Canucks and Beyond

Canucks Re-Sign Baumgartner

07/02/2011 at 3:31pm EDT

Nolan Baumgartner is with the Canucks for another year. Contract length and dollars not known.

Years ago, back when we were doing The Crazy Canucks show, JJ at Canucks Hockey Blog named his dog Baumer (*I think probably because his wife balked at the idea of using the name for their first-born). Ever since, the player himself is like a boomerang… landing in various places around the NHL and AHL for a while, but always flipping back to Vancouver eventually.

I figure he’s always been secretly flattered about that dog.

Update 10:46am PT: Ken Wiebe at the Winnipeg Sun says it’s a 1 year, 2-way deal—

Canucks Moves Today

07/01/2011 at 10:35pm EDT

From Ben Kuzma at The White Towel:

Low financial risk? High production potential?

That’s the thinking as the Vancouver Canucks signed versatile winger Marco Sturm to a one-year, $2.25 million US contract Friday. A strong skater, he has been slowed by two knee injuries, but on eight occasions the German native has surpassed the 20-goal plateau. However, he was claimed off waivers last season by the Washington Capitals from the Los Angeles Kings and the jury is probably out on what the 32-year-old veteran has left in the tank.

Read on for an overview of all the Canucks moves today, though the story doesn’t include the signing on Vernon native Andrew Ebbett a little while ago. On the other side of the equation, Tanner Glass has now signed with the Winnipeg Jets and Raffi Torres has joined Phoenix.

On the money front, the annual cost of the today’s Canucks’ acquisitions (courtesy of CapGeek): Marco Sturm ($2.25 million), Chris Higgins ($1.9 million, x2 years), Andrew Ebbett ($525,000), Mark Mancari ($525,000). CapGeek most recent estimate is that the Canucks currently have about $5.1 million in cap space.

Some video below from the Canucks:

Marco Sturm Signs with Canucks, 1 Year

07/01/2011 at 6:21pm EDT

On TSN they’ve announced the Canucks have signed Marco Sturm for $2.25 million.

Canucks Sign Mark Mancari, 1 Year

07/01/2011 at 3:32pm EDT

Canucks Signings: Higgins, Salo

07/01/2011 at 2:04pm EDT

Earlier, Chris Higgins for 2 years, $1.9 million per.

And Ben Kuzma reports that Sami Salo gets a 1 years, $2 million deal.

Update 11:55am PT: According the Jason Botchford, Sami Salo was originally looking for a two year deal with the Canucks.

Happy Canada Day!

07/01/2011 at 1:01pm EDT

A shout-out to all the Canadians haunting this space—I hope you’re enjoying an amazing beach party, BBQ. or simply a rare and wonderful day off work. :)

This well-worn (but still awesome) 2009 vid by Andrew and Julia always makes me smile, so I’ll post it here in hope it kick-starts your Canada Day, too.

And on a more sporty (but still non-hockey note), a few words from your Vancouver Canadians:

Random Weirdness of the Silly Season

06/30/2011 at 3:57pm EDT

This year’s NHL trading season seems to feature a lot of odd dramas.

There’s the madness of Jagr-Watch (Is he in New York? At Wimbledon? Getting a mullet-blowout in Russia? Hiding under a coffee table somewhere?). And there’s Christian Ehrhoff and his negotiating rights banging all over North America for the price of 4th round draft picks, which apparently every team in the east has stockpiled for this purpose. (And I’d love to play the game “What City Will Ehrhoff Search the Real Estate Listings for Next?!” but I suspect/fear the Sabres will be the ones to lock him down. Buffalo real estate is cheaper than cheese.)

And then there’s the Ryan-Smyth-to-Edmonton (no, Calgary… no, Edmonton…) And it’s that deal between the Kings and Oilers that’s getting a new shot of drama today. From Helene Elliott, a series of Tweets about an “angry” Kings organization:

Ehrhoff in Limbo

06/29/2011 at 6:27pm EDT

Yesterday the Canucks traded with the NYI, for a 4th round pick next year in return for the rights to negotiate with Christian Ehrhoff. Today, Chris Botta noted at Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders have made their pitch to Christian Ehrhoff and his agent, Rick Curran. Several people have been involved in the recruiting of Ehrhoff, including former teammate Michael Grabner, who called from Austria to endorse the Islanders and Long Island.

