Canucks Round Table (Vol.3)

Welcome to the latest edition of the official Nucksaid: Canucks Round Table! As you know, if you’ve followed my blog for awhile, one of my absolute favourite things is to connect with fellow hockey fans and to share our stories together. This new series will be bringing Canucks fans together from near and far to discuss all things Canucks as the season progresses. There’s a lot to be said about the team, personally, I love to also hear other fans perspectives, it helps me to see the team and the game in new ways.Hopefully you enjoy the ride with all of us! Shall we begin? Without further ado, I present to you the 3rd edition of the Canucks Round Table feature on Nucksaid.

1)What was your favourite Canucks highlight from the 2018-19 campaign?

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): My favourite Canucks highlight was Elias Pettersson. My favourite game of his was the Colorado one that went to overtime. My favourite play in that game was the bounce pass off of the boards. I enjoyed watching Pettersson create offense this year and I wonder what it will look like as he continues to adjust to the pro game. #GLCPC

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): That no look pass from Petey to Boeser is probably my favourite highlight of the season, but the first pass out of the zone on his first shift by Quinn Hughes is also up there. Definitely not as magical on its own but right then and there, I knew that I was looking at the best Dman to ever where a Canucks jersey(eventually –I know he needs more time).

Jeff A.(@TheGamerJeff91): Petey’s 5-point game vs. the Avs. You and I both couldn’t believe we witnessed something so great.

Jon(@EaglesNucksFan): For me, it was Pettersson taking the reigns and proving a lot of negative fans/media wrong.

(@Grampahockey1): I would have to say that the penalty shot Pettersson scored on comes to mind 1st, but there were others when fans wanted Quinn Hughes to be on the 1st power play unit and made the 2nd one look like the 1st unit.

Dave Noordam(@DaveNoordam): Two favourite highlights. First, Boeser’s goal vs. Colorado off the end boards from Petey. Second, Boeser going out of his way to fist bump the kid singing the national anthem on Canucks Autism night.

Matthew Zator(@SwaggyCanuck): I am torn between Pettersson’s first NHL goal, hat trick and the Colorado game where he had 5 points.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): Elias Pettersson’s first goal on his first shot during his first regular season game at home. Ushered in a new era for the Canucks.

Brieann Knorr(@BrieannKnorr): Honestly, the rise of the “core four”. I wasn’t expecting to see instant chemistry right away from Petey & Boeser! They blew me away with their hockey IQ and their ability to make plays out of nothing. Also, seeing Horvat take on more of a leadership role has me more excited for what the future holds for him, and lastly the beginning of an amazing career for Hughes! I was shocked by how good this kid is, and we only a taste!

Me(@nucksaid): It’s a mix of a few moments for me. From witnessing Elias Pettersson’s first goal or his 5-point game vs. Colorado and his shootout goal against New Jersey. The creativity already in his arsenal as a rookie, has been sensational to witness.

2)Now that the dust has settled from the draft lottery, who would you like to see the Canucks draft at 10th?

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I’ve heard a bunch of names: Boldy, Caufield, Soderstrom, etc. But I have no clue. Given what they have done in the past, my hope and anticipation is high for who they’ll pick. I also wonder if they might trade up a few picks to get a better pick. I could have never imagined the trade that created the Horvat pick. I wonder what this draft will hold.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): I am torn. I want someone who can jump in right away but the RIGHT answer(IMHO) is to draft the player with the highest upside. I like Boldy is Byram is gone(and he should be), but I also like Newhook and Soderstrom. Ultimately, it depends on what moves we think we can make this year and next and where we can address needs outside of the draft. The bigger question that is tethered to the draft pick(IMHO) is what contracts can we move this off season, so we have more room for a top 6 forward or top 2 D?

Jeff A. (@TheGamerJeff91): I’m not sure, I don’t know the prospects that well. I’ve heard a Swedish defenseman is a good choice. Hmm…*thinks of Edler, Ohlund, Hedman, Karlsson, Ekman-Larsson.*

Jon(@EaglesNucksFan): A lot of names out there. If we go defense, Soderstrom could take over on the right side for years to come. Forward, I would see a winger like Zegras, Boldy or Krebs.

(@Grampahockey1): I would like to see a right-handed defense-man which we really need, so Soderstrom would be my choice.

Dave Noordam(@DaveNoordam): If he somehow slips, I would like to see Kirby Dach, otherwise Boldy or Krebs. I think Dach is the skilled right handed centre that the Canucks need.

