2013-2014 Season Debrief

It has been a few weeks since my last post but I’m back with a glimpse of what this last year held for the Vancouver Canucks. The 2013-2014 season is now wrapped for the Canucks and it featured a little of bit of everything from the good

to the bad. It will be an off-season full of questions, answers, changes and preparations for the new season around the corner. Today, we will debrief by taking a closer look at the bad and the good that made up the Canucks 2013-2014 season.

First let’s look at the not so good and follow it up with all of the good that did happen despite the final outcome.

The BAD:

November saw inconsistency that was not solved until December only to be broken apart by January with an unnatural influx of injuries.

The Canucks iron man, Henrik Sedin was injured not once BUT twice which delayed his 1000th game from being played prior to the Olympics in early February to March 12th vs Winnipeg. Have I mentioned that out of the probable injuries….NO ONE expected Henrik to be on that miss extended time list once let alone twice.

Andrew Alberts suffered a concussion late December in a game vs. Calgary where he was hit from behind into the boards. He never returned to the lineup and as of the end of the season was still suffering concussion symptoms. The league NEVER reviewed the hit or awarded any discipline for the hit that sideline Alberts for the season and the foreseeable future.

Mike Santorelli suffered a season ending should injury that took him out of the line up in January ending his Cinderella heroics for the home team.

Daniel Sedin was sidelined due to injuries more than once this year which only added to the team’s scoring woes in the second half of the year.

Alex Burrows suffered from multiple injuries(a broken foot, broken jaw, the list goes on!) that were only added to the frustration of not scoring goals.

Torts stormed the Calgary Flames dressing room following a first period brawl between the two teams. While I loved his intent to defend his players, he should not have gone anywhere near the visitor’s dressing room. The result was Torts being suspended for 6 games.

Zack Kassian struggled early in the year which was not helped by an 8-game suspension.

The Canucks lost the Heritage Classic. As a result of the controversial choice to start Eddie Lack over the Canucks franchise leading goalie Roberto Luongo were forced to hear the fans chant WE WANT LU! for a good 2-3 solid minutes midway through the game.

Following yet another season where things started off well but evolved to Luongo being relegated to the role of back up….finally saw the Canucks make the deal that could never be made. March 4, 2014 Roberto Luongo was traded to the Florida Panthers. Best of luck in Florida LU!

The panic that ensued on social media when a VANCOUVER reporter sent out a tweet that the Canucks had traded Ryan Kesler….(which thank goodness was shortly proven as false!)

Missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Following a disappointing year, Mike Gillis was relieved of both his General Manager and President duties. (Gillis worked with the Canucks since the end of the 2007-2008 season & NOT everything he did was terrible.)

In their final game of the season on home ice Daniel Sedin was hit from behind into the end boards by the Calgary Flames forward Paul Byron. Daniel Sedin collapsed, laid very still and was unable get up off the ice…cuing medical trainers and paramedics to bring a stretcher. Daniel was taken off the ice on a stretcher and straight to the hospital. Byron received a 5 minute penalty on the play which was deemed as ENOUGH discipline by the league. A very scary moment for Daniel, the team, and the fans and while it was later revealed that he would be okay…I’m sorry BUT ANY hit that SENDS A PLAYER off the ice on a stretcher and to the hospital SHOULD deem more than a quick review with NO supplemental discipline. Perhaps if it had been Crosby or Toews that had been taken off the ice on a stretcher, the league would have taken the incident more seriously. The NAME of a player and the LOGO of the team they play for SHOULD NOT matter when it comes to moments like that one…EVERY player should be held accountable. (*I apologize for the mild rant…but that HIT & its zero concern by the NHL really severely bothered me…)

The GOOD:

The Canucks had their best October in years including a 7-game road trip that saw them post a 5-1-1 record.

The announcement of the the Sedins re-signing with the Canucks for 4 more years. SO GLAD that the Sedins will be back in blue and green for four more years! No one set of brothers has quite displayed their quiet yet commanding professionalism both on and off the ice.

Pavel Bure’s #10 was FINALLY lifted to the rafters as his jersey was officially retired by the Vancouver Canucks on November 2, 2013. The team also beat the Maple Leafs 4-0 on home ice on the banner night, making the evening a WIN-WIN.

BC born and raised Mike Santorelli became an unexpected hero for the home fans as he seemed to always find a way to make the play that made a difference. Santo showed versatility by being useful no matter where he played in the line up and scoring many a clutch goal. Santo was on a roll as the NHL’s best steal prior to his injury with his low cap hit & absolute limitless work ethic.

