True Blue 2019 (Vol.2)

It’s that time of year again at NUCK SAID. Now that it’s officially the Vancouver Canucks off-season: True Blue 2019 is here. As has become an annual tradition that began in summer 2014, it’s time to put the spot light on YOU the fans and YOUR hockey stories! This is open to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans!

What does that mean? It means featuring YOU, the fans on the blog ALL summer long.  As we count down to the new season around the corner, it is time to share your Canucks/hockey stories and how you became a fan of this team, the game and what keeps drawing you in with no looking back.

I’m calling out to ALL Vancouver Canucks AND Utica Comets fans to share their stories. Whether you’ve been fan your whole life, or only a little while, whether you grew up in British Columbia or across the country or in the USA or across the globe, I would love to feature YOU and YOUR story as a part of this year’s series. We all have a different story as to how this game and the team captured us, but through it all we are all connected. Fan stories and experiences are some of my favourite hockey stories to share with you and since I’m asking for your stories, I will also share a part of my story.

If you’d like more details on how YOU can be featured in True Blue 2019, simply send me a message on twitter (@nucksaid) OR send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2019.

AND in case you missed VOL.1 of True Blue 2019: VOLUME 1

Without further ado, here’s the 2nd edition of True Blue 2019: My story.

“It’s only fair that as I am asking all of you to share your story with me, that I also share mine with all of you.

Growing up, in our house, watching hockey aside from the odd game here or there or during the Olympics/Stanley Cup Final, but overall was not a common practice. It was always kind of on my periphery until something clicked around high school. It was a neighbour and long time family friend who initially sparked my love for the Canucks and taught me much of the terminology and rhythms of the game.

There was a game on, and a few players caught my eye; the trio of Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison & Todd Bertuzzi otherwise known as “The West Coast Express” as I would learn, who played together with a finesse and speed. In that same game there was a particular duo who also took me by surprise with their insane ability to read plays to one another with a seamless no look communication: Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Even in their early playing days, they had something special whenever they played together.

And suddenly I was watching every single game, learning all the stats not just of the Canucks but stats from around the league and simply learning all I could about the game itself. And then the lockout hit..but after THAT, those Sedins elevated their game to another level, the likes of Bieksa, Edler, Kesler and Burrows emerged, Luongo joined the team and there was NO going back.

I found that I really enjoyed talking about the game any time I met another kindred spirit who also loved the game. Just ask my family, I was driving them crazy with my hockey talk. And when they realized it wasn’t a passing fad, I was gifted a Luongo jersey for my birthday(the jersey count is currently at 9…soon to be 10). It was my absolute favourite game day attire for as long as he was on the team and still makes an appearance each season as I’ll always be #teamLU.

Watching the games were great BUT when I finally got to see my first LIVE game, it took my love of hockey up another level. It was pure magic from the pre-game warm-ups to the anthems, to puck drop to final buzzer.

There’s something truly spectacular about watching a game from start to finish with 18,000+ other fans. We all become one it that arena, and it’s unbelievable.

From the start, my love of the game of the game and the team has only grown exponentially. From merely watching the odd game to never missing a game to making it an annual tradition of attending a game on my birthday to becoming a partial season ticket holder, it’s been an unforgettable transition.

I’ve been incredibly blessed over the years from experiencing attending games to meeting some of my all-time favourite players, but I have to say that the connection I’ve made with fellow Canucks/hockey fans over the years has been one of the best parts. Whether it’s been through simply being a fan, or via this blog/social media, connecting with other fans over this game that connects all of us will always be something that I’ll hold dear. I know that hockey fans won’t always agree about certain things but that’s okay, in fact many times, it acts as a way for me to see the game or their team from a fresh perspective. I love seeing the different ways that each person’s team and the game itself draws them in.

For me, it was slow and then all at once, hockey became so much more than just a game to me and the Canucks have become more than just a team.

