Adios Preseason…

Adios preseason and hello hockey season! Bring on all the hockey and drop that dang puck already!

The Vancouver Canucks regular season is just days away and already the doomsday headlines are spinning out of control before even one game has been played. I’ve been informed in no uncertain terms more than once that this will most certainly be the worst Canucks season on record. And as such a poor season is expected, I’ve also been told that there’s no point to partaking in watching the games as it’s all down hill from before the start of the season.

Well I got some bad news for you, whether it’s a terrible season (potentially their worst on record) or a good season statistically, I’ll by standing by for every single step of the season. I know that the odds are very much against them heading into this season. Yes, I’ll be watching all the games, even the ones that seem like a nightmare from start to finish. And yes, I’m well aware of how disastrous this season could be but that doesn’t mean that I will stop supporting my team or hoping for them to tank.

It goes against the grain for me to even think about tanking as a possibility especially when it comes how unpredictable the draft lottery tends to be. More than that though, I can’t process the idea that players purposely go out on a nightly basis to lose or increase their team’s odds in that area. Seems a bit far fetched to me.

Regardless of how the season unfolds, one thing is certain: I’ll be there to witness every step along the way. Maybe it will be the worst season in the Canucks history books, maybe it’ll even be catastrophically bad but then again maybe it won’t. Maybe they’ll finally win that draft lottery or maybe just maybe they might even surprise people.

For now, I’m looking forward to attending the Canucks home opener on Wednesday (despite the impending disappointment that I’ve been told to expect). See you at the rink!

Drop. The. Puck. Already.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

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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.

Vancouver Canucks: For Brock

Sometimes, this game that can take your breath away in the best possible way, can be heartbreaking in the cruelest of ways. That happened last night as all of Canucks nation held their collective breath after seeing Brock Boeser sustain an injury late in their game versus the New York Islanders. Today, the Vancouver Canucks announced that Brock Boeser is likely out for the remainder of the season (4-6 weeks). And it’s no secret that prior to the injury, Brock Boeser was having a Canucks rookie season to remember with 29 goals, 26 assists (55 points) in 62 games.

It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see a player that’s been having a memorable season be forced to the sidelines due to injury. And while the season may not end in a Calder trophy for the rookie phenom, there are more important things than a trophy. As tough as this news is, it could be worse, and it’s absolutely the right decision that Boeser takes this time to recover fully so that he can come back to the game he loves for years to come The good news is that he will make a full recovery.

This post is for Brock.

Brock,

I can still remember the anticipation that followed when the Vancouver Canucks drafted you and excitement that stemmed when the team announced you made this season’s roster. This is not the ending that your rookie season was supposed to have. You were well on your way to setting a new Vancouver Canucks rookie season record. Today, having this news shared with the rest of the world must be one of the most difficult things you’ve been faced with early in your career, but taking this time to heal properly was the right decision. Some things are bigger than the game.

I hate that we were robbed of your 30th goal (some will point out you should proably be credited with 1 or 2 more in recent weeks!) and that we don’t a get a chance to see you surpass Pavel Bure’s rookie record. I hate that this season, we will not get to see any more of your signature snipes or impossible angle goals that often took opponents by surprise with their accuracy. I hate that we will not get to see you find that chemistry with no matter who you played with until next season. I hate that this is how the season most likely ends for you this season. I hate the unfairness of this outcome. I hate that after all the work you put in and that the rookie season that you were on pace for, that this is the ending. I hate that many on the outside don’t always see the value that you bring to the Canucks every single game.

As much as I hate this end to your incredible rookie season, I understand that this decision was about more than the game. Life is about much more than hockey and you put your health first. Not an easy decision, but absolutely the correct one. You are taking the time to heal properly and not risk further injury and allowing yourself a long-term future in the game. It may have only been your first full time season in the NHL and with the Vancouver Canucks, but you’ve already left an indelible mark on the franchise.

The ending to the season may have come much earlier than you desired but you DID IT. You’re living a dream come true in the NHL that while only one year in, is full of highlight reel moments: back to back rookie of the month honours, first career hat trick, goals that made many opponents ask “HOW?”, a possible Calder trophy candidate, NHL All-Star, All-Star MVP, Canucks All-Star. Those are some awesome early career moments. You are the type of player that fans hope their team drafts and love to see succeed when they make the big league.

