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A Familiar Face
The Vancouver Canucks will welcome a familiar face at Rogers Arena tonight as they take on the New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider, former Vancouver goalie, will start in net against none other than Roberto Luongo.
It was only a few months ago, dating back to June 30 at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, where the Vancouver Canucks announced trade that stunned the hockey world. Their starting goaltender Cory Schneider was traded to the New Jersey Devils for a ninth overall selection. Having been speculated as a potential trade ever since signing an entry-level contract with the Canucks in June 2010 to back up Luongo, Schneider finally believed that he was staying in Vancouver. The news came as a surprise to everyone, none more than Schneider who described the news as "shocking".
The goalie saga began during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Cory Schneider started Game 3 against the LA Kings of the first round as the Canucks failed to win the first two games with Luongo in goal. Despite losing Game 3, former Vancouver Coach Alain Vigneault decided to start Schneider once again. At this time, the media were in a frenzy as it was believed that Cory Schneider overtook the starting position from Roberto Luongo. Cory started in the remaining two games posting a stellar 1.31 GAA and a .960 save percentage, but was eventually not enough as the Canucks failed to score goals. The Kings would go on to eliminate them in the first round 4-1. Following the Canucks defeat, Luongo agreed to waive his no-trade clause in order for Schneider to assume the number one role as the Canucks goaltender. The Canucks would go on to sign Cory Schneider to a three-year contract, cementing the rumours that he was the starting goaltender.
During the tumultuous lockout filled season, the Canucks were still unable to trade Luongo. His heavy contract seemed too steep for teams to take on. There were teams that were supposedly in talks with GM Mike Gillis for a potential trade, but the goalie saga continued to drag on up until the playoffs. The Canucks continued their disappointing playoff performance as they exited early in the first round, having been swept by the hands of the San Jose Sharks. A late season groin injury would sideline Schneider as Luongo started the first two games of the playoffs. Schneider would make his return in net for the final two games.
The goalie saga seems to have finally come to a complete circle as Cory Schneider will now face his former team and friend Roberto Luongo.
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Win a signed Pavel Bure Jersey!
Dubbed 'The Russian Rocket', Pavel Bure is one of the most loved Canucks of all time, he was entered into the Hockey Hall of Fame in June 2012. This year on November 2, 2013 the Vancouver Canucks will retire Pavel Bure's number.
We want to give fans the opportunity to win a signed Pavel Bure jersey. Any purchases made on www.thefanzoo.com by September 30, 2013 will receive an entry to win a signed Pavel Bure jersey.
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A rare occurance due to the shrinking salary cap, but several notable Free Agents still find themselves looking for work for the coming season. Names like Teemu Selanne, Mikhail Grabovski, and Ilya Bryzgalov still sit around looking for a sweater.
Many think that Selanne will re-up with the Anaheim Ducks, but as we've already seen this summer with Daniel Alfredsson's shocking decision to leave the Ottawa Senators, anything can happen. While I fully expect Selanne to remain with the Ducks organization that he's spent parts of 14 seasons with, it would be great to see him end his career in a Winnipeg Jets uniform. His production is in decline, as can be expected in the twilight of a career, but there's no denying that the "Finnish Flash" can still keep up with this generation's talent and should be brought on to any team for his leadership and presence alone.
Mikhail Grabovski seems to be cursed with overvaluing himself thanks to his latest contract by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Grabovski is still a decent pick-up and can slot in nicely for any team looking for a second line centre, however, he'll have to accept much less than the $5.5 million that his last contract averaged, especially after only scoring 9 goals and 7 assists in a full 48 games. Still on the right side of 30, I'd expect to see Grabovski sign a 1 year deal and hope for a better pay-out as a free agent next summer, with the salary cap expected to rise again. His other option is to follow Ilya Kovalchuk and head to the KHL, where he could get more than he would staying in the NHL.
