2013 Draft thoughts…

The NHL draft began with the Canucks needing to trade ONE goalie and possibly gaining a top 10 draft pick. It ended with them achieving this exact feat, just not the way ANYONE thought it would go down. Yes the Canucks gained the 9th overall pick and yes trading ONE of their goalies. It was not the anticipated movement of Roberto Luongo that everyone assumed it would be, but rather Cory Schneider that was traded to the New Jersey Devils. Cue the social media bonanza as everyone seemed to have an armchair GM opinion to share as the news broke.

It was a controversy that began last spring when this city seemed to turn on their solidified number one goalie Roberto Luongo in favour of the younger and less intimidating contract Cory Schneider. To be honest I am not shocked in many means that it worked out this way, perhaps the Canucks brass should have asked for more return value in the trade but it is what it is and we cannot go back. Cory Schneider is longer part of the Vancouver Canucks organization and the Roberto Luongo deserves A LOT of apologies/explanations from the Canucks brass as he is still a Vancouver Canuck despite what everyone predicted.

Best of luck to Cory in NJ. Schneider will once again be mentored by one of the best goalies in NHL history in Martin Brodeur. With Brodeur being near the end of his career, it makes sense that the Devils would target someone younger that is capable of being great in the near future. That being said, it will be a battle to take the net from Marty who despite his age is still an incredible goal-tender. It will be an incredible opportunity for him to play with Brodeur and to play in a new city. Best of luck Cory, you will have an incredible career!

Roberto Luongo despite endless predictions of being traded to an East Coast team, remains a Vancouver Canuck. I hope that the Canucks brass can mend the fences that were smashed when this city and many fans turned their backs on Luongo last spring. It really makes my blood boil the way this city turned so quickly and supported Cory who had yet to prove his worth. YES Schneider is an incredible athlete and will probably achieve some great accomplishments in his career but he has NOT earned the respect the Luongo earned long ago but is never given. The organization owes Roberto so much more than an apology for the last year and then everyone else needs to let it go and just let the guy play the game he loves. He proved last season that he is MORE than capable of being number one and an absolute consummate professional. I hope that Luongo comes to training camp in September and proves all his doubters wrong next season and they all see the incredible athlete he still is and helps the team once again go on a long playoff run. Please @strombone1 do not let all those doubters voices be the ones you listen to, you do have MANY real fans that will support you.

I don’t think any Canucks fans thought it would be Cory on the chopping block, but we need to accept it happened and move on. We still have an INCREDIBLE bonafide number one goal-tender that just two years ago took this team to ONE game within the Stanley Cup. You never know what the future holds and these are two players that both deserve to play in the games that matter.

Moving onto other Canucks news the team picked up some great prospects today in the draft: Bo Horvat, forward Hunter Shinkaruk, centre Cole Cassels, defenceman Jordan Subban, defenceman Anton Cederholm, defenceman Mike Williamson and Miles Liberati. Welcome to the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks organization!

Draft day has officially come to a close and now we wait for the madness of free agency to begin. Are you prepared for the craziness to begin?

One last question, are we really SHOCKED canuck nation that Gillis did not trade Alex Edler? Really? His contract is a steal in comparison to recent contracts being signed by top NHL defencemen [Weber, Letang].

Hockey does not end in June. The NHL has 4 seasons: the pre-season, the regular season, the post-season, and the off season. The off-season is sure to hold a few surprises yet. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Welcome to #Canucknation TORTS!

In case you missed the official introduction of the ever colorful John Tortorella’s first day as Canucks head coach, here are the video links!

In his first official appearance as Canucks Head Coach, he answered questions and addressed concerns from the fans in a FAN Q & A with John Tortorella:

Following his Q & A from the fans, Torts met with the Vancouver media for the first time as head coach. John Tortorella Press Conference:

Did your opinion change in any way? I’ve heard A LOT of people have changed their view of him following these interviews. He said all the right things and and addressed some key issues. He seems to have captured Vancouver fans, team players, and local media in his first press conference. You can feel people becoming cautiously excited for the new season to begin.

WELCOME to #CANUCKNATION TORTS, it’s bound to be an interesting ride!

