Watch Mason Raymond’s crazy shot

The whole video is actually of Raymond’s first career hat trick. The lucky shot comes at the 18-second mark. Raymond already has 29 points this season for the Vancouver Canucks. He improves by the year and is now a key player on the Canuck’s roster.

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2009 NHL Preview: Vancouver Canucks

We’ve partnered with On Goal Analysis to bring you a team-by-team preview of the upcoming NHL season. (Just scroll down on the OGA website and hit the calendar.) Here is the preview for the Vancouver Canucks…

Team Play: ISSUE – A lack of excuses. Over the summer, Vancouver parted company with Mats Sundin, Taylor Pyatt, Mattias Ohlund and Jason LaBarbera. Those roster spots were filled (and then some) by Mikael Samuelsson, Mathieu Schnieder, Brad Lukowich, Christian Erhoff and Andrew Raycroft (and in all likelihood, Sergei Shirokov, as well). Overall, there’s no denying the fact that the Canucks improved over the summer. They now face the enjoyable dilemma of having eight NHL-caliber defensemen, while only needing seven…though Schneider’s recovery from shoulder surgery will allow Head Coach Alain Vigneault to postpone that d-man decision.

Among the forward corps, Samuelsson’s 19 goals last season equal Sundin’s and Pyatt’s combined tallies. Meanwhile, rookie Sergei Shirokov has demonstrated a nose for the net in preseason, and should be good for 20+, provided he spends the entire 2009-10 campaign in Vancouver. Thus, putting biscuits in baskets shouldn’t be an issue for the Canucks this season.

Much has been made of the Canucks’ “epic odyssey” – a “fourteen-game road trip” made necessary by the presence of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Some have gone so far as to suggest the Canucks’ season hinges on this road trip. That was my initial thought, too…until I analyzed the trip and saw that it’s not as bad (or as “epic”) as it’s made out to be. Conclusion: No excuse.

The Vancouver Canucks enter the 2009-10 campaign an improved team over last season. Despite the improvements, expect the Canucks to battle the Calgary Flames all season long for supremacy in the Northwest, as the Flames have upgraded, too. Look for the loser of that battle to finish no lower than sixth in the West…and don’t be surprised if these two clubs meet in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs next April. Can you say, “fireworks”?

Click here to read the rest of the preview (which includes the site’s unique Playoff Qualifying Curve and fantasy information) at the On Goal Analysis site.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo signs a 12-year contract


Vancouver Canuck fans need not worry any longer about team captain Roberto Luongo signing with another team. The All-Star goaltender has willingly agreed to a 12-year contract extension worth $64 million.

Luongo’s new contract comes with an annual salary cap hit of just $5.33-million, which is down from the $6.75-million average of his current four-year, $27-million deal that expires at the end of the upcoming season.

Luongo’s deal includes a no-trade clause, keeping the 30-year-old Canucks captain in Vancouver until the 2021-22 season.

Luongo was 33-13-7 last season, when he became the first NHL goalie in 60 years to be selected a team captain. He finished second in the league with nine shutouts and fifth in both goals-against average (2.35) and save percentage (.920).

Considering the contract includes a no-trade clause, I think it’s plain dumb to sign a guy for this amount of time. Luongo is already 30 years-old and went through a grueling groin injury last season. I assumed this contract became the longest in NHL history, but I was wrong. In 2006, Rick DiPietro inked a 15-year, $67.5 million deal with the New York Islanders, surpassing former teammate Alexei Yashin’s contract of 10 years.


Couch Potato Alert: 5/1

The NBA and NHL playoffs are heating up, as the Boston Celtics/Chicago Bulls series could go down as maybe the best first round series ever. The Detroit Red Wings will again battle the Anaheim Ducks, who have defeated them in consecutive playoff series. They defeated the Red Wings in the 2003 Western Conference quarterfinals, it marked the first time since 1952 that a defending Stanley Cup champion was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.

All times ET…

NBA Playoffs
Fri, 8 PM: Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat (ESPN)
Sat, 8 PM: Chicago Bulls @ Boston Celtics (TNT)
Sun, 1 PM: Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks* if necessary (ABC)
Sun, 3:30 PM: Dallas Mavericks @ Denver Nuggets (ABC)

NHL Playoffs
Fri, 7 PM: Anaheim Ducks @ Detroit Red Wings (Versus)
Sat, 1PM: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals (NBC)
Sat, 9 PM: Chicago Blackhawks @ Vancouver Canucks (Versus)
Sun, 2 PM: Anaheim Ducks @ Detroit Red Wings (NBC)
Sun, 7:30 PM: Carolina Hurricanes @ Boston Bruins (Versus)

Sat, 3:40 PM: New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies (Fox)
Sun., 1:30 PM: Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays (TBS)
Sun., 8 PM: Chicago White Sox @ Texas Rangers (ESPN)

Sat, 9 PM: Ricky Hatton vs. Manny Pacquiao for the world junior welterweight title from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena (HBO PPV)

Horse Racing
Sat, 4 PM: Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.(NBC)

Couch Potato Alert: 4/17

John Madden was, um, colorful in the color analyst role on a NFL telecast. His catch phrases were the sound effects from the old Batman television series. After every play, you were guaranteed a “boom” or a “bam” from Madden in his description. He brought fun to the no fun league (NFL), and his name is synonymous in the gaming community for playing video football. And Madden was a maverick in another way; he left on top in two professions. He will be missed.

The NBA and NHL postseasons start this weekend, and there are a few good baseball games on the tube as well.

All times ET…

NBA Playoffs
Sat, 12:30 PM: Chicago Bulls @ Boston Celtics (ESPN)
Sat, 3 PM: Detroit Pistons @ Cleveland Cavaliers (ABC)
Sat, 8 PM: Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs (ESPN)
Sat, 10:30 PM: Houston Rockets @ Portland Trail Blazers (ESPN)
Sun, 3 PM: Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers (ABC)
Sun, 5:30 PM: Philadelphia 76ers @ Orlando Magic (TNT)
Sun, 8 PM: Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks (TNT)
Sun, 10:30 PM: New Orleans Hornets @ Denver Nuggets (TNT)

NHL Playoffs
Fri, 7 PM: Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins (Versus)
Fri, 10 PM: St. Louis Blues @ Vancouver Canucks (Versus)
Sat, 1 PM: New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals (NBC)
Sat, 8 PM: Montreal Canadiens @ Boston Bruins (Versus)
Sun, 3 PM: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers (NBC)
Sun, 7 PM: Vancouver Canucks @ St. Louis Blues (Versus)
Sun, 10 PM: Anaheim Ducks @ San Jose Sharks (Versus)

Sat, 3:40 PM: St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs (Fox)
Sun., 1 PM: Cleveland Indians @ New York Yankees (TBS)
Sun., 8 PM: St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs (ESPN)

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