Matthew Zator(@SwaggyCanuck): Either Caufield or Boldy.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): Cole Caufield. Scoring and skill packaged in a smaller stature, but plays bigger than his size. Plays hard and an impact player. Played on a line with Jack Hughes so that should have helped his development playing with elite talent.

Brieann Knorr(@BrieannKnorr): I honestly, don’t care! Having a top 10 pick in the draft is something pretty special and I can’t wait to see who he is!

Me(@nucksaid): There will be some great players available, ideally I’d love to see the team draft either Boldy, Caufield or Soderstrom. Depending on the position that the team prioritizes on drafting needs, any of the three would be a great addition to the team. Regardless of who the team drafts, I’m excited to see that player grow over time.

3)With being unable to root for the Canucks in the playoffs, who are you rooting for/hoping to see win the Cup?(Or did your bracket bust with Tampa/Calgary being ousted?)

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I made a bracket and linked it to a Canucks group. I am not doing well. My Stanley Cup prediction is hanging by a thread because the Nashville Predators struggled. Columbus on the other hand has progressed. Once the first round ends, I’ll have to pick new teams for the rest as my picks are losing so far.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): I love how Colorado plays. But I only cheer for (1)Canucks and then (2)hockey in general. LOL.

Jeff A. (@TheGamerJeff91): My bracket totally busted. That’s the fun of it though, I’m going with the Sharks or Hurricanes.

Jon(@EaglesNucksFans): A lot of underdogs this year, which is pretty cool to see. At this point, anyone but the Leafs. Blues have been knocking at the door for years and after the season just had, would be great to see them win it all.

(@Grampahockey1): Well, I don’t really cheer for anymore, it’s more that I want a certain team to lose, so whoever wins is good unless its Toronto, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington or Vegas. So things are good now.

Dave Noordam(@DaveNoordam): I’ve always loved Carolina and many of their players so I was rooting for them from the start. I actually predicted TB to lose in the second round and Calgary to get knocked out by Colorado. I got 5 of 8 in the first round of my original bracket(Colorado, St.Louis, Boston, Isles and Carolina…although I admit I only picked Carolina because I was rooting for them…I didn’t think they would actually win).

Matthew Zator(@SwaggyCanuck): I would like Columbus or Carolina to win the Cup. My bracket was busted when Tampa was eliminated, I had them winning it all!

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): Columbus Blue Jackets. Would love for Torts to win another cup and especially with his brief yet colourful history with the Canucks.

Brieann Knorr(@BrieannKnorr): Well, my bracket got busted(thanks for nothing: Tampa and Calgary!), but I have to take Carolina in the East and Colorado in the West.

Me(@nucksaid): In general, I don’t make a bracket, but I do make a few predictions every year for each round with my family. I did predict a few upsets, but Tampa was the one I got wrong…I knew Columbus would be a challenge but expected it be 6 games with Tampa prevailing; full credit to Columbus on that series. As for the playoffs, it’s been said by some that the season is waste with all of the upsets in the first round BUT personally, I think it’s been great to see. Sure, it would’ve been great to see Tampa follow up their historic season with a great run, but you can’t say that seeing underdog teams like Columbus and Carolina go on runs isn’t exciting. Unpredictable maybe, but it’s entertaining as all get out. As for who I’d like to see win it all, if I can’t root for my Canucks, I can’t help but root for Carolina; what they’ve done this year to truly make the sentiment “hockey is for everyone” actually true, has been remarkable.

4)With there being 6 Canucks now officially announced as taking part in the World Championship, will you be watching the tournament?

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): Unless I find a feed somewhere, I don’t think I’ll see much. I’m interested in how the Canucks players do and I’ll look to see the scores but that’s about it.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Absolutely. With or without Canucks.

Jeff A. (@TheGamerJeff91): I do want to but with the time differences, I really can’t.

Jon (@EaglesNucksFan): I’ll try!

(@Grampahockey1): Absolutely.

Dave Noordam(@DaveNoordam): I’ve always watched the World Championships regardless of if Canucks are represented because I love international hockey…but I will always root for Canada first(go Stecher!), then Sweden(go Petey & Marky). As much as I like Hughes and Demko, I can’t cheer for team USA.

Matthew Zator(@SwaggyCanuck): Definitely! Any chance I can get to see more EP40 and Quinn Hughes.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): Sweden highlights for sure!

