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<p align="center"><img class="photo" src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/imported_assets/428449/suitcase_wideweb__470x3400_medium.jpg" alt="Suitcase_wideweb__470x3400_medium" width="330" height="240" /></p><BR>
<p><a href="http://www.secondcityhockey.com/2010/4/10/1414464/your-transplanted-hawks-fans">I saw this over at SCH</a> and thought it was a great idea, knowing full well that many <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/VAN" class="sbn-auto-link">Canucks</a> fans are dispersed all over the map, some as far away as China and Austraila while others are across the pond in England or Italy. Over this past season we've had separate threads for Vancouver fans in the Northeast, Bay Area, Ohio, So-cal and Texas.</p>
<p>And here we are again, united in playoff fury. If you're one of the transplants like myself and want to see who is around your area who can take in the playoffs with you, please use this fanpost as your chance to list where you are and maybe find some other VAN fans, get together and cheer on Vancouver from afar.</p><BR>
See how some folks respond over at Nucks Misconduct.<BR>
Goal Song - Gold on the Ceiling - Black Keys
Player Entrance - map of the problematique - Muse
Power Play song - Joker & The Thief - Wolfmother
Conjunction Junction - schoolhouse rock
Black Magic Woman - Santana
Hells Bells - Dandy Warhols
A message to you Rudy - The Specials
Rocky Mountain Way - Joe Walsh
Springtime in Vienna - The Tragically Hip
Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
Runnin wild - Airbourne
Mean streets - Van Halen
N's in Paris - Jay Z and Kanye West
Same old situation - Motley Crue
Spirit of radio - Rush
In the evening - Led Zeppelin
Don't stop the party - Pitbull
Stranglehold - Ted Nugent
Sat nights alright
If you want blood - AC/DC
War - Edwin Starr
Cold hard b**ch - Jet
Little green bag - George Baker
Sheena is a punk rocker - Ramones
Good golly miss molly - Little Richard
Love will keep us together - Captain & Tenille
Eat the rich - Aerosmith
Default - Django Django
Low - Flo Rida
Soul bossa nova - Quincy Jones
Jealous again - The Black Crowes
Stayin alive - Bee Gee's
Levels - Aviici
Chalkdust Torture - Phish
Detroit Rock city - KISS
Red Barchetta - Rush
Dynamite - Flo Rida
Jungle love - Morris Day & the time
All down the line - Rolling Stones
Know your enemy - Green Day
Jungle boogie - Kool & the Gang
Thrift shop - Macklemore
I want you back - Jackson 5
Brown sugar - Rolling Stones
Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel
Uprising - Muse
Riff Raff - AC/DC
We are here to make some noise - Armen Van Burren
Saturday night - bay city rollers
Rebel rebel - David Bowie
Greyhound - skrillex
Word up - Cameo
You spin me round - Dead or Alive
What's so funny 'bout Peace, Love and Understanding - Elvis Costello
Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
Papas got a brand new bag - James Brown
My hero - Foo Fighters
Come on - DJ Tiesto
What I like about you - The Romantics
Disco inferno - The Trammps
Warriors of time - Black Tide
Takin care of business - Bachman Turner Overdrive
The whip - Locksley
Let the good times roll - Ray Charles
Cheers (drink to that) - Rihanna
Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
CANUCKS 0 @ BLUE JACKETS 0
Nationwide Arena is the place to be tonight as the Vancouver Canucks are in Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. It hasn't been roses for either team as of late, both have lost three of their last four games. Someone's slump has to end tonight and should Vancouver bring their A-game to Columbus, they'll certainly come out on top. That is much, much easier said than done, especially with Pavol Demitra, Sami Salo, Darcy Hordichuk and Rick Rypien all out of Vancouver's line-up. Kyle Wellwood and Jason Krog will both dress to fill those voids, Wellwood is rumored to be skating with Mason Raymond and Taylor Pyatt on the second line, while Krog should be on the fourth line.
The Blue Jackets are also hurting, starting netminder Pascal Leclaire sat out last game with a right hand injury and his status for tonight is unknown and former Canuck Michael Peca is serving the last game of his five-game suspension so he won't factor into the game.
The key to Vancouver winning tonight, yes there's only one in my mind, is the play of Vancouver's top line. Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Steve Bernier haven't played the last few games with the fire they started the season with and the twins ate up Columbus last season to the tune of six combined points in four games. If they score, the Canucks will win, they struggle again and Vancouver could fall below .500 for the first time this season. That would put the Canucks on a three-game losing streak, they haven't suffered one of those in the month of October since 2001-02. Hopefully they can keep that streak alive.
Sit tight, it's Vancouver vs. Columbus and it's next!
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It feels like forever since I've been back. Last year, I left this "Bleeding Blue and Green" blog (special thanks to Derek Jory for the opportunity, should he ever see this) after the website overhaul and started my own blog, Armchair Hockey. Check it out if you have a chance! There's some more recent stuff about the Rick Nash trade sweepstakes, the Kings-Flyers relationship and more.
The Canucks pick 26th this year, and unfortunately for them it's a strong year for defensemen but not much to speak of in terms of forwards. The Canucks need more offensive punch up front, especially on the wings. I suspect this draft will be more for teams looking to plug lineup holes, since very few prospects (perhaps only Yakupov and maybe Murray or Galchenyuk) have the talent to be considered franchise players.
Regardless, check out my 2012 mock draft to see who the Canucks might pick!
It's been quite a walk down memory lane. Here's some of my favourite posts from years past.
Theo Fleury was right but got the year wrong. The Canucks were bounced in the first round in 2012, not 2011. Regardless, the new team with a huge target behinds its back is now the LA Kings. There's no question about that one.
I highlighted some of the top NCAA prospects, including the Canucks' own Joe Cannata, you should keep an eye on. Here's a update:
- Dumoulin is foregoing his senior year at Boston College and just inked a three-year entry level contract. Faulk finished with 22 points in a pretty impressive rookie campaign. Along with McBain and Ryan Murphy, the Canes now have a deep blueline and is my reasoning for them taking a forward at the draft.
- Cam Atkinson and Jason Zucker got call-ups to the big club and both are tabbed to be regulars next year. Both are quick and dangerous goal scorers when given the opportunity.
- Jon Merrill (NJ) and Danny Kristo (Montreal) will likely head back to the college ranks. Both are still unsigned. Merrill is making his way back into the Wolverines lineup after going through some off-ice issues that resulted in a suspension from the team.
- Chris Kreider needs no explanation.
I stand by my belief that the 2010-11 Canucks were the most talented bunch assembled in franchise history, and also the best chance they had at a Cup. I thought we had a much weaker group this year and there's lots of holes to fill up front for next season.
In which I supported the antics of PK Subban and Linus Omark, while pointing out that super classy guy Henrik Sedin does the same once in a while. It's fun, it's entertaining, it's good for the pro athlete to exude confidence and cockiness like that. For a young player, having that high confidence with a coach that supports that kind of attitude (not Jacques Martin) can do wonders.
By far my most favourite post to write every year.
A (long) update:
Bobby Ryan is now a bona fide first line winger; Bogosian's one of the game's hardest hitters; Horton hasn't scored 35 for the B's yet; Myers had an injury setback; Giordano is still better than Bouwmeester; McBain is coming along nicely; Hjalmarsson has been underwhelming; Quincey is back on Detroit; Russell is now a Blue with less pressure; Niskanen has been great for the Pens; questions still abound about Filppula; Hemsky can't stay healthy (again); Kulikov is the Panthers' most dangerous offensive defenseman, not Campbell; Schenn was key for the Flyers; Burns is now in San Jose; Subban is regarded as the league's young elite; Colin Wilson will crack 50 points next year (fearless prediction); Greene has been good but not nearly as he once was; I'm convinced Josh Bailey is done; Zuccarello-Aasen has returned to Europe with an NHL out clause; Karlsson is a Norris nominee; Giroux is a top ten talent; Turris looks rejuvenated in Ottawa; Paul Martin has been a rock; Demers regressed; jury's still out on Berglund; Hedman was one of Tampa's most reliable; I think Phaneuf's playing his best since Calgary; Raymond's tenure in Vancouver is likely over; and Carlson's Washington's best.
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After blowing a 2-0 lead against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2, many Canucks fans are calling for the lines to be changed up, Michael Grabner be inserted into the top-six, or Pavol Demitra to be scratched. I beg to differ, I have full confidence in the first, second, and third Canucks lines.
The Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Alex Burrows line's track record since January 2009 speaks for itself.
The Pavol Demitra, Ryan Kesler, and Mikael Samuelsson line has potential to succeed. You have familiarity between Kesler and Demitra from the last half of the 2008-09 season playing with Sundin on the second line and the familiarity of Kesler and Samuelsson from playing together most of the 2009-10 season. You have the forechecker in Kesler, the playmaker in Demitra, and the goalscorer in Samuelsson. There is reason to believe that this line will work.
That line was invisible in Game 1, but improved greatly in Game 2. Kesler picked up two assists while Demitra assisted on Samuelsson's tally. Did anybody see Demitra's excitement on that goal? He was noticeable on the ice last night and played with passion. Baby steps...I expect even better and greater things in Game 3.
The Mason Raymond, Kyle Wellwood, and Jannik Hansen line has been the best line for the Canucks in the first two games of the series. The line has brought energy every shift and has hemmed the Kings in their own zone with their relentless forecheck. They have yet to score a goal, but it will come as they have generated numerous scoring chances.
All line proposals have called for a complete re-work of the units and that makes no sense to break up any of the top-three forward units because there are no problems with the Canucks forward group. Any problems that exist have been manufactured by panicking fans after a loss.
However, the fourth line which has featured whomever, Rick Rypien, and Steve Bernier raises some questions. This line has been benched in the third period and Manitoba Moose call-ups Matt Pettinger played 4:12 in Game 1 and Michael Grabner played 2:53 in Game 2. Which makes me wonder why they are even playing for the Canucks?
Pettinger was supposed to replace Ryan Johnson on the penalty kill, but Vigneault appears to have changed his mind on that one after he scratched him in Game 2 as he opted to go with the Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen, and Mason Raymond as his main penalty killers with Pavol Demitra taking the majority of the left-hand faceoffs.
Grabner is a one-dimensional, offensive player and he needs to be put into a scoring role in order to succeed, not three minutes a night on the fourth line. If he is not going to be getting quality minutes, get him, Pettinger, and Baumgartner down to the minors.
Baumgartner has also sat out as a healthy scratch all the games since March 5, except the last two of the regular season, as a healthy scratch and as the eighth defenceman.
Last night, the Manitoba Moose were hammered 8-2 by the Hamilton Bulldogs in the American Hockey League North Division semi-final on Sunday night and also lost in the series opener on April 15, 2-0. It appears the Moose are in need of difference makers and the Canucks are holding onto important Moose players, so they can sit in the press box or play a very limited role on the fourth line.
If Vigneault is not going to roll four lines, then what is the problem with slotting in Darcy Hordichuk or Tanner Glass on the fourth line for four minutes a night?
A more aesthetically-pleasing (i.e. shots, shots, shots, shots, and goals, goals, goals goals) means some major updates to the Playoff Stats Pack compared to after the first round and the second round.
Below are the updated numbers through the first three rounds of the playoffs. And of course, don't forget to read my Tale of the Tape Game Notes on the front page of Canucks.com on every game day and be sure to watch out for my Tale of the Tape Series Preview against either the Bruins or Lightning as soon as it becomes available.
You can also find me on Twitter @daniel_fung or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canucks record when...
