Vancouver Canucks: Shades of Sedinery.

Elias Pettersson. No words…well that’s a lie, I have all the words. It’s only been 9 games, and yet he’s already silencing any and all critics who said the Canucks were wrong to draft 5th overall in 2017.

Last year, Canucks fans were treated to all the highlights of Pettersson’s remarkable season in the SHL playing among grown men as he set records and won all kinds of awards for his season. It was remarkable and it gave Canucks fans something to be excited about moving forward. His season led to him getting hyped before he’d played an NHL game and many wondered if he could possibly live up to the hype. How would his game translate to the NHL?

There’s no doubt in that he’s talented and the anticipation for him to be successful was through the roof before the start of the year. No, he’s not McDavid, he’s not Crosby, he’s not Gretzky and no one expects him to be. He’s his own player and that’s still to be defined.

All eyes were on Elias as he made his NHL debut in October, hopeful that his play in the SHL would translate to NHL success. All doubt was cast aside when he scored the first of his highlight reel goals:

There’s a lot of time left between now and the end of the season, but his 15 points in 9 games has him in the lead as the early Calder trophy favourite. Yes, you read that right, 15 points in NINE games! That’s some kind of incredible. He’s giving Canucks fans flashbacks to Pavel Bure, and brings the crowd off their feet every time he’s got the puck at Rogers Arena. It’s something amazing to see, truly.

It’s not just how he plays with the puck, it’s how he plays without the puck…no matter where he is on the ice, he is always ready to make a play. And then, there’s his determination to keep improving even after he has a memorable moment or highlight. He’s a team player, always looking to help keep the team in a game. Perfect example, his 5 point effort against the Avalanche, every time the team was down, he was quick to lead the charge of helping the team tie the game and eventually win the game. His vision and creativity with the puck are all kinds of incredible.

Can we talk about that SEDIN like bank pass off the boards to Boeser against the Colorado Avalanche?! Serious shades of sedinery:

Brock This Way With Elias! OH yes, I can definitely get used to highlights that feature those two players. Their recent chemistry is something truly magical to behold, especially if you get the chance to see them play live.

And yes it’s still early in the season, but the whispers about the talent of Elias Pettersson are getting louder outside of Vancouver. Elias is playing his game and it’s getting others talking and taking notice. Soon, everyone will know his name.

I’ve said it many times, but if you have a chance to see Pettersson play live, take it, it really is something special to see in person.

Breathe easy, Canucks fans, Elias Pettersson is a Vancouver Canuck and THIS is just the beginning. The best is yet to come.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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Vancouver Canucks: First Game Magic

Some hockey nights are more special than others, sometimes it’s about more than the game itself but rather the people who are with you. This one in particular will always be on that stands out. This past weekend, we took my 90-years young Grandpa to his first ever Vancouver Canucks game.

When he planned his visit a few months back, he said that it would be really fun to attend a hockey game together while he was here. And you know me, there was no convincing need on my part! So we took a look at the team’s schedule to plan out which game to attend together. We gave him the choice of games that would be available to him during his stay: Boston, Washington and Pittsburgh.

He chose Boston, as they are an original six franchise. And as you can imagine, as a Canucks fan, it may not have been my first choice of rivals to watch BUT it was not about my choice. It was his choice. And it was a great choice in the end but more on that later.

First things first, once the he made his choice we had to find tickets for the four of us that would be attending the game: my Grandpa, my dad, my sister and myself. Once we secured the four tickets, the next step was making sure he would be properly outfitted in Canucks attire for the game.

Up next was the long awaited game day! We made the trek to the arena all geared up and ready to take in all the sights and sounds, ready cheer on the home team!

It’s no secret that I’m ALWAYS going to root for the Canucks despite whatever the odds may tell me prior to any given game. This game was no different, I was told many times that this may not be best the game to bring Grandpa to as many did not expect the Canucks to put up much of a fight against a resilient Boston Bruins team. The expectation from them was a guaranteed loss with little or no push back. I learned long ago, that just because there is an expectation or certain odds, when it comes to hockey(and most sports), you can’t always go by the odds. Sometimes the odds go to the wayside and that team that everyone wrote off, just happens to surprise you.

