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There seems to be a lot of misinformation floating around about the CBA negotiation and related terms. I'm not an expert by any stretch nor do I intend to represent myself as such. However, I do absolutely believe that it is in our best interest as fans to be properly informed if we have even the slimmest of chance of someone listening to our opinion. So below you will hopefully find some useful information to help inform your opinion.
To the best of my knowledge, all of this information is correct. But please feel free to not take my word for anything and do some research yourself. Only by educating ourselves can we possibly hope to have an intelligent voice!
FACT: The NHL does NOT own the Stanley Cup.
It was given to Canada as a gift from Lord Stanley, a former Governor General of Canada. It remains the property of Canada but under the control of a pair of appointed Trustees. They signed an agreement to make it exclusively available to the NHL (despite the fact that doing so actually contradicted the reason for the Cup to begin with, which was to be awarded to the best amateur hockey team) in 1947. However, a lawsuit during the 2005 lockout resulted in a settlement that said the Trustees overstepped their bounds making such an arrangement and that if the NHL does not operate for a year the Cup may be awarded to another league. While they have said that the 2006 settlement does not obligate them to offer it to another league and they are unlikely to do so even during a lockout, any extended NHL lockout could result in another lawsuit that could easily result in the Cup being offered to another league.
FACT: HRR is NOT "all hockey related revenue."
HRR is a legal term, not a common sense one. "Hockey related revenue" sounds like it means any revenue relating to hockey but in reality it was limited to certain types of revenue (such as game tickets, TV deals, rink advertising, merchandising, etc.) minus certain types of deductions (such as concessions, parking, advertising, arena upkeep, etc.) The exact types of revenue to be included and the exact types of deductions (as well as limits on those deductions) were defined in the last CBA and agreed to by both sides.
It is fair to note that the allowed deductions did not cover all of the costs, particularly as costs continued to grow, although what percentage of actual costs they represented we don't know.
FACT: Teams self reported HRR and were NOT audited.
At the end of a season each team was required to fill out a HRR Reporting Package. It was not anything like an audit but rather more like filling out simple tax forms. It included boxes for HRR-included revenue and allowed deductions. These forms were given to an independent accountant (paid for equally by the NHL and NHLPA) by a set date. (Teams that were late turning in these forms could be fined.) The accountant added them together, took off a few more agreed upon deductions at the league level (but did not add any additional revenue, as NHL revenue, such as from franchise expansion or relocation fees, was not included in HRR) and from that came up with what is known as "final HRR." That is the final amount of league wide included revenue minus the allowed deductions. The players' share percentage was determined from the final HRR number.
FACT: Players did NOT get 57% of all revenue.
As agreed to by both sides in the last CBA, the players' share increased as revenue increased. In the first year (2005) of the last CBA, players' share was 54% of HRR and escalated to 57% in the final year.
As stated above, not all revenue is included in HRR and then some deductions are taken off before the players' share was determined from the final HRR number. So, in reality players got a percentage of a portion of revenue.
Additionally, it is fair to note that teams were only required to spend to the salary cap floor. The cap floor was intended to ensure a certain amount of revenue was spent on players' salaries in accordance with their HRR share percentage. The cap ceiling was intended to limit how much the players could get. It was entirely up to the individual teams to decide how much they spent within the cap limit.
FACT: Escrow payments are delayed salary, NOT additional payments.
As agreed in the last CBA, the cap for a season was determined based on a projection based on the revenue from the previous season. However, sometimes the reality was different from what was projected. In recognition of that fact, a portion of every player's salary was held back in an escrow account. (The actual percentage held back was the result of a complicated equation I do not even hope to understand.) At the end of each season an independent account determined the final HRR number and from that number determined what the players' actual share for that season should have been. It was then determined, given what was actually paid when compared to what the players' actual share was that year, who was owed money from the escrow accounts and in what amount.
In the event that owners had paid under the players' share of final HRR, all money in the escrow accounts was released to the players.
In the event that the owners had paid over the players' share of final HRR, a portion (up to all) of the money in the escrow accounts was refunded to the owners in the amount that they overpaid league wide and the rest (if any) was released to the players. So, for example, if the owners collectively spent 58% of final HRR on salaries in the final year of the last CBA, 1% of all the escrow accounts was returned to the owners and the rest of the money was released to the players.
FACT: Players are NOT simply employees.
Players are employees of their individual team, but they are also the team's product. If hockey were the product, minor league games would cost as much as NHL games.
The reality is players generate revenue not just through playing hockey but also by their names and faces being used in merchandising. A significant portion of every team's revenue comes from merchandise. Yes, teams make big bucks by overcharging for jerseys, but they make even more by charging huge markups for $2 worth of lettering to get a player's name and number on the back.