After signing Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 year, $51 million contract, the Philadelphia Flyers thought they finally found stability in their most glaring weakness in recent years, goaltending. Bryzgalov had found success with the Phoenix Coyotes, including being named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in the 2009-10 NHL Season. While he put up decent numbers, posting a 0.905 save percentage and 2.64 GAA in 99 games with the Flyers, Bryzgalov would be chastized by the fan base for soft goals at crucial times. He also had a lackluster, "spaced-out" relationship with the media, which helped create more focus on the goaltender, leading some to believe his head wasn't completely focused on the game. Unless he also opts for the KHL, teams will most likely wait until after training camp opens to assess their goaltending needs.
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Week 5 Toronto Argonauts host BC Lions
Heading in to week 5 of the CFL Season, the BC Lions (3-1-0) find themselves sitting in third place in an extremely tough West Division. Just 2 points behind the first place Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-0-0), the Lions travel to Toronto to match up against the Argonauts (2-2-0), who currently sit in first in the East Division, on Tuesday. BC goes in to Tuesday’s tilt with a 3 game win streak, while Toronto looks to build off their week 4 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-3-0).
The two teams met during week 2 earlier this month, where BC came out victorious in a 24-16 match-up. BC’s rushing game highlighted their offence as they were able to drive the field for 160 yards. Running back Andrew Harris ran for 103 yards on 15 carries, converting a touchdown in the process. Toronto was unable to match the running game, only running the ball for 34 yards, though QB Ricky Ray did run one in to score. Ray completed 28 of 39 pass attempts for 215 yards, while Travis Lulay completed 20 of 34 for 249 yards, including one touchdown and one interception.
Elsewhere in the league, the Montreal Alouettes (1-3-0) play host to the Edmonton Eskimos (1-3-0) tonight, while the Calgary Stampeders (3-1-0) visit Winnipeg on Friday, and the Roughriders and Tiger-cats (1-3-0) do battle in Hamilton on Saturday. Edmonton’s lone victory has come outside of their division, in a week 2 win over Hamilton, while Montreal has yet to win at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium where they went 7-2 last season.
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Your Chance to Meet Hockey Legends Yvan Cournoyer, Mike Bossy & Henri Richard
Here's an event that hockey fans have been waiting for, a chance to meet Hockey Legends, Mike Bossy, Yvan Cournoyer and Henri Richard. You may have heard about the event on Team 1040 or seen it in local media. Join The Fan Zoo on Friday, July 26th for a mix and mingle with the players, as well as a Q & A and live/silent auction. Or purchase tickets for Saturday, July 27th where you'll be able to meet the hockey legends, get a photo taken and get your jersey signed!
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Canucks Name John Tortorella as New Head Coach
The Vancouver Canucks have officially announced John Tortorella as the next head coach of the organization.
Just three weeks after being let go from the New York Rangers, the Canucks have signed the most successful American coach in history. With 410 wins and a Stanley Cup win with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, Tortorella brings not only experience, but a tough edge that the Canucks organization may have not been used to since Mike Keenan.
The Jack Adams winner will succeed previous Coach Alain Vigneault, who has been the most successful coach in Canucks history. After being one win away from a Stanley Cup in 2011, Vigneault and the Canucks were knocked out in the next two post seasons losing 10 of the 11 games played.
Tortorella will have quite the task in front of him as he will head a veteran Canucks team who finished 19th in goal scoring after being in the top 5 for the past three seasons. The Canucks have dropped to the bottom 10 on power play successes and face off percentages.
Alain Vigneault was officially introduced as the head coach of the New York Rangers this past Friday in what seems to have been a one for one trade in coaches.
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Chicago Blackhawks are the 2013 Stanley Cup Champs!
The Chicago Blackhawks are the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions and it came in stunning fashion.
The Boston Bruins took the ice in a must win game last night, down 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Finals. It was speculated that center Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews were hiding upper body injuries, but both suited up for their respectful teams in another intense showdown between the two teams.