The lights went down, the arena began to fill and the magic was just about upon us. Anthems were song and the puck dropped and the cheers began. Amidst our cheering, we talked about the team, the game progressing pretty well on both sides and taking in the sheer magic that is 18.000+ fans all taking in the moment together.

There’s the pure joy of opening the scoring early in the game. There’s the annoyance in unison at the refs/linesmen in the game. There’s the intensity of the game back and forth as the Canucks tried to seal it and the Bruins relentlessly not giving up. There was the unexpected fight from Bo Horvat that only had fans convinced even more so that he’s potential captain material. There was the moment Boston’s relentlessness paid off as they tied to game. There was the moment late in the final frame that Markstrom made a glove save out of the air to keep the game tied, and made for an exhilarating frenzied finish to regulation.

As overtime was about to begin, all I could think about was how much I really didn’t want to witness a shootout not because I thought either team was more favoured in that contest but because if passed regulation, I’d rather watch continuous overtime over a shootout any day. There’s a certain intensity that comes with 3-on-3 OT and overtime in general that just cannot be matched in a shootout.

And just as I was having those ‘please no shootout’ thoughts without taking my eyes off of the ice, it happened almost in slow motion and then all at once. Brock Boeser stole the puck, had a give and go with Bo Horvat ending with a perfectly placed Horvat shot for the game winning goal. The crowd went wild and we left the arena with an everlasting family hockey memory.

Sometimes hockey is about more than just the game itself, it’s about the people. It’s making memories of a lifetime that will long live on. And just in case there’s any doubt, Grandpa has officially dubbed himself a Vancouver Canucks fan.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver, You Are Better Than THIS.

Truthfully, I was in the middle of writing a completely different post but had to stop because I saw this tweet emerge on my timeline:

It broke my heart a little AND this needed to be said.

Vancouver, you and me, we are better than this. We are better than sending harassing messages to an opposing player and his family. Yes, we all hated the hit and ensuing injury to Elias Pettersson but that does NOT in any way justify the treatment that has been directed towards Matheson and his family. It also does NOT in any way justify the hate that has also been slung towards Canucks players by “fans” of the team for their response or lack of response to the aforementioned hit depending on how you look at the situation. Either way, those messages of hate and death threats being directed at Matheson and Canucks players are all kinds of wrong.

We are better than sending harassing messages and threats to players on an opposing team and we are better than sending harassing messages to players on our own team. That is a whole new level of wrong that I cannot even begin to fathom. It’s heartbreaking.

Social media can be a great tool for fans of the game to connect with each other and share that bond. It’s also a great tool that can connect fans with their team and players from their team. But that fun is gone instantly when someone takes it too far sending threats and continual harassment that can cause real harm. It affects more than those who send the tweet and those who receive the tweet/messages, and very quickly can spiral farther than ever intended. Words are a powerful thing and can leave an indelible mark.

Do we want that mark from fans in Vancouver to be one that drives players away from ever wanting to play here knowing that the fans will treat them this way? Or do we want that mark to one to be one that creates a bond between the fans and the team that is strong, drawing players to want to be here? I know which one I’m aiming for.

I’m going to say this plain and simple: harassing ANYONE online let alone a hockey player is NEVER a good idea. And I get that there will be chirping back and forth but taking it the level of death threats and sending harassing messages is not chirping or in good fun.

Vancouver, you are better than this. We are better than this.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Adios Preseason…

Adios preseason and hello hockey season! Bring on all the hockey and drop that dang puck already!

The Vancouver Canucks regular season is just days away and already the doomsday headlines are spinning out of control before even one game has been played. I’ve been informed in no uncertain terms more than once that this will most certainly be the worst Canucks season on record. And as such a poor season is expected, I’ve also been told that there’s no point to partaking in watching the games as it’s all down hill from before the start of the season.

Well I got some bad news for you, whether it’s a terrible season (potentially their worst on record) or a good season statistically, I’ll by standing by for every single step of the season. I know that the odds are very much against them heading into this season. Yes, I’ll be watching all the games, even the ones that seem like a nightmare from start to finish. And yes, I’m well aware of how disastrous this season could be but that doesn’t mean that I will stop supporting my team or hoping for them to tank.