It is now the evening in Germany. We should find out in the next few hours if Ehrhoff will accept Garth Snow’s long-term offer – believed to average close to $6 million per year – choose to become a UFA on Friday, or ask to sleep on the offer and decide on Thursday.

But a little while ago, negotiations broke down with the Islanders. How any negotiation could ever break down with an offer of $6 million per year, god only knows, but Katie Strang with the Daily News reports:

NHL Blimps and Other Advertising Adventures

06/28/2011 at 5:16pm EDT

I’ve been thinking a lot about the NHL’s advertising power since the playoffs, having experienced first-hand the domino effect of Vancouver’s massive marketing machine. And not even just their marketing, but the trickle-down effect of having so many people willing to market your brand for you. Aside from the thousands of jerseys everywhere, there’s also everything from the Canucks Drink Special of the Day at every yuppie bar, to the street musicians doing their own turn at Canucks anthems. And a thousand things in between. So many people taking their little—or massive—cut of the action.

imageAs someone who doesn’t get to attend games very often, I remember the first time I saw an arena blimp advertisement: that giant aluminum-wrapped phallus that is the Chipotle Blimp. At the time I’ll confess to having no idea what the hell a “chipotle” even was, and my imagination ran amok with the idea that someone had decided that floating this giant, hot-air-filled, mid-life crisis was a good idea inside a hockey arena. (Although it is kind of awesome.)

It was also the first time I’d seriously considered the extents to which marketing in sports arenas could go to. A blimp is pretty conventional, but the landscape of other revenue-generating surfaces seems virtually endless.

Bieksa Agrees to Terms with Canucks: 5 Years

06/27/2011 at 4:50pm EDT

From TSN:

Defenceman Kevin Bieksa has agreed to terms on a new contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

The length and value of the deal are not yet known.

The 30-year-old Bieksa has spent all six of NHL seasons with the Canucks since entering the league in 2005-06.

Update 12:00pm PT: Still awaiting terms, but there is this note from Nick Kypreos: “Heard at the draft the cap hit for Bieksa in Van would be around 4.7M on a long term deal but not confirmed right now.”

Update 12:25pm PT From Farhan Lalji of TSN—

Bieksa’s deal is 5 years, 4.6 million per. With a no trade clause.

Tribute to the 2011 Canucks Playoff Ride

06/25/2011 at 8:45pm EDT

I haven’t written much about the Canucks since the end of the playoffs, mostly because it was so BRUTAL to reflect on. But I’ve never wavered on my opinion that it was a great season and a great run. And as a fan (after a week or so of highly intensive therapy) I’ve been hugely grateful for how far we went. Better to suffer in mid-June than mid-April, right?

I owe a large and belated swath of ‘thank yous’ to the thoughtful people who sent condolences by email and tweets (god, it’s like a funeral in so many ways!), empathizing for our team’s loss (or maybe just feeling sorry for me, their token “Canucks fan” friend).

Whatever it was, it made for a lovely epilogue on the season, and I’m grateful to everyone who had a few nice words to say about my favourite team.

Going to the Stanley Cup Finals was an epic experience as a hockey blogger, and I loved it. Full props to the Bruins and their fans for their amazing accomplishment—but to all the Canucks fans out there, we had a few minutes of fun, didn’t we?

Who Owns the History of the Winnipeg Jets?

06/24/2011 at 3:51pm EDT

While it was clear that a huge number of Winnipeg fans wanted their team’s original name back, I really didn’t think it was going to happen. But it seems it just might. As Elliotte Friedman said earlier today, “the power of public pressure” apparently rules the day.

But how logical is this decision? For instance, you have to wonder: Do the “new” Winnipeg Jets (Jets 2.0?) now re-hang their old retired jerseys—Bobby Hull and Thomas Steen—from the rafters? Whatever people might think of it, Phoenix claims those players as their own, and the jerseys are hanging in Arizona these days.

Do both teams get to claim this history, even though neither player was ever part of this new Jets team?

Canucks RFAs, UFAs & Contracts

06/23/2011 at 7:03pm EDT

Given that Philly seems to be blowing themselves up today—dropping Richards, Carter, and a few million in salary (and hey, with a sad 106 point season, who can blame them? clearly a pile of under-performing deadbeats…) while picking up an extra $51 million investment (holy goalie, batman!)— it seemed like a good time to post the Canucks roster situation. With a new salary cap blowing over $64 million, plenty of dealing will be done in the coming days and weeks.