As always, until next time nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Unofficially Official

Unofficially official is how the media is calling it with their prediction of John Tortorella being named as the next Head Coach of the Vancouver Canucks officially at a press conference being held June 25th 1:00PM. I say let’s wait and see what happens with Torts at the helm before deciding it will be a disaster or success. You never know, Torts could take us all by surprise! Welcome to #CanuckNation TORTS! It’s bound to a be an interesting relationship between you and the fans, and you and the media. Next question…who will his assistants be?[I’d love to see someone like Linden fill such a role]

Look out Canucks fans, media days just got a WHOLE lot more colorful…it will be an interesting ride to say the least. Perhaps @stombone1 can save us all a seat at the press conference or in the very least provide us with an entertaining twitter commentary as always!

Rumors of the LA Kings trading Jonathan Bernier went from the rumor mill to FACT Sunday morning when it became official that the Kings had traded Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for goalie Ben Scrivens, forward Matt Frattin and a second round draft pick. Toronto’s GM Dave Nonis says that this is the beginning of the changes coming before July 5th. What does the acquiring of Bernier say about about James Reimer’s future with the Leafs will he be playing tandem or relegated to the role of backup? I feel bad for Reimer who all year had to prove himself to the Leafs and the league alike and still it seems as though it may not be enough.

The Phoenix Coyotes have called a press conference for June 28th to make some sort of announcement regarding their future. Will they be re-locating or staying in Glendale?

Speaking of continued NHL off-season movements have you heard that Philadelphia is just using one of their compliance buyouts on Ilya Bryzgalov but also using the 2nd one to buyout fan favourite in Philly: Danny Briere. I don’t know how realistic the possibility would be of Briere coming to Vancouver, but I think he’d look great on a line with Kesler and Higgins[or Schroeder]! Off-season changes are coming for many teams and will be happening more rapidly as the NHL draft and the JULY 5 free agency frenzy draw closer.

The drama of the off-season will only intensify as the Stanley Final draws to a close tonight. Chicago stunned Boston with two late goals 17 seconds apart to CLINCH the 2013 Stanley Cup. Congratulations to both teams for a heck of a series and congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks who completed their storybook season with the best possible ending.

The off-season has arrived hockey fans and its about to get very interesting with the numerous possible compliance buyouts, trades, and re-signings that are coming. As one season ends, the build up for the next begins in the off-season. #isitOctoberyet

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Call Me Maybe: AV to NY 4 Torts to VAN?!

Do hear that ever growing loud buzzing noise? Those are the whispers regarding the newest potential Canucks head coach getting louder. First it was Dallas Eakins as the front runner until he struck Oil in Edmonton as a great fit for a young core team. Next in the front runner positions are John Stevens who is currently an assistant coach in LA, Lindy Ruff who was fired earlier in the year by Buffalo and former head coach of the NY Rangers the ever colorful John Tortorella.

The most interesting of the three candidates is perhaps John Tortorella not just because of his colorful way of dealing with the media but because former Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault has reportedly signed a 5-year contract with the New York Rangers [rumored to be worth $10 million].

Could it be former Canucks head coach headed to the Rangers & for NY Coach Tortorella to Vancouver?

CoachTortsCould it be with former Canucks head coach AV headed to the Big Apple & that former NY Rangers coach Tortorella will be headed  to Vancouver?

Wouldn’t it be something if these two switch places? I know I am not the only one who would be slightly amused by role reversals. Both cities are hockey markets where the fans and media alike have expectations on the daily basis from both the coach and the team. It is not yet official as to who will be the next coach for the Canucks but the rumors regarding Torts to Vancouver are getting louder with each day that passes. Best of luck in New York AV!

What are your thoughts #CanuckNation about the possibility of Torts coming to the Canucks as head coach? He has Stanley Cup experience[Tampa Bay], and has worked in a hockey mad market[New York] and can more than handle whatever the media tries to throw at him. Perhaps he could be a the trigger to light a fire under this team or perhaps not. Imagine Torts addressing the media…can you picture it? I think he would have tone down his colorful commentary slightly but sometimes the media in this town are crazy and should be called on it.Maybe he will be the next head coach or maybe Gillis and company will go another direction [Stevens or Ruff or perhaps a former player will be added to the mix!]. All that being said the team will hopefully name a coach prior to the draft and free agency madness.

