Player Profile: #5 Jason Garrison

Today's Profile: Jason Garrison

Today’s Profile: Jason Garrison

Jason Garrison’s NHL journey began down the undrafted route. He worked his way up from the minors to the BCHL and eventually earning an athletic scholarship to the University of Duluth where he played at the NCAA level for 3 years. Prior to his senior year he was offered an entry level NHL contract by the Florida Panthers. Garrison played his first entire NHL season in the 2010-2011 season but really came into his own during the 2011-2012 season when he scored 16 goals.

As a result of his successful year, there was a lot of hype when Garrison became a free agent in the 2012 off season and multiple offers came. He stated prior to free agency beginning he stated that he was interested in playing for his hometown team, the Vancouver Canucks. It became official July 1, 2012 that Garrison became a long-term Canuck, signing a 6-year contract with his childhood team.

His first year with the Canucks had its ups and downs from being taken off the first powerplay unit and the shortened lockout season. Going into this season, the key will be consistent in his defensive and offensive plays throughout the 82 game schedule.

In 237 NHL games, Garrison has amassed 75 points [31 goals, 44 assists]. It should be noted that 49 of those points have come in the last two seasons.

Garrison’s point shot brings the team within one:

Faceoff win, GARRISON SCORES….

I don’t think the Avs meant to pass the puck to Garrison:

It will be interesting to see how Torts pairs up the defensemen this year and if he takes advantage of Garrison’s slapshot on the powerplay. Hopefully this season Garrison will be able to find that offensive magic that was in his defensive arsenal in the 2011-2012 season. Best of luck @GarrisonFive! Canuck fans look forward to you having a BIG year ahead as you help the team be successful.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Player Profile: #2 Dan Hamhuis

Today's profile: Dan Hamhuis

Today’s Profile: Dan Hamhuis

HOME TOWN hero! Dan Hamhuis’ NHL career began when he was drafted 12th overall in the 2001 NHL draft by the Nashville Predators. He made his NHL debut during the 2003-2004 season and spent 6 seasons playing for the Predators.

Following the 2009-2010 season, Hamhuis and the Nashville Predators could not come to a new contract agreement leading Nashville to trade his negotiating rights to the Philadelphia Flyers and then the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was unsuccessful in coming to terms with Pittsburgh and became a free agent July 1, 2010 and after multiple offers he decided to sign with his hometown team, the Vancouver Canucks.

Hamhuis was a vital part of the Canucks 2011 playoff run; Dan and Kevin Bieksa formed a formidable shutdown defensive pair keeping the opponents top lines up until Dan was injured early in the Stanley Cup Final series versus Boston.

In 676 NHL games, Hamhuis has amassed a total of 245 points [46 goals, 199 assists]. Going into this season he will more than likely surpass 200 assists and 50 goals!

Hamhuis drew a lot of international attention when he joined Team Canada in the 2013 World Championship and earned himself an invitation to the 2014 Olympic Orientation camp for Canada [he was also invited to the 2010 Olympic Orientation camp but did not make the final roster]. Dan will have to keep to his strong defensive style of the game in tact as he hopes to crack the Olympic line up. Good luck Hammer, hope to see you represent the red and white in Sochi!

Here’s a few #hammertime highlights to keep you going until puck drop October 3rd!

OT winners are always awesome:

It’s always nice when the defense chip in with the offense:

34 SECONDS…:

It will be interesting to see Torts keeps Hamhuis paired with Bieksa as one of the top defensive pairs. Going into the new season as with most players on the roster, the main key will be to remain healthy for the majority of the 82 game schedule and always maintain consistency.

Best of luck this season Hammer! #hamhuis #hammertime

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Player Profile: #9 Zack Kassian

zack-kassian-scoring-so-g-vs-flames

Today’s Profile: Zack Kassian

Zack Kassian’s NHL career began when he was drafted 13th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2009 NHL draft.  He made his NHL debut with Bufflalo in November 2011 and played a total of 27 games with Buffalo throughout the 2011-2012 season before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks. Zack was acquired in a trade to Buffalo with Marc-Andre Gragnani in exchange for Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer.

