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 5th edition of the Canucks Round Table feature on Nucksaid.
Here we GO!
1)SEDIN WEEK arrived! What were you anticipating most, OR what was your favourite moment during the week? (Please note some answered this question BEFORE the retirement ceremony).
Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): I anticipated tears. I cry like a baby during every jersey retirement and I anticipate twice the tears this time. Hank is my all-time fav Canuck. It’s going to be one hell of a week.
Bure9610(@Nav87247842): I am very excited about this week. But the most exciting will be the number retiring ceremony. It will be nice to see some old, beloved Canucks there but I was living in Alberta when Pavel got his retired and I missed it. The main reason I got season tickets this year was for this moment.
Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I waited to respond as I wanted to see the Sedin week celebrations. The Wednesday game against Chicago was the pinnacle of Sedin week. Seeing all those gathered, hearing stories again about the Sedins, and seeing these jerseys go up to the rafters, I soaked up every moment I could. The ceremony before the game was well done. It did not feel long, it hit so many good notes in the speeches and the humour. The win helped make sure the good feelings from the ceremony hung on after the game.
(@ItsBrieann): I was beyond lucky to go to the jersey retirement game. Going into it, I was excited for all of it! The moments that stood out for me the most was the speeches by Juice and the Sedins. As soon as I heard that Juice was making a speech, I knew it wasn’t going to disappoint and man, was I right! I also loved the Sedins’ speech, they showed how classy they are and as a fan it filled with pride.
(@tams3333): Honestly, I don’t want to take away from the Sedins, but my favourite moment was the cheer for Kesler. Only the Sedins could bring together so many people who are at odds, and through subtle role modeling, point out the positives and promote healing and forgiveness. They are something so special to hockey. So many of the guests at the ceremony had tears in their eyes. It was magic.
Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): I loved how everyone came together to appreciate the Sedins. It’s great to see how universally loved the twins are.
(@CConway96): I am anticipating that buzz Vancouver had in 2010-2011. I think the way the Sedins left the game allowed them to really enjoy the stretch and let the fans have time to not only appreciate the twins but reflect on everything they have done for this team and city. I was lucky enough to watch them in Edmonton and give them a personal send off, the respect shown to them from the Oilers players and fans in attendance was magical.
Me(@nucksaid): SEDIN WEEK was WOW. I have been anticipating the retirement game since the moment it was announced and from the ceremony to the game itself, it exceeded all of my expectations. It had all the feels. From reuniting with ALL their former teammates to the twins choosing Chicago as their opponent, to the jerseys going up to the rafters to the BEYOND stellar performance by Markstrom, it was everything I could have wanted. And can we talk one more moment about how perfect that speech by Bieksa was? It had comedy, it had heart and he had the audience in the palm of his hand from the moment he started speaking. He’s gold and should definitely do more speaking things…(hockey night in Canada, you know what to do!).
2)With Alex Burrows being added to the ring of honour, and the Sedins having their jerseys retired this season, which other former Canuck(s) would you like to see the team honour and how?
Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Kevin Bieksa(@kbieksa3)- player/coach on the back end, mic’d and do commentary throughout the game. It could happen…right?
Bure9610(@Nav87247842): I truly believe that Bobby Lou should be included in the Ring of Honour. If McLean is up there, so should he. He is THE best goalie in the history of our franchise. I think he deserves it. If not for Torts, he would have stayed here. Kesler should also get some consideration.
Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): The two most kicked around names are Kesler and Bertuzzi. I could see both go into the Ring of Honour. Luongo should be celebrated but there is no rush and if he ends up in the Hall of Fame, then he should have his jersey retired. From the old days, Richard Brodeur and Tiger Williams would be interesting people for the Ring of Honour.
(@ItsBrieann): I would love to see Juice and Kes honoured in some way. After the responses they got on Sedin night, I think they deserve being honoured. Kes was huge for us during the 2011 Cup run and pretty much got us into the third round of the playoffs, and Juice deserves it because he got us into the Stanley Cup Final. You can see how much these two love the team and I think the should honour them back.
(@tams3333): Kesler. He has asked for forgiveness. He sacrificed his body and health to win for us. His heart is here, you can tell.
Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): Hmm, I’m not sure! I’d say Bure BUT he might already have his jersey hanging from the rafters :)!
(@CConway96): I have to go with one of my favourite Canucks of all time, Bieksa. I loved the way he showed up every game with an in your face attitude. He was the type of player you could connect with. I think his competitiveness helped push the team over the top and I know his sense of humour was a big part of the glue that held the team together. I believe he deserves to be up there with Burr among the guys that gave everything they had for this team on and off of the ice.
