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Category: Vancouver-Canucks

Time To Play The Youth In Vancouver

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

For the last two years the organization has clung to the illusion they can rebuild their team while staying competitive. This thinking led to signing, in no particular order, Ryan Miller, Radim Vrbata, Loui Eriksson and Philip Larsen. It also led to trades for Brandon Sutter, Derek Dorsett and, lest you forget, Brandon Prust.

And that’s left the team in the worst kind of limbo.

The organization has tried to serve two masters but it hasn’t worked. The only out for this team, in fact, is developing their young players, and that has to be their priority for the next 5 1/2 months.

That means Bo Horvat has to play in a feature role. That means Jake Virtanen has to play in the top nine every night. That means one of Troy Stecher and Nikita Tryamkhin have to be regulars, and it wouldn’t hurt if they’re both in the lineup.

That means Jacob Markstrom gets the bulk of the work in goal.

There will be pain and it won’t be short-lived. But it can’t be as painful as watching the current mishmash of fading stars, ne’er-do-wells and kids. Trevor Linden and Jim Benning were brought in to reform this franchise. Let that process begin.

a bit more plus two more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

It All Starts With Connor McDavid

from Ian Macintyre of the Vancouver Sun,

After 10 years, six general managers, four coaches and zero playoff appearances, the putrification of the Edmonton Oilers appears to be over. Connor McDavid will do that for a team.

Actually, Milan Lucic will do that for you, and Kris Russell and Patrick Maroon and Adam Larsson and Cam Talbot — with McDavid’s help.

McDavid scored the only goal that mattered Friday, breaking a scoreless tie at 11:31 of the second period when he outskated the Vancouver Canucks’ backcheck, split their defence and squeezed the puck under goalie Ryan Miller, who appeared to have it covered until it appeared in the net behind him.

Yeah, Markus Granlund could have been better on the backcheck, defenceman Ben Hutton was caught a tad wide, Erik Gudbranson could have made a better read and Miller could have stopped the breakaway. But McDavid’s goal was one only a few players in the world could have generated. Think of Pavel Bure around 1994....

“He’s the fastest player I’ve ever played against,” Hutton said. “He knows when to fly the zone and once he gets going, he’s got that extra gear no one else has. He’s a remarkable player.”

Is there another National Hockey League player like McDavid?

“No, not even close,” Canuck captain Henrik Sedin said.

more on the game and McDavid...

Game highlights are below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: connor+mcdavid

A Bland Brand Of Hockey In Vancouver

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

Unless the Canucks are like a character in a John Woo movie and rip a mask off their face in December to reveal another identity, they’ve pretty much established who they are. The question is, can they pull this defence-and-goalie thing off for 5 1/2 months or are they fated for another slow descent in hockey hell?

So what’s it going to be, boys?

“You’re always concerned when you lose three in a row,” said winger Jannik Hansen, shortly after the Canucks’ 3-0 loss to Ottawa. “Yeah, we got off to a good start (with four straight wins) but, I don’t want to say we played mediocre teams, but they weren’t the same calibre we saw in California.

“It wasn’t good enough tonight.”

Tuesday night’s meeting with the Senators offered the worst and, er, less-worse aspects of the Canucks’ personality, but in the end, the lasting impression was a team which has started a downward spiral. The loss, their third straight, was one thing. But it’s the cumulative effect of those first seven games and the warts that have been revealed that is the real issue.

Where to begin?

more

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The Vancouver Canucks Are 3-0-0

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

After three games, the Canucks, incredibly, sport a 3-0 record with two overtime wins and one shootout victory, but please be aware elephants give birth with less effort. On Tuesday, the new-look Blues and the new-look Canucks hooked up in a 2 1/2-hour tractor pull that was straight out of the dead-puck era before, a) Horvat scored the tying goal with just under three minutes left and, b) Henrik Sedin was credited with the game-winner in extra time after combining on a nifty sequence with his brother and Chris Tanev.

OK, by overtime, most everyone had forgotten the protracted tedium to which the fans had been subjected. But any mystery about how the Canucks will approach this season should be removed by now, and if you were wondering, we’ll give you a hint.

Don’t expect a lot of 6-4 games.

“We’re not giving up near as many shots in the home-plate area (in front of their net) and we’re generating a lot more off our turnovers,” Horvat explained. “Structurally, we’re way better this season (and we know that means).

more

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Bad Goals Of The Night

Loui Eriksson with an own goal, the only one Vancouver would allow in a 2-1 SO win over Calgary.

 

 

Below, Jonathan Bernier losses his net and the puck. Ducks lose to Penguins 3-2.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+bernier, loui+eriksson

Pre-Season Stars In Vancouver May Not Matter

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

With Game 1 or the NHL’s regular season quickly approaching, there are still a number of compelling stories with the Vancouver Canucks.

