Canucks share memories from 14-game trip

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Before the season started, I expected the Flames to take the Northwest division because of Vancouver’s absurd 14-game road streak (lets not even linger upon how wrong I was about Colorado). Even though the giant trip was broken up by the Olympic break, my guess was that would be little solace to Olympians like Roberto Luongo, the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler.

Clearly, I was dead wrong. The Canucks managed an impressive 8-5-1 record during the road trip and remain atop the Northwest. NHL.com has some really fantastic stuff on the Canucks’ epic road swing. I’ll pick out some of my favorite excerpts to save your delicate, perhaps Constanza-sque hands the beating of all that clicking and scrolling.

One of the better articles I’ve read in quite some time features the reflections of various Canucks players regarding the trip.

BEST CANUCKS SUPPORT

Tanner Glass — “Phoenix is incredible. We would score and it felt like we were at a home game, it was awesome. Lots of kids asking for autographs standing outside in the sun there, it’s nice, people get down there for a vacation and they take in a Canucks game.”

If this article is any indication, Tanner Glass and Darcy Hordichuk are the best quotes on their team. Hordichuk, in particular, sounds like quite the character.

BEST SLEEP

Darcy Hordichuk — “I’m fortunate enough to be a pretty good sleeper, but in Colorado it was the best. You open the windows and get some of that fresh air and you get a view of the mountains and it’s just such peaceful scenery. That’s a city anyone can have a good night’s sleep in.”

BEST MEMORY

Tanner Glass — “It was long, there was a lot of plane rides, a lot of busing and a lot of wake-up calls. That’s probably going to be my biggest memory actually, waking up to Hordi’s chanting every morning, that will stick with me for a while, as much as I’d like to get rid of it. I don’t even know what he is chanting, I don’t think it’s in English, he just wakes up and opens the blinds and lets the sunlight come in and then he yells something in Yiddish or something. That’s my memory.”

Jump for some fascinating stats (and joke stats) from the Canucks’ historic road trip.


Finally, here are some of my favorite factoids from Derek Jory’s “by the numbers” take on the Canucks’ road trip. Again, great job by NHL.com to go beyond the obvious and come up with some really colorful takes on this unusual situation.

  • 42 – Days away from General Motors Place
  • 13 – North American cities visited (Columbus twice)
  • 3 – Time zones visited (9 East, 3 Central, 2 Mountain)
  • -15.8 – Coldest city (in degrees Celsius) visited (Ottawa)
  • +15.5 – Warmest city (in degrees Celsius) visited (Phoenix)
  • 20,737 – Total kilometers traveled (11,608 first half, 9,129 second half)
  • 30 hours, 17 minutes – Total flight time (16:35 first half, 13:42 second half)
  • 7 – Times Darcy Hordichuk sang, “This is the trip that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends…”
  • 28 – Points up for grabs
  • 17 – Points earned
  • 6 – Comeback wins
  • 22,235 – Highest attendance (Chicago)
  • 12,861 – Lowest attendance (Colorado)
  • 0 – Times Daniel Sedin pretended to be twin brother Henrik or vice versa
  • 2,520 – Facebook status updates, in millions, by users since the Canucks left

(H/T to Alix Wright from Canucks Hockey Blog)

A big night for the rookies and a big win for the Maple Leafs

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William Nylander helped get Toronto started on Thursday, extending his point streak to 10 games — a new Maple Leafs franchise record for a rookie.

Connor Brown finished it with his 17th goal of the season, securing a 4-2 win for the Maple Leafs over the New Jersey Devils.

Toronto has won three in a row and moves three points clear of Boston for third in the Atlantic Division, with a game in hand, which further helps the Maple Leafs’ playoff chances with nine games remaining on their schedule.

Just another big night for Toronto’s impressive crop of rookies.

Auston Matthews had a pair of assists.

— Nylander had a goal and an assist. He set one and tied another franchise rookie record on Thursday.

Mitch Marner had an assist, giving him 40 helpers this season, which ties the franchise rookie record set in 1943-44.

