Canadian Corner – October 19, 2011.

In today’s selection of notable NHL Canadian team news: Roberto Luongo hears the catcalls in Vancouver…Don’t expect to see Andrei Markov playing in October…Ryan Whitney finally returns to the Oilers lineup…The Jets best player…Nazim Kadri still sidelined…Flames coach admires his team’s tenacity…Senators coach unhappy over his team’s recent loss.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo heard the boos from the Vancouver crowd in last night’s 3-0 loss to the NY Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How quickly they forget that, without Luongo, the Canucks wouldn’t have made it to the Stanley Cup Final last season, or that he’s traditionally a slow starter. Yes, he hasn’t played well right now, but the entire team is struggling early, and Luongo doesn’t deserve to be singled out and made the scapegoat. One day, Canuckleheads, you’ll miss him when he’s gone. Yes, I know, you believe Cory Schneider is the end-all and be-all, but he’s yet to prove himself as a starter, and quite frankly, the only way he’ll get that shot in Vancouver is if Luongo suddenly retires, or demands a trade, and booing “Bobby Lou” isn’t going to drive him out of town. Perhaps you folks would prefer a return to the “good old days”, when the one thing that consistently prevented the Canucks from advancing in the playoffs was average goaltending? Honestly, be thankful for what you’ve got!

RDS.CA: Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Martin yesterday confirmed defenseman Andrei Markov won’t be returning to the lineup this month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs will simply have to make do until he’s finally ready to return.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Defenseman Ryan Whitney finally returned to the Oilers lineup, having missed the preseason and the opening two weeks of the season to a nagging ankle injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whitney’s return should dampen the early season trade rumors of the Oilers shopping for a puck-moving defenseman.

Best Jet.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Sophomore forward Alexander Burmistrov has been the Jets best player thus far.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’s shown considerably improvement compared to last season, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can continue this pace throughout the season. 

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs don’t intend to rush back forward Nazim Kadri, who is recovering from a sprained left knee suffered in preseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Leafs strong start there’s no reason to rush back Kadri or any of their injured players.

CALGARY HERALD: Flames coach Brent Sutter was impressed by his teams “no-quit” attitude as they rallied to a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators head coach Paul MacLean wasn’t happy with his team’s performance in its 7-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sadly, I don’t think there’s much MacLean can do, as his roster is stocked with young players still learning the ropes at the NHL level.


  1. Lyle……. Honest Habs hockey talk with me….. I know Price has appeared decent and the D is hit hard with injuries, but my god why do you think the lines are being switched every game? I actually like te combo of desharnais patch AK but I don’t think constant line changing is the answer. I also think Cole looks better the last two games but it appears that Martin has a issue with him. I’m thinking letting Muller go was a massive mistake. I mean, they thoroughly outplayed the Sabres last night and still found a way to lose. It’s encouraging to see the level of play the last two games, but they are reminding me of the team that was rebuilt in the offseason they let Koivu (my fav player at the time) go. What do you think are the concerns, or positives, in their game so far? I’m cautiously optimistic at this point.

  2. Hi Lyle, i completely agree with your statement concerning lui and the fans. He starts this way every year yet some of my canuck faithful forget these things.

  3. I don’t get Canucks fans sometimes. In the days of Dan Cloutier, if you booed his crappy play, you would get an ear-full from Canucks fans. Now they have an all-star goalie, and they treat him like Red-Light Racicot????

    Loungo is one of the greatest goalies to play the game. Yeah, his stick-handling is a little weak, but he’s not there to make break-away plays. He deserves a lot more respect then he gets. I know a lot of teams that will take him if Vancouver doesn’t want him.

  4. @Joe Jets and Lyle – the love hate relationship with Luongo (IMO) centers around his natural talent level, which is undoubtedly elite. When you have an elite player who you know and has proven himself to be able to play at a very high level, the frustration factor from the fan base comes when that level is suddenly and dramatically dropped, then raised again, then dropped.

    Lyle makes the fair point of his historically slow starts (which is also another Luongo mystery the fanbase scratches their head at) but the playoff finals were a fairly example of his roller-coaster style talent – 2 shutouts where he played lights out bookended by a few out and out stinkers in Boston (not saying he was alone amongst the Canucks in this category). It’s the consistency factor that fans find most frustrating and why that’s expressed through boos or what have you (not that I condone that outlet). Often a fanbase would prefer a player with less talent but who leaves everything on the ice night after night. It’s raw human nature, I think.

  5. SmielmaN: I think it’s just going to take a little time. Price has been inconsistent so far, and the defense is struggling because they’ve had to press rookies into service. The offense played much better against the Sabres, and if not for Miller, the Habs probably would’ve won that game. For now, it’s too early to panic, but I do believe Price must be more consistent, and the “D” must improve.

  6. 10-4 Lyle…. I think they will come around, it’s just sometimes Martin’s coaching puzzles me lol

  7. Hey Lyle
    I think as soon as Price gets his game back things will become easier for the rookie D and they sould suffice until Spaz,Camp, and Markov return
    .” fingers crossed on Markov am really starting to wonder if he’ll ever get healthy enough to be the Markov of old ‘
    Diaz has been a nice surprise seems to see the ice well

    As for Juggling Jacque we new exactly what we were getting when he was hired, same coach everywhere he’s been.

    So where is Betts now. Is he playing with the Phatoms ?