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VANCOUVER – Anyone (and, these days, everyone it seems) can come up with mid-term report cards and breakdown the hockey season with letter grades. So I’ll let everyone else go the alphabet soup route with their mid-season evaluation of the Vancouver Canucks, who reached the halfway point of their 2014-15 schedule with a 5-1 loss in Nashville on Tuesday night. Instead, I offer up my likes and dislikes from the first half of a season that started with such promise, but has hit a few potholes of late. LIKE: The fact the Canucks are on the right side of the playoff bar in the West. DISLIKE: The direction they’re trending with three straight losses and just two goals in those games. LIKE: The fact they have games in hand on the teams around them in the playoff race. DISLIKE: The lack of energy around the team lately. The hope has to be that it’s a mid-season malaise combined with a stubborn flu bug that seems to be lurking in the locker room. LIKE: The sense of calm from management and the coaching staff even as the team appears to be reaching its first crisis of the season. DISLIKE: The length of leash some of the unproductive players continue to be given, although that seems to have changed in recent games. LIKE: The way ice time is allocated throughout the lineup which should help the team have the balance necessary to remain competitive in the second half of the season. DISLIKE: In all the close games they’ve been involved in since Christmas, the fact that the Canucks have three third period goals in that eight game span. All of them came against Detroit, and two were into an empty net. The Canucks have held firm to the belief that fresher players will be better late in games. That hasn’t been the case since the holiday break when they’ve been outscored 9-3 in third periods and managed to win just three of eight games (3-4-1). LIKE: The goaltending. Even though Eddie Lack allowed a stinker that sealed the deal in Nashville, he provided enough goaltending to give the Canucks a chance to get something out of Music City, but the team in front of him had to score a second goal. Since the middle of December, Lack and Ryan Miller have been terrific and the tandem has given the team the type of netminding it’ll need to make a playoff push. DISLIKE: The discrepancy in starts between Miller and Lack. Miller has started 30 games and Lack just 11 (and that includes three of the last four). Miller has talked about the need to stay fresh in his first season on the West Coast. For the good of the team and with a busy schedule in February and March, it’s probably going to have to be closer to a 25-16 split of starts over the second half of the season. LIKE: The penalty killing almost all season long. That’s one area the Canucks have excelled, and the battle level has been high from all involved. DISLIKE: The power play at key times, particularly in recent games against Florida and Nashville. In so many tight games, a power play goal can be the difference, but the Canucks power play has suffered too many outages of late. LIKE: Radim Vrbata. It’s been a few years since the Canucks had a one-shot scorer, and with 16 goals (in 38 games), Vrbata has been dangerous and consistent and in my opinion, the team’s first half MVP. He was brought in to score goals and, at 33, leads all NHLers over 30 in goal-scoring so far this season. DISLIKE: The fact that Vrbata is the team’s only double-digit goal scorer at the midway mark, and that follows a year in which the team’s only 20-goal scorer was shipped out of town is concerning. LIKE: Bo Horvat. The best prospect the Canucks have had in years has arrived and is taking a regular shift on a nightly basis. He has pro size and hasn’t looked out of place in the NHL as a 19-year-old. He has been given key defensive assignments and has emerged as the team’s best faceoff man in the first half of the season. DISLIKE: That, as a top-10 draft pick, Horvat hasn’t had a little more impact offensively and that the club is still relying on too many older players. Five of the team’s top seven scorers are over the age of 30. Nick Bonino and Brad Richardson are the only Canucks under 30 with more than 16 points in the first 41 games. LIKE: Derek Dorsett. He’s been a solid fourth line addition to the hockey club who competes hard, plays bigger than his size, kills penalties and has been a season-long mentor to rookie Bo Horvat. DISLIKE: That Dorsett is the only forward who consistently brings a physical edge. The rest of the forward group doesn’t offer much in the way of push-back. The Canucks haven’t been pushed around on many nights, but they don’t initiate physical contact very often and don’t give the appearance of a team that would wear down an opponent in a seven game playoff series. LIKE: The pairing of Alex Edler and Chris Tanev. Together they have formed a legitimate NHL duo capable of playing in all situations and against all opponents. They’ve logged big minutes and most nights have kept the other team’s top players in check. DISLIKE: The chaos that ensues when the other defensive pairings are on the ice most nights. The loss of Dan Hamhuis in game 20 has certainly affected the stability of the defensive core of the hockey club and has left too many players playing above their rightful spots on the depth chart. LIKE: The opportunity general manager Jim Benning has between now and the March 2 trade deadline to continue to remodel the hockey club and put his stamp on it. He showed a willingness – almost an eagerness – to make deals shortly after taking the reins last spring. The time has come once again for him to continue an overhaul of an aging core that will soon be four years removed from its run to the Stanley Cup Final. DISLIKE: That organizationally, the Canucks’ biggest stockpile of assets is in goal. That in itself isn’t a bad thing, it’s just that as the team has learned in recent years, the market for goalies is a curious one that rarely yields the hoped for return. If Benning is going to make a deal to help the hockey club this season, he will likely have to package a goalie with a roster player and/or prospects to get anything of significance in return. LIKE: The passion of the