FACT: Players can NOT be easily replaced.
Five years from now, iPods may be considered as outdated as the Walk Man. (If you don't know what that is, ask your mom or dad. Or grandma.) Today however, iPods create a significant amount of revenue for Apple. NHL players are similar. Over time, players will be replaced as age or injury ends their career, but the big name players of today are what is generating the most revenue for their teams today. New players are peppered into the league a few at a time to allow them to develop into big name stars, replacing the former big name players as they retire, while the current big name stars are still generating big revenues for their teams. This provides a relatively constant (or even improving) level of talent in the league and ensures a relatively constant (or increasing) amount of revenue generation.
FACT: Owners can NOT be easily replaced.
Owning a NHL franchise is hardly a quick path to riches and owners certainly know that going in. Many would argue it's a terrible investment outside of a couple of teams that regularly make big profits despite dismal performance. Obviously, owners must buy into franchises for other reasons (i.e. love of the sport, being able to say they own the local sports team, etc.)
We have no way of knowing how many people have the ability and desire to buy a NHL franchise. We do know no one seems to want Phoenix, so there can't be that many billionaires beating down the NHL's door. (Although to be fair, what smart business owner does want an ice hockey team in the desert?)
FACT: The NHL is NOT losing money on the whole.
- Prior to the 2004-05 lockout, the average NHL franchise was worth $163.3 million.
- According to Forbes, the average NHL franchise is valued at $239.83 million, based on the numbers generated from the 2010-2011 season. This means that the average NHL franchise has increased nearly 47% in seven years. This appreciation has easily outpaced the rate of inflation ($1 of 2003 dollars is worth about $1.20 now).
- Prior to the 2004-05 lockout taking place, the average NHL team was bringing in $74.6 million/year in revenues, for a total of $2.24 billion.
- In the 2010-11 season, the average NHL team took in $103.5 million in revenues, for a total of $3.1 billion.
- According to Forbes, the average NHL team posted a net operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of -$3.2 million during the 2003-04 season. According to Forbes, NHL teams lost a total of $96 million during the 2003-04 season.
- According to Forbes, the average NHL team made $4.29 million last year, for a total of $128.8 million in total net operating income.
FACT: Increased team revenue sharing will make most franchises profitable.
Team revenue sharing is standard in professional sports. It is used successfully in every other major sports league in North America in recognition of the fact that franchises need other franchises for their team to play against in order to generate revenue.
Team revenue sharing was introduced in the NHL during the last CBA. Under the last CBA, "Revenue sharing will see the top ten money-making teams contribute to a pool to be distributed among the bottom 15 teams. Teams in markets with more than 2.5 million television households cannot qualify for revenue sharing. That excludes the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers, Blackhawks, Mighty Ducks and Kings." (Source: http://proicehockey...._cap_expl_2.htm)
Under the NHL's proposed expansion (assuming it doesn't change from their last proposal), as before 6% of actual HRR revenue (for a projected 200 M in the first year) would be shared among the lower teams, with 50% of that revenue coming from the top 10 revenue generating teams. However, limitations relating to market size and percentage of tickets sold would be removed. (It is important to note that after taking over the Phoenix franchise, the NHL allowed that franchise alone to get the "full share" revenue share check despite not meeting the eligibility requirements other teams were forced to meet. That was not popular among some owners and may be the main reason for the change in the NHL's stance this time.)
Lowered restrictions mean teams that reported a 2011 loss but weren't eligible for the revenue sharing, like Anaheim (-8.4 M), Dallas (-1.1 M), Los Angeles (-2 M), New Jersey (-6.1 M), NY Islanders (-8.1 M), and San Jose (-7.8 M) to name a few, will be eligible and likely get more than enough to make them profitable.
In previous years, a "full share" was $10 M. According to Forbes, 17 teams reported a loss last year. Of those, only 2 reported a loss of more than $10 M. If the projected 200 M (at 6% actual HRR) was shared equally among all 17 teams that reported losing money in 2011, each team would receive $11.76 M. That should make all but 2 teams profitable.
In fairness, I don't know if the Forbes numbers include any offset of loss for teams that were eligible and received the team revenue sharing subsidy because the NHL is not very forthright in sharing their financial information. Even if that is the case, however, the fact that so many teams were ineligible before but would be under the proposed agreement still indicates that most franchises would be made profitable by the expanded team revenue sharing even without any additional cost cutting measures.
FACT: The NHL and NHLPA are fighting over money we have not yet given them.