It’s not the ending that your rookie season deserved. You gave this team, the fans and the league everything you had every single time you were on the ice. Never doubt for a second what you’ve accomplished this season. You gave it your all every single shift, playing with whoever coach put with you in the lineup. You always found a way to keep your game consistent. You may be one of the youngest players on the team, but I promise that you inspired your teammates, the fans and even opponents around the league. Your heart, determination, dedication and perseverance every game are something to be admired. Your tenacity will be missed by the team, opponents, and fans league wide down this final stretch.

Thank-you for one heck of a memorable rookie season with the team. You’ve brought an excitement to the team and united Canucks fans far and wide while we all rooted for the next FLOW highlight! Your season may have come to an abrupt end, but I hope you know that NO ONE and I mean NO ONE is disappointed in you. You’ve done nothing but make Canucks fans proud every single time you hit the ice. I hope that while you recover, you stay close to the team, you may not realize it yet what an inspiration your season has been to them. And maybe today, that seems impossible to comprehend, but it’s 100% true. Canucks nation is sending you all the best as you focus on your recovery! Take all the time you need, your health is the #1 priority.

Your season might have come to an early end but you took the pressure of an entire city and ignited a spark of hope for the season and the future as we all witnessed the initiation of the Brock star. One thing is certain, your teammates, fans, even your opponents are all rooting for you as you recover and look forward to your eventual return when you a ready. You have accomplished a lot in a short time this season. Remember this moment, a rookie season to remember that stole the hearts of Canucks fans far and wide, this is only the beginning and the best is still yet to come.

-Sarah E.L.

 

Memo to the Media (part 2)

Here we go again. New year, same thinking from the local sports media.

To Whom it may concern in the Vancouver Hockey Media,

“Vancouver Canucks fans do not know how to feel…”. “Vancouver Canucks fans only reason to be excited about is Brock Boeser…”.  Vancouver Canucks fans should brace themselves for a terrible season and few years ahead…”. Stop. Please, just STOP. I get it, the Canucks are currently near the bottom of the NHL standings at the mid-season mark and you are all on board with the notion that is “tanking”. If you’ve learned ANYTHING in recent years, TANKING does not work, the draft lottery is PURE luck and despite ending up with the 5th overall pick the last two seasons, the Canucks acquired two players with tons of potential. So, for the love of all that is holy, please stop telling me how I feel about my team. Stop telling me how you think I should feel or when I should feel it about them. If anyone knows how I feel, it is me, not you. And believe me, I know how I feel about this team and not one of your headlines or articles this season has covered it anywhere near accurately.

I used to LOVE reading the sports section in the local papers and listening to local sports radio BUT in the last few years, that has been destroyed. And no, it’s not because I’m naive or in denial about the team’s performance the last few seasons. It’s the fact that one person can only take hearing a nonstop barrage of negativity for so long before it becomes unbearable. You have taken what was one of my favourite daily routines and made me cringe just hearing about the things you write and talk about.

Since the start of the season as has been the case for the last few seasons, you have told me that I have nothing to be excited about this team or even this season and if we were going by your headlines, you would be right. Yes, the numbers that make a season tell a part of the story BUT they do not define the whole story. The numbers do NOT define when or how I am a fan of my team. No game results or season’s results will define when or how I am a fan of my team.

If anything when you write your constant negative headlines or start telling me how Canucks fans are supposed to feel or even when the team struggles, it only makes me support them even more. I know that choosing to be optimistic most likely puts me in the minority of Canucks fans, but if you ask me, a team can always use support, especially during the difficult times.

Yes, you are right that there have been a lot of ups and downs along this regular season journey BUT that does not mean it has all been down hill. And before you tell me that perhaps I am uninformed about the team or detached from the reality that is their current situation…STOP. Please know that I am completely aware of the team’s current state.I can spout their stats forwards and backwards, I know their reality. Or perhaps you think that I am delusional for remaining optimistic rather than joining in with all of the negative voices? Or perhaps you think I am against the team making moves at the deadline? STOP. I don’t need the game, the season or the team’s history explained to me in condescending tones. I understand these things as much as any other Canucks fan but I choose to have a different perspective.