It goes against the grain for me to even think about tanking as a possibility especially when it comes how unpredictable the draft lottery tends to be. More than that though, I can’t process the idea that players purposely go out on a nightly basis to lose or increase their team’s odds in that area. Seems a bit far fetched to me.

Regardless of how the season unfolds, one thing is certain: I’ll be there to witness every step along the way. Maybe it will be the worst season in the Canucks history books, maybe it’ll even be catastrophically bad but then again maybe it won’t. Maybe they’ll finally win that draft lottery or maybe just maybe they might even surprise people.

For now, I’m looking forward to attending the Canucks home opener on Wednesday (despite the impending disappointment that I’ve been told to expect). See you at the rink!

Drop. The. Puck. Already.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

Hockey’s BACK…!

Here we go, say it with me now, “HOCKEY IS BACK”. Yes, technically we are in the thick of the preseason, but it still counts! The NHL preseason is officially in full swing as the league prepares for the official start of the season on October 3rd.

Now begins the over analyzing of seasoned veterans as they compete to maintain their roster spots, while younger players and prospects are vying to snag or steal a roster spot and reveal those that still need time to develop.

For Canucks fans, it means a lot of of different things with a new season about to begin.

It means that we are getting a chance to finally witness the finesse on the ice of Elias Pettersson in a Canucks uniform. Is he the real deal, are we right to be excited for his future? Was his season last year in Sweden a one off or an indication of what lies ahead for his NHL career?

Will other prospects like Adam Gaudette. Petrus Palmu or Jonah Gadjovich thrive in the preseason?

Can Nikolay Goldobin find that much needed consistency to his game, can Elias Pettersson help him get there as they’ve shown to have a bit of chemistry in the preseason?

How will Brock Boeser follow up his successful rookie season? Will we see a sophomore slump or will all that hard work he put in over the summer pay off?

Will this be Jake Virtanen’s breakout year? He put in the work all summer, will it pay off on the ice and silence his critics?

With the Sedins now officially retired, who will step up into a leadership role and their scoring ways? Will the team go ahead and name a captain this season or elect to have co-leaders, waiting to name a captain until next season? Who will pick up the mantle of points they consistently put up each season?

Perhaps the biggest question for the Canucks is, will the team be able stay healthy for the season? If yes, perhaps they just might surprise a few people.

Preseason or not, NHL hockey is back and it feels OH SO GOOD. Enjoy the rest of the preseason as every roster edges closer to being finalized for puck drop on opening night.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Hockey Thoughts: What’s in a Game?

A new hockey season is nearly upon us and I’d thought I take a look at what is about this game that pulls us all in.

What is it that keeps bringing us back? Is it a favourite on ice or off ice moment that you can recall every second of? Is it your favourite team or your favourite player? Or is it a pure simple love for the game? Or is it all of that combined?

I know that the hockey world is far from perfect but there is something magnetic about this game when it captures your heart., there’s no going back.

I can still remember clear as day, seeing a glimpse of Sedinery when it was just beginning. I can still see that 72-save performance in game one of the 2007 playoffs against the Dallas Stars and hear that echo of the crowd when Henrik scored in the fourth overtime. I’ll never forget Alex Burrows emotional first game after Luc Bourdon had passed, and each goal he scored thereafter dedicated to LB with an arrow to the sky. No goal from Burrows was bigger than the one that finally slayed the dragon against the Chicago Blackhawks, it still gives me chills. And then coming oh so close to seeing the team finally hoist the cup in 2011, the heartbreak was real and deep…but rather than deter me from supporting the team, it made my support of them unbreakable. And then the moment more heartbreaking than witnessing the on ice heartbreak, just a few months later when I was reminded that hockey is more than a game, Rick Rypien lost his battle with mental health. It shattered my heart and reminded the hockey world once more that there was and still at times is a stigma when it comes to mental health awareness.

Witnessing Henrik Sedin score his 1000th NHL point on home ice in Rogers Arena, the entire crowd on their feet, the cheers were thunderous. One final act of Sedinery when the Sedins played their final home game and closed it in style with the overtime winner…a moment that was heartbreaking and breathtaking all at once. It was the end of an incredible era that spanned nearly two decades. And as one era ends, a new one begins lead by Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser.

