Every Goal, 2012-13: Jordan Schroeder

It’s been four years since Jordan Schroeder was drafted in the first round by the Vancouver Canucks and he finally made his NHL debut in the 2012-13 season. With Ryan Kesler out to start the season, Schroeder had an excellent opportunity to play an offensive role and prove himself after a couple middling seasons in the AHL. It didn’t quite work out as hoped.

While Schroeder was able to hold his own defensively, a concern given his size, he wasn’t able to produce much offensively, scoring just 9 points in 31 games. He was the Canucks’ best rookie, but only by default. Still, it’s something to build on, particularly after scoring 10 points in 9 AHL games during his April demotion. He may be reaching the point where he’s too good to stay in the AHL and will hopefully force himself into the lineup in 2013-14.

He’ll be 23 at the start of next season and will be challenged for the third-line centre role by Brad Richardson, as well as prospects Brendan Gaunce and Bo Horvat. His new one-way contract, worth just $600,000, will aid his cause, as he won’t strain the salary cap.

If he wants to stick with the Canucks long-term, he’ll need to provide more than the three goals he scored in 2012-13. Let’s take a look at those goals, shall we?

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Every Goal, 2012-13: Dan Hamhuis

Dan Hamhuis is hardly a flashy player, more dedicated to quietly shutting down the opposition than dazzling with his mad, sweet dangles. His inclusion on Team Canada’s Olympic Orientation camp was, thusly, a bit of a head-scratcher for some. After all, you’d hardly put Hamhuis in the same class of defenceman as, say, P.K. Subban, Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, and the like. But Steve Yzerman made it very clear: he wasn’t building an All-Star team, and while there going to be some natural goal-scorers on the Canadian blueline, there was room the Dan Hamhuises of this world as well — reliable defensive defencemen more concerned with goal prevention than goal production.

Although Hamhuis does score on occasion. In the shortened 2012-13 season, he scored three times, and was credited for four goals. That fourth goal was typical Hamhuis — a small defensive contribution leading to the moment that cemented the game. Let’s take a look at Hamhuis’s goals from last season.

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The Dreaded Two-Goal Lead: Canucks sign Hamill, make coaches official, and retire Bure’s #10

Canucks news comes fast and furious, and sometimes we find ourselves playing catch-up. Thankfully, the Dreaded Two Goal Lead – often called “the worst lead in hockey” – is super easy to come back from. Everybody knows it’s a guaranteed death sentence for those that hold it. Well, much like an ice hockey team coming from two goals down, PITB will now effortlessly catch up.

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Canucks re-sign four restricted free agents to completely fair and therefore unexciting new contracts

For some reason, Canucks fans have been exceedingly worried about Chris Tanev this off-season. The number of tweets and e-mails that I’ve received asking about Tanev is mind-boggling, particularly considering he has only played one full season with the Canucks and it happened to be one shortened by a lockout. Tanev is certainly a good young player, but he’s not worth all the fuss and bother that has been raised over the past month.

The concern is particularly overblown when you consider that Tanev doesn’t have arbitration rights and therefore has minimal leverage in contract negotiations. The Canucks will re-sign the cool, calm, and collected defenceman eventually — it’ll just take time to sort out the particulars.

Meanwhile, as Canucks fans eagerly await a new contract for Tanev, Mike Gillis has quietly gone about re-signing a quartet of other restricted free agents to new deals.

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Roberto Luongo ‘preparing to be at training camp’, says new agent; meanwhile, old agent seems upset

Things were going pretty well for Mike Gillis after the Canucks’ Summer Summit. To hear him tell it, he and Roberto Luongo had a fine and good time together in Florida, with light conversation and plenty of laughs. Why, at the end of the evening, Luongo said, “You know what Mikey G? You’re all right. Pound it.” And then they fist-bumped, and they even exploded it!

There was optimism. And then the next day, Roberto Luongo went and changed his representation, dismissing Gilles Lupien as his agent and signing with CAA, led by Pat Brisson and J.P. Barry.

It was a head-scratcher. Considering Luongo will be 67, by my estimation, when his current contract runs out, many wondered what need he had with two dudes whose primary job, as most understand it, is to negotiate contracts. That’s a little like hiring a wedding planner 12 years into a marriage. Maybe Luongo just wants to renew his vows?

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Canucks, Luongo taking relationship reset slow; Gillis: ‘I told him how I felt about him’

What’s the difference between Roberto Luongo and Pavel Bure? One is bound for the rafters and the other is just bound. (Heyo! It may be the offseason, but I’ve still got it.)

On Tuesday, the Canucks held their 2013 Summer Summit — a season ticket holder event so prestigious and special it happens in July — and for two hours Mike Gillis, John Tortorella, Victor de Bonis and Bill Daly (the Metropolitan Division of this foursome, clearly) fielded questions from those in attendance.

