Vancouver Canucks: A Team Like That

“A team like that.” The quote that has been heard loud and clear all around town following the Canucks victory in their home opener over the LA Kings. A quote that seemed to spark a team and inspire a t-shirt campaign

It’s no secret that the Canucks have had their share of struggles the past few seasons and that in turn meant there were long stretches of hockey that were difficult to watch. It doesn’t mean that there weren’t some high lights or stand out moments BUT there were definitely some games and years that were down right painful.

YES, it’s early. YES, we should tamper our expectations as it’s merely November and they’ve been going through a bit of a tough stretch but have ended the slump with a big win versus Nashville! There’s no denying that this team feels different than teams in recent years. I’m not saying they’re going to win it all, it’s way TOO early for that type of prediction. I am saying that IF they continue to play the way they’ve started this season, they will get back to the post-season where anything can happen. Or maybe they just get close to the playoffs, whichever way this season goes, it’s been a very LONG time since watching the Canucks, even during tough their stretches was as fun as it has been so far this season.

Through 19-games(10-6-3), they’re playing in such a different way than in recent years. They’re playing as a team with all 4 lines plus the blue line contributing on a nightly basis. Goal-tending is giving them opportunities every single game. Special teams have been fantastic. In 19-games, they have scored 5 or more goals EIGHT times.Their goal differential is near the top of the league. Who knows if that stat will last but it sure is fun to see them in that discussion. The current top three teams in the Pacific(Edmonton, Arizona, and Vancouver) are all teams that were on the outside looking in at the end of the last season, how fun is that to see?

Good stretches will come and go and November will be a good test for them moving forward. Just two more home games before they head on the road for 6-games to close out the rest of November.

Can’t wait to see how the month closes out, and what rest of the season holds!

A team like that, indeed.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: Bo Captain, My Captain!

Bo captain, my captain! It’s a BO time! The best worst kept secret around town became OFFICIAL when the Canucks dropped the puck for their home opener on October 9th. Bo Horvat was named the 14th captain in franchise history.

And yes, I know this isn’t brand new information BUT between work and getting sick, it has taken me some time to process all that happened when this “secret” was announced.

I’ve said for the (AT LEAST) the last two years, that it would be Bo Horvat who would be the next captain after Henrik. Just ask my family, I constantly said it and I never wavered despite being told I shouldn’t be so confident in a decision that was a ways down the road. I can’t explain precisely why I was so certain it would be Bo, it was just a something I couldn’t shake. And when I would think about Bo eventually getting named captain, I just KNEW that somehow Henrik had to be involved in the moment. Again, I can’t explain why I felt that would happen, but again I couldn’t shake the feeling that’s how it was going to happen. And when it DID, it was everything that I hoped it would be!

It was a moment that was 6 years in the making. Before Henrik and Daniel retired, there were a lot of rumours swirling as to who could possibly follow in their footsteps. Bo Horvat was the natural choice. It was one of the few times that almost the entirety of Canucks fans was in agreement on something.

From the moment he made his debut 6 years ago, to his steady development both on and off of the ice over the years that followed, including last year when he was named to the leadership group, he has shown that he’s more than ready for this challenge. His first four years were spent under the leadership of Henrik and Daniel.

Last season, it was the right choice to not have a captain but rather a leadership group that would work together during a transition year. A year that would see the growth of the young core. This year is time for that young group to take a step forward towards the future, a new era.

WHAT A MOMENT IT WAS:

OH THE SYMMETRY.

October 9, 1970: Vancouver Canucks play their first NHL game.

October 9, 2010: Henrik Sedin named the 13th Captain in franchise history.

October 9, 2019: Bo Horvat officially named the 14th Captain in franchise history.

And in case, you wanted a deeper look into the official moment he was given the captaincy:

I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect way for the captaincy to be passed onto Bo. Since being named captain, the Canucks have a 5-1-0 record. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all. And can we talk about his PPG versus the Rangers?!l

Here’s to the rest of the season and a bright future!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Canucks Round Table (Vol.4)

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 4th edition of the Canucks Round Table feature on Nucksaid.

1)The Canucks are officially celebrating their 50th anniversary this season, which moment are you most looking forward to seeing celebrated?

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): All of them. It’s been a tough rebuild but we’ve slowly added the right pieces where I am finally comfortable having “expectations”. I feel we have upgraded every aspect of the game and the guys could really put something together if they gel and decide to play for one another. I feel like we have a chance to finally roll out three lines who can score and have pieces for a solid shut down line on the 4th.