“They’re good players,” said coach Mike Babcock, per the Toronto Star. “I didn’t know Marner would make the team. I knew Matthews and Nylander were good players. I knew Brown and (Zach) Hyman were relentless. I had no idea (Nikita) Zaitsev was as close to how good he is.

“We have lots of good players.”

In May of 2015, Babcock predicted at his introductory press conference that the Maple Leafs would, during their massive rebuild, endure “pain.” This was, he said, to be a long process — a “massive, massive challenge.”

Approaching the two-year anniversary of that event — after all the losing that franchise and its fan base has gone through, which obviously helped them with the Matthews lottery last year — the Maple Leafs are poised to make the playoffs with a nucleus of young players that present even more promise for the future.

“We just want to get in to the playoffs, and give ourselves a chance,” continued Babcock. “We’re playing well, and finding a way to win games. That’s what we have to continue to do.”

Capitals defeat Blue Jackets in clash of Metropolitan Division powers

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WASHINGTON (AP) T.J. Oshie scored the shootout winner as the Washington Capitals overcame a stellar performance from Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 Thursday night.

Despite 44 saves from Bobrovsky, the Capitals reached 104 points and extended their lead atop the Metropolitan Division and NHL standings. Oshie engendered memories of his Sochi Olympic shootout performance by again beating Bobrovsky, the goalie he scored on four times in six chances that day.

Dmitry Orlov finally cracked Bobrovsky early in the third period on Washington’s 35th shot of the game. Orlov’s goal tied the score after Seth Jones beat Braden Holtby on a wild scramble early in the third for his first goal since Feb. 7.

Holtby had 29 saves in regulation and overtime and three more in the shootout to pick up his 38th victory of the season, one shy of Bobrovsky for the league lead.

A showdown between two of the top three teams in the league jockeying for position atop the Metropolitan Division lacked a playoff feel. But the matchup of two likely Vezina Trophy finalists lived up to that billing as Bobrovsky and Holtby went back and forth with big saves.

Bobrovsky entered the night first in wins, goals-against average and save percentage with Holtby second, second and third in those categories. The 2013 Vezina winner could also be an MVP contender this season given his value to Columbus’ third playoff berth in franchise history.

“When he’s in his game it’s very hard to score on him,” said Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who had eight shots stopped by one of his Russian national teammates. “He likes the big moments, he likes pressure. His worth ethic is unbelievable. … In my opinion he’s one of the best goalies in the league right now.”

Methot ‘out for weeks’ after suffering a shattered finger from Crosby clash

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The Ottawa Senators lost defenseman Marc Methot for the bulk of Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and it seems he’ll be out for quite a while longer, too.

Methot was injured on a Sidney Crosby slash across the hand in the first period. He didn’t return to the game and there was no penalty called on the Penguins captain.

Footage showed the gruesome aftermath of the slash — Methot’s finger on his left hand bloodied and injured as he skated back to the bench.

“His finger is shattered and he’s out for weeks,” said Senators head coach Guy Boucher, per the Ottawa Sun.

Methot immediately confronted Crosby after the slash, which occurred as the Sens blue liner went to dump the puck into the Pittsburgh zone late in the first period.

The Senators got revenge, scoring a 2-1 shootout victory to move within a point of Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead. Crosby was also denied in the shootout.

NHL to make ‘special announcement’ in China next week

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The National Hockey League has announced it will make a “special announcement” at the LeSports Center in Beijing, China next Thursday.

In January, the league’s deputy commissioner Bill Daly made it clear the NHL has interest in playing games in China — likely starting out with pre-season games before potentially adding in some regular season contests in the future, as well.

Just after the league made its announcement on Thursday, the L.A. Kings tweeted out that they will participate in next week’s event, along with the Vancouver Canucks.

In January, hockey insider Darren Dreger reported that the Canucks and Kings were likely to play NHL pre-season games in China this upcoming September.

Last July, members of the Boston Bruins visited China, specifically Beijing and Shanghai, to host hockey clinics in those cities.

Beijing will also host the 2022 Winter Olympics.