AFTER their defeat of traditional heavyweights St. Peter’s last week, Magdalen were reminded of how difficult achieving Division One survival will be for them by a Catz side who ran in four tries despite conditions that didn’t allow for much running rugby. Thanks to the previous week’s heavy rain this was the visitors’ first game of the season, and it was debutant Matt Perrins who stole the show, grounding two scores and putting in an impressive performance on the right wing.The result could have been much closer but for the boot of Magdalen outside-half Andy Barnes, who missed four penalty efforts at goal and over-shot the dead-ball line with kicks from hand on a number of occasions. The Catz back three were also, for the most part, able to deal with the huge up-and-unders that Barnes continued to launch into their half.With rain pouring down throughout it was bound to be a forward’s game, and it was St. Catherine’s who were able to dominate the early exchanges, driving back the home side’s scrum and forcing error after error. Catz weren’t able to turn territory into tries, however, and a panicky first fifteen minutes saw them commit as many mistakes as Magdalen.The deadlock was broken on twenty minutes, however, as Catz captain Sam Donaldson’s kick over the top was not dealt with, and the ball was shipped wide to Perrins who touched down under pressure in the corner. Despite the score going unconverted, Catz were now full of confidence, and it wasn’t long before their lead was extended. A five metre lineout was well claimed, and the visiting pack drove over for prop Nick Hargrave to claim his first try for the college. Another conversion miss followed, and the first period petered out with both sides unable to make anything happen in the midfield. Magdalen, with the slope behind them, began the second half the brighter, with their scrum seemingly invigorated by substitutions. The Catz defence held firm, however, with forwards and backs alike putting in brave hits. Barnes had chances to close the gap with his boot, but penalty after penalty sailed wide of the posts. The Manor Road outfit were rewarded for their defence as Magdalen tired, Donaldson taking advantage of a Peter Jones charge down to score under the posts before Perrins capped off a lovely move to finish with aplomb in the corner, sealing a well-earned win.
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » According to consumer behavior studies, the average consumer needs to see an ad at least three times to remember the product or brand. When a consumer first reads your message, they might just skim over it. The second time they might pay a bit more attention. It’s only by the third time that it actually starts to stick.So the idea that you should have only one call to action (CTA) per page on your credit union website is a costly myth. Your CTA should be used liberally to maximize its impact. After all, the more CTAs present, the more chances a user has to convert.A test on GoodUI found an 84% increase in conversions simply by adding more calls to action to the page.The control page only had CTAs at the top of the page and converted at just 7%. The variation page added repeated CTAs to the bottom of the page and converted at 12.8%.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Several Long Island congressional representatives have joined a growing chorus of elected officials urging an investigation into Russia’s purported interference in the presidential election and alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, even as disagreements remain regarding the veracity of recently leaked intelligence assessments.The calls for a probe come amid news reports of a secret CIA assessment concluding that Russia interfered in the election to boost now President-elect Donald Trump’s chance of winning—instead of simply undermining the United State’s electoral system—and on the heels of his announced pick for secretary of state, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who has close business ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.The reports in the Washington Post noted that the agency has not yet uncovered evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed the attack. The paper also acknowledged “minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.”Shortly after the publication of the explosive WaPo story, The New York Times reported that Russia had infiltrated the Republican National Committee during the election campaign but did not publicly release any documents from that purported hack.Further muddying the intelligence assessment are disagreements between the federal intelligence agencies, such as the CIA and FBI. The latter has said it has yet to find evidence supporting the notion that the Russian hack was intended to support Trump. Underscoring the contrasting points of view, the CIA, WaPo reported, told several U.S. Senators in a private security briefing that it was “quite clear” Russia interfered to improve Trump’s chances of winning.Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle now say they support an investigation into allegations that Russian interfered in the 2016 presidential election.