His initial arrival in Vancouver was not well received by the fans as many were livid that COHO was traded. Kassian was put in an impossible position as everyone [media and fans alike] decided that since he didn’t play the same style as Hodgson that acquiring him was a mistake. It is not quite fair to have the expectation that they should replace one another on a roster when they play different styles. I admit, I was not completely sold on Kassian when he first arrived BUT he has shown flashes of what could be if given an opportunity. It is important that people STOP comparing him and Hodgson because they are clearly not the same BUT both bring some great elements to their respective teams.

Kassian brings size and grit to the game and when on a roll can score a clutch goal. Last season he spent a few game playing top minutes with the Sedin twins…and like many other players he was the beneficiary of some incredible plays. Perhaps this year we will get to see him play MORE with the twins OR in the very least with consistent line mates.

It is important to remember that Zack Kassian has yet to play a FULL NHL season and his full potential has yet to be seen. Going into the new season it will be interesting to see how he develops under new Head Coach, John Tortorella.

In 81 NHL games, Kassian has amassed 21 points [11 goals, 10 assists]. This year hopefully he will build upon that with a full NHL season and put up some big numbers.

Here are a few highlights from Kassian’s 2012-2013 season to remind you of how much potential he has going into this season:

Shootout…!

Powerplay…Hammer to Kassian, SCORES!

Sedins & #zackattack combine against the Blackhawks:

The key for Zack this season will be consistency and making the most the minutes of ice time he’s given. Kassian has a lot of potential that has yet to be unlocked but hopefully will be developed under Torts and with consistent line mates. Here’s to Kassian having a great season in 2013-2014 & pre-season starting in ONE week!

#zackattack #gocanucks #nearlyOctober

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Player Profile: #36 Jannik Hansen

Today's Profile: Jannik Hansen

Today’s Profile: Jannik Hansen

Jannik Hansen’s NHL career began when he was drafted 287th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in theh 2004 NHL draft. Following his NHL draft, Hansen opted to play one more year in Denmark. He transitioned to playing North American style of play playing first in the WHL for the Portland Winter Hawks which was followed by his time with the Canucks AHL affiliate [the Manitoba Moose] before earning a full season roster spot with the team at the start of the 2008-2009 season.

In 318 NHL games, Hansen has amassed 131 points [50 goals, 81 assists]. Let’s hope to see #honeybadger add to those totals with a breakout season this year!

Here are a few #greatdane highlights to keep you going until the season gets here!

Like I said in previous profiles, everyone did something awesome in this 7 game series!:

& Hansen strikes the hawks AGAIN! Good things happen to those who play with the Sedins…!

Canucks and Leafs always make for interesting games:

Hansen has established himself as a solid third line forward with the capabilities to jump on to the 1st and 2nd lines when called upon. One of his biggest strengths is his skill on the penalty kill unit. He will be looking to build on the successful season he had in the 2011-2012 season with a career high 39 points [16 goals, 23 assists]. Going into the new season, Hansen will be playing in the final year of his current contract and hopefully put up some strong numbers that will result in a contract extension before next off-season! Let’s see what you’ve got #honeybadger!

#honeybadger #thegreatdane #gocanucks

Can you feel it? Hockey season is nearly upon us! We’re getting closer #canuckleheads! Next week is training camp, followed by a six game pre-season, which will be followed by the long awaited regular season.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Player Profile: #23 Alex Edler

Today's profile: Alex Edler.

Today’s Profile: Alexander Edler.

Alex Edler’s NHL career began when he was drafted 91st overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2004 NHL draft. He made his NHL debut in the 2006-2007 season before earning a permanent roster spot the following season, and the rest as they say is history. Edler was the benefactor of being mentored by longtime Canuck, Sami Salo.