Canucks.com recently put up a handy, comprehensive list to everyone on their roster, and their current contract terms. All the info is below, but in short: the good/bad news (depending on your favorite flavor) is that you have Roberto Luongo till 2022, and Kevin Bieksa until around.. well, next Friday.

Depending on how big a share of that $64 million he’s looking for, anyway.

Here’s the list:

Much Ado About Hats

06/21/2011 at 4:08pm EDT

From Rick Bozich at the Courier-Journal:
image

Maybe John Wall should stay away from baseball.

First there was his misguided opening pitch. Now, according to this blog in the Washington Post, Wall was seen wearing the baseball cap of a rival team. [...]

Wall plays for the Washington Wizards. His owners, the Leonsis Family, also owns the NHL Washington Capitals. Wall is pictured wearing a Philadelphia Flyers’ hat.

Dan Steinberg at the DC Sports Blog suggests: “If I’m Ted Leonsis, anyhow, I think I send a box full of Caps gear to Wall’s home.”

You may remember, the subject of hats had the NHL’s head office a bit miffed during the Stanley Cup Finals, when some Boston Bruins players were appearing in the media wearing the Red Sox hats instead of NHL gear.

The modern world of sports branding… a hat ain’t just a hat anymore.

Random Monday Musings

06/20/2011 at 5:16pm EDT

Still haven’t quite recovered from Vancouver’s whole playoff implosion (and explosions) thing, but getting there. (Starting to be able to read the hockey news without getting a twitch and randomly hyperventilating, though, so that’s something.) Here’s a few odds and ends for the day…

This is Our Vancouver is a PR campaign looking to fix Vancouver’s badly tarnished image after last week’s riots. (Of course, when it comes to mob-attack behavior in the aftermath, those families are on their own…). Incidentally, someone thought it would be fun to light up a car on a busy street where I live on Vancouver Island this past weekend, too. One very big and dangerous fireball was the result. So the ripple-effect of last-week’s stupidity has legs. Lucky us.

—When Nicklas Lidstrom’s new 1 year contract extension was announced this morning, KK’s website hits bounced up about 6,000% over the previous hour. (Maybe a slight exaggeration, but still, On The First Day, There Was Much Joy in The Land.) That guy’s eventual retirement is going to kill these poor people.

Canada: How Much Are You Paying Per Point?

06/17/2011 at 5:30pm EDT

Seat Geek did an interesting chart, looking at the results—based on average ticket prices and points in the regular season—that hockey fans in Canada are paying for:

image

About that Kiss...

06/17/2011 at 4:25pm EDT

The couple whose passionate kiss was captured in a now-iconic photograph of the Vancouver hockey riots are an Australian and Canadian who have been dating for several months.

The photo shows Scott Jones and Alex Thomas in a fervent embrace on the street between a police line and another officer in full riot gear. Taken by Rich Lam for Getty Images, the picture has been splashed all over the Internet and in media outlets around the world.

Globe & Mail

image

Photo: Richard Lam

The circumstances are explained below (from ABC News):

After the Smoke Clears, Good People Always Rise to the Top

06/16/2011 at 5:31pm EDT

In the aftermath of last night’s rioting, the Vancouver Police Department estimates that some 150 people were injured, some severely, including a man who tried to jump 12 meters from an outside concourse of Roger’s Arena to the sidewalk below. A terrible night.

But a better morning. From the CP via TSN:

While police said it was mostly young thugs responsible for the mayhem overnight, an equally young crew turned up in jeans and rubber gloves, some with Canucks jerseys, all carrying plastic garbage bags.

Dozens of remorseful and dismayed commuters crowded around the smashed and plywood covered display windows at the flagship Bay store, a historical building that was the first focus of rampaging looters Wednesday night.

Someone had tacked a rough, hand-painted sign that read: “On behalf of my team and my city, I am sorry.” People waited in line to sign it.

Mayor Gregor Robertson said there has been an outpouring of support from citizens.

“People coming downtown to try and help cleanup, trying to get our city back,” he said as he toured the damage.