“Congress’s national security committees have worked diligently to address the complex challenge of cybersecurity, but recent events show that more must be done,” a group of senators, including incoming Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said in a statement. “While protecting classified material, we have an obligation to inform the public about recent cyberattacks that have cut to the heart of our free society.”Long Island Reps. Peter King (R-Seaford), Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) and retiring Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) all said they welcome a probe into potential Russian intrusion. The office of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) did not respond to a request for comment. For his part, Trump says he has scrutinized the intelligence reports and does not believe the Russians interfered, calling the analysis “ridiculous.”Questions regarding how Russia was able to hack into the Democratic National Committee’s system, and, perhaps most consequential, who directed the alleged intrusion into the DNC, as well as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta’s email, are high on the list for politicians aghast at the brazen pilfering of correspondences passed along to WikiLeaks during the election.The constant drip of leaked emails prior to the Nov. 8 election, many of them mundane but others more damaging to Clinton, contributed to public concerns that the former US Secretary of State and First Lady was dishonest.“Russia’s reported interference in our elections—regardless of whether their motivation was to undermine the integrity of the process or, as the CIA has concluded, to help a specific candidate—is a direct attack on the foundation of our democracy, and it demands a rigorous bipartisan investigation,” said Rice, a minority member of the House Homeland Security Committee, in a statement.King, also a member of the House Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, told the Press that there’s little doubt that the Democratic National Committee was hacked by Russians. But he remains unconvinced that Russia was behind the breach into Podesta’s email or that the series of election-related attacks were managed by top officials inside the Kremlin in an attempt to swing the election in Trump’s favor.“It’s the pretty solid consensus that they did hack into the Democratic National Committee, also that they attempted to hack into the Republican National Committee but did not succeed,” said King, adding that the recent disclosures amounted to “selective leaking” by people with an agenda.Still, King acknowledges that intelligence agencies may not have all the facts yet, thus he supports an investigation, which he said should be conducted by the Homeland Security Committee because special select committees often take months to get off the ground.As for Trump’s outright rejection of the intelligence agencies’ assessments, King said he disagreed.“I’m no expert on cyber security or hacking, I try to be an expert on knowing who to rely on,” he said, adding that there’s consensus the Russians hacked the DNC. “Why Donald Trump doesn’t accept that, [he’d] have to explain that.”The intelligence leaks came just hours after President Barack Obama ordered a full review of the Russians’ hacking efforts during the presidential election.Trump’s choice of Tillerson, who received Russia’s “Order Of Friendship” from Putin in 2013—one of the highest honors that country can bestow upon a foreigner—has also received growing criticism. Sen. McCain called Putin “a thug and a murderer” on CNN Monday, repeated the description on NPR, and said, “I don’t see how anybody could be a friend of this old-time KGB agent.”(Top Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin/Courtesy Maria Joner)
Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.
New Bluebirds boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer worked with the former Manchester United player at Molde, and is keen to secure his services once again. Norway international Magnus Wolff Eikrem has already joined Cardiff, while a deal for his compatriot Mats Moller Daehli is expected to be completed before the weekend meeting with West Ham. Cardiff have made an approach to sign Hannover striker Mame Biram Diouf. And Solskjaer is now also looking to bring in Diouf after a Hannover spokesperson confirmed to Press Association Sport the Bundesliga club had received an approach from Cardiff. Cardiff are believed to be prepared to pay around £2.5million to sign the 26-year-old, who has scored 30 goals in 61 appearances for Hannover. Press Association
ROCKPORT — The Maine Principals’ Association’s proposal to add a fifth class to the state’s high school basketball ranks next season was approved Thursday morning.Membership voted in favor of the proposal 67-29.The change from the traditional four-class system is an effort to address a southward shift in the population that has contributed to declining school enrollments in northern Maine.A Class AA for the state’s largest basketball-playing schools is meant to reduce the gap between the largest and smallest schools within a class and create more balanced competition.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder text
