Hockey’s BACK…!

Here we go, say it with me now, “HOCKEY IS BACK”. Yes, technically we are in the thick of the preseason, but it still counts! The NHL preseason is officially in full swing as the league prepares for the official start of the season on October 3rd.

Now begins the over analyzing of seasoned veterans as they compete to maintain their roster spots, while younger players and prospects are vying to snag or steal a roster spot and reveal those that still need time to develop.

For Canucks fans, it means a lot of of different things with a new season about to begin.

It means that we are getting a chance to finally witness the finesse on the ice of Elias Pettersson in a Canucks uniform. Is he the real deal, are we right to be excited for his future? Was his season last year in Sweden a one off or an indication of what lies ahead for his NHL career?

Will other prospects like Adam Gaudette. Petrus Palmu or Jonah Gadjovich thrive in the preseason?

Can Nikolay Goldobin find that much needed consistency to his game, can Elias Pettersson help him get there as they’ve shown to have a bit of chemistry in the preseason?

How will Brock Boeser follow up his successful rookie season? Will we see a sophomore slump or will all that hard work he put in over the summer pay off?

Will this be Jake Virtanen’s breakout year? He put in the work all summer, will it pay off on the ice and silence his critics?

With the Sedins now officially retired, who will step up into a leadership role and their scoring ways? Will the team go ahead and name a captain this season or elect to have co-leaders, waiting to name a captain until next season? Who will pick up the mantle of points they consistently put up each season?

Perhaps the biggest question for the Canucks is, will the team be able stay healthy for the season? If yes, perhaps they just might surprise a few people.

Preseason or not, NHL hockey is back and it feels OH SO GOOD. Enjoy the rest of the preseason as every roster edges closer to being finalized for puck drop on opening night.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Advertisements

Hockey Thoughts: What’s in a Game?

A new hockey season is nearly upon us and I’d thought I take a look at what is about this game that pulls us all in.

What is it that keeps bringing us back? Is it a favourite on ice or off ice moment that you can recall every second of? Is it your favourite team or your favourite player? Or is it a pure simple love for the game? Or is it all of that combined?

I know that the hockey world is far from perfect but there is something magnetic about this game when it captures your heart., there’s no going back.

I can still remember clear as day, seeing a glimpse of Sedinery when it was just beginning. I can still see that 72-save performance in game one of the 2007 playoffs against the Dallas Stars and hear that echo of the crowd when Henrik scored in the fourth overtime. I’ll never forget Alex Burrows emotional first game after Luc Bourdon had passed, and each goal he scored thereafter dedicated to LB with an arrow to the sky. No goal from Burrows was bigger than the one that finally slayed the dragon against the Chicago Blackhawks, it still gives me chills. And then coming oh so close to seeing the team finally hoist the cup in 2011, the heartbreak was real and deep…but rather than deter me from supporting the team, it made my support of them unbreakable. And then the moment more heartbreaking than witnessing the on ice heartbreak, just a few months later when I was reminded that hockey is more than a game, Rick Rypien lost his battle with mental health. It shattered my heart and reminded the hockey world once more that there was and still at times is a stigma when it comes to mental health awareness.

Witnessing Henrik Sedin score his 1000th NHL point on home ice in Rogers Arena, the entire crowd on their feet, the cheers were thunderous. One final act of Sedinery when the Sedins played their final home game and closed it in style with the overtime winner…a moment that was heartbreaking and breathtaking all at once. It was the end of an incredible era that spanned nearly two decades. And as one era ends, a new one begins lead by Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser.

There are moments that will always be a part of defining how or why I am a fan of the game and my team. Moments that I can recall so clearly. Moments that took my breath away and moments that have broken my heart. Moments that have pulled me in, in moments when I needed a break from reality. Moments that have pulled me into being a part of a family that spans the beyond my own city around the world, because as hockey fans, we are all united as one.