Me(@nucksaid): Luongo, Bieksa, Kesler. Luongo was THE best goalie in franchise history and that in itself deserves recognition and IF he goes to the Hall of Fame, even more so he deserves to be acknowledged. Not only did Bieksa score the goal that sent the franchise to their third Stanley Cup Final, he was a leader on and off of the ice, specifically his work to help shine a light on the importance of mental health awareness. Beyond Ryan Kesler going full on beast mode in the 2011 playoffs, he gave his heart and soul to the team and city when he played here, every single game. Did I hate the way he left? More than you know, it made me angry and broke my heart all at once. It took me a long time to be able to let it go, but I did. Letting go, allowed me to remember everything he did and gave to the team. I didn’t forget what he or how left and I’m not defending it, I’m simply saying that enough time has passed for me to move past it. And to be honest, the podcast that Juice & Kes do together has been a fantastic outlet for them to share their stories and memories and give the fans an inside look at what its really like to be a part of the every day NHL grind.
3)This season has been refreshing to see the team be competitive nearly every night, what has been the biggest surprise to you?
Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): I am surprised at how surprised we are every year. A few years ago Boeser was going to be lucky to make the team during pre-season and then went on to be MVP at the all-star game. The following pre-season, Pettersson was going to be a second line winger as best in his early years, until he was instantly the number one centre. Quinn Hughes was going to need to “earn minutes” and not expect PP time, until he was suddenly one of the most productive players on the roster. Can we stop that lowered expectations that are REALLY low each pre-season?
Bure9610(@Nav87247842): There has been a few pleasant surprises this year. From Gaudette’s emergence to Jake breaking out and Quinn’s rookie season, also Tanev staying healthy and a couple more. However the biggest surprise for me is JT Miller. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the trade the day it was made because I knew he would be impactful. But darn, I never saw this coming. coming. He is exactly what we needed and is proving a lot of doubters wrong. I love this trade now. He has everything possible int he tool bag and he brings leadership and playoff experience. Well done, JB!
Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): The biggest surprises for me has been the offender of Miller, the assists and defending I’ve seen from Boeser, the impact of Hughes, and the lack of injuries. While we’ve had some recently again, they haven’t been the same as past years and the team has filled in well when the injuries have happened so far. Markstrom continuing to provide great goal-tending is a surprise and a huge impact on the standings. I was hoping for Demko to get more starts but the way Markstrom has stolen games like the Chicago one, impacts the perception of Demko. He still has learning to do and this year is the big year for Markstrom.
(@ItsBrieann): The play of Jacob Markstrom. I saw glimpses of it last year, but this year, he has proved to me that he is a legit goalie in this league. He’s kept us in games or has won games outright for us. With everything that he’s had to deal with this season, it’s amazing to see how dialed in he is. I hope he can keep up this play for us down the stretch run.
(@tams3333): I thought that Hughes would be weaker defensively than he has been. I thought he would need a couple of years of development after watching him at world juniors.
Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): Markstrom. I knew he was a good goalie, but he has been incredibly solid and in my opinion, the MVP of this season. All of this while going through so much personal pain? Vezina AND Masterton material.
(@CConway96): I thought making the playoffs was a possibility this year but I did not anticipate the team making this big of a jump. Steady goal-tending has played a big role but I tend to lean towards JT Miller as the biggest difference this year. The way that Miller approaches the game is rubbing off on everyone. I am a strong believer that culture is just as important as having a lot of talent. The Canucks have the talent to be good but that confidence where you come in expecting to win has been the difference maker.
Me(@nucksaid): JT Miller. As excited as I was for him to join the team when the trade was announced, he has surpassed what I hoped he would bring to the team. He’s one of the hardest working Canucks every single time he’s on the ice. He’s embraced being a contributor and a leader and fully embodied what it means to be a Canuck both on off of the ice. Bonus surprise, the emergence of Jake Virtanen. He’s becoming the player I always envisioned since he was drafted in 2014.
4)Quinn Hughes, what an incredible season we’re witnessing from the rookie. We knew he was a special player but did you ever suspect that he could be as consistent as he’s shown this season?
Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): 100%. You only need to see 2-3 shifts of this kid and then you realize what you’ve got. And I suspect he will only get better.
Bure9610(@Nav87247842): I knew we had something special with Huggy and he was like a Petey on the back end. But he was my runner up for the last question. JT barely beat him out. But yeah he is amazing, I did not think that he was gonna be battling for the Rookie scoring lead. I also thought he would be more of a liability in our zone, but the kid has proven me wrong. This is just his first year. I can’t imagine how good he will be in the next couple of years!!
Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I did not expect him to get the opportunities he’s gotten. I did expect a Calder challenging year but I did not realize it would take this much to qualify for that. His numbers right now are a really good season, He’s still got more than 20 games to rack up points. Outside the counting stats, watching him skate, control the puck and manage the game still amazes me. He gets pressured and moves in a different way, suddenly creating space. His instincts with the puck and on defense is incredible. He skates back and takes the puck away from Patrick Kane. I expected to see some good offense from Hughes. I thought he’d get beat on some plays defensivelt and be overly criticized as he learns the game. Instead he’s battling Edler for the number one D job in his first year. Hughes is only going to get better.
(@ItsBrieann): Oh our rookies! I’ve been proven wrong 3 years in a row! No, I didn’t expect Hughes to be having the season that he’s been having. To be perfectly honest, I thought it would have been Jack Hughes leading the scoring race. Quinn has been a treat to watch this season and every game, I’m in awe of the fact that he’s on our team. He’s a special player and he’s only going to better, which is insane to think about.