Suffice it to say, the club’s ongoing relationship with Roberto Luongo was something people wanted to hear about.

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Five games on the Canucks’ 2013-14 schedule you can probably skip

On Friday, when the Canucks’ 2013-14 schedule was released, we did what everybody does: we took a look at it and we pegged the games that are going to mean a little more than others. The opener. The home opener. The California road trip. Alain Vigneault’s return in April. Sami Salo’s return in January. The Boston Bruins’ return in December.

But, while some games are sure to be memorable, other dates look nigh unwatchable. Supposing you were looking for a few nights off — an evening to yourself, perhaps, or handful of dates to skip in an effort to make it seem like your family is more important to you than this team, these are the games you can probably sacrifice.

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Ryan Kesler invited to Team USA’s Olympic orientation camp, because of course he is

The Canucks won’t have quite as many countries represented at the 2014 Winter Olympics as they did in 2010. Back then, they sent seven players to the Olympics to play for six different countries. This time around, they’ll have representatives on just three countries: Canada, Sweden, and Team USA.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Ryan Kesler was invited to Team USA’s Olympic orientation camp on Monday and is a lock to make the team and head to Sochi in February.

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Roberto Luongo and Dan Hamhuis invited to Team Canada’s Olympic orientation camp

The NHL, NHLPA, and IIHF finally came to an agreement on Friday regarding player participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics on Sochi, Russia. With that agreement in place, countries participating in ice hockey at the Olympics could move forward with their roster decisions, safe in the knowledge that they wouldn’t have to craft a roster around Canadians playing in the AHL and Europe.

I can just imagine one of Team Canada’s Spengler Cup teams going up against a Russian team loaded with KHL talent and it’s not particularly pretty.

Fortunately, that won’t be happening in Sochi, as the roster for Team Canada’s Olympic development camp was announced Monday and it’s full of NHL talent, including two members of the Vancouver Canucks: Roberto Luongo and Dan Hamhuis.

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Canucks’ 2013-14 schedule released: Luongo vs. Schneider on October 8th?

When the NHL schedule wasn’t released mid-week as expected, hockey fans understandably began to panic. I mean, sure, it was probably just a minor delay while the League sorted out some of the details of the Sochi agreement — you certainly can’t release a schedule when you’re trying to sort out whether or not that schedule will have a two-week Olympic break — but we’re not fully over the lockout just yet. What if the schedule didn’t get released until January? Because that happened recently.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait that long this time around: on Friday afternoon, we got our dates. Even more exciting: this year’s schedule has almost twice as many Canucks games as last year! Awesome!

The complete Canucks schedule can be found here, but if you’d rather just have someone tell you about the big dates, here’s what you need to know.

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Five Hole for Food returns to Vancouver on Saturday

Back in October, a hockey writer for the Boston Globe made the ironically uncharitable accusation that bloggers don’t do charity. It was a bizarre and mean-spirited claim that elevated a number of peoples’ dander, as the hockey blogosphere collectively said, “Hey, that’s not nice.”

Or true, as Saturday’s Five Hole For Food event in Vancouver will demonstrate, just as it has for the past three years. Five Hole For Food is an incredible charity that travels across Canada, playing road hockey in the streets of major cities, raising donations of food for local food banks. When Richard Loat started Five Hole For Food back in 2010, he was a blogger at Canucks Hockey Blog and, while his writing has slowed over the past few years (because this charity thing has picked up some team), he technically still is.

Far more important, of course, are the contributions that Five Hole For Food have made to food banks across Canada. In its fourth year, Five Hole For Food is once again coming home with the challenge to Vancouver of besting their incredible donations in the past.

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What’s the holdup on the Chris Tanev negotiations?

When Chris Tanev passed on hiring an agent to negotiate his second contract, instead opting to make it a family affair and bring his dad into the room, it seemed as though it was only a matter of time before the Canucks announced an extension.

Sure, we may have underestimated the headache hockey dads can be, as evidenced by the whole Cody Hodgdon fiasco, not to mention Tony Gallagher’s recent profile of Gilbert Brule, whom the Canucks passed over a few years back, we learned, largely due to the meddlesome influence of his dad. But even still — with the casual approach Tanev and Mr. Tanev were taking to negotiations, it seemed unlikely that said negotiations would drag unsettlingly on into the summer.

But in Mid-June, crap got real. Tanev handed the talks over to a real agent, Vancouver-based Ross Gurney. His father said this was to “hopefully bring this to a quick conclusion”. That was almost a month ago. The hoped-for “quick conclusion” is now beginning to resemble the ending of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, the only feature-length conclusion in movie history. What’s the holdup?