This may be the most important fact of all for fans. The money we've already given them, their actual earned revenue, is already spent and gone. It's already been split according to the last CBA. What they are fighting about now is how to divide up the money we have yet to give them based on what they project and expect to get.
The reality of what they will actually get remains up to us.
Only by using our collective power as their source of revenue can we hope to remind both the NHL and players that without us there would be no money to fight over, so they should keep fans in mind the next time they are contemplating a work stoppage of any kind.
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When Joe Niewendyk said he was going all out on free agents he wasn't joking. Niewendyk signed veteran offensive forwards Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr. He also traded pest Steve Ott and depth d-man for offensive center Derek Roy. The one move that I thought was risky at the time was trading Mike Ribeiro for Cody Eakin but it was probally to clear some capspace.
This is obvious. They signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. No more explanation needed.
At the draft the Hurricanes aquired 2-way, top 6 center Jordan Staal from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Brandon Sutter (plus picks and prospects) then signed Staal to a 10 year extension. They then signed sniper Alex Semin
to a 1 year, 7 million dollard deal. Their latest move is extending Jeff Skinner for 6 years.
Any issues with these? Think I left any team
off? Use the comment section.
Coming soon on CH9: Losers of the offseason
So Nash, Weber and even Versteeg have been signed, or are nearly there. So what do the Canucks have left? Since this Doan situation started, I had thought it could be possible to get him through free agents. And get Lupul in a trade for Luongo. Or Versteeg in a trade for Luongo. How ever, Versteeg got signed by Florida. Another thing I would like to see would be either Toews or Sharp coming to Vancouver for Luongo.
But who else is out there?
Who would you like to see?
Who would you like to see come to the Canucks in signing, or in exchange for Luongo? And what do you think will most likely happen? I for one, would like to see Lupul on the team, but I think most likely Doan or Versteeg will come to it. Hoping more maybe signing Doan, and trading Luongo for Lupul or Versteeg!
What do you think?
First Line: Daniel Henrik Burrows
Second Line: Booth Kesler Doan (Or Lupul, or Versteeg)
Third Line: Higgins Lapierre Hansen
Forth Line: Ryamond Malhotra Kassian (Or Ebbet)
Pair 1: Edler Garrison
Pair 2: Bieksa Hamhuis
Pair 3: Ballard Joslin (Or Mullen)
Starter: Cory Schneider
Back up: Eddie Lack
In the very small chance of signing a big name like Nash, he would then replace Burrows, and Burrows would take the Doan/Lupul/Versteeg spot. Considering there would be no need or either three with the signing of Nash. Also, if they could sign two of either Doan, Lupul or Versteeg. Then one would remain in the chosen spot, while the other would replace a player on the third line moving that third line player into the forth line, having no need for Kassian or Ebbet.
MG needs to look at the players available now and not next year! I know Canucks management are taking a good look at Doan! But what if we cant sign him! we need a different look up front. Thoughts?!?
With the departure of Ryan Suter from the Nashville Predators, the main question in Nashville is, what is going to happen with Shea Weber. As all Hockey fans know, Weber is a norris trophy candidate just about every season, and if not the best defencemen in the league, one of the best without a doubt. With Ryan Suter's departure from Nashville, Shea Weber may not want to re-sign in Nashville and play their for his whole career, which makes the situation in Nashville much more difficult.
Ever since the Canucks were an expansion team in the NHL, they have always lacked that true, number one, norris trophy defencemen. Although the defencemen who have played in Vancouver over the years have been solid, the Canucks have never had that all-star, norris trophy defencemen. I personally believe, the chance to get that defencemen is now. I trully believe Shea Weber is the missing piece to this team, and with an already pretty good top 4 blue line in Bieksa, Hamhuis, Edler and now Garrison, adding Weber would be a statement for the Vancouver Canucks.
The window to win the cup is closing, and even if it takes giving nashville an enormous offer sheet and potentially losing a few draft picks to get Shea Weber, the question is, why not? The saying is "it takes allot, to get allot", and especially when talking about a player like Weber, the Canucks are going to have to give up a ton to land his services. If a trade were to happen, the main centerpiece from the Canucks would have to be Edler. Although he had a dreadfull playoff run in which everyone would like to forget, Edler is still a very good defencemen who has potential to get even better. But besides Edler, who else do the Canucks have to give to Nashville? Possible Yan Sauve, drafted 41st overall in the 2008 NHL draft, was looking to be a solid second pairing shutdown defencemen in the NHL. Yan Sauve since has tailed off and his developement has slowed, but maybe Nashville believes he could potentially be a shutdown force in the NHL some day? Then there's Raymond, in which the Canucks believe can still be a top 6 forward in the NHL, but do the Nashville Predators? Raymond is coming off a major back injury, but even I am starting to believe that he cannot re bound and be that 30 goal second line forward he was just a few years ago. Usually i wouldn't want the Canucks to give up a young prospect in any deal, but if it's for Shea Weber, maybe my thoughts would change. The fact is, besides Edler, the Canucks don't have allot of attractive pieces to put into a deal that would bring Weber to Vancouver. Could the Canucks include a former Selke winner in Ryan Kesler into a deal for Weber? Although Kesler struggled last season, i believe he is still a great player who can score 30 goals while shutting down teams best players. So far, a vancouver deal could be Edler, Sauve, Raymond, Kesler, and a first round pick?