I asked on twitter, what is about the game that pulls YOU in, and here are responses that you sent in:

Yes, the hockey world isn’t perfect and there will always be those who say that different views mean that I’m not a “real” fan or possibly naive about the game or try to explain how to really be a fan. And that’s fine, no one said we have to agree on how to be a fan.  And you know what’s louder than those voices? Fans from far and wide, who yes maybe we don’t always have the same view BUT we have a respect for each other and even once in awhile teach one another new facets of this game that unites us. We all have our own reasons and definitions for how and why this game has pulled us in. Maybe it’s one moment, a series of moments, a favourite player, or a simple pure love of the game, or maybe it’s all of those things combined but one thing is certain; hockey is magnetic and there’s no going back once it draws you into the fold.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

One Last Time, Thank-you, BURR.

I knew this day was coming and yet it still hurt my heart to learn the news that Alex Burrows has officially retired from the NHL. Heart and soul every shift on the ice and off of the ice in the community.

When I used to tell people that I loved hockey and specifically the Vancouver Canucks and that Alex Burrows was my favourite player, I would get sneers of derision and without a doubt the followup question was always: “how can you root for such a pest? How can Canucks fans possibly root for a guy like Burrows?”

The answer is simple. How could I not root for him? An example of pure determination, constantly working towards his dream and achieving it despite the odds. Undrafted and never meant to make it in the NHL, forever left an indelible mark with a franchise with memorable goals and a massive heart.

From the outside, his opponents and opposition fans merely saw a pest but in Vancouver we saw him as an inspiration. Burrows defied the odds. Never drafted, worked his way up from the ECHL to the QMJHL to the AHL to the NHL. Even when he finally made it, NO ONE could’ve predicted what would occur. Most thought he’d simply be a 4th liner/pest to his opponents for the entirety of his career at best. I doubt anyone even considered that he’d become a first line player or have multiple +25 goal seasons.

There was tons of negativity that came his way from the media and fans that didn’t see what Canucks fans saw on the daily. And he handled it with grace, never let it get to him, rising above it on every occasion. From a rookie to a seasoned veteran mentoring young players, he did it all.

No one could have predicted that he would become the one of the best line mates to skate along with the Sedin twins or score some of the most memorable goals in franchise history. People say that the twins made Burrows and there may be some truth to that BUT no one ever opened up space on the ice for the twins like Burrows. He was also vital in their successes as well. There’s a reason why he was at times considered the “third Sedin”, he seemed to read their passes almost as well as they did and seemed to almost always anticipate the place they passed the puck. For years it was absolute magic.

So while many on the outside remember Burrows for his on ice antics or being a pest, Canucks fans will always remember him for his heart and soul. He gave everything from his humble beginnings of working his way up to the league, to his rookie days to his successes as the Sedins winger to his work off the ice in the community and for using his voice to raise awareness for the importance of mental health.

822 games with the Vancouver Canucks, 913 regular season games overall, not too shabby for a guy who was never drafted. He embodied what it meant to have the heart of a Canuck from the beginning to the end of his career.

So while thank-you hardly seems enough, it’s what we have to offer Alex Burrows. He made Luc Bourdon proud. He made his coaches and teammates proud. He made Canucks fans near and far, endlessly proud. And yes, we will always think fondly of that dragon slaying goal or the goal that ended and 11-game winless streak

And to THIS fan, he will always and forever be a Canuck. I’ve said it before, but it still remains true; when I have felt like giving up, all I have had to do was think of how he always kept pushing forward despite the odds and I would be reminded that when you tune out the negativity, with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible.

Thank-you doesn’t seem quite enough but one more time, it’s what I have to offer. Thank-you for everything, BURR.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

Vancouver Canucks: True Blue 2018 (Part 1)

As has become an annual tradition, it’s time to put the spot light on YOU the fans and YOUR hockey stories! This is open to ALL Vancouver Canucks fans 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 back year after year. Over the past four summers, I have had the absolute pleasure of connecting with Canucks fans from all over the world and sharing their stories with all of you.

This year, 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. Everyone has a different story of how this game captured them but through them we are all connected.

Fan stories and experiences are some of my favourite hockey stories to share!

