Canucks and Beyond
Entries with the tag: vancouver canucks
I always liked Rick Rypien, and it wasn’t particularly because of his game or even because of his oft-celebrated fists. It was because of his struggles as a man, as an ordinary person facing very painful—and painfully ordinary—struggles, that he always held my attention during his tenure with Vancouver and Manitoba.
In a business that demands so much perfection, and where one is likely to endure so much condemnation for not achieving it, Rypien always struck me as a very courageous individual.
Here in Vancouver Canucks land, we have a stalker and it’s starting to get out of hand.
But then a few months ago the Canucks finally had enough and roundly dumped her.
But ever since, the girl—let’s call her Chi-Chi—just cannot seem to get over it.
Sometime tonight, a whole lot of people will be celebrating and a whole lot of others will be feeling pretty crappy. But what we can all agree on, I hope, is that it would be great to enjoy a fantastic hockey game before that final buzzer. A roller-coaster series like this one deserves to end with an epic game.
Whatever team you’re rooting for, enjoy the ride. (And… Go Canucks!)
P.S. I wrote a post before this series about all the reasons I’d celebrate winning a Stanley Cup. One of those reasons was in the memory of Luc Bourdon. So I’ll let Tom Cochrane end this post with his tribute to Bourdon nearly three years ago:
Canucks at Bruins, 5pm.
I’m afraid I’m sticking with my original series prediction of 7 games, with the Canucks coming out on top in the end. This is a home-ice-advantage series if every there was one, and while I feel optimistic about the end result, tonight is going to be a tough one to pull out. Of course, maybe the lessons learned against Chicago, Nashville and San Jose will pay off and the Canucks will find that extra gear that allows them to put an end to this series tonight. That would certainly be nice, because a game 7 in this series will probably come down to a single ridiculous bounce…
Which would make for one seriously scary hockey game to watch.
P.S. The sports producer at Boston.com hung out in Vancouver after game 5, talking to Vancouverites to find out what they know about Boston, as well as to explain the Canadian obsession with hockey. Here’s the video of his encounters below.
The Canucks have looked tired, weak, confused and disoriented these last two games. If the Canucks were a dog we’d probably talk to a vet about euthanasia. However, I do think the team will regain their vigor back home, barring some injuries we don’t know about, anyway. (Seriously, Ryan Kesler, where’d you go???)
Couple reasons I’m not freaking out. First, I did write before this series started that I expected a couple blowout scoring games, so I guess I can’t complain when it happens. (Of course, I wish at least one them was where we came out on top, but what can you do?). Second, I’d figured on a 7 game series. Being tied 2-2 pretty much tracks.
Of course, playing like ass for these last two games didn’t really fit into my agenda, but them’s the breaks. The series against Chicago sort of conditioned me to grin and bear the pain… good things happen to those who don’t have a heart attack before the final whistle.
All I know is: thank God for that President’s Trophy and the game 7 home ice that comes with it.
Kaboom. And Bruins win 8-1.
Geezus, that wasn’t so much a ‘loss’ as it was an execution.
Anyway, most important thing: I hope there’s good news about Nathan Horton later. That was terrible to see, and I think we can reasonably expect not to see Aaron Rome back in this series, as I’m sure the NHL will inform us all on Tuesday. (Note: NHL hearing with Rome is at 11am.)
As for the rest of that game… I’m going to have to resort to that old standby “Not tonight dear, I have a headache.” But I’ll try and post some video for you to watch soon (*Also a phrase I’ve used before. Weird).
God, what an atrocious game—it was like a game 4 Canucks - Blackhawks redux. And that wasn’t much fun the first time, either.
Update 9:02pm PT: Alain Vigneault, post-game press conference video and transcript are here.
Scratches: Hamhuis, Ballard, Samuelsson, Glass, Tanev, Bolduc, Hodgson. (via Wharnsby)
- My 5 things about tonight’s game
- Enter the contest for a couple Reebok Canucks Western Conference Champ t-shirts!
- So, Canucks took 7 to win round 1, 6 to win round two, 5 to win round 3. And round 4? (Just saying. It’s a fun pattern.)
- Canucks fans in Boston sleeping in their rental cars tonight.
- And don’t forget: U.S. may be our allies, but Boston is the enemy! (Hey, they started it…)
*Art is credit to the talented Toyebot
So far, Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas are the featured players in this Stanley Cup Finals goalie duel, one that Justin Goldman of NHL.com describes as a “rare opportunity to watch two world collide.”
