to the Buffalo Sabres — who have miraculously clawed their way to within 2 points of a playoff birth after being all but eliminated a couple weeks ago — it would be hard to imagine a more positive start to Zack Kassian's career as a Canuck. He's been a physical presence, shown he can contribute anywhere from the 4th line to the 2nd, earned the praise of his new coach and already has his first goal. While some of Vancouver's other forwards have fallen into their worst slump in a couple seasons, Kassian has produced. The trick for Alain Vigneault and the Canucks will be finding the right line for the new guys and getting everyone clicking before the real games start next month.
Here are your links, images, bad Photoshops, out-of-context quotes and wild generalities for Monday, March 5, 2012.
Vancouver Canucks News & Notes
Since Saturday marked Cody Hodgson's return to Vancouver so soon after being dealt, Twitter was bound to be abuzz. [CHB]
Three quick notes from the loss to the Sabres. [HTTN]
Zack Kassian is such a beast even The Rock is intimidated. [Legion of Blog]
Roberto Luongo couldn't rescue the team from a slow start on Saturday, but he took full ownership of the loss afterwards. [The Province]
Kevin Bieksa was on After Hours on Saturday night and did a masterful job of subtly making fun of Scott Oake:
One highlight of the interview was Bieksa believing that Jan Bulis was behind the "Twitter Needs Juice" campaign on Pass it to Bulis. What would give him that idea? [PITB]
Oh, and since there's been so much Kevin Weekes bashing, I'm just going to say it: I liked his suit. It was a lot better than Eric Francis' Nucky Thompson impression last weekend on the Hotstove. It's probably hard to show a little personality and style on a straight-laced program like HNIC. Good on him.
As some of us have speculated, the addition of Sami Pahlsson has indeed led to more offensive zone shifts for Ryan Kesler in the 3 games that Sami has played. At the same time, the defensive zone is becoming even more foreign to the Sedins. [Canucks Army]
The Sedins are mired in their biggest slump in a long, long time. Here's a question none of the mainstream media types seem to be asking: do they miss Christian Ehrhoff? [PITB]
One big reason for the Sedins' lack of points lately: the struggling PowerPlay. [The Province]
NHL News & Notes
The firing of Ron Wilson on Friday evening was talked about the entire weekend. The Leafs beat the Habs 3-1 on Saturday in Randy Carlyle's first game as head coach. Here's Bruce Aruthur's take from Saturday. [National Post]
For what it's worth, Phil Kessel doesn't blame Wilson for the team's struggles. I'm interested to see how Kessel and linemate Joffrey Lupul react under Carlyle. Lupul and Carlyle don't have a great history. [PHT]
Ryan Lambert's "What We Learned" over the past week in the NHL. [Puck Daddy]
Cam Charron's always golden "Don Cherry Confused Me" from Saturday night. [Legion of Blog]
Bizarre story from yesterday: the Eerie Otters of the OHL found themselves without a healthy goalie only a few minutes into their game yesterday against the Niagra Icedogs, and were forced to throw center Connor Crisp between the pipes. He allowed 13 goals on 46 shots and was named the game's first star. [CP]
Patrick Burke is helping spread the message his brother Brendan started before he passed away: it's okay to be a gay hockey player. This is good to see (and holy crap does Patrick ever sound like his dad). [NP]