There are moments that will always be a part of defining how or why I am a fan of the game and my team. Moments that I can recall so clearly. Moments that took my breath away and moments that have broken my heart. Moments that have pulled me in, in moments when I needed a break from reality. Moments that have pulled me into being a part of a family that spans the beyond my own city around the world, because as hockey fans, we are all united as one.

I asked on twitter, what is about the game that pulls YOU in, and here are responses that you sent in:

Yes, the hockey world isn’t perfect and there will always be those who say that different views mean that I’m not a “real” fan or possibly naive about the game or try to explain how to really be a fan. And that’s fine, no one said we have to agree on how to be a fan.  And you know what’s louder than those voices? Fans from far and wide, who yes maybe we don’t always have the same view BUT we have a respect for each other and even once in awhile teach one another new facets of this game that unites us. We all have our own reasons and definitions for how and why this game has pulled us in. Maybe it’s one moment, a series of moments, a favourite player, or a simple pure love of the game, or maybe it’s all of those things combined but one thing is certain; hockey is magnetic and there’s no going back once it draws you into the fold.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

One Last Time, Thank-you, BURR.

I knew this day was coming and yet it still hurt my heart to learn the news that Alex Burrows has officially retired from the NHL. Heart and soul every shift on the ice and off of the ice in the community.

When I used to tell people that I loved hockey and specifically the Vancouver Canucks and that Alex Burrows was my favourite player, I would get sneers of derision and without a doubt the followup question was always: “how can you root for such a pest? How can Canucks fans possibly root for a guy like Burrows?”

The answer is simple. How could I not root for him? An example of pure determination, constantly working towards his dream and achieving it despite the odds. Undrafted and never meant to make it in the NHL, forever left an indelible mark with a franchise with memorable goals and a massive heart.

From the outside, his opponents and opposition fans merely saw a pest but in Vancouver we saw him as an inspiration. Burrows defied the odds. Never drafted, worked his way up from the ECHL to the QMJHL to the AHL to the NHL. Even when he finally made it, NO ONE could’ve predicted what would occur. Most thought he’d simply be a 4th liner/pest to his opponents for the entirety of his career at best. I doubt anyone even considered that he’d become a first line player or have multiple +25 goal seasons.

There was tons of negativity that came his way from the media and fans that didn’t see what Canucks fans saw on the daily. And he handled it with grace, never let it get to him, rising above it on every occasion. From a rookie to a seasoned veteran mentoring young players, he did it all.

No one could have predicted that he would become the one of the best line mates to skate along with the Sedin twins or score some of the most memorable goals in franchise history. People say that the twins made Burrows and there may be some truth to that BUT no one ever opened up space on the ice for the twins like Burrows. He was also vital in their successes as well. There’s a reason why he was at times considered the “third Sedin”, he seemed to read their passes almost as well as they did and seemed to almost always anticipate the place they passed the puck. For years it was absolute magic.

So while many on the outside remember Burrows for his on ice antics or being a pest, Canucks fans will always remember him for his heart and soul. He gave everything from his humble beginnings of working his way up to the league, to his rookie days to his successes as the Sedins winger to his work off the ice in the community and for using his voice to raise awareness for the importance of mental health.

822 games with the Vancouver Canucks, 913 regular season games overall, not too shabby for a guy who was never drafted. He embodied what it meant to have the heart of a Canuck from the beginning to the end of his career.

So while thank-you hardly seems enough, it’s what we have to offer Alex Burrows. He made Luc Bourdon proud. He made his coaches and teammates proud. He made Canucks fans near and far, endlessly proud. And yes, we will always think fondly of that dragon slaying goal or the goal that ended and 11-game winless streak

And to THIS fan, he will always and forever be a Canuck. I’ve said it before, but it still remains true; when I have felt like giving up, all I have had to do was think of how he always kept pushing forward despite the odds and I would be reminded that when you tune out the negativity, with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible.

Thank-you doesn’t seem quite enough but one more time, it’s what I have to offer. Thank-you for everything, BURR.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.