Any defencemen scores: 7-3
Without Mikael Samuelsson in lineup: 6-1
Without Sami Salo in lineup: 3-1
Without Cody Hodgson in lineup: 3-3
Without Raffi Torres in lineup: 2-0
Without Andrew Alberts in lineup: 10-5
Without Keith Ballard in lineup: 5-4
Without Aaron Rome in lineup: 5-2
Without Tanner Glass in lineup: 1-1
Without Victor Oreskovich in lineup: 3-2
Without Christian Ehrhoff in lineup: 2-0
When Chris Higgins scores: 4-0
When Jannik Hansen scores: 2-0
When Daniel Sedin scores: 4-2
When Alex Edler scores: 2-0
When Christian Ehrhoff scores: 2-0
When Mikael Samuelsson scores: 1-0
When Sami Salo scores: 1-1
When Alex Burrows scores: 3-3
When Kevin Bieksa scores: 3-2
When Ryan Kesler scores: 4-1
When Henrik Sedin scores: 2-0
When Raffi Torres scores: 1-1
When Mason Raymond scores: 1-0
When Maxim Lapierre scores: 2-0
When Aaron Rome scores: 1-0
When Dan Hamhuis scores: 0-1
Scores two-or-more power play goals: 3-2
Surrender two-or-more power play goals: 2-3
Don't allow a 1st period goal: 7-1 (Only loss Game 2 NSH)
Don't allow a 2nd period goal: 7-2 (Losses in Game 2 NSH & Game 3 SJS)
Don't allow a 3rd period goal: 5-1 (Only loss Game 5 CHI)
Have a 2-goal lead at any point in game: 6-0
Have a 3-goal lead at any point in game: 2-0
Have a 4-or-more goal lead at any point in game: 2-0
Score a goal in all three regulation periods: 3-0
Allow a goal in all three regulation periods: 0-3
Hold a third period lead: 11-2 (Losses in Game 6 CHI & Game 2 NSH)
Surrender a shorthanded goal: 2-1
Don't allow a power play goal: 7-3
Score a shorthanded goal: 0-1
When getting more PP chances than opponent: 3-1
When getting fewer PP chances than opponent: 4-5
When getting equal PP chances as opponent: 5-0
Canucks list of third period goal scorers...
Daniel Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, & Ryan Kesler: 3 each
Chris Higgins, Henrik Sedin & Alex Burrows: 2 each
Mikael Samuelsson, Aaron Rome, Mason Raymond and Dan Hamhuis: 1 each
Canucks overall average...(bracketed number denotes average following Round 2)
Shots on goal per game: 31.2 (31.5)
Opponent shots on goal per game: 31.6 (29.2)
Shot attempts blocked per game: 17.8 (17.2)
Opponent shot attempts blocked per game: 14.5 (12.6)
Missed shots per game: 12.4 (12)
Opponent missed shots per game: 10.4 (9.8)
Hits per game: 33.1 (33.5)
Opponent hits per game: 28.6 (28.8)
Giveaways per game: 7.2 (6.8)
Opponent giveaways per game: 8.4 (7.9)
Takeaways per game: 9.4 (9.5)
Opponent takeaways per game: 8.2 (8.7)
Blocked shots per game: 14.5 (12.6)
Opponent blocked shots per game: 17.8 (17.2)
Canucks average at home...(bracketed number denotes average following Round 2)
Shots on goal per game: 34.1 (33)
Opponent shots on goal per game: 32.1 (29.3)
Shot attempts blocked per game: 19.6 (19.1)
Opponent shot attempts blocked per game: 14.6 (13.4)
Missed shots per game: 13.8 (12.7)
Opponent missed shots per game: 10 (10)
Hits per game: 37.2 (37.3)
Opponent hits per game: 27.6 (25.4)
Giveaways per game: 8.4 (8.6)
Opponent giveaways per game: 5 (5.1)
Takeaways per game: 12 (12.6)
Opponent takeaways per game: 7.1 (7.1)
Blocked shots per game: 14.6 (13.4)
Opponent blocked shots per game: 19.6 (19.1)
Canucks average on road...(bracketed number denotes average following Round 2)
Shots on goal per game: 27.6 (29.7)
Opponent shots on goal per game: 31 (29.2)
Shot attempts blocked per game: 15.5 (14.8)
Opponent shot attempts blocked per game: 14.4 (11.7)
Missed shots per game: 10.8 (11.2)
Opponent missed shots per game: 10.9 (9.5)
Hits per game: 28 (29.2)
Opponent hits per game: 29.8 (32.7)
Giveaways per game: 5.8 (4.7)
Opponent giveaways per game: 12.6 (11.2)
Takeaways per game: 6.1 (5.8)
Opponent takeaways per game: 9.6 (10.5)
Blocked shots per game: 14.4 (11.7)
Opponent blocked shots per game: 15.5 (14.8)
HIGHS AND LOWS
Canucks Most - One Period
Goals: 4 - Game 2 SJS (3rd)
Goals Allowed: 4 - Game 4 CHI (2nd)
Shots: 16 - twice (Game 1 NSH 1st; Game 3 NSH 3rd)
Shots Allowed: 17 - Game 4 SJS (3rd)
Canucks Fewest - One Period
Shots: 2 - Game 6 NSH (2nd)
Shots Allowed: 3 - Game 6 CHI (3rd)
Canucks Most - One Game
Goals: 7 - Game 2 SJS
Goals Allowed: 7 - Game 4 CHI
Shots: 47 - Game 3 NSH
Shots Allowed: 56 - Game 5 SJS
Penalty Mins.: 61 - Game 4 CHI
Penalty Mins, Opp.: 53 - Game 2 SJS
Canucks Fewest - One Game
Goals: 0 - Game 5 CHI
Goals Allowed: 0 - twice
Shots: 13 - Game 4 SJS
Shots Allowed: 20 - Game 1 NSH
Penalty Mins.: 4 (three times) - Game 2 CHI, Game 7 CHI & Game 1 SJS
Penalty Mins, Opp.: 2 (twice) - Game 2 NSH & Game 5 SJS
Canucks Largest - One Game
Margin of victory: 4 - Game 2 SJS
Margin of defeat: 5 (twice) - Game 4 CHI & Game 5 CHI
Individual Most - One Game
Goals: 2 (six times) - Daniel Sedin (Game 2 CHI), Alex Burrows (Game 7 CHI), Ryan Kesler (Game 3 NSH), Ryan Kesler (Game 5 NSH), Daniel Sedin (Game 2 SJS), Sami Salo (Game 4 SJS)
Goals Allowed: 2 (seven times) - Ben Smith (Game 2 CHI), Patrick Sharp (Game 4 CHI), Duncan Keith (Game 5 CHI), Marian Hossa (Game 5 CHI), David Legwand (Game 5 NSH), Joel Ward (Game 5 NSH), Patrick Marleau (Game 3 SJS)
Assists: 4 - Henrik Sedin (Game 4 SJS)
Assists Allowed: 3 (twice) - Dave Bolland (Game 4 CHI), Joe Thornton (Game 3 SJS)
Points: 4 - Henrik Sedin (Game 4 SJS)
Points Allowed: 4 (twice) - Dave Bolland (Game 4 CHI), Duncan Keith (Game 5 CHI)
Saves: 54 - Roberto Luongo (Game 5 SJS)
Saves, Opponent: 44 - Pekka Rinne (Game 3 NSH)
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<table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Hold on a minute while I stretch my writing fingers, it’s been a while. Every year around this time I get extremely busy, and inventing ways to get out of prior engagements in or-der to watch hockey consumes most, if not all, of the free time I have. The Canucks are my drug of choice (unless Phil Collins’ “Sussudio” can be considered a drug), to the point that I have no doubt that the team is interfering with what my therapist, Dr. Hand, refers to as a “well-adjusted” life.
If my family and friends held an intervention during which my mother read a tearful letter outlining how my addiction to hockey has affected our relationship, I would look her in the eyes and earnestly tell her that I would change...for us...shortly before climbing out of the bathroom window and watching the ’94 playoff run on Youtube in a dumpster (I’m pretty sure dumpsters have wi-fi). I have a problem, but I could totally stop any time I want, I just don’t want to right now.
<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/10/oct1908_hawks10_t.jpg" border="0" alt="" hspace="4" vspace="1" align="right" />For those who don’t suffer from such an affliction, I’ll tell you that the hardest part about a Canuck-addiction (Canuddic-tion? No, that sounds dirty) is the violent mood swings. After the Canucks beat Calgary for the second time to go 2-0 on the year, I had serious thoughts about camping out on Robson in order to get a good seat for the Stanley Cup parade. The team had carried over their stellar pre-season play into when it really mat-tered, and handed their biggest rivals a couple of losses in the process. I wasn’t the mayor of Cloud Nine, but I was definitely a high-ranking official of some sorts - possibly an alderman of Cloud Nine. At least an assistant to the alderman.
Then came Thanksgiving. Or as I have now come to call it, “Thanksfornothinggiving.” (See what I did there? I threw a “for nothing” in the middle of the word there. Subtle, but savvy readers were undoubtedly rewarded the first time around.)
Once again, an early PPV game managed to drain my cheeks of their natural, rosy en-thusiasm (I had to powder them with rouge for the rest of the night just to save face. To-tal embarrassment). Memories of last season began rushing by me in a semi-transparent fashion, sort of like that psychedelic tunnel scene in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, only with more goals against and slightly less Gene Wilder. But with a record of 2-1, and a handy jet-lag excuse ready to go, the post-traumatic stress from last season had yet to set in.
<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/10/101608_keslerpoke_t.jpg" bor-der="0" alt="" hspace="4" vspace="1" align="left" />And with a split against the defend-ing Cup champs and the red-hot Sabres in the follow-ing two games, I was holding up okay. Sure, the next game against the Blackhawks was another PPV broadcast, but I had a plan: I would abstain from ordering the game. If or-dering the PPV games had en-sured a loss in the past, then surely not ordering the game would produce a win, right? At the very least, the team would escape un-injured, right? Alas, it seems as though the power of PPV extends beyond the physical act of me ordering the broadcast (although I’m still fairly certain that I have the unique ability to affect the outcome of every game), as the Canucks came out of Chicago with a few men down and another loss in the pocket.
So now I’m on the brink. My mood has officially swung from manic to depressive in the course of six games. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way a fairweather fan, nor am I one to phone in to radio call-in shows with the brilliant advice to TRADE LUONGO! But as I write this a few hours before the Canucks are set to take on the Blue Jackets, I implore you, if you happen to come across a cheerful-looking person sitting out front of the Gap on Robson in a lawn chair, buy him a muffin. Banana-chocolate chip is his favourite. Conversely, if you happen to see a despondent individual on top of said Gap store threatening to jump, kindly inform him that it’s only a ten foot drop and that he looks like a jackass. Then buy him a muffin.</td></tr></table>
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When the Canucks were ousted in the first round of this year's Stanley Cup playoffs, the disappointment was obviously considerable - and the debates that have ensued have been equally unceremonial. In hindsight, the order of things may have helped the dust settle. Before media and fans could embark on a feeding frenzy calling for players to be dumped and coaches to be given walking orders, the first matter to address was whether Canucks fans would see the return and extension of GM Mike Gillis. While of course there are always people on either side of an issue, the question really was as close to a no-brainer as they come. The same sentiments that Gillis expressed regarding his coach (that you don't get rid of a guy on the heels of so much success) certainly applied to himself, and upon being re-signed, he in turn brought back coach Alain Vigneault, although, of course, neither decision transpired without significant debate on CDC. There was an almost natural progression of tempered blame, but despite the time it took to sort out those matters, one pivotal question remained in the background - the status of Vancouver's dynamic goaltending tandem, and the future of the player at the crux of the franchise through the term of it's greatest success, netminder Roberto Luongo.
Roberto Luongo's post game comments after the game 5 loss to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions started a snowball of speculation that his tenure in Vancouver may come to an end with the emergence of Cory Schneider, buoyed by the fact that the young Vancouver goaltender started crucial games 3, 4 and 5 of the opening round series. While the decision to start Schneider was not a determination that the veteran was being ousted, events were certainly conspiring to force a change, and the media wasted no time asking the perhaps timely yet crude questions.
“It’s going to be what's best for the team,” said Luongo. “Whatever scenario that is, I’m ok with it. Whether that involves me being here or not is ok.”
Luongo's words have been taken in various ways, but what they clearly were not is a trade request or anything resembling one - what evolved in the time since has been an apparent consensus that the resolution to the Canucks wealth in netminding is to move the veteran goaltender, hastened by the approaching RFA status of incumbent Cory Schneider.