December was a month when the team could do almost no wrong. They picked up points in all but one game. My FAVOURITE moment during December was the game versus the Bruins…the team was absolutely determined and took over the game after a timely time out by Torts early in the game.

Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler brought home silver medals from the Sochi 2014 Olympic games. Dan Hamhuis and Roberto Luongo brought home gold medals from the Sochi 2014 Olympic games.

The Canucks participated in their very first outdoor game experience when they hosted the Ottawa Senators at BC Place as part of the Stadium Series in the 2014 Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic.

Henrik Sedin played in his 1000th game both of his career and in a Canuck uniform. (March 12, 2014)

The 2014 Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon held on March 19th, raised over $500,000 to help kids in BC!

Shawn Matthias was acquired in the Roberto Luongo deal with the Florida Panthers. He showed some amazing skill and potential in the final stretch. He will be one to watch if he stays with the team next season!

Alex Burrows may not have found the back of the net as much as he would have liked (he did eventually break through with a few beauties!) but his game still had a lot of positives…he was purposeful in most areas of the ice and a large part of the team’s first half amazing PK unit!

Ryan Kesler score 20+ goals for the 6th time in his career.

Ryan Kesler setting the record straight that he didn’t ask for a trade and that he hopes to stay with the Canucks for the entirety of this career.

Zack Kassian became a beast hitting his groove in final part of the season despite the final outcome. He will be fun to watch next season!

Following the news of Mike Gillis being let go, the rumor mills were spinning that Trevor Linden was returning to the Canucks. Rumor became FACT on April 9, 2014. Trevor Linden returned to the team that drafted him and where he played 16 of 19 seasons when the Canucks named him, the new President of Hockey Operations.

The Canucks are not partaking in the post season but hey there is a silver lining in getting a top 10 draft pick! The Canucks will draft 6th overall in the 2014 NHL draft in June.

In CONCLUSION: So ends the tale that was the 2013-2014 Vancouver Canucks season. Yes, it was not perfect in any way shape or form and yes the end was disappointing but there is plenty to be excited about for the team’s future despite what most of the local media might say. The Canucks prospect pool with the likes of Frankie Corrado, Brendan Gaunce, Hunter Shinkaruk, Bo Horvat, Dane Fox, etc. is a very exciting group of players nearly ready to make their mark on the NHL.

The first half of the season expectations were very high and then came the injury brigade that took the team by storm. I cannot recall ANY season where a team was so overtaken by injuries throughout the year…it felt absolutely absurd at times. Sure nearly everything that could go wrong did and everyday felt like there was yet another injury or incident that affected the roster…but sometimes that is just how it goes. There will be bad seasons for every team just like every team will have great seasons, but not one season will ever be exactly the same.

Every season is an 82-game journey full of ups and downs, twists and bends…and sometimes if you’re lucky that journey extends into the post season but if it does not extend that does not change the thrill of the journey…it may be disappointing but it does not change my loyalty.

I would have loved to see my Canucks in the madness that is 2014 playoffs but I understand why that did not happen and I know that there is work to be done before the puck drops on the 2014-2015 season. Still even so I am optimistic for the off-season and upcoming season and mark my words they will make the post-season next year! (I know not everyone will agree that statement…but hey that’s okay, we don’t have to always agree. Let’s wait and see what happens come next April!)

OH and ONE LAST note before moving on…Eddie Lack never asked for the cards he was dealt. He never came in with the intent to steal Luongo’s spot and send him packing. Roberto Luongo was and is a player that Lack idolizes and was an incredible example of what being a professional both on and off the ice should look like. Goalies never get the credit or the respect they deserve in the NHL, particularly from the fans…especially when a season does not go according to plan. Vancouver fans have been very hard on their goalies…LOVING them when all goes well and absolutely tearing them down when things are wrong. Let me remind you, that while goalies will steal games for their teams…they do need a little help in the scoring department to win games as well. Lack had the weight of an entire city thrust upon his shoulders when Luongo was traded. It could not have been easy to see his mentor leave and suddenly all the pressure was on him. I remind that you LU advised us(the city) to take care of Eddie during his tenure! He deserves a chance to prove himself and wouldn’t it be something to see this city show their support for their goalie from the very beginning? Eddie Lack is a star in the making and will make his mark yet on this team…all we need to do moving forward is support him and allow him the chance.

Looking ahead there will be questions that will need addressing during the off-season and come October.

QUESTIONS:

Who will be the Canucks select with their 6th overall draft pick? Draisaitl? Ehlers? Nylander? Virtanen? Ritchie?

