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[Article] On Spec: Are the Canucks still contenders?


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#1 Pistachios

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:08 AM

Sportsnet

][/u]It is less the “right now” that is a concern for fans of the Vancouver Canucks, and more the direction of the franchise.
Canucks fans have watched Calgary and Edmonton sink into obscurity through poor drafting and development. Now they look at their own crop of “prospects,” and no matter how hard you squint, it’s hard to spot the cavalry that can bridge the gap until Bo Horvat can become an impact player.

The Canucks will be picked as a playoff team by most out West. But they’ve been a playoff team for five years running, and the question becomes: Are the Canucks getting closer to being a Stanley Cup contender, or further from being one?
“The last two playoff exits have been so disappointing,” Daniel Sedin told reporters in Vancouver on Sunday. “We know we have the team to go a long way and that’s why it sucks losing out so early. You know it’s tough in the playoffs and anything can happen. I don’t want to say we threw it away, but we didn’t play our best.”
San Jose swept the Canucks out of last year’s playoffs and was clearly the better team. The Sedins went goalless, and the Canucks couldn’t win a single game.


The Sharks have filled in their roster underneath Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau however, with high level, younger players like Olympic hopefuls Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The Sedins need help, making the oft-injured Ryan Kesler perhaps the most pivotal player on the Canucks roster this season.



Not anything new really. It's the same old story. What interested me though was that in the comments section one of the interesting critiques was that behind the Sedins and Kesler, the Canucks lack one more impact player. I thought "there is some truth to that" given that once the Sedins are shutdown or Kesler is injured, the secondary scoring the Canucks have had in the playoffs has been spotty at best.

What do you think? Can the Canucks under Torts step up their game so the 'balanced' scoring approach proves the doubters wrong? Or, should MG push to aquire that "impact" player? With that said, how exactly would you expect MG to do that? He has said himself that those types of trades are not easy to make, and for once the Canucks have a solid prospect pool that shouldn't be traded away (IMO).

I like to think that teams like DET always have a fighting chance. They may not look the strongest on paper like PIT or BOS but with strong performances and a bit of luck great success can be had. For example, the 94 Canucks were far from favorites, but played their asses off to get to the final. I am happy to take my chances with that while building long term success with prospect development.

Edited by Kola Nuts, 16 September 2013 - 11:14 AM.

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#2 It's a process

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:13 AM

All depends on how Torts works with them.
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#3 Pistachios

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:17 AM

All depends on how Torts works with them.


I agree. Could be that difference maker.
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#4 komodo1970

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:22 AM

This Canucks team is gonna be hard to read. It s all gonna depend on how well they can adapt to the new coaching style of Torts. I think they still have the talent to compete for a cup; but can they use the tutelige of JT effectively? It remains to b seen.

Top ten? yes.
Cup this year? No

Second round exit.
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#5 Aladeen

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:30 AM

And a useless article not giving any insight or even a guess as to the question the title asks.

This is sports media - Make an Attention grabbing headline that will catch the interest of the fans of that particular sport, fill it with the obvious (and a couple of quotes) and come to no conclusion whatsoever. Wait for money to roll in.
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#6 RyanKeslord17

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:39 AM

It really depends on so many factors such as health and which prospects thrive. Luck is also a huge factor. Possible? Yes. Likely? Meh.
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#7 Van40

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:41 AM

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Of course the nucks are still contenders! Our defence is one of the best in the league. World class goalie in Luongo. Twins and Kes are fully healthy and daring to go. This is a motivated team imo. Av was the first to go, and the team knows and Mike Gillis knows that if the canucks can't deliver there are going to be major changes. Don't count out the Canucks just yet. There's lots of depth on this team. Personally I think we can win the division. Call me bias or whatever but try to look at the positives for once instead of the negatives.
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#8 Robongo

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:44 AM

And a useless article not giving any insight or even a guess as to the question the title asks.

This is sports media - Make an Attention grabbing headline that will catch the interest of the fans of that particular sport, fill it with the obvious (and a couple of quotes) and come to no conclusion whatsoever. Wait for money to roll in.

Pretty much this, regurgitating the same crap over and over .
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#9 Betweenthepipes-R

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:51 AM

For me, the inner homer is screaming, "Yes! Of course we are!" but the other more hockey critiquing me still is on the fence. There's a ton of question marks regarding the team, and not the blaringly obvious ones. Will Lack recover from a -year off- from hockey during a surgery/injury-ridden season? (Granted, he more than likely worked his butt off during the entire ordeal.) Can Jensen play himself into a larger roll and start to utilize his skill at the highest level? Will the Canucks defense be able to turn around their mistake-ridden hockey and be able to be stable infront of their netminders? Lots. And the wildcards could spur the team to be better than the cup run or worse. We'll have to see where the on-ice play takes us, let's face it. All the analysts in the world could give their takes but question marks are question marks and until they change the subject won't become any more clear.
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#10 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:55 AM

Laziest shot at the team i've seen in awhile.

