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Hockey players have always stood out from basketball, football, and to a lesser extent, baseball players because they carry themselves on and off the ice with a certain demeanor. Some call it boring or calculated, while others say they're humble and down-to-earth. Some of the greatest leaders the NHL has ever seen, including Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, and Bobby Orr, were very soft-spoken players who did more with their stick than their mouths. They were professional and knew their place in the league, respected the veterans, and realized that there was a time and place for everything. Having said that, PK Subban and Linus Omark have all recently attracted a lot of negative attention with their swagger. But, seriously, what's wrong with that? Subban has always been a very confident player. It was the reason why he made a seamless transition from a four-year career with Belleville to Hamilton, where he won the Presidents' Award in his first professional season for his outstanding accomplishments. After logging a team-high 25 minutes against the Oilers on December 1, in which the Habs blew a 3-1 lead and lost 4-3 in overtime, Jacques Martin decided to make Subban his scapegoat and proceeded to make him a healthy scratch for 3 games, all Habs wins. It was Subban's fault that Sam Gagner so easily sidestepped him en route to a shorthanded beauty and a lackadaisical pass to Mike Cammalleri, who also should've been at fault, that led to the Dustin Penner winner. But which rookie doesn't make mistakes? <img src="http://flyersorangecrush.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/0subban_0.jpg"class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Elliotte Friedman used his 'Price Theory' to rationalize Subban's exile, but I think that Price Theory is absolute junk. Price's game fell apart and there were questions about his work ethic. As far as I could tell, the only mistakes Subban made were in that game. Sure, he talks a lot of trash, but so do two very good players on the Canucks. Mike Richards obviously lost a lot of respect for Subban because he ran his mouth too much, but if that's the reason why Subban's sitting then the Habs are doing nothing but hurting Subban's game. What had become a trademark of Subban's game, enormous talent and a mouth to go with it, disappeared when he returned to the ice against Detroit. It was so obvious that Subban was overthinking the game, trying to stay within the boundaries Martin had drawn, that he became ineffective, and it didn't help matters when he was -3 against the Leafs a night later. Let's get one thing straight: Price was benched because he was awful for a long period and to win games the Habs were better off with Jaroslav Halak that year (as a side note, even though he was heavily criticized Price put up better numbers last year than he did the year before, but if you don't win games you get vilified in Montreal). Subban should've been benched and called out for his play in that Oilers game. But to tell this kid that what had made him so successful on the ice is the wrong way to play sends the wrong message. The Habs went 3-0 without Subban in the lineup, but in the process they potentially killed this kid's season and development. Like Subban, Linus Omark is a confident player whose reputation precedes him, especially after made him a YouTube sensation. Omark isn't a very well-rounded player, but he's got great hands and give him room around the net and he'll make sure the puck goes in, and after what he did in Sweden you can't fault Tom Renney to pick the rookie as one of his shooters. Well, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnsngTNeGTg, and all he did was do a spin-o-rama at center ice before faking a shot and slipping it into the net. After the game, Martin St. Louis wasn't too happy about it and accused Omark of disrespect and showboating. A lot of hockey pundits agreed, and to them, I say: "What!? Are you crazy!?" Let me first remind everyone that this is the same guy that pulled off the in a shootout once that caused as much controversy as Omark's goal. Not only is St. Louis being hypocritical, he's also being a sore loser. Omark did what he did best - he put the puck in the net. As gimmicky as that spin-o-rama at centre ice was, he got the job done, didn't he? That move may have been unnecessary, but I also wouldn't be surprised if that put Dan Ellis off guard. The moment Omark pulled off that move he instantly made himself unpredictable. Ellis probably didn't have a very comprehensive scouting report on Omark and was probably reading deke all the way and that spin-o-rama just sold it. The shootout was meant to entertain fans and Omark did just that. If the Lightning weren't happy about Omark's goal maybe they should've won that game in regulation. If Omark didn't score, this would be a complete non-issue. Stop whining, Marty. <img src="http://cache2.asset-cache.net/xc/85898170.