Many hundreds of people deserve enormous credit and thanks for contributing to this clean up. Organizing and documenting the hard work have been Twitterers @VancouverClean and over on Facebook, numerous pages (most prominently, Post-Riot Cleanup - Let’s Help Vancouver).

NOTE: Updated at bottom, with video.

Post-Series: Luongo, Sedin, Sedin, Kesler

06/16/2011 at 2:46am EDT

Update: More video—Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin.

Post-Series: Canucks Coach Vigneault

06/16/2011 at 1:38am EDT

Q. Alain, did you feel good about tonight the way the game started?

COACH VIGNEAULT: Yeah, I thought, you know, our guys were ready to play. But you know what, at the end of the day, I’m not going to analyze this game right now. Everybody is disappointed. Our players gave it their best shot. At the end of the day, you’ve got to give credit to where credit is due. Boston played a real strong game.

They have great goaltending and they were able to score a couple of tough goals around our net and they deserved to win.

Game 7: Bruins/Canucks -- Open Post

06/15/2011 at 9:30pm EDT

image

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:

A Night for Fans to Shine

06/15/2011 at 5:46pm EDT

“We talked on the bench during Game 5 about how energized our crowd was. [...] But we’ve been talking about how during the whole Final that the building’s been rocking. Game 5 was just non-stop noise and every single play, bump and hit got a great reaction. We were really impressed with the fans and how they delivered in that game and we’re going to need that and more tonight.”

—Canucks backup Corey Schneider in his blog today

Having attended that game 5, I can attest to the crowd’s ‘presence’ (if that’s the right word?) in that game. The entire experience and atmosphere was electric in a way I’d never experienced in the past, never having attended a Stanley Cup Final before.

Unfortunately I won’t be attending the game tonight, but I trust the 19,000 Canucks fans who will be in the building and the 100,000-ish on the streets will make enough noise to blow the roof off Vancouver tonight.

Game Day: Canucks Kesler, Bieksa, D.Sedin

06/15/2011 at 4:04pm EDT

Q. How does this compare with the gold medal final in terms of what you’ve talked about, this process, 82 games, and how this is a different stage? Can you compare them?

RYAN KESLER: It’s tough, you know, we played 82 games before we got in the playoffs, the Olympics were two weeks and it seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. The game itself, you know, has some similarities, but it’s tough to compare the two.

Q. Can you enjoy the moment? They were talking about trying to enjoy the day, but obviously you’re nervous, but just soaking it in?

RYAN KESLER: It’s all about enjoying the day. Every day you don’t wake up playin’ for the Cup, Game 7. You know, it’s awesome.

Game Day: Canucks Coach Alain Vigneault

06/15/2011 at 3:58pm EDT

Q. Alain, you said yesterday that Alex Edler is fine, is he good to go tonight?

COACH VIGNEAULT: Good to go.

Q. Coach, can you talk about the insertion of Jeff Tambellini, Game 7 in his hometown, a dream scenario, especially for him tonight?

COACH VIGNEAULT: Without a doubt, for Jeff to come in at this point. He has had some experience in this series, but he hasn’t played regular. But he’s going to get an opportunity here tonight to play the seventh game to win the Stanley Cup.

I’m sure he’s excited. He knows about their history in B.C., the history of the Canucks. I’m sure he’s going to be real good tonight.

Rome & Boychuk: Debating the NHL's Punishment Policies

06/15/2011 at 2:20am EDT

From what Mike Gillis said tonight, Mason Raymond has at least five months of recovery in front of him. Gillis as much as described the injury as a “broken back” in his press conference, and the horror of this whole situation will certainly go down in the history books as a terrible addendum when we recall this Stanley Cup Final, whoever wins it.

About the non-suspension of Johnny Boychuk, I have no objections to that ruling. (At least in an ideal world where common sense rules the day, anyway.) I don’t think Raymond’s terrible injury was either Boychuk’s intent, nor anything he could have forseen by following through on his hit into the boards. A one-in-a-million terrible result.

However, the hit was certainly worthy of an interference call—no puck anywhere around—and that’s where the NHL ends up looking ridiculous in this whole mess. Mike Murphy, widely lauded as “finally getting it right” with the harsh Rome suspension, now looks like a man who was flying by the seat of his pants when he made that call earlier in the series.

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