(@tams3333): I am definitely most looking forward to Sedins’ retirement night!

Jenny Canuck(@getthepuckuout): It’s pretty hard to pick just ONE moment that I’m looking forward to. I am split between Burrows being inducted into the Ring of Honour or the Sedin jersey retirement night, but my heart’s leaning to the Dragon Slayer. Burrow’s grit and determination made him a fave for me. But ask me after the season ends, and my answer will be Pettersson leading us to the playoffs!

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): The Sedin number retirement is the most exciting part. There have been many great players over the 50 years. Many players have wowed me with skill or determination but these two players were truly unique. I used to consider them each half a star until Henrik lead the league in points. Daniel repeating the feat, the next year, cemented that each was star player. The Canucks honour them this year and soon the league will too.

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): I’m very excited to see the Sedins jersey retirement! I think everyone is. It’s gonna be an emotional night as we honour the two greatest to play in a Canucks uniform. As well, I’m excited for Alex Burrows night! Can’t wait to see the Dragon Slayer get a place in Canucks history!

Suleiman Damji(@Suleiman Damji): I’m looking forward to the Sedins week, including their jersey retirement.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): Watching Alex Burrows be inducted into the Ring of Honour. Burr is my all-time favourite Canuck. Played with his heart and soul for the city of Vancouver. 2011 playoffs…Dragon slaying goal is my all-time Canucks memory. Met him in person and he is a super nice, humble guy. I’ll be wearing my signed Burrows jersey that night!

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): Definitely Sedin week. I also love that they’re honouring Bure, since he’s a big part of why I started following the Canucks in the first place!

Me(@nucksaid): Bo officially be awarded the captaincy(THAT WAS A MOMENT!). Pettersson, Boeser, Hughes & company continuing to grow together as a core. BURROWS night. SEDIN WEEK. Seeing a consistent swagger in the Canucks game play on a nightly basis, that could potentially get them back to the post-season.

2) The new season IS here, what are your expectations for the new season?

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Anything less than the playoffs will be a bust. I anticipate winning at least one round in the post-season and having everyone whiplashed with “where did these guys come from?”

(@tams3333): I’m hoping fighting for a playoff spot, and clearing out some players to make space for the young guys.

Jenny Canuck(@getthepuckuout): The announcement of Bo Horvat as our next captain is something we’re all ready for. It symbolizes a new era for the Canucks and I couldn’t be more optimistic. Pettersson is elite and will grow even more. We have goal-tending, we have scoring, speed, attitude(Roussel and Ferland are two faves), and defence. We’ll just get better and better and better. I expect this to be the most exciting year since 2011 and don’t doubt it’ll be a great trip.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I’ve watched videos, I’ve read articles that tell me the team is improved but not enough to make the playoffs. I am hoping for a playoff birth. While the season has started slow, I’m still optimistic, I’m expecting some overachieving – the playoffs.

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): I am expecting a better season than last year. I think playoffs are a big possibility with this team. I like the new additions to the blue line and Michael Ferland is gonna be a key piece for the grit and the goal scoring. I’m fairly optimistic that this season will be an exciting and a memorable one.

Suleiman Damji(@SuleimanDamji): The Canucks are going to have a great season this year and I could see them back in the playoffs.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): I truly believe the Canucks will make the playoffs and end the 5-year drought. Pettersson hitting the 80 points mark. Boeser hitting 30 goals. Horvat taking the torch from Henrik as the Captain, officially ushering in the new era of Canucks hockey. Hughes showing us high end skating, intelligence and compete level on a nightly basis. Markstrom proving himself to be a Top 10 goalie in the NHL.

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): I really thtink that the playoffs could happen this year. My current thoughts are that we make it to the first round, which would be a great experience to get our feet wet. I also look forward to seeing the young guys continue to grow! My expectation for myself are to go to at least 2 home and 1 away games, and watch as many as I can :).

Me(@nucksaid): My expectations for the season is the young players thriving together, the entire team finding a special chemistry together under the leadership of Bo. Pettersson finding yet another level as the season moves further along. Boeser hits 30 goals. Markstrom and Demko have a rock solid season together.

3) Pettersson lit up the l​eague last season, what do you think he does this season to follow up his memorable rookie season?

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): He’s a smart player. Reminds me of H.Sedin. I anticipate a steady increase over the next couple of years. If Ferland can find a groove on this top line, it will create space and confidence like Boeser and Petey have never had before in a Vancouver Uniform.