Brieann Knorr(@BrieannKnorr): Because of the time difference, I don’t think I will be watching any, but I will be keeping my eye on the tournament and seeing how all of our Canucks do.

Me(@nucksaid): More chances to see a few Canucks still playing hockey and to watch mroe hockey in general? It’s not even a question, I’ll be watching as often as I’m able and taking in any Canucks highlights.

5)With many young players taking steps forward this season, who are you most excited to see take another step further in the upcoming season?

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): The obvious choices are the progression of Boeser, Pettersson and to see how Hughes is going to do. I am also looking forward to see the progression of Kole Lind. I remember him being a possible first round pick who fell to the second round. I think he’ll have a really good year in Utica, then make the team the year after. Kole Lind’s continued development will help to ease the worry about development.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Boeser and Petey are the obvious choices, but I am curious to see if Hutton or Stecher have another gear in them or if Jake comes back as a legit number 2 winger.

Jeff A. (@TheGamerJeff91): It will be interesting to see Petey’s second season in Vancouver. I’m excited to see what Brock does though with a healthy off season, that should be interesting.

Jon(EaglesNucksFan): Hughes. We got a glimpse of what he can bring to the table at the end of the season. Another summer/training camp for Quinn will be very beneficial.

(@Grampahockey1): Has to be Jett Woo.

Dave Noordam(@DaveNoordam): I’m most interested to see if Brock can build upon this season and a full healthy summer, and to see if Petey can avoid the sophomore slump.

Matthew Zator(@SwaggyCanuck): I am excited to see Pettersson take another step and Hughes. I am looking forward to seeing Hughes for a full season.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): Jake Virtanen. I believe he is trending in the right direction and if he stays healthy playing close to 75-games, could hit the 20-goal mark next season; an all around contributor to the success of the team.

Brieann Knorr(@BrieannKnorr): I want to see how Petey follows up his amazing rookie performance! It’s crazy to think that he’s not even in his prime yet, and I think we’re going to see something very special next season.

Me(@nucksaid): After getting to see a glimpse of what Quinn Hughes can do in the final 5 games of the season, I can’t wait to see what he can bring to a full season. Also excited to see a follow up from Pettersson’s rookie season and if he channels his inner Bure all the way into his second year. And who else can’t wait to see what Brock can bring with a full healthy off-season come October? (Also can you imagine even more OT hockey featuring Petey, Boeser and Hughes?!)

6)What is one thing you’d like to see the league improve upon?

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): Officiating. While I’d like the league to call the rules, I’d also like it be more consistent. I don’t know to fix that but that’s what I’d like.

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Point system. Go to the 3 point system. 3– win, 2– OT win, 1– tie (and yes ties are okay), 0– loss of any kind.

Jeff A. (@TheGamerJeff91): There are many things. Major changes to the waivers system is one. Though, I have to go with better and more consistent officiating. It’s a league wide issue and hurting the integrity of some of the games.

Jon (EaglesNucksFan): Player safety. Way too inconsistent and we need to protect the athletes.

(@Grampahockey1): Consistency in penalty calling, especially goal-tender interference, but I hold little hope with the league having the will to fix it.

Dave Noordam(@DaveNoordam): I would like to see a change in the draft and playoff format, and link the 2 together. My ideal situation(when there are 32 teams) would have teams 1-5 in each conference get in(regardless of divisional standing). Then there would be 4 play in games: 6 vs. 13, 7 vs. 12, 8 vs. 9, and 10 vs. 11. The highest 2 seeded winners would get the 6th and 7th seed, and the 2 lower seeded winners would play one more game with the winner getting the 8th seed.

As for the draft, teams 14-16 in each conference(teams who don’t get to play the ‘play in games’) will get to pick 1-6, to be chosen randomly with each getting an EQUAL shot at number 1. The 4 losing teams in each conference from the first set of play in games will get to pick 7-14, again, randomly chosen with EQUAL odds. After the first round of the playoffs, the 8 losing teams will be randomly selected(again for equal odds) for the picks 17-24…so if the President’s Trophy winner is ousted, they could pick as high as 17. After the second round of the playoffs, the 4 losing teams get to pick 25-28, again randomly selected. After the third round, the 2 losers would get to pick 29th and 30th(once again randomly selected). The last two picks will be the Stanley Cup winner at 32 and the runner up at 31.