I choose to recognize the absolute rarity it is to have witnessed TWO players amass 1000+ points each, all with the franchise. I choose to enjoy that the Canucks roster currently boasts a league leading rookie with a shot that rivals Bure and Naslund, on his way to breaking and setting new records in the Canucks books as well represent the team at the 2018 All-Star game. I choose to be optimistic about the team’s future and excited about their increased prospect depth including players like: Demko, Juolevi, Lockwood, Gaudette, Pettersson, Dahlen, Lind, Gadjovich.

And yes there may be some fans and many of you that are still all aboard #teamtank but that will never include me. As we all know, tanking does not and will not guarantee a top 3 draft pick. It goes completely against my nature to purposely cheer against my team. I know that this season has been less than ideal and very much a struggle for them at times but that does NOT mean that I will stop supporting the team. Just because I choose to look past the negatives and see the positives that DO exist does NOT mean that I am naive or misunderstand the game. All it means is that regardless of ANY stat, I will support my team through the good and the bad.

Win or lose, good or bad, the Vancouver Canucks are my team, ALWAYS. End of story.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: 2017 in Review

And just like that, as quick as it began, 2017 is nearly over. For the Vancouver Canucks, it wasn’t a perfect year or anywhere near close to it and if I was to listen to the way the media spins it, it was an absolutely terrible year for the team. IF, I was to listen to the media, I would believe that the team is going no where.

If I was to really take a closer look at what actually happened, there were some pretty incredible moments within that supposedly terrible year.

TWIN MILESTONES. Just as they have always done, in 2017, the Sedins have further cemented their place in the Vancouver Canucks history books. Amassing 1000 points is an incredible feat and one that many players will never reach. Even more rare is seeing a player reach that milestone with the same team over the entirety of their career. Seeing two players on the same team accomplish that feat is even more incredible.

JANUARY 20,  2017. They said it was an impossible feat and yet somehow, the ever consistent Henrik Sedin, hit yet another milestone when he scored his 1000th NHL point. Against his former teammate, on a goal assisted by his brother, Henrik Sedin brought the arena off their feet scoring the milestone point on home ice. I still get chills when I remember what that moment felt like in the arena with 19,000 other fans, it was a moment that I’ll always remember.

NOVEMBER 30, 2017. Daniel Sedin followed in his brother’s footsteps once more. On the road, against a tough Predators team, on a goal assisted by yes, his brother AND Brock Boeser, Daniel scored his milestone point to tie the game and help lead the comeback.

PROSPECT DEPTH. The 2017 Draft was a win for Vancouver despite falling to 5th overall in the draft lottery. With the 5th pick, Jim Benning selected Elias Pettersson who is currently having a season for the record books in the Swedish league and currently making his mark in the World Juniors. Along with Elias, Benning made some other strong picks: Kole Lind, Jonah Gadjovich, Michael Dipietro, Jack Rathbone, Matt Brassard, Petrus Palmu and Kristoffer Gunnarsson; adding to a growing pool of Canucks prospects. For the first time in a long time, the Canucks have a deep wealth of prospects. (**Jim Benning deserves a lot more credit than he is given for the depth of the Canucks current crop of prospects).

JAKE VIRTANEN. Everyone said he was a bust, some probably still do. The truth is, last season, he really struggled and it would’ve been easy to write him off after spending the majority of the season in Utica. Heading into the training camp this year, he had to take all the lessons he’d learned in Utica, put in a lot of hard work and still earning a roster spot, no guarantee. He put the work in, had a strong showing in the pre-season, and over the course of the first half of the season has begun to show a complete level to all areas of his game. It started slowly, but more and more his game is progressing to show the player that management hoped he could be and will be. (**Anyone else notice a little more step in his game since he switched to the same stick as Boeser?).

