RK17 Returns…

For the first time in his NHL career, when Ryan Kesler hits the ice in Rogers Arena on November 20, 2014…it will not be for the home side. It is his second game facing his former team but first at the arena that he once called home. How will the crowd respond to his return to Vancouver? Will there be cheers to welcome back a former franchise player who gave this city some incredible memories for over ten years or will he be met with boos to acknowledge the way in which he left?

KeslerDucksFlashback to last season when the rumor mills spun out of control that Ryan Kesler wanted out of Vancouver. Follow up that memory with the incessant denial on the part of Ryan Kesler, that of course those were only rumors and he wanted to finish his career as a Canuck. And then came that fateful day in June at the 2014 NHL draft when rumor became fact and Kesler had been traded to the Anaheim Ducks.

Love him or hate him, there is NO changing the fact that Kesler was a HUGE part of the Vancouver Canucks success in recent history. He may not have left in the best possible way BUT prior to his feisty exit, he gave this city and this team some incredible franchise moments. More than ten years of history that will in no way be changed, no matter what the final outcome is when Kesler returns to the arena he once called home with his new team. Ryan Kesler has moved on. The Vancouver Canucks have moved on. BOTH sides have moved on and BOTH sides being in the same division will have their paths cross multiple times during a season.

I always loved Kesler’s tenacity on the ice and ability as a two-way forward but I was definitely disappointed in the way he left. I have no doubt that he will have success with Anaheim and that the Canucks will have their own success moving forward. When the puck finally drops between the Canucks and the Ducks in Rogers Arena, the dust will settle and one team will walk away with two points. No matter which way the crowd views Kesler when he skates out with his new team, there is no changing the history he gave this city and there is no erasing his new chapter with Anaheim.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

2014 Draft Debrief: Canucks Edition

The 2014 NHL Draft has come and gone and with it left behind some BIG and small movements on the Canucks radar as they were one of (if not) the most active team(s) at the draft.

Team Lindenning had a VERY busy 2014 draft. Change was inevitable coming into the 2014-2015 season, but did anyone see the team being as active at the draft as they were?

TRADE TALK:

TRADE #1: Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ryan Kesler elephant in the room was addressed immediately before it could become a situation that would fester and eat away at the locker room all year long. The Canucks have already had that happen with the Luongo situation that took nearly two years to solve. Benning was forced into to a corner with the Kesler trade as it became public knowledge that Kesler ONLY gave the team a 2-list destination possibility and never wavered from his stance. In the end, Kesler got exactly what he wanted: a ticket out of Vancouver.

It became apparent in his interviews following the news that he was more than ecstatic to be leaving Vancouver for Anaheim. I understand that he is “ready to move on”, BUT some of the things he said felt like he was burning a bridge rather than being grateful for an incredible ten years with the organization that developed him into the two-way player he is today.

Trade #2: Jason Garrison to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Trade #3: 85TH OVERALL 2014 draft pick to the New York Rangers in exchange for Derek Dorsett.

Trade #4: 50TH OVERALL 2014 draft pick to the LA Kings in exchange for Linden Vey.

2014 Vancouver Canucks DRAFT SELECTIONS:

6TH OVERALL: Jake Virtanen (Left Wing)

24TH OVERALL: Jared McCann (Centre)

36TH OVERALL: Thatcher Demko (Goalie)

50TH OVERALL: TRADED to LA in exchange for Linden VEY (Right Wing)

66TH OVERALL: Nikita Tryamkin (Defenceman)

85TH OVERALL (Acquired from Anaheim in the Kesler trade): TRADED to the New York Rangers in exchange for Derek Dorsett.

126TH OVERALL: Gustav Forsling (Defenceman)

156TH OVERALL: Kyle Petit (Centre)

186TH OVERALL: Mackenze Stewart (Defenseman)

7 draft picks and 4 trades later, the 2014 NHL draft came to a close for the Vancouver Canucks. In making some big moves (Kesler/Garrison) the Canucks now have more money in cap space than they’ve had in years and with the free agency frenzy just around the corner…they have the option to spend.

Have you recovered from the frenzy that was the 2014 NHL draft for the Canucks? Are you ready for the frenzy that will be free agency starting tomorrow (July 1)? Will the Canucks bring a veteran goalie to help mentor Lack? Will they lean towards youth or another veteran OR both in regards to bolstering their forwards/defensive lineup? Come tomorrow, we will have answers as to just what Linden and Benning have in mind for the roster moving forward.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Change IS Coming…Change IS Here

Change IS coming. Change IS here. Trevor Linden and Jim Benning said from the outset that some change would have to come in order to move forward. Change indeed has already begun in a BIG way.

Ryan Kesler has been weighed down by trade rumors since the 2014 trade deadline and today you can STOP the rumor mill. Rumor became fact with the announcement of a trade between the Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Kesler is no longer a Vancouver Canuck, he is now an Anaheim Duck. (Do you have ANY idea how hard those words were for this kid to type?)