Without further ado, here’s the first edition of True Blue 2018, brought to you from John Donato. This is his TRUE BLUE story, in his own words:

“Here are some of my hockey experiences. My daughter and I have been Utica Comet season ticket holders for the past 2 seasons. I have been a hockey fan since I was old enough to know what hockey was and throughout the years have attended hockey games at the Utica AUD going back to when the Mohawk Valley Comets played at the AUD in the 70’s and continuing through the Utica Devils and now with the Comets. We have made many friends that also attend the Comets games and share our passion for hockey. We frequently stay after the games and wait for the players to come up from the locker room to get their autographs and to take our picture with them. We have found them to be very friendly and always willing to pose for a picture. There are several players that we seem to chat with more often inlcuding: Carter Bancks, Michael Carcone and Richard Bachman. We seem them not only as athletes but also as people because we have gotten to know a little bit about their personal lives. We have met Carter’s girlfriend, Michael’s parents and we see Rich’s wife and children at many of the games. An interesting side note is hat during a conversation I was having with Michael’s dad, I discovered that he has relatives that live in Utica and his dad’s uncle used live right up the street from where I live. We have have also run into many of the players at the grocery store, the mall or at the gas station. We try to respect their privacy but almost always at least say hello to them. We ran into Michael Chaput at a Rite Aid drug store a few days before Christmas, shortly after he was returned to the Comets by Vancouver. Jalen Chatfield was waiting in the care in the parking lot so we knew that there was another player in the store and we spotted Michael in the card section. We went up to him and said hello, welcoming him back to Utica and the Comets. He was very friendly and thanked us for welcoming him back and said he was looking for a Christmas card for his mother. We chatted with him for a few minutes and my daughter asked if she could take a picture with him. He posed for a picture with him and we thanked him, wished him a Merry Christmas. The Comets were playing the next night at home so I had the picture printed so my daughter could get it autographed after the game. We waited after the game and when he came up, my daughter asked if he would sign the picture. He looked at us and said, “wow that was quick”, as he knew the picture had been taken the night before.

Myself with Nikolay Goldobin & Alexis D’Aoust

My daughter Nicole & Michael Chaput.

The Comets send a few players each week to the mall to sign autographs during the months of November and December. Through that experience, we have shad some interesting conversations with some of the players ranging from who their favourite hockey team was when they were growing up to what they think of the city of Utica. Nikolay Goldobin is my favourite Utica Comet, the night he was at the mall, he and I became engaged in conversation about his favourite hockey team and his favourite player. I asked him what he thought about our city and he said it was too small for him as he is used to his hometown of Moscow where it is very busy with a lot of people and traffic. I told him what my favourite hockey team was and he grunted and shook his head. We both laughed and exchanged some jabs at each others favourite team.

November of last year, my daughter and I took a bus trip to Madison Square Garden to see the Rangers against the Canucks. We had 2 buses loaded with Comets fans and we found out on the way down that the Canucks had recalled Nikolay and he arrived at the Garden just before the pre-game skate but was a scratch for the game. I was hoping that he was going to play as did come out for the pre-game skate but as previously mentioned, he was a scratch. It was quite a thrill for me to see him on the ice at the Garden. It was a my daughter’s first time at the Garden and also quite a thrill for us to see some of the former Comets playing for the Canucks including: Markstrom, Gaunce and Virtanen. The first game after the Canucks returned Nikolay to the Comets, I told him that we were at the Garden for the game and got to see him in Canucks uniform.

–John.”

Thank-you, John for sharing your story and some great Comets stories! 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 share a part of my story as well. Is this the year, that you and your story will be featured? Or do you know someone who would like their Canucks story featured? If you’d like more details on how YOU can be featured in True Blue 2018, simply send me a message on twitter (@nucksaid) OR send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2018.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: True Blue 2018

It’s that time of year again at NUCK SAID. Now that it’s officially the Vancouver Canucks off-season: True Blue 2018 is here.