Thomas took a lot of criticism for his gaffe in game 2’s OT, but I personally don’t believe it was much warranted. We expect our goalies to take chances. If Thomas thwarts Alex Burrows in a shot coming in on his right, he’d have been hailed as a genius for taking away a very good shooting spot from Burrows. As it happened, Burrows faked him out, his defense had a breakdown, and the rest is history.
That doesn’t make Thomas a goat for game 2… he simply played the odds and he lost.
Lots of video here. First, downtown Vancouver errupts…
Next, Alex Burrows’s game winner, called by CBC:
Several videos below showing the press Q&A’s from earlier today, with coach Alain Vigneault, and Daniel and Henrik Sedin in the NHL Network and in the press conference.
Blogger Nikolay Dudaev, an NHL writer at the Russian sports site Tribuna Sports, was kind enough to ask me (and some other Canucks and Bruins folks) a series of questions on the Boston - Vancouver matchup starting on Wednesday. I was glad to oblige—after all, I figure there’s an outside chance I sound far more brilliantly insightful when translated into Russian, than I do in English.
But as for the English, here it is. Alas, not so ‘brilliantly insightful’, but it’s a starting point for my series preview which should be up tomorrow.
1. When it became clear that Vancouver was in the Final how did you feel?
I was excited to see that Vancouver made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, of course, but very nervous, too. Usually the stress is over for Canucks fans by June, since we’re usually drowning our sorrows in beer and writing team eulogies. Not that I’m complaining.
Out of curiosity yesterday, I was perusing Craigslist for Vancouver Canucks tickets, and mused on Twitter, wondering who—in these days of home foreclosures, job losses, and various other difficult economic realities—can afford to spend $500+ for a single seat at a hockey game?
Certainly not me. But clearly, plenty of other people. And apparently $500 is a bargain for some. Today, StubHub.com sent me their own breakdown of the cost and demand for tickets for these Stanley Cup Finals by customers using their service, and the numbers are ridiculous.
Fans are paying on
average $924 per ticket
for the potential four games in Vancouver
- Low end purchased has been $400 for Game 1– 2 each at this price for the Upper Bowl Goal 319
- High end purchased has been $4500 for a potential Game 5 – 2 each at this price for Club 105
From Jim Morris via The Spec:
History isn’t on the Canucks’ side as they try to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Vancouver has never beaten Chicago in Game 2 of the four playoff series they have played against the Blackhawks. The Canucks have lost those games by a combined score of 16-6.
Vancouver has won the opening game of a Chicago series three times, including the last two seasons when the Blackhawks went on to eliminate the Canucks from the second round of the playoffs.
Is game 2 the real nemesis in this series? Is it the new must-win to panic about? No and yes.
P.S. For anyone having problem with the player above, audio can also be downloaded. Click here.
“I’m going to go out on a limb here and I’m going to say that the Vancouver Canucks will not make it out of the first round… no matter who they play.”
Sportsnet Radio FAN 960
He then goes on to qualify this statement by expressing concerns about Canucks’ goaltending.
And then this:
Reasons Chicago Will Win
- Dustin Byfuglien is an incredibly useful s.o.b.
- The Blackhawks never heard of Roberto Luongo. Or if they have, they recently decided he has no particular mojo they need to be concerned with. (Luongo Schmongo. Someone just get out there and smash the guy with the stupid helmet.)
- Playing in their home town, the ‘Hawks are undefeated this playoffs. Further, their crowd is likely to be intimidating and loud.
- The Blackhawks know how to respond to adversity (games 1-2), but Vancouver has no idea. The Canucks were given a ‘free pass’ to get this far. They can’t handle the competition.
- Canucks have lost important defense - like Sami Salo. Plus, no one else seems to be playing much defense, either.
- Canucks have no answer to the breakout stretch pass.
Sounds depressing when summarized like that. But a quick check of the Canucks crystal ball provides an alternate way of looking at things…
I was accused many times of being a “cocky” Canucks fan on Tuesday, for my whimsical breakdown of the Canucks/Hawks series. And I was a bit cocky… but that was before game day. Once that arrogance was drained from my system, I was able to revert back to my natural state of existence: a terrorized, vodka-infused, historically downtrodden, glass-half-empty, Vancouver Canucks fan.