Boston struck first as Chris Kelly beat goalie Corey Crawford seven minutes into the game. The Blackhawks managed to stave off the first period onslaught of the Bruins, who attempted 32 shots to the Hawks 8. The Bruins could have easily gone up more than one goal if it weren’t for the stellar play of Crawford and 13 blocked shots by the team. Captain Jonathan Toews proved to be a big time player again as he knotted up the game at one apiece, snapping the puck past goalie Tuukka Rask in the second period.
Both teams went into the final period trading chances, but it was Milan Lucic who scored the go-ahead goal with just under eight minutes left in the game. The Boston hopefuls could sense an opportunity to force a Game 7, but the ever so resilient Hawks scored the tying goal with just over a minute left in the game. Bryan Bickell, who has been a one-man wrecking ball in the playoffs, scored his ninth goal of the series. The line of Toews, Kane, and Bickell proved to be a formula for success and too much for the Bruins.
The goal silenced a Boston arena, as the game was tied once more and looking more like the two teams would be heading into overtime for the fourth time in the series. But before anyone could catch a breath, the unthinkable happened. Dave Bolland of the Chicago Blackhawks drove straight to the net and scored just 18 seconds later. The Hawks celebrated as if the goal was the overtime winner. The goal would eventually hold, as the Hawks would go on to defeat the Bruins 3-2 in Game 6 to claim the Stanley Cup.
The remarkable comeback was as sudden, if not more than Kane’s overtime goal in 2010 that helped the Hawks win their first Stanley Cup.
Patrick Kane went on to win the Conn Smyth Trophy as Playoff MVP. He finished the post season with 9 goals and 10 assists. His success was ignited when he formed the line with Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell.
This would be the Chicago Blackhawks second Stanley Cup victory in 4 years.
It was later found out that Patrice Bergeron was playing with a broken rib, torn cartilage, and separated shoulder.
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The stage has been set and the best teams from each conference will battle for the 2013 Stanley Cup. The Chicago Blackhawks will host the Boston Bruins to kick off the final round of the playoffs. You have to go back almost 2 years to find when these 2 teams last played each other, with the Bruins taking the game 3-2 in a shootout on October 15, 2011. Due to the lockout shortened season, this will be the only time that the Eastern Conference will play the Western Conference.
Patrick Kane found his scoring touch during the Western Conference Finals against the LA Kings, scoring 4 goals in the final 2 games to help eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champions. Captain Jonathan Toews looks to get back to helping the team offensively, as he has only 9 points in 17 games. Luckily for the Blackhawks, they've had production from their bottom 6 forwards, as Bryan Bickell is tied with Patrick Sharp for second in playoff goals, each potting 8 goals. Bickell's been rewarded for going to the front of the net and getting in the gritty areas, but will have a much tougher time against a defensive team led by the largest player in the game, 6'9" Zdeno Chara.
Adam McQuaid proved to be the hero for Boston as they completed their 4 game sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins. While both remaining goaltenders have played exceptionally well for their teams, Tuukka Rask gets the nod as the better of the two. With nearly identical GAA (Corey Crawford's 1.74 to Rask's 1.75), Rask's .943 save percentage has him well ahead of second place Crawford, who sits at .935. With a strong defence in front of him, and the confidence carrying over from last round, it's clear that the Blackhawks will have a tough time trying to solve the Finnish netminder.
Both teams have their success stories in these playoffs so far. Chicago battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the second round against the Detroit Red Wings, while Boston managed to win a thrilling game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, in what might be one of the most memorable moments of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both teams will look to continue their successful styles of play. The Bruins defense will have a tougher time handling all 4 offensive lines of the Blackhawks, but come in with confidence knowing that they stymied the star-studded line-up of the Penguins to only 2 goals in 4 games during the Eastern Conference Finals. However it turns out, it's sure to be an interesting series between 2 great teams.
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Penguins/Bruins Game 3 Stage Set
Down 2 games at home early in a series is not a position that teams ever want to see themselves in, let alone during the Conference Finals, but that's currently where the Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves. The Boston Bruins have dominated the first 2 games, outscoring the Penguins 9-1. While the Penguins record on the road (18-6-0) was identical to their record at home during the regular season, the Bruins had a bit more success while playing at TD Garden (16-5-3), than they did on the road (12-9-3).