TO ANAHEIM: Ryan Kesler, 2015 3rd round draft pick

TO VANCOUVER: Nick Bonino, Lucas Sbisa, 2014 1st round draft pick & 2014 3rd round draft pick.

Words of caution before you throw Linden and Benning under the bus for making this trade: REMEMBER, Kesler wanted to go and with his NTC ONLY gave a 2 TEAM list of teams he’d be willing to go to IF a deal could be made. Considering the limited pools of possibilities, I’d say that Linden and Benning did quite well to get optimal value back for Kesler. As for Bonino and Sbisa, I’m going to say that these two will surprise a lot of fans come October.

Nick Bonino, from the times that I have seen him play over the last few years has had a knack for scoring some insanely clutch goals…a habit that will be welcomed when he joins the Canucks. Lucas Sbisa will have an opportunity to develop into a top-4 defense-man on the blue line. There is lots of potential with these two roster ready players and they could very well thrive.

Welcome to Canucks Nation…Bonino & SBISA!

(Bright side? Kesler is NOT a Blackhawk….sorry hawks fans but THAT would have been TOO much for this kid to handle.)

CONFESSION time: In my heart of hearts, I never thought I’d see the day where Ryan Kesler was NOT a Vancouver Canuck. I truly thought at the end of the day that he was going to be a career Canuck. Kesler has always been a heart and soul player…every time he’s on the ice, he gives his 100% and the Anaheim Ducks are incredibly lucky to have him on their side. Best of luck Ryan, I’m going to miss cheering for you as a Canuck, you’ll always be a Canuck to me EVEN though you’ll be wearing the WRONG colours next season! I may not be rooting for Anaheim, but I do hope you do well in So-Cal!

Trades of favourite players NEVER get any easier…and the longer they were a part of our team the harder it is to say good-bye. Just ask the Oilers and Wayne Gretzky who was traded away from Edmonton BUT then Wayne went on to have great success in LA and the OILERS found themselves a cup without the Great One. So here’s to BOTH my Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks having great success in the years to come.

Adios Kes, best of luck in Anaheim!

Adios Kes, best of luck in Anaheim!

Ryan Kesler, if you EVER see this post, THANK-YOU for everything. Thank-you for giving 110% every time you were on the ice. Thank-you for helping to bring to life my passion for the game. Thank-you for everything you brought the Canucks night in and night out. Thank-you for an incredible 10 years of memories. You gave us EVERYTHING, EVERY time you played and for that, I say THANK-YOU. The word seems so small compared to what you helped this franchise become these last 10 years, but the gratitude is infinite.

Thanks for everything, RK17! We’ll miss ya on our side! Best of luck in Anaheim!

Ch-ch-changes keep on knocking! Jason Garrison has been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

TO TAMPA BAY: Jason Garrison + the rights to Jeff Costello & 2015 7th round draft pick

TO VANCOUVER: 2014 50th overall draft pick.

Best of luck in Tampa Bay, Jason! It was fun to see you play for the home team and you’ve got one heck of a shot from the point that the Lightning will love!

ACQUISITION FROM the NY Rangers:

TO VANCOUVER: Derek Dorsett

TO NEW YORK RANGERS: 85th overall 2014 Draft pick (acquired earlier from Anaheim)

Welcome to the team, Derek!

The ch-ch-changes are just beginning. Change was inevitable with the mess that Gillis left behind and it was never going to be easy to clean up. Change had to happen even if that change might break some hearts, sometimes the hardest changes are the ones that make teams EVEN stronger than before. Linden and Benning DO NOT have an easy job taking care of Gillis’ mess BUT they are doing an impeccable job that will make our team better than before. Today marks just the beginning and I’m sure there is more change on the horizon…but there is a lot to be excited about moving forward.

Like the changes that have come or hate them BUT one thing is very clear: some things HAD to change for the Canucks to be able to move forward. People were BEGGING for big changes that never happened last year and now those changes are happening. Benning’s biggest strength is the development of young players and that is exactly what we are getting Canucks fans…depth on our prospect side! The prospect pool is starting to get deep as the Canucks add to their stack of draft picks!

WHAT.A.DAY! The day is not done yet and #TeamLindenning is still hard at work. The first round of 2014 NHL draft is still to come! Updates to follow!

As always until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

P.S. Who do you think the Canucks pick at 6th? (Virtanen?) OR will Benning go all in to get the 1st overall pick from Florida? Leave your prediction in the comments below.

7TH Heaven

The Vancouver Canucks have now won 7 straight games. Hard to believe that just last month they couldn’t string together two wins in a row isn’t it? Let alone to think that since their loss to Chicago (Nov.23), the team has posted an impressive 8-1-1 record.

In their last 7 games, the Canucks have won road games and home games, posted back to back shutouts (1 by EACH goalie) and outscored their opponents 24-8. Let that sink in…the fact they have outscored their opponents by a 3-1 margin and only allowed 8 goals against during this 7-game stretch is impressive. Remember that power-play that everyone has complained about all year long…well don’t look now BUT in their last 15 games the Canucks have scored 12 power-play goals (yes you read that right…12!).