(@tams3333): I think people are going to be all over Petey this season and he is going to learn to fight through it. I’d predict a 70 point range.

Jenny Canuck(@getthepuckuout): Pettersson is so driven that he will always push himself to improve no matter what. He’s not only going to light it up but will play a game that most won’t believe. His vision, his accuracy…we have an elite player that will make us contenders for years.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): I’m looking for Pettersson to continue. All the projections I read suggested 30+ goals and 70-80 points. That sounds good to me. The real achievement is doing this while teams are matching against him.

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): I think Pettersson will have a good season. I don’t want to place any expectations on him as he’s got a lot on his plate already.

Suleiman Damji(@SuleimanDamji): I think that Pettersson is going to have an even better year than he did last season.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): 30 goals, 50 assists. Lead by example on a nightly basis with his compete level, tenacity and hunger to get better.

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): I’m looking forward to seeing what he can with a (fingers crossed) healthy season, since he did have the knee injury and concussion last year. I think he’ll continue to have steady and solid production while dazzling us as only he can.

Me(@nucksaid): Pettersson is a special player. Every time I get the chance to see him play, his skill takes my breath away. It’s unbelievable what he can do at this early stage of his career. We’ve just begun to see what he can do, as he continues to push himself, I think we see him hit many milestones over the years as his career progresses. How lucky are we to get to witness it?

4)Quinn Hughes gave us a glimpse of what he could do in the final 5 games last season. Will he challenge his brother Jack for the Calder?

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): When Boeser had his first season, we were warned, “Don’t expect too much! He may not even make the team.” When Petey joined the team, we were told once again, “Don’t expect too much. He’ll be a winger at best but won’t see any real centre minutes for some time.” I am starting to think the experts are guessers. I, not unlike what I predicted with the other two mentioned on this one, expect Hughes to be a world class talent and turn heads right away. I also anticipate a rejuvenated Tanev who will play like we haven’t seen in some time.

(@tams3333): I think that Quinn will do well offensively but need some time to figure out how to be in the dirty areas defensively and it will be an adjustment. I think he will need some time and patience.

Jenny Canuck(@getthepuckuout): Hughes’ moves…that man has the fanciest feet. Man, can he skate! He might just challenge Jack as he’s got experience Jack doesn’t even though it is only a handful of games. I think he’ll have more confidence because of his teammates too. I think I’d even bet money on it.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): Quinn is getting his minutes and the points will come as the team starts scoring. He will do well and get hype. I expect him to be in the conversation but it is rare for defenders to win. His competition is really high, so I have my doubts about him winning. If he can just get nominated, that will be an amazing run of draft picks.

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): I honestly think so! I think that storyline will be amazing to follow. Even if he doesn’t win it, it would be nice to have a Canuck as a finalist for 3 years in a row.

Suleiman Damji(@SuleimanDamji): Yes, I could definitely see Quinn Hughes challenge his brother for the Calder trophy.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): Yes, absolutely, Quinn should be in the conversation for the Calder by the end of the season. Defensemen are always at a disadvantage for winning this trophy compared to fowards/centres because goals are always valued higher than assists.

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): I believe Quinn will definitely be in the running for the Calder. He’s so very talented, but I’ve also gotta think that there’s some element of brotherly rivalry and competition with Jack going on as well!

Me(@nucksaid): Quinn Hughes. Another special player. The kid CAN SKATE…his puck handling skills are fun to watch, he’s got incredible confidence, and how about that rocket of a shot from the point? WHAT A GOAL for his first ever in the league! I think it’ll be a fun back and forth to watch between him and Jack as well as the rest of this season’s rookie class. It’d be quite something to see a Canuck nominated for the third year in a row IF it happens!

5) Henrik and Daniel will further cement their place in Canucks history books, when they have their jerseys retired during Sedin week in February. What was/is your favourite Sedin memory? Why?

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Their entire journey as Canucks. I’ve been a fan from day one. Their “dancer” commercial may stand out as my favourite moment however when the other NHLers ordered “twins”. LOL.

(@tams3333): The Viking clap was very special and their last home game. It could not have been any better.

Jenny Canuck(@getthepuckuout): Haha, my fave fun moment was Henrik Sedin and Dustin Brown getting tangled up, Brown’s face right at Henrik’s butt…it still makes immature me laugh! BUT my ultimate fave moment was the last game. I cried. The Sedins were ours for their entire career. They are gentlemen, kind and community driven. There is so much to love and respect about them, I picked the last game for all those Sedin things that happened during it. 22 and 33 could not have shown up more on the board or the clock. And the cycling for the overtime goal from Daniel…excuse me a minute…tearing up again.

