NHL Canadian Corner – January 5, 2012.

Canucks believe they’re better this season…The Canadiens crush the Jets…Senators Chris Phillips out with concussion…Mistakes proving costly for Flames…Oilers Ladislav Smid becoming a top defenseman…Maple Leafs place Colton Orr on waivers.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks are seven points behind their pace of a year ago, but believe they’re a better team this season because of last season’s experience.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Bruins, the Canucks have shaken off their “Stanley Cup Final” hangover and are among the top teams in the league. Should be interesting to see how far they can go this season, and if they can continue to put last season’s experience to good use.

Eller leads Habs over Jets with 4-goal night.

MONTREAL GAZETTE/WINNIPEG SUN: The Canadiens four-goal burst in the third period resulted in their 7-3 victory over the Jets. Canadiens forward Lars Eller led the charge with a four-goal performance.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Veteran Senators defenseman Chris Phillips has been sidelined by a concussion. They’re hoping it’s only a short-term issue.

CALGARY HERALD: The Flames are hoping to overcome the mental lapses in their game in the new year which proved costly to them in the final three months of 2011.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have shown improvement in recent weeks and remain within striking distance of a playoff berth, but it’s going to take a strong, consistent effort the rest of the way if they hope to make the post-season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers blueliner Ladislav Smid has emerged as one of the league’s top all-round defensemen this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smid appears to be one of the few bright spots on the Oilers blueline this season.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs have placed enforcer Colton Orr on waivers.


  1. The Eller-Ak-Moen line is worth keeping together for a string of games. They are big, and relatively tough, and have some chemistry.

  2. “Smid has emerged as one of the league’s top all-round defensemen”

    Yeah, he’s playing well……but that says “top”?

  3. Smid has been one of the top d-men this season, plays all the hard minutes, blocks every shot he can, even scoring a few goals. Doesn’t take dumb penalties anymore, hits hard, pisses other teams off, yeah he’s been a work horse this season. Good on him!

  4. The Canucks are not tough enough to withstand the continued onslaught of tough hitting that goes on in the playoffs never mind having the Sedin’s targeted with cheap shots so in my mind they should pick up Colton Orr on waivers and then see who wants to mess with them (the remaining part of his $1 million dollar salary is actually chump change) . It was proven last year that the ref’s weren’t interested in policing the rough stuff out of the game. Last year also proved how vulnerable the Canucks were to being bullied and even though he would not get many shifts in the playoffs just having him in the line-up would make players think twice before trying their bullying tactics.

  5. @Captain Ahab
    Although I’d agree that given the way the NHL refs seem to swallow their whistles in the playoffs this leaves a team like Vancouver more vulnerable to goonery, it’s also not the Canuck and/or Gillis style to simply get a goon for goon’s sake. The guy needs to be able to play some sort of game and produce to a modest degree. Boston were clearly a tougher/more physical team last year (and still are) but their guys on all 4 lines can play and they do produce. Orr simply isn’t that good or the Leafs wouldn’t have waived them. We all saw how effective Ben Eager (a pure goon) was for SJ last year in the playoffs.

  6. @ Alex
    agree with most of what you said, except that about Ben Eager. I don’t like the guy, but he can actually play hockey, a former 1st rounder if you can believe it! He has an anger management issue and was detrimental to the Sharks post-season Vs. Canucks, but played a big part in the Hawks Cup win (similar to Thorton’s role for Boston last year), although overshadowed by Byfuglin(sp?). But I wouldn’t compare him to Jody Shelly, Orr, etc.

  7. … that being said. I also don’t think Gillis should pick up a goon, though I wish Rippen was still a Canuck and playing like he could for last years’ Playoff and this year. He was fast, could snipe once and a while, and was a loyal teammate.

  8. Eager a pure goon?? Ummm.. He’s a wear his emotions on his sleeve type guy. Goes all out all the time, skates 100mph, doesn’t even have that bad of hands. And I’m pretty sure he hasn’t even had a fight this season. Sharks screwed up last playoffs takin eager out of the series.

  9. agree with Oilersfan,
    he was an intimidating force and although cost the Sharks that game he went bizerker, he is a very effective playoff guy if not taking (bad) penalties.