Any of you still watching the Stanley Cup Final? Its a hard match up for me to watch as a Canucks fan..but because I am a fan of the GAME itself I have watched. Currently 3 games done and Boston leads the series 2-1. The first two games both went to overtime [stretching over 10 periods of hockey!]. The third game has been the only one to end in regulation and Boston taking the series lead. Rask is a huge part of the reason why Boston has been so good this post-season and he proved that in game 3 posting his 3rd shutout in the last 7 games. Game 4 will be a series changer if Boston takes the 3-1 series lead OR if Chicago finds their scoring touch and returns to Chicago with a tied series. I will not pick a side in this series but it will be interesting to see how the rest of this series goes as a hockey fan.

In other NHL news, Logan Couture has inked a new 5-year contract worth $30 million [an annual cap hit of $6 million] and Pavel Datsyuk has signed a 3-year contract extension worth $22.5 million[an annual cap hit of $7.5 million]. Rumor has it that LA is preparing to trade back up goalie Jonathan Bernier with Toronto and Philadelphia emerging as the frontrunners in that race. For Philadelphia it would be great to give Bernier a chance as a starter and to push Steve Mason. For Toronto it simply raises more questions regarding their goal-tending situation as it seems no matter how good James Reimer plays it is never good enough. Then again, LA was supposedly going to trade Bernier last year.

The drama never seems to end in the hockey world. By next week’s end the Stanley Cup Final will be over and the draft about the start. Trades pace the NHL draft prior to the start of the craze that is free agency beginning July 5.

I will sign off today, asking you #CanuckNation: who do you think will be the next Canucks head coach? Drop a comment with your choice/reason regarding the coach you’d like to see behind the bench!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

2013 SC Final has arrived…

If you are a Canucks fan it will be hard to pick a side when the Stanley Cup Finals begin this week featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins. This is not my idea of a fun blog post BUT these two teams proved themselves to be the best in their respective conferences.

I am not a fan of either team but they both earned their way to the Stanley Cup Final fair and square. Chicago has set the standard all season long by being the best team in the league and playing some very impressive playoff hockey. Boston’s numbers were not quite as impressive as Chicago BUT they also played a high level of hockey all season.

Their numbers in the playoffs have been very similar with Chicago posting a 12-5 record in 17 games and Boston posting a 12-4 record in 16 games.

Round 1: Chicago vs. Minnesota. Result: Chicago defeated Minnesota in 5 games.

Boston vs. Toronto. Result: Boston defeated Toronto in 7 games.

Round 2: Chicago vs. Detroit. Result: Chicago defeated Detroit in 7 games.

Boston vs. New York Rangers. Result: Boston defeated New York in 5 games.

Round 3: Chicago vs. LA. Result: Chicago defeated LA in 5 games.

Boston vs. Pittsburgh. Result: Boston defeated Pittsburgh in a 4 game sweep.

Round 4: Chicago vs. Boston. Begins: Wednesday June 12th in Chicago.

An original six match up for the first time in many years is sure bring some great hockey moments to the game. What more can a hockey fan ask for than a show down between two teams that have not met in the finals since 1979?

I’m sure the series will feature some great moments for both teams but in the end the only thing that matters is who gets 4 wins to clinch their latest Stanley Cup. One of these two teams will walk away from this series victorious as the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion. Will I be rooting for either one of them in particular? Probably not, but I respect that their incredible depth and talent got them this far into the playoffs and this series will be a classic as is any original six match up.

I am not going to root one way or the other as for me it would be like picking the lesser of two evils and I’m not sure I can watch it to be honest. Whatever happens, it will be a great series for the fans of these two teams as well as fans of the game. Best of luck to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins as they approach this final round. The final always features two very talented teams and this year is no different. The end is just beginning and it will be interesting to see how these two teams will match up when the puck drops Wednesday.

Enjoy the finals for all those who will be watching, its going to be a great series even if some of us cannot join you!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Question to the Fans…

Calling all hockey fans,

Question. If your team misses the playoffs or is eliminated at ANY point does that mean that YOU stop being fan or supporting YOUR team? NO. Yes, the Canucks were eliminated but so were 11 other teams that qualified while still 14 more didn’t play in the post-season.

If you asked fans of the teams who missed the playoffs if that meant their loyalties to their team were broken you would hear a resounding NO. Just because a team is eliminated early or does not qualify for the playoffs does NOT mean a real hockey fan stops supporting their team. We support the team year after year ALL year long.

All of the following teams were either eliminated in the first two rounds or did not qualify for the playoffs:

Sure Edmonton has not made the playoffs in years BUT they have a TON of young talent that will make them deep moving forward barring any injuries to their core players.

