Little practice, shabby shootout
The Province said the Canucks can’t seem to beat any goalie when it comes to shootouts as they are 0-3 and seem to rely on Trevor Linden to get the goals.
“He was the sole scorer in Saturday's 2-1 shootout loss to Pittsburgh as Ryan Kesler
, Brendan Morrison, Taylor Pyatt, Markus Naslund and Daniel Sedin
failed to dent the twine behind former Canuck goalie Dany Sabourin,” said the Province.
“Edmonton leads the league in shootout success at 7-1, while Vancouver is tied for last with Toronto.”
“Surprisingly, the Canucks rarely practise the shootout, but associate coach Rick Bowness said being successful on the penalty shot type play is more instinct than anything else.”
"We've practised it now and then, but every goalie is different, every situation is different," said Bowness. "The shooter is coming in and you've got to rely on instinct. You hope you can see what's there and take advantage of it. But it's easier said than done."
“Teams that have success often use players who don't necessarily do well in the regular play of the game,” the Province said.
"The players on the bench were yelling for Willie Mitchell," said Bowness. "Everyone is on the radar right now."
THE VANCOUVER SUN
Crosby spectacle a night to remember
Iain Macintyre said the Pittsburgh Penguin game in Vancouver wasn’t similar to what the fans are used to seeing, then again, players like Sidney Crosby don’t come around often.
“Nobody who was there Saturday at GM Place will forget Sidney Crosby's first visit to Vancouver. He had only one shot and no points on a night still filled with crackling drama, which tells you how remarkable was a game that somehow, impossibly exceeded its hype,” said Macintyre.
“The Canucks' 2-1 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins is worth savouring and not merely for sentimentalism or as a trivia answer. History frequently goes unrecognized initially as it rushes past, but it stopped and posed for pictures on Saturday. And what snapshots we have.”
Macintyre said, “- Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo
's epic penalty-shot save on Crosby. In overtime. Then again in the shootout as the Hart and Pearson trophy finalists from last season duelled in the rink where they will probably be the foundation for Team Canada in the 2010 Olympics.
- Canuck icon Trevor Linden, likely in his final season, providing another magic moment by scoring in the shootout to prolong it.”
"I'm sure CBC was liking it," Mitchell, the Vancouver defenceman, said. "When you see two guys who were both up for the Hart and Pearson going one-on-one, I mean, you could feel it on the bench. You could feel it in the whole building. It had that electric feeling."
"I said to [Canuck backup] Curtis Sanford after he stopped it, 'Louie just added to his legend,' " Linden said. "You're sitting there on the bench thinking: This is awesome. What more could you ask for if you're a fan?"
THE VANCOUVER SUN
Pens pinpoint Canuck shortfall
Elliott Pap said that the Canucks has done everything right this month, except their poor performance in shootouts.
“The Canucks are 0-for-3 in shootouts in 2007-08 and have only scored twice in 14 attempts with Trevor Linden netting both,” Pap said.
“Individually, Ryan Kesler
and Brendan Morrison are 0-for-3 and Markus Naslund is 0-for-2 (and a ghastly 4-for-16 lifetime). Daniel Sedin
, who also missed Saturday in Pittsburgh's dramatic 2-1 shootout victory, is 2-for-10 in his career.”
"You might see Alex Burrows shoot next time," Canuck assistant coach Rick Bowness suggested Sunday as the team held an optional practice before flying to Los Angeles for tonight's date with the Kings. "The guys on the bench were calling for Willie Mitchell last night because I guess he did well against Sabby [Dany Sabourin] last year.
"You'll see different guys for sure."
“Linden, who doesn't dress some nights, may become indispensible for his shootout prowess. He is 4-for-5 lifetime and eschews all the high-stepping moves for a straight-on shoot-the-puck approach. Taylor Pyatt attempted that Saturday but hit the post,” said Pap.
"After the first two guys tried to deke, I just kept it simple and picked a spot," Linden explained. "I think Taylor had the right idea, too.
"I'm a traditionalist, but you can't argue that shootouts aren't great for the game. It's frustrating not being able to win one, though. I feel bad for Roberto because he played really well and we couldn't get him the win."
Crosby out-duelled by pesky Kesler
Ed Willes said Ryan Kesler
is exceeding Vancouver’s expectations matched-up against Sidney Crosby, who is deemed the next Wayne Gretsky, playing his role to the tee.
“But if there was any doubt left about Kesler's value to the Canucks -- and this season seems to be one long exercise in revealing that value -- then we simply refer you to last night's encounter at GM Place. With a sellout crowd assembled to genuflect at the genius of Crosby, Kesler not only held the reigning Hart Trophy-winner off the scoresheet in regulation and overtime, he scored the Canucks' only goal in the Pens' 2-1 shootout win,” said Willes.
“Afterward, of course, there were a number of storylines to process -- not the least of which was Roberto Luongo
's five-alarm save off Crosby on an overtime penalty shot, followed by another stop in the shootout -- but when you peeled away all those layers, the real substance of this game was provided by Kesler.”
"It's huge right now," Kesler said of his assignment. "He's the best player in the game." "He's been put in a role here where he's going head to head against the other team's top line," Brendan Morrison said of Kesler. "There's no question he's a key guy for us. Since he's been in that role he's turned things around for us."
"He's a force out there," said linemate Burrows. "He's skating so well and he's confident with the puck now. He competes hard every night, he wants to have a big role on this team and, so far, in the first 30 games he's been our best player."