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): My favourite moment was the game when Henrik took the scoring title. An amazing touch/pass/redirect to Daniel who does an amazing between the legs shot! This accomplished something that no Canuck ever did before. This marked for the league that the twins were themselves, stars. This play is just a magical sequence for me.

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): My favourite moment is between two moments. The game when Hank sealed his Art Ross trophy and the Sedins final home game. Both stand out as amazing moments in their careers and highlights for the fans.

Suleiman Damji(@SuleimanDamji): My favourite Sedin moment was when Henrik reached the 1000 career points milestone.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): Henrik Sedin’s quadruple OT goal against the Dallas Stars in the 2007 playoffs. I wanted to go to bed. lol

A very close second is Daniel Sedin’s OT winner against the Arizona Coyotes for their final Canucks home game because my family and I witnessed it live. I imagine that’s a pretty close feeling to winning the Stanley Cup based on the fan’s reactions of joy at Rogers Arena.

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): I think it’s just the legacy that they have already, rather than one memory in particular. In my mind they’re still very much the heart and soul of the team and I’m glad that the jersey retirement is happening to be a tangible reminder of this.

Me(@nucksaid): OI VEY. How do I simply pick JUST one moment? The Sedins have defined SO many of my years as a fan but I’ll say a few. Henrik’s quadruple OT goal vs. Dallas in 2007. Daniel’s between the legs goal vs. Calgary that sealed Henrik’s Art Ross in 2010. Henrik Sedin penalty shot goal on MY birthday in 2013. Henrik scoring his 1000th career point vs. LU(that was all kinds of special to see LIVE). But perhaps my most favourite is torn between when I finally MET them AND when my sister and I had our seats upgraded for their FINAL home game and were able to witness that FINAL act of Sedinery from right behind the class. BEST seats I’ve ever had and a moment that I’ll remember every second of, for always. (***Their jersey retirement will definitely be added to this list when it happens).

6) Any bold predictions for this next season for the Canucks or the league in general?

Michael Coleman(@1MichaelColeman): Canucks win at least one round in the post-season, possibly two!.

(@tams3333): I think our boys will be a bubble team for the playoffs and once they have a taste, there will be no looking back.

Jenny Canuck(@getthepuckuout): Yes. We are going to gel and improve in leaps and bounds by Christmas and make it into the playoffs. We all know once that happens, ANYTHING can happen!

Eric Bailey(@EBailey16): My hopeful optimistic take that the Canucks will be a playoff team is as bold as I get. As I learn more about advanced stats and read different evaluations, I mostly stop expecting the unlikely things to happen, I understand better why my team struggles but I have learned to hope for a season of anomalies, to over achieve. I hope for a PDO that is unsustainable to last a season. #GLCPC #gocanucksgo

Brieann Knorr(@ItsBrieann): Canucks make the post-season.

Suleiman Damji(@SuleimanDamji): The Canucks make it back into the playoffs.

Marc Josef(@marc_josef): The Canucks will qualify for the playoffs and have TWO All-Stars(Pettersson and Boeser) be voted for the All-Star Game. General league prediction would be…the Maple Leafs missing the playoffs!

Gabriella Smith(@wildestdreams_3): I’m not that good with predictions to be honest! I’m definitely #teamplayoffs thougth, so I’m just going to say we can and hopefully will make it this year. AND it that happens, I predict a home game ticket purchase on my part ;).

Me(@nucksaid): The Canucks make the post-season along with another team or two that make a return to the post-season.

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.

Are You Ready to BROCK and Roll?

Now that the deal is officially signed and Brock Boeser is officially returned to the Canucks, it’s time to take a different approach as I often do, than what I’ve seen making the rounds on social media the last few days.

Where do I begin? Here goes:

Dear Brock,

First, things first, let me say: congratulations on the new contract extension and welcome back!

I can still recall the 2015 NHL Draft and remember thinking there was no way the Canucks would be lucky enough to draft you at 23rd BUT then it happened! Shortly after the draft that year, the Canucks hosted a summer event where you and many of their prospects were in attendance and meeting the fans. You probably don’t remember this BUT when we met, first thing I said was “Welcome to the NHL”, and you told me “Thank-you, but I haven’t made it just yet.”, to which I said, “Well, I have a feeling that it won’t be long before you’re in the league FULL TIME.”