The star of the pre-season has been Troy Stecher, the 22-year-old blue-liner from Richmond who is threatening to crack the opening-day lineup. After Stecher, it might be NHL veterans Tuomo Ruutu and Jack Skille, who’ve both battled their way into the opening-night conversation. Then there’s Joe LaBate, the unheralded rookie who’s made an impression with his robust play.

They’re all fine stories. They’ve all captured the imagination of the Canucks’ more attentive fans. And their play has been a positive development for the organization.

But here’s something else they have in common. They’re all virtually irrelevant to the upcoming Canucks season.

continued

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Expectations Are Low For The Vancouver Canucks

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

Much has changed since you last saw the Vancouver Canucks.

There’s hope Chris Tanev can be a key piece of the power play. The coach just may have flipped his view on Bo Horvat.

And the word “playoffs” is back in vogue at Rogers Arena. It’s nowhere else, by the way. Not when tied to the Canucks.

Mostly because five months ago, this was the third worst team in the NHL.

There’s just not a lot of confidence that additions like Erik Gudbranson and Loui Eriksson are enough to significantly move them up in the standings.

In fact, Team USA won more games at the World Cup of Hockey than there are analysts picking Vancouver to make it to the post-season.

continued

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Would The Sedin Twins Actually Play For Another NHL Team?

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

There are two years left on their current contracts, and the Sedins are steadfast that there is one more contract in their future. You can’t trade one of them — they have trade protection in their matching deals — and with a combined cap hit of $14 million, Canucks GM Jim Benning probably couldn’t find a taker for the aging Sedins as a package.

We would be entirely shocked if the Sedins’ contracts demands caused the Canucks to let them walk away two seasons from now, but they turn 36 on Sept. 26. Down the road, it is conceivable that two expensive 38-year-olds might not work for the Canucks.

“If they don’t want us there, then we’ve got to make a decision,” Henrik reasoned. “We’re not going to retire because we don’t want to play for another team.”

We know that every piece of equipment in their dressing room stalls is identical, and that their on-ice communication is unique to hockey -- an extraordinary, wordless language compared by some to dolphin speak. But when you talk first with Daniel, then to Henrik, a few more fraternal nuances become clear.

more

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  Tags: daniel+sedin, henrik+sedin

Would Evander Kane Be A Fit In Vancouver?

from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,

Make a play for Kane, and many believe he can’t and won’t change his off-ice demeanour. At one point Monday, a TSN 1040 poll showed 56 per cent of 700 respondents didn’t want the Canucks to make a trade pitch. Then again, make a play and others will point to an exciting 30-goal winger with a palatable contract of two more years at a $5.2-million-US annual cap hit ($6 million in actual salary). The Canucks have also had past interest in Kane.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning wants to add a proven scorer with grit to take the pressure off Sven Baertschi. With $3.4 million in cap space, there are safer and cheaper routes to travel in free agency, but the Canucks need to take a hard look at travelling the bold road. Trying to win and getting younger at the same time is a conundrum. For everything Kane has done wrong off the ice, he could be the right answer on it. He could help fill those empty Rogers Arena seats, and help propel the Canucks back to the playoffs.

Kane is better than the 20 goals he had in 65 games last season, in 21 minutes of average ice time, because he was shut down with an upper-body injury in March. He has imposing speed and his 6-2, 204-pound frame allows him to drive wide around defenders and unleash a good shot. If he develops a better net presence, and a better two-way game because he was a minus-14, another 30-goal season like the one he had in 2011-12 with Winnipeg should be attainable.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evander+kane

Are The Vancouver Canucks A Playoff Team?

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

Barring a game-changing trade, the Canucks’ 2016-17 roster looks pretty set.

Questions, of course, abound. Will Anton Rodin’s skills translate in the NHL? Is Erik Gudbranson an improvement on Dan Hamhuis? Is Bo Horvat really best-suited in a defensive role after leading the team in scoring in last season’s second half? Is there enough playing time on defence for three players most slotted for a third pairing, Luca Sbisa, Nikita Tryamkin and Philip Larsen? And where exactly is Alex Burrows going to fit in?

But there is one question that trumps all. At least for the Canucks’ front office, and the sub-section of fans who can’t stomach a rebuilding team. Is this Canucks roster good enough to make the playoffs?

Management sure hopes so. Moves like trading futures for Gudbranson and signing Loui Eriksson, the best 31-year-old winger available, to a six-year deal, are transactions you make in an attempt to get back to the post-season sooner rather than later. But when last season ended, Vancouver had a long way to go.

continued

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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