In 431 NHL games, Alex Edler has amassed a total of 206 points [51 goals, 155 assists]. Edler has developed a defensive edge to his game and knack for scoring some big goals.

Prior to the start of the shortened lockout season, the Canucks signed Edler to a 6-year contract extension [$30 million]. If the they had not signed him before the end of the season, easily he could have test the free agency waters as he would have been an unrestricted free agent. [I don’t know about you BUT, I think it would have been a mistake to let Edler go!]

Going into this season, Edler will be looking to rebound from a season that saw him earn his first ever major penalty and his first ever suspension. The key for Eddy will be to tighten his defensive game while still putting up strong offensive numbers and as is with all players to stay healthy through the majority of the 82 game schedule.

Here are a few highlights of Alex ‘the eagle’ Edler to keep you entertained until October 3rd:

A drop pass leads to a goal? Yes, I think so.

It seems as thought there is a highlight for just about every player in this 7 game series:

Kesler breaks his stick & Edler is quick to keep the puck in play:

#23 #eagle #edler

Edler will be looking to have a strong year in order to secure a spot on Sweden’s Olympic roster along with the Sedins. [**If named to the Swedish Olympic team, he will have to sit out the first two games as the remainder of his suspension from the World championship will carry over].

Here’s hoping Alex Edler’s game reaches a new level this season…perhaps a Norris worthy season if he combines offensive numbers with a defensive edge. Hopefully we see that Edler tailored slapshot! Best of luck Eddy! #gocanucks

#31moredays until most nights will be #hockeynights!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Player Profile: #20 Chris Higgins

20ChrisHiggins

Today’s Profile: Chris Higgins

Chris Higgins NHL career began when he was drafted 14th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2002 NHL draft. Before he made his NHL debut, Higgins was an Ivy League collegiate hockey player as part of the YALE Bulldogs for two seasons before opting to go pro.

His professional hockey career with the Montreal Canadiens began when he played for their AHL affiliate before gaining a roster spot for the start of the 2005-2006 regular season.  He played with the Habs until the end of the 2008-2009 season. He spent the 2009-2010 season split between the New York Rangers and the Calgary Flames. He debuted the 2010-2011 season with the Florida Panthers and finished the season with the Vancouver Canucks.

Higgins was acquired by Vancouver at the 2011 trade deadline in the hopes that he would help give the team an edge down the stretch drive to the playoffs. Higgins quickly became a fan favourite as he scored some timely goals during the team’s extended playoff run in 2011.

Higgins was rewarded for his hard work with being signed to 2-year contract in the 2011 off-season. In the last two seasons he had to battle back from injury and a crazy staph infection BUT when he was healthy, Higgins was a game changer.  Heading into this season, Higgins will be aiming to make an impact each and every game and the key [as is with most players!] will be to stay healthy for the majority of the 82 game schedule.

Prior to last season ending, Chris Higgins signed a 4-year contract extension with the Canucks.

Here are a few #higgywithit highlights to hold you over until October 3rd rolls around!

First game that followed the epic 7 game series with Chicago….& HIGGY strikes first in round 2!

Round 3:

Ties the game & HIGGY WINS it in OT!

#higgins #higgywithit #isitoctoberyet #gocanucksgo

Christopher Higgins is the only member of the current roster who has previously been coached by Torts[during his time with the NY Rangers] and can help his teammates adjust the coaching change. Higgins will also be looking to build on the strengths of his game while putting up strong numbers and help the team go deep next spring.

Are you ready for October yet? Can you feel how close the season is?!

Clearly I am ready for this crazy game called hockey to return already…! Here’s to see Higgins return to the team with a vengeance when they hit the ice in San Jose on October 3rd.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Player Profile: #3 Kevin Bieksa

Today's Profile: Kevin Bieksa

Today’s Profile: Kevin Bieksa

Kevin Bieksa[aka JUICE] has something that many NHL players do not, a completed University degree [in Finance] giving him the option to do something completely different when he retires from the sport.