Despite his perennial consistency, there has been no shortage of exaggerated devaluations of Luongo, something that pretty much comes with the territory between the pipes. The idea that his career is in decline is clearly contradicted by the reality that he just finished yet another solid season, ironically a season where he performed above his average over his impressive career. The idea that his contract is an obstacle is likewise overstated - reasonable if not below market value cap hit at 5.3 million, and the term is misleading as has been acknowledged by the likes of Bob McKenzie - the last three years his salary drops off considerably, and the buyout on his contract is only 914 thousand a year... The exaggerated downside of his contract is being over-stated by Leafs lobbyists, but the reality is that the deal is somewhat of a cap circumvention. The other reality is that Luongo is not showing any signs of decline, and is an extremely hard worker, which indicates that his longevity is as likely as some of his goaltending peers - he has many good years left in him. Say what you want about Luongo - he is a great goalie, a winner, and that isn't about to change anytime soon. When it comes to the microanalytics about his imperfections, the reality is that if you look at any other goalie in the NHL, they have all had their share of ups and downs - and few of them have had the ups or the consistency that Roberto Luongo has. Just by way of comparison Luongo has 284 wins over the past 8 seasons and a lifetime save percentage of .919 - Martin Brodeur has 291 wins over that span and a lifetime .913 sv%. Despite that, Canucks fans have tended to take Luongo for granted, but if he is in fact dealt, there are many of us who will miss him dearly... and don't appreciate the insulting devaluations, for reasons that go beyond his trade value.
The movement of very similar contracts (Richards and Carter) for market value returns would indicate that Toronto's attempts to lowball are simply going to exclude them from competitive advantage - add to that the further irony that they just added a 25.5 million contract over 6 years for a player who has only topped 20 goals once in his career and it becomes clear that Burke's comments that he doesn't condone long term contracts and won't "stripmine" his system are merely classic Burke hyperbole...
If you listen to the Eastern hockey talk of late, you might start to believe that Toronto is the only market with any likelihood at all of landing Luongo - they are also intent on convincing people that the price will be relatively low in addition. The downside of such lobbying it twofold - first, they are raising the expectations of Leafs fans that they are positioned to finally poach a perennial top notch goaltender, and second, they are simultaneously attempting to devalue Luongo, raising the additional expectation that they can pawn off a second rate prospect or salary dump in exchange. Add to the game playing the suggestions by Damien Cox that they might (despite Burke's adamant distaste for them) offer sheet Schneider in order to increase their leverage and what you have out of Toronto is a whole lot of contradiction, wishful thinking and souring of the lines of communication. Aside from the fact that they lack the extra assets to make a deal, their "untouchables" themselves aren't particularly attractive and unlikely to improve the Canucks roster - add it up and you have a recipe without ingredients.
Here is Pierre Lebrun's comments after the trade deadline:
"He’s still a top-level goalie and the Canucks are adamant they will make a hockey deal, not a CBA dump deal. You can’t blame Vancouver for that. Simply put: if Toronto gets Luongo, for example, it makes the playoffs next season, in my opinion. Think that shouldn’t be motivation enough for the Leafs?
Know this from the Panthers: They’ve decided this weekend they’re going to see this Luongo thing through. They’re going to focus on it seriously. "
With all due respect to Toronto, Florida has seemed to be a more likely destination all along. First, the fans in Vancouver don't want to see Luongo in a Leafs jersey - a large portion of the rest of Canada responds with an irrational backlash at the prospect of Canucks success, and the feeling is mutual - we enjoy watching the Leafs lose and miss the playoffs, and Luongo in a Leafs jersey would be a serious threat to both. Whereas with the Florida possibility, there is the obvious history of Luongo's tremendous rise to stardom as a young Panther and the fact that his wife and family have maintained their roots there. There is the history of Mike Gillis and Dale Tallon cutting deals. There is the goaltending reality of the Panthers - their starter Theodore has one year left on his contract at 1.5 million, their prospect Markstrom is only 22 and has had injury problems with his knees, and Luongo would be a solid upgrade for a rising team that just made the playoffs and had a very strong showing against the eventual Eastern Conference Champions. The Florida Panthers, in addition, have only 40.5 million tied up in cap space at the present time (suggestions they can't afford Luongo are not very credible) and Tallon was not shy about going out and acquiring Campbell and his 7+ million cap hit. In addition, the Florida Panthers are teeming with young prospects... on the blueline they have Kulikov, Gudbranson, Robak, Ellerby, Petrovic, and just added yet another first rounder in Mike Matheson. At center they are likewise loaded with young talent - Huberdeau, Bjugstad, Matthias, Howden... the majority of these young prospects were first round draft picks and the additional thing that makes sense in this scenario is those assets are at positions of interest to the Canucks. Vancouver's acquisition of Gaunce and Mallet with their 1st and 2nd picks may slightly alter their interests, but needless to say, Florida has many more attractive assets, and a far greater ability to part with a few than the Toronto Maple Leafs. If I were to guess, I'd think a deal for one of the Panthers young near NHL-ready centers (Bjugstad) and a young blueline prospect (Petrovic) would be a good return, in addition, it is possible that Theodore come the other way as an option/insurance to take the pressure off Eddie Lack to step up at the NHL level. The Panthers have expressed reluctance to deal their top young prospects (likely Kulikov, Huberdeau and Gudbranson) - even if they held firm, they have a lot of options to work with. They also have a handful of forwards (Goc, Upshall, Bergenheim) that could make sense as the third piece if the Canucks decided they need someone who can contribute now, were to add a second piece to the mix, or Florida insisted upon returning some salary...
Florida may have needed a little time to sort out what they would be getting in the NHL entry draft, but it is not inconceivable that with that assessment they now have a better idea of what assets they may be prepared to move to land the veteran goaltender. The timing is right - for Vancouver, signing Schneider before July 1st would be advantageous to avoiding the potential of offer sheets, although that may happen regardless of the status of Roberto Luongo - the Canucks have made it fairly clear that they are committed to Schneider. In addition, having a less complicated idea of the roster going into free agency may be advantageous, but really, with the quality and depth of the Canucks system, there is absolutely no urgency to add pieces. Some people may be getting impatient, but the real window or time to deal is still wide open, Gillis' back is anything but up against a wall, as wishful Toronto thinkers may try to imply - and needless to say, there are plenty of other possibilities not even touched upon here. In any event, we''ll see if the Panthers and the Canucks are prepared to get "serious" - for all parties involved, that seems like the best outcome. We'll see you in the Stanley Cup Finals Roberto.
After jumping out to an early 2-0 series lead on home ice, the Vancouver Canucks return to Vancouver tied after a two game Beantown beating.
Roberto Luongo looks on after Rich Peverly opens the scoring in Game 4
It just never comes 'easy' for the Vancouver Canucks. Of course, being that it's the Stanley Cup Finals, one wouldn't expect it should. But at the beginning of the series, it seemed like the Bruins might never get a goal on Roberto Luongo. When Alex Burrows scored 11 seconds into overtime in Game 2, you could feel the confidence eminating from the faces of every Canuck caught on camera. My, what a turnabout a change of venue brings to a series.
After ripping the Canucks a new one in Game 3, the sea of black and yellow in TD Garden was loud to start the affair. They went raucous when Rich Peverly scored his first of two goals at the 11:59 mark of the opening period. The Canucks, who entered the game 1 for 16 on the powerplay, had an opportunity on a Brad Marchand cross-checking penalty to draw even. But Bruins bodies were flying around, getting down in front of pucks, and whatever did get through, Tim Thomas was able to see, and subsequently stop.
To be frank, the refereeing was the poorest I've witnessed in the post-season. A lot of Bruins "head-snaps" and soccer-esque dives were rewarded with penalties, particularly one embellished by Andrew Ference. Mason Raymond was forechecking behind the net, reached in with his stick, which completely missed Ference's chin, but the head-snap sold the call. Also, Jannik Hansen received a pass at the attacking blue-line, and both skates were onside as he moved in with the puck for a 3-on-2, but the refs blew it down. Lastly, they deflated the Canucks early in the third period, giving Henrik Sedin a "slashing" penalty. In reality, the Bruin fell as a result of tripping on his team-mates' leg at the blue-line. This after they missed the Bruins having 1 extra player illegally on the ice.
Dennis Seidenberg tries to clear traffic from in front of Tim Thomas (photo courtesy of AP Photo / The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
It's hard to say which Canuck team will surface in Game 5, with some controversy already on who should start in net, Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider. Alain Vigneault has already shocked the hockey world in that regard during the Chicago series, starting Schneider in Game 6 after back-to-back blowouts. Schneider, who relieved Luongo after Peverly's second goal 3:39 into the third period, had this to say. "It was just a couple unlucky goals. I don't know if he (ticked) off the hockey gods, but it just seems like the past two games he can't buy a break."
Cory Schneider, Roberto Luongo and Kevin Bieksa watch as the final seconds tick down on Game 4
It's quite apparent that the absence of their top shutdown defenceman, Dan Hamhuis (who didn't even skate with the team in practice today), has had a rippling effect on the team. His partner, Kevin Bieksa, looks like he misses him the most. Normally, he has the luxury of being more aggressive carrying the puck into Boston territory. Without that chemistry, the Canucks are having a tougher time initiating offence, which is often derived from their pinching defense. Not only that, but Hamhuis' minutes have to be filled somehow, and that has exposed Alex Edler and Christian Ehrhoff's deficiencies in their own end.
Though Bruins coach Claude Julien has stated he wants his players to play with class, Brad Marchand's late game antics aren't helping in that respect. He already warned Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic about their mockery of the finger-biting gestures. But, as Marchand was being escorted off the ice by the officials with a triple-penalty, he performed the "dusting off of the hands" gesture as he went by the Canucks bench. It's this kind of disrespect that hockey players hate, and incites violent acts down the road. Interestingly, Marchand didn't "win" any fight, or really have any claim to do that. It will be interesting to see if he's a targeted man in Game 5. With quite possibly the most disproportionate nose in hockey (now that Mike Ricci has retired), I'm certain the little guy (5 '9) might have it smacked for his late cheap hits in Game 4.
Brad Marchand clothes-lined a Canucks defenceman, then low-bridged Daniel Sedin, and chucks his gloves off, knowing someone is going to want a piece
With the series now a best of three, the one upside for Canucks fans is that during the regular season, with their President Trophy winning campaign, they earned home-ice advantage throughout the Playoffs. Hopefully the long flight from Boston will give them a chance to readjust mentally, and prepare them for what lies ahead. In a series where home ice has meant so much, it's imperative they corral momentum back. After all, Rogers Arena has been witness to many Canuck victories throughout the year.
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Thanks for the memories of fast, exciting professional hockey, road trips, monthly meetings, silent auctions, working the tables, Santa Claus parades and after game skates. These are just a few of the things that will make VSKBC members smile when they reflect upon them. This time last season we were very involved with our 24 Relay Team, Marty's Angelz, busy with fundraising activities. Then as summer turned to fall, we eagerly anticipated the start of training camp. At a Sunday after noon’s post game skate (after the UBC exhibition game),we were once again tasked to get hands stamped and ECHL waivers signed. In January, after an afternoon game against Las Vegas, we used the lessons learned from the fall skate to get things done smoother. The ever popular Marty's Fish Pond was manned by VSKBC members during the season ticket holders pickup party. At this event, executive members placed welcome baskets in the team’s dressing room. A small group of us made the annual road trip to Boise, where we would see the Salmon Kings open their season in Idaho. At a game day skate we were invited to watch, many of the players asked us how the drive down was, and thanked us for making the trip. Later in the season, small groups made a flight to Las Vegas and a long winter's drive to Stockton. One nice thing about Boise has been meeting our counterparts in the Idaho Steelheads Booster Club, they are like family, a very hospitable group. On these road trips, having someone with excellent map reading skills is invaluable and our Vice President Pam showed us her prowess in this area. Back home, the team organized a meet and greet with the players at the Canoe Club, where many got autographs and had some interesting conversations with the players. Each game night, two tables would be manned, one on the concourse where the big eye catching Goals That Give rink board was located, and another table near the club seat lounge. The table would display autographed pucks for sale, the tally of the Goals That Give, be the sites for silent auctions, host a kids colouring area, and display interesting information related to the VSKBC. These table shifts were excellent if you liked people watching, and it was fascinating to see the variety of jerseys and hats worn by fans. The past few years, the Booster Club has represented the Salmon Kings organization at the annual Santa Claus Parade. We would have a hockey themed decorated truck, and a few of us would walk alongside the truck; in 2010 without a schedule conflict, the mascot Marty the Marmot joined us. Each Christmas, a silent auction of player made crafts took place. The opportunity to watch this while handing out paints and cleaning brushes was interesting. This Christmas, our 24 Hr Relay Team lost our honourary camper, booster club member, and devoted Salmon Kings fan Keely. Keely you are missed. A silent auction was held near season's end in March when the VSKBC is reinforced by friends and family as the 24 Hour Relay team, Marty's Angelz begins its annual fundraising drive. Our silent auction experience came in handy when we helped to close the one held in late summer at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club to aid the 24 Hour Relay. Being a VSKBC member meant opportunities to meet players at special events, and two of these took place this past season. Firstly an "appy's night" was held at Montana's Cookhouse. Each Salmon King player and VSKBC member was given a bingo sheet where the squares contained questions that you would find answered by asking questions of other members or players. This was a good ice breaker and nicely facilitated conversation. Early in March, a pizza day was held on a Sunday afternoon in the Salmon Kings gym/locker room at SOFMC. Small teams made up of members and players took part in a fun scavenger hunt. A very memorable moment was when the VSKBC president, Jen asked the players and members present to tell us their name, where they were from and a little about themselves. You could tell that all present liked this with all the smiles that shone in the room. As the season carried on into a historic third round playoff series, the VSKBC was ever present, manning the two tables, helping the game staff when asked, and cheering the Victoria Salmon Kings right to the end. Yes, thanks for the memories of Jen's leadership, Pam's smiling calmness, the scheduling wizardry of Louise, Cayla's bears, Linda's laughter, Sean’s sense of humour, Marlisa's hard work behind the scenes, Hunter's dancing, Lori helping with shifts, and all the efforts of all whose collective efforts made the Victoria Salmon Kings Booster Club such a special group. As in life, as one door closes, another often opens; thus our 24 Hour Relay Team, Marty's Anglez will keep many of us busy throughout the year. In closing a chapter of the VSKBC's part in Victoria sports history, let all remember the hard work, camaraderie, and fun that we had. In closing, always remember that truly Victory Goes To The Brave.