LINE UPGoalkeeper Denis Onyango will captain a new-look Uganda Cranes in their opening African Nations Cup match against Cape Verde. (Watch live here)KCC’s on-form striker Derrick Nsibambi starts, as Emmanuel Okwi makes a comeback.The team: Denis Onyango, Nicholas Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Bernard Muwanga, Murushid Juuko, Khalid Aucho, Hassan Wasswa, Miya Faruku, Derrick Nsibambi, Emmanuel Okwi and Isaac Muleme.Substitutes: Benjamin Ochan (GK), Ismail Watenga (GK), Denis Okot, Timothy Awanyi, Robert Kakeeto, Milton Kariisa, Geoffrey Serunkuma & Muhammad ShabanTweets about @OfficialFUFA Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Zambia suffer shock lossesAbuja, Nigeria | AFP | Former African champions Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia all lost at home Saturday on a day of upsets in the first qualifying round for the 2019 Cup of Nations.Three–time champions Nigeria lost a competitive game against South Africa for the first time when they fell 2-0 in the southern Nigerian town of Uyo in Group E.While in Group H the Ivory Coast, who had vowed to win in memory of former team-mate Cheick Tiote, who collapsed and died in China this week, slumped 3-2 to fellow west Africans Guinea in Bouake.Zambia, champions in 2012, fell 1-0 at home to a daring Mozambican side in Group K.New South Africa coach Stuart Baxter labelled his team the underdogs going by their poor head-to-head record against Nigeria.But goals by Tokelo Rantie and substitute Percy Tau in the second half sunk the home team and the visitors were unlucky not to have scored more goals in the Group E clash. “My young team tried their best, there was a mistake for the first goal and the second goal was a gift,” admitted Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr.Libya top Group E after a 5-1 spanking of Seychelles on Friday in Cairo, Egypt.In Bouake, the Elephants of Ivory Coast went down to Guinea despite a brace by Seydou Doumbia.Germany-based striker Naby Keita fired the winner for Guinea in the 79th minute.Zambia also got off to a losing start on the road to Cameroon 2019 when they lost for the first time to Mozambique at home.Stanley Ratifo grabbed the last-gasp match winner when he stabbed home a low cross.Before then, Chipolopolo goalkeeper and captain Kennedy Mweene had to pull off a point-blank save to deny the visitors.Guinea-Bissau, shock qualifiers for the 2017 Cup of Nations, edged past Namibia thanks to a Jerson goal on 24 minutes in the other Group K fixture.Cameroon and Malawi both won in Group B. Reigning champions Cameroon pipped Morocco 1-0 in Yaounde while Malawi beat the Comoros by the same scoreline in Blantyre.In Group I, the Zebras of Botswana lost 1-0 to Mauritania in front of their fans in Francistown after they failed to put away many chances.This gutsy contest was decided on 78 minutes when substitute Abdoulaye Soudani controlled a long ball before firing past the Botswana goalkeeper.Hosts Burkina Faso won the other Group I tie against Angola 3-1 with big striker Aristide Bance bagging a brace.Burundi beat South Sudan 3-0 in Group C with Mali fought back from a goal down to beat Gabon 2-1 in Bamako in the other group game. FILE PHOTO: Uganda Cranes fans at AFCON80: Cape Verde ?? 0 Uganda ?? 1 Share on: WhatsApp
Paris, France | AFP | Mohamed Salah was the star African performer in Europe at the weekend, netting twice to close within one goal of Harry Kane in the English Premier League leading scorer race.The Egypt sharpshooter and 2017 African Footballer of the Year twice gave Liverpool the lead in a dramatic 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, whose second equaliser came from Kane.Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — third behind Salah and Senegalese Sadio Mane in the Footballer of the Year poll — scored on his debut as Arsenal triumphed 5-1 against Everton.ENGLANDMOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)The Egypt winger struck twice, including a stoppage-time goal, but Liverpool were denied as Tottenham rescued a 2-2 draw at Anfield. Salah punished a mistake from defender Eric Dier to put Liverpool ahead with a cool finish in the third minute. He restored Liverpool’s lead with a superb solo effort — his 21st league goal this term.PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)He marked his Arsenal debut with a goal in the Gunners’ 5-1 demolition of Everton at the Emirates Stadium. Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for a club record £56 million (about $79.1 million/63.5 million euros) last week and didn’t waste time making a good impression on his new fans. He capped a lively performance by scoring Arsenal’s fourth goal with a cool finish late in the first half, although replays showed he was fortunate not to be flagged offside.WILFRIED BONY (Swansea City)The Ivory Coast striker has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a serious injury in a 1-1 draw at Leicester. Former Manchester City star Bony tore a cruciate ligament in his knee after coming on as a second-half substitute.AHMED HEGAZI (West Bromwich Albion)The Egypt defender scored his first goal since August, but it wasn’t enough to boost his side’s hopes of avoiding relegation as they lost 3-2 at home to Southampton. Hegazi put Albion in front with a fourth-minute header from Chris Brunt’s cross.VICTOR WANYAMA (Tottenham Hotspur)Wanyama set up a dramatic finish at Anfield with an incredible 25-yard piledriver into the top corner for Tottenham’s first equaliser 10 minutes from time. The Kenyan had been on the pitch only a minute before smashing home his first goal of an injury-plagued season.RIYAD MAHREZ (Leicester City)Algerian Mahrez was again absent from the Leicester