From a Nashville predators standpoint, if Weber doesn't except a long-term deal from the Predators, look for them to trade Weber. The Predators cannot afford to lose Weber for nothing, like they just did with Suter. The fact is, the Canucks may not have the assets to trade for Weber, so does that mean the Canucks should go another route and send Nashville a huge offer sheet? If i where Mike Gillis, i would do almost anything in my power to land the defencemen as long as that means we wouldn't have to trade Henrik or Daniel Sedin. It's not often a player like Shea Weber is put on the trade market, but if that were to happen, i wouldn't be surprised if the Canucks were extremely interested in trying to acquire him. With the Minnesota wild signing both parise and Suter to long term contracts, the window for winning a cup is getting smaller, and smaller. The Canucks need to make a big splash, and that probably won't happen with Roberto Luongo. If landing Shea Weber means trading some future assets or some high draft picks and allot of money to win the first ever stanley cup , why not pull the trigger?
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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.
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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The GM restated his commitment to "offensive hockey". Canucks fans should stand behind his grand strategy.
The NHL, CBC, most GMs, and sadly, many fans buy into the current version of NHL hockey which is boring and retrograde.
Gillis has foresight and vision and needs out full support. Sooner or later the NHL will adapt to the 21st century, catch up to the NBA and NFL, and not inhibit skill and speed in our game. A pox on clutching, grabbing and late hits. A pox on fighting and headshots. Concussions are a serious matter but entertaining, fast play is equally important,
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Can you imagine doing the wave?
It would be like waving a red flag in front of a charging bull!
Spread the word....
Boycott the NHL playoffs and its sponsers for the blanted disregard for the safety of its players. Case in point: Dustin Brown's head shot on Henrilk Sedin sure looked like an attempt to injure. When there is no call on the play (as the player crawls off the ice) you really have to begin to wonder. As many sports writers have already mentioned, the NHL has a different set of rules for the post season which is set-up to fail the true spirit of the game. The NHL from the President down have been instructed by the owners to inform the refs to let the majority of dirty hits go so that on-ice policing can happen. On-ice policing means confrontations leading to fights. The owners know that deep down the majority of the hockey fans want some blood-letting. Modern day professional sports is an extension of the Roman gladitors. You have an enlosed ring, you throw 2 opponents into this space and you let them battle it out to see who the victory is. Its a semi-religious experience for the spectators as it takes them away from their everyday struggles. As times get tougher in the outside world, the spectators want to see that reality reflected back. Every post season the NHL and the owners loosen up the officating, so on-ice violence can be ramped up. The fans love the intensity. If a player is knocked out by a illegal hit, if fights break-out and somone is injured that's the price the player has to pay for being in the spectacle. The NHL is allowing the post season to be turned into a roller-derby style game. The Canucks management have build a team around the true spirtt of the game, and have won the Presdent's Cup back-to-back. That speaks volumes of how good this team. That should be Vancouver's Cup, as the race to the Stanley Cup has been perverted by those who benifit the most from higher revenues triggered by the violence. Turn off your TVs, go outside and play with your kids or plant a garden. Boycott the post-season and the NHL.
How much has the lleague paid the canucks this year to make sure they do not make it back to the Finals. Think about it starting last summer when we let ,Christian Erhoff, the only Canucks defenceman capeable of playing the point on the powerpla. IE a good point man is one who when the opposing player fires the puck around the boards in an attempt to cllear the zone has the ability to move laterally fast enough to get to the puck before it leaves the zone. Erhoff was the only defencemen we had with that ability and this year our powerplay has suffered because of it. You just do not give give up a player if he is the only one you have on your team with that particular skill set!
If that wasnt bad enough, this year we had something no other team in the league had three good lines. with three very good centers. So, what do we do we trade one of them! We are told it is because kept him here until at least after the playoffs or,at least got another center with a similar skill set to replace him. In lue of Daniels not being able to play,and the trading of Erhoff and Hodgson. We have gone from a team with all the parts needed to win a Stanly cup ie three strong lines with three centers who are great at face offs and at shutting down the other teams centers to a team with only one center with that ability,Ryan Kesler, in.