President Note- Thank you to Keith who has done a fantastic job of writing our blog for the past season. Thanks Keith.
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PROJECTED LINES IF SEASON STARTED TODAY:
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Brock Boeser
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Loui Eriksson
Sam Gagner - Markus Granlund - Thomas Vanek
Derek Dorsett - Brandon Sutter - Jake Virtanen
(Extra forwards: Reid Boucher, Nicolay Goldobin, Anton Rodin, Michael Chaput, Jason Megna, Alex Burmistrov, Scotty Upshall)
Alex Edler - Chris Tanev
Michael Del Zotto - Troy Stecher
Ben Hutton - Erik Gudbranson
(Extra Defensemen: Olli Juolevi, Alex Biega, Patrick Wiercioch)
(AHL Goalie: Thatcher Demko + Richard Bachman)
***Brendan Gaunce out until November at the earliest according to Jim Benning***
THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
With 1 more year left on their contracts and careers (possibly), the Sedin era should be coming to a close in 2018.
There is much confusion these days however for Canuck fans over where this team is headed. We had been spoiled in the Alain Vigneault and Marc Crawford era’s of this franchise. We have to go back before the West Coast Express to remember a time of consistent losing, which came shortly after a failed Mark Messier acquisition that turned out to be the worst signing in Canuck history. Honourable Mention: Loui Eriksson.
Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, and Brendan Morrison owned the team in 2002 through 2006. It was the start of some very fun and high paced Canucks hockey teams.
The Canucks also had a sell-out streak of 487, falling just 13 games shy of the NHL record of 500 straight sellouts by the Colorado Avalanche, who attained their mark in the Patrick Roy, Burnaby Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote days. It was a time when the Colorado vs. Vancouver matchup was fun to watch.
After the West Coast Express, the Canucks transferred over to the Sedin’s, who eventually became annual contenders to be in the top 5-10 in league scoring. Plus, we finally stopped our goalie graveyard of Arturs Irbe, Felix Potvin, Sean Burke and a host of others with the acquisition of Roberto Luongo.
Fast forward to 2011 and being a Canucks fan was pretty fun. We watched the likes of Kesler, Bieksa, Burrows and Hamhuis grow into leaders of the team.
Then 2013 hit, and the wheels on the bus stopped spinning round and round.
In an era of salary cap management and solid drafting, the bus that had carried so many Canuck fans started coming apart.
And so began the Canucks new direction of Trevor Linden and Jim Benning. The men who promise to restock the cupboards with high quality draft picks while keeping a competitive hockey team on the ice.
We can't dismiss the cupboards are getting better, but the competition hasn't been fierce with a 28th and 29th place finish in each of the last 2 seasons.
The top teams are changing in the NHL, and most would agree it was a good run by an organization that had previously had it’s share of tough times since it’s inception into the league.
Now we are stuck having to watch Toronto and Edmonton steal the majority of TV time. The sad part is, those teams are overdue for some winning. It’s their turn.
For the next few years, we will get our championship from the draft lottery. We load up with kids we believe will be capable of hoisting the Stanley Cup, and in 3-5 years we should have a decent team. It’s a long process. But we are OVER DUE for that next wave of elite Canuck players.
Bo Horvat will be the Captain next year. The Sedin’s will want to pass the torch eventually and let the kids take the top job. Why not allow the kids to play and learn to be the new face of the franchise. Did the free agent signings affect their growth?
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How do you win a Stanley Cup?
I asked Trevor Linden that in Penticton, when the young stars were playing the week before NHL training camp opened up.
He said, "Build a playoff team, then get them through the regular season."
Well, the playoffs have been confirmed. Now we see if this team has what it takes.
Here is how the lines will look, heading into the postseason:
Because we do not know when Zack Kassian or Brad Richardson will return, we still need to factor them into the lineup for next week.
1. Sedin - Sedin - Burrows / Sedin - Sedin - Burrows
2. Higgins - Bonino - Vrbata / Matthias - Bonino - Vrbata
3. Dorsett - Richardson - Kassian / Kenins - Horvat - Hansen
highlighted means currently injured
4. Higgins - Horvat - Hansen / Matthias - Vey - Dorsett
Where does Kenins fit in once Richardson and Kassian return. Maybe Kassian and Kenins take turns in and out of the lineup.
On Defence, Alex Edler must be with with Chris Tanev. Edler is at his best when he has a solid stay at home defence partner like Tanev to cover his mistakes.
1. Edler - Tanev
2. Hamhuis -Weber
3. Bieksa - Sbisa
What do you think the lines should be? Have your say below...
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Regular season games
Stanley Cup playoff games
SEASON 1: 2006-07 ( 1-2-0 + 1-4 = 2-6-0 )
10/31/06 L Nashville 3, Vancouver 2
12/08/06 W Vancouver 4, Carolina 3 (OT)
01/11/07 L Minnesota 5, Vancouver 2
04/13/07 L Round 1, Game 2: Dallas 2, Vancouver 0
04/19/07 L Round 1, Game 5: Dallas 1, Vancouver 0 (OT)
04/23/07 W Round 1, Game 7: Vancouver 4, Dallas 1
04/29/07 L Round 2, Game 3: Anaheim 3, Vancouver 2
05/01/07 L Round 2, Game 4: Anaheim 3, Vancouver 2 (OT)
SEASON 2: 2007-08 ( 7-2-0 )
10/10/07 L Philadelphia 8, Vancouver 2
10/28/07 L Detroit 3, Vancouver 2
11/27/07 W Vancouver 4, Anaheim 0
11/29/07 W Vancouver 2, Columbus 0
12/18/07 W Vancouver 5, New Jersey 0
12/20/07 W Vancouver 3, Dallas 2
03/06/08 W Vancouver 6, Nashville 2
03/08/08 W Vancouver 4, St. Louis 2
03/17/08 W Vancouver 3, Phoenix 1
SEASON 3: 2008-09 ( 2-2-2 + 0-1 = 2-3-2 )
11/04/08 W Vancouver 4, Nashville 0
11/06/08 W Vancouver 1, Phoenix 0
11/12/08 OTL Colorado 2, Vancouver 1 (SO 2-1)
01/13/09 L New Jersey 5, Vancouver 1
01/15/09 L Phoenix 4, Vancouver 1
04/02/09 OTL Anaheim 6, Vancouver 5 (SO 1-0)
05/09/09 L Round 2, Game 5: Chicago 4, Vancouver 2
SEASON 4: 2009-10 ( 3-1-0 + 1-1 = 4-2-0 )
10/27/09 L Detroit 5, Vancouver 4
11/03/09 W Vancouver 4, New York Rangers 1
01/07/10 W Vancouver 4, Phoenix 0
03/30/10 W Vancouver 4, Phoenix 1
04/23/10 W Round 1, Game 5: Vancouver 7, Los Angeles 2
05/11/10 L Round 2, Game 6: Chicago 5, Vancouver 1
SEASON 5: 2010-11 ( 4-2-1 + 1-0 = 5-2-1 )
10/09/10 OTL Los Angeles 2, Vancouver 1 (SO 2-0)
11/21/10 L Phoenix 3, Vancouver 2
12/08/10 W Vancouver 5, Anaheim 4 (SO 1-0)
01/26/11 W Vancouver 2, Nashville 1
02/09/11 L Anaheim 4, Vancouver 2
03/16/11 W Vancouver 4, Colorado 2
04/07/11 W Vancouver 5, Minnesota 0
05/24/11 W Round 3, Game 5: Vancouver 3, San Jose 2 (2 OT)
SEASON 6: 2011-12 ( 3-3-1 + 0-3 = 3-6-1 )
10/26/11 L St. Louis 3, Vancouver 0
11/29/11 W Vancouver 4, Columbus 1
12/01/11 L Nashville 6, Vancouver 5
01/17/12 OTL Los Angeles 3, Vancouver 2 (SO 2-1)
02/15/12 W Vancouver 3, Colorado 1
03/14/12 L Phoenix 5, Vancouver 4
04/03/12 W Vancouver 5, Anaheim 4 (SO 3-1)
04/11/12 L Round 1, Game 1: Los Angeles 4, Vancouver 2
04/13/12 L Round 1, Game 2: Los Angeles 4, Vancouver 2
04/22/12 L Round 1, Game 5: Los Angeles 2, Vancouver 1 (OT)
SEASON 7: 2012-13 ( 2-1-1 + 0-2 = 2-3-1 )
01/30/13 W Vancouver 3, Colorado 0
02/12/13 W Vancouver 2, Minnesota 1
03/05/13 OTL San Jose 3, Vancouver 2 (SO 2-1)
04/25/13 L Anaheim 3, Vancouver 1
05/01/13 L Round 1, Game 1: San Jose 3, Vancouver 1
05/03/13 L Round 1, Game 2: San Jose 3, Vancouver 2 (OT)
SEASON 8: 2013-14 ( 4-3-0 )
10/30/13 L Detroit 2, Vancouver 1
11/22/13 W Vancouver 6, Columbus 2
12/08/13 W Vancouver 3, Colorado 1
01/29/14 L Chicago 5, Vancouver 2
02/26/14 W Vancouver 1, St. Louis 0
03/19/14 W Vancouver 2, Nashville 0
04/07/14 L Anaheim 3, Vancouver 0
SEASON 9: 2014-15 ( 1-2-0 + 1-0 )
11/11/14 W Vancouver 4, Ottawa 3 (OT)
12/17/14 L Dallas 2, Vancouver 0
01/27/15 L Anaheim 4, Vancouver 0
04/23/14 W Round 1, Game 5: Vancouver 2, Calgary 1
SEASON MISSED: 2015-16
SEASON 10: 2016-17 ( O-0-0 + 0-0 )
10/25/16 X OTTAWA @ VANCOUVER
11/29/16 X MINNESOTA @ VANCOUVER
50 games: 27-18-5 ( 1-2-0, 4-3-0, 2-1-1, 3-3-1, 4-2-1, 3-1-0, 2-2-2, 7-2-0, 1-2-0 )
Stanley Cup Playoffs
15 games: 4-11 ( 1-0, DNQ, 0-2, 0-3, 1-0, 1-1, 0-1, DNQ, 1-4 )
65 games: 31-29-5 ( 2-2-0, 4-3-0, 2-3-1, 3-6-1, 5-2-1, 4-2-0, 2-3-2, 7-2-0, 2-6-0 )
As John Shorthouse said post game on the team 1040 after the loss of the 2nd game, "You have to change the feel of the game." And I agree. Cory Schneider will start Game 3 guaranteed.
