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The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks

Press Round-Up: JAN.28.08

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
THE PROVINCE
All-Star Notes


Ed Willes said Sedin finished All-Star game with two assists and three shots.

“Canucks centre Henrik Sedin played most of the game on a line with Joe Thornton and Marian Gaborik and at least the shooter in that trio was easier to identify,” said Willes.

"Gaborik, for sure," Henrik said.

“After a slow start, the Canucks' lone representative at the game picked up a pair of assists, including a helper on Gaborik's late-third period goal that temporarily gave the West a 7-6 lead. Sedin played 14:59, finished minus-one and, in a major upset, was credited with three shots on goal,” said Willes.

"It was fun but it's tough to play this kind of game," Sedin said. "You can't play like you do in the regular season. You're just trying to make nice plays and nice passes."
THE PROVINCE
On cusp of stretch run in tight Northwest


Gordon McIntyre said the battle for the lead in the airtight Northwest Division will likely come down to the last week of the season, as it did last year.

“The dog days are over, the phony war played out. And the Canucks sit just about where they did a year ago at this time, when they were deadlocked with Minnesota and Calgary for first place in the Northwest,” said MacIntyre.

“This year, those three and Colorado are grouped like goldfish at feeding time, with three points separating first place in the division from an outside-looking-in non-playoff perch.”

“Two things probably have to happen for the Canucks to have success as the stretch run begins. Two new things, anyway -- the Canucks will still rely on Roberto Luongo and the Sedins. But Markus Naslund will have to start scoring more; secondary scoring relies 100 per cent on that happening.”

“And the relatively puck-skilled defencemen -- Mattias Ohlund, Lukas Krajicek, Alex Edler and Sami Salo -- need to jump in more and start putting some pucks in the net,” said MacIntyre.

“After hosting Dallas, the Canucks have a four-game road trip against the East's Southeast Division. Then 12 of the team's final 27 games, almost half, come against Colorado, Calgary and Minnesota.”

“Last season, the battle for first came down to the final week with the Canucks prevailing by a point. This season, the Canucks' final nine games are all within the division.”
THE VANCOUVER SUN
Like they meant it: Players' drive to compete shines through during a marketing event
Iain Macintyre said in the middle of a marketing program, an entertaining NHL hockey game broke out.

“Against expectations, tradition, the format and common sense, an honest-to-goodness hockey game erupted in the third period of the National Hockey League All-Star Game here Sunday,” said MacIntyre.

“It was shocking.”

“But no matter how contrived and unnatural the event, the genetic predisposition of players to compete -- at cards, at practice, even artificial, showcase games -- will still shine through when the conditions are right.”

“Marc Savard, the Boston Bruin player who was booed out of Atlanta, snapped in the winning goal with 20.9 seconds remaining to give the Eastern Conference all stars an 8-7 victory over the West at Philips Aren,” said MacIntyre.

“As painful as it is to admit, the game wasn't that bad over the final 40 minutes and the third was about as competitive as this carnival act is going to get until the NHL discovers a way to make it meaningful beyond marketing.”

"We wanted to win," West winger Jarome Iginla said. "I mean, guys were backchecking. There weren't many 3-on-1s and I don't think there was a 2-on-0 the whole game. That was the quickest one of these games I've played in."

"It actually had a good pace in the third period," Vancouver Canuck Henrik Sedin said. "I was talking to Nick Lidstrom [at the bench]; he said the speed was going to pick up and it did. Even at practice, even in a 3-on-3 game, it's always going to pick up at the end if it's tied. Guys like to compete."

“Sedin was minus-two in the first 10 minutes but later set up goals for Marian Gaborik and Scott Niedermayer. Gaborik and Sedin played on a forward line with Joe Thornton,” said MacIntyre.

"I know, first two shifts I was minus-two," Sedin said after his all-star debut. "I didn't want to go minus-seven in my first game. I figured I better play defence."

“Nash finished with a hat trick, but somehow lost the Most Valuable Player award to Eric Staal, who had two goals and an assist for the East,” said MacIntyre.

“The unofficial -- and not quite literal -- second half of the NHL's regular season starts Tuesday with 29 of 30 teams in the playoff race and only one, the Detroit Red Wings, safely ahead. The Canucks, who play the Dallas Stars in Vancouver, have a one-point cushion.”

“You know what that means? More checks than Prague and another hundred or two overtime and shootout games -- the uniquely NHL three-point game.”

“It makes it hard to move forward or back in the standings. The only thing more powerful than the determination to advance will be the terror at going backwards, which is why there will be many games when, by unspoken consent, both teams retreat through the final 10 minutes to ensure themselves at least a single point.”

“What made the third period of the All-Star game worth watching was not the goals necessarily, but the obvious desire by each team to score them. There was punch-counterpunch attacks. The lead changed three times,” said MacIntyre.

“That may not happen the rest of the regular season, and that's a shame.”

“There's nothing wrong with a three-point game if every game was worth that, and that a team daring enough to win in regulation got all the points. Teams that go to overtime and shootouts could split the three points, with two to the winner.”

“This has been on the NHL's drawing board since the general managers' meeting in 2003 when all the profound rule revisions that occurred after the lockout were first plotted. Nearly everything was adopted, but not the three-point victory.”

“And despite the current races-by-attrition for the playoffs, it's not going to happen anytime soon,” said MacIntyre.

"You have the hope, you have the expectation, that whoever you root for has a chance to do it all," Gary Bettman said of the claustrophobic standings. "Every game matters in our regular season. So I think the competitive balance is terrific. If it's three points for a win, we're concerned about what it might do to the game in the second half of the third period of a one-goal game. We want to keep the game wide open."

“Wide open? The All-Star Game was the first one this season. At least in any one-goal game, one team is trying to score. In a tie game -- with an overtime- or shootout-loser guaranteed a point -- it often looks in the third period like no one is trying to score. A three-point win would change that,” said MacIntyre.

"It would change the dynamic of wins and ties," the Red Wings' Lidstrom said. "If you're behind [in the standings], you could have three or four wins and gain some points real quick."

The Anaheim Ducks' Niedermayer added: "I think it would definitely provide some incentive, especially for the team that need points. It would be worth an extra effort trying to win, instead of just holding on at the end."

“No one was holding on Sunday. The West fell behind 5-1, stormed back to lead 7-6 lead on Gaborik's goal with 9:03 remaining, then lost. At least it was entertaining,” said MacIntyre.
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