Here’s to the season just around the bend and seeing Pettersson & Co. thrive when the puck drops in October and seeing the Sedins have their jerseys retired in February!–S.E.L.”

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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2019 NHL Draft Rewind

The 2019 NHL Draft has come and gone, and boy was it memorable! Can you believe it’s already come and gone?! I’m still re-living the magic of it all.

I’m not sure what I expected from the NHL Draft, but to say it was a whirlwind is putting it lightly. This is the first year I’ve had to privilege of attending the draft in person as the Canucks were hosts to the event. Prior to this year, I’ve only ever watched it unfold on TV or following along on social media, and I’ve got to say that seeing it all happen LIVE was something incredible to witness.

I remember the moment the NHL announced that the Canucks would be the host for the 2019 NHL Draft, and immediately I knew I had to attend. In fact, I texted my friend, Brieann and my sister and told them in uncertain terms that WE were going. Not that we should think about it, but that we HAD to go. It was non-negotiable. Their reactions were to say that absolutely we WILL go! And so this post will be purely seen from the fan perspective behind the scenes of the magic that was the NHL Draft.

Attending the draft, was a plan in the back of my mind for the entirety of the 2018-19 NHL season as we waited to hear the details of the draft and the availability of tickets. It felt like an eternity before any ticket information was available and once released, we made sure to secure our seats.

When I told people I wanted to go the Draft (& then that I was going), they told me it would be all kinds of boring. The Draft has always fascinated me and to have the opportunity to see it up close was something I had to do.

 

Hello Rogers Arena, the NHL Draft looks good on you.

DAY 1: Round ONE.

Walking into the arena and seeing the tables and stage set up. you could feel the electricity of what was about to happen. There was a buzz in the air. We found our seats and I was ready to take all the notes as we waited to witness history.

Shall we start with the part when John Shorthouse came out and announced that: “Hello folks, we have a trade to announce…” which brought immediate intrigue from the crowd for a brief moment before we all realized he was of course kidding. And then he gave us one of the worst kept secrets: ALEX BURROWS will be inducted into the Ring of Honour during the Canucks upcoming season. I cannot think of a more deserving candidate, especially in a season that will feature the Canucks retiring the Sedins’ jerseys.

And then came Gary Bettman and the overwhelming boos. It’s no secret that many fans, and a legion of Vancouver fans have a great dislike of Gary Bettman and they let it be known very LOUDLY, to the point of which we couldn’t hear a word he said during his introduction or when he walked away telling us that he’d be right back. Legit, because we couldn’t hear what he said due to the thunderous boos, we weren’t sure if he was even coming back to the mic or not. And then, it happened, he returned as did the boos, UNTIL we all realized that with him came the Sedins. Full credit to Bettman for taking all the boos in stride, and going with it. In fact, until I saw this video from the Canucks, it was impossible to know any part of what Bettman had actually said because of how loud it was from the booing and then the cheering for the Sedins:

SEDIN WEEK IS HAPPENING. Consider me officially booked for FEBRUARY! All the feels will be happening when #22 & #33 go up to the rafters. The Sedins may have hung up their skates, but they’ve left a permanent mark on the franchise and the fan base.

Onto the pomp and circumstance that is the opening round of the NHL Draft. Some will probably tell you that this was a very boring first round as there was very little drama with only one trade that merely involved a swap of picks. BUT, more about that later, let’s get straight to the beginning from walking into the arena and seeing the official Draft floor set to be the stage for many prospects have their dream become a reality.

It’s quite something to see each team go up as a group, call out the name of the player they’re drafting and to see the immediate of reaction of joy and relief come over that player and their family as everything they’ve worked for has become a reality. To no one’s surprise, it was Jack Hughes drafted first overall, followed by Kaapo Kaako.