Will the team be able find a way to come together as a cohesive unit for the 2014-2015 season?

Will Torts return as coach for a second season or will he be let go as the team brings in a new voice? (Honestly I don’t quite think it fair to judge Torts one year where nearly everything that could go wrong did….I’d like to see him have a second chance to prove what he can do when he has a nearly 100% healthy roster!)

Will Trevor Linden be able to find a way to bring the team together with the right combination of current players, new players, coaching staff? Can he complete the puzzle?

Who will be named as the Canucks new General Manager? (Lots of names being thrown around from current assistant GM Gilman, to Benning to former players. Linden said there WILL be a GM in place prior to the draft at the end of June.)

What moves will be made in the 2014 off-season that will impact the team in the new season?

What will the final roster look like at the start of the 2014-2015 NHL season?

The above questions are merely just a few of MANY questions that I have seen and heard since the season came to a close. It will be a long off-season for the team, but it will also be an opportunity for them to comeback EVEN stronger and MORE determined come September. None of them were happy with the ending and all of them expressed a desire to come back and prove that sentiment when they return for the new season.

Are you ready for a wild ride Canuck nation? It is not going to be a quiet summer by any means as the team looks to find the missing piece(s) of the puzzle prior to the puck drop on the 2014-2015 season..

In the mean time are you all enjoying the madness that has been the 2014 NHL playoffs so far?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

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Rumors, Trades, and Facts

March Madness continues to pick speed as the April 3rd trade deadline approaches. Now that Anaheim has settled the matter of signing both Getzlaf and Perry, the rumor mills are picking up speed every day in regards to the fate of Jarome Iginla. Everyone seems to believe that he will be moved by the trade deadline, it just a matter of where. It seems Calgary management may be willing to part with their eternal Flame[admitting that it is time to rebuild] and Iginla willing to admit that the Flames are nowhere near being the contender they want to be and he deserves to play with a contender. Iginla gave the Flames the green light to wave his NTC[no trade clause] and supposedly also a list of teams he would be willing to go to. Teams rumored to be Iginla’s list are: Pittsburgh, Boston, LA, Detroit and Chicago[even Vancouver has been mentioned but that is a highly unlikely destination]. The movement of Iginla is sure to upset many fans but at this point moving Iginla and beginning their rebuild seem to be their only options. Last night may or may not have been his last game as a Flame, and only time will tell which destination becomes his next reality. Following last night’s game, Iginla refused to comment on situation not wanting to add fuel to the fire. Reports have suggested that in exchange for Jarome, Calgary would like one young promising prospect and two draft picks. The rumors will only grow louder as more and more players are thrown into this fruit basket upset that is known as the trade deadline draws ever closer.

Speaking of rumors, the whispers became fact yesterday when the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired [now former] Dallas Stars Captain Brendan Morrow in exchange for a draft pick & defensive prospect Joe Morrow. Add the the San Jose Sharks to the trade talk mix as rumor has it that they may be looking to move Ryane Clowe, Dan Boyle or Douglas Murray as the team has struggled to find that consistency they had at the start of the year. Make the SJ trade talk official as the Pittsburgh Penguins continue to push for an extensive playoff as they have acquired Douglas Murray from the Sharks in exchange for two 2nd round draft picks. The Penguins have been the most dominant team of the East with the dynamic duo of Crosby & Kunitz, as well they are currently on a 12 game win streak. Looks like the Penguins will be the ones to beat the East. The question now for San Jose is do they continue to sell in order to collect draft picks or do they make one or two BIG moves prior to the deadline in the hopes of making a playoff push?

Outside of the growing trade talk madness, this weekend also marked Tampa Bay’s Guy Boucher as the latest coach to meeting the chopping block. The firing comes following a second straight disappointing season leaving many to suggest that either veteran coach Lindy Ruff or the Tampa AHL affiliate coach Jon Cooper will be asked to take his place.

Back to my Canucks.The Canucks have returned home having completed a 3 game road trip with a perfect 3-0-0 record and are back atop the North West Division [Minnesota is only 2 points behind & have 2 games in hand, they will play tonight]. With the road trip success it brings the Canucks win streak to 4 in a row, and I must say it is much more fun to watch win streaks than losing ones! The last two victories came with the Canucks missing Alex Edler on defense as he was forced to sit both of them out due to a two game suspension[he will return to the lineup March 26th]. With Edler out of the line-up the rest of the defense had to step up and they did. Also it certainly helped that Cory Schneider seems to have found his game again and that consistency that everyone came to expect from him last year! Welcome back Schneids! It will be fun to watch both him & Lou down the stretch over the next 4 weeks as they both drive one another to play better.

