Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks are through licking their wounds from last season's collapse in the Stanley Cup final.
Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks are through licking their wounds from last season's collapse in the Stanley Cup final.

For Vancouver Canucks, only a title can erase post-season doubts



Roberto Luongo and the Sedins will make people forget past failures with an NHL title, writes Sam McCaig

The Vancouver Canucks have been one of the NHL's elite teams in recent years. They ran away with the Presidents' Trophy as the league's regular season champions last year and came within one victory of winning the Stanley Cup.

And after a slow start in 2011/12 - blame it on the Stanley Cup hangover - the Canucks have climbed back to the top of the NHL standings, vying with the Detroit Red Wings for Western supremacy.

Vancouver have A-list star power and great depth at every position, but the Canucks rarely seem to get the kudos they deserve. Rather, they are a regular target for criticism.

It starts in goal, where Roberto Luongo's play-off inconsistency has not matched his regular season prowess. Even his own coach lost faith in him, opting to start back-up Cory Schneider in Game 6 of the cup final last June.

Truth be told, Luongo had a strong post-season for three rounds, but was mediocre - at best - in the final, and his below par performance paled in comparison to the Bruins goalie Tim Thomas' Conn Smythe-winning heroics at the other end. Luongo seemed to run out of gas before the play-off marathon concluded, and his reputation as a top-tier netminder took a pretty big hit.

But the Canucks' starter has proven his resilience before, and he is aware that he will never be on a better team than he is right now.

Luongo, like the rest of the Canucks team, appears determined to pace himself for the rigours of the 82-game regular season and save some for the play-off push.

Joining Luongo in the Vancouver blame game are the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel.

The Sedins have had more than their share of detractors, which is absurd considering their superstar calibre and relentless point production. Henrik won the NHL's scoring race two seasons ago; Daniel won it last year. Henrik was the league MVP in 2010; Daniel was runner-up last year.

Too soft? That is a ridiculous accusation for a pair of players who make their living along the boards and in the danger zone around the net. Too disciplined, perhaps, since they rarely get baited into retribution.

Too slow? They might not be speedsters, but they are plenty quick enough and have great instincts for the puck.

For Luongo and the Sedins - and the Canucks as a whole - the challenge is clear. They have proven themselves as regular season stars, and now it is about winning a cup.

Do not be surprised if they make it back for another crack this June.

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

RESULTS

5pm: Watha Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh 70,000 (Dirt) 2,000m

Winner: Dalil De Carrere, Bernardo Pinheiro (jockey), Mohamed Daggash (trainer)

5.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh 70,000 (D) 2,000m

Winner: Miracle Maker, Xavier Ziani, Salem bin Ghadayer

6pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner: Pharitz Al Denari, Bernardo Pinheiro, Mahmood Hussain

6.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner: Oss, Jesus Rosales, Abdallah Al Hammadi

7pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,400m

Winner: ES Nahawand, Fernando Jara, Mohamed Daggash

7.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,000m

Winner: AF Almajhaz, Abdul Aziz Al Balushi, Khalifa Al Neyadi

8pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,000m

Winner: AF Lewaa, Bernardo Pinheiro, Qaiss Aboud.

Notable salonnières of the Middle East through history

Al Khasan (Okaz, Saudi Arabia)

Tamadir bint Amr Al Harith, known simply as Al Khasan, was a poet from Najd famed for elegies, earning great renown for the eulogy of her brothers Mu’awiyah and Sakhr, both killed in tribal wars. Although not a salonnière, this prestigious 7th century poet fostered a culture of literary criticism and could be found standing in the souq of Okaz and reciting her poetry, publicly pronouncing her views and inviting others to join in the debate on scholarship. She later converted to Islam.

Maryana Marrash (Aleppo)

A poet and writer, Marrash helped revive the tradition of the salon and was an active part of the Nadha movement, or Arab Renaissance. Born to an established family in Aleppo in Ottoman Syria in 1848, Marrash was educated at missionary schools in Aleppo and Beirut at a time when many women did not receive an education. After touring Europe, she began to host salons where writers played chess and cards, competed in the art of poetry, and discussed literature and politics. An accomplished singer and canon player, music and dancing were a part of these evenings.

Princess Nazil Fadil (Cairo)

Princess Nazil Fadil gathered religious, literary and political elite together at her Cairo palace, although she stopped short of inviting women. The princess, a niece of Khedive Ismail, believed that Egypt’s situation could only be solved through education and she donated her own property to help fund the first modern Egyptian University in Cairo.

Mayy Ziyadah (Cairo)

Ziyadah was the first to entertain both men and women at her Cairo salon, founded in 1913. The writer, poet, public speaker and critic, her writing explored language, religious identity, language, nationalism and hierarchy. Born in Nazareth, Palestine, to a Lebanese father and Palestinian mother, her salon was open to different social classes and earned comparisons with souq of where Al Khansa herself once recited.

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

THE SPECS

Engine: 3.5-litre supercharged V6

Power: 416hp at 7,000rpm

Torque: 410Nm at 3,500rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Fuel consumption: 10.2 l/100km

Price: Dh375,000 

On sale: now 

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Shaffra
Started: 2023
Based: DIFC Innovation Hub
Sector: metaverse-as-a-Service (MaaS)
Investment: currently closing $1.5 million seed round
Investment stage: pre-seed
Investors: Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi and different PCs and angel investors from Saudi Arabia
Number of staff: nine

Blue Beetle

Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Stars: Xolo Mariduena, Adriana Barraza, Damian Alcazar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez
Rating: 4/5 

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Cinco in numbers

Dh3.7 million

The estimated cost of Victoria Swarovski’s gem-encrusted Michael Cinco wedding gown

46

The number, in kilograms, that Swarovski’s wedding gown weighed.

1,000

The hours it took to create Cinco’s vermillion petal gown, as seen in his atelier [note, is the one he’s playing with in the corner of a room]

50

How many looks Cinco has created in a new collection to celebrate Ballet Philippines’ 50th birthday

3,000

The hours needed to create the butterfly gown worn by Aishwarya Rai to the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

1.1 million

The number of followers that Michael Cinco’s Instagram account has garnered.


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