It appeared that the Canucks were done making moves this off-season and that does seem to be the case in terms of what we’ll see on the ice, with Trevor Linden confirming that the current roster is what we’ll see when training camp rolls around. But the team has reportedly made one more change behind the scenes.
According to a report from Gregg Drinnan, the Canucks have hired Ben Cooper as their new video coach, a rather thankless job that involves endlessly watching and breaking down video from Canucks games and those of their opponents.
It’s not a position that fans tend to think about too much, as the video coach doesn’t appear on the bench or get interviewed by the media, but it’s a vital role for analyzing a team’s trends, pinpointing areas where a player needs to improve, and scouting tactics of upcoming opponents. Video coaches will also often watch live from the press box and do analysis in real time, communicating with the coaches on the bench.
If Drinnan’s source is accurate, Cooper will be the youngest coach on the Canucks staff at 36, but he does come with at least one impressive line on his resume: he was the video coach for the gold-medal winning 2010 Canadian Olympic team.Continue Reading —›
There weren’t a lot of bright spots in the Canucks’ 2013-14 season, but the burgeoning play of Zack Kassian was definitely among them. Despite never really managing to earn John Tortorella’s trust by demonstrating the two-way play that earns one top-six icetime, Kassian still managed to put up 14 goals and 15 assists.
The assists may have been the nicer sign. Watching Kassian for two seasons in Vancouver, it was clear that he had some extraordinary vision — it just wasn’t translating into helpers. But finally, in the back half of the Canucks’ season, as everything else was falling apart, Kassian appeared to be putting it together. By season’s end, he looked like a guy capable of, perhaps, a 20-and-20 season, especially if he finds some chemistry with a centre and gets a spot in the top-six next season.
But enough about next season. Let’s talk about last season, in which Kassian did a lot of good stuff. In his collection of goals, you’ll see power moves, incredible shots, and some deceptive speed for a big man. Here’s every goal Kassian scored in 2013-14.Continue Reading —›
It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Wednesday during the summer. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at email@example.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)Continue Reading —›
The Vancouver Canucks have a colourful jersey history, which isn’t exactly a good thing. Recently, over at Puck Daddy, we talked about the Philadelphia Flyers’ narrowly avoiding a run-in with 90s-era teal that would have been a black mark — well, a teal mark — on the franchise’s relatively pure colour palette. For them, it’s always been orange and black. Nothing else.
Not so for the Canucks, whose colours throughout history are almost enough to fill one of those giant Prismacolor coloured pencil sets: blue, navy blue, green, white, silver, yellow, gold, orange, red, maroon, burgundy, and probably some others I’ve forgotten. As Sean McIndoe observed, perhaps the most embarrassing line on the Canucks’ Wikipedia page is this one:
“The team has gone through thirteen different logo and jersey changes in its history.”
All that in mind, you can understand why people might balk at yet another makeover, but Tuesday, during his appearance on the Team 1040 with Matt Sekeres, Trevor Linden suggested the team was indeed considering another change: a swap from the orca to Johnny Canuck as the primary logo.Continue Reading —›
Here’s how it works at the Every Goal project: you score two goals, you get your own post. But all the guys that tallied just one get lumped into one post, where we chuckle at their rare and random offensive contribution.
This group is always a mixed bag: prospects, fourth-liners, guys that just passed through on their way to Europe, and occasionally, guys that didn’t have a particularly good season. Fortunately, there’s nobody from the latter camp this year (although we were worried about Alex Burrows there for a sec).
This year’s one-goal guys are as follows: defencemen Ryan Stanton, Frank Corrado, and Raphael Diaz, and forwards Kellan Lain, Darren Archibald, and Jeremy Welsh. Diaz and Welsh and already gone, but the other four will be back next year. Think any of these guys have it in them to get their own post next year?Continue Reading —›
The Canucks acquired Zac Dalpe last September, along with Jeremy Welsh, sending ECHL forward Kellan Tochkin and a fourth round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes in return. At the time, it looked like a brilliant trade for Mike Gillis, as Tochkin has no NHL future and a fourth round pick has little chance of making the NHL, while Dalpe was still touted by some as a potential top-six forward and Welsh looked capable of filling a role on the third or fourth lines.
Nine months later, neither Dalpe nor Welsh are with the Canucks. Dalpe was not extended a qualifying offer by the new Canucks regime, sending him to free agency, where he was picked up by the Buffalo Sabres.
While Dalpe wasn’t particularly good with the Canucks, he also didn’t get much of an opportunity. He spent the bulk of his 55 games on the fourth line, both at centre and on the wing, and was generally buried in the defensive zone when he was on the ice. He was also saddled with Tom Sestito all season.
When Sestito and Dalpe were together, the Canucks took a mere 40.7% of the shot attempts, which is atrocious. When Dalpe was able to get away from Sestito, that number jumps up to 48.5%. That’s still not great, mind you, but it’s at least approaching respectable. What’s more, when he was on the ice with better players like Zack Kassian, David Booth, Jannik Hansen, and Chris Higgins, Dalpe didn’t drag them down, posting a positive shot attempt differential with each of them.
Even when Dalpe was with fourth line call-ups like Darren Archibald and Jeremy Welsh, he was able to post a positive shot attempt differential. The Canucks could have had a fourth line last season that didn’t constantly get trapped in the defensive zone.