The resiliency will pay off for the Vancouver Canucks. Vigneault taught his team to work with each other. Remember the line juggling he did in the dog days of the regular season? Burrows was taken off the first line for much of the final 2 months, the all American line broken apart and brought back together at random times.
Vigneault and company were getting every player used to each other and at the same time watching what happens when they put certain lines together. It enables him to motivate multiple times during the game by changing things up dependant upon how the team is playing. Where the first line could be different by the end of the game.
He even split the twins up in multiple games*. Allowed them to get used to playing without each other. For instances like this. Vigneault didn't want the team to rely on the twins taking them to the cup.
He knows what he is doing with this team. He motivates them. Rick Bowness motivates them. To block out the media and believe in each other. Try being in the media storm right now in Toronto. Hard to block it out.
They have played a lot of hockey over the last 2 years, and they know what it's like to be the best.
I think you do the following:
Burrows, Kesler, Booth - The superhero line
Higgins, Sedin, Hansen - The technical line
Lapierre, Malhotra, Kassian - the shutdown line and the pylon
Raymond, Pahlsson, Ebbett - the goal every 2-3 games line
They also better play a video to the Canucks showing how the Boston Bruins were down 2-0 against Montreal last season and came back to win and go on to win the Stanley Cup. And in Boston vs. Canucks series, they were down 2-0 against us. Inspiration can be taken from that.
They have to believe they can come back. We haven't been in this position either as fans for years, where we start to feel like, what a team that sucked in the playoffs feels ilke.
Have to go 4-1 from here out.
Can it be done by these Vancouver Canucks?
post your answer yes or no, and a comment if required.
Through 18 games this 2015/2016 NHL season, the Vancouver Canucks currently sit 3rd in the Pacific Division with a record of 7-6-5 (19 points, good for 15th in the League). This blog will detail both team and individual aspects of this Canucks team as they’ve been through the first quarter(ish) of the season, resulting in me giving them a letter grade (from A+ to F) for both the team overall, as well as each individual player. In the first section of this blog, I will be focusing on the Canucks team stats, to analyze how they actually match up against their peers league wide
The Canucks currently have a GF/GP of 2.83 and a GA/GP of 2.56, which is actually pretty solid considering their very average record so far. The goals are coming (9th in the League), and the goals against is pretty mediocre (14th in the League), so their record should be better, right?
Wrong. The Canucks have lost 10 one goal games this season, including 5 in overtime. While their goals against isn't terrible, the timing of the goals is. They've given up 22 goals in either 3rd periods or overtime (43.1% of total goals against), 3rd worst in the league only behind CAR(46.9%) and CBJ(43.5%).
The Canucks are also being let down on special teams. Their powerplay ranks 23rd in the League at 15.8%, and their penalty kill is 20th at 79.2%. Furthermore, they've given up 3 shorthand goals already, good for 3rd most in the league. Taking a look at PP and PK time, the Canucks have the 14th most PP time in the league, and the 22nd most PK time in the league. These stats tell us that the special teams should be benefiting them, since they are more times on the powerplay than they are shorthanded when directly compared to their peers. However, due to the poor conversion rate of their PP and PK, the Canucks special teams are actually hurting their chances of winning games when compared to their normal 5-on-5 play.
Face-offs have also been an area of concern for the Canucks. Overall, they win 49.3% of their draws, ranking 21st in the league. Looking more specifically, at even strength they win 49.4% of their draws (21st in the League), 61.9% of their draws when on the PP (5th in the League), and 40.2% of their draws when on the PK (27th in the league) Overall, they’re not fantastic, but not terrible either, however based on the stats, it’s pretty clear that they are struggling hard when shorthanded. This results in less puck possession for the team while shorthanded, and ultimately leads to more goals against.
In total, I would give the Canucks a “C-”. The even-strength play indicates a slightly higher grade, however the special teams and face-off driven possession, combined with the untimeliness of goals against really hurts them, and ultimately drags them down a few ratings.
In this next section of this blog, I will be rating the Canucks players individually, going in order from best to worst, separating them by position. These ratings take into account production, as well as expectations put on the players based on their salary, age, and playing time.
Jannik Hansen: A
Hansen has produced at a great offensive clip with 11 points in 18 games and is also a relentless checker who can play in all roles. In my mind, he’s the one of the best 3rd liners in the league.
Daniel Sedin: B+
Daniel has 16 points in 18 games, leading the team in points. Although the Twins aren’t as dominant every night they were a few years ago, they still produce at a high level.
Henrik Sedin: B+
Henrik has 13 points in 18 games, which is an alright offensive pace. He’s probably expected to produce a bit more based on his salary, but he’s still the straw that stirs the drink for the Canucks offense, and definitely could have had a few more assists. His line is not the one to complain too much about.
Jared McCann: B+
McCann made the team unexpectedly as a 19 year old rookie, and has performed exceptionally. He has 7 points in 16 games, and his 5 goals co-lead the team. He seems to be improving his defensive game as well as he learns the system and adjusts to NHL pace, and looks to be a future lock for the top-6.
Alex Burrows: B
Burrows is a consistent, hardworking, and tenacious player. He has 9 points in 18 games, and is steady at both ends of the rink. While he may not put up the numbers he did in his prime, he is still a solid contributor who can play anywhere in the lineup.
Brandon Sutter: B
Many people scrutinized Canucks GM Jim Benning for his trade to bring Sutter over from Pittsburgh, however, he has shown to be a good fit for the team. He has excelled defensively, and gives the Canucks a good matchup player besides Horvat, who may become overwhelmed at the age of 20. Sutter has also produced solid offence with 8 points in 16 games, and is another guy who can play up and down the lineup.
Chris Higgins: B-
Higgins is hard to judge, as he has missed most of the year with injury. Since returning however, he has a couple of goals, and has been relatively solid defensively. He currently has 2 points (both goals) in 6 games.
Brandon Prust: B-
Prust has exceeded expectations so far this season. While he’s currently out with injury, he was a solid player on the 4th line, and was doing well killing penalties. While not the fastest or flashiest player, he is effective, and has a respectable point total with 5 points (all assists) in 9 games. His toughness is also much appreciated.
Adam Cracknell: B-
Cracknell is another 4th liner who has exceeded expectations early this season. He has been solid defensively, and has scored some timely goals, with 2 goals and 3 points in 12 games. He is a very hard working player that gives it his all every shift.
Bo Horvat: C+
Horvat had high expectations put on him coming into this season, and they were probably unrealistic. After a strong rookie year, including a dynamic improvement in the second half of last season and postseason, Horvat has been given a much more significant role on the team this year. That being said, he’s only 20, so the tougher matchups have resulted in some mistakes playing against better players, as well as some slightly disappointing offence, having 6 points in 18 games. Still, Horvat is a resilient player, and has been getting his chances. I expect him to improve as the season goes on, much like last season.
Jake Virtanen: C+
Jake is a tough player to figure out. Physically, he has been great. He is physical, fast, and chippy. That being said, sometimes he doesn’t look too tenacious, and his effort level seems to vary from game to game. He is a young player, so inconsistency is expected, however it would be nice to see a bit more offense from him. Again, like Horvat, he’s getting his chances, but unlike Horvat, his defensive game isn’t too polished, so he doesn’t have the luxury of not being able to produce for long. He has 4 points in 14 games, and is expected to improve as the season goes on.
Derek Dorsett: C+
Doresett has played alright, but his new contract is pretty tough to justify. Tangibles are a hard specify the value of, and while he is a mentor and leader on the team, he needs to show a bit more on the ice as well to live up to his contract, with just 4 points in 18 games so far this year.
Sven Baertchi: C+
After lighting up the AHL last season, Baertchi hasn’t had too much of an impact at the NHL level this season. While he’s putting up a good point pace with 7 points in 15 games, he hasn’t played like a difference maker, and he has been pretty soft on the puck, especially near the boards. He still plays too much of a perimeter game, but does show promise.
Radim Vrbata: C
Vrbata has lost most of his confidence this season, and has no puck luck. He has been getting chances as well, but has been uncharacteristically not been finishing. This includes missing a few seemingly open nets, and simply just missing the net. I expect that once he gets a couple of goals (goes on a bit of a hot streak), he’ll be fine for the rest of the year. He has 3 goals and 7 points in 18 games, and needs to pick up the pace if the Canucks have any hope of making the playoffs.
Chris Tanev: B+
Chris Tanev has (quite easily) been the best defenceman for the Canucks this season. Offense has never been his strong suit, and he has 4 points in 17 games. Defensively however, he has been very solid, and he really been relied upon in all situations.
Ben Hutton: B+
Ben Hutton has really exploded as a blooming young star this season. While may fans didn’t really know about this NCAA gem (I had him ranked #7 for Canucks prospects in my July 2014 blog entry), he came in, made the team, and has just produced. His 8 points in 18 games are 2nd amongst Canucks defenders, and his defensive game is better than expected. His skating, smarts, and on-ice awareness may allow him to become a top pair defender in the future.
Alex Edler: B-
Edler had a great start to the season, and his 8 points in 17 games are very solid. The past 5ish games however, Edler (along with the rest of the defence) has looked a bit lost out there, causing giveaways and scoring chances for the other team. Furthermore, his mobility hasn’t looked very good, so he could be playing hurt.
Dan Hamhuis: C+
Speaking of giveaways and lack of mobility, Hamhuis has looked uncharacteristically poor this season. Hamhuis is still very good in his own zone, but his transition game has been subpar, and his offensive awareness is near non-existent. Again, like Edler, I thought he started the year pretty solid, but he has been playing with a revolving door of sketchy partners, and he may be playing injured. With just 2 points in 15 games, he needs to be better.
Mark Bartkowski: C+
Bartkowski is a great skater, in fact, one of the best skating defenceman I have ever seen suit up for the Canucks. However, that’s almost all that he can contribute. While he tries to play a rugged game, he is ineffective at it, and often gets out muscled in the corners or in front of the net. Also, his defensive coverage is spotty, and he is often left chasing the play. His transition game is fantastic, and his skating is much needed, but don’t expect him to be creative and create offense out of that skating ability (5 points in 17 games). He has a role on this team, but currently, he is playing a bit out of his depth in the top-4.
Luca Sbisa: C+
Sbisa has played quite well this season, proving a needed physical presence, and looking more confident. He has limited the amount of giveaways he has compared to last season, and may still have the promise to eventually be a top-4 defenceman, when playing with a solid partner who can cover for his occasional poor pinches and giveaways. He has just played 11 games, putting up 4 points, and is currently injured, making way for this next player in the lineup.
Yannick Weber: C
Weber looked great last season in my opinion, but lost a lot of confidence and looked overwhelmed in the playoffs. Unfortunately, Weber has taken his poor pay from the playoffs and brought it to this season. For an “offensive defenceman”, he has just 2 points in 12 games, and has been poor defensively. He’s not dynamic enough offensively to be poor defensively, and with the poor play of other defenceman, his errors are sticking out even more.
Ryan Miller: B-
Miller had a hot start to the season, but has cooled down quickly. While the defence hasn’t helped him out much lately, he needs to be better, and can’t give up weak goals at poor times in a game.
Jacob Markstrom: B-
Markstrom has been solid, but really it is too early to judge with such a small sample size.
Richard Bachman: C+
He was a solid fill-in goalie, but with Markstrom back now, he should get some starter time in the AHL.
This final section of the blog will take a look at the player stat projections over a full 82 game pace, as well as my expectation for the players. I will also project our GF/GP and GA/GP over an 82 game season, compare it to past seasons and summarize the results.
Current Points (GP…G-A-P)
Projected Points (GP…G-A-P)
Expected Points (GP…G-A-P)
Projected total goals: 264
Expected total goals: 235
#1 for 2014/2015
#9 for 2014/2015
#1 for 2013/2014
#8 for 2013/2014
#2 for 2012/2013*
#7 for 2012/2013*
#2 for 2011/2012
#8 for 2011/2012
#1 for 2010/2011
#11 for 2010/2011
As you can see from the data above, the Canucks are “projected” to have 264 goals (using pure extrapolation). This is, of course, unreasonable, and would be either #1 or #2 in the league over the past 5 seasons. If this was the case, they should have a much better record, because their goals against is not that poor as to counteract this. With my “expected” totals (looking at the game in a vacuum where there are no injuries), the Canucks finish the season with 235 goals. This would put them in the #7-11 range for the past 5 seasons, which I feel is much more realistic, and perhaps even a bit optimistic.