squad in a 1-1 draw against Swansea after his displeasure at the Foxes’ refusal to let him move to runaway league leaders Manchester City last week. MOHAMED DIAME (Newcastle United)Senegalese midfielder Diame headed home his second goal of the season to earn Newcastle a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace to lie just a point above the relegation zone.SPAINEMMANUEL BOATENG (Levante)The 21-year-old Ghanaian marked only his fourth La Liga start with his first goal in the Spanish top flight against floundering champions Real Madrid. Boateng latched onto a loose ball to coolly slot in Levante’s first equaliser of a 2-2 draw and cap an enterprising individual display.ITALYKALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)Bottom club Benevento were awarded a penalty for Senegalese defender Koulibaly’s clumsy tackle only for it to be revoked by VAR (video assistant referee) due to an earlier offside position. Napoli won 2-0 to stay top of the Serie A table.AFRIYIE ACQUAH/MBAYE NIANG/JOEL OBI (Torino)Ghanaian Acquah equalised and was sent off as Torino settled for a 1-1 draw against European qualification rivals Sampdoria. Acquah levelled in the 25th minute before being red-carded for a second bookable offence after 75 minutes. Senegalese Niang missed a chance to pull Torino ahead three minutes after Acquah’s goal, but his lob was off target. He was substituted to his obvious displeasure and Nigerian Obi went off injured.GERMANYSALOMON KALOU (Hertha Berlin)Once again, the Ivory Coast veteran rescued a point for Hertha when he headed home a second-half equaliser for his eighth Bundesliga goal of the season in a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim. It was the fourth time this season that Kalou, 32, pulled Berlin level after also netting in draws against Bayern Munich, Freiburg and Augsburg.FRANCEKEITA BALDE (Monaco)The Senegal international endured a night of contrasting emotions as Monaco came from two goals down to beat Lyon 3-2. Balde used his strength to hold off a series of defenders and drill in a low strike to cut the deficit on 31 minutes that helped spark his side’s recovery. But his role in the fightback ended prematurely as he was sent off for a second yellow card shortly before half-time for a wild challenge on Ferland Mendy, having been booked minutes earlier for kicking the ball away in frustration.Share on: WhatsApp
RED BANK – Nissan World of Red Bank and Enterprise Rent-a-Car of Red Bank have joined together to provide a van for the use of the Salvation Army’s Red Bank corps during the holiday season.This additional vehicle will help us greatly in carrying out what is annually our largest fundraising effort, our Red Kettle Campaign,” said Capt. Stewart Dalyrumple, Red Bank Corps commander. “We are very grateful to Nissan World and Enterprise for their generosity.The goal for us this year is $100,000 and to date we have raised about half of that,” Dalrymple said. “GFor that we are truly thankful, we still have a long way to go. Christmas is fast approaching and requests for help are high.”Those wishing to donate to the Army can do so in the traditional way, by depositing cash or checks in kettles that are located throughout the area. Or they can send checks made out to The Salvation Army Army to The Salvation Army, 180 Newman Springs Road, Red Bank, N.J. 07701-1465.Donations may also be made online at www.onlineredkettle.org/redbank.Capt. Stewart Dalrymple (left) commander of the Red Bank Corps, takes delivery of the van from Barry Lamb (center) of Nissan World in Red Bank and Peter Baldino of Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Red Bank on Monday.
Colorado has a number of good young forwards. Rookie Gabriel Landeskog was noticeable today.Broadcast Observation of the Day: I think I have finally found a rink that apparently plays worse music than Rogers Arena. I heard that horribly annoying LMFAO song, as well as Maroon 5’s equally brutal “Moves Like Jagger”. Wow. This coming from a rink that, along with Dallas, used to play some of the best music in the league (admittedly based on limited sample size).I thought Garrett offered some great insight when he was talking about how some of the league’s best face-off men will intentionally lose a meaningless neutral-zone faceoff early in a game in order to learn what the other guy does, as well as to give him a false sense of security. While this tactic makes a lot of sense, I would never have thought about that. It’s these kinds of tidbits that can really add quality to a broadcast.Looking ahead: The Canucks continue their road trip on Tuesday in Music City, as they visit the Nashville Predators. I touched on this above, but the power play has been very poor for over 20 games now. Going back to the game in Columbus on December 13, the power play is only 11 for 70 (15.7%). If you take out the Boston game in which they went 4 for 11, they have only scored on 7 of their last 59 opportunities (11.9%). That is positively brutal. Unbelievably, they still lead the league, however their percentage has come off at least 4 points and is now only 22.3% (Nashville is second at 22.2% – so the gap has narrowed significantly). Byron Bitz made his Canucks debut tonight and was pretty good overall. Skating on a line with Cody Hodgson and Jannik Hansen, he was able to use his size effectively in the offensive zone, and got into an