As has become an annual tradition, it’s time to put the spot light on YOU the fans and YOUR hockey stories! This is open to ALL Vancouver Canucks fans 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 back year after year. Over the past four summers, I have had the absolute pleasure of connecting with Canucks fans from all over the world and sharing their stories with all of you.

This year, 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. Everyone has a different story of how this game captured them but through them 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 share a part of my story as well. Is this the year, that you and your story will be featured? Or do you know someone who would like their Canucks story featured? If you’d like more details on how YOU can be featured in True Blue 2018, simply send me a message on twitter (@nucksaid) OR send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com with the subject line: TRUE BLUE 2018.

If you’re curious about how to get started or looking for inspiration of how to share your True Blue story, here’s a few from last season to help inspire you:

True Blue 2017 (Part 2)

True Blue 2017 (Part 3)

A massive THANK-YOU to all of you, in advance! Here’s to a SUMMER of YOU, the best hockey fans around the globe!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: Thank-you.

This post is for the Vancouver Canucks,

Seasons come and seasons go, and no matter the outcome, I’m always little sad to see it come to an end. This post is to say thank-you.Thank-you, for the season that was and all that is to come in the future.

Was the season perfect? No, but that doesn’t mean it was a wasted season. There will be some who say that this entire season was a write off or that it was pointless from the time that Brock Boeser’s injury took him out of the lineup or that you didn’t tank properly by winning games down the final stretch. Some will say that there were no strides made or that the lineup was a disaster.

Yes, it’s true that this season had some really hard moments from an endless list of long-term injuries to seeing Derek Dorsett forced to make the decision to leave the game early. Despite all those hard things or the negatives, there were still some pretty incredible moments that leave hope and excitement for the future. This season wasn’t perfect but it definitely wasn’t a write off or pointless.

Prospect development has been exciting to see grow in depth the past few seasons. This year you boasted one of your strongest prospect pools with players such as: Adam Gaudette, Kole Lind, Olli Juolevi, Elias Pettersson, Jonathan Dahlen, Petrus Palmu, Thatcher Demko, Michael Dipietro etc; all who have had success in their perspective leagues.

As you know, fans have long been begging for youth to be infused into the lineup and this year we saw quite a bit of youth in the lineup over the course of the season.

Brock Boeser a player that came with a lot of expectations on himself and from the fans. Is it possible that he could live up to the hype? In just his first full season, he made it clear very early that he’d exceed any and all expectations. Every game he was a part of, he drove to the net and boasted a wrist shot that rivals Pavel Bure or  Markus Naslund, leaving many goalies to ask: “HOW?”. It never seemed to matter who he played with, he always found a way to get the goals. Had he not been injured, he probably would’ve set an all-new Canucks rookie scoring record.

After his first 20-goal season, everyone wondered if Bo Horvat could repeat the feat? He answered that with a resounding YES, DESPITE missing extended time due to a foot injury, he put up a second 20-goal season! Every time he was on the ice, he was determined and worked on the smaller details of his game as well. You can see his determination every single shift. How fun was that line of him, Boeser and Baertschi early in the year before the injuries hit?

Jake Virtanen took strides this year to find that extra gear that everyone hoped he had. The last two months of the season in particular, he brought consistency to his game in all areas. That hard work he put in while being coached in Utica last season, has brought a new level to his game.

Thatcher Demko. Call him up, they said. Let him play, they said. CALL HIM UP. And then it happened, you called him up and not just to sit on the bench but to make his NHL debut in front of the home crowd. DEMKO TIME had arrived and what a game it was full of highway robbery saves finished with a thriller overtime win.

Darren Archibald came into to the season looking for his second chance in the NHL. With a strong training camp, and a continued strong playing style with Utica, he earned his spot late in the season. It was so great to see his hard work these last few years pay off with him getting back into the NHL. Proving that working hard and never giving up on your dream is always worth it.