Overall, the Canucks are scoring enough goals, but their defence has been subpar at best. If they want to have a serious chance of making the playoffs, the defence and goaltending has to be better, and they must maintain a GF/GP of around 2.8.
Please feel free to provide feedback on my article, and don’t forget to answer the poll questions! What do you think the Canucks need to improve this season, and where should they look to bring about these improvements?
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Bo Horvat started this season as the 3rd line centre behind Henrik Sedin and Brandon Sutter. Despite ranking 5th in TOI/GP for forwards this season, and with very little time on the power play, Horvat is leading the team this season in goals and points. He has been a professional through everything this season – good or bad. Horvat represented the Canucks at the NHL All-Star Game, and he did not look out of place, showing off his speed against Patrik Laine, and scoring 2 goals in the 3-on-3 tournament.
Nikita Tryamkin started this season in the press box. He refused a demotion to Utica, instead choosing to stay in Vancouver. Due to all the injuries on the blue line, Tryamkin finally drew into the lineup on November 3. He hasn’t relinquished his spot in the lineup since, ranking 4th on the team in plus/minus, and leads the team in penalty minutes. At 6’7″ and 265 lbs, Tryamkin’s size got him to the NHL, but he has shown surprising mobility for a big defenceman.
Everyone loves an underdog, and Richmond’s Troy Stecher fits the bill perfectly. Undrafted and undersized for a defenseman, Stecher had a great pre-season, but was sent down to Utica to start the year. Since he got the call to return to the Canucks, he has excited the fanbase with his play. He can rush the puck with his speed and leads all Canucks defensemen in shots on goal and points.
In 2014-15, Luca Sbisa was everyone’s favourite scapegoat. In 2015-16, injuries kept him out of the lineup for half of the season. Finally this year, Sbisa is getting a chance to consistently show why the Canucks signed him to an extension through 2017-18. He looks far more comfortable on defense, making solid contact to gain possession of the puck and make a good first pass out of the zone. He has stayed healthy, and leads the team in plus/minus and hits. Solid.
Markus Granlund came to Vancouver via a trade with Calgary for Hunter Shinkaruk. There were a lot of armchair GM’s out there that called for Jim Benning’s head, but at this point in time, the Canucks are the clear winner of that deal. On Brandon Sutter’s left wing, Granlund has provided the Canucks with some much needed secondary scoring, playing in every game and potting 12 goals so far. Shinkaruk on the other hand has spent most of his season in the AHL. He has played 7 games for the Flames and has 1 assist.
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If you haven’t noticed, the Vancouver Canucks have a glut of centermen both now and for the future.
They sent young guns Dmitry Zhukenov and Joseph Labate down to Chicoutimi and Utica respectively, but for some reason there’s still a gazillion centers – okay, 11. 11 centers – vying for the jobs down the middle on the big club.
Out of those 11, three of those are Henrik Sedin, Bo Horvat, and Brandon Sutter, who will presumably take the top three spots. Another spot can be removed for Brendan Gaunce, who’s good, consistent game will grab him a spot on the team while veteran Chris Higgins is out with a fractured foot. He’ll be filling in as left wing on the third line.
That brings us down to seven. Seven guys vying for one, maybe two spots. It were as if the depth chart was hosting its own Bachelor(ette) TV show. So who are these potential bottom-liners?
We’ll start off first with Linden Vey. He’s the only one on the team that is victim (or in this case, Vey-ctim. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) to more hate than Luca Sbisa. Brought in because Bo Horvat’s NHL status was questionable at the time, Vey started on the third line, then dropped down to the fourth line, and slowly became a rotation player who spent a fair bit of time in the press box. He worked on his conditioning over the summer, but his face-off game still seems a little weak.
Alex Friesen is next. He’s small – smaller than Vey, even. He has good skill, as he was a solid contributor in different ways to the Comets’ Calder Cup run this spring. But it is his size that sets him back. If he can show to play bigger than he is as well as win face-offs, Friesen shouldn’t have a problem making the cut. As opposed to being cut. From the team.
Adam Cracknell has looked nice in a Canucks jersey so far – scoring the game-winning goal in the Kraft Hockeyville game against the Sharks – but he’s a depth addition. He’s likely meant to take over Cal O’Reilly’s role as top centerman and leader in Utica along with Blair Jones.
Speaking of which, it’s Blair Jones! Jones has an absolute blast of a shot, and he’s not a half-bad skater either. He’s looked good (or at least, better than others) in the preseason games he’s played in. He’s a fairly good skater and could handle the fourth-line role if given to him. However, it depends on the play of others to see if his name will land in the fourth center role on the depth chart.
Making a name for himself as a Canucks top prospect, Cole Cassels gained a whole lot of fame this spring by shutting down Connor McDavid, playing through injury, and leading his team to a Memorial Cup championship. He’s got skills, no doubt about it. But in the preseason games he’s been in so far, he’s showed he does need experience in the minors. Although he’s shown promise, he’s also shown he needs a bit more time and experience in the minors. He’ll do nicely on a Utica team trying to outdo last year’s Western Conference championship. He’ll make the NHL next year, perhaps?
Jared McCann is standing out among the competition right now. He’s working hard, showcasing his skills, and is playing like a real NHLer. To boost his skills, playing in the AHL would be ideal. Unfortunately for management, McCann would have to be sent down to his OHL team because of his age. McCann does look like he could handle an NHL role, however, and if he’s consistent in the next three games or less, he’ll get at least the nine game tryout and potentially an NHL role.
Finally, there’s Brandon Prust. An acquisition in a controversial trade, Prust has looked somewhat decent in place of Zack Kassian. He brings toughness and leadership in the dressing room, which is what GMJB is looking for. He also happens to be pretty good at face-offs, boasting an average last year of 51.6%, a career average of 49.8%, and a career high of 60%, according to faceoffs.net. He’ll likely be 13th or even 14th forward, as he has to compete with Ronalds Kenins, Jake Virtanen, and McCann for a spot on the ice
Who would I place my money on for the role? As bad as it could be, Linden Vey. He’s got big-league experience and Coach Willie Desjardins loves him… for some reason. He’s not a bad prospect, but should not play center and would not look good as Horvat’s replacement. I’d love to see McCann or even Jones steal the spot. It would at the very least give the Canucks some new blood in the lineup.
Original article can be found here.
Once a month we provide one lucky Fan Club member with a pair of tickets to a game and a once in a life time experience: assist yours truly, FIN, in some of the whale's duties that night and gets the title of FIN's Trainer. In February, Tyler from Abbotsford was selected as FIN's Trainer at the Canucks vs Senators game! He did a FIN-tastic job and I can't wait to share the details of our night with you.
The night started with Tyler and his father watching the first period in their seats. I wanted to give him a chance to enjoy the game before he got to hang out with me! Shortly after the end of the first period, Tyler and his dad met up with me and I gave him a super high five. Little did he know that during the first timeout of the second period it was his time to shine as announcer John Ashbridge, introduced him to the 18,810 fans, who gave Tyler a huge welcome to the building. I could tell Tyler was nervous waiving to so many people, but his smile was so big I knew he was going to have a blast and be a great FIN's Trainer.
Without a second to waste after soaking in the spotlight, we immediately we had the fun job of handing out Dibs, during the Dib's Kids Cam, to lots of excited kids. I always find it funny that adults all of sudden become kid-like and want to win the ice cream too.
After we delivered the ice cream, our next job was to help get the crowd pumped. We went from section to section banging my drum in hopes to rouse a loud GO CANUCKS GO from the crowd. Tyler even helped me by carrying my drum as Canucks fans asked me to pose for pictures. I even let him hit the drum at a few sections and the crowd responded with a resounding GO CANUCKS GO!
Before we knew it, the second period was close to ending and Tyler and I went down to the Olympia tunnel on ice level to get ready for the t-shirt give away compliments of my bazooka/prize cannon. That night we were shooting Boston Pizza/Canucks t-shirts with $10 gift cards from Boston Pizza inside (so in the future just make sure you check those t-shirts!) Tyler held onto the bazooka until we were ready to go onto the ice and helped me point out where we should shoot the prize. Overall, we shot 10 shirts out, including the last shirt where Tyler was given the opportunity to pull the trigger and shoot that t-shirt up to the 300 level. Congrats to those lucky 10 who caught the shirts!
After helping me for the full second period, it was time for Tyler to join his dad again to watch the rest of the game. With the score at 3-2 for the Canucks, there was a pretty good chance that the Canucks would wrap the game up with a win against the Senators. So half way through the third period, I summoned Tyler to help me out again by celebrating the win on center ice. Sure enough, the Canucks did not disappoint and Tyler and I stepped onto center ice again, victoriously waving the Canucks flag. The night ended with a 4-2 win for the Canucks and I had to say goodnight to Tyler. Tyler did a great job being FIN's Trainer and I hope he left with great memories of the night. Awesome job, Tyler!
See my pictures from the night with Tyler and a few others from my other FIN's Trainers from December and January: Brandon and Nina. There's also one more chance to be FIN's Trainer when we play the Wild on March 14th, make sure you're entered and maybe I'll see you there!
To enter for FIN's Trainer, click here!
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Some of you may have noticed my absence from the blog lately, and it's because there's something very exciting in the works. I'm organizing an event called Five Hole for Food. I'm driving from Montreal to Vancouver playing road hockey in the two aforementioned cities as well as Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and Victoria, raising food for local food banks.
The trip spans nine cities in eleven days and sees us start in Montreal on June 29th and ending in Vancouver on July 9th. We're proudly backed by Molson Canadian as our presenting sponsor and Boston Pizza and I couldn't be more excited to be playing hockey across this beautiful country.
As we go from city to city we're looking for people to play and with that in mind if you're a reader of this blog in any of the cities we're visiting I would love to meet you and have you play in our game.
As a neat addition and extra Canucks twist we're very proud to have partnered with "King" Richard Brodeur as a celebrity ambassador of our event and couldn't be more excited, and humbled, to have the Canucks legend not only support our event but be a part of our team!
Our Vancouver game is going to have participation from the Giants (Jack the Giant will be there), the Abbotsford Heat (Hawkey will be in attendance) and the Canucks (FIN will be supporting us!). If you want to play send us an email to email@example.com. Bring a can of food an your hockey stick and come join us!
You can follow us on Twitter at @FiveHoleForFood
Check us out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/fiveholeforfood
We'll be on Youtube at http://www.youtube.c...fiveholeforfood
Or Visit our Website at http://www.fiveholeforfood.com
Here's another look at the upcoming NHL draft, complete with analysis on team needs, who the risers are, the fallers, and those players we should avoid, with a focus on the top prospects available, of course.
Since Benning indicated we're going to likely be addressing team needs in this draft due to our position in it, here's a look at what the team needs actually are:
Canucks Team Needs:
We all know about our center depth by now. Cassels, Horvat, McCann and I suppose Gaunce and Labate for some extra meat. We are set with #2 2-way centers, for sure, and what's better, we started getting rid of the #2 one-dimensional guys like Schroeder. This will only translate to winning in the future. However, the clear #1 center, in particular a big workhorse like Getzlaf, is not there. Horvat has more of a Bergeron upside. Unless we are able to select a legit #1 center, then we don't need to burn a 1st rounder for another center.
We are also aware of the depth we have in goaltending I think, and how we're able to sign decent goaltending prospects without burning a draft pick. I probably would have passed on Demko last draft in favour of selecting Lemieux, but what's done is done. I wouldn't worry about goaltending for the time being.
As for right-shooting RWers, we have just selected Jake Virtanen, future all-star power forward. (Thanks Jim), and we still have Kassian available and Grenier is apparently knocking on the door. Jensen is also a RW, but a left-shooting one and his future with the team remains unclear. We could perhaps use more right-shooting natural RWers, but the amount of centermen available to us makes the need not all that important. Cassels can play there. Linden Vey. As well as Jordan Subban.
Left-shooting LWers include Bearcheese, Shinkaruk, Jensen, if he'd suck it up, Gaunce can play there, Kenins, and Ben Hutton, who's a converted LW turned defenseman. The depth is fine for now, but doesn't include any Luc Robitaille's.