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PITB chats with PK Subban about the draft, his brother Jordan, and Hyundai Hockey Helpers

When the Vancouver Canucks drafted Jordan Subban in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL entry draft, it meant that all three Subban brothers were drafted to the NHL. In order for that to happen, there has to be a lot of support from parents and that’s certainly true for the Subbans.

Putting three boys through the hockey ranks (as well as two girls through university) isn’t cheap, something the Subbans know all too well. Jordan’s father, Karl, and mother, Maria, made a lot of sacrifices to enable their sons to realize their dream of getting drafted to the NHL. The Subbans now support a program called Hyundai Hockey Helpers that helps underprivileged youth to be able to afford the expensive equipment and registration fees so they can simply go out on the ice and play without worry.

I spoke to Jordan’s brother, the Norris-trophy winning P.K., about the program and chatted briefly with him about seeing his brother get drafted to the Canucks.

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B-movie horror film ‘Visible Scars’ features a backwoods psycho named Mike Gillis

I’m a big horror guy. I’ll confess (and it is a confession, since I can safely say, even as a fan of the genre, that most of these movies are terrible) that I’ve seen most of the horror films released in the last 10 years. But today I came across one I haven’t seen: “Visible Scars”.

The B-movie, released in 2012, is about a woman that goes to a cabin where a psychotic, backwoods, scumbag murderer kidnapped and raised twin girls before they died in a fire. Naturally, the house is haunted by their spirits, because that’s how these things tend to go.

The movie stars character actor Tom Sizemore and won the award for best feature film at Shockfest, a popular horror film festival. But for our purposes, the most notable thing about it is that the psychotic, backwoods, scumbag, murderer-kidnapper is named… Mike Gillis.

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Betting site favours Maple Leafs ahead of Canucks for 2014 Stanley Cup

For the past several seasons, the Canucks have been a popular pick by pundits to win the Stanley Cup. World-class goaltending, Art Ross and Selke winners, Presidents’ Trophies, and a trip to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final tends to have that effect.

Getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs in consecutive seasons, however, dampens the enthusiasm a fair bit and it’s a good bet that very few people will be picking the Canucks to go all the way in the 2013-14 season. Ironically, that might make the Canucks a good bet — literally — as they’ll potentially be underrated by oddsmakers, meaning you could possibly get some good value.

Sure enough, British bookmakers Bet365.com severely underrated the Canucks. Or maybe they’ve severely overrated the Maple Leafs. Whichever one is the case, they somehow have the Leafs ahead of the Canucks in their 2014 Stanley Cup odds. And that’s ridiculous.

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2013 Canucks Development Camp invitees: forwards, part two

The Canucks 2013 prospect development camp wrapped up yesterday. While the Canucks’ drafted and signed prospects will be sent into the off-season with a training plan full of things to work on heading into next season’s training camp, the invitees will have a couple nervous months ahead of them, as they hope to receive a follow-up invite to training camp or, if all goes well, a contract offer.

It took until September for Evan McEneny to sign with the Canucks after impressing at the 2012 development camp, so if none of the invitees sign immediately, it does not necessarily mean they won’t eventually. Still, it’s rare for an invitee to sign at all. Some will return in September for prospect training camp and will hope to earn their way to the main camp from there or to Utica to sign an AHL contract with the Comets.

We’ve covered the invitee goaltenders, defencemen, and four of the nine forwards. Here are the final five invitee forwards, featuring two Latvians, a Californian, and diametrically opposite WHL prospects.

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Whitey Bulger, FBI’s most wanted fugitive, attended 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver

Most people scoffed when Vancouver police chief Jim Chu suggested the 2011 Stanley Cup riot was led by agenda-driven anarchists from somewhere else. “Sure buddy,” we chuckled, “this was the work of badguys from out of town.”

But, as it turns out, there was at least one incredibly high-profile badguy from out of town in attendance that night: Whitey Bulger, then the FBI’s most-wanted fugitive.

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Spitballin’ on Dale Weise’s arbitration, David Booth’s wisdom, and Mason Raymond’s future

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

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2013 Canucks Development Camp invitees: forwards, part one

The Canucks’ 2013 prospect development camp is coming to a climax with a scrimmage that is open to the public and viewable online. Canucks fans eager to see the Canucks’ latest draft picks will get their chance, along with an opportunity to see how past picks have developed.

I admit, however, that my eyes are likely to be drawn to some of the lesser known names on the ice. After scouring the internet for information about the 16 undrafted and unsigned invitees to this year’s development camp, I’m eager to see them play. So far, I’ve covered the invitee goaltenders and defencemen, which leaves us with the nine invitee forwards.

