2018-19 Season: And then it was DONE.

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

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

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

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

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

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

 

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Vancouver Canucks: Through The Looking Glass

There are a lot of things you can say about the Vancouver Canucks and the fact that their season has once again ended before the post-season. And trust me, I’ve heard that and many other takes on this season, largely leaning towards the negative. And I’m sure there will be many more that debate the season that was, just remember that those debates do not tell the whole story. So yes, in summary while there are no playoffs, there were still some great moments and glimpses of what is to come in the near future.

This season was one that most wrote off before the puck had even dropped. Many said that without the Sedins, the season would be a lost cause. Yes, the season has come to an end but it was not a write off or a lost cause. This season was all about growth and development of the young core. This season was a massive step forward, one that saw the youth lead the way and ignite passion back into Canucks nation.

For myself, rather than focus on the draft lottery that is out of my control I’m going to look back on some standout and personal favourite moments from this season. Let’s start at the beginning, the first goal of the year scored by none other than rookie sensation, Elias Pettersson:

His first goal, on his first shot in his first game. It was thunderous in the arena when he scored that goal. The crowd loved it and his reaction to hearing his name being chanted by the crowd was priceless. To say, he set a high standard and lit hope anew in Canucks fans is putting it lightly.

October was also memorable because it marked bringing my Grandpa to his first ever Canucks game. He got to pick the opponent and chose the game versus the Boston Bruins.

What a game that was! The Canucks won with an overtime goal from Bo Horvat. It’s a game and a goal that my grandpa STILL talks about 6 months later and is already planning coming up for another one! It’s a game that I’ll always remember and carry with me.

November 2. How can we forget about that epic back and forth game between two young teams? A night that saw Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser combine for NINE points in a 7-6 OT win. Down 5-6 in the final minutes, Pettersson did what he does best, dug deep, got what seemed like an impossible goal, bringing that crowd to their feet…not to mention that BANK pass goal set up for Boeser that screamed SEDINERY:

And what about that penalty shot goal versus Nashville?!

Sensational right? Crazy to think that prior to the season many wondered if he could have success at the NHL level. Any doubters have since been silenced by his finesse on the ice.

Hat tricks are always a treat to see AND Canucks fans were treated to not one BUT two from two of their most promising players in Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson. Boeser scored his second hat trick versus St.Louis when him and Pettersson combined for EIGHT points. Pettersson’s first career hat trick capped off an overtime victory versus Ottawa. Their chemistry on and off of the ice this season has been a treat to see develop.

Games against Toronto on home ice are always entertaining and bring out a crowd that is usually 50% Canucks fans and 50% Leafs fans. This year did not disappoint, it was a very split crowd. For 40 minutes the Leafs were in control, until the Canucks found a way to tie it due to a stellar performance from Markstrom and setting up an exciting overtime game winning goal from Alex Edler.

Speaking of Edler, I know he takes a lot of heat from fans but nothing can take away from him becoming the ALL-TIME leading scorer on the blue line in Canucks history and surpassing fellow Swede, Mattias Ohlund in the franchise record book. He’s given a lot to this team over years and that should be noted and appreciated.(Heart and soul player).

Another heart and soul player that gave his all was Chris Higgins. He scored some memorable goals during his time here and it was a pleasure to get the chance to meet him and talk about his time as a player.

One of my favourite parts of the season is always getting to see the Canucks play on/around my birthday. Every year, we pick the game that is either on my birthday or closest to it, and my family gets geared up and attends the game. This year was no exception. As per tradition, we got tickets, and another birthday was spent in the rink.

Win or lose, I always enjoy the game. This year was no exception with a great pace, an electrifying OT session followed by a shootout that featured THIS ridiculous #DekeyPete goal:

It may not have been the winner BUT THAT GOAL IS ALL KINDS WIZARDRY. How many players will try that Forsberg move their first year in the league?!  As if that goal wasn’t enough to make the game memorable, THIS happened:

(You know your favourite team gets you when their birthday surprise for you includes a signed puck from your favourite player!).

We have to talk about the continued progression of Bo Horvat who has evolved from his draft year into a true leader on and off this season. This season he picked up the mantle left behind by the Sedins and carried it proudly and set a new career high in points(61). Every interview, every game, in the community, he was the epitome of a class act and embraced the role as captain even without the official title. (It’s pretty unanimous among Canucks nation that he will be named the next Captain of the team).