Derek Dorsett came into this season after a long recovery from his injury last season and was swinging on all cylinders on pace for a career year. It was all kinds of magic to see him have such success after such a tough year last season. To see how hard he had worked to get here and then to see him have to make one of the toughest calls was heart-wrenching. It was absolutely the right call to make but still heartbreaking to see the decision be earlier than he had planned. Heck of a career that left a lot of people inspired.

And then it happened, the announcement that everyone had been both anticipating and hoping wouldn’t actually happen. Henrik and Daniel Sedin, have for the last 18 years defined what it meant to be a Canuck both on and off of the ice. This season we witnessed history as a second player notched his 1000th career point with the franchise. How often is it that one let alone TWO players each put up 1000 points with ONE franchise? It’s a rare feat and absolutely incredible to have happened twice over the last two seasons. That final home game from the Sedins was a perfect send off to end their tenure with the team. It was an absolutely incredible opportunity for the fans to have the chance to express our thanks to Henrik and Daniel.

It’s the end of an incredible era but also the beginning of a new one full of promise and hope. It was a year full of ups and downs and everything in between. Thank-you for another memorable season in the books. Here’s to the future!

We Are All Canucks.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: Guest Post.

Happy off-season all, I have a treat to share with you! Today, I present to YOU, a special guest post from my great friend and fellow Vancouver Canucks fan: BRIEANN KNORR. (If you’re not already, make sure to follow her on twitter @BrieannKnorr).

Without further ado, here is her article:

My Highlights of the 2017-18 season.

The first highlight of the season for me started before the season actually began! I attended the 2017 Young Stars Tournament in Penticton. I have been going for a few years now and it always signifies the start of the season. It’s always such a treat to see some of the best prospects from the Western Canadian teams play. I also met a few of the Canucks prospects like Kole Lind and Olli Juolevi. The game was really fun and it really shows what depth the Canucks will have in a few years.

But, the true highlight for me was after the game. We were walking up the stairs to leave the arena, and in front of me was this elderly gentleman who was needing some help getting up the stairs. I then saw this guy in a suit help this gentleman up and I thought, “wow that’s really nice!”, so I tried to tell this guy that I was impressed and thankful for his act of kindness, but no words came out. We ended up staring at each other for a few seconds. The guy looked familiar and I couldn’t place where I recognized him from, when we left the building, my sister asked me, “wasn’t that Brock Boeser?!”.

Speaking of, what an insane season for Boeser! I didn’t see this type of season coming. Yes, it was cut short due to injury but I got excited for the future. For me, he came out of nowhere, I had seen him play last season and thought he was an amazing kid but he blew me away. The way he can shoot the puck and create scoring opportunities out of nothing is insane, its like the goalie isn’t even there. I also wasn’t expecting him to appear in an NHL All-Star game this year, but it was a fun time and I think the Canucks are finally getting the recognition they deserve. I can’t wait to see what happens next season with this kid.

My next highlight is one that has yet to sink in. The retirement of Henrik and Daniel Sedin. I have never seen a Canucks team without them. I started liking hockey when I was 8 in 2003, and since then I have always liked the Sedins. I am not ready for them to retire, but we must let them. What the Sedins have done for this team is beyond amazing. They have rewritten the history book both on the Canucks and in the NHL. The first brothers to each hit the 1000 points mark, winners of back to back Art Ross Trophies, and leading the Canucks to a Stanley Cup Final. The Sedins will also be remembered by their work off of the ice in the city of Vancouver. I have never seen two people who are so giving of their time and resources. I have been reading a lot of stories about people’s experiences with the Sedins and they are nothing short of classy. They have always been quiet superstars, the ones that don’t want the spotlight or the attention. This is what made me like them. They taught me you can be good at something but not have an ego, that caring for others over yourself brings joy and not the other way around. I am sure going to miss them but all I say to them is thank-you.

The last highlight of the season was the youth movement on this team. From Boeser, Archibald, Gaudette and Demko, the future is bright for this team. The Canucks have a lot of very good prospects coming up and I think this team is going to be very good. We just have to keep waiting and have some patience. This process will take a while, but I know the outcome will be worth it: a Stanley Cup.

Thanks for reading,

Brieann.