Canucks fan base whether on the phone boards on TSN 1040 post-game shows or on social media. DISLIKE: There’s no real dislike here. I recognize that everyone sees things differently and has varying opinions about the state of the hockey club and the players on it. That’s what makes being part of the post-game shows on TSN 1040 so much fun. Let’s just hope the second half of the season presents as many intriguing storylines as the first 41 games have. And regardless how the season plays out, know that I’ll be on the radio and online to continue offering my thoughts about the Canucks as they push to get back in the playoffs. Brian Westbrook Womens Jersey .The Toronto Raptors guard, who will represent the Eastern Conference at the All-Star Game in New Orleans on Sunday, says he doesnt complain in the face of adversity "because I know this little girl is just happy for anything. Ron Jaworski Womens Jersey . - Even with a new coach, the Denver Nuggets still love to push the basketball. http://www.theeaglesshoponline.com/Yout ... es-jersey/. Chris Johnson singled with two outs off left-hander Jerry Blevins (1-1), and Schafer pinch ran. With a 2-2 count, Schafer ran on the pitch and Upton dropped a single in front of Bryce Harper. Schafer already was rounding third when Schafer bobbled the ball. Chuck Bednarik Jersey . -- Canadian ski cross star Marielle Thompson accomplished two goals in one race Saturday. Jerome Brown Youth Jersey .com) - Theres nothing better for a team than to send out the staff ace in the most important game of the season.SAN ANTONIO -- Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the winningest trio in NBA post-season history, shared hugs. Players wrapped themselves in flags from around world, a reminder that the San Antonio Spurs look far beyond the border to build champions, as confetti fell from above. Painfully denied 12 months ago by the Miami Heat, this victory party was worth the wait. "It makes last year OK," Duncan said. The Spurs finished off a dominant run to their fifth NBA championship Sunday night, ending the Heats two-year title reign with a 104-87 victory that wrapped up the series in five games. "We had a great first quarter, but from that point on they were the better team, and thats why theyre the champions in 2014," said LeBron James, who led the Heat with 31 points and 10 rebounds. San Antonio erased an early 16-point deficit and routed Miami for the fourth time in the series, denying the Heats quest for a third straight championship. A year after the Spurs suffered their only loss in six finals appearances -- a heartbreaking seven-game defeat -- they turned the rematch into no match at all. "We wanted to redeem ourselves. Im just glad we were able to do that," Parker said. Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who added this title to the ones they won in 1999, 2003, 05 and 07. They nearly had another last year, but couldnt hold off the Heat. "Ive said many times, a day didnt go by where I didnt think about Game 6," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the turning point in last years finals. "So I think, just in general, for the group to have the fortitude that they showed to get back to this spot, I think speaks volumes about how theyre constituted and what kind of fiber they have." Not to mention tons of talent, and perhaps the best coaching in the game. "They played exquisite basketball this series and in particular these last three games and they are the better team. Theres no other way to say it," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. The Spurs won four titles in nine years, but hadnt been back on top since 2007, making Foreigners "Feels Like the First Time" an appropriate song choice after the final buzzer. Duncan and Popovich have been here for all of them, and it was the fourth for Parker and Ginobili, who with Duncan are once aagain the reigning the Big Three in the NBA.dddddddddddd Chris Bosh finished with 13 points and Dwyane Wade just 11 on 4-of-12 shooting for the Heat. The painful conclusion to last years NBA Finals served as the fuel for this one, powering the Spurs to a league-best 62-win season and a rematch with Miami -- the first in the finals since Chicago beat Utah in 1997-98. Round 2 went to the Spurs, but both teams have challenges to navigate if there is to be a rubber match. San Antonio will face questions -- as it has for years -- about the age of its core, and whether Duncan, Ginobili and Popovich want to stick around. The Heat will brace for the potential free agency of James, Wade and Bosh, and will need younger, fresher pieces around the three All-Stars if they all stay. But this moment belongs to the Spurs. Playing a methodical, albeit winning, style for many years made San Antonio respected, but never beloved. The Spurs were TV ratings killers, casual viewers finding them not much fun to watch. But Popovich opened up the offence a few years ago, making the Spurs an easy-to-like, tough-to-beat group that thrives on ball movement and 3-point shooting. "You showed the world how beautiful this game is," Commissioner Adam Silver told the Spurs during the postgame award ceremony. A decade and a half after winning their first title in 1999, when Duncan was in his second season, the Spurs remain the NBAs model organization, a small-market team that simply wins big and hardly ever does it with a high draft pick. Instead, they found players overseas or in other organizations who would fit the Spurs way of doing things and mesh with the Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, who have teamed for 117 postseason victories. That included Leonard, acquired in a draft-night trade with Indiana after playing at San Diego State, and Patty Mills, an Australian national who scored 17 points off the bench. In the end, the Spurs made winning their fifth title look stunningly easy -- much to the delight of the home crowd. After the slow start, they had their fans standing, chanting and dancing much of the second half. Notes: It was the Spurs 12th win by 15 or more points, most ever in a post-season. The Spurs outscored opponents by 214 points in the post-season. ... Miami had won 11 straight series, tied for the fifth-longest streak in NBA history. ' ' '