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Press Round-Up: NOV.21.07

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Shot down in shootout once again

Jason Botchford said the Canucks’ shootout loss against the Edmonton Oilers was more than they deserved considering their performance on the ice.

“How did they end up with a point in a game they were thrashed for two periods, outclassed and dominated for a solid 40 minutes?,” Botchford asked.

“The answer: Roberto Luongo, who didn't exactly leave with the flashiest numbers, giving up four goals on 29 shots. But sometimes numbers are deceiving.”

"Louie is the one guy who gave us a chance to win," head coach Alain Vigneault.

Brendan Morrison was more blunt: "Louie almost stole two points. I'm telling you, he stole a point for us. That's what it came down to."

Botchford said, “To start the game, the Canucks looked like they had already mentally traveled to Minnesota. The Oilers came in unexpected waves, putting Vancouver on its heels and hammering the Canucks' net with shots.”

"We had an off-night," Morrison said. "I don't know if we thought it was going to be an easier game than it was.

"Early on, we were completely dominated. We weren't winning little battles. We weren't supporting each other. We weren't skating. I don't know why.

“Luongo was at his best during the second period when the Oilers had 14 shots on net, and four power plays, including a 5-on-3 that lasted 1:11,” said Botchford.

"We're lucky to have Louie because he really saved us," Naslund said.
Mitchell’s sterling string unravels

Jason Botchford said that Willie Mitchell knew he wouldn’t last in terms of his consistency at the blue line and it happened in the shootout loss against the Oilers.

“For three weeks, Mitchell and his Vancouver Canucks blueline partners were in a rare groove after rediscovering their swagger. He felt unbeatable. Every time he hit the ice, he thought he could stop anyone. And, for the most part, he stopped everyone.,” said Botchford.

“The Canucks defence, so good for six-straight games after losing Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo, was sloppy and lost in its own end, handing out scoring chances as if they were on a street corner giving away freebie newspapers.”

"We didn't play well at all in our end," Mitchell said. "That's not the way we've been playing the last six games. We got away from everything, all the habits that had made us successful. We didn't work well as a unit out there and we have to be much better against Minnesota [tonight] if we hope to win that one."

Botchford said, “The Canucks defencemen were regularly caught out of position against Edmonton and took six penalties. Four of them were in the second period, and two of those penalties were called on Mitchell.”

"In the first two periods they out-chanced us badly and they were quality chances," said head coach Alain Vigneault, admittedly surprised by his team's tepid play.
Tilt generates some buzz

Jason Botchford said the Canucks brought up Mike Brown specifically to keep Derek Boogaard bust as the forwards attempt to skate around him.

“Along with the energy, Vigneault is going to get some toughness and some needed help for Jeff Cowan, one of the Canucks' few fighters,” said Botchford.

“Mike Brown, a 200-pound middleweight who was in 19 fights last year, has been in seven scraps already this season, including two in the preseason.”

"It's probably a big reason I'm here," Brown said. "Just in case anything happens. We're all prepared and I don't think there'll be too much to worry about.

"Fighting can bring a lot of energy to the team. If that's what needs to happen, then that's what will happen. I'm going to play real physical and see what happens."

Botchford said, “Derek Boogaard, the Wild's mammoth, outspoken tough guy, said Tuesday Brown's recall is an indication of the type of game the Canucks expect.”

"That's almost a point for me because they feel they have to call somebody up to look after me," Boogaard told Minnesota reporters Tuesday.
Demitra, Koivu out for Wild against Canucks

The Associated Press notes that the Wild will be without their two core players in tonight’s game against the Canucks.

“The Minnesota Wild will be without two of their top scorers, Pavol Demitra and Mikko Koivu, for Wednesday's game against the rival Vancouver Canucks,” said the Associated Press.

“Demitra, whose status is evaluated daily, will try to participate in the morning skatearound but will miss his eighth game in the last 10 due to a groin injury.”

“Koivu, who has a cracked bone in his leg, will sit out for the second straight game and is due to be evaluated again this weekend.”
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