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Press Round-Up Apr.29.2007

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Courtesy of Daniel Fung


Canucks somehow finding ways to win

Figuring out how to beat the Canucks has become an enigma in these playoffs, writes Tony Gallagher. The Canucks seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in their own zone and at times appears as if they're not interested in scoring, but yet somehow they continue to win as was the case in Game 2.

"The Canucks don't seem to need the things that generally make teams successful," writes Gallagher. "They don't need healthy players, they don't need great lines and they most certainly don't need a power play. Yet something they soldier on."

The power play has been a particular area of concern, with the Anaheim Ducks defenders seemingly moving as fast as the puck is during a Canucks man-advantage. The absence of Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo has obviously played a huge part in the lackluster power play, but if the Canucks could ever figure how to get that rolling, there's no telling just how far this team could go.

"It is nothing short of miraculous the Canucks have won five of the nine games they've played so far with these numbers," proclaims Gallagher. "The Luongo factor is almost always the explanation, with honourable mention these days to Willie Mitchell. But if they ever got the power play on reasonable footing, the mind boggles as to what a group as spirited and determined as this could accomplish."

No character flaws

The Canucks have heard enough of the claims that this group simply doesn't have the determination to win and, for at least one game, they managed to silence their critics in a huge way. Still, the Canucks know what kind of character this team has and they'll conveniently ignore those who suggest otherwise, writes Ben Kuzma.

"I don't know why people keep questioning the character of this team," said centre Brendan Morrison. "Guys were determined and we weren't going to be denied. We played a hell of a game. Guys emptied the tank."

Not only did the character of the Canucks shine through in Game 2, but it also gave a huge emotional lift heading into tonight's Game 3 match-up at General Motors Place.

"We needed this for our mindset, no doubt," said winger Trevor Linden, who set up the Game 2 winner. "We proved to ourselves that this group is capable of beating these guys. Going home at 1-1 in the series puts a whole different spin on things."

Injury update

The Canucks depleted blue-line might take another hit in Game 3, reports Jason Botchford. Rory Fitzpatrick suffered an injury during Game 2 in Anaheim (or perhaps he caught the flu?) and is doubtful for tonight's Game 3. Sami Salo is a possibility to return, although the Canucks have called up veteran defenceman Yannick Tremblay to fill the spot should Salo be unable to return.

Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa has resumed skating but is still not ready to return. The Canucks did get some good news as Willie Mitchell is expected to be in the lineup despite taking a hard hip check from Francois Beauchemin in Game 3.


Ducks need help from grinders

With the Canucks tending to go with a four-line rotation, the Ducks will need to be able to rely on their fourth line players for production in order to match Vancouver's fourth-liners and provide some extra rest for Anaheim's top players if needed, writes Lonnie White. That clearly was not the case in Game 2 when Anaheim's fourth line of Shawn Thornton, Ryan Shannon and George Parros combined for just six shifts after the first intermission.

"We know what we have to do in order to be effective," said Parros, who led the NHL with 18 major penalties for fighting during the regular season. "From big body hits to getting more pucks to the net, that's our role on this team. Momentum is a big part of the game, and our goal is to string together a good couple of shifts where we keep the puck in their zone."

The Ducks have the option of shaking up their fourth line for tonight's Game 3 as former Canuck Brad May is eligible to return after being suspended for three games during Anaheim's first round series against the Minnesota Wild.

"We're not going to sit here and lament about the loss," Carlyle said. "We didn't play to the level that was required. We're going to try to achieve that [Sunday]."


Ducks ready for loud and proud crowd

The Anaheim Ducks insist they've point Friday's disappointing Game 2, double overtime defeat behind them, but they know they'll need to come out with a much better effort in Game 3, a task they know won't be easy facing a pumped up Canuck team in front of their home fans, reports Dan Wood.

"I think as a team, we've already moved on," [Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien] Giguere said. "It's going to be a different battle (tonight). It's going to be that much harder to win, in their building. They're going to be pumped up. We have to be ready. The first 10 minutes are going to be crucial, momentum-wise."


Ducks in the spotlight away from home

If the Ducks didn't get enough of the media spotlight from the Canadian media contingent at the Honda Center in Games 1 and 2 of this series, they're about to get the full treatment in Vancouver.

"At home, the Ducks have comfortable flown under the radar while compiling a 110-point regular season and moving into the second round of the Stanley Cup tournament," writes Jim Alexander. "All that time, SoCal's talk-show hosts and columnists and TV types have instead obsessed over whether Kobe can succeed one-on-five."

While, as Alexander notes, Canada no longer dominates the game as they once did, the game clearly still dominates Canada.

"The nation's passion manifests itself in the crush of microphones and cameras and notepads, feeding a voracious appetite for hockey news," continues Alexander. "It's also obvious in interactions away from the rink. In a non-traditional hockey city, a player can hide in plain sight. Here, he's the center of attention. Or is it the centre of attention?"

And while the Ducks insist they are ready to answer the call of the Canucks come puck drop time in Game 3, there are at least a few calls that many Ducks players know to avoid.

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