Early Season Recap

13 Nov

Underachieving? the Canucks knows that they are a better team than what their records shows. Sitting at 11th in the western standings with a record of .500 and only 17 points, many have categories Canucks as underachievers. However, if you analysis closer especially stats wise many players have been playing extremely well, and our Canucks team in my opinion are a much better team than last year. If we make the playoffs, I feel that Canucks will be a very strong candidate in winning the cup.

The Sedin twins once again have very quietly placed themselves top 10 in scoring within the league. Many criticize Sedins both being too soft and reluctant to lay a hit or fight back. But I highly disagree with this point, yes Sedins never have big hits, yes they get bullied around but thats how the Sedins are. They are able to absorb the hits, cause penalties from the opposition team and make them pay when they are shorthanded. They do not fight back because they know they are not the toughest players on ice, and they want to avoid any stupid penalties after the whistle. They are very versatile and can play in every roll on the team, weather it is on the powerplay, killing penalties, 4 on 4 or the shootouts. Arguably I would not trade them for other teams “All Stars”! Daniel is currently second in the league in points, while Captain Henrik is ranked 9th only trailing 5 points from Phil Kessel whos currently number 1.

Now what about our other 9 forwards? What have they done? This is were I feel that the Canucks have a better team than last season. Lapierre and Higgins have played extremely well, and some may say they have been the best players so far for the Canucks. Every game they have worked extremely hard in the offensive and defensive zone. Booth and Kesler have gradually picked up their games and have been contributing as much as they can. As well rookie Cody Hogdson has fit right in the Canucks system and has made it hard for Coach Vigneault to not play him. Our bottom 9 forwards have proved that they are ready to play big minutes and when the Sedins are not producing their points many have stepped up.

Key components of the team have come from the offensive success from defensemen Edler and Salo.  However, I feel that not all the defensemen have been playing to their full potential, but it is still early in the season, and many players like Bieksa, Hamhuis and Ballard are at the bottom of the plus minus in the league. Although they are struggling a bit I’m confidence that they will rebound off the struggles in October.

To fans who are worried because the Canucks are not winning all their games, its OK! By January I confidence Canucks will be more united as a team and with good chemistry within the players we will be in the top 5 of the Western Conference.

 

A cool fact from another team, because it is the month of Movember Anaheim’s goalie Jonas Hiller have paid tribute by having a different goalie mask this month.

It is good to see players who are participating in events happening around the community. So my questions to you,

How are the Canucks so far in the season?

Who is playing well, and who you think needs to play better?

Who has the coolest goalie mask?

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Unsung heroes #6

31 Oct

Once again October has been a slow month for the Vancouver Canucks, however with 11 games into the season many Canucks have been playing extremely well. A player that rarely gets recognized by the media is Sami Salo. Salo was drafted in 1996 9th round by the Ottawa Senators. Due to constantly being injured Ottawa traded Sami to Vancouver for Peter Schaefer in 2002. Currently Sami is the longest serving defencemen for the Vancouver Canucks. He just played his 700th career NHL game on Oct 22nd against Minnesota.

Salo has become known around the hockey league as injury prone. He has 40 career injuries. But when Salo is healthy his contribution on and off the ice has been an enormous impact for the organization. Salo is known for his two-way defence, scoring goals on offence while still being able to shut-down top line players on opposition teams. He has been through a lot in his hockey career and is by far one of the many Canucks who deserves a Stanley Cup. After the dissappointing lose in 2010, Salo signed a 1 year contract with Vancouver hoping to make another big run at the cup before retiring. Hopefully this year Salo can prove that he can play the majority of the regular season and still have enough gas to push a good playoff run.

Luongo or Schineder? Why not use both !

17 Oct

5 games into the regular season and people are already throwing Luongo under the bus. With fans criticizing Luongo’s recent performances many have questioned General Manger Mike Gillis “What in the world was he thinking signing Luongo to a 12 year contract!” He is 32 this season and will be in his early 40s’ when his contract is over. He has not won a Stanley Cup, and the 2010 season was Vancouver’s best chance in a decade, which many fans have pointed their fingers at Luongo for “choking” and getting outplayed by Boston’s Tim Thomas. Well I for one have also wondered why don’t we get rid of Luongo, why not use Schineder, why keep an old veteran who seems to be what the fans think is the biggest problem for the Canucks. However, if you analysis Luongo’s career as a Canucks HE’S ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD!

Since 1994, there has been no goalie in a Canucks uniform who has achieved as much as Luongo. Out of 6 seasons as a Canuck, Luongo has helped his team make the playoffs 5 times. Even though many of those playoff runs were early exits, Luongo has proven season by season that he is at least playoff bound. On top of that Luongo has been in 4 world champions winning 1 silver and 2 gold medals. As well the most recent Olympic he out played veteran Martin Brodeur and took the starting goalie position. Which he also brought home one of the most treasured medal for the City of Vancouver and Canada as a whole, the gold medal. Now lets look at his statistics. Up to 2010 season he has an average of .919 save percentage which is an extremely hard achievement since he has played over 600 games. Not a lot of goalies can say they are in the same caliber as Luongo. Luongo has proven that he is a winner.