entertaining bout with Avalanche tough guy Cody McLeod. Vigneault should be pleased with what he saw. Bieksa’s final shift where he prevented a goal at one end and scored at the other, tying the game, was unbelievable. The goal bore an uncanny resemblance to his series-winning goal against San Jose in last season’s playoffs. He was able to atone for his mistake that led to Colorado’s second goal, which occurred on a shift where prior to the puck drop, he was preoccupied by attempting to get Galiardi to fight him (Galiardi has elbowed him in the first period). Leigh Ramsden lives in Vancouver and is an avid Canucks fan, having been a partial season ticket holder for over 10 years. He’s old enough to have witnessed all three Stanley Cup losses, as such, his prime goal is to remove those scars by seeing a Cup brought to Vancouver. Leigh is Fighting For Stanley’s (www.fightingforstanley.ca/vancouver) west coast correspondent, and will also blog after all Canuck games for The Nelson Daily.The Vancouver Canucks visited the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday afternoon in the Mile High City, exiting with a 3-2 shootout victory.Coming off two substandard performances against Chicago and Detroit, the Canucks came out of the gate strong, taking the game to Colorado for most of the first eight minutes of the game. Ryan Kesler opened the scoring at 3:31 of the first, wiring a slap shot past Avalanche netminder Jean-Sebastian Giguere. The first took a turn for the worse for the visitors after David Booth took a dubious goaltender interference penalty at 8:46 of the first, as David Jones converted a great pass from Paul Stastny on the ensuing power play to even the score.Shortly after that goal, Colorado went back on the power play, which shifted the momentum solidly in their favour. While they didn’t score, the Avalanche rode that momentum for the rest of the period, eventually outshooting the Canucks 18-7.The second period was much better for Vancouver. They were unfortunate to go down 2-1, after a Kevin Bieksa back pass came out awkwardly from the boards behind the net, and Daniel Winnik fed Jay McClement who fired the puck past Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo. The Canucks played decently through the rest of the middle frame, however, were unlucky to not have any of their chances go in the net. Meanwhile, the Avalanche were able to generate a number of chances, there were very few Grade A chances.Consistent with recent history, the Canucks were able to mount more of an attack in the third period, drawing a couple of penalties along the way. However, Giguere was up to the task, and turned the puck back on a number of occasions. The Canucks finally tied the game after a phenomenal shift for Bieksa. With Luongo on the bench for the extra attacker, Avalanche forward T.J. Galiardi flipped a puck from centre that was heading into the net – until Bieksa skated hard from the opposite side of the ice, dove, and kept the puck out. He then cleared the zone and the puck went in deep. The Avalanche got to it first, and rung the puck around the boards, where it took a strange bounce off the stanchion, into the slot, onto Bieksa’s stick, from where he got a wrist shot past Giguere with only 35 seconds left.The overtime was relatively uneventful, although, Colorado outshot Vancouver 5-1 in the extra frame. The game went to the dreaded shootout, but Luongo was up to the task, saving all three Avalanche attempts. Mason Raymond was the Canucks’ second shooter, and his goal through Giguere’s legs was enough to get the Canucks two points.Statistically, Colorado was the much better team today, in the end outshooting the Canucks 46-29 and outchancing the Canucks 27-18 (as detailed over at Canucks Army). I wasn’t able to watch the game live today, but I was able to listen to portions of it on the radio live – and based on what I heard, I was expected to be horrified when I watched the game tonight. Shockingly, I wasn’t. In my mind, today was merely “one of those days”, which I’ll expand on below.Also, again, it must be said that Luongo was extremely good today as he kept Vancouver in the game throughout regulation, and was able to stop all three Avalanche shooters in the shootout. Without Luongo at the top of his game, the Canucks don’t likely end up leaving Denver with two points. DID THE CANUCKS “DESERVE” THIS WIN?While it’s the only statistic that decides winners and losers, generally I advocate for looking past only goals for and against in order to assess a team’s performance. Shots on goal can often be a reasonable indicator of the general effectiveness of a team and run of the play, and it’s a relatively well-defined, objective measure. While more subjective, some statisticians (and many NHL teams) are using “scoring chances” as a more meaningful metric (typically the scoring chances must come from certain areas on the ice in order to be counted).As noted above, both measures were slanted heavily in favour of Colorado today. That said, in watching the game, I really feel like most of their advantage was gained in one 12 minute stretch of the game – basically, the second half of the first period. During this stretch, the Avalanche were playing well, getting power play opportunities, and giving the Canucks fits in their own end. However, the Canucks had a very good first eight minutes (two early odd-man rushes