The Chicago Blackhawks, unlike the St. Louis Blues, scare the sweet bejeezus out of me.
Steve McLean at Chart Attack provides some background on the Vancouver Millionaires marketing angle to this year’s playoff run for the Canucks:
Mighty marketer Jon Mikl Thor is muscling in on the Vancouver Canucks’ Stanley Cup playoff run with the “Vancouver Millionaires” single/video and his new Vulcan Sky Records album, Sign Of The V.
The record was originally scheduled to come out next year to coincide with the Olympics being staged in Thor’s hometown, but the Canucks requested the use of “Vancouver Millionaires” as a motivator and team promotional tool as part of the “Let’s Do It Again” campaign. [...]
The Canucks are playing the album’s first track at games and promoting Sign Of The V at the team’s stores. It’s being played 25 times a week by TEAM 1040 Sports Radio, which is also running commercial spots recorded by Thor.
Chart Attack goes on to tell us that Thor is a “self-described rock icon” who feels he he belongs in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. (At least he’s not shy…) Anyway, I’m skeptical, but I might just be too old—or too sober at the moment—to fairly appreciate the nuances of contemporary hard rock.
The video is below in case anyone hasn’t heard it, so you can decide for yourself:
I’ll admit to being one of those misguided sad sacks who had dreams of reliving all the bright moments of 1994 in this 2009 playoffs. In my fantasies, the Vancouver Canucks would leave a trail of road kill in their wake, littered most brightly with Calgary Flames sweaters and tragically-suicidal oil country executives. But alas, Chicago has taken care of that fun stuff already, and with San Jose’s (fully expected, planned and scheduled) implosion, we now move on to bigger and better things: the ruination of the Chicago Blackhawks.
However, after pondering this state of affairs for a bit, I’ve decided I’m pleased with this new direction. For one thing, 1994 obviously lacked a fully happy ending, so perhaps it’s time to let that sleeping dog die. And for another, there are many points of optimism in this new direction—in both the fallout of the first round and in the upcoming series against Chicago’s team of grade schoolers—which I’ve listed below. Trivial and petty things really, but this is playoff hockey… complex and rational commentary is overrated.
Here are some of the positive outcomes of round #1, and Vancouver’s future assault in round #2, that come to mind:
“Any team with human excrement like Burrows deserves a beating of the greatest magnitude. Go St. Louis!! I may not be a fan but any team is better than the Vancouver No Cups and their trashy lineup of scabs, overpaid Europeans, and greasy haired oft injured goalies.”
Source: Emotionally distressed commenter at HockeyFights.com
How can anyone not love the internet hockey world? Where else can you find such unbridled hatred and borderline psychosis on display? Quite entertaining. And while the remarks are largely nonsensical (“scabs”??), it’s easy to see what motivated the rant.
While watching the Canucks—Blues game last night, one of the least-charitable exclamations that I shared with the room in the third period was: “Wow. This is amazing. It’s the playoffs and we’re the ones with the dirty team!”
And that wasn’t a criticism; it was sort of a compliment.
The Canucks are a study in perception vs reality. While it’s just one team with one set of inalienable facts (i.e. stats) about their performance, there are still many ways to interpret those facts. Thus, the varied perceptions of different fans are unique, despite the fact they’re operating from the same set of facts. So with good reason, it seems that a ton of fans are very optimistic about the Vancouver Canucks right now and many others remain quite guarded.
I think both points of view are reasonable given recent events.
Back in January, a 2-10 record led various pundits to decide the Canucks were out of the playoff race entirely. An understandable conclusion, yet here it is, March 3rd, and the team is in fifth place in the western conference standings. So now we have February’s 10-2 record to reflect on, and I ask… is it any more reliable than January’s performance?
Sports reporting is news reporting, and if you doubt that, I would argue that you’re not paying enough attention. But while much is made of the roles of new media and their (or ‘our’) impact on the standards in journalistic coverage, very little is ever mentioned about the accepted standards within the mainstream media itself.
And there are some potential conflicts of interest that should be demanding more attention.
* Fiona Hughes’s article in the Vancouver Courier today is worth a mention. She was spurred to write about potential conflicts of interest in Canucks broadcasting coverage after witnessing the last Canucks/Habs matchup back on February 15th. She outlines the problem as she saw it, here:
I was working on my job application letter this morning—applying for the soon-to-be-available position of head coach of the Vancouver Canucks—but I got stuck early. (After all, when you start with “Dear Dumbasses…” there’s really nowhere to go with it that’s going to salvage that job application). So with me out of the mix, I’ve opted to focus my energy on second-best choices.