Bieksa’s NHL career began when he was drafted 151st overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2001 NHL draft. Bieksa delayed his NHL debut by choosing to complete his university degree. Before joining the Canucks, he played some big minutes with the Manitoba Moose during the same tenure as Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows[they have now played together for 8 years!]

In 461 NHL games, Bieksa has amassed a total of 203 points [48 goals, 155 assists]. He is never afraid to drop the gloves with the opponents. He plays defense with an offensive edge, jumping up on a rush when the opportunity provides itself.

Kevin Bieksa has had his share of being bit by the injury bug…having torn his Achilles tendon NOT once, but TWICE. Heading into this latest season, the key for Bieksa [like many of his teammates] will be to stay healthy throughout the majority of the 82 game schedule. IF he can stay healthy he could surpass a few milestones this season, such as the 500 games played mark, and more than 50 goals scored.

The keys for Bieksa heading into this season will be to stay healthy and be CONSISTENT night in, night out. I look forward to seeing #3 return in October with a vengeance shutting down the opponents top lines and putting up some offensive numbers. It will interesting to see if Bieksa will be paired once again with Hamhuis or if Torts switches up the defensive pairings this season.

Here are a few #bieksallent moments for you to relive in order to get you ready for the return of #3 to the lineup this year:

Bieksa makes a diving SAVE & SCORES to tie the game late in the third period!

Bieksa for the WIN with less than 30 seconds left!

Double OT…need I say more, this goal speaks for itself…it is simply #bieksallent:

There is just over two weeks until training camp opens and before we know it the preseason will be upon us. Hopefully when October 3rd comes around we will not have to wait too long to see Kevin Bieksa score a highlight reel goal or drop the gloves.

Here’s to Bieksa having a great season! #bieskallent #juice #KB3 #isitoctoberyet #36moredays

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Player Profile: #14 Alex Burrows

Today's Profile: #14 Alex Burrows

Today’s Profile: Alex Burrows

Alex Burrows professional hockey career did not begin like that of most of his teammates. He took the undrafted route from ball hockey, to the ECHL, to the QJMHL, to the AHL, and finally to the NHL. Seriously this guy’s story could be a movie with its humble beginnings to his current first line status.

Burrows quickly established himself as a pest to his opponents. In his early days with the Canucks he was not known for his timely scoring but rather his innate ability to kill penalties [particularly when paired with a certain #17] and get under the skin of the opponent.

In 569 NHL games, Burrows has tallied 294 points [152 goals, 142 assists]. It should be noted that the majority of those points have come during his time on the top line [242 points since the start of the 2008-2009 season].

Burrows was never supposed to make it in the NHL let alone play on one of the top scoring lines in the NHL. It was not until one fateful day back in February 2009 when the Canucks finally ended an 11 game losing streak [thanks to a SHG from BURROWS!] with playoffs looking near impossible, that Coach Vigneault decided to experiment with his lines the following game. Burrows was pulled from his usual checking role late in the game and put on a line with the Sedins…a seemingly questionable choice BUT guess what? It worked. The Sedins and Burrows clicked and quickly became one of the highest scoring lines in the NHL as they led the team in offense down the stretch that helped the team secure their Division title and a playoff berth. He finished the year with 28 goals.

When Burrows first began his run of success with the Sedins, he was being paid a league minimum salary of $500,000. Prior to the 2009 trade deadline, all the experts predicted that he would be traded as he was in the final year of his contract BUT instead he signed a 4-year contract extension [$8 million—a $2 million annual salary].

Heading into the 2009-2010 season brought a lot of questions wondering if Burrows could repeat the late season surge he had when playing the Sedins the year before or if it was simply a one off. It was not a one off…he led the team in scoring with 35 goals that season [including hat tricks in consecutive games!]. Since that fateful February 2009 day, he has been a staple on the top line with the Sedins while also playing BIG penalty kill minutes on the top PK unit with #17.