Here is the goal from Mr. Beast Mode himself Ryan Kesler that began the 7-game win streak:

Who would step to help the lead team to victory for their 2nd straight victory & 3rd in 4 games? Ryan Kesler steps up again with another 2-goal performance:

The trip finished with 3/4 victories and momentum that the team was determined to translate on home ice. After a disappointing result from their last home stand where they finished 1-2-3 in 6 games, the team made sure that this one had different results picking up 10/10 points in 5 games. That’s a pretty impressive feat considering that this latest home stand featured not ONE back to back games in back to back nights situation, but TWO. The second of those back to back scenarios included closing out the home stand with a game with the pesky Boston Bruins.

Who would be the team’s first challenge be in the 5-game saga? The Phoenix Coyotes presented a challenge for a team that was looking to take 2 points from a division rival. The home team looked great as they jumped out to a 2-goal lead that they carried into the 3rd period….BUT again the lead did not last as Phoenix came back to the tie the game forcing extra time. Over time at home had not been kind to the Canucks on their last home stand and they were determined to start this one off on a different tone.

Cue one very determined Chris Higgins with the OT winner as every Canuck fan breathed a sigh of relief.

Next up on the docket was the ever challenging Colorado Avalanche. Say what you will about Patrick Roy but the guy has succeeded at every level of the game he has played and coached at. The Avalanche brought a great challenge for the Canucks with their young talented core.

The Canucks would need someone to step up and step up Mike SANTA Santorelli did scoring TWICE and setting up Kesler’s game winning goal to help lead the team to a 3-1 victory.

Was it disappointing that the team gave up a goal to the Avs with 7.1 seconds left to ruin Luongo’s shutout bid or perhaps like many you believe John Garrett is too blame for saying the “S” word ON AIR before the final buzzer? Sure the shutout would have been nice, BUT despite those last 7 seconds, the team played a heck of a game to win their 4th straight game and earning an important 2 points.

Speaking of shutouts…Sweet Carolina came calling just one week after their previous tilt with the Canucks. The Hurricanes had been playing some great hockey leading up to their re-match with the Canucks. Eddie Lack made his home debut in front of a home crowd and dazzled them with his maturity in the game.

Chris Tanev scored the opening goal in this one as the Canucks did something in this game that they had not been able to do in previous games…maintain a 1-goal lead.

The team worked in hard in this one as they made sure as the clock was winding down to not let this one slip away, Jannik Hansen scored an empty net goal to seal this victory. Congratulations Eddie Lack, on posting your first career NHL shutout!

The Canucks had 3 days following the Carolina game before they would close out their 5-game home stand with 2 very different but equally important to the standings games against Edmonton and Boston.

How would Luongo respond after Lack’s shutout you ask? Why by posting his very own shutout of course. The entire team was solid from the first puck drop to the final puck drop. The team out shot the Oilers 40-19 and every line contributed a goal.

The game winning goal from a very nice #sedinery play on that suddenly revived power play:

Luongo has been solid all season long and after that debacle closing out the Colorado game, it was the nice that the team closed this game out for him. This was a game that the Canucks could have lost focus as they had a much bigger opponent coming in the next day BUT they never lost focus in this one.

The Vancouver Canucks closed out their home stand with a game against the Boston Bruins. It was just another game…OR so they said leading up to this game. It was not just any other game. The home crowd was the most electric and loudest they have been all season long, and very vocal in their dislike of the away team.

It was the just the second time the Canucks have met the Bruins since June 2011. Sure the rosters have changed slightly since that heated playoff battle, BUT the rivalry definitely still there.

Luongo faced the Bruins for the first time since the heartbreak of game 7. He was looking to help the team continue their winning ways, steal two points and end the Bruins win streak.

The Canucks opened the scoring on a Jannik Hansen goal from centre ice that took Rask by surprise and it was a lead they would take to the first intermission. Did I mention that Kesler and Jarome Iginla threw the gloves to help set the tone in this pesky affair? the The Bruins came out in the middle frame with determination to come back in this game…and come back they did as they controlled the first 5 minutes of play in the 2nd to tie the game.

Not exactly what the Canucks or Torts particularly wanted to do…once a team gives Boston momentum, they will always run away with it UNLESS you take it back. Did I mention Torts was NOT happy with the Canucks giving the momentum to Boston albeit briefly? Torts immediately called a timeout (something AV almost NEVER did)…and made it very clear to the team they needed to be better.

How did the team respond to the rant? David Booth..yes BOOTH put the home team up 2-1 just 1:30 after the TORTS pep talk. Not to be out done, the line of Kes & SANTO set up Higgins for a goal to put the team ahead 3-1 before the end of the 2nd period.