On defense we have Clendening, Corrado, Sbisa, Tanev, Weber, Stanton, Pedan, Tryramkin, Subban and Hutton. The most we can expect out of these guys is a #4 defenseman on a contending team. This is what Tanev is. Too limited offensively to be a top pmd. Too slight to be shutdown. He's a bit of a tweener guy, or a defensive #4 guy. Corrado is a Tanev clone. Same build, same style, same upside. Clendening tops out as an offensive #4 guy imho. He's skilled, but not skilled enough to carry and offense and not defensively adept enough for a top-pairing role either. Sbisa is a left-shooting version of Bieksa with less physical attributes and offense. Sbisa peaks out as a #5 on a contender. We've already seen the best of Weber, who's a bit of a one-trick pony on the power play and was instantly figured out by Calgary in the playoffs. He's a #5. Stanton appears to have peaked as well as a #6 or #7 guy. Pedan is a goon. Tryramkin is a big, big dude, but is still aways away from NHL starts, and an eternity from reaching his potential, the mythical Zdeno Chara, if that is to happen. Subban and Hutton are both offense-only wildcards and it should be interesting to see what happens with them here, but there are big holes in the games of both players. This defense is screaming: HELP!
Derp? The team needs defense, clearly, and Benning realizes this and has already acted by acquiring Clendening with some offensive upside, and at least securing a physical player for awhile with the Sbisa contract. Also, he sees the need for scoring from the backend by activating Subban and Hutton. But all these moves involving non-bluechippers are relative bandaids. The REAL move he attempted was trading up for last year's 1st overall to select Ekblad. Ekblad is the difference-maker that a winning team needs and if Benning wants to build up a solid legacy here, he'll need to figure out how to pull it off. The urgency to do so, as defensemen take longer to develop, is growing by the year and that's why he's figuring out where Hutton and Subban can progress right away. If he doesn't address the defense, then his upcoming core group of centers and wingers will be wasted on a team with little pushback in their own zone. He'll have to scramble to make some more trades, and that will burn these forward prospects that we need. And he'll have to sign UFA's, and a difference-making one inside his prime is rarely available.
So about the 2015 draft, with a focus on defense:
Luckily for us, this draft year features a few potential difference-making defensemen. That doesn't happen every draft year. The Canucks might want to take advantage of that, if they can land one at 23rd overall. That's fairly possible.
Noah Hanifin is a can't-miss stud #1D.
Zack Werenski is NHL ready and will contribute right away. Potential top-pairing.
Rasmus Andersson is also NHL ready. He appears to be in our reach. He's a two-way defenseman, RHD power play quarterback with a great shot.
Ivan Provorov is ranked a bit too high imho, but he is NHL ready. Potential top pairing.
Ryan Pilon is a year behind Provorov in readiness perhaps, and has less offensive upside, but his 2-way potential is great. Potential top pairing like Girardi.
Oliver Kylington is a year behind Pilon, but has more offensive potential. He still needs to gain strength, but his speed is awesome. I don't believe that he's fallen as far as rankings indicate and some team will pick him up early, but he won't be the next OEL. Potential top pairing like Yandle.
Jeremy Roy is like Kylington, but with a far higher bust potential. He'll likely need some years of AHL time to round out his game. Potential top-pairing like Letang, Green.
Juulsen is a few years away, but projects a top-4 2-way defenseman down the road. Seems more like a #3, but long-shot top-pairing?
Vince Dunn had a HUGE 2nd half and playoffs. A crazy 31pts in 24gp down the stretch. He absolutely caught fire and had scouts saying Keith! Keith! That's what has put him on the 1st round radar as of late. He's light and needs to build strength of course. Could be as good as Kylington or better in some years. But is he strictly an offensive defenseman? At least he has a somewhat workable frame, unlike Jordan Subban. Potential top-pairing like Fowler.
Dermott also had a great playoffs and 2nd half in Erie. He gained a lot of strength as the season wore on. As good as Pilon or better. Potential top-pairing like Girardi.
Zboril was hurt. But he finished his season at a ppg pace over eleven games. Q or not, that's decent. He'll need to build some strength though, and stay healthy. A lot of people are on the Zboril train now, and i'm saying he's the best Q D in this draft, but the best Q D 1st rounder recently was Kulikov, another import. If you're really impressed with Kulikov, okay then. Seems like a #3,
Stephen Derocher, Erie Otters, put on some weight and had a great playoffs. NHL GM's will notice. He's a future 2-way defenseman. Available later on.
Caleb Jones is down there in his team's lineup, but he should be a riser just because of his brother Seth alone. Available later on.
Jeremy Roy. Got hurt. Struggled to maintain 1st round status. I felt he looked out of sorts in the playoffs, constantly getting walked, and him and Barzal absolutely needed a good showing in the U18 to try to salvage their seasons. They delivered some points against the weaker teams in that tournament. Some other team will pick them up too early. Let them. If they fall to us, then let them fall some more.
Matt Spencer. Slowed WAY down late. Too bad.
Chabot. Also slowed down late. Still ranked high though.
Carlo. Hey, he's tall! He'll never be known for his offense, but what he had shown early on seemed to slow to a crawl late.
These guys aren't falling far, but they're not rising either. They or similar types should be available later on.
Cernak is strictly a defensive defenseman. Could be available late, but he has NHL size.
Gabriel Carlsson is the Swedish Carlo.
Jacob Larsson is the Swedish Cernak.
But at what point do you select a forward instead?:
That's the real question, isn't it? One that only Benning can answer though. If it were up to me, I'd take a chance on undersized Dunn with his amazing 2nd half, perhaps Kylington with his great speed, Andersson with his great shot and two-way ability, take a long look at Dermott and even Zboril (sigh...) before taking a look at forwards in our range or the potential faller forwards.
As for trading up for a defenseman, the only one worth it is Hanifin, and that will cost us Horvat, Virtanen, or both. Too costly, but like last year, there will likely be talk about it.
People need to remember that yes, we have some prospects now, but we're hardly elite in this regard, and in a big trade scenario we're still not dealing from a position of strength. Even with the abundance of centers, we're still going to need them all going forward due to the spots on the wing to fill.
Do we want another 2nd line forward? Or maybe a one-dimensional sniper that may work out? Sure, but maybe in later rounds they're are available. Where was Johnny Hockey selected? Tyler Johnson?
The need for defense could have been alleviated by selecting Shea Theodore instead of Hunter Shinkaruk in the 2013 draft, for example, especially after we just drafted Horvat earlier in the round, but now the need grows even more dire.
I have a feeling that a bluechipper defenseman will be available to us in this draft. We should probably select one, considering team needs, and the needs for a winning team going forward.
The Canucks are meeting the LA Kings in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Since we’re going to be seeing a lot of LA, I figure I’d go and take the time to provide a primer for Canucks fans who may not be 100% up to date on the Kings. Think of this comprehensive, all-inclusive guide as your ‘cheat sheet’ to the Los Angeles Kings.
Dustin Brown – 34 years old, Brown hails from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH4tci3JG-E. Brown earned the ire of Canucks fans everywhere back in 02-03 when he beat out Markus Naslund for the Rocket Richard trophy, but quickly earned it back whenin the 05/06 season, cementing his reputation as being one of the league’s top hitters. Known to assault small children, Dustin Brown is the captain of the Los Angeles Kings. Being such a beloved figure down in LA explains why there were so many rumors circling around about trading him to Atlanta in exchange for Ilya Kovalchuk.
Rich Clune – Hailing from Toronto, ON, Clune has always dreamed of suiting up to play for the Maple Leafs in the playoffs. Realizing the futility of such a dream, Clune has graciously lended his talents to the Kings. A future Lady Byng candidate, Clune had a storied junior career, including winning silver and gold for Canada at the World Juniors, demanding a trade from the Sarnia Sting and landing with the Barrie Colts. Barrie was so touched with Clune’s professionalism that they promptly awarded him a team sportsmanship award after he scored an empty net goal October 28, 2006 against the London Knights and proceeded to taunt his opponents.
Alexander Frolov – A pioneer in gravity control research, per his website: “Alexander V. Frolov has been described as a technology pioneer. Born September 25th, 1962 in the Saratov area of Russia, Alex Frolov has been quietly but progressively becoming one of the world’s scientists to watch.” The fans of the LA Kings are so fond of Alexander Frolov that they were eager to include him in numerous trade proposals for Ilya Kovalchuk. Has the second most asymmetrical face behind only Dany Heatley. O_o
Jeff Halpern – American born and bred, Jeff Halpern is a former great captain of the Washington Capitals, being part of a list that reads like some of the greatest names in hockey, such as Steve Konowalchuk, Chris Clark, Ryan Walter (yes, THAT Ryan Walter) and Alexander Ovechkin. Halpern has spent his entire career playing on American teams in the Southern divisions. As a result, it is recommended that you not cheer, jeer or make any other loud noises, look him in the eye or make any mention of the playoffs, so as not to startle and confuse him.
Michal Handzus – Once owner of one of the NHL’s most luxurious manes and a heckuva hockey player to boot, Handzus routinely topped the lists of ‘hottest NHLer’ in annual puck bunny polls alongside Mike Ricci. He now looks like a serial killer. Nicknamed ‘Zeus’ by teammates, Handzus lives in mortal fear of tiny midgets with anger management issues.
Raitis Ivanans – A Latvian born player, Ivanans is a forward who is known for his hockey smarts: in his very first NHL game, he dropped the gloves against Zdeno Chara and earned a broken orbital bone for his efforts. Also played for the Macon Whoopee, which is probably the greatest hockey team name ever.
See Also: Jones, Randy.
Anze Kopitar – A virtual unknown to Canucks fans, Anze Kopitar was actually selected 11th overall in the 2005 entry draft, one pick after the Canucks 10th overall selection. The enigmatic Kopitar hails from Slovenia and plays center and is an alternate captain for the Kings. Kopitar has hit 60 points or more in every NHL season he has played in and has 2 30+ goal seasons. Kopitar has been quoted as saying that he is incredibly grateful that he was not drafted by the Canucks, as he wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to showcase his talent like he has in LA.
Fredrik Modin – The true #33 for Team Sweden, Modin has a long and legendary career as an NHL forward. The Legend of Modin began in 2004 when, after realizing his boyhood dream of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he journeyed to the hockey mecca known as Tampa Bay and became a member of the Lightning. Taking youngsters Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Dan Boyle and Martin St. Louis under his wing, Modin, alongside future Hall of Famer Ruslan Fedotenko, placed the team on their back and won the Stanley Cup. Not content to rest on his laurels, Modin lent his talents to Team Sweden at the 2006 Olympics. His 2 goals and single assist propelled the Swedes to the gold medal. While some may say that the wheels have completely fallen off of the Modin wagon, as his 20 goals in the past 119 games (over the past four seasons) would indicate he is slowing down, wise fans know that Modin is simply pacing himself.
Scott Parse – A rookie for the Kings, Parse is a former college player and is apparently a huge nerd. How huge of a nerd is he? Well, this is the advice he imparted to youngsters wanting to get better at hockey:
Brad Richardson – Is like some sort of cobbled together first generation genetically engineered Chinese hockey player. What do I mean? Well, he’s got the knockoff name of Brad Richards, coupled with the feet problems of Peter Forsberg while being nowhere near as good as either of them. This made him qualify for the Masterton trophy because he went 57 games without scoring a goal, falling short of Kevin Bieksa’s absolutely epic 80 NHL games goalless drought.
Wayne Simmonds – Fortunately, Wayne does not get a lot of comparisons to another former King who goes by the name of Wayne and was also born in Ontario. Unfortunately, he does get a lot of comparisons to George Laraque, Jarome Iginla and former King Anson Carter, due to the clueless nature of sports media types. While we’re on the subject, no, Evander Kane and Patrick Kane are not brothers.
Ryan Smyth – Formerly of the Edmonton Oilers, Ryan Smyth was about the only person who didn’t want to leave the city of Edmonton, becoming the first recorded instance of NHL Stockholm Syndrome. Has a brother, Kevin, who played for the Hartford Whalers and hates Southwest Airlines.
Jarret Stoll – Has a less geekier name than fellow hockey player Norbert Stoll. Stoll’s known to go cougar hunting, as he was dating Rachel Hunter, a woman who was 13 years his senior. Stoll, in a show of being a true gentleman and all around classy guy, broke up and cancelled his wedding engagement with Hunter via e-mail and hooked up with Melrose Place star Katie Cassidy. Not since the days ofhave we seen such a ‘dynamite’ pairing.
