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Press Round-Up: JAN.16.08

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
One too many errors: Canucks' mistakes cost them loss in Columbus, Detroit juggernaut looms
Iain MacIntyre said early mistakes cost Vancouver two points, as the Blue Jackets beat the Canucks 3-2 in regulation.

“Personnel and injuries have left the Vancouver Canucks with no margin for error. Tuesday, they made too many errors to win, so they didn't,” said MacIntyre.

“The Columbus Blue Jackets beat them 3-2 as the Canucks lost for the third time in four games and now face the daunting challenge of trying to beat the National Hockey League's best team Thursday in Detroit.”

“The Canucks spent half Tuesday's game making up an early 2-0 deficit but were tied for less than 31/2 minutes in the second period before Blue Jacket Jason Chimera made it 3-2 by powering past Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler and redirecting Dan Fritsche's pass between goalie Roberto Luongo's pads at 16:43,” said MacIntyre.

“After a dreadful start, Vancouver had pulled into a tie during a two-man advantage at 13:18 when Daniel Sedin converted brother Henrik's perfect goalmouth saucer pass after Sami Salo faked a point shot to create a 2-on-1 down low.”

“The Canuck comeback began at 16:53 of the first period when Kris Beech, claimed on waivers a week ago from the Blue Jackets, beat Columbus's Jiri Novotny to the net and directed Byron Ritchie's centring pass under goalie Pascal Leclaire,” said MacIntyre.

“Luongo, who had four shutouts in nine starts against Columbus, was beaten twice in the first seven minutes as Vancouver penalty killing failed miserably.”

“Forty-seven seconds after veteran Aaron Miller's hooking penalty, the Blue Jackets went ahead at 2:07 when pointman Ron Hainsey was given too much room and wired a 35-footer under the cross bar,” said MacIntyre.

“Nikolai Zherdev made it 2-0 at 6:53, flailing at a loose puck from a faceoff and surprising Luongo with a shot between the pads, two seconds after Henrik Sedin's hooking penalty in the Columbus zone created a 4-on-3 advantage for the Jackets.”

“After Chimera scorched Edler for the go-ahead goal, the Blue Jackets yielded few good scoring chances. Leclaire blocked Matt Cooke's redirection early in the third period and Ryan Kesler had one swipe at net during a scramble in the final minute,” said MacIntyre
Comeback's a bust for Canucks: Canucks have yet to win a game this season when they're trailing late
Iain MacIntyre said the Canucks inability to comeback in the third period is a surmounting problem.

“More than halfway through the National Hockey League season, the Vancouver Canucks have yet to win a game by constructing a late comeback,” said MacIntyre.

“This has become more disconcerting in the last week, because if the Canucks continue to make glaring defensive mistakes, they'll not only be behind in games but behind in the Western Conference playoff race, too.”

“For all the preoccupation about the Canucks' ability to score -- or not -- it isn't their offence that's hurting them but their defending. Two key defensive-zone blunders led directly to goals Tuesday for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who beat Vancouver 3-2 to creep within four points of the Canucks in the conference standings.”

“Usually, with Roberto Luongo in net, scoring twice gets the Canucks at least to overtime. And, even with a lineup weakened by injuries, Vancouver has averaged 2.5 goals per game in its last nine. But Tuesday's loss was their third in four games, partly because Luongo hasn't been up to his normal, absurd level of sorcery and mostly because of the severity of the defensive mistakes the Canucks are making,” said MacIntyre.

“The Canucks are 0-15-1 this season when trailing after 40 minutes.”

"We haven't had one comeback all year and we weren't able to muster one tonight," frustrated Canuck coach Alain Vigneault said. "I believe that this group has mental toughness and good perseverance and should be able to come back. I know we're very good when we have the lead, but mental toughness is being able to ... make a push in the third. I think we have that [ability], but we haven't shown it this year. Not once. And I have no reason why."
Youngster to be YoungStar: Rookie will play in all-star event

Ben Kuzma said Alex Edler’s rookie success is finally being recognized by rest of the league.

“The Vancouver Canucks defenceman has been named to the Western Conference team for the YoungStars event to be staged Jan. 26 in Atlanta in conjunction with the annual NHL All-Star Weekend,” said Kuzma.

“Edler, 21, leads all rookies with a plus-18 rating and is fifth in scoring by rookie defencemen with 10 points (2-8) in 39 games. The native of Osterlund, Sweden, recently added to his emerging game by scoring the shootout winners in St. Louis on Sunday and against the New York Islanders on Jan. 8 at GM Place.”

“Edler's ability to deliver sharp outlet passes and not get rattled by the intensity of NHL play has the 6-foot-3, 220-lb Swede ranking with Ryan Kesler as one of the Canucks' most improved players. Edler, who has appeared in 60 NHL games the past two seasons, was the 91st pick in the 2004 entry draft,” said Kuzma.

“The YoungStars will be a 3-on-3 event; the players will shoot against goalies named to participate in the all-star game the following day. YoungStars were selected by the NHL's hockey operations department, in consultation with league general managers.”
Last-second goal sinks Moose: MacIntyre's blunder sends Manitoba to fourth straight loss on trip
Tim Campbell said Moose are struggling with a depleted line-up.

“Through 40 AHL games, the Moose are 21-16-2-1 and in a reasonably good position in second spot on the North Division despite their farcical last-second 3-2 loss to the San Antonio Rampage Tuesday night at the AT&T Center,” said Campbell.

“Inconsistency, however, has plagued the Moose throughout much of the first half. Again with nine regulars missing due to call-up, injury or suspension, they battled fairly well Tuesday night only to have a short-handed gift goal at 19:59 of the third sink them.”

“One indication of the instability the Moose have experienced in their lineup is that they've used 36 players so far this season. Only 19 may dress in any one game,” said Campbell.

“Six current Moose players have played for the Canucks this season, and four more Rick Rypien, Nathan McIver, Mike Brown and Alex Edler are still there.”

“A second straight losing road trip has also left the Moose below .500 away from MTS Centre, at 9-10-1.”
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