The third period would be interesting to see how the Canucks would carry themselves. The Bruins kept pushing BUT Luongo kept saying NO. Luongo made key saves and allowed the Canucks to keep momentum on their side which was aided by 3 more Canuck goals(yes 3 more goals!) to seal this game to the delight of the home fans. Two of their last three goals were special teams goals(1 power play, & 1 short-handed). The Bruins did get a second goal as they peppered Luongo with 41 shots on the night BUT the Canucks goal keeper was solid making 39 saves on the night.

The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Boston Bruins on this night and won their 7th straight game. Let that sink in…that is their longest win streak in 2 years. The Canucks are winning not just because Luongo has been incredibly solid(he’s been consistent all year long) but because the team is playing well as a TEAM from top to bottom as of late.

With an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games. the team will be looking to build upon their recent success on the road. They have a tough 3-game road trip coming with stops in Minnesota, Chicago and Dallas that will be another great test for this team. It’s been a great month to watch the Canucks and I look forward to seeing how they close out 2013.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Road Trip #3: Part TWO

The Vancouver Canucks vs. The Nashville Predators

The Vancouver Canucks vs. The Nashville Predators

Stop #4: SMASHVILLE

The Canucks came into this game looking to win back to back games for the first time since OCTOBER (yes October!). Seems almost unbelievable does it not? Believe it…it happened BUT the Canucks know they have to more consistent for 60 minutes (not 58 or 59 minutes BUT the entire 60.

Kesler was a HUGE factor in the Carolina game and was looking to build on that solid performance. Build on that he did indeed. He had a fire in his eyes and brought that same intense determination to the Nashville game. We all know Kesler loves playing in that Predator’s arena.  He reacquainted himself with his opposition by being a driving force for the third period.

Who else to break a 1-1 tie in the 3rd period but that beast that has become Kesler? #17 was at it again!

KESLER strikes again on the power-play!!!! That makes 8 power-play goals in the last 10 games!

2 straight games with 2 goals from Ryan Kesler and #17 led the way for BOTH victories. Will he be the hero again tonight as the returns home for a 5-game home stand?  Who knows perhaps we will see him get his 4th career hat trick on this current home stand…or maybe someone else will step up as hero?

It all begins TONIGHT (Dec. 6th) as the Canucks start their 5-game home stand with a game against the Phoenix Coyotes. A single point is all the separates these two teams….a regulation WIN would push the Canucks past the Coyotes and put them a 3 points behind Colorado.

The 5-game home stand will also feature those pesky Coyotes, a re-match with the Carolina Hurricanes, the Edmonton Oilers(never to be taken lightly…they’ve got some great young skill) and of course the big bad Boston Bruins. This home stand is a great opportunity for the Canucks to grab some very important points to help them gain some ground in a very tough Pacific Division.

March 2nd may see The excitement for the Heritage Classic featuring the Canucks and Senators is beginning to pick as tickets and official merchandise have now gone on sale. In case you missed this gem of a sneak peek at what the Heritage Classic & NHL Revealed has in store for Vancouver & Ottawa fans…here you go!

Tell me that doesn’t make you excited to see the FULL NHL Revealed special.

I got a game to finish watching (the team leads 2-0 heading into the 3rd period!)!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E. L.

Road Trip #3: Part ONE

Stop #1: Capital…absolutely Capital timing as the Canucks met with the Ottawa Senators.

The game perhaps did not start the way the team intended as it was all Ottawa in the first period and it reflected on the scoreboard when MacArthur scored his 100th Career goal. Needless to say Torts was not impressed with his team’s poor start to the game and he let it show behind the bench with his words in particular to Jannik Hansen.

Mind you it was only a 1 goal lead for the Senators heading into the second period BUT Vancouver could not waste time in letting this game get away from them. Props to Hansen for taking the harsh words in stride and for the rest of the bench taking words in stride to turn the tide of the game.

Cue Mr.Clutch Alex Burrows getting the gritty puck work done along the boards behind the net to set the twins up for the tying goal just 31 seconds into the second period. JUST 45 seconds later David BOOTH gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead which was followed by a power-play goal from Jason Garrison just 2:50 later! Midway through the middle frame the Canucks had stretched their goal count to 4 and Craig Anderson’s night was over. Offense that had been lacking in recent games was on the menu for the visitors this night.

Milestone #300 finally goes in for DANNY BOY! Congratulations DANIEL! [Did you know of his 300 goals, Henrik has assisted on 214 of them? That is insane in the most awesome way!]

**Daniel Sedin is only the 3rd Canuck to hit the 300 goals mark! He now only trails Trevor Linden [318] and Markus Naslund [346]. With 53 games still left in the schedule…it is plausible that Daniel could surpass Trevor Linden before the season ends.

Garrison seems to have found his game recently and was rewarded with this fantastic cannot miss shot for his first goal since game #2! Looks good playing point on the power play don’t you think?

Stop #2: New York, New York…where the Canucks had anything but an Empire state of mind.