I really feel this is the only way to avoid teams tanking or certain “fans” clamouring for the team to tank. The only negative thing is it would effectively kill the trade deadline(dealing for picks only) and force teams to make mostly hockey trades(which is good but there will be far fewer trades).

Matthew Zator(@SwaggyCanuck): I would like them to improve upon the officiating and the overtime format. I would really like the shootout to be eliminated and have them play 3-on-3 until a goal is scored.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): Consistency in officiating. Also, if the Canucks are a lottery team again…the transparency in the draft position lottery, similar to the NBA.

Brieann Knorr(@BrieannKnorr): Without question, goalie interference and consistent reffing.

Me(@nucksaid): Consistency in officiating and from the NHL Player Safety department. Infractions and their punishment shouldn’t be redefined based on the player or from game to game; it should be consistent regardless of who the player is or the team they play for, league wide.

That’s it for this edition of the Canucks Round Table! If you’d like to take part next time or down the road as we work our way through the off season, OR if you have a question that you’d like included in the NEXT round table; find me on twitter(@nucksaid) or send me an e-mail(nucksaid@gmail.com). Special THANK-YOU to each and every person that took the time to be a part of this Round Table! [And if you’re not already following this group on twitter, please find their twitter handles above!]

As always, until next time nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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Vancouver Canucks: Calder Consideration

It was speculated all season long but now it’s officially official: Elias Pettersson has been nominated for the Calder Trophy. He’s up against Jordan Binnington(St.Louis) and Rasmus Dahlin(Buffalo), two players who have also made quite a mark in their own rookie seasons for their respective teams.

This post however is all about Pettersson. Not to take away from either of the other candidates, but what Pettersson did for the Canucks was remarkable. From the moment he was drafted in 2017, his doubters and critics were convinced he was the wrong choice. Last season, he racked up all the records playing in Sweden and turning heads but still leaving many wondering if he could translate that success in the NHL. He changed the mindset of his early critics from the media to the fans and that of his teammates as he eased into the first year of his NHL career with the poise of a veteran.

From his very first game, he hushed any doubts that anyone had about him being able to play in the league. Every game when he was on the ice, whether he scored a goal or not, his vision of the game was something to behold. Every shift, he had fans on the edge of their seats, and every goal/assist scored, he brought them to their feet.

Can we talk about his FIRST NHL goal and the reaction he had to hearing the crowd’s thunderous ovation?

Or how about that magic he dished to Boeser against the Avs when he channeled his inner Sedinery? I have to tell you, being in the arena for this game and witnessing Pettersson’s 5-point night was all kinds of incredible.

Or his penalty shot goal vs. Nashville?

Or his first career hat trick that included the OT game winning goal?!

Or the fact that as a rookie, he had THIS move in his shootout arsenal?!

Insane, yes? Pettersson plays with a quiet confidence and energy that he passes along to his teammates. His confidence was contagious among his teammates and re-ignited a hope for the team’s future among the fans.

Those are only a few of a myriad of Pettersson highlights this past season. What an incredible opening to his career, giving Canucks and hockey fans a glimpse of what’s to come. This is only the beginning, the kid is something special. When it comes down to the award, I hope that it’s Pettersson’s name being called in June but it’s a tough competitive trio this year yet again. Whether he wins the Calder or not, he made Canucks fans beyond proud with his inaugural season.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: Through The Looking Glass

There are a lot of things you can say about the Vancouver Canucks and the fact that their season has once again ended before the post-season. And trust me, I’ve heard that and many other takes on this season, largely leaning towards the negative. And I’m sure there will be many more that debate the season that was, just remember that those debates do not tell the whole story. So yes, in summary while there are no playoffs, there were still some great moments and glimpses of what is to come in the near future.

This season was one that most wrote off before the puck had even dropped. Many said that without the Sedins, the season would be a lost cause. Yes, the season has come to an end but it was not a write off or a lost cause. This season was all about growth and development of the young core. This season was a massive step forward, one that saw the youth lead the way and ignite passion back into Canucks nation.

For myself, rather than focus on the draft lottery that is out of my control I’m going to look back on some standout and personal favourite moments from this season. Let’s start at the beginning, the first goal of the year scored by none other than rookie sensation, Elias Pettersson:

His first goal, on his first shot in his first game. It was thunderous in the arena when he scored that goal. The crowd loved it and his reaction to hearing his name being chanted by the crowd was priceless. To say, he set a high standard and lit hope anew in Canucks fans is putting it lightly.