And then came the Canucks with their selection. Not going to lie, I was anxious not about who they were going to select but because ALL day leading up to the draft they had been rumoured to be trading their pick both up/down. Instead of a Canucks trade, we watched the first 9 selections be made and then Stan Smyl announced the 10th overall pick: Vasily Podzolkin. There was a mix of uncertainty and excitement that met the selection, mostly because most people hadn’t had him on their list. I didn’t think he’d still be there at 10th but when you hear many commentators saying that the Canucks got a steal with this pick,  you know it’s one to be excited about.

A few other highlights from the first round included: Martin Brodeur announcing New Jersey’s pick and Shea Weber announcing Montreal’s pick. Then there was the absolute surprise and perfect reaction from Moritz Seider when Detroit announced him as their pick. Oh and can we mention how Wayne Gretzky was on hand with the Oilers when they announced their pick but that fact went unannounced. Each time Bettman spoke, he was met with loud “boos” with the exception of when he made the ONE trade announcement of the evening between Arizona and Philadelphia: “Oh, now you like me.” (Credit to Bettman for handling the heavy dislike with humour).

It’s always fun at events like these to connect with fellow Canucks fans and meet a few new ones:

DAY 2: ALL THE THINGS.

If people were unhappy with a quiet trade front on Day 1, they weren’t disappointed on a very active Day 2 with many trades including 3 pretty significant ones!

Changes from Day 1 is that instead of Gary Bettman making the announcements, it was Bill Daly(*Deputy Commissioner).

My sister Abi joined us for Day 2:

For those of us in the building and in our seats early before the draft began again, we were witness to all the madness that was buzzing on the draft floor with most GMs in constant rotation from table to table. Not going to lie, I felt a little on edge with nerves watching the action between all the tables on the draft floor. In fact before rounds 2-7 began, we got to our seats early and looked to the left of our seats to see Mike Babcock on what looked to be a pretty intense phone call. Moments later, we saw Bob McKenzie and his fellow reporters break on twitter that the Leafs had traded Marleau.

Around the same time that the Marleau trade broke, so did the news about PK Subban being moved. A lot of us at the draft were very surprised as he had seemed like a great fit in Nashville.

And of course, then there was the home town team trade: JT Miller from Tampa Bay. I know the Canucks took a lot of heat for this trade due to giving up a first round pick in the deal BUT I’m actually pretty stoked to see Miller join the team and give stability to either a line with Boeser/Petey or play on Bo’s wing. Time will tell how this deal works out, but I’m optimistic about seeing it play out.

All three trades while not officially announced until the Draft was once more underway, had broken on social media and spread very quickly. Aside from these three player trades, the rest of the trades were picks being swapped, but I lost track of how many trades made as I got caught up in the moment of the draft.

In fact, I didn’t even realize there were cameras scanning the crowd as I was so focused on the event itself and making sure that I didn’t miss anything important as I took ALL the notes: yes, I got caught taking all the notes. You know you love hockey when…

The Canucks went on to make 8(yes, EIGHT) selections on DAY 2: Nils Hoglander(#40), Ethan Keppen(#122), Carson Focht(#133), Artus Silovs(#156), Karel Plasek(#175), Jack Malone(#180), Aide Mcdonough(#195) and Arvid Costmas(#215).

A notable moment on Day 2 was one that happened in the 6th round. Nashville ran out the clock and used their FULL timeout before making their selection. It drew the ire of the crowd but hey, they got their player!

AND not to be forgotten, we got to meet Quinn Hughes!

Hughes was a class act. The line up was INSANE and yet he took a moment with EVERY single fan in that line.

Some may say it was a boring first day and a maybe a trade they wish the Canucks hadn’t paid the price on, BUT for me it was a weekend I’ll always remember. It was a weekend where I got to witness history, spend time with great company, make new friends, get caught taking hockey too seriously and had the time of my life!

Thank-you to Brieann and Abi for coming along with me and enduring all my note-taking. Thank-you, Canucks for hosting, I’ll never forget the magic that was the Draft weekend!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: #ThanksLUUUUUUUU

We all knew this day was coming sooner than later, but that doesn’t mean I was prepared for the official announcement from Roberto Luongo that he is officially retiring from the NHL.