Oi vey…where to begin with this game. The Rangers were looking to have a bounce back game while the Canucks were looking to put a string of wins together. One team was going to achieve their goal and it all came down to who put their best team effort on the ice…and that is exactly what happened.

The Rangers jumped ahead to 2-0 lead much to the delight of the home crowd and their delight did not end there as in the second period they jumped to a 4-0 lead. Luongo’s night at the 3-0 goal and Lack in to try and spark the team in some way. Booth’s goal put the Canucks on the board before the end of the middle frame.

The Canucks put themselves in a pretty steep hole making the comeback improbable. The Rangers all but secured their victory when Kreider put the home team ahead 5-1 as he completed a hat trick and hats rained down at MSG. The Canucks did manage to get another goal as Daniel scored a power play goal late in the game to make it a 5-2 overall score.

This was definitely not the Canucks best game by any means, possibly one of their worst BUT the good news is that they had an immediate opportunity to have a bounce back game the very next day.

Stop #3: Sweet Caroline…bounce back they did indeed. Torts was not happy with the team’s effort on Saturday and neither was the team. The Canucks knew they had to have a MUCH better effort for their Sunday matinee game. Eddie Lack made his 5th start of the season.

Remember that power play that struggled in the first 20 games? Including Ryan Kesler’s first period goal against the Hurricanes, Vancouver’s power play has scored in 7 of the last 9 games. It should be noted before Kesler made it a 1-0 lead…he took a puck to head, shook it off and gave the Canucks a rare FIRST goal of the game lead [a trend that has not happened enough if you ask me!].

The first period was all Canucks as they dominated the first 20 minutes out-shooting Carolina 9-4 as they visitors jumped up to 2-0 lead. The second goal was a point shot from Garrison tipped in front from Tostito [aka Sestito!].

As we all know NO lead in ANY game is ever safe.

The second period was Carolina’s turn to take this game over. The Hurricanes not to be outdone by the visitors came back VERY quickly scoring two goals in 10 seconds to tie the game at 2. To be honest when Carolina tied the game so quickly…I had flashbacks to the Chicago game when they similarly changed the tide in 9 seconds. That being said the Canucks did not give up their compete in this one, they shook off the shock and came right back. Just 27 seconds after the Hurricanes tied the game…Ryan Kesler scored his second of the night give the Canucks a 3-2 lead.

Despite the quick start to the middle frame and despite the Hurricanes out-shooting the Canucks 17-10 in the middle frame, were not able to find the 3-3 equalizer.

The third period was a pretty even affair. Carolina came very close, if not for a little help from Burrows, the Hurricanes may have tied the game again! Heck of a save BURR!

Kesler came oh SO CLOSE to completing the hat trick BUT Ward made an important save to keep it a one goal game. Carolina pressed for the equalizer late in the game even pulling Cam Ward for the extra attacker as the clock was winding down. You do recall that the other team pulling their goalie has been the Canucks kryptonite as of late right? They ALWAYS get it…or at least that is how it has gone all season long. NOT THIS TIME. The Canucks held on to the ONE goal lead and walked away with TWO points in REGULATION. Yes…this really happened! Lack was solid in net finishing with 29 saves.

The league’s number one penalty kill unit got put to the test killing 6 straight penalties! Needless to say, by the final buzzer this was a much more complete game from the team. Can they be better? Every team can always be better and can always learn from mistakes made in previous games.

Next Stop: The Canucks will close out their 4-game road trip in Smashville….otherwise known as Nashville. It won’t be an easy game…it never is against the Predators and the Canucks will have to put their best game on the ice to earn the two points.

Let’s close out this road trip in style boys!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

October Blues…says WHO?!

The month of October and the Canucks usually do not go together or at least that’s story for the last 7 seasons or so. Octobers have statistically not been kind to the Canucks.

Cue the hiring of head coach John Tortorella and everyone arriving at their own ideas of how this will go[many thought automatic disaster]. The schedule was released and featured a league high 9 games on the road including a LONG 7-game road trip in the middle of the month. It seemed that the month was doomed before the first puck dropped.

Based on history being against the Canucks, the injury bug and the road heavy schedule, most people did not have high expectations for the start of the season and many stated that they would be happy to just survive October with a 0.500 level.

Torts made it clear from Day ONE that he hates losing and wanted to instill the will to win to all of the players. Torts changed the mindset that a lousy October is acceptable or expected but rather that you should put your best effort forward and not listen to the naysayers.

Torts asked for the star players to step up and step up they did. Here;s a list of accomplishments that do not usually come in October but this team accumulated this year:

-The Sedins combined for 33 points: Henrik amassed 18 points [3 goals, 15 assists] + Daniel with 15 points [6 goals, 9 assists]

-The 7-game road trip that scared fans saw the team pick up 11/14 points and post a 5-1-1 record.

-The road trip saw the re-emergence of  Ryan Kesler’s #beastmode who picked up 9 points on the road (he now has 11 points [8 goals, 3 assists]).