Elias Pettersson brings the arena to his feet every single time he makes a dazzling play but he’s not the only rookie turning the heads and hearts of Canucks fans. Highly tauted Quinn Hughes made his debut over the final games and gave the fans a glimpse of his ease skating, playing with/without the puck, and quieted any question of whether he was ready to jump to the NHL level. The best part since he debuted, was seeing him with Pettersson and Boeser in overtime dominating in breathtaking fashion…I could definitely get used to seeing those three play together for years to come!

This post wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about Markstrom taking his game to a new level this season, particularly since December. It was remarkable to see him embrace his position and tune out the critics. He kept the Canucks in many games, like one of his final games of the year versus Dallas in which he made 46 saves INCLUDING 8 in the shoot out. His progression has given the Canucks room to not rush Thatcher Demko as he continues to grow in his game. By the end of the season, Demko seemed to have settled in and looks to take another step forward next season.

How fitting is it that Elias Pettersson scored the Canucks opening and closing goals of the season? Full circle for the Calder leading rookie.

Sure the season was far from perfect but it was a massive step forward that saw competitive games down the stretch and gave a glimpse of a very promising future for the team’s new emerging core. The future looks bright, are you ready for what comes next?

Stay tuned for upcoming ROUND TABLE discussions, draft updates and coverage throughout the offseason! See you all at the Draft in June!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Vancouver Canucks: Adios 2018!

This post goes out to all Canucks fans as we say good-bye to 2018 and hello 2019!

Can you believe that we’re already half way through the 2018-19 season?! How the heck did that happen? Feels like just yesterday when we all wondered if Elias Pettersson could possibly live up to the hype after his incredible season last year in Sweden. End of December and we can all agree that Elias has more than lived up to the hype. As we edge ever closer to the beginning of the second half of the season, I thought that it’d be fun to take a look back at some of the highlights from the first half; so here we go!

OCTOBER: October was an entertaining month of highlights. Have I mentioned that first NHL goal from Pettersson? Being in Rogers Arena for that moment was truly something spectacular, the roar from the crowd was thunderous. And his reaction to the crowd was priceless.

Easily one of my favourite moments from October will be taking my grandpa to his first ever Canucks game and seeing them get an OT win versus the Boston Bruins. Taking in the atmosphere from the anthems to puck drop to that final buzzer was something that’ll long stay with me.

Or how about Jake Virtanen having his first 2-goal game against long-time rival Chicago? It’s been a season highlight to see him having success and on track to hit career highs (*already has a new high in goals), with half the season still to be played.

One last highlight was finally seeing the team beat Las Vegas for the first time. It took awhile but it was so great to see!

NOVEMBER: Yes, this was the month where simply getting a win felt impossible most nights BUT there were also still some incredible moments in there. The first being that 9-point night from Pettersson and Boeser, what a game THAT was!

The next being that 8-goal outburst in Boston! It’s been a LONG time since the team last put up 8-goals in a game.

Or how about Adam Gaudette scoring his first ever career goal as the Canucks ended a an extended losing streak?

DECEMBER: December has seen a bit of a turnaround for the team after a tough November. They have gone 8-3-1 in their last 12 games and 8-5-1 overall the month of December to close out 2018.

December also saw us all mesmerized by a SECOND 5-point outing from Elias Pettersson and a SECOND hat trick for Boeser. Can we take a minute to really appreciate the chemistry they have developed over the first half of the season?

Or can we take a moment to appreciate the brilliance that was Pettersson’s first ever penalty shot turned goal? It looked impossible but was perfectly timed and met with a thunderous roar from the Rogers Arena crowd.

Or should we talk about their come from behind regulation victory against Columbus? Down 2-1 with less than 5 minutes left, it didn’t seem possible and then the ever determined and never one to give up, Pettersson made sure the Canucks tied the game; paving the way for Virtanen to score the go ahead goal.

Or how about we talk about Boeser hitting his stride with 8 goals and Pettersson continuing to take the league by storm with 17 points in 14 games over the course of December. Their developing on ice chemistry is all kinds of awesome for Canucks fans to see come to fruition.

Pettersson’s 39 points in 36 games is putting him on track to crush, Pavel Bure’s 60 point rookie campaign and the early favourite in the Calder trophy race.

Sure, the season hasn’t been perfect and has even featured some tough stretches BUT they’ve also been more competitive and entertaining than they’ve been in recent years. Stay tuned in 2019, as I’ll be starting a CANUCKS ROUND TABLE featuring fellow Canucks fans! Is there something else you’d like to see discussed on the blog in 2019? Leave a comment below or send me an email (nucksaid@gmail.com).

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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.

 

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.