In other Canucks news, they learned this week that David Booth will be out for the season following season ending surgery [small sliver of hope he could be back for playoffs], and with his absence the Canucks have had to recall Schroeder who has been EXCELLENT since his be recalled. Jordan Schroeder when combined with Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond has had great chemistry. It is extremely fun to watch those three play together! The Canucks also had to call upon defenseman Keith Ballard to play forward for a couple games as they were short-handed in the forward department. He played fairly well and had some pretty decent scoring chances.

May I also take this moment to remind you that it is nearly time for Ryan Kesler to return to the lineup as the Canucks prepare for the stretch drive. He could return as soon as within the next week but probably not until the first week of April. The Canucks could definitely use some extra depth at center, particularly in the face-off circle! Wanted: Ryan Kesler 100% healthy and beast mode ready.  #RK17

And just in case you missed this beauty of a gem last night, here it is, Alex Burrows GWG[P.S. that was the 23rd game winning goal of his career!] What a goal!! Enjoy.

Let’s hope that as the Canucks return home they are able to continue their recent success and continue to fight Minnesota for that NW Division leading spot! #GoCanucksGo

Trades, rumors and facts = March Madness indeed! Only time will tell the drama that is sure to continue to unfold as the April 3rd deadline nears and teams make moves for that elusive playoff run.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Fans uniting + More CBA meetings still to come + Philly honours Jessica Redfield

In light of a lockout looming…fans around the world are taking action or threatening to take drastic measures. Do we want a lockout? NO! Some have started initiatives to start boycotting all things related the NHL…including no longer purchasing any merchandise for a particular team & un-following any social media outlet for a particular team. There are groups popping up all over social media [facebook, tumblr, & twitter] inviting all fans to un-follow the NHL groups & any associated with the NHL. They want to show Bettman & company that the fans will not accept a lockout quietly and willingly. I like that the fans want to have a voice and do not want to be silenced by Bettman & company. Will I boycott my Canucks…probably not, but I do understand that fans want to express their absolute distaste of a lockout. I absolutely HATE the impending threat of a lockout and would like nothing more than there to be an official agreement that both the NHL & NHLPA are satisfied with so that the season can start on time [not delayed or canceled!]. I cannot think of any real hockey fan that wants to see another lockout…04/05 was brutal…please do not let there be a repeat, Bettman, PLEASE.

On that note, Director of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr has stated that the “players are unified” in face of an NHL lockout essentially, united they stand]. Fehr has also been quoted saying that NO ONE on the players side is talking about stopping the season and that he would like to speak with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman before the next CBA meeting [Wednesday, August 22].The NHL would like an official response to their initial proposal[not the alternative view!] whereas the NHLPA feel that their proposal[alternative view] was proactive & addressed existing problems. There is A LOT of work to be done before both sides will come to an agreement and both will have to make compromises before meeting somewhere in the middle.

In other news defenseman Scott Hannan[played for Calgary last year] has signed a one-year deal with Nashvile. Rumor has it that Dany Heatley has filed an $11 million lawsuit against his former agent for withdrawing $4 million from his bank account & not receiving financial returns that he was promised from a real estate deal. No news yet on Doan as he continues to await the Phoenix ownership saga before any official decision is made, although none will be surprised to see him stay with the Coyotes. The Vancouver Canucks continue to work with re-signing my favourite #14 to an extension [get on with MG …lets get this deal signed & sealed!]. Philadelphia may becoming decimated on the blue-line, but they gained a ton of respect in creating the “Jessica Redfield Internship” in memory of Jessica who lost her life in the Aurora movie theater shooting. The internship will be for female college students with ambitions of getting into the field of sports journalism, just as Jessica was pursuing the same dream. She was working as an intern with the “You Can Play” project and had gained many followers on twitter and her blog. This is an amazing way to honour her memory and help other achieve the same dream that she aspired to become.
The jury is still out on the lockout and all moves made and yet to made during this off-season. All will become more clear as the CBA situation eventually comes to a close. Keep your fingers crossed that both sides can come to an agreement by the 15th or atleast before the Winter Classic…I’d rather a shorter season than NO season. I say if Bettman leads the NHL to another lockout…there will be a need for a NEW Commissioner[but that’s just my opinion!…but seriously a potential 3rd lock out in less than 20 years with Bettman at the helm? anyone else with me?]
As always, until next time, nuck said.
Sarah E.L.