Tag Archives: Vancouver Canucks

The Fourth Time I Was on TV

Last week I was invited by a friend to join him at a Canucks vs. Oilers game here in Edmonton. He’d been given some tickets by his work, and they were supposedly “pretty good” seats. Of course I was excited to accept.

So we arrived at the game on Wednesday just as the puck dropped, and wandered down to our seats… Which turned out to be in the third row, right on the goal line. Seats don’t get much better than that! My friend’s company owns some¬†awesome season tickets.

The game itself was a lot of fun, and the Canucks ended up winning 5-4, with a disallowed Oilers goal right at the end of the game to draw out the excitement.

Since I was wearing a Canucks jersey and my friend was in an Oilers jersey, I figured we’d be a good bet to show up in a crowd shot at some point during the game. Sure enough, I wound up on-screen shaking my head after an Oilers goal.

It was a lot of fun all around!

(FYI, out of the other three times I’ve been on TV, that I can remember, two more were hockey-related, and one was… nunchuk-related, actually. But that’s another story!)

Canucks Trade for Booth

If you’re a Canucks fan, you’ve probably heard about the trade Mike Gillis pulled off today with Vancouver’s favourite trading partner, the Florida Panthers. Here’s a breakdown of the trade, and my thoughts on it. (If you aren’t a hockey fan, feel free to ignore this post! You won’t hurt my feelings.)

Vancouver receives

David Booth
Steven Reinprecht
2013 third-round draft pick

Florida receives

Mikael Samuelsson
Marco Sturm

 

The question that always gets asked after a trade is, “Which team won?” In this deal, I think both teams have reason to feel that they’ve gotten what they wanted and paid a fair price for it. If I had to give an edge to one team, I’d say the Canucks are the slight winners, but that will depend on how David Booth plays over the next year or three.

Read on for more details of what each team gets out of the trade.

Continue reading Canucks Trade for Booth

Team Question Marks – Part 1

A couple of days ago I went through the rosters of the teams I’ll be following this year and tried to determine where they might have some holes that need to be filled, or questions that need to be answered. Here’s what I came up with for my top three teams:

Vancouver Canucks

Practically perfect in every way.

But seriously, barring injuries and meltdowns, I can’t see any real holes in the Canucks’ lineup. They have deep offence, plenty of D who can move the puck, good two-way forwards, speed, toughness, and lots of organizational depth. It remains to be seen whether Hamhuis can be the true #1 defenceman we’ve been waiting for, but we can spread the workload out across this D corps so well that I don’t think that’s even really a problem. Luongo has to have a bounce-back year to prove himself again, but we should have a good enough team that we can win just fine even when he isn’t on his A game.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning’s top 6 forwards are as good as anyone could hope for. Stamkos and St. Louis are elite point producers, and Lecavalier should be in that category, though he has to have a return to form this year. Gagne, Malone, and Downie are all really solid players, too. It’s the bottom 6 that could use some help. Dominic Moore is a very serviceable third-line center, but I’m not convinced that Tampa will be able to get the supporting offence or the shutdown defence they need from the third and fourth lines this year. An injury or two could really devastate their forward group, as well. Yzerman has to hope for a healthy season up front, and for a couple of young guys to break out.

On D, Ohlund is a rock, and Hedman should continue to get better. The return of Pavel Kubina is welcome, and Brett Clark can play some decent minutes. The problem here, again, is what happens if injuries strike. I think the Tampa D could sustain one injury and keep on trucking, but two injuries could put them in a rough place.

The goalies in Tampa are Dan Ellis and Mike Smith. As goaltending tandems go, this one could be a lot more exciting. These guys have shown that they can play well, but they’ve never really, in my observation, stood up and said, “Look at me! I’m a legitimate, consistent, proven number one goaltender!” I hope I’m wrong, but I’m worried about inconsistent play in net this year. If one of Smith or Ellis steps up and shows that he can win 35 games, that will go a long way towards getting Tampa into the playoffs, but this is where I’m putting the biggest question mark.

Phoenix Coyotes

At the end of last year, Phoenix had a couple of guys really step up their offensive game. Wojtek Wolski and Lee Stempniak, in particular, had really strong stretch drives. The team is going to count on them to push 60 or 70 points each. If they can do that, and if Shane Doan gets his 30 goals and 60 points, then the ‘Yotes offence should do alright. Phoenix has several other players who could finish with 20+ goals and between 50 and 70 points this year, too, including veterans Ray Whitney and Vernon Fiddler. There’s lots of balance in the offence. There are also some good two-way players, including Doan and Eric Belanger. The only thing really missing from the Coyotes’ forward group is true star power, but they got by just fine without it last year, and they look to be in better shape up front this year.

Losing Zbynek Michalek to the Pittsburgh Penguins via free agency this summer will hurt the Coyotes’ defence. Michalek is a strong young player just coming into his prime. But the continued presence of Ed Jovanovski and Adrian Aucoin (both former Canucks!) is a good anchor for this D group, and Keith Yandle is another strong young blue-liner who will make a solid impact on the back end. Lepisto and Morris can put in some quality minutes. Beyond this, the question marks start popping up. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a fantastic D prospect, but D-men often take some added time to be ready for the NHL, so it may be a bit of a stretch to pencil him in on the Coyotes’ top 6 or 7 D. He may be better served by another year or two of development, and that leaves the number 6, 7, and 8 spots wide open for the desert dogs. Depth on defence will be a big question.

As far as goaltending goes, I have to admit that I was skeptical of Ilya Bryzgalov going into last year. I didn’t think he was #1 material. Boy was I wrong. Now my only question is, “Can he really be that good again?” If he regresses a little this season, Jason LaBarbera is a more-than-competent backup who can spell him for 15 to 25 games.


So in summary, I think the Canucks are God’s gift to hockey, the Lightning aren’t deep enough up front and will have goaltending issues, and Phoenix needs more NHL-quality defencemen.