against notwithstanding), during which they were able to jump out to a lead on Kesler’s goal. Overall, I felt it was a reasonably even period, even though Colorado significantly outshot the Canucks. Henrik and Daniel continue to struggle immensely. Like the rest of the team, their stat line was worse than they played, but their lack of production recently is astounding, considering the rate at which they have scored over the past few years. Hopefully they get their game figured out soon. They weren’t even afforded first-unit power play time on the team’s final man advantage. Ryan Kesler’s second line continues to be the most dangerous. Mason Raymond, given a shot on that line in Chris Higgins’ absence, isn’t making much of his opportunity, but his shootout goal was very good. Aaron Rome isn’t doing a lot for me right now. I’d welcome giving Alberts another turn on the third pairing. The other stretch in the game where they took it to the Canucks statistically was the overtime period, when they outshot Vancouver 5-1. However, again, this doesn’t tell the entire story. The Canucks controlled the play in the extra period for most of the first three minutes, while Colorado had better run of the play in the final couple of minutes. That said, it was Vancouver who tallied the only two credited scoring chances in the overtime – so again, I feel it was a pretty even overtime session.The second and third periods were statistically even between the two teams. However, again, I feel that the stats here are a bit misleading. Vancouver had some very good stretches in those periods, and were unlucky not to score on a couple (or more) occasions.So what really happened today? Were the Canucks deserving victors?My take is that while the Canucks were (again) far off their best game, they did enough to legitimately get the win. For one, the ice was terrible (day game which was preceded by an NBA game the prior night) and this caused a number of strange bounces – Colorado’s second goal and Bieksa’s tying goal being prime examples. Vancouver is a high-skill team, and today there were a number of instances where pucks just plain bounced over their sticks, or passes weren’t flat on the ice, shots were fanned on, etc.Secondly, while this really sounds like a cop-out, the Canucks were just plain unlucky. They had a number of shots which were “almost” deflected in front of the net; or where the deflections put the puck straight into Giguere or inches past the post. They were just a fraction off on a number of other shots or passes – it seemed like they missed the net, albeit only marginally, quite often. Hodgson wired a slap shot off the post early in the third.Thirdly, the Canucks power play continues to struggle, going 0 for 5 on the day. One goal would have changed the outcome of this game. Typically the Canucks are good for one power play goal on approximately every four opportunities, if that had held true today, Bieksa’s heroics wouldn’t have been necessary.Lastly, and most importantly, the goaltending was stellar. While I question the overall quality of many of Colorado’s shots and scoring chances, Luongo did make a number of very tough saves over course of the contest. As much as it displeases many in Canucks Nation, Luongo is a part of the team, and therefore, his contributions can’t be ignored in assessing the quality of the win. He also made three very good saves in the shootout, enabling the Canucks to seize the extra point.The bottom line is that good teams will find ways to get points and wins. Vancouver is playing some of its worst hockey of the season, however, they are finding ways to get things done. There are worries and warning signs, and by no means should their recent play not be cause for concern. That said – today, at least – they were deserving of the points they got. They just were not as bad as the stats would have you believe. OTHER TOP NHL TEAMS STRUGGLING AS WELLIt’s funny, the Canucks are playing poorly at the moment, and yet they are climbing up the standings. Detroit, Nashville, and Pittsburgh are all playing well and are rolling along. On the flip side, in their last 10 games, Boston is 4-5-1, Philadelphia is 5-3-2, San Jose is 5-4-1, and Chicago is 4-4-2.What this all means is that after the close of play tonight, Vancouver is tied for second in the NHL in points, at 69 (although the team they are tied with, New York, has three games in hand). More importantly, in looking at the most telling number, Vancouver is now in a three-way tie for third in regulation losses with Philadelphia and San Jose (only New York and St. Louis having fewer). This is an area where the Canucks have been chasing the top teams all season long, and only recently have they caught the top level teams here.This is exactly why these most recent games are very important for the Canucks. They have found ways to avoid regulation losses this week, even though they definitely deserved them in the Chicago and Detroit games. As a result, they are increasing their position in the standings even while not playing their best. That, if nothing else, is an impressive feat, and makes me look forward to when the team starts firing on all cylinders again. Perhaps more importantly, it also keeps the team’s recent woes in perspective. PARTING SHOTSQuick comments: Vancouver is now 13-0-2 against the Avalanche in their last 15 games against this former arch-nemesis.