BO-LIEVE it or not. Bo Horvat came into his own in 2017. Bo and the Canucks seemed destined to make a deal as last season wound down, but the summer passed and still no deal was signed. As training camp edged ever closer, fans got nervous and media speculated that maybe it wasn’t such a sure thing after all. The Canucks said all along they were determined to make the right deal, Bo kept saying all the right things and wouldn’t you know it, both sides found that perfect middle ground. Horvat signed his 6-year extension and put in the work on the ice, immediately finding a chemistry with Boeser and Baertschi, aka the “killer-B” line.

BROCK BOESER MANIA. I’m not sure what’s more unbelievable, the fact that Brock Boeser dropped to 23rd in the 2015 draft or looking back knowing that so many were against the pick and uncertain about the player that Brock could be when Jim Benning drafted him. In the two years that followed, Canucks fans watched as he succeeded with college hockey at UND ever hopeful that this was a glimpse of what was to come.

MARCH 25, 2017. Brock Boeser made his NHL debut in his home state of Minnesota while casually scoring his FIRST NHL goal which ended up being the game winner.

NOVEMBER 2017. First career hat trick on home ice against the defending Stanley Cup champions, followed up by picking up another two goals against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Named the rookie of the month.

DECEMBER 2017. FASTEST rookie in Vancouver Canucks history to notch 20 goals in 34 games. (**Heading into the Christmas break, Boeser had 34 points [20 goals, 14 assists] in 34 games. Currently on pace to surpass Pavel Bure’s rookie record of 60 points in 65 games). Are you ready to see how the rest of the story goes, Vancouver? Stay tuned, this is JUST the beginning.

Safe to say that among Canucks fans, Brock Boeser mania is in full force. Yes, it’s still very early in the season and there’s a ways to go with some great competition with other rookies like Barzal and Keller, but Boeser is definitely a serious Calder contender. No, Canucks fans do not want Boeser awarded the Calder trophy in December, we just want it acknowledged across the board that he’s having a heck of a season and deserves to be in that conversation.

DORSETT STRONG. No one was sure if he’d even be able to make a comeback after his injury last season. Derek Dorsett put in the rehab, and worked harder than ever to find his way back to the game. And come back he did, he was having one heck of a season, possibly on his way to career highs before being sidelined by symptoms of the injury that sidelined him for most of last season. Tests and second opinions, led to Derek making the tough choice to put his health and future first, meaning that life after hockey came much faster than originally planned. Inspiring, persevering, and determined.

A few words, I wrote for Derek after his retirement announcement: Vancouver Canucks: For Derek. 

Good-bye, 2017, thanks for the memories. Here’s to 2018 and all that is to come!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Heart of a Canuck

If you were to look up the definition of what it means to have the heart of a Canuck, it would be a pretty long description of numerous virtues embodied by players of the Vancouver Canucks past or present that outside of their fan base, are not always seen by those on the outside.

A small sample of those descriptors: Determination. Sacrifice. Motivation. Driven. Perseverance. Leadership. Dedication. Mentor. And the list goes on, but these are indicative of not just how the player is on the ice but also off of the ice within the community.

Some players exhibit one or many of these qualities throughout their time with the team and beyond. And then there are some that embody everything that having a heart of a Canuck means from the moment they join the team to the time when they retire or are traded to join another team. Players that have embodied this quality over time include: Orland Kurtenbach, Pat Quinn, Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund and yes the Sedins. One that to the outsiders was always and still at times seen as pest to his opponents but to Canucks fans will always be on that list is: Alex Burrows.

Alex Burrows was an absolute class act in his time here. From the outside, that side of Burrows was not always seen. His name was synonymous with pestering his opponents. In Vancouver he is synonymous with constantly proving his critics wrong, playing any spot in the lineup that coach put him, breaking streaks, becoming the third Sedin, slaying dragons, and helping to end the stigmas surrounding mental health. He gave his all for his teammates, every single game, every single shift and off of the ice as well. He gave everything to this city.

This past week when Alex Burrows returned, Vancouver had a chance to express our thanks to a player who always has and always will embody what it means to have a heart of a Canuck.