And here we are 4 years later, and you’re heading into your THIRD full season in the league. From a kid who didn’t know the kind of impact he could have to a Calder finalist, to a sensational player on the ice to an even better person off of the ice.

Maybe you didn’t realize the impact you would have or could have when you made it to the NHL but it’s been incredible to watch from the sidelines. There was a lot of anticipation among Canucks fans when you made your debut as we all waited to see how your game would translate to the league. Translate it did, scoring in your debut and then taking it up a notch in your rookie year giving fans a HUGE surge of hope with the ease of which you carry with you on the ice. (That hat trick against Pittsburgh on home ice was absolutely incredible to witness). And can we mention your NHL All-Star MVP status?!

It’s one thing to have favourite players who are great players but it’s something incredibly special when that talent is combined with an even bigger heart that sees beyond the game. Canucks fans are incredibly lucky to be able to witness your career from the beginning. So much more is yet to come.

It couldn’t have been easy to not only be waiting on your contract this summer but to also be worried about your dad’s health. Please know that as much as fans wanted you to come back to the team, we are ALL rooting for Duke, he’s a warrior and definitely deserved to be your priority. Some things are bigger than hockey.

Re-signing with the Canucks is a great moment for the franchise. Playing in this league is no easy feat but you’ve endured a lot along the way to get here, but there’s a place for you to leave an indelible mark and inspire so many more to follow your footsteps. From a top ranked prospect to a rookie taking the league by storm to hitting another stride with Pettersson to becoming an ambassador within the community.

If I could give you one bit of advice, it would be to not let the negative narratives bring you down, instead allow them to push you to prove them wrong. Over the course of your career, there will be good days and there will be tough days, but over the course of your career up to this point, you’ve already proven you can handle all of it. If you ever need an example of who to look to, look no further than Bo Horvat who is walking the path along side you, but also look back to the careers of Henrik and Daniel who defined the epitome of what it takes to endure in the NHL through the highs and the lows.

You came into this league, a kid from Minnesota living his dream and made this city that was beginning to spark again and ignited their hope with BROCK-star moves.

Here’s to the upcoming season about to start that will feature many BROCK this way moments and the continuation of a very promising future for you and the Vancouver Canucks!

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: Looking Ahead

Now that it’s September, that means it’s time to take a closer look at what’s coming up for the team as the season edges ever closer.

First things first: the Captaincy Conundrum. Will they or won’t they name a captain for the first time since Henrik Sedin retired in April 2018? It’s true that there are a few worthy candidate to follow in his footsteps, from Edler to Tanev to Horvat to Boeser to Pettersson. BUT there is ONE that stands out among the crowd: Bo Horvat. It’s one of a few things that the majority of Canucks fans agree on. It seems to be a matter of timing, so we will see what/when things unfold as the season nears. Mind you if they do name someone else the captain, I will still support the one who is chosen.

The Elias Pettersson factor. How will he perform in his sophomore season to follow up his Calder winning rookie season? From the work he has done to get himself ready over the summer, he looks poised to have a big year. Once the puck finally drops, we will get to see exactly how big of a next step he takes.

Quinn Hughes. We got a glimpse of what he can do over the final five games of the 2018-2019 season, and it was incredible to say the least. Can we talk about the OT shifts between him, Pettersson and Boeser? Think back on THAT magic vs LA and think about THAT for a FULL season. Are you ready?

Return of the dragon slayer. Need I say more? What a story Alexandre Burrows paved from a ball hockey player, to the QMJHL, to the AHL, to the NHL and a first line winger with the Sedins and knack for scoring timely goals. A versatile player who was able to play wherever he was asked and scored some of the biggest goals in franchise history. Pure determination and heart personified. Ring of Honour induction takes place on December 3, 2019.

SEDINERY will always be epic. It was never a question that Henrik and Daniel would be honoured with their jerseys being retired, it was merely a question of timing. A full week of celebration for two beyond deserving individuals. Class acts on and off of the ice. Legends that have forever left an indelible mark on the franchise. And in true Sedin fashion, as they have done everything in their careers, their jerseys being retired will be an honour that they receive together. #33 and #22 will go up to the rafters officially on February 12, 2020.

To think that this is only a taste of the excitement that’s to come this season. Lots to look forward to as every day gets us even closer to puck drop. Rookie camp followed by training camp and preseason AND then the fun BEGINS!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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.

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.