Yes Philadelphia had a disaster year of ups and downs particularly with their goal-tending scenario and the endless question marks surrounding Chris Pronger’s future. They have a talented line up that will come back stronger next season.

Yes Carolina had a disappointing finish after a year when they re-united the Staal brother but with the all the injuries that hit them this last year consistency was impossible. Next year a healthy Cam Ward, along with the Staals and Semin could be a lethal combination should the Hurricanes be post-season bound.

No, the Winnipeg Jets did not punch their playoff ticket this season BUT they came very close in the final stretch. They have an excellent fan base and a team that can cause trouble when they play at the top of their game. When the Jets do return the playoff mix it will be a very exciting time for that fan base!

Toronto made it to the playoffs for the first time in NINE years! Heck of a comeback to being down 3-1 in the series to Boston only to force a game 7 which unfortunately ended in an OT heart-breaker. Toronto did a lot of things this year but most importantly Coach Carlyle got the team to play with heart and believe that they could be good enough. Toronto will build off their playoff appearance and up the ante when they meet Detroit in the 2014 Winter Classic.

The New York Islanders were a dark horse that a lot people did not expect this year. Nabokov stabilized the goal-tending that had been questionable for years. The Islanders were led by their young core, particularly by John Tavares down the stretch in which he nearly kept pace with Ovechkin in the Rocket Race. The Islanders made the post-season for the first time in 6 years and played some great hockey against the top seeded Penguins.

It may have taken a while for big money makers Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to settle in BUT they made their presence felt in Minnesota by years end. The Minnesota Wild came very close to missing the post season BUT they snuck in at the wire. They may have only lasted 5 games against the heavy weighted Chicago BUT despite the series loss they had some great moments such Josh Harding playing in a surprise starting twist.

The Washington Capitals perhaps lost their steam in games 6 & 7 of the first round BUT they sure had a heck of run down the stretch. Remember in the first half of the year when it looked like they wouldn’t crack the top 8 and Ovechkin looked invisible? Cue the comeback where they were dominant in the second half, Ovechkin re-emerged helping the Caps win their division and snagged the Rocket while he was at it.

One of the biggest disappointments was probably the Tampa Bay Lightning who started out the year with a ton of potential going 6-0-1 only then to tailspin completely finishing near the bottom of the league despite Steven Stamkos scoring numerous goals and Martin St.Louis winning the Art Ross Trophy. I have not doubts the fans will be back cheering for the Lightning when they return to the ice

The Florida Panthers failed to build upon the success they had last year as they got bit by the injury bug. Despite their disappointing season they have some young prospects that showed signs of great talent…particularly young goalie Jacob Markstrom.

The Calgary Flames season went from bad to worse as the year went on and eventually threw them into the rebuild phase mid-season. They lost their franchise leading player when former captain Jarome Iginla was traded to Pittsburgh for an opportunity for a long playoff run. The traded away a few more pieces of the team in order to gain draft picks to further their rebuild quest.

The Columbus Blue Jackets were probably the biggest surprise in the west as they proved everyone wrong. Previously playing Columbus was not really a challenge and most people expected the same since they lost former captain Rick Nash to the Rangers BUT they were wrong. The Blue Jackets were a pesky team this season that played one of their most complete seasons and made a very bold move at the deadline in acquiring Marian Gaborik. In the regular season they beat the Detroit Red Wings all BUT one time. They went on a tear in the final stretch of the season with Gaborik in their line-up. They were ONE point shy of making the playoffs.

The St.Louis Blues had a decent season and started the playoffs with a 2-0 lead on the reigning champion LA Kings in round 1. It was re-match for these two teams who met last year albeit in round 2. Unfortunately for St.Louis the Kings re-awakened when the series returned to LA and took over the series.

The Nashville Predators did not have the same success they had last year as this season they were riddled by injuries and inconsistent play from all their players.

The Detroit Red Wings had a mixed fruit basket of ups and downs this year BUT when it counted they pushed the DRIVE button and put on a show down the stretch to the playoffs. They fought back against a top tiered team of Anaheim in the first round earning a game 7 victory. They put the Blackhawks on the brink of elimination BUT as Chicago has been the best team in the league they pushed back and forced a game 7 vs. Detroit. CUE the OT…..and despite the loss Detroit exceeded most people’s expectations as they endured their first season with veteran Niklas Lidstrom. Detroit showed that they are still a team that can contend in the playoffs despite any mid-season woes.