Sportsnet needs to improve their Canucks write-up coverage. All they're doing is waiting until Edmonton and Calgary recover.
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#11 Henrik Kesler

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:57 AM

Yes the Canucks are still a contender.

For a comparison, look at Detroit last year. They weren't the best team on paper and yet they still pushed the Blackhawks to the brink of elimination in Game 7 OT. If a team can get in the playoffs, they have a chance to win it all.
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#12 chrisbanks

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 12:00 PM

i guess any team that makes the playoffs are a contender... but once the playoffs start you have favorites and underdogs.... until the playoffs start its hard to decide which one they are....and just as the last 3 years being the favorites doesn't mean squat!! maybe going in as underdogs this year could help out the teams attitude.
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#13 Noseforthenet

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 12:00 PM

I think to go on another run, this team needs a few more players to take giant steps in their development this season. Kassian being focus number 1! Jensen and Schroeder being another couple that need to come into their own. The lines that aren't the Sedins need to be able to produce in the playoffs. Flat out!
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#14 Tangelos

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 12:20 PM

It really depends on so many factors such as health and which prospects thrive. Luck is also a huge factor. Possible? Yes. Likely? Meh.


I'm fed up with the health card. Every team deals with injuries so relatively speaking injuries shouldn't be a big deal if every other team has them too
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#15 Maniwaki Canuck

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 12:46 PM

I think to go on another run, this team needs a few more players to take giant steps in their development this season. Kassian being focus number 1! Jensen and Schroeder being another couple that need to come into their own. The lines that aren't the Sedins need to be able to produce in the playoffs. Flat out!

This is mostly it. Our depth has to be better. So does our coaching. Everything has to line up, but it could happen.
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#16 PhillipBlunt

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:39 PM

I agree that these speculative articles are a dime a dozen and truly offer little, if any, insight.

The Canucks have just as much of a shot at going deep than any other team. Torts is no slouch and will demand the most out of this team. Accountability goes a long way. Players who don't perform won't be getting a free pass anymore. The AV country club is done and with it goes the complacency that plagued this team.

The talent is clearly evident in the lineup. Now we will get to see it consistently. The Canucks are still one of the best teams in the league and they will prove it this season.
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#17 crazyforhockey

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 02:24 PM

staying healthy the Goaltending and defence are defintly goodenough to take them deep.

Forward group is solid and with kesler healthy ..the team actully has two top lines



Now for the canucks to really start to strengthen their chances at being a true contender .....that starts to make other teams worry about meeting them in the playoffs.


First get their special teams running hot......more so the PP which can limit how the other team takes liberties with any team...take away the rough stuff....even if the refs arnt calling anything Canucks way...when they do..make them pay.

any team with a goal of SC needs to have their PK at its peak....



Finally the major key for me to make us a top contender ............it needs a few of their young guns to step and make the team......higher end skill will give this team more scoring depth...so when the top two lines of both teams are snarled up in the trenches...the bottom six can sway the momnetum...........they dont have to carry the team...just support whats already there.


I look at a healthy Kesler (all summer long) making an impact on his line that trickles both up and down the lineup........you want to blanket the sedins ...fine let the second line loose....blanket the kesler line fine the sedins go to town....

also look forward to having garrison having a season to get comfortable with this group...fans noticed how he was tenative for the early portion of last season till he got comfortable..

Now if Torts can allow some stabilty to lines and pairings without constintly switching up lines...
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#18 RyanKeslord17

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 03:17 PM

I'm fed up with the health card. Every team deals with injuries so relatively speaking injuries shouldn't be a big deal if every other team has them too


True but the last SC winners have all had relatively healthy lineups. Boston had not one key player missing, same with the Hawks this year and the Kings the year before
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#19 mbal23

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 03:18 PM

Mark Spector/10

Edited by mbal23, 16 September 2013 - 03:18 PM.

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#20 Cyril Sneer

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 05:48 PM

With the parity of the league today making the playoffs is a Stanley cup contender


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#21 mancaesar

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 06:10 PM

With the parity of the league today making the playoffs is a Stanley cup contender


I was just going to say almost exactly this.

I feel much like the rest of you, that coaching can make a big difference. Whether that difference is positive or negative in nature remains to be seen. Remember, AV won the Jack Adams with the Canucks. Did he fool literally everyone into thinking he was a good coach? Often a deft touch is more effective than profanity-laced rants. When I first became a teacher, I quickly learned that pushing my students to succeed with positive energy always worked better than pushing them with negative energy. They are still being pushed, but they respect me more when I keep my emotions in check. Why wouldn't the same be true for hockey players? I do think that Tortorella's approach to systems and line combinations are more intuitive than AV's, but I just hope that any progress isn't overshadowed by dark clouds hanging over the dressing room. Nobody wants to play for a coach they don't respect. I know this point isn't really new either, but seeing how quickly the Tortorella bandwagon has filled up, I think it's important to temper excessive optimism with some real-life reasoning.