He’s with the Senators now, but even in his leaving, he made sure that Vancouver also benefited from the trade. His last act was one in which once again he put his team first, as he always has done from day one. From undrafted to becoming the heart of a team and turning an entire city into believing that dragons were meant to be slayed.

Burrows was not the first player to have these qualities and as he grew into the inspiration that he has become, he had some incredible mentors in the Sedins and Trevor Linden. He also over time became a mentor to the younger players coming into the Canucks system and paved the road for what it means to be a professional on and off of the ice.

This year the Canucks have some veterans and some great young players on the team. Some of those players spent a lot of time mentoring Burrows, being mentored by him, learning from him and some never played one game with him, but they all know of him or have heard his story from him or his former teammates. His story is one that anyone can relate to, undrafted, too old, never meant to make it or have any sort of longevity and yet here we are more than 12 years later talking about his continuous legacy.

Players like Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, Brock Boeser can all look to the example of Alex Burrows if they ever need inspiration of what it looks like to give your everything to the sport, their team and the city. They can look back at Burrows, and up to players like the Sedins to know that while it’s not an easy road, if they commit to it, they will inspire more people than they could possibly imagine possible.

To have a heart of Canuck, it’s not always an easy path, but it is one that will always inspire others. And if you see this Burr, this is just a reminder that to Canucks nation, you will ALWAYS be a Canuck. Thank-you endlessly for everything you did during your time here and still continue to do as you keep playing.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

True Blue 2017 (Part Three)

It’s summer or more accurately the NHL’s off-season and you know what that means at NUCKSAID! It’s time once again, for True Blue and to put the spot light on you, Canucks fans. This year, it’ll be a little different than my past summer series. No questionnaire, but a more free form in which you can share whatever you’d like about your hockey/Canucks fandom, or focus on just one moment in particular in the team’s history(recent or from the past) that really shaped how you view this game or an experience with other fans that influence your view of the game now or really it’s up to you what you’d like to say. If you’d like to be featured/share the story of your hockey fandom or the moment that’s shaped how you view the game, send me an e-mail to: nucksaid@gmail.com & we will set it up!

Today introduces you to, not one but two, Canucks fans.

Without further ado, this is Abi and HER True Blue story:

“Today, I’ll share a more recent memory. As a die hard Vancouver Canucks fan, my favourite memory from this off season was getting to attend the prospects game. It felt like a real game experience and there was such an energetic/positive vibe. It was so refreshing to sit wherever we wanted to and best of all, no rude fans. Watching the next generation of Canucks players was very exciting and I look forward to seeing these guys make it on the team in the near future. This felt like Christmas came in July for THIS Canucks fan.

Seeing Pettersson get two goals was amazing and thrilling to get a glimpse of what’s to come. Our future goalies made some great stops despite the high scoring nature of the game. I was quite pleased when a bonus team shoot out was announced. One of the few times that I will ever be excited to watch a shoot out. Each player was granted a chance and tried some interesting and comical moves in the added bonus overtime. I was so thankful that Rogers Arena introduced some new menu items in addition to free food and beverages for the evening.

Another added bonus for me was attending a behind the scenes tour at Rogers Arena. It was a wonderful experience to walk around my favourite place of all time. I really enjoyed seeing the wall of history featuring many of the Canucks legendary players, Trevor Linden’s locker stall with his old lucky sneakers, the Olympic victory mural, seeing the Great One’s signature on the elevator. Our tour guide was very informative and enthusiastic and equally heartbroken about the outcome of 2011. It was cool seeing the club 500 section and the view of the rink from those seats.

 

Is it Hocktober yet? I am counting down the days until hockey returns and looking forward in particular to two things: Daniel Sedin’s 1000th point milestone and seeing Brock Boeser play in a full season capacity.

Go Canucks Go! –Abi. “

Also, please meet Jeff, this is HIS True Blue story in his own words in video format:

*Note: Rock Tune by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Artist: http://audionautix.com/

-Jeff.”

Special thanks to both Abi & Jeff for sharing their True Blue stories! Once a part of Canucks nation, you’re always one of us! Here’s to hearing, seeing, sharing and learning a few more before the season begins in October!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.