October was also memorable because it marked bringing my Grandpa to his first ever Canucks game. He got to pick the opponent and chose the game versus the Boston Bruins.

What a game that was! The Canucks won with an overtime goal from Bo Horvat. It’s a game and a goal that my grandpa STILL talks about 6 months later and is already planning coming up for another one! It’s a game that I’ll always remember and carry with me.

November 2. How can we forget about that epic back and forth game between two young teams? A night that saw Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser combine for NINE points in a 7-6 OT win. Down 5-6 in the final minutes, Pettersson did what he does best, dug deep, got what seemed like an impossible goal, bringing that crowd to their feet…not to mention that BANK pass goal set up for Boeser that screamed SEDINERY:

And what about that penalty shot goal versus Nashville?!

Sensational right? Crazy to think that prior to the season many wondered if he could have success at the NHL level. Any doubters have since been silenced by his finesse on the ice.

Hat tricks are always a treat to see AND Canucks fans were treated to not one BUT two from two of their most promising players in Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson. Boeser scored his second hat trick versus St.Louis when him and Pettersson combined for EIGHT points. Pettersson’s first career hat trick capped off an overtime victory versus Ottawa. Their chemistry on and off of the ice this season has been a treat to see develop.

Games against Toronto on home ice are always entertaining and bring out a crowd that is usually 50% Canucks fans and 50% Leafs fans. This year did not disappoint, it was a very split crowd. For 40 minutes the Leafs were in control, until the Canucks found a way to tie it due to a stellar performance from Markstrom and setting up an exciting overtime game winning goal from Alex Edler.

Speaking of Edler, I know he takes a lot of heat from fans but nothing can take away from him becoming the ALL-TIME leading scorer on the blue line in Canucks history and surpassing fellow Swede, Mattias Ohlund in the franchise record book. He’s given a lot to this team over years and that should be noted and appreciated.(Heart and soul player).

Another heart and soul player that gave his all was Chris Higgins. He scored some memorable goals during his time here and it was a pleasure to get the chance to meet him and talk about his time as a player.

One of my favourite parts of the season is always getting to see the Canucks play on/around my birthday. Every year, we pick the game that is either on my birthday or closest to it, and my family gets geared up and attends the game. This year was no exception. As per tradition, we got tickets, and another birthday was spent in the rink.

Win or lose, I always enjoy the game. This year was no exception with a great pace, an electrifying OT session followed by a shootout that featured THIS ridiculous #DekeyPete goal:

It may not have been the winner BUT THAT GOAL IS ALL KINDS WIZARDRY. How many players will try that Forsberg move their first year in the league?!  As if that goal wasn’t enough to make the game memorable, THIS happened:

(You know your favourite team gets you when their birthday surprise for you includes a signed puck from your favourite player!).

We have to talk about the continued progression of Bo Horvat who has evolved from his draft year into a true leader on and off this season. This season he picked up the mantle left behind by the Sedins and carried it proudly and set a new career high in points(61). Every interview, every game, in the community, he was the epitome of a class act and embraced the role as captain even without the official title. (It’s pretty unanimous among Canucks nation that he will be named the next Captain of the team).

Elias Pettersson brings the arena to his feet every single time he makes a dazzling play but he’s not the only rookie turning the heads and hearts of Canucks fans. Highly tauted Quinn Hughes made his debut over the final games and gave the fans a glimpse of his ease skating, playing with/without the puck, and quieted any question of whether he was ready to jump to the NHL level. The best part since he debuted, was seeing him with Pettersson and Boeser in overtime dominating in breathtaking fashion…I could definitely get used to seeing those three play together for years to come!

This post wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about Markstrom taking his game to a new level this season, particularly since December. It was remarkable to see him embrace his position and tune out the critics. He kept the Canucks in many games, like one of his final games of the year versus Dallas in which he made 46 saves INCLUDING 8 in the shoot out. His progression has given the Canucks room to not rush Thatcher Demko as he continues to grow in his game. By the end of the season, Demko seemed to have settled in and looks to take another step forward next season.

How fitting is it that Elias Pettersson scored the Canucks opening and closing goals of the season? Full circle for the Calder leading rookie.

Sure the season was far from perfect but it was a massive step forward that saw competitive games down the stretch and gave a glimpse of a very promising future for the team’s new emerging core. The future looks bright, are you ready for what comes next?

Stay tuned for upcoming ROUND TABLE discussions, draft updates and coverage throughout the offseason! See you all at the Draft in June!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.