Most fans, probably never would have pictured him playing on the top line with the Sedins when the pesky Quebec native joined the team BUT most will agree that he has fit in with the Sedins like no other player…even better than the Anson Carter experiment.

Here’s a few highlights to remind you of his timely goal scoring history:

Alex Burrows scores his 2nd hat trick in consecutive games:

Alex Burrows, streak breaker at your service! Just as he broke the Canucks 11 game losing streak in 2009, he breaks Detroit’s 23 win streak at the Joe Louis Arena in 2012:

And of course one cannot forget one of the best goals in franchise history! Alex Burrows, dragon slayer at your service:

One must also remember that whenever Burrows scores a goal and shoots an arrow in his celebration, it is in tribute to his late friend Luc Bourdon who will forever be a Canuck. #gonebutnotforgotten #wemissyouLUC #LB28

It’s like I said earlier, Alex Burrows NHL career did not begin like many of his teammates and should he WIN the BIG game one June, it would be a perfect story book ending; if a film were ever made to chronicle his hockey career.

Burrows has played with the Vancouver Canucks for his entire NHL career, and will hopefully finish his career with the team. He has had a knack for scoring some big goals for the team: the goal that broke the 11-game losing streak in 2009, the goal in that swept the St.Louis Blues in the 2009 playoffs, the goal that finally slayed the dragon known as the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011, the goal 11 seconds into OT in game 2 of the 2011 SCF, and the goal that broke Detroit’s win streak in 2012 and more that we have yet to see.

“Burr, it’s cold in here, there must be some Alex in the atmosphere…”

#BURRRR #heshootshescores

Cannot wait for Burrows and the rest of the team to return to the ice creating new highlight reel moments that will delight us, drive us crazy and start many many debates among fans and experts.

#isitoctoberyet

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Player Profile: #1 Roberto Luongo

Today's Profile: Roberto Luongo

Today’s Profile: Roberto Luongo

In the last two years, this city and many of the team’s fans seem to have forgotten about a guy named Roberto Luongo. He went from a hero that lead Canada to the Gold Medal in 2010 and carried the team on a long playoff run in 2011 to being heckled off the ice in favour of Cory Schneider the following year. Is Cory Schneider a talented athlete and deserving of a bigger role? Yes, but he has yet to earn the respect that Luongo has more than earned from this city but has not been given in the last two years. Roberto deserves so much better than that Vancouver and I hope you join me in actually supporting Luongo this season!

Roberto Luongo was acquired by the Vancouver Canucks in the trade of Todd Bertuzzi with the Florida Panthers in June 2006. When Luongo joined the team, he brought with him a will to win [**note he posted 47 WINS in his first Vancouver season!]. In 747 career games, Luongo has amassed a 348-289-53 [Wins-Losses-OTL] record and 62 shutouts. Vancouver fans should take a closer look at his overall record: prior to joining the Canucks, he posted a 115-168-9 record and since joining the Canucks, he has posted a 233-121-44 record.

With Luongo, the team has made it to the playoffs EVERY year except one [2007-2008]. When he raises his level of play [2010-2011 in particular], it elevates the play of the entire team. Luongo may no longer be team captain but he is certainly still a leader on this team.

This season will be different for Vancouver and Roberto. Last year he came to camp expecting to be traded as it seemed the whole city had turned on him. He wasn’t traded last year and he wasn’t traded when when the season ended. It was a move that shocked many when the Canucks announced the Cory Schneider trade, but it is what is and it is time to accept the reality that Luongo is still #1. This year he comes to camp knowing that while there will still be a media frenzy, he will be the starter. Luongo will be looking to put up strong numbers proving to all those naysayers that he still is a top NHL starting goal-tender. If Luongo can put his best game on the ice for every game, the team plays well in front of him and this city actually supports him, anything could happen this season. It all comes down to consistency by the entire team, night in and night out through the 82 game schedule. Time will tell.