And just as he always has, he gave us heart when he said good-bye to the game:

https://www.nhl.com/panthers/news/luongos-open-letter-to-the-fans/c-308071408

There are NO words that I can put together that will possibly ever come close to enough to express my thanks, but here we go:

LUUUUUUUUUUU,

What can I say that properly expresses the thanks that we owe to you in Vancouver. You gave your all to this city every single time you stepped onto the ice and between the pipes. During your tenure here, you ALWAYS gave the team a chance to win, every single time.

I’ll never forget the day the Canucks traded for you. You could feel a buzz among Canucks fans, igniting a hope for the future. You brought with you, a confidence and quiet determination and that was noticed by all your teammates. It was palpable. And with that first season in Vancouver, wow did you make the league take notice.

For me, the love of the game came on slowly and then suddenly all at once. That first year you were a Canuck, was the year there was NO looking back. In fact, when my parents realized how seriously I loved this game, they surprised me with YOUR jersey for my birthday. It’ll always be my favourite because it was the first jersey I ever owned and truly connected me to this game. 

Over 8 seasons, it was truly something spectacular to see you in your groove. And to hear the “LUUUUUUs” every game at home, was sensational, and you made many a LU-mongous saves for us to cheer for over the years.

From setting personal bests, to winning OLYMPIC GOLD ON HOME ICE to that breath taking 2011 to becoming the WINNING-est goalie in Canucks history. No one can ever take that away from you.

I’m sorry for how it seemed at times that this city blamed you for the ending in 2011 and seemed to turn on you at times. It wasn’t always fair, and you deserved so much better before your time in Vancouver ended. Maybe it didn’t end the way you envisioned, but just know that you have left an indelible mark on Vancouver and the NHL.

I’m forever grateful that we had one last time to see you play in Vancouver this past season and one  more time Rogers Arena filled with thunderous rounds of “LUUUUUUUUU”.

I hope that as you move forward with whatever comes next, that you know that you were appreciated and looked up to. I hope you realize how big an impact you had and will continue to have on the game of hockey.

Your career may have officially ended in Florida, but to THIS fan and many more in BC, you’ll forever be a Vancouver Canuck.

#ThanksLU for everything all the best in whatever comes next!

Sarah E.L.

 

2018-19 Season: And then it was DONE.

Can you believe it? Here we stand at the end of the 2018-2019 NHL season? Did anyone’s bracket survive all the playoff upsets? Congratulations to the St.Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins on one heck of a Stanley Cup Final and to St.Louis for winning their first ever championship. There’s nothing quite like seeing a team win their first championship, its pure magic. Enjoy every single moment St.Louis, you earned it!

If you had said with the way that Tampa Bay had dominated the regular season that they would be swept in the first round, not many would have believed that to be possible. The playoffs are their own beast to tackle, and as we’ve seen this year, can contain many surprises and incredible stories of endurance. From Columbus pulling off one of the biggest upsets to Carolina making it to the Conference Finals to Chara playing despite having a broken jaw to the St.Louis Blues for completing their incredible season with the storybook ending, it was a post season to remember.

Now begins my least favourite part of the year: the off-season. How do you get your hockey fix in the off-season? Do you watch the DaBeauty League featuring many current NHL players, AHL players, college/pro players? Or keep an eye on the Australian Ice Hockey League that takes place over the summer? Or do you prefer the take a full hockey break until the puck drops on the new season?

Hard to believe as quick as it came, the season has now ended. Sometimes it feels like the post-season never ends and then suddenly the end has arrived, and yet it all begins again with many young players arriving to to upcoming NHL Draft June 21st-22nd hoping to hear their names called as they take the next step in their hockey careers.

If you’re at the draft, I’ll see you there! Stay tuned here and on twitter(@nucksaid) for many draft updates and a behind scenes look at the draft!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

 

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.

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.