Justin Williams – Williams won a Cup with Carolina back in 2006. Looking to learn more about this youngster who has managed to put together back to back 30 goal seasons, I headed over to Wikipedia. I learned that Williams is adored by ‘female fans everywhere’ and that in August 12, 2006 he married his fiancee. Truly, there has never been a more talented hockey player than Justin Williams.
Drew Doughty – Much like Canucks blueliner Willie Mitchell, Doughty is apparently is suffering from post-concussion issues, as he issued a bewildering statement Tuesday, stating that he thinks that his D will have no problems shutting down the Sedins. He went on to elaborate ‘Well, we’ve got Scotty and Pronger back there, plus, we’ve got the home team supporting us at Canada Hockey Place. This should be easy.’ Also: has more chins than Kyle Wellwood.
Davis Drewiske – Hollywood is full of Double Ds and I guess the Kings are no exception.
Matt Greene – Traded from Edmonton, Matt Greene became the 74th defenseman to have been traded out of Rexall Place in the last 3 years who went on to bigger and better things. The defenseman who was traded for him, Lubomir Visnovsky, became the 75th Oilers defenseman to have been traded in the last 3 years who went on to bigger and better things. Greene is highly regarded for being a great playoff performer and is known for racking up points in the offseason and will be a welcome addition to the Kings PP.
Peter Harrold – Is the most boring person in the NHL. More boring than the Jacques Lemaire coached Minnesota Wild. How boring is he? Even fan dislike of him is underwhelmingly tepid at best. Zzzz.
Jack Johnson – That’s J-A-Ha-Ha-C-K, J-O-Ha-Ha-H-N-S-O-N, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxKSM1tLGwY, Jack Johnson. Future country music superstar and beloved by everyone in Vancouver for his tremendous displays of sportsmanship and class. Johnson plays a physical, dominating game and comes up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWdqXolKNxM.
Randy Jones – You know how Alain Vigneault continually dresses that one player you despise above all others and you cannot fathom how he continues to make it into the lineup because his existence in said lineup defies all convention, logic and reason? Randy Jones is the Kings equivalent of that player.
Sean O’Donnell – Affectionately known as ‘SOD’, not because that’s the acronym his name makes, but because he resembles an inert pile of grass and dirt, Sean O’Donnell is a big, hulking Irish defenseman who is prone to taking penalties. Basically SOB in about a decade, but without the party animal vibe.
Rob Scuderi – Scuderi is known as The Piece, apparently because he arrogantly defined himself as ‘The Piece’ to the Pittsburgh Penguins puzzle. Much like his other namesake, ‘Scud’, he remains inaccurate and non-lethal.
Dan Cloutier – Is still on the Kings payroll this season and could probably provide more consistent goaltending than Quick/Ersberg/Bernier.
Jonathan Quick – The latest ‘anointed’ one by Kings faithful, Quick is the most recent in a long list of goalies that have been mass produced by the City of Angels, the likes of which have included such great starters such as Kings goalie of the future Jason ‘The Barber’ Labarbera, Leafs goalie of the future Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Habs goalie of the future Mathieu Garon, Flyers goalie of the future Roman Cechmanek, Habs goalie of the future Cristobal Huet, Leafs goalie of the future Felix Potvin, Red Wings goalie of the future Manny Legace, Canucks goalie of the future Dan Cloutier as well as Jamie Storr and Steve Passmore. Basically what I’m trying to say is that Vancouver’s ‘goalie graveyard’ was the book upon which LA’s ‘goalie graveyard’ direct to video film was based upon.
Erik Ersberg – Is really hoping that Jonathan Quick is a good goalie
Jonathan Bernier – The other Jonathan who plays goal for the Kings. Spent 4 games up with the Kings in 07/08, boasting a 4.03 GAA and .864 Sv%. In the eyes of your typical Canucks fan, is still a far more effective hockey player than Steve Bernier.
And that should hopefully be all you need to know about the Kings going into Thursday’s game! Kings fans, this is all in good fun and would love to see your ‘take’ on the Canucks!
For all the (justified?) boourns the Canucks' scouting staff have to deal with, every now and then they pick up a gem and it goes largely unnoticed.
That is until it's too obvious to ignore. Chris Tanev says hello, by the way.
There's no need to go through the Canucks' woeful drafting record in the past decade. Everything that needs to be said has been spoken. We're still wondering where Nathan Smith is and most of us still have R.J Umberger getting laid out by Brian Campbell bookmarked somewhere on Youtube.
The fact is poor scouting and poor drafting have been an area of concern for this organization and they look enviously around the league, marveling at all the players who successfully graduated from their respective hockey programs.
Even the one real stud the Canucks drafted in 2004 by the name of Cory Schneider had to leave town. We all know how that went.
But not all of scouting is left in the fate of the draft floor.
Eddie Lack was a quiet addition to the organization in April of 2010. Not surprisingly, it was a fellow Swede who noticed his raw talent and skill. Former Canuck and current team scout Lars Lindgren was asked to keep tabs on Jacob Markstrom-- then with Brynas IF of the Swedish Elite League. Markstrom was a hot name at the time-- big, fast, technically sound and competitive. Lindgren was joined by perhaps a dozen scouts from various clubs trying to determine if he'd be the next Swedish phenom in net.
But while the others were too busy keeping track of Markstrom, nobody paid much attention to his back-up, a tall, lanky and goofy kid by the name of Eddie Lack.
Nobody that is, except Lindgren.
Despite playing just a handful of games, Lindgren had seen enough. The potential was there. The skillset was there. All he needed was a chance. Lack wasn't on anybody's list and had been passed in the draft after a relatively unexciting junior-level career.
Goaltending is a difficult position to judge. There's really no obvious way of determining if a goalie will pan out the way you expect them to. Some put together excellent junior careers and cease to stop pucks at the highest level. Others develop slower but once they're in form, they become franchise-quality netminders.
Hindsight is 20/20 and as this article is being written, Lack's future seems to be in better shape than his former teammate Markstrom's. Maybe that's what happens when you play in Florida, though.
Regardless, you put their numbers side-by-side and you can clearly see the Canucks unearthed a diamond in the rough with Lack.
Markstrom was drafted 31st overall in 2008 by the Panthers and has yet to cement his role as starter. In fact, he had that opportunity this season after Florida chose to let Jose Theodore walk during the summer.
How did that end up? Well they signed Tim Thomas who had essentially quit the Boston Bruins and hockey all of last year. Yikes.
Markstrom, now with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, is at a crucial part of his career and you can bet GM Dave Tallon is scratching his head over his own mess. If Markstrom was ready, he'd be playing. That's the short of it.
In contrast, Lack has slipped under the radar the past few seasons-- mostly due to a long-term hip injury that kept him out for all but 13 games last year with the Chicago Wolves.
Today, he is Roberto Luongo's backup and has looked solid in all of his four starts for Vancouver this year. His technique is sound, his rebound control is manageable and he endeared himself to Canucks fans when he stood his ground and took a jab at a player who crashed his crease. Checkmarks across the board.
At only 25 years old, there's still room for him to grow-- in terms of size and skill. But shooters can't ignore how big he looks between the pipes. Lack is listed at 6'5, 196 pounds. That's Pekka Rinne territory. Having a natural size advantage is always beneficial as long as you have speed to match-- and there's no lack of agility there.
And it's not like Lack became Roberto's backup by default. The team had options. They even signed Joacim Eriksson this off-season to bring in more competition during training camp and he played quite well. But Lack played better.
Beyond his position, Lack is a likable guy. He's funny, goofy, polite, speaks with a country-style Swedish accent and has his own dance move (seriously!). He genuinely seems to be enjoying his time in Vancouver and seems unfazed by the fact Roberto owns the crease in Vancouver for the rest of his playing days. Instead, he seems eager to learn from one of the game's best and is happy to fit in with a team that has a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.
Not a bad career so far for a guy who was never supposed to play in the National Hockey League.
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Let's go back to the good ol' days, shall we? The one where Canucks win back to back Presidents' Trophies. We exorcize some demons beating the Blackhawks in game 7 OT after being up 3-0 in the series. Ryan Kesler dominates the Predators in round 2 of the playoffs. The Canucks make the Stanley Cup finals on a Kevin Bieksa goal so bizarre that Cory Schneider (and probably 1/2 of Rogers Arena) had no idea what had happened. And then the ups and downs in the finals against the Bruins which had Raffi Torres scoring a game winning goal with 20 seconds left in game 1, Alex Burrows scoring a goal 10 seconds into OT in game 2, Max Lapierre's happy dance after scoring the winning goal in game 5, and eventually succumbing at home in game 7 prompting the ugly events that took place in downtown Vancouver that night.
Back in those days, the Canucks dominated with a lineup predicated on mostly skill over size. But over the course of that ill-fated playoff run we got beat up, and injuries took their toll. As the years passed basking in the limelight of making the finals, we started to get old. Our skill players were still pretty good, but seeing as Father Time waits for no one, the extended seasons of battling caused our top players to lose a step or two.
As time went on this problem only seems to have been exacerbated. Having to play the Pacific Division giants of Anaheim, San Jose and LA 5 to 6 times a year is a grind, and at times these California teams have utterly dominated the Canucks with their size, speed, and tenacity. With only 3 teams guaranteed to make it out of the new Pacific Division each year, the question remains - what is the best way to compete in this tough division?
Some critics of the Canucks claim that they are too soft. Although they may be somewhat undersized, I would not say that they are soft players. Even though they may get outmuscled by some of the bigger teams, I would argue that the Canucks still play a reasonably hard game.
A lot of these critics also suggest that the Canucks overcompensate for this by acquiring only big, tough players. And to be fair, some of these players are needed. We got a start on this process by trading Cody Hodgson for Zack Kassian, who is a work in progress. We effectively traded Cory Schneider for Bo Horvat, who is a tank. Most recently we drafted the Zdeno Chara-like Nikita Tryamkin (6'7", 230+ lbs) in the 3rd round last year. Also, don't forget about the acquiring of Shawn Matthias. Despite this influx of size, you still have people arguing that we should have taken the bully-like (I mean this in a good way) Nick Ritchie instead of Jake Virtanen 6th overall in this year's draft - and at 6'1" and 210 pounds, Virtanen is no slouch. At the end of the day I would be happy with either pick, but I really like Virtanen and it's pretty cool that they took a local boy who will play his heart out for his home team.
Another issue with the Canucks that was notably raised by John Tortorella was that the core group of the Canucks is going 'stale'. Many people insist that the only way to regain our former glory is to trade away our core, finish in the bottom of the standings and draft high-end talent like Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. While it's definitely true that as our core players age (past their prime) their production will regress, I strongly believe that many of them still have value. The character, humbleness, passion and generosity of Henrik and Daniel, Burrows, Bieksa and Hamhuis truly exemplify what it means to be a Canuck. I can think of no better role model for our young players to train under. For these reasons I think it would be a mistake to trade them away (in such a case where a NTC would be waived).
So how do the Canucks proceed? How can we get back to an elite team not only soon, but for many years to come? Like many of you, I have also closely followed the Canucks player and administration moves over the past year. New GM Jim Benning and President Trevor Linden have made many moves since taking office, molding the team to fit their long-term vision. From these moves it is clear that the front office is focused on producing a depth of smart, coachable, hard-working two-way players with a bit of size mixed in.
The end result of this is that our prospect depth is now deeper than it has ever been over the past decade. We have young forwards like Horvat and Vey already making an impact, with other players like Virtanen, Shinkaruk, Gaunce, Jensen, McCann and Kenins poised to contribute over the next few years. And don't forget Jordan Subban - I expect him to fill out over the next few years and compete for a roster spot. And Tryamkin clearly doesn't need to fill out anymore. I'm pretty sure he fights bears in his spare time for fun.
The point of all of this bluster is that with our recent moves we are setting ourselves up for future success. No one in their right mind will claim we are Stanley Cup favourites, but as long as you make the playoffs you have a shot. And we are definitely playoff contenders - whether or not we keep that up is yet to be seen; the end of the season will be a grind for sure.
I would love to talk more about how I perceive the Canucks are modelling their team, but this post is already long enough - I'll have to make another one about that. If you made it through the whole article, you have my appreciation! Thanks for reading, and if you have any comments or reasonable criticisms I would be interested in hearing them.