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GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:01 pm
by herb
Vancouver Canucks at St. Louis Blues
The Vancouver Canucks have won three of four and nine of their last 13 games and are 2-1 on a four-game road trip that ends tonight in St. Louis against the Blues. Vancouver recorded a shootout win in its last game -- a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Mason Raymond scored in the second round of the shootout to help lift the Canucks. Alexander Edler, Jannik Hansen, Manny Malhotra and Ryan Kesler lit the lamp for the Canucks, while Cory Schneider made 27 saves for the victors.

The victory improved Vancouver to 15-9-1 as the guest this season.

Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo missed the last game with a concussion suffered Saturday on an illegal hit by Boston's Brad Marchand, who was given a five- game suspension for the low check. Salo is out indefinitely.

The Blues, meanwhile, will take aim at their longest winning streak in over a year when they host the Western Conference-leading Canucks tonight.

The Blues have won four straight for the third time this season and tonight they'll try for the first five-game winning streak since Dec. 21-31, 2010. St. Louis enters tonight tied with Chicago for first place in the Central Division and the clubs are just two points behind Vancouver for the top seed in the West.

St. Louis' current winning streak began with a perfect 3-0 homestand and the Blues kept it going with Tuesday's victory in Montreal. Tonight's test kicks off a five-game homestand, as the Blues try to improve upon their stellar 17-3-2 record in the Gateway City.

One thing learned from the Blues' victory in Montreal is that Canadiens fans still adore St. Louis goaltender Jaroslav Halak. The crowd at the Bell Centre gave the former Habs backstop a standing ovation following St. Louis' 3-0 victory over the Canadiens.

Playing at the Bell Centre for the first time since being traded to the Blues, Halak needed to make only 19 saves to post his second shutout of the season. The reason for the warm reception goes back to Halak's heroics in leading the eighth-seeded Canadiens to the Eastern Conference finals in 2010.

Halak outperformed Carey Price, the fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft, but Montreal decided to part ways with the pending restricted free agent, shipping him to St. Louis for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz shortly after the season.

"It's good to see I have so many fans in Montreal, and I appreciate what they did for me in this special game. Right now it's a great feeling," Halak said.

David Backes and Chris Stewart set up each other's goals, while Jason Arnott also tallied in St. Louis' second shutout in a row. Brian Elliott, who has overtaken Halak as the No. 1 goalie for the Blues, needed to make just 15 saves to blank visiting Colorado on Saturday.

Elliott is expected to get the start over Halak tonight.

Blues defenseman Barret Jackman left Tuesday's game with a hip injury and is questionable for this evening's tilt.

The Blues have won both meetings against the Canucks this year, winning a game at home and on the road. St. Louis has taken three of four and four of the last six encounters overall, and Vancouver has lost two straight and four of six in Missouri.
Aaron Rome-Vigneault makes his return after a 12 game absence due to a broken finger. Keith Ballard sits which will make quite a few of the local posters happy. This feels like a repeat of last year where the coaching staff's management of Ballard seems questionable at best. Ballard hasn't been the player we all hoped for, but there's not way he's any less effective than all three of Rome, Alberts and Sulzer in what should be a big game for the Canucks against a big conference opponent that has already beaten them twice this season.

How GMMG keeps Ballard at this point is beyond me. He hasn't been a perfect player but he doesn't deserve to be a healthy scratch over three depth defensemen.

Roberto Luongo is expected to start and David Booth still isn't ready to go.

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:52 pm
by Corb
Keith Ballard, at this point, is clearly a disappointment. I also think St.Louis is pretty physical, so that might have entered into the decision as well - but who knows. Ballard has no offence, and at this point can anyone even really make an argument that he is better than Rome? I dunno.

I basically trust AV's decision making (for the most part LOL).

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:54 pm
by newcanuckfan
How GMMG keeps Ballard at this point is beyond me. He hasn't been a perfect player but he doesn't deserve to be a healthy scratch over three depth defensemen.
Sitting to keep him from harm on the eve of a big trade?

OR
I also think St.Louis is pretty physical, so that might have entered into the decision
Maybe I need to go the trade rumour thread?

Should be a tough game tonight, let's hope they have the legs!

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:02 pm
by Strangelove
newcanuckfan wrote:
How GMMG keeps Ballard at this point is beyond me. He hasn't been a perfect player but he doesn't deserve to be a healthy scratch over three depth defensemen.
Sitting to keep him from harm on the eve of a big trade?
THIS!

Sulzer, Alberts, Rome all playing and Ballard sits?? :shock:

Image

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Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:19 pm
by dhabums
Corb wrote:Keith Ballard, at this point, is clearly a disappointment. I also think St.Louis is pretty physical, so that might have entered into the decision as well - but who knows. Ballard has no offence, and at this point can anyone even really make an argument that he is better than Rome? I dunno.