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=77BFBA49EF8789215ABF3343C02EA54885FC7A2A8F6E4AD040BA0C0C7507895D4FECAFC04AA11091E30A760B0D811297"class="imageFloatRightFramed">Breaking into the NHL is difficult and most young players have their ups and downs, but often the most successful players are the ones who are confident in their abilities. We don't have to look too far to find better examples. When Daniel and Henrik broke into the league, they were physically unprepared for the rigors of the NHL play and schedule, and after less than stellar rookie seasons I think they were questioning themselves if they had left MoDo too early (yes, they did). It wasn't until it became quite obvious that the days of the West Coast Express were over that they really stepped up their game. I don't think it was a coincidence at all that when Markus Naslund dipped from 32 goals and 79 points to 24 goals and 60 points in 2006, both the Sedins broke out and hit the 70-point plateau. It was then that they realized they could play and the Canucks were counting on them in the future. Their play wasn't all that different - they could still find each other telepathically and no matter who you put on a line with them, be it Wade Brookbank, Trevor Linden, or Taylor Pyatt, these guys found ways to score. They were confident in their abilities. They weren't the sisters anymore. I must admit, I was quite critical of them, even during the 2005-06 to 2007-08 seasons when they put up three consecutive 70+ point seasons. I thought they were statistically good, but had only led the Canucks to the playoffs once in three years and in their only postseason showing they were average at best. But there was one play in particular, and it wasn't of the highlight reel variety, that told me the Sedins were ready to compete. The Sedins are often victim of extra shots and after whistle scrums and for the most part they don't retaliate. Players with confidence and swagger don't back down. I'm not saying the Sedins are easily intimidated, because they're not, but they've never been in-your-face players. It's a trait that I like in hockey players and it's all about body language. I've never seen Subban shy away from a puck in the corner, a hit, a risky play, or a bigger player. I don't think there's a shootout move that Omark wouldn't attempt. But on December 27, 2009, the year that saw Henrik capture the Art Ross and the Hart Memorial in June, I knew the Sedins had arrived. How? After being totally abused by Dion Phaneuf alongside the boards, Henrik got up, headed towards the net, corralled the rebound and scored. That's resiliency. But the swagger? Immediately after the goal, Henrik went up to Phaneuf and just nearly made him cry. Watch the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx0MYvc-eiY. So, I ask again. What's so wrong with swagger?
Prior to the Vancouver Canucks Veteran camp in Penticton, the NHL's youngest and most notable up-and-comers will be on display September 12-16, 2010. Jordan Schroeder, Vancouver's first selection (22nd overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft in Montreal The Young Stars tournament will be an 8 game round robin tournament, featuring some blue chip talent from the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers. Dan Ashton, Mayor of Penticton, spoke to the upcoming event. "When we built our events centre, part of our vision was to have the Canucks come and utilize it as a training facility... now to have five NHL teams come to Penticton for five days... this is a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase our facility and community." Vancouver's premier prospect is listed by www.hockeysfuture.com as the third best prospect in the NHL (all photos courtesy of Yardbarker.com) At this time, the details of which prospects will be playing has yet to be announced, but it figures to be an important proving grounds. With the possibility that some of the prospects looking for regular NHL jobs this fall will be involved, there is the potential for several nigh-household names. Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Mikael Backlund, Nick Petrecki, Luca Sbisa, Jake Gardiner - all prospects that might be involved in the tournament. Will Taylor Hall, the first overall selection in the 2010 Entry Draft, be on display in Penticton Sept. 12-16 ? From a Canucks fan point of view, the real draw will be witnessing the unfolding storyline between Prior Lake, Minnesotan Jordan Schroeder and Markham, Ontario's Cody Hodgson. The two centers will look to make an early impression on Canucks' brass, meanwhile competing for what should essentially be the 4th line center position with the club. With Manny Malholtra's tenacious, time-proven checking track record, it appears that's the slot available. One has to factor in, though, Hodgson's $1.6 M cap hit into the equation, which might be enough, provided he has a solid camp, to make him the incumbent fourth line center. Calgary's Mikael Backlund is by far and away their best prospect, and should earn a regular roster spot this fall Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis commented on the Young Stars tournament that precedes the Veteran camp (which starts Sept. 18). "Penticton has a deep hockey history and we look forward in continuing to celebrate that legacy with our NHL players and prospects this fall." A tournament package, which starts at $66 plus applicable taxes (www.valleyfirstTIX.com), receives a ticket to each of the eight games, and the first 1000 fans to purchase tickets also receive an exclusive pass to the Canucks Veteran's Training Camp, providing reserved seating and priority access to the Veteran's Camp. With Scott Neidermeyer's retirement, Luca Sbisa should be a regular fixture on Anaheim's blueline this season To be frank, though I'm very interested in how things shake down during Veteran's Camp, I'm salivating to see how the neophytes perform during the Young Stars tournament. Of course, I'm wary of another Sergei Shirokov-esque performance: One of the prospects performs very well, has a great pre-season, and then fades shortly after. But make no mistake about it, there are a couple of jobs up for grabs, and with Michael Grabner being shipped to Florida, the door is open. The only remaining question: Who will walk through? San Jose's Nick Petrecki is already a monster defenseman (6'3, 220 lbs); the New York native is only 21 years old With files from Canucks.com, Yardbarker and Hockeys Future, I'm Larenzo Jensen Keep your Canuck cool even during the summer heat - http://thecanuckway.com