The Bruins have the right players clicking at the perfect. Brad Marchand had a poor start to the Playoffs, but started to regain his form during the second round against the New York Rangers. Game 2 saw him have one of his better games, scoring 2 goals, his first coming only 28 seconds in to the game. His second goal of the game, which was also the first shot that Marc-Andre Fleury faced, was the epitome of his style of play as he and Matt Cooke were jawing at each other before he skated down the ice and snapped the puck home. Staying true to his form, he continued to chirp Cooke during his goal celebration. Milan Lucic has also found his game during these playoffs, being the physically dominating force that Bruins fans love to see. The Bruins need to continue playing the way they are, punishing the stars on the Penguins and throwing them off their game by getting under their skin.
Having only scored 1 goal so far on Tuukka Rask, the star-studded Penguins line-up knows that they need to do better. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are the prime targets for the Bruins, but will have to focus on the way they play the game and less so on the way Boston is playing against them. Other key offensive players, like Jarome Iginla, James Neal, and Chris Kunitz, will also need to step up their play and try to sneak in to spots unnoticed while the Bruins focus their efforts on containing #87 and #71. If the Penguins hope to advance to their third Stanley Cup Finals in 6 years, then they'll also need to focus a bit more on the defensive side of the puck and help out their goaltenders, who have looked shaky so far this series. The defensive Bruins have caught on to their offense-first mentality and have out-waited them, causing turnovers that lead to goals.
Tomas Vokoun will get the start tonight in Boston after being replaced by Fleury when he surrendered 3 goals on 12 shots during the first period of Game 2. Puck drop for Game 3 is set for 5:00PM EST, 8:00PM PST tonight.
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Final Four Stanley Cup Champions
Final Four Captains
Los Angeles Kings
It was just a year ago when the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup. Coming into the playoffs as the eighth-seeded team in the West, they went up against the President Trophy Winners, the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings gained momentum in the second half of the season after a troublesome start. With new addition Jeff Carter in the lineup and Jonathan Quick finding his eventual Vezina winning form, the Kings solidified the last spot in the playoffs. Going up against a Canucks team that was favoured to make it deep into the playoffs, the Kings knocked them out in 5 games. The Canucks would only manage to score 8 goals in the series.
The Kings went on to face the St. Louis Blues, a team who has swept them out of both their previous playoff meetings. The Blues were coming off a 5 game series win over the San Jose Sharks. With more spectacular goaltending by Jonathan Quick, the Kings advanced easily winning 4 straight to sweep the Blues.
The Western Conference Finals saw the Kings face the third-seeded Phoenix Coyotes. This was the first time in franchise history the Coyotes advanced to the Conference Finals. Riding a hot goalie in Mike Smith, the Coyotes defeated the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators up to this point. The Kings continued to roll over their competition as they defeated the Coyotes in 5 games. Phoenix only managed 6 goals against Quick.
The LA Kings faced the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Kings took the early advantage as they won both games in New Jersey, both wins coming in overtime. But the story of the series again was Jonathan Quick’s play in net, as he was almost unbeatable. The Kings would go on to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history and become only the eighth-seeded team to achieve the honour. Jonathan Quick would take the Conn Smyth with a staggering 1.11 GAA in the playoffs.
It was two years ago when the Boston Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup. As the third-seeded team in the East, the Bruins faced the six-seeded Montreal Canadiens. Both teams won their games at the opposing team’s home city as they split the series at two apiece. The series would end up going to a seventh game in overtime. Nathan Horton played heroics as he scored the eventual series winning goal to push the Bruins into the next round.
The Bruins faced the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round. It would be a rematch from last year in the second round when the Flyers overcame all odds and defeated the Bruins in 4 straight after being down 3-0 in the series. This year was a different story as the Bruins made a quick meal of their opponents, sweeping them in 4 games.