First off, will there in fact be a coaching change? They played better last night but is it too little, too late? My feeling is that it is, but I could be wrong. This is the Canucks, after all, a team which gave Vigneault an extension last season, rather than just let him play out this final year on his previous contract to see how things go. And given that the team missed the playoffs last year, you’ll have a hard time explaining the logic of that move to me.
But let’s assume that Mike Gillis is ready to pull the trigger and knock Vigneault off his bench. If so, this 7 day break over the All Star weekend is the ideal time to do it—so if it does happen, who are your favorite options?
Geez. I swear (swear!) I’m as excited as the next dude about having the Swedish Meatball (term of endearment, honest) debut for the Canucks tonight, but surely this city is losing its head. Mats Sundin’s highly-anticipated game in Edmonton has all the hallmarks of a religious event.
Here are some stray signs that Vancouverites are losing their minds:
Canucks and Coyotes touchdown at 7pm PT for what will probably be the Biggest Game of the Year... if not the decade. In any sport. Ever. (On the other hand… yeah, there’s always a chance it could be a snoozer.)
Anyway, we’ll be liveblogging it either way—myself and a special special guest. A true superstar of Canucks fandom. A celebrity of such status I’m a bit nervous about even mentioning his name…
So we’ll see you at 7pm.
P.S. Don’t worry about the cash. Free admittance for anyone with a Gretzky joke.
P.P.S. There are no celebrities. (I lie a lot.) But there is a guest!
Iain MacIntyre at the Vancouver Sun:
They’ve made you laugh and made you cry, given you hope and left you despondent, enraged and uplifted you. You love them. You hate them, but never for long. You could probably live without them but can’t imagine the deprivation.
The Vancouver Canucks are the longest-running melodrama in our city, as indispensible as they are exasperating. Next Monday, after 38 years, the Canucks take their story - your story - to the big screen at theatres around B.C.
The National Hockey League team is releasing a feature-length documentary entitled Forever Faithful - The Canucks Movie.
Movie trailer and more below:
A few weeks ago, Vancouver decided they didn’t have much need for Matt Pettinger and so he was sent down to the Manitoba Moose. But injuries over the weekend have left the Canucks with only 10 forwards ready to ice for tonight’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and so they sought to bring Pettinger (and Kyle Wellwood) back up from the minors.
However, this morning Pettinger was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning. From TSN:
The Tampa Bay Lightning made a minor shuffle to their roster on Tuesday, claiming forward Mike Pettinger off re-entry waivers from the Vancouver Canucks and placing winger Jason Ward on waivers.
Assuming Wellwood clears waivers, he’ll be playing in place of Pavol Demitra tonight.
Update 9:55am PT: The TSN link above confirms that Wellwood cleared waivers today.
Update 11:10am PT: Jason Krog has been recalled to the Canucks as well.
The Crazy Canucks had a small gap in our podcasts this month (John is our mighty producer, and he’s been recovering from some dark & mysterious illness) but a new episode is now up. Check it out.
In addition to hockey talk, we were also pondering TCC sitings around Vancouver and the photo here made my day. That’s J.J. and DaveO from our crew, plus Richard Loat (of Facebook) in the middle.
“I just passed you on a bus!”
I’m not sure, but I think she sounded a bit scared. (And god knows, I am…)
Pat Quinn might not be front and center of the NHL these days, but he’s certainly stayed in the public spotlight.
While the pundits like to speculate endlessly about his suitability for various league coaching positions as they become available, Quinn himself stays plenty busy without worrying too much about the NHL.
In addition to being part-owner of the Vancouver Giants, Quinn helmed the gold medal winning Under-18 Canadian men’s team in Russia this past April, and just last month was awarded the distinguished position as head coach of Canada’s Junior team. Additionally, he also donates time to causes like Making the Connection, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to issues of cardiac health.
Given his busy schedule, I was especially appreciative that Mr. Quinn took a few minutes to answer some questions.
A couple weeks ago I posted a contest for some bits of Canucks swag. The contest closed last Saturday, I’ve just been slow getting around to doing the draw. (Sorry!)
