Canucks battle the Flyers

FLYERSThe Vancouver Canucks (5-2-4) open up a two game homestand tonight when they host the Philadelphia Flyers (4-4-2) at Rogers Arena.

After Ryan Miller got the night off in Arizona on Friday night the Canucks will go back to the goaltender who has shut the door against the Flyers in his last two meetings against them. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis will be back in the line-up after missing the last three games with a lower body injury.

Over the weekend the Canucks held their team meeting and announced that Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen are both staying with the big club. They made it official by posting on Twitter, reassuring to fans that they’re serious about the youth movement.

Alex Burrows will play in his 700th NHL game tonight while 19-year-old Jared McCann will play in his 10th game. The power play is improving as they have tallied a goal in five straight games with the man-advantage. The Flyers are winless in their last three contests and have just scored 20 goals in their first 10 games.

Puck drop is set for 7pm PST.

Fun Fact

Tonight the Canucks will honour the Vancouver Grizzlies who played their first game on November 3, 1995.

The Canucks roster in the 95-96 season included Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning, and Alexander Mogilny. Feel old yet? Well tickets were also $55 for upper bowl seats.

…The good old days.

Number 23

jamesThe Cleveland Cavaliers are number one on a list, not the standings or any offensive efficiency list but when it comes to merchandise, LeBron James took them to the top. The Cavs are number one on the merchandise list and naturally LeBron’s jersey is a hit as well.

LeBron James’ Number 23 is the best-selling jersey for the first time since his rookie season in 2004. The numbers are based on overall sales from Adidas and NBAStore.com from October to December.

There was a new face in the top five as Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors was number two on the list. He is draining everything on the court and now in merchandise he’s making it rain. The Durantula otherwise known as Kevin Durant was at the number three spot.  Kobe Bryant sits at the fourth spot with Derrick Rose securing the fifth spot.

When it comes to merchandise the Chicago Bulls are second on the merchandise list, followed by the Warriors, Lakers and San Antonio Spurs in the top five.

On the court the Lebron-less Cavs are 1-8 without number 23. He is a game-time decision when the Cavs take on the Suns Tuesday night. James’ has been sidelined by strains of his lower back and left knee that have kept him out for eight consecutive games and a career-high nine games overall this season. The Cavs (19-19) are sitting at .500 for the first time since they were 7-7 earlier in the season. Despite their lackluster play of late, the Cavs are sixth in Eastern Conference.

Spicy Topics in the NBA

nbaIt has been an eventful start to the New Year in the NBA and Spice Sports will break it all down live on the show tomorrow from 5-7pm with Global BC’s writer Neil Khare.

Where to start? Well for one LeBron James has been sidelined for a week and will continue to rehab with back and knee strains. With his absence the Cavs have been struggling and are currently 19-16 in what has been a roller-coaster of a season. The management is clearly worried and they took action this week. The Cavs acquired J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks. They also acquired big man Timofey Mozgov from the Nuggets. He is expected to join the Cavs on a five-game West Coast trip that begins Friday against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

The New York Knicks have thrown in the towel for this season but have cleared up cap space for the future. Carmelo Anthony may sit for the rest of the year as he has been playing through injury but that is still left to be determined.

The Atlanta Hawks have surprised everyone with their recent play. Posting a 26-8 record, the Hawks are the number one seed while proving to doubters that they are the real deal. We’ll discuss if the Hawks are a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference.

Elsewhere in the East the Bulls are proving why they were expected to be title contenders. Utilizing their depth and veteran experience, the Bulls are a tough squad to beat through fourth quarters. Pau Gasol has found the fountain of youth playing better than ever before. Jimmy Butler is proving that he is an all-star and Derrick Rose, well he’s playing and that’s always a great sign.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers has finally agreed to sit out a few games and rest his body. Although he hates the fact he can’t contribute to the club, the resting experiment is working for Bryant, looking fresh and revitalized when playing after a couple days off.

The splash brothers in Golden State are for real. These two are often playing as if they were in a video game, throwing up shots way past the three point line and hitting nothing but net. Golden State is the number one team in the league and are showing no signs of slowing down.

We’ll chat with Neil about all of these topics plus much more on our NBA breakdown tomorrow from 5-7 on Spice Sports!

 

Rondo is a Maverick

RondoIt’s hard to imagine if the NBA’s Western Conference can get any better than they already are but that’s exactly what took place last night. The Rajon Rondo sweepstakes has come to an end and the all-star point guard is moving from Boston to Dallas.

Rondo is a Maverick.

The Celtics are also sending Dwight Powell to Dallas for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson and draft picks. Boston will also receive a conditional first-round pick in the 2015 draft and a second-rounder in 2016, as well as a $12.9 million trade exception.

Does this make the Mavericks the automatic favorites to come out of the West?

No…at least not yet. We’ll have to wait and see how the new starting five play with one another but there is no doubt that Rondo compliments everyone on the roster.

The projected starting lineup includes Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis, Chanlder Parsons, DirkNowitzki, and Tyson Chandler.

The Mavericks were already legitimate contenders but with the new acquisition Rondo may very well serve as the missing piece to the puzzle. The West is better than ever before so it’s difficult to label one team as the favorite but now, nobody can take a night off if Dallas is on the other end of the court.

With Rondo the Mavericks have instantly become a better defensive team, which in turn will improve their transition game with Rondo making the steal and distributing the rock to either Ellis or Parsons in the transition. This makes for a high-octane offense.

At 28 years old, Rondo is averaging 8.3 points and a league-best 10.8 assists per game this season. He plays with tenacity and wears his heart on his sleeve each and every night. It’s that spirit that makes him one of the toughest to play against. Rondo’s weakness comes in his perimeter game as his jumper can be better. It’s a part of his game that he works on, and if he ever masters it, he’ll become unstoppable.

The likes of Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Mike Conley, and Step Curry will make it challenging for Rondo. The West Coast is loaded with point guards and you can make an argument that all of the Point Guards listed are offensively better than Rondo, which is why the Mavs are not the obvious favorites to come out of the West.

The Mavs have posted an impressive 19-8 record which only has them at the sixth slot in the Western Conference. Don’t get it twisted, it’s a significant upgrade and he will make all of his teammates better. Rondo is the type of player who relishes big opportunities and he will rise to the challenge.

Rondo will make his debut this Saturday when the Mavericks play host to the defending champions.

 

 

 

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