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The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks

Press Round-Up: DEC.20.07

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Luongo selected goalie of the year
The Canadian Press said Roberto Luongo’s consistent performance deemed him to be the 2007 goalie of the year from Goalies’ World magazine.

“The Vancouver Canucks star edged Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers. The two other finalists were Sean-Sebastien Giguere of the Anaheim Ducks and Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils,” said the Canadian Press.

“Performances from Jan. 1 through Dec. 3 were weighed by the magazine's staff.”

"Roberto Luongo has been the most consistent goalie throughout the calendar year," states the magazine.

“Gilles Moffet is the editor of the Quebec-based publication,” the Canadian Press said.

“To win the award, a goalie has to excel in all three segments of 2007: the second part of the 2006-2007 regular season, the 2007 playoffs and the first part of the 2007-2008 season.”

"During that stretch, Luongo played 75 games and maintained a .930 save percentage and 2.07 GAA. He had 57 hot games, 13 average and five bad ones. He also stole nine wins," the magazine said.
The ‘Kes’ of death for Canuck foes
Brad Ziemer said if Ryan Kesler continues to step up his game, his new nickname could be Frank Selke.

“Granted, the NHL awards won't be handed out for many more months, but Kesler is certainly making a case to be in the mix when the time comes to select the NHL's best defensive forward,” said Ziemer.

“It's funny how things work out. Kesler began this season determined to let his offensive genie out of the bottle. This was the year he was going to prove to all the doubters that he was a bonafide NHL scorer. Instead, everybody is talking about his defence.”

"I don't think I'm much fun to play against," Kesler said. "I kind of like to get in their face and I guess agitate them by talking to them if I can. I try to get them off their game any way I can."

Ziemer said, “Kesler said he has found that playing against some of the NHL's most gifted scorers can sometimes lead to offensive opportunities for he and his linemates. The fact he is blessed with lightning-quick speed, which works very well in transition, hasn't hurt, either.”

"I think the pure offensive players take more chances and when you frustrate them they take even more chances and that's when our line gets some Grade A opportunities the other way," he said. "It's kind of working both ways for me right now."

"Everybody loves playing and right now it seems with me always out there against the other team's top lines I am playing a lot," he said. "I'm really not going to complain about that."

“Canuck coach Alain Vigneault has turned some games into virtual chess matches as he strives to get Kesler out against the opposition's best forward,” said Ziemer.

"I just think in Ryan's case he has really taken a lot of pride in going up against the top lines and being hard to play against and he's doing a good job reading off his teammates to be in the right position to shut down those guys," Vigneault said after Wednesday's practice.

"I think Ryan has evolved into that role and we need him right now. Considering the personnel we have available, we need to be able to shut down one line of the opposition's and he's doing that for us."

“Kesler swears he gets as much satisfaction shutting down an opponent than he does scoring a goal,” Ziemer said.

"To me, not giving up a goal is just like scoring a goal. If you don't give up a goal, I feel the same way as if I scored. I take a lot of pride in my plus-minus and not giving the other team's top line basically anything offensively."
Miller goal all in a decade’s work
Jason Botchford said it was about time Miller got a goal.

“Aaron Miller received plenty of text messages and e-mails from friends and family after scoring his first goal Tuesday in four years,” said Botchford.

"All of them were of a sarcastic nature," Miller said. "People were saying, 'It's about time.'"

Botchford said,“He said he hasn't made any plans to get his stick bronzed.”

"I know I'm streaky so look out," said Miller, who, with his first goal of the season, passed fellow Canucks defenceman Sami Salo in scoring. "And no, I didn't keep the puck. It's not my first career goal, guys."

“No one else playing in the NHL had gone longer than Miller's 193 games without scoring,” said Botchford.

“The last time he beat a goalie, it was Nov. 27, 2003, in Phoenix. Miller, then a member of the Los Angeles Kings, beat Coyotes goalie Sean Burke. It was his only shot of the game.”

"They showed it on TV [Tuesday] night, it was a long time ago," Miller said. "But now my last goal was [two] days ago, so I don't have to worry about that any more. Four years without a goal, is a long time. It's good to get it off my shoulders."

“When he got to the bench, Miller had to listen to his teammates ripping him for the way the puck went in,” Botchford said.

"It bounced three or four times," Miller said. "But what can I say? It's all in a decade's work."
Top line told to think of nothing but net
Brad Ziemer said that his top line needs to go back to the basics and just drive towards the net rather than wandering off into the corners.

“Vigneault said the brilliant second-period goal that Markus Naslund scored Tuesday night on a three-way passing play with linemates Daniel and Henrik Sedin is an example of the good things that can happen when you enter the offensive zone with speed and head to the net,” said Ziemer.

"Two guys were driving the net, Hank in the middle and Markus wide," Vigneault said Wednesday. "That is so tough to handle, instead of coming in the zone, slowing down, passing it back to the other guy, then putting it in the corner and trying to cycle. Drive the net, get pucks to the net."

"Go there and stay there and some times you stay there, the puck goes to the point and you are screening the goaltender," Vigneault said.

Ziemer said, “Daniel Sedin said it was imperative that his line has more of a net presence.”

"Our line has to get bodies in front," he said. "We can cycle all we want in the corner but, at some time, we have to get pucks to the net. So if we can get one of us in front of the net and get the pucks there, it is going to open up things."

“The Sedins and Naslund, who snapped a nine-game goal drought, combined for seven points on Tuesday. Vigneault hopes that was a sign of things to come,” Ziemer said.

"Obviously, getting secondary scoring like we did yesterday is huge, but we need that top line," Vigneault said. "Every team seems to have one line. (Joe) Thornton has to score in San Jose to be successful, in Detroit (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Pavel) Datsyuk have to score. Well, with the Canucks, the twins and Nazzy have to score. It's pressure, but I think it's good pressure on them. They understand it and manage it well. We need that contribution, there's no other way of looking at it."
Jaffray finally gets his chance
Grant Kerr said rookie Jason Jaffray has been everywhere as he spent five years in the minor leagues before playing in the NHL.

“The undrafted forward is finally living his dream by taking a regular shift with the Canucks alongside wingers Mason Raymond and Taylor Pyatt over four games,” said Kerr.

“The unlikely trio — Jaffray and Raymond were summoned from the Manitoba Moose last week — could even be considered Vancouver's No. 2 line after an injury to Brendan Morrison put the veteran centre on the sideline after wrist surgery.”

"This means everything in the world to me," Jaffray said this week. "You kind of wait for your break to get to this point, forever it seems like.

"The last couple of years I've had solid seasons [in the AHL]. You wait, hoping for opportunity. Then it comes along.

"The Canucks' organization is looking for some offence. I'm not going to fill the void of a Brendan Morrison, obviously, but hopefully, I can help them a little bit, chip in here and there. I'm getting some power play time."

“Jaffray, 26, broke into the NHL against the Anaheim Ducks and scored in the second period on Dec. 12. It turned out to be the winning goal in a 3-2 decision at the Honda Center. He also had an assist that memorable night, on a goal by Raymond, a rookie professional,” Kerr said.

"Usually when you get called up, you get three or four shifts on the fourth line, then sit out a game, play a game," Jaffray said. "This [with Vancouver] is overwhelming and you've got to take advantage of it."
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