All that being said, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt and and can't wait to see how this all unfolds.
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#22 Phil_314

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 06:50 PM

I look at a healthy Kesler (all summer long) making an impact on his line that trickles both up and down the lineup........you want to blanket the sedins ...fine let the second line loose....blanket the kesler line fine the sedins go to town....
Now if Torts can allow some stabilty to lines and pairings without constintly switching up lines...


I'd agree that Kesler's important but so far he's still the helicopter line at 5-on-5 (no wings). Until the supporting cast of Higgins, Booth, Burrows, Jensen, Schroeder, etc. can be pieced together into a cohesive, productive unit, I'd hesitate to have that kind of optimism in that, if the Twins get shut down, Kes and co. can come up with the necessary offense. That (along with the lack of an identified strong 3rd line center) is also what keeps this team from really becoming an elite contender again, IMO. The first line'll be good, the D is strong, Lu should be good still, and on the wings the scoring depth is solid. However, primarily if Kes is still flying solo up to Sedin-o-sphere levels in the playoffs the depth'll still look thin, and for years that lack of secondary scoring has been the team's Achilles' heel.

Agreed with the stability of lineup statement though.

Edited by Phil_314, 16 September 2013 - 06:51 PM.

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#23 taib mahmud

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 12:31 PM

No !!!
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#24 Hatesmellycoins

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 01:36 PM

I was just going to say almost exactly this.

I feel much like the rest of you, that coaching can make a big difference. Whether that difference is positive or negative in nature remains to be seen. Remember, AV won the Jack Adams with the Canucks. Did he fool literally everyone into thinking he was a good coach? Often a deft touch is more effective than profanity-laced rants. When I first became a teacher, I quickly learned that pushing my students to succeed with positive energy always worked better than pushing them with negative energy. They are still being pushed, but they respect me more when I keep my emotions in check. Why wouldn't the same be true for hockey players? I do think that Tortorella's approach to systems and line combinations are more intuitive than AV's, but I just hope that any progress isn't overshadowed by dark clouds hanging over the dressing room. Nobody wants to play for a coach they don't respect. I know this point isn't really new either, but seeing how quickly the Tortorella bandwagon has filled up, I think it's important to temper excessive optimism with some real-life reasoning.

All that being said, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt and and can't wait to see how this all unfolds.



I agree in part with what you're saying however I do feel that there needs to be a bit of both. Not so much the negative pushing but the accountability that comes with not achieving results with positive pushing. There needs to be a balance of both... A healthy serving of stick and carrot so to speak.

I feel like AV let the core group set the tone and drive their own accountability but no one managed anything when they missed their target. There were no consequences for not attaining goals and the team inevitably drfited to mediocrity.

Edited by Hatesmellycoins, 17 September 2013 - 01:37 PM.

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#25 J.R.

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:15 PM

Favourites? No.

Contenders? Yes.

[/endthread]
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#26 Industrious1

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:23 PM

I love my Canucks and although certainly a playoff team...I'm not sure i'd call Vancouver 'serious' contenders for the Stanley Cup this upcoming salary crunch season.

Edited by Industrious1, 17 September 2013 - 02:24 PM.

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#27 Benchsplinters

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 03:42 PM

I think to go on another run, this team needs a few more players to take giant steps in their development this season. Kassian being focus number 1! Jensen and Schroeder being another couple that need to come into their own. The lines that aren't the Sedins need to be able to produce in the playoffs. Flat out!


Let's face it, Vigneault was a defensive coach. That is very much proven by his never never attitude about playing young players that might make a mistake. Play the plugs and older players because they are more defensively orientated.

AV was not innovated nor did he want his players to be. Stay in position and play your lane was his nemeses because it did not allow players be constructive on their own. He suppressed talent to great lengths with his defensive philosophies. All coaches are defensively minded but there also needs to be a happy medium between offensive and defensive play.

Torts will allow his players be inventive when they have the puck but wants every player to be responsible and defensive without the puck. That style will enhance offense. The days of dump and chase appear to be over with the emphasis on puck control. A style mastered by Detroit that was engineered by Babcock.

I predict more scoring this year because of a new coaching style and approach to team play. More exciting hockey is to come.

Edited by Benchsplinters, 17 September 2013 - 03:46 PM.

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(1) "When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for the others. It is the same when you are stupid."

(2) "On the internet you can be anything you want. It's strange so many people choose to be stupid."

(3) "As I have grown older, I have learned pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake."

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#28 Benchsplinters

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 03:47 PM

No !!!


Glad you showed up
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(1) "When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for the others. It is the same when you are stupid."

(2) "On the internet you can be anything you want. It's strange so many people choose to be stupid."

(3) "As I have grown older, I have learned pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake."

(4) "Common sense is like deodorant. The people who need it most never use it."

(5) "Organized people are just too lazy to look for things."

#29 Rounoush

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 03:54 PM

Everyone's a contender. Anyone can win it all. I'm sick of this question getting asked.
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#30 honey badger36

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 04:01 PM

I think this season we will experience some growing pains. But I am optimistic that the Sedins wont decline too quickly and we will be injecting players into our line up soon that will make us a much more potent team than we are today.
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