Ottawa was plagued by injuries that should have knocked them out of the playoff race BUT they slotted young players in their place and found unique ways to win. Despite the loss of Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza, coach MacLean never counted his team out and if anyone has anything to say it should be that HE deserves the Jack Adams this year!

Montreal had a major comeback this season as a powerhouse team atop the Eastern Conference under the guidance of their new coach Michel Therrien. They had success in the regular season when they played their game to their strengths. Despite a first round upset, Montreal has a lot of upside going into next season.

Phoenix was all over the map this season with their play and the uncertainty of their franchise remaining in Glendale. The season began with the Shane Doan sweepstakes that never took off as he remained with the Coyotes and ended with the team missing the playoffs failing to build upon their success of the reaching the 3rd round last year. Their future remains uncertain heading into next year with changes bound to happen.

Colorado was a let down this year which was mostly due to untimely injuries and the late re-signing of O-Reilly in mid-season. Despite their disappointing outing this year they were able to do something that no other team was able to…they ENDED Chicago’s unbeatable in regulation streak. They may not have had the outcome they had hoped for BUT they did show at times the team they can be when all the pieces are available and healthy. Next season will be very interesting with former player Patrick Roy as their head coach.

Anaheim did not quite have the streak or success of Chicago BUT they did put an impressive record solidifying themselves as the 2nd best team in the West this season. They got the opportunity to face Detroit in the first round and unfortunately for them the Red Wings showed more resilience than perhaps they expected in forcing a game 7 and stealing the victory for Detroit. The first round exit was probably not what they hoped for but they can build on that experience next season. Most of their current roster will be around next year and if they keep their current goalie tandem you never know what this talented line up may be capable of next season!

The New York Rangers endured many changes this season to their roster including the acquiring of RIck Nash, Ryane Clowe, Derek Dorsett, Derek Brassard and the trading away of Marian Gaborik. The Rangers put up a fight in a 7 game first round duel with the Capitals but they could not find the same resolve when it came to the Bruins.

The Buffalo Sabres started the season with a lot of potential as their big names were putting up points and looked to be in mid-season form. Unfortunately for Buffalo things quickly fell apart and they stopped winning games in any fashion costing LONG time coach Lindy Ruff his job. Ryan Miller took the brunt of the blame for many losses despite the team’s inability to score goals.

The New Jersey Devils came off a season where they were 2 wins shy of winning the Stanley Cup. Injuries to Kovalchuk and Brodeur along with a 9 game losing streak prevented the Devils from getting the chance to change the ending to that story. People keep asking when Brodeur will retire BUT he probably wants a better ending to his career than losing a Stanley Cup Final or missing the playoffs and he deserves to end his career HOWEVER he chooses. New Jersey will be in a tight spot when Brodeur does retire and leaves a gaping hole in their line-up.

Dallas where do I start? They initially won the Jaromir Jagr sweepstakes ONLY to trade him to Boston when it was apparent they would yet again miss the playoffs. Dallas looked good on paper before the season began but like so many others due to various injuries they could not find the right formula.

San Jose had a very up and down season BUT they seemed to find their way down the stretch and in the first two rounds of the playoffs. They earned their victory in round one and battled hard for a game 7 in the second round against the Kings.

Vancouver as we all know had an up and down season. Unfortunately we all know what happened in the first round….it was not pretty. The ending was not perhaps what the fans hoped for BUT in order to win series it is paramount that when you get stellar goal-tending[LOU in games 1&2] you need to give your goalie some goal support. A second straight year with a first round exit cost Coach Alain Vigneault his post. It will interesting to see how the next Canuck coach interacts with the team, media and the fans of Vancouver. Time will tell.

26 teams are officially in the off-season as the Final Four battle for a spot in the Conference Final. Just because these teams are no longer in the hunt does NOT mean that their fan bases are no longer supporting them. Real fans support their team ALL year long not just when things go well.

So to recap: yes my Canucks[& 25 other teams!] are out of the playoffs but I support my team all year round regardless of the outcome. I ask again, if your team is eliminated or misses the playoffs, do YOU stop supporting YOUR team? Perhaps if you are on the bandwagon then your answer would be YES, but this kid will never stop supporting her Canucks!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L. #canucknation #heartofacanuck #ourteamourway