Here are some highlights to remind of just how awesome Luongo is! [Spoiler alert: many of these are against the Hawks…he has played some of his best games against Chicago.]

LUUUUUUUUUUUUUU robs the ever pesky Eager with this show stopper:

Bobby LUUUUUUU robs another Blackhawk for this highlight reel save!:

My favourite save of the 2010 Olympics happened in the Slovakia game:

Who says Luongo hates shootouts? [Probably everyone…BUT in this particular one, he was brilliant!]:

If you have any doubts that Luongo will report to camp, according to Torts, Luongo is more than ready to play focusing on what needs to be done on the ice and simply wants to play. I cannot wait to see #1 take back the starter reigns when the calendar turns to October! I have always and will always support Luongo.

#LUUUUUUUUUU #heartofacanuck

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Oh and in case you missed it, CHRIS TANEV is FINALLY officially RE-SIGNED! The Canucks also re-signed Andrew Alberts to a one-year contract.

Player Profile: #17 Ryan Kesler

In keeping with the theme of looking ahead, I decided to do a series of player profiles as we count down the next 6 weeks until hockey returns.

Today's Profile: Ryan Kesler

Today’s Profile: Ryan Kesler

Ryan Kesler is known for his defensive/offensive playing style and his sheer will to win at all costs. Fans will be hoping to see his tenacious wrist shot making many appearances next season.

Ryan Kesler NHL career began when he was drafted 23rd overall in the 2003 NHL Entry draft by the Vancouver Canucks. It was clear from his time with the Canucks AHL affiliate team that he was going to be a star player with the Canucks when called upon. Interesting to note that some of those Moose teammates are his current Canuck teammates today: Kevin Bieksa and Alex Burrows played with Mr.Kesler during his time in Manitoba [they were all called up at various times during the 2005/2006 season before cementing their place with the team the following year].

Prior to the 2006-2007 campaign, Kesler signed an offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers only to have the Canucks match that offer in 2 days…and the rest as they say is history! Can you imagine Kesler not in Canuck colors…but in Philadelphia’s black and orange? Perish the thought! I am glad the Canucks took the gamble in keeping him a Canuck.

Early on, Ryan Kesler and pesky Burrows were pests to their opponents and developed a knack for killing penalties together developing into one of the team’s current top PK units. It is his strong defensive play that has helped solidify him as one of the top two-way forwards.

He has been successful in his play not just with the Canucks but also with his team USA at the international level winning the 2002 U18 Tournament Gold medal, the 2004 World Juniors Gold medal and how can we forget the 2010 Silver medal and of course winning the 2011 Frank J Selke award!

Kesler has a level of compete in his game that fans have dubbed #beastmode…a level that was most evident in the 2010-2011 season, a level that all will be hoping to see when the calendar turns to October 3rd. His compete level will rely heavily on him remaining healthy for the majority of the 82 game schedule [no breaking his foot twice!]. If Kesler can remain healthy for the year…he could have another breakout season much like he did in the 2010-2011 season.

As we get closer to the season beginning…here are a few #KESLER highlights to keep you going until October 3rd:

Remember this #RK17 moment #CanuckNation? clue: #hattrick

Or how about this other awesome moment in #CanuckHistory? clue: #round3

Or this beauty? clue: #blackhawks

Any other favourite Kesler moments [there were lots to choose from!]? Seeing the highlights once again reminds me of how incredible Kes can play when he’s at the top of his game and how we are lucky to have his skill level on the team each and every year. When at the top of his game playing his unstoppable #beastmode style drives the opponent crazy. Here’s hoping we see that high compete level when the team returns for training camp/pre-season in 3 weeks!

Cannot wait to see #RK17 hit the ice with the team scoring goals & shutting down the opponents offense!

#isitOctoberyet

#weareallcanucks #letthegamesbegin

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.