The Eastern Conference Finals had the Bruins face the surging Tampa Bay Lightning, who also was coming off a four game sweep in their previous round against the Washington Capitals. The teams traded wins as the series went to a seventh game. Heading into the final period knotted at 0, Nathan Horton scored with 7:33 left for his second series winning goal. Boston would win a trip to the Finals.
The Stanley Cup Finals was a showdown between the Bruins and the Canucks. The President Trophy Winners, Vancouver Canucks took both of their home games as did the Bruins. It was now a best of three series for the Stanley Cup. The Canucks took the crucial Game 5 with a 1-0 win, but couldn’t close the Bruins off in Game 6 as they chased Roberto Luongo out of the net in a 5-2 victory. Game 7 took place back in Vancouver, where the Boston Bruins took charge. The Canucks couldn’t manage a single goal against Tim Thomas as the Bruins would eventualyl win the game 4-0 and capture their first Stanley Cup since 1972. Tim Thomas took the Conn Smyth as playoff MVP.
With a solid season behind them, the Chicago Blackhawks went into the playoffs as the second-seeded team in the West. Their first opponents were the Nashville Predators. Nashville took the early advantage going up 2-1 in the series, only to have the Hawks win three straight to advance to the second round.
A rivalry that couldn’t be scripted saw the Blackhawks face the Vancouver Canucks in the second round. The heated rivalry would only build as both teams met in the playoffs. The Hawks defeated the Canucks in the second round last year 4-2 with this year being no different. Trading the first two games in the series, the Hawks took the next two games to take a 3-1 lead. The Canucks managed to stave off elimination in Game 5, but the Hawks offense was too much as they would go on to win the series again, 4-2.
The Hawks advanced to the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks, who were having no trouble knocking out their previous two opponents. The Hawks would have no problem taking out the Sharks, as they swept them in 4 games. This would end up being the only 4-game sweep in the playoffs.
Chicago would go on to face Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Flyers were running on an emotional high as they came back from a 3-0 game deficit in their previous round against the Boston Bruins. Both teams won their first two games at home for a 2-2 series tie, but it was Chicago who took the next two games. Patrick Kane scored the Cup clinching overtime winner in Game 7 to award Chicago their first Stanley Cup win since 1961. Jonathan Toews took home the Conn Smyth Trophy with 29 points in the playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009 against a highly favoured Detroit Red Wings team. The first round saw the Penguins face the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins took an early lead winning both games at home. The teams would trade off wins the next four games, as the Penguins would advance with a 4-2 series win.
The high powered offensive of the Penguins faced an equally powered offensive team in the Washington Capitals. The Capitals took Game 1 with a stellar performance from goalie Simeon Varlamov. Game 2 had both Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby tally hat-tricks, but it was David Steckel of the Capitals that got the eventual game winner. Down two games early in the round, the Penguins fought to win three straight with heroics from Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin, both scoring in overtime. Facing elimination, the Capitals would win in overtime by another goal from David Steckel. As close as the series was, the Penguins chased Varlamov from the net in Game 7, scoring 4 goals early into the second. They would eventually win the game 6-2.
Entering the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pens had to face a lot of adversity in their previous two rounds. They went up against the Carolina Hurricanes and swept them in four games. Pittsburgh went on an offensive surge, scoring 20 goals in those four games with Malkin leading the way.
The Penguins faced a tough task as they were up against a veteran team in the Detroit Red Wings. Each team won both of their games at home as the series was tied up at 2. Detroit came out firing in Game 5 as they defeated the Pens 5-0, only to have the Pens respond with a close 2-1 victory the next game. Game 7, with the Stanley Cup on the line was nothing more than exciting. Max Talbot scored both goals for Pittsburgh to give them an early 2-0 lead, only to have it cut in half from a goal by Detroit’s Jonathan Ericsson. Talbot’s 2 goals would hold up as the Penguins claimed their Stanley Cup. Evgeni Malkin would become the first Russian born player to win the Conn Smyth Trophy.
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