So without further adieu, here are the winners of the Canucks cap, the Canucks wall flag and the Canucks beer bottle bank:
*drum roll please*
It’s sort of surreal, spotting giant posters of yourself on the wall of a Vancouver Skytrain station…
Thanks to the Vancouver Canucks for including me (and the rest of The Crazy Canucks) in their new marketing campaign. Freakin’ cool.
*image belongs to miss604’s flickr. click on the photo or here to enlarge
From The Yankee Canuck:
She’ll never admit it, but she’s the queen of Canucks media coverage. I have no idea how long she has been doing this, but her quality of work and her embracement of the deep rooted suffering that is at the core of all Vancouver fans is some of the best stuff out there. Paul Kukla folded her mind into Kukla’s Korner at the beginning of 2007, giving her an even broader exposure at Canucks & Beyond. Since then she has covered all things in the Vancouver hockey world & has gotten to speak directly with Pierre McGuire, Keith Jones, John Buccigross (and didn’t slug him either!), Bill Daly, Kelly Hrudey, Jim Hughson and contributes regularly on the Crazy Canucks podcast.
I’m not sure she sleeps.
She sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t she? Or she would… if ‘she’ wasn’t just me.
From Erik Rolfsen at The Province’s ‘Canuck Nation’ blog,
The Vancouver Canucks will unveil their new third jersey at the team’s Nov. 15 home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, team president and CEO Chris Zimmerman announced on Thursday during a luncheon with the Vancouver Board of Trade.
Promises of new Vancouver Canucks jerseys are always a mixed blessing. It’s like delicate plastic surgery… sometimes it all comes out okay, but one slip of the creative-knife and things can end up looking just plain weird.
Update November 13th: New jersey released. Official.
Prepare yourself—I’ve got a pile of Canucks news accompanied by a serious overdose of photos.
To start with, Wednesday was the Raise-a-Reader campaign in Vancouver. From the Vancouver Canucks:
Raise-a-Reader started in Vancouver in 1997 and has since raised over $4.2 million dollars in support of children and family literacy in British Columbia alone. The Raise-a-Reader program went national in 2002, with twenty eight other Canadian cities hosting Raise-a-Reader Day this year. The Vancouver Raise-a-Reader campaign continuously leads the rest of the country in annual fundraising.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, the set-up was simple and fun: Just donate a buck or two for a Vancouver Sun then walk around the various street corners of downtown Vancouver during the early rush-hour where various Canucks - current players and alumni as well as a few team executives—willingly allow you to accost them on the street.
Much fun. I’ve taken to calling it “Canucks Fans Streetwalking for Literacy.”
Chuqui at Two For Elbowing—who certainly knows far more about Steve Bernier’s history than I do—wrote a great post yesterday wondering about the sequence of events leading up to his trade to Vancouver:
Even recently, Bernier was being touted as a key cog in the Buffalo future.
And now he’s off to Vancouver for a 2nd and a third draft pick?
Alarm bells are going off here. When a player starts becoming the pass-around pack, unless it’s Mike Sillinger, you have to wonder why; especially when teams say nice things about them and then trade them.
I didn’t bother looking for their latest Vancouver ones—after all, the historical reality is bad enough. And besides, no Canucks concept logo could ever be more awesome than this one:
Noted in the Mercury News the other day,
The Sharks are clearing out for the summer, and that’s where you come in. The team is holding an equipment sale from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Sharks Ice, 150 S. 10th St. Among the items for sale are game and practice jerseys (washed, hopefully), sticks, skates and “protective equipment.”
• Also: one trophy case, like new, and an unused can of silver polish. OK, not really.
• The champagne isn’t for sale, either, because that stuff is going to be goooooood by the time they get to open it.
The Dallas Stars are selling off their goods today as well. There’s a caution on the flyer below noting “Limit 12 sticks per customer,” but at least there’s no mention of washing anyone’s practice jersey. Eau de Brendan Morrow can be yours for a bargain basement price:
From the eulogies at Luc Bourdon’s funeral today, put together by Bal Brach* at Canwest, via the National Post:
In another eulogy, Mr. Bourdon, 21, was described as a courageous, tenacious, yet simple man.
“You went down your dream road and you never stopped dreaming,” added another speaker in French. “For that and more we thank you.”
“To the Vancouver Canucks, thank you for believing in Luc. When you selected him, part of the town of Shippagan became fans (of the Vancouver Canucks).”
The tributes continued as Mr. Bourdon was described as a diamond. “All together we made the diamond shine and glow.”