-Luongo posted his FIRST shutout of the season (63rd of his NHL career)

-Torts plays everyone on the PK and expects everyone to block shots. Did I also mention that Torts has split the Sedins up more than once and nearly every time it yields results.

– #BeastMododo was formed: Kesler + the Sedins

-The unexpected signings of Mike “SANTA” Santorelli and Brad Richardson have looked very good representing the Canucks scoring some clutch goals.

-Kesler was shifted from his usual position at centre to wing & has thrived.

Here’s a glance at October 2013 where your Vancouver Canucks posted an impressive 9-5-1 record:

What month is that you say? Yes it's true, October came & went with NO October blues.

What month is that you say? Yes it’s true, October came & went with NO October blues.

Was it perfect? No…but it was a much better October than everybody predicted them to be. Here’s to the Canucks having a November to remember as we shift to the second month of the season. An area that needs massive improvement as the calendar flips to November is the power play. Perhaps when the power plays starts clicking we will get to see more goals like this one:

The game-winning goal from Daniel Sedin vs. the Capitals was a product of some incredible #sedinery cycling. [*the video hardly does justice to this beauty of a goal]:

ONE LAST THOUGHT: 33 combined points in 15 games…CAN we re-sign the SEDINS already?!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Road Trip #1: Part THREE

In case you missed Parts 1 & 2:

Road Trip #1: Part ONE

Road Trip #1: Part TWO

Two final destinations were required to close out the 7-game road trip before returning home for a few games.

Vancouver Canucks vs. New Jersey Devils.

Game 12: Vancouver Canucks vs. New Jersey Devils.

Stop SIX: To have or to not have sympathy for the devils is the question.

New Jersey has struggled in their first 10 games of the season, registering just one win. Coming into this game 3-1-1 on the road trip, the Canucks wanted to get at least a point to secure a winning record.  The Devils just wanted to win, period.

The Devils started with a lot of jump to their game, scoring on their first shot. Not exactly the start the Canucks wanted BUT a response did not take long as just 1:02 later Ryan Kesler scored his 5th goal of the year to tie the game 1-1. The Devils did however regain the lead with a power play goal to put them ahead 2-1 midway through the first period.

Yet again the Canucks were trailing heading into the second period and yet again they found a way to tie the game 2-2. How you ask?…Daniel Sedin with the goal thanks to a nifty bank pass from Hank.

With Booth & Weise having left the game with injuries, the Canucks were down two forwards, and it showed in the third period as New Jersey took over the momentum. The third period was all New Jersey. Sometimes, you need your goalie to steal you a game and Roberto Luongo did just that in New Jersey. Luongo shut the down following the first period, never looking back. The Canucks were massively out shot 17-5 in the 3rd period as the Devils pressed for the go ahead goal, but LU stood tall making all the stops to keep this one a 2-2 draw.

Overtime solved nothing. A shoot out was required. Mike “SANTA” Santorelli scored the lone goal for the Canucks in the shoot out while both Daniel & Edler were stopped by Schneider. Luongo made all three stops on the Devils [*Lu had a little help from the post on the Henrique stop BUT I’ll take it!] to seal the victory and two points for Vancouver.

Luongo’s stellar play in the third period + the shoot out + SANTA’s clutch shoot out goal = a secured winning record on this road trip for the Canucks.

Stop SEVEN: “Meet Me in St.Louis”

On paper according to most people, the Canucks were expected to lose this game. The Canucks had numerous injuries on the roster and were coming in with zero days between games [and 5th game in 7 days!] whereas the Blues had a week off since they last played. Sometimes it is lack of rest between games that slows down a team and other times too much rest between games can be a hindrance.

Eddie Lack made his 3rd NHL start between the pipes for Vancouver. The Canucks may have been the more tired team BUT they played a fairly decent first period in their final game of this 7-game road trip.They even opened the scoring thanks to a goal from Higgins late in the first period.

The second period saw the return of the 2011 patented Ryan Kesler wrist shot to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead. Shocking, no?

Late in the period the tiredness began to catch up with the road-weary Canucks as the Blues began to press and the Canucks took a few sloppy penalties to give the Blues a late 5-on-3 power play. The Blues scored to comeback within one as the clock was winding down in the second period.

The Blues came back to tie the game 2-2 early in the third period as the power play expired. Full credit to the Blues in this game.

Neither team was able to get the final go ahead goal in regulation. Both teams secured a point. Overtime was required AGAIN. There were chances on both sides of the ice in the first 4 1/2 minutes of OT and it looked like this game would be destined for shoot out AGAIN. The Blues took a penalty with just over 30 seconds remaining and given how the Canucks power play has lacked of late, it did not seem like there would be enough time. Cue the Sedins working some magic passing and a ready waiting Kesler in front to knock down the rebound to score the game winning goal with 15 SECONDS left on the clock. No shoot out required in this one.

Perhaps not technically their best game of the season but it was their best character win of the season. Everyone said the Canucks were going to lose this game…BUT the Canucks decided, despite what it says on paper or what people expect, we’re going to find a way to grind out a win.