(@tams3333): As mentioned above, I really thought he’d be good but I thought he’d be a work in progress, his patience is on another level. So smart.
Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): Honestly, I forget that he’s a rookie sometimes! His transition to the show was so natural. Super blessed to have this guy on the team.
(@CConway96): Quinn Hughes in unbelievable. His maturity at such a young age seems to play a big role in his success and consistency. What is hard to believe is that he will only get better and could go down as the best d man in franchise history.
Me(@nucksaid): QUINN HUGGY BEAR HUGHES! I knew he was going to be a special player BUT I never envisioned his transition to the NHL being as seamless as he has made it look. He’s making plays and creating space on the ice in ways I’ve not seen other defensive players make over the years and he does so with absolute confidence. To think that THIS is just the beginning of his career is just mind boggling that as he continues to grow, he will only get even better.
5)With the post season as a very real possibility, what would you like to see the team do down the stretch drive to the playoffs? (**some answered this before the Schaller trade).
Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Nothing. Rest. Plan. Bond. Make a run. Too early to go all in, but too deep in to take their foot off the pedal.
Bure9610(@Nav87247842): Honestly, I don’t really want them to do much. If we can shed some salary for next season that would be the best thing they can do. Unless we get someone that is very cheap. No one thought we would even make the playoffs, so everything after that is a bonus. I would take Simmonds only if we gave up VERY little and have him on the 4th line over Schaller. Simmonds, Beagle and Motte! Or maybe a cheap rental D-man just for this season. Other than that, I would just go with what we got. Ferland and Leivo are pretty much deadline acquisitions.
Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I have enjoyed the winning and the success the team has had. I don’t see any potential trades as helpful or a good idea at this point. Team growth is happening and this is good enough this year. This is a growth year for the Canucks young stars. The improvement from last year to this year was a bigger jump than I expected. I don’t see any of the trade pieces being what Vancouver needs and I’d rather see some prospects like Lind, Jaske and others get some opportunities if someone is needed. Defensively Rafferty, Juolevi and even Rathbone could play to see the NHL speed. None of these would help this year but they would continue the development. That is the real goal this year still.
(@ItsBrieann): I think the team needs to stay as healthy as they can. We’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had that many injuries this season, and yes I know right now we have key guys out. I think as soon as they get healthy, this team will get back to their winning ways.
(@tams3333): Personally, I don’t want them to be buyers. I want long term deep depth and cheap options if people have to go. Maintaining a great team long term IS possible.
Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): Stay healthy. Give it 100% every night. Do things to help out the goalie :).
(@CConway96): I would like to see the Canucks clinch a playoff spot as soon as possible. I say this because I think they need to take a look at their depth without risking the result of a game. Currently you see guys like Schaller and Eriksson in the line up because Green knows exactly what they will bring. I think a playoff run relies on depth and the depth hasn’t had much experience in games this year. We all know injuries happen and getting some games in for players like Bailey, Big Mac etc. would be helpful.
Me(@nucksaid): If I’m being honest, I don’t want to see a lot of change roster wise down the stretch drive. I want to see THIS group that has come together this season, our #TeamLikeThat get a real chance to show us what they can do. I want to stay healthy and continue to become a cohesive group, because once they get to the post-season, ANYTHING can happen.
6)Who would you like to see the Canucks face off against in the opening round of the playoffs?
Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Anyone. So much parity in the league that you just never know who is coming in hot or cold. Remember in 2012 when we “luckily” got LA and then they kicked our a** and won it all?
Bure9610(@Nav87247842): My first choice would be Arizona. But if they don’t make it, I’d like to play one of the Alberta teams. Mostly Edmonton.
Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): The Canucks facing any of Arizona, Calgary or Edmonton would be okay for me. I’d like to see Calgary and Edmonton play each other so that leaves Arizona and potential wild card teams. I do not want to face Vegas. That said the key in the playoffs is not team skill or defensive systems but the ability for the goalie to steal games. The rest of the team just has to be good enough. I could see if Markstrom is on his game, the Canucks can handle any of the first round teams.
(@ItsBrieann): I have no idea! No Calgary or Edmonton though.
(@tams3333): San Jose or LA would be nice but since we can’t have that then I would choose Edmonton but ideally Edmonton and Calgary will beat the snot out of each other in the first round and be tired in the second.
Gabriella Smith (@wildestdreams_3): Honestly, not sure! I think I’ll just be excited for postseason action (and hopefully my first playoff game EVER!).
(@CConway96): I’m going to be selfish here, I hope they play Edmonton since I live near there and could attend a couple of playoff games!
Me(@nucksaid): As much fun as an Alberta opponent would be, don’t we all want to see a full on battle of Alberta come April? For the Canucks, I don’t really care WHO they play in the first round, once they’re in, anything can happen and I just want to see them be a part of it again, its been far too long since we’ve had meaningful playoff hockey in Vancouver.
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 stretch drive towards the playoffs, 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(email@example.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.