Mr. Bourdon’s casket was draped with his jersey and white roses.
Read on. A collection of lovely, but heart-breaking, sentiments.
*note: story credit at the link later noted to Jason Botchford.
A warning in advance—this post is more personal than hockey-ish. But that seems appropriate today.
When the news came in about Luc Bourdon’s death this morning, I had been idly writing a post I’d been pondering over the last few days. I’d been thinking on the subject of how hockey fans might sometimes benefit from a perspective served by less “analysis” and more “passion.”
I think that hockey fans—while blessed with a remarkable depth of media coverage (particularly online) of their favorite sport—also lose something with all that exposure. That after a point, perhaps the endless analysis and critique makes us cold to the emotional connection and passion we once had for the game.
And so hockey becomes something which is no longer about our childhood heroes and their beautiful, skillful plays. Instead we become preoccupied with the most finite statistics and breakdowns, and occasionally mean-spirited (rather than useful) criticism.
For the accidental kind, a rumor from the well-reasoned minds at HockeyBuzz.com who apparently have this notion about Jaromir Jagr for next season:
“...if Jagr is remaining in North America a few other teams including LA, Edmonton and Vancouver are rumoured to have interest as well.”
Nice, huh? That’s almost enough to incite a Mark Messier flashback and drop an innocent Canucks’ fan into the fetal position.
For a much more accurate (and awesome) assessment of how to improve the Canucks this summer, the Bleacher Report’s ‘Elbow Murderpants’ has a prescription for the future titled, “Vancouver Canucks: Their First Steps to Greatness!”
Update May 5th: The Vancouver Sun provides details of the hiring, confirmed by the Canucks.
At Mike Gillis’s introductory press conference as the new Vancouver Canucks GM, he had mentioned something about creating a new executive position dedicated entirely to a guy using a calculator.
Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail says it’s done:
New Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis is on the verge of adding his first executive to the front office in former Phoenix Coyotes assistant GM Laurence Gilman.
Gilman will be the Canucks salary capologist. He received his start in the NHL as a legal advisor with the Winnipeg Jets and moved with the franchise to Phoenix. Before he was fired along with general manager Mike Barnett a year ago, he also ran the Coyotes AHL affiliate in Utah.
THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS SEASON ENDED WEEKS AGO…
YOUR HOCKEY POOL IS IN THE TOILET…
THE ENTRY DRAFT IS NOT UNTIL JUNE 20TH…AND FREE AGENCY DOES NOT ARRIVE FOR MORE THAN 2 MONTHS…
RIGHT NOW IT’S TOUGH FOR MOST HOCKEY FANS IN THIS CITY TO GET EXCITED ABOUT ANYTHING…
THAT’S ABOUT TO CHANGE…
The Pratt is excited about the upcoming World Championships, but points out that the only Canuck on any roster is Alex Edler for Sweden (no Sedins?! First I heard of it.) Anyway, message to Pratt: push down the caps-lock key again. Please. You’re killing me.
Meanwhile, if neither the Stanley Cup Playoffs nor the World Championships hold any excitement for you, there’s always “ESPN After Dark”—for the sultry (read: creepy) way to enjoy the fake-sports broadcasting ESPN has so perfected in hockey’s absence:
In ESPN The Magazine they’ve taken 122 sports franchises (MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL) and had 80,000 fans rank their favorite team by a variety of measures. (Check out all the rankings, or your own favorite team, here).
Looking at Vancouver, fans’ dissatisfaction is seen in ranking their team at 91st place—meaning fans of 90 other teams were happier with their organization than Canuck fans are. (Of all the Canadian teams, only Toronto fans were more disgusted with their club, ranking at 121st place).
Which prompted this quick assessment from ESPN’s Brian Kamenetzky:
Update April 23, 11:10am PT: Canucks owner formally named new GM Mike Gillis in this morning’s press conference. More info here.
After the first period of the Washington/Philadelphia game tonight on TSN, Bob McKenzie stated the new Canucks General Manager was very-nearly 100% decided as Mike Gillis. He also stated this was likely to be announced by the end of the week.
Now, Global TV’s website reports:
Player agent Mike Gillis will be named general manager of the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, Global BC reported today.