Here are two KEY moments from last night’s victory in St.Louis:

Kesler goal #1 featuring that 2011 patented wrist shot!

Kesler goal #2: OT WINNER:

The Canucks picked up 11 of 14 possible points on this 7-game road trip with a 5-1-1 record. Very impressive for a team that many expected to be lucky to have at most, a 0.500 record on this trip. Ryan Kesler had a single point [1 goal] before this road trip…by the final buzzer in St.Louis he had 10 points [7 goals, 3 assists]. Needless to say this trip was very good for Ryan Kesler rediscovering his game and the Sedins re-establishing their game combining for 14 points [4 goals, 10 assists] in the 7 games.

Overall a very impressive road trip for a team that given all the injuries in the line up, left little room for expectations and lots of room for fans to be surprised.

Next up: The possible return of Alex Burrows as the Canucks will host a red hot Alex Ovechkin and his Capitals on October 28, 7:00 PM [Sportsnet Vancouver].

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Canucks 2013-2014 Season Headlines

It’s that time of year to take a look at the season ahead and the story lines that will inevitably surround the Vancouver Canucks. The headline possibilities are endless, here are a few that are sure to revolve around the Canucks this season.

NHL Re-Alignment has officially been activated for the start of the 2013-2014 season. The re-alignment will see the new 2 Conference system fall into place featuring 4 divisions rather than 6. Each team team will play each other at least twice [every team will play in EACH arena at least ONCE]. The top 3 teams in EACH division will automatically qualify for the playoffs leaving 4 wildcard spots [2  wildcards per conference go to the teams that have the next highest points below the top 3 in each division; –either there could be 4 qualify from each division OR 3 in one and 5 in the other].

Eastern Conference- Atlantic Division:

  1. Boston Bruins *The Bruins have locked up Rask following a very good season, eventually locked up Iginla and will be looking to build on the success they had last season.
  2. Buffalo Sabres *The Sabres will be looking to have much stronger season and get back to the playoffs.
  3. Detroit Red Wings *The re-alignment moves Detroit from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference. Teams should never take Detroit lightly because despite what some call their ‘aging’ roster, they never stop competing.
  4. Florida Panthers *Florida signed the ever colorful Tim Thomas following his absence from the NHL for more than a year and will be looking for the success they had during the 2011-2012 season.
  5. Montreal Canadiens *Montreal will be looking to build upon the success of last season when they won their division and push themselves further in the post-season.
  6. Ottawa Senators *Ottawa may have lost Alfie to Detroit BUT they gained an offensive weapon in acquiring Bobby Ryan. New captain, Spezza will be hoping to help the team go all the way.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning *Tampa will be looking to return to the playoffs this year. Despite missing the post-season last year, St.Louis led the league in scoring.
  8. Toronto Maple Leafs *Toronto returned to the playoffs for the first time in 9 years and will surely want to return to the post-season to erase that game 7 memory.

Eastern Conference- Metropolitan Division:

  1. Carolina Hurricanes *Carolina with a healthy lineup and dependable goal-tending could be dangerous.
  2. Columbus Blue Jackets *Columbus surprised a lot of people last season as they only missed the playoffs by a single point. The Blue Jackets will look to keep themselves as a contender this year.
  3. New Jersey Devils *Brodeur & Schneider in the net give New Jersey impeccable goal-tending.
  4. NY Islanders *Newly named captain, John Tavares will be looking to lead the Islanders straight back to the playoffs.
  5. NY Rangers *The Rangers will look to push themselves to their best under new coach Alain Vigneault.
  6. Philadelphia Flyers *Philadelphia will look to have a turn around year and get back to the post-season.
  7. Pittsburgh Penguins *Pittsburgh will want a much a different ending to their season this year and will bring a new determination to their game.
  8. Washington Capitals *Alex Ovechkin will be looking to build upon the success the Caps had in the second 1/2 of last season and hopefully help lead them to a long post-season.

Western Conference- Central Division:

  1. Chicago Blackhawks *The 2013 Stanley Cup Champions will be looking to carry their success from last season into the current one. With most of their SC roster still in place, they will make a very tough opponent. 
  2. Colorado Avalanche *Patrick Roy returns to the Avs as the new Head Coach and hopes to lead the team back to the post-season.
  3. Dallas Stars      *Lindy Ruff takes over as Head coach, Tyler Seguin joins Dallas & Jamie Benn named Captain.
  4. Minnesota Wild *The Wild will be looking to push themselves further.
  5. Nashville Predators *Trotz will be looking to get the Predators back on track following a year when they were not at their best.
  6. St.Louis Blues *The Blues have solidified their defense and will look to build upon their last two seasons pushing further in the post season.
  7. Winnipeg Jets *The re-alignment moves them from the Eastern conference to the Western Conference.