Two of the most interesting invitee forwards, Miks Indrasis and Cody Sylvester, will be coming in part two, but part one has a fair share of intriguing prospects, with two offensive-minded college freshmen and two physical, two-way Major Junior players, including one with a prior connection to John Tortorella.

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Canucks, Senators ‘outdoor game’ finally announced, could be an actual hot mess

Here’s how I imagine this went down: after a handful of successful Winter Classics, Gary Bettman got sick and tired of every market lobbying him for next year’s outdoor game. Twirling his figurative moustache, he hatched a plan to turn them all off the idea, announcing six in one year, knowing the overload would have the same effect as making a teenager smoke an entire carton of cigarettes.

Soon, everyone would be begging him to let them come inside, pawing at the door like a housecat in the rain. Maniacal laugh.

On Wednesday, the League finally completed Phase 1 of this plan, formally announcing that the sixth and final of their half dozen outdoor games in 2013-14 would be a contest between the Vancouver Canucks and the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at BC Place Stadium.

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Roberto Luongo, Play Now Poker troll everyone by ‘talking hockey’, sort of [VIDEO]

Poker questions only, Play Now Poker insisted when they solicited asks for Roberto Luongo last Friday. Yeah, good luck with that. It quickly became apparent that the questions most had for Luongo were only tangentially related to poker.

That in mind, Play Now has decided to give the people what they so clearly want. On Tuesday, they released a video in which the questions put to Luongo are finally hockey-related. You’re welcome, masses! Of course, they’re not the hockey questions you’re thinking of. Instead, we get questions that are now only tangentially related to hockey — pablum like Who do you think is the best hockey player of all-time? and Who on the Canucks would be the best candidate for The Bachelor? (The answer: Higgins, because abs.)

Sure, it’s a step in the right direction, but this is pretty clearly Play Now and Luongo firing back at those of us that inundated their Twitter Q&A with snark. And in case it wasn’t clear that they’re trolling everyone, the first question is about Draft Day.

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2013 Canucks Development Camp invitees: defence

The Canucks’ 2013 prospect development camp is well underway, as the 38 prospects have participated in on-ice drills, MMA training, yoga, and scrimmages. Tuesday, they’ll have off and on-ice sessions, then do some dragon-boating and cooking classes, presumably to learn about teamwork and nutrition, respectively.

Among the 38 prospects at camp are 16 invitees who were neither drafted nor signed by the Canucks. On Monday, I profiled the three invitee goaltenders, as the invitees don’t receive much coverage at camp and are generally relative unknowns compared to the prospects already connected to the Canucks. Today, we’ll look at the four invitee defencemen at camp, featuring three college boys and a WHL grad.

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Roberto Luongo gives first interview since Schneider trade; it’s about poker

Roberto Luongo has been silent since Cory Schneider was traded to the New Jersey Devils at last weekend’s NHL Draft. But on Monday morning, the silence was finally broken, as Luongo appeared on CFOX’s Jeff O’Neil show.

Just as he was at this time last year, Roberto Luongo is currently in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker (which, if you’re reading this, Mike Gillis, explains why he’s not answering his door in Florida, so you can knock it off with the romantically stubborn gesture of sleeping on the step like Zach Braff in The Last Kiss). O’Neil and his compatriots caught up with Luongo there, chatting with him Friday night in a private suite.

Fair warning: while Luongo does technically break his silence in the sense that he, you know, says words, very few of those words give us any insight into his plans for the fall. But if you’re a fan of Luongo the poker player, you now know that his plans for the summer include doing poker good.

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2013 Canucks Development Camp invitees: goaltenders

The Vancouver Canucks 2013 prospect development camp kicked off this weekend I am endlessly intrigued by invitees to the Canucks development, prospect, and training camps. The undrafted and unsigned invitees have an intrigue surrounding them as, unlike the prospects that are drafted and signed by the Canucks who are the subject of interviews and highlight videos on the Canucks website, as well as coverage from the media, the invitees are virtual unknowns.

Will any of this year’s 16 invitees repeat Evan McEneny’s feat from 2012 and earn an entry-level contract with the Canucks? Let’s take a look, starting with the goaltenders.

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Canucks (finally) release 2013 development camp roster

Thanks to the NHL lockout, events have been jammed together more than usual over the past couple weeks. The end of the Stanley Cup Final led directly into the draft, with barely a moment to compose ourselves before free agency opened and craziness ensued.

Meanwhile, the Canucks’ prospect development camp has snuck up on us, as 38 players descended upon Vancouver this weekend, including all seven of the Canucks’ 2013 draft picks and a healthy dose of unsigned and undrafted invitees. This Sunday, they finally released the official development camp roster.

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