Schneider has been playing extremely well as a backup and can potentially be a starting goalie for many teams. But in my opinion Schneider is not ready to play the majority of the season and have a winning record if the team is not playing well. Luongo can, he can steal games from time to time when the rest of the team is not performing. We as fans need Luongo and Canucks need Luongo. Lets not constantly debate weather to use Luongo or Schneider, or which goalie we are keeping or trading, let’s focus on winning the Stanley Cup this year because we have 2 great goalies who can support each other on and off the ice. Lets use this as our advantage and once again watch the Vancouver Canucks battle in the Stanley Cup final. As fans we have to support and believe in our starting goalie and no question the starting goalie is and has to be Roberto Luongo.

Canucks Roster is Starting to shape up!

28 Sep

The Canucks have played 4 pre-season games already and things are starting to shape up, at least the roster is.

Canucks have cut the following players:

First Cut :

Kellan Tochkin, Anton Rodin, Taylor Ellington, Alex Friesen, Prab Rai, Adam Polasek, Stefen Schneider, Manny Legace

Second Cut:

Steven Anthony, Darren Archibald, Kevin Connauton, Sebastian Erixon, Yann Sauve, Bill Sweatt, Steve Begin

Third Cut:

Matt Climie, Antoine Roussel, Niko Dimitrakos, Owen Nolan

Many thought Owen Nolan was going to be able to make it to Canucks’ starting line up but the pass preseason games he’s been playing average. Nolan has also mentioned that he is having groin problem, making his skating ability less efficient. However, with the on-going pre-season games many players have been surprisingly playing well and show a small sign that they are NHL ready.

Todd Fedoruk being the biggest dark horse. He is the only player amongst the 7 players who received try out contract whom is still surviving. The 2 players people should be watching are Cody Hogdson and Jordan Schroeder, both have been playing well and looks promising. Hogdson has more NHL experience than Schroeder but in my opinion Schroeder has been skating faster and defensively more responsible. However, Schroeder is still quite small and might need another year to buff up before he is fully NHL ready.

As for Canucks injury updates:

-Ryan Kesler is starting to skate which is a good sign, but he is still out indefinitely.

-Nolan Baumgarther with a broken foot will be out for four to six weeks.

-Steve Pinizzotto with a dislocated shoulder remains out indefinitely

-Aaron Rome with a broken finger will be out for four to six weeks.

For people who really like Canucks Alternate Jersey this is the schedule for when the team will be wearing it.

http://canucks.nhl.com/club/page.htm?bcid=329

Also I came across a very nice video recap of last seasons playoff. It gets me motivated for this coming season, I hope it motivates you as well.

Youngstar Tournament Recap and Preview for Preseason

22 Sep

With the 2011 season coming right around the corner I hope everyone could drag their 2010 playoff memories to the trash because their is a whole new season ahead for everyone. 2011 marks the 41st year of the Vancouver Canucks, and as usual the team looks strong and rejuvenated to battle in the rink again.

In this blog I will constantly update any recent news relating to Vancouver Canucks and expressing my views in how our team is playing.

First up, Canucks have already started tryouts by finishing a prospect tournament which was held in Penticton British Columbia. Winning 2 games out of four many young stars out shined others.

Here are some Canucks Prospect you should watch for.

1) Nicklas Jensen

Vancouver Canucks first round draft pick number 29th in 2011. Speedy danish right wing who’s trying to give his best first impression so he can crack the Canucks roster as soon as possible

2) Kevin Connauton

With Vancouver having many question marks in how healthy their defense can stay, young Connauton standing 6’1 might get called up to play a few games if the Canucks hit injuries again.

3) Jordan Schroeder

Already playing a full year in Canucks farm team, Schroeder have picked up much more hockey sense and seems ready to crack a spot anytime he is given an opportunity.

Some highlights from the tournament:

Adam Polasek wins a good fight!

Darren Archibald’s got speed

Preseason have just started and this creates even more questions in who will crackthe starting line for October 6th 2011. Canucks have brought in players from the young star tournament such as Jensen, Schroeder and much more to the preseason tryouts. As well Canucks have offered many professional tryout contracts to veteran players, and the two names which stands out the most from the list includes Owen Nolan and Manny Legace. Coming year Nolan is turning 40 years old, he is making his last push trying to prove that he is still NHL material. Nolan brings more grit and leadership to a team, making him a top candidate to steal a bottom 6 roster spot this year. Due to off season injuries from assistant captain Ryan Kesler, playoff injured Mason Raymond, and the healthiness of Manny Malhotra many spots are up for grab. With big minutes to fill players like Cody Hogdson, Marco Strum, Mikael Samuelsson and Chris Higgins are all playing hard to impress Coach Vigneault.

Quick glace at players leaving and new players coming to Vancouver:

Left in the off season:

Christian Ehrhoff, Raffi Torres, Alexandre Bolduc, Mario Bliznak, Guillaume Desbiens, Tanner Glass, Rick Rypien, Jeff Tambellini

New faces:

Marco Strum, Andrew Ebbett, Mark Mancari, Alexander Sulzer, Byron Bitz, Steve Pinizzotto, Mike Duco

5 Burning questions for the Canucks roster:

1) Will Cody Hogdson finally be a full time Canuck?

2) Have key players such as Malhotra and Hamhuis fully recovered?

3) Who will fill the slot and minutes of the departed Christian Ehrhoff? Ballard? Hamhuis? Edler? Bieksa?Tanev?

4) Will the Sedin twins be able to repeat another outstanding regular season?

5) With their history of getting injured will Sami Salo and newer acquired Marco Strum stay healthy?

Now my question for you: