BATTLE FOR THE NORTHWEST
Canucks captain Roberto Luongo
lead his team team to victory last night against division rivals, as the Canucks battled the Flames to a 4-1 decision. A win would have secured the Northwest division title for the Flames.
Luongo turned away 46 shots to improve his team to 96 points, and into a tie with Calgary. Both teams have two regular season games remaining. The Flames (45-29-6) have two wins more wins than the Canucks (43-27-10), which will be the tie breaker if the clubs end the season tied.
The players practiced today at UBC in preparation for their final two match ups, the first against the L.A. Kings tomorrow night at GM Place.
“Our main focus is to get back to our playing style, making sure we do everything with a purpose and play well within our system,” said Luongo.
“We worked on a few things and hopefully they’ll translate into tomorrow night’s game. We’ve got two games here to get ready [for playoffs] and make sure we’re ready to start next week.
“Obviously [finishing first in the Northwest] is out of our hands a little bit. We want to finish off with two wins, no doubt. We’ll see if we can get a little help along the way [Edmonton beating Calgary], but first and foremost we’ve get ready and set for next week.”
After missing 70 games, Rick Rypien looks like he hasn’t missed a day and has given the Canucks a spark in the final stretch.
Since rejoining the Canucks on March 31st, the energetic forward has had two fights and a goal, his third of the season beat Kiprusoff and got the Canucks off to the quick start they wanted against the Flames. Rypien is happy to be back with the team, contributing in important games.
“I think for being off for that long, it means a lot to me that the team has that confidence in me to throw me back in the lineup like that and put me in situations that I’ve been away from that for a while,” said Rypien. “So I just want to take advantage of it.
“I don’t think I’m ever close to being the player I want to be. I still have a long way to go yet. I still want to develop in all areas, but I don’t think I’m too far off from the start of the year. Considering I missed that amount of games, I surprised myself too I think.”ARNIEL NAMED AHL OUTSTANDING COACH
The Vancouver Canucks, in conjunction with the Manitoba Moose and AHL, are pleased to announce Moose head coach Scott Arniel has been named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the league’s outstanding coach for 2008-09, as voted by coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 29 cities.
This season, Arniel guided the Canucks affiliate Moose to their second North Division regular season title in three seasons and has the team poised to possibly finish first overall in the entire AHL for the first time in their franchise history.
For the third year in a row under the Kingston, ON native’s tutelage, the Moose won over 45 games, setting a new franchise record with 49 wins so far. With three games still to play in the regular season, the Moose are currently only four points shy of tying their franchise mark for most points in a season with 104 (the record is 108 set in 1998-99 in the IHL).
This year, the team also set new franchise standards for road wins with 24 and tied the record for the most home wins in franchise history with 25. Arniel, along with Assistant Coaches Jay Wells and Rick St. Croix, have accomplished all this while using 51 different players in their line-up – the second-most of any team in the AHL - including 14 who have also seen action in the NHL.