I basically trust AV's decision making (for the most part LOL).
Rome aside, there is no reason Sulzer should be in first unless Ballard is a little banged up.

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:20 pm
by mathonwy
Unless there's a trade happening or an injury that we don't know about, I don't understand why Ballard is sitting in favour of Sulzer, Alberts and Rome.

I still believe in GMMG's leadership and to a lesser degree, AV's coaching, but this decision really leaves me scratching my head.

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:35 pm
by herb
Corb wrote:Keith Ballard, at this point, is clearly a disappointment.
No doot aboot it Corb.

BUT

I still find the whole Ballard situation bizarre. The guy came to town with quite a bit of fan fare as a reasonably big off season acquisition. The Canucks organization and coaching staff have, for the most part, been supportive of their players and put them in positions where they are likely to succeed.

For the most part Ballard has gotten crap minutes with shitty defensive partners and despite being a disappointment, he hasn't been a liability most nights and produces errors/brain cramps at no higher pace than Bieksa and Edler. Corb says he has no offence when his performance before coming to Vancouver clearly disagrees with that assessment. Ballard has probably gotten two minutes of powerplay time in his year and a half in Vancouver. I just don't understand it. 99% of what this team and coaching staff does is logical, but IMO the whole Ballard situation hasn't been.

Corb, St Louis may be physical, but there's no way you can tell me Sulzer is more capable than Ballard.

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:52 pm
by mathonwy
Corb wrote:Keith Ballard, at this point, is clearly a disappointment. I also think St.Louis is pretty physical, so that might have entered into the decision as well - but who knows. Ballard has no offence, and at this point can anyone even really make an argument that he is better than Rome? I dunno.

I basically trust AV's decision making (for the most part LOL).
Keith Ballard is a disappointment for his 4.2M till 2014-15 paycheck. Overall, let's see what 4.2M can buy you.

GP G A PTS +/- PPG PPA SHG SHA GWG PIM Shots PCT Hits
27 Johnson, Jack LAK 4.357 On Pace 82 11 21 32 -8 5 9 0 0 7 34 168 6.55 80
28 Volchenkov, Anton NJD 4.250 On Pace 74 0 10 10 -7 0 0 0 2 0 41 62 .00 168
29 Kaberle, Tomas MTL 4.250 On Pace 81 1 31 32 -14 0 11 0 0 0 7 107 .93 21
30 Liles, John-Michael TOR 4.200 On Pace 74 8 37 45 2 4 17 0 0 0 26 148 5.41 65
31 Ballard, Keith VAN 4.200 On Pace 76 1 11 12 -1 0 0 0 0 0 92 59 1.69 100
32 Jovanovski, Ed FLA 4.125 On Pace 81 3 11 14 -9 1 3 0 0 0 27 83 3.61 77
33 Streit, Mark NYI 4.100 On Pace 82 4 41 45 -15 2 28 0 0 0 53 129 3.10 86

I actually like Ballard's physicality. He doesn't back down and his hip check is pretty lethal. He's a short guy but he's got a big ass.

But he's on pace for a 12pt season. Wow is that ever horrible.

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:17 pm
by herb
mathonwy wrote:Keith Ballard is a disappointment for his 4.2M till 2014-15 paycheck. Overall, let's see what 4.2M can buy you.
Disappointing, no doubt, but the guys you listed all play in their team's respective top 4 with significant powerplay time. Most defensemen get roughly 50% of their goals and assists on the powerplay. For Ballard it has been 0% because he never plays the PP.

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:26 pm
by Hockey Widow
Disappointment for his salary OK. But you have him on the team so why not play him since sitting him still means he gets paid his salary and his salary still counts against the cap. That is the illogical part in all of this. We can argue all we want about his value or whether he is a disappointment or not but are you really saying he is worse than Alberts, Rome and Sulzer?

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:10 pm
by Jovocop
Average Ice time per game

Johnson, Jack - 23:01
Volchenkov, Anton - 17:03
Kaberle, Tomas - 18:24
Liles, John-Michael - 21:32
Ballard, Keith - 15:39
Jovanovski, Ed - 16:49
Streit, Mark - 23:26

Considering the average icetime, it is hard for Ballard to outscore other defensemen...

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:20 pm
by mathonwy
Tough shift by Manny...

First time puck went to the point.. didn't take a penalty.

Second time... busted.

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:25 pm
by tantalum
I like the the Blues announcers in general. They clearly watch a lot fo games or at least review film of the opponents last few games. Very well prepared.

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:36 pm
by Island Nucklehead
Liking Duco's game. Throwing the body around well. Weise got the better of Crombeen in their fight.

Some brain cramps from our D so far, and Luongo seems to be fighting the puck a little bit.

Re: GDT: Canucks @ Blues 5pm PST

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:39 pm
by rats19
But its 1-1 with 6 left In the first.