Basically, without Sestito and with good or even half-decent players, Dalpe was a positive puck possession player. If Dalpe hadn’t played with Sestito last season, he might have gotten another shot with the Canucks.
Alas, it was not to be, and Dalpe’s only shots with the Canucks were the 52 he took last season, 4 of which went into the opponent’s net.Continue Reading —›
At some point prior to last season, we at Pass it to Bulis pointed to David Booth as the key to the Canucks’ season. We were mocked. But we would like to point out that Booth had a pretty poor season, which, in the end, mirrored the Canucks season. So I’d say we were right. Who’s the man now, dog?
Booth was bought out at the end of the year, a move that we didn’t particularly agree with, but we can understand. The guy was one of Mike Gillis’s most divisive acquisitions, and with the new regime attempting to do away with all things Gillis in the hopes of selling their “change is coming” mantra, Booth had to go. Now he’s a Maple Leaf, like Mason Raymond before him, as Toronto continues in their bid to embarrass Vancouver as revenge for that weird half-season of Mats Sundin.
Anyway. Before we wipe Booth from our memory forever, always ruing the 20-goal season he never delivered, let’s take a moment to remember how he nearly got halfway there in 2013-14, finding the back of the net nine times. Here’s every goal the ex-Canuck scored last season.Continue Reading —›
After a nearly-historic level of offensive ineptness last season, one of the biggest questions Canucks fans had for the new management regime was where the goals were going to come from next season. That became even more of a concern when the Canucks traded their leading goalscorer, Ryan Kesler.
The Canucks certainly had little choice in the matter and Kesler will likely never again reach the 40+ goal heights of 2010-11, but he’s consistently scored more than 20 goals since 2007, apart from the lockout and injury-shortened 2012-13 season. As much as the Canucks appear to be glad to see him on his way out, they’ll still miss the 20-25 goals he’d have likely contributed next season.
Jim Benning took some steps toward adding scoring, signing Radim Vrbata, who has 140 goals since 2007, 24 fewer than Kesler in that time. There’s hope that with Vrbata joining the top line, he could revitalize the Sedins and help them to a bounce back season. In addition, Alex Burrows can’t possibly have a worse season than last year, Zack Kassian looks poised to breakout, and Nicklas Jensen has shown signs of being ready to put the puck past NHL goaltenders.
Benning, however, is also expecting goalscoring from another source: Nick Bonino, the centrepiece of the package the Canucks received from the Anaheim Ducks in return for Kesler.Continue Reading —›
Trevor Linden has a big job ahead of him. I’m not talking about his new role as President of the Vancouver Canucks, mind you, although that certainly is a challenge. After all, the rookie president is now tasked with delicately balancing the three heads of power around him — new GM Jim Benning, new coach Willie Desjardins, and shadow owner Francesco Aquilini, who would prefer to have his message filtered through the mouth and supple lips of Mr Linden.
Linden is also tasked with remodelling a stale Canucks team in the hopes of returning them to the Stanley Cup Final, perhaps this fourth time as the victors. But even that’s not the big job I’m talking about.
Instead, I refer to Linden’s Friday afternoon task of seizing his Twitter account back from the bug that has him tweeting gently pornographic chat recommendations to his followers like some sort of E-pimp.Continue Reading —›
When Mike Gillis re-signed Tom Sestito on a one-way contract for two years last summer, it was met with a collective, “Really?” from the Canucks fanbase. Even the most ardent fan of enforcers could tell you that those numbers should have been reversed: a two-way contract for one year.
The previous season, Sestito barely saw the ice after getting claimed off waivers and was in and out of the press box. It wasn’t an expensive contract at $750,000 per season, but it was a baffling one. Enforcers like Sestito are easy to find in free agency or on the waiver wire, so committing to two years to a 25-year-old enforcer that had yet to even play a full season in the NHL made zero sense. It seemed like a continuation of the Bruins-obsession that marred Gillis’s work post-2011, focussing on finding a Shawn Thornton rather than a David Krejci.
Of course, no one expected Sestito to score as many goals as Alex Burrows during the 2013-14 season, even spending some time in the Canucks’ top six and on the first-unit powerplay. He even matched the goal total of last summer’s biggest name in free agency, David Clarkson, who got a 7-year deal worth $5.25 million per year. That’s an incredible value for $750,000! Good thing they locked him down for two years!
Except that it was a near-historically unlucky season for Burrows, while Sestito had the highest shooting percentage on the Canucks, to the point that he was actually incredibly fortunate to even score 5 goals. Sestito had a grand total of 31 shots on goal in the 77 games he played. Shawn Matthias played just 18 games for the Canucks and had more shots — 39 — than Sestito.
Now, with Jim Benning acquiring the far more useful fourth-liner Derek Dorsett via trade and younger players pushing their way up the depth chart, it’s unclear if Sestito will even have a spot on the roster for the second year of his contract. That may be for the best, as every single player on the Canucks has better possession statistics without Sestito than they do with him.
I have no explanation for why Sestito played in all but 5 games last season, aside from just shrugging my shoulders and saying “Tortorella,” but he did score five goals, which is five more than I’ll ever score in the NHL.Continue Reading —›