It just seems strange to me how a team could go from within one game of winning a Stanley cup to being knocked out in the first round.
Now it could be Mike Gillis and his management team just are not a astoot as we thought they were in regard to knowing the peices needed to build a Stanley Cup team or did a edicked come down from the league telling us to make sure we do not make it back to the stanley cup because 1) The league does not want a repeat of the aftermaths last two Stanley Cup finals the canucks have been invollved in or, is it the league does not want a Canadian team to win the cup because it would hinder the growth of the game in the US.
All I know is something is fishy about this. What do you think...
First off, I would like to say that if the Canucks somehow manage to beat Los Angeles, I will eat my words.
The end to this season has been a disappointment, and the issues that the Canucks possess have been exposed by the Kings. The little issues that Boston exposed a year ago have turned into big issues that Los Angeles has exposed recently.
At the end of last season and into the draft and free agency, it was a "if it aint broke, dont fix it" mentality. We all felt that no matter what, if we kept the same guys, we were destined to be back in the Stanley Cup Finals.I was a little worried when there was too little change in Free Agency however. The additions of Marco Sturm and Andrew Ebbett (and to a lesser extent, Mancari and Pinnizzotto) did not appeal to me, but I accepted them because I felt we did not have any room to bring anyone else in.
Early in the season we traded for David Booth, which I felt, like I am sure everyone else did, pushed us over the top. The dreadful Marco Sturm was gone, and a lackluster Mikael Samuelsson was gone along with him. In hindsight, I still like this move, the problem is like most Canucks, Booth has not performed to his full potential in the playoffs.
At the trade deadline, I was content with the Pahlsson move, and although the Hodgson move suprised me, I accepted it and understood what Gillis was trying to do. As we know now, Hodgson wanted out, and there was no room for him to move up in the Canucks organization. I agree that Kassian has not come as advertised, and he has barely been noticeable on the ice. I was a firm believer that Ott would be in a Canucks uniform come the 28th of February, but obviously it did not happen. Kassian was the best deal that Mike Gillis felt he could make in the scenario he was in, and I have no problem with that. Anybody who says we should have kept Sulzer is foolish, because we all know that there was 0 chance he would have played down the stretch, and there was no way to know that he would strive in a top pairing role if he was placed in it as he was in Buffalo. Gragnani has not been the player as I had hoped, but that goes with the way that AV coaches. It is not AV's fault that Gragnani has been lackluster, but I feel that AV limited what Gragnani could do, and that took away some of his offensive upside.
After the trade deadline I felt that the Canucks chemistry was not right. Everyone was moving up and down lines, combinations were switched daily and it was hard for lines to get their footing. The injury to Daniel Sedin was unfortunate, and it has hurt the Canucks playoff chances, but in no way is that the reason that the Canucks are now down 3-0 to the Kings.
Very little change was made between this season and last, and we are looking at the same fate, no Stanley Cup. Is it time for change? Philadelphia pursued change in the offseason and has ultimately strived under it. Like Flyers' GM Paul Holmgren said, "I do not know if we are better, but we are different", and that is the way that I feel that the Canucks should go in this offseason.
First off, I think trading Schneider is a mistake. Luongo has not gotten Vancouver a Stanley Cup thus far, and I believe that ship has sailed. The media and the fans have battered Luongo in this city, and I feel that he can not elevate to the level that we expect him to in Vancouver. Although I agree that you cant win games if you cant score, and Luongo was not at fault for losses 1 and 2, his numbers were not good thus far. I know his play can not be based off of two games, but after this many seasons in Vancouver, I think it would be best for the organization to part ways. Luongo's contract is not as movable as Schneider is, but I feel that there are options. Toronto would be an ideal fit for Luongo. I know Burke does not like big-lengthy contracts, but they are in dire need of a goaltender, and Luongo has ties to Nonis. A move like this essentially saves Burke's job for at least another season. Another ideal location for Luongo is Florida. Here he could live with his family in their own home, and settle down for the latter years of his career. Florida suprisingly has a good team under first year GM Dale Tallon, but one of their weaknesses can be said to be in goal. Jose Theodore realistically is not your goalie in Florida, and Jacob Markstrom is not quite NHL ready. Bringing in Luongo solidifies their goaltender position, and he would strive in a lower pressure market like Florida. Ultimately, Luongo holds his own fate with his NTC, but I feel if Schneider is the go-to guy, he would be wanting to move.