Western Conference- Pacific Division:

  1. Anaheim Ducks *Getzlaf and company will be looking to make Selanne’s final season a memorable one.
  2. Calgary Flames *It’s a new era in Calgary with Iggy in Boston and Kipper retiring, they will be looking to find new ways to win.
  3. Edmonton Oilers *A new coach and a talented young core will make Edmonton a competitor as long as all stay healthy.
  4. Los Angeles Kings *LA is a team that no opponent can over look, they are competitors that make their opponents pay.
  5. Phoenix Coyotes *Ownership now in place, Phoenix will look to gain back some momentum that they had in the 2011-2012 season.
  6. San Jose Sharks *A talented line up and when all cylinders are rolling can be dangerous to their opponents.
  7. Vancouver Canucks *With new coach Torts at the helm, the Canucks will look to push themselves to new levels and recapture some post-season success.
    The Canucks have won 6 division titles in the last 7 years prior to the re-alignment but this new alignment brings new rivalries to the surface. The Pacific division will not be easy but it will be a great battle to watch as these 7 teams compete for playoff positioning. It will be a tight race, but incredibly fun to watch. 

Torts Time has officially begun in Vancouver with the signing of John Tortorella as the 17th head coach in Vancouver Canucks history. Heads and eyes definitely rolled initially when it was announced that Torts had in fact been hired by the Canucks as most are aware of his past with the media and passion for the game. The media have reminded Torts of his colored past at every single press conference just to see if he will take the bait. Perhaps he eventually will snap at a member of the media but why goad him into it just for the sake of seeing him snap? How about instead of attempting to see how quick the media can make the coach snap, they focus on how he can help this team. It is going to be a very different year with Torts at the helm of this team and we ought to give him a chance to push this team to their best before we make assumptions. There are 82 games on the schedule, plenty of opportunity for Torts to prove his coaching skills and give the media their desired media bite.

Luongo’s Return: It is a return that many did not expect to happen with everything that happened in the last two years with Cory Schneider. It was a draft day trade that no one expected, especially Luongo. The trade was made and now its time to move the focus to this season: Cory is now a Devil and Luongo is the starter for the Canucks…ACCEPT the facts. Luongo is here to stay and he is more than qualified to play as the starter. This year there will be a lot scrutiny surrounding Luongo and all eyes around the league will be on him. This is an opportunity for Luongo to show all his doubters that he is still an elite goal-tender and perhaps the media will actually show him some support this year rather than help to turn the fans against him. It may not have been the outcome most people expected this year, but it is what happened. Time to support the team and that includes Roberto Luongo. Call me crazy but with the Olympics looming, I have no doubts that Luongo will have a big year in more ways than one.

A finally 100% healthy Ryan Kesler will be on the Canucks opening night roster. Fans have been waiting nearly two years for Kesler to be starting the season 100% healthy. IF Kesler can remain healthy for the majority of the 82 game schedule, it is possible that we can see him reach an entirely new level. When operating at 100% Kesler is offensively dangerous to all opponents. I think its safe to say that Kesler will be looking to push to a new level with the Olympics on the horizon and the US looking to top their 2010 Silver finish in 2014. Will #beastmode once again be activated? Me thinks, yes. If you’ve seen Kesler at any of the recent press conferences he has a fire in his eyes that wasn’t there in the last seasons, a determination to push himself to an elite level of play.

SEDINS=Forever Canucks: The Sedins are going into the final year of their current contract and are looking to sign an extension prior to opening day OR before season’s end. It is not lost on most, that this could be their final contract of their careers and they WANT to remain with the Vancouver Canucks. Management has also expressed that they want the Sedins to remain with the team. Contract discussions have been ongoing since the start of training camp as both sides hope to have a contract signed, sealed and delivered by season’s start. Rumor has it the Sedins could sign contracts with $7.5 million cap hit which have caused some to be shocked BUT you shouldn’t be as they could easily sign for more if they were to test the open market. Regardless of what the final contracts are signed for, rest assured the Sedins will be career Canucks. This is the only team they have ever played for and this is the team they desire to play with for the entirety of their careers. We as the fans, are lucky have watched them develop from rookies to the superstars they are today.

SC Battle Begins: The expectations will vary for each team every year BUT one expectation that every team equally desires is to win the Stanley Cup. The battle for the 2014 Stanley Cup begins as the calendar flips to October and will go all the to June. A quest that begins with an 82 game regular season, an Olympic interruption in February, and closes with an epic 4 round battle for 16 post season wins. I’m not saying that the Canucks will win[***but I will love it if they do!]; all I am saying is that starting tomorrow every team has a blank slate and the season that follows will determine who goes all the way. Starting tomorrow, when the puck drops in the first game of the season, every team has an equal chance and how they play will determine the final outcome.

As the off-season comes to a close, it feels like Christmas Eve. Now all we can do, is wait for the madness to begin when that first puck drops and skates hit the ice tomorrow. There will be no turning back, as the quest for the 2014 Stanley cup begins with game one of the regular season. Let the games begin!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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.