Update 5:55pm PT: On TSN, James Duthie has now stated that this GM appointment is “confirmed” (though Bob McKenzie came short of backing this up as a certainty). There is a Vancouver press conference scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Asked by Global TV, Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini “would neither confirm nor deny the hiring.” (Which I figure is pretty much code for: “Yeah. Gillis is the new GM. But don’t steal my thunder. I’ll tell you more tomorrow.”)
More updates and links:
“Know how many National Hockey League teams have fired two general managers in the last four years? One. [The Vancouver Canucks]. Know how many Northwest Division teams have won more games or division titles than the Canucks in that time? None.”
—Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun
With the small sampling of votes collected on my poll the other day, Jim Nill is the clear favorite on the list. But if you read the comments at that link, a number of Wings fans provide some thoughtful and detailed reasons why prying Nill out of Detroit is likely to be impossible.
Geez. With this whole mess of a team, I’m seriously concerned I’ll never be able to make fun of the Edmonton Oilers again.
Anyway, a few very good articles related to the Canucks today:
The Vancouver Canucks fired general manager Dave Nonis on Monday.
The decision to fire Nonis, who was promoted to the post in May 2004, comes after the Canucks finished ninth in the Western Conference this season and failed to make the playoffs for the second time in three years.
“The decision to relieve Dave of his duties was difficult,” said Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini in a statement. “We want to thank Dave for the many contributions he has made helping to build our organization during his tenure. However, I think this important change in leadership is critical to the future of the team and the direction we need to take. It’s not acceptable to our fans or to us as owners that our team isn’t in the playoffs.”
Have to wonder if Alain Vigneault is next.
Note: April 15th updates and press conference
From Ansar Khan at MLive:
Brunnstrom narrowed his choices to Detroit and Vancouver six weeks ago. A few of the Wings Swedes, including captain Nicklas Lidstrom and Andreas Lilja, called him to try to convince him to pick Detroit. Brunnstrom is a big Wings fan and likes their puck-possession style, but he also wanted assurances that he would play on one of the top two lines. The Canucks apparently gave it to him, telling him he’ll be paired with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. But the Wings are too deep and too good a team to be offering any unproven prospect a guarantee like that. That’s not how this team operates.
Which is it: “assurances” or a “guarantee”?
First of all, no team should be offering a guarantee like that (well, with possibly the singular exception of the Vancouver Canucks, who would be unwise to turn down a well-fed monkey to play on their top-6 at this point). But that being said, I’d be surprised if Vancouver did anything of the sort.
From Darren Dreger at TSN:
Highly touted Swedish prospect Fabian Brunnstrom is closing in on becoming a Vancouver Canuck. The Canucks and Brunnstrom’s agent JP Barry are hoping to have something finalized within the next week to ten days as the process has heated up over the last few days.
The same basic information was also repeated by Scott Morrison on CBC’s Hotstove Saturday night as well [video available here].
So: the hottest, unsigned forward to be talked about around the NHL for the last 4 months might be coming to Vancouver next season? How’d that happen?
April hockey isn’t quite the same when your team finishes 21st in the league, but a positive attitude (and a wack-load of cocktails) can go a long way. At the West Ender, for example, they’re looking at the up-side of summer: trade season.
At least summer is here. It starts early if you follow the Canucks. For Vancouver hockey fans, summer is the true hockey season. In the sweet summertime, you can speculate about big moves, big trades, and big signings.
Here’s my idea: we trade Roberto Luongo to Mike Keenan and the Calgary Flames in exchange for Jarome Iginla and future considerations. Then, for the future considerations, we ask for Roberto Luongo. It’ll work. It’s Mike Keenan.
See? It’s fun. And the best part of summer hockey: no games. When you’re trying to get excited about the Canucks, the actual games can be a real buzz-kill.
And speaking of Roberto Luongo…
The final chapter in the 82 part nightmare that has been the Vancouver Canucks 2007-08 season, unfolds tonight at GM Place. A downer of a game for Canucks fans, but still worth watching for a couple reasons.
For one, a win against the Flames increases the likelihood they become Shark-bait in the first round of the playoffs. And for another, it’s likely to be the goodbye game for Trevor Linden and possibly Markus Naslund. (Miss 604 suggests we consider it the Unofficial Trevor Linden Appreciation Day. Good plan.)
Anyway, about Calgary.
Fortunately I was at the Vancouver Airport yesterday and managed to snap a photo of Dion Phaneuf, who clearly wasn’t expecting any cameras to be around. Apparently he borrowed some of his girlfriend’s clothing in his hurry to make the team plane?