Although I love Ryan Kesler like the rest of this city, I feel that he is a head case. The diving and whining has not gotten him anywhere, and I personally feel that he does not want to play in Vancouver. Ideally I feel he would prefer to play in a bigger US market, but he is also a potential player that Brian Burke is trying to get. Now I am not trying to turn this into a "trade every player to Toronto" blog, I am just speculating the best fits. Kesler has gotten a bad repuation from the rest of the league, and that could potentially harm his value, but his talent is unquestioned despite a lackluster season.
I have never been a Mason Raymond fan, I likely will never be one, but I feel that this one is obvious. Let Mason Raymond walk. There is no need to extend him, his play has been dismal this year, and his speed seems to be his only asset. I feel that his roster spot (and salary) could be used more efficiently.
Manny Malhotra has not been the same since his eye injury. It is a shame, but it is a fact. He is not the player that he used to be. Pahlsson has come in and taken the spot that Malhotra used to have, and I feel that 2.5M for a 4th liner is way too expensive in a salary cap world. Manny does have a NTC, and I feel there are very few teams that would have interest in him, but right now he brings little benefit on the ice.
As for free agency, the Canucks will have to make some decisions. I can see the Canucks re-signing pending UFA Samuel Pahlsson at a pay cut, for Gillis did the same with his deadline acquisitions last year. Players such as Andrew Ebbett, Aaron Rome, and Byron Bitz I can see walking, as much as I like all three of them, change is needed.
Next I look to the defence of the Canucks. I believe that Sami Salo will likely retire at season's end, allowing for Chris Tavev to be given a permanent roster spot. Kevin Bieksa was outstanding down the stretch last year for the Canucks, and he was spectacular in the playoffs. This season, he has not being the same. He comes off a big new contract extension, but he seems that he has regressed to the same mental mistakes that he has made in years prior. I personally think that Kevin's cap hit is too heavy for a player who has only really stepped up for a 6-month period. 2 years ago I sat in my hotel room in Hawaii watching the trade deadline, only to watch the Canucks bring in Andrew Alberts as their only NHL acquisition. I was immediately disappointed. After watching him take a 5 minute major and a game misconduct against the Kings in game 1 of their series that year, I felt that there was no place for him on the Canucks roster.
Finally, as much as I hate to see it. I feel that coach Alain Vigneault's time is up. He has played his favourites over the years, and it has hurt the development and gameplay of others. Grabner was hurt by AV, Hodgson was hurt by AV, and current defencemen Gragnani and Ballard are hurt by AV. Shane O'Brien also lacked opportunity due to AV's favourites, but this can easily be me defending my favourite player. It can only be speculated who the next coach would be, but it is in need of a change. As someone brought to my attention recently, what if AV were to be the coach of Erik Karlsson? Would he be the same player he is today? The likely answer is no, because AV likes certain type of players who are more conservative, and not ones who come with risks/rewards.
I am sure that many people will completely disagree with everything that I have said, and that is fine. I am not a Canuck hater, I love the Canucks, I have for years and years, and my opinion does not make me any less of a fan than anyone else. Everyone has their opinions, and I chose to express mine. Do I believe everything I discussed will happen? No, but in my eyes, I feel that they would be the best for the organization. I am not trying to convince someone to believe my mindset, nor am I going to believe someone elses, this is just what I feel needs to be done in order to shake up this team. As I said earlier, I feel that the Canucks need change, and that the Philadelphia motto should be followed - that being "I do not know if we are better, but we are different".
I thank you for the read, and I hope that my first ever blog was worth it.
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.
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Goaltending, defense, and the number of appearances Mike Richards and Jeff Carter make at the Roxy could have a big impact on this series. However, there is one major underlying trend that could make all the difference for these two clubs.
- Who takes what faceoffs where.
Seems like a redundant concept, but I am going to break it down with a bunch of lame, boring numbers.
The Canucks 4th line ( Malhotra, Lapierre, Weise) are #1-3 in the league for lowest offenseive zone start % (With Pahlson finishing with the 6th lowest in the league). What makes this impressive is Manny Malhotra drives puck possession north, by starting only 13.2% of his faceoffs in the offensive zone (playing almost exclusively in the defensive zone) and finishing 40.6% of his shifts in the offensive zone. Combine this with the fact that his shifts are the shortest in the NHL and its safe to summarize his role on the team as
- Match up against other teams top lines in the defensive end, win the draw, move the puck forward and change to allow more offensively inclined players to take over.
Now on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Sedins and Burrows rank #1-3 in the league for highestoffensive zone start % with Henrik starting 78.6 % of his shifts in the offensive zone.
- This essentially eliminates any form of defensive responsibility from the top line, and allows them to generate offense efficiently.
Also with the addition of Samuel Pahlsson, the Canucks no longer have to shelter Cody Hodgsons minutes, and this allows AV to break Ryan Kesler away defensive matchups against other teams top lines. This has allowed Ryan Keslers CORSI (on ice shot attempt differential adjusted over 60 minutes) to jump from 8.5 to 13.24 which is a significant increase for the center. Think of it like a fancy +/- system.
- Don't expect Ryan Kesler to hard match against teams top lines, but have shutdown responsibilities supplemented by the bottom 2 lines.
Compared to last years playoffs:
Last years playoffs saw Henrik start 65% of his faceoffs in the offensive zone (13% fewer), and a lot of this had to do with Alain Vigneault having to shelter the minutes of bottom 6'ers such as Raffi Torres, Tanner Glass, Victor Oreskovich and Cody Hodgson. Players like this were not able to be utilized in a defensive role, and therefore could be exploited.
Glass and Oreskovich both posted a Corsi of -20, and -27 (really bad), Torres a -6, and Cody just kept his head above water with a +2 (again, on ice shot attempt differential adjusted over 60 minutes)
This years playoffs:
With this unique deployement strategy, Alain Vigneault is able to play his 3rd and 4th line in difficult minutes without concern. If teams hope to shut down the Sedin line, they will have to do so exclusively from their own defensive end. If teams want to send their top line out against Vancouvers 4th line, AV will get a bit of a chubby. No line is a desirable matchup for opposing teams.
Why this is bad news for LA
As we know, LA has struggled offensively this year. Daryl Sutter doesn't have a favorable matchup for his top line of Brown, Kopitar, Williams. He can try to match up against the Sedin line, but will likely end up hemmed in their offensive zone. The 2nd line is centered by last years Selke winner. The third line is centered by Pahlsson who many believed deserved the Conn Smythe in 2007. And a 4th line centered by one of the best pure defensive centers in the game in Malhotra.
So with offense being questionable for LA, Vancouver doesn't make for a good opening round matchup for the Kings.
Vancouver and LA are both in the top 5 for fewest goals against per game.
The difference is, Vancouver is top 5 in goals for, and LA is 29th in goals for.
With no favorable line matching available for Daryl Sutter, the Kings are going to be hard pressed to generate offense.
Expect a lot of 1-0 and 2-1 games, but don't expect LA to come out on top.
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Before I start, I would like to say I had a perfectly written post that addressed so many things I might miss now due to the boards crashing and giving me some error................................
Over the last 20 years of being a Canucks fan, I have come realize that being a Canucks fan is extremely frustrating. We have had so many ups and downs that we literally whine about everything. I'm not speaking on all posters, but majority of the posters will find something to nit pick about in particular order:
- The goalie situation
- The Powerplay
- Kassian & MAG vs Hodgson & Sulzer
- Why aren't we scoring?
- The list goes on..
- And on...
So where shall we start first?
Well quite frankly we won't start, as a matter of fact, I'll just throw all of it together and say what I need to say. As a fan base we strive for perfection. I'm curious as to why? Why does it matter if we finish first in the entire league in every statistical category? Why do we have this win now approach? Would you rather not be successful for years to come? There are other organizations such as the Red Wings, Pens, Rags who are successful organizations because of their fan bases. Yes all of those organizations have WON a cup, and I can sense that these boards are fearing that if we miss this 'window' that won't be able to do it again. I disagree entirely. You look at this organizations and you can now they are doing it the right way. You look at their fan bases and they don't have much to complain about. So why does ours? Does this make us any more passionate? No. Their fan bases don't panic when their team comes under scrutiny and their fan bases certainly don't go on assess every little thing that goes wrong.
Take Luongo for example. One bad game and the whole city throws their arms in the air saying "Trade him for a bag of pucks!" "He hasn't done anything in his career!" There only has been one year where I can say we legitimately had a shot in winning the cup. Obviously we all know what year that was. The whole team played like crap and there were issues with our defense that I don't even want to go on and rant about because there's no point.
Everyone assumes once the team makes the playoffs we're legitimate contenders. Fact of the matter is when we played the Ducks and we lost, we weren't. Ahh yes the first go around with the Hawks in 08-09...how were we supposed to fair? Not very well. Our team wasn't built to match the Hawks so we played the 1-2-2. How about when we played against the Hawks in 09-10, did you honestly think we were favourites to win that series? Nope. Everyone had pegged the Hawks to be serious contenders in the West. How about in '10-'11? Yeah I could say we were the favourites. Most definitely. But to blame Luongo on all those faults is just plain selfish and it's like you're looking for an excuse. We as a team lost in the SCF. We as a team failed and we as a team weren't good enough in the SCF plain and simple. There's a reason the Stanley Cup is deemed the hardest trophy to win in sports. You need all 22 players doing their part and did we get that in the SCF? No we didn't. I like how no one pointed out how Danny said the Canucks were going to win it at home and every media outlet focused on Luongo "pumping" Thomas' tires. Gimme a break.
Side note: What about when Ryan Miller was struggling earlier this year? Did you see Buffalo fans calling for him to be traded? No. Enroth was playing lights out when he was first injured.
Regardless, now everyone is going to say well what about Kesler? How do you explain his play? I don't. He came off major surgery and if you can't see that it's clearly affecting his play than you're clearly naive again and expecting that he replicates a 70 pt season. Also if you haven't noticed that he got more than half his points on the PP last year. How's our PP doing this year? Clearly it's not as potent. However, Kesler is more effective at doing things that don't necessarily get his name on the score sheet every night. He's also had a rotating door of Wingers.. how do you expect for him to find any consistency for him regardless. Is Kesler an elite player? Sure you can categorize him to be one, he's a great two-way player. Not all two-way players are expected to light up the lamp. A 60 Point campaign by any 2nd line center is considered a great season. Sure he's off that pace right now, but let us not forget that he's also missed a good month and a half due to recovery. By that time, everyone's already in game shape stamina. Yeah you can argue it's been the whole season, but believe you me, hip surgery recovery is no fun to deal with.
Now we arrive at the PP. What's wrong with it? Is it me or did we all not notice how predictable our PP was becoming and teams started to pick up on it by the WCF especially during the SCF? So what's wrong with it this year? Hrmm well quite frankly having Kesler on the point has been a like and dislike moment, but to me this just them testing out what will work just incase if the original PP doesn't work. I can assure you that we will be seeing that patent drop pass in the center ice when it comes down it because it worked and it wasn't broken why fix it. You'll see because again individual success does not add up to team success. The players know it. Teams are also figuring to pressure our PP a lot more to make quicker decisions it's an adjustment that all teams have made while playing against us on the PK. Just wait and see again, we don't need to be first.
Finally, we arrive at the Hodgson and Kassian debate. Was this trade worth it? In my eyes yeah it was worth every god damn letter in Hodgson's last name. Why? Well quite frankly he addressed an organizational need. He plays a great cycle game that AV is coaching and his board work is great. Yeah but Hodgson was just as good and has a way better offensive upside!!! Hold onto your panties before they get into a fisherman's knot. Yeah Hodgson is better offensively, but how do you know that he was able to throw up points without ever seeing him play in the playoffs? We all know the games are 10 times more physical, there's more hack and slash and with teams really clamping down in the West, not the east, but the West, it was evident that Hodgson was going to struggle prior to the trade deadline. There were some teams that were jockying for position already so that they didn't have to worry later. Big goals in big games you say? So what's with this Kassian kid? Obviously you're a supporter of this trade so your opinion is biased. No not really loved Cody, but love the potential Kassian brings more. I don't look at Stats, I look at what he does without the puck. Sure you can say he's rushed due to Hodgson was a roster player, but the fact of the matter is that he couldn't even play in the AHL even if we wanted to send him down at the time.
We all say that this kid has an incredible first 5 games and said wow I see what Gillis saw in this kid. Some were saying I heard he plays well because of his adrenaline rush. Now it's gotten to the point of this kid is invisible. You see how bipolar half these boards are? I argue this, if you think this kid plays off adrenaline, would it not make sense that you give him a chance in the playoffs? That's what the playoffs are all about. It's a 16 game adrenaline rush and I'm positive he will strive. He played with it when he played for Team Canada and he'll play with it again.
All in all CDC, thanks for making me realize why we're so hated and when I'm telling people I'm a Canucks fan, I'm automatically deemed the idiot who knows nothing. Relax it's just a game. Stop being so anxious as this team will be competitive for years to come. That I promise.
You stay classy CDC. You stay classy.
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well both goalies have played top notch in there last few games and i believe that resting had to be a big part of it, a strategy. ever since schnieder played for luongo for 2 straight games while he rested it seemed like the canucks were a better team. it gave schnieder a reason why he was in this team and took the pressure off luongo. after the 2 game break luongo went in and dominated for another 2 games and played incredible.
can this be a strategy for canuck's success to the stanley cup?: have the 2 goalies play 2 straight games and then take a 2 game break while the other goalie plays then play 2 games while the other goalie rests and so on.
i think its a great strategy because many people don't think goalies need rest, but its true. form the big pressure i know that was why luongo choked in the playoffs. i think my strategy shown above is a great example for the canucks to follow.
what do you think?