Canucks hire gold medal-winning video coach, Ben Cooper [Report]

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 —›
Watch every goal Zack Kassian scored last season

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 —›
Stick in Link: Linden on the radio; Canucks trying to have it both ways

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 passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

Continue Reading —›
Should the Canucks give Johnny Canuck primary logo status?

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 —›
Watch every goal scored by a guy who only scored once last season

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 —›
Watch every goal Zac Dalpe scored last season

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 —›
Watch every goal David Booth scored last season

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 —›
Will Nick Bonino score 20 goals next season?

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’s Twitter account wants to hook you up

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 —›
Watch every goal Tom Sestito scored last season

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 —›
Stick in Link: No mind room for Trevor Linden, Gino Odjick makes appearance at arena-naming ceremony

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 passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

Continue Reading —›
Watch every goal Shawn Matthias scored last season

This isn’t actually every goal Shawn Matthias scored last season. The title is a lie, as Matthias arrived in Vancouver a few days before the trade deadline having already scored nine goals.

But we don’t concern ourselves with the goals he scored elsewhere — just the ones he scored in Vancouver, and Matthias had three of those, bouncing around the bottom three lines as the Canucks played out the string on a season that was already pretty well gone by the time he arrived.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of his first full year in Vancouver. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s got some skill — but where he slots in, and whether or not he even plays at centre — remains to be seen. What doesn’t remain to be seen, however, are the goals he scored last season. Well. At least I’ve seen them. You haven’t yet. Get on that, you.

Continue Reading —›
Watch every goal Nicklas Jensen scored last season

Nicklas Jensen had one really good week in Vancouver. After finally earning his call-up, he made his presence felt, scoring three lovely goals in four games and leading fans to wonder if perhaps he was the real deal. Sadly, after that, he fell off, although it wasn’t entirely his fault. He was beginning to look good with Alex Burrows and Henrik Sedin, but then both of them got hurt. Heck, Burrows breaks his thumb on Jensen’s third goal.

But even now, knowing that he only scores three before the well dries up, it’s tough to look at these three goals and not get a little excited about the Danish winger’s goal-scoring ability. He’s got a great shot. Here are the first three goals of Nicklas Jensen’s career.

Continue Reading —›
Watch every goal Jordan Schroeder scored last season

One of Jim Benning’s first moves as General Manager wasn’t a move at all, but rather his decision not to move on Jordan Schroeder’s qualifying option. With a shrug, he sent the centre to unrestricted free agency instead, thus ending Schroeder’s relationship with the Canucks. Like Keith Ballard, he seized the opportunity to go home to Minnesota.

Cutting Schroeder loose is a defensible choice. While Benning said goodbye to an asset, and the practical cats over at Canucks Army would argue that this is foolish, the Canucks aren’t hoarders — they’re a hockey team, and one that determined the former first round pick had no value to them. For a small guy, he didn’t appear to have the speed or sizzle necessary to play on the top two lines, and his checking wasn’t particularly conducive to, y’know, a checking role. Worse, he’d probably built up some negative P.R. value as a Gillis draft pick, and the Canucks have spent much of the summer trying to get that “Gillis era” smell out of the franchise, for better or for worse. So they said goodbye to Jordan Schroeder.

And now, so do we. But before we do, we look back on his last three goals as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.

Continue Reading —›
Watch every goal Dale Weise scored last season

Dale Weise never really fit with the Canucks. As we’ve discussed previously, he arrived about a season too late for his vision of himself to line up with what the Canucks wanted from him.

Weise fancied himself a goal-scoring grinder; the Canucks wanted him to be a facepuncher who could play. That disconnect was never really resolved, and when John Tortorella arrived and discovered that Weise was unwilling to punch dudes with the frequency of Tom Sestito, he no longer had any use for him. Mike Gillis shopped him unabashedly, sending out a mass e-mail, and soon, Weise was in Montreal, where he’d eventually make quite the mark in the postseason and earn a contract extension.

But before he left, he did manage to pot three goals for the Canucks, which means he gets a post in our annual every goal series, where we look at the Canucks’ goal output, player by player, and observe their tendencies. In Weise’s case, his tendency is simple: he goes to the net, hopes the puck will follow, and then whacks at it until it goes where he wants it to. Simple and effective.

Continue Reading —›
Stick in Link: Canucks fan optimism; Alex Edler on trade rumours

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 passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

Continue Reading —›
Watch every goal Jason Garrison scored last season

Jason Garrison is gone now, moved to the Tampa Bay Lightning not long after Jim Benning arrived, look at the number of no-trade clauses he had to deal with and said, “Ugh.” Garrison was reportedly disappointed to have to go — he didn’t want to — but then he got the call from Stevie Yzerman, and everything changed.

There’s nothing quite like that call. When you answer the phone and Stephen Gregory Yzerman says, “I want you”, it’s life-changing. And when you’re expecting the call and you don’t get it, well, Marty St. Louis showed us how people react to that. It’s a very special call.

Anyway. Garrison’s gone. But not forgotten, and since he scored seven goals for the Canucks last year, that means he has to be accounted for in the annual every goal series. I hope you like one-timers!

Continue Reading —›
Replacing Ryan Kesler with quantity, not quality

After a couple incredibly busy weeks, the Canucks appear to have finished making moves for now. While it’s certainly possible that we’ll see another trade during the summer and an unsigned free agent or two might merit an invite to training camp, it’s reasonable to think that the current Canucks roster is the same as the one we will see in September when camp starts.

If so, the Canucks are left with a significant hole on the second line, approximately the same size and shape as Ryan Kesler. For years, the Canucks have relied on Kesler to shutdown the opposition’s best forwards, while contributing secondary scoring and playing a key role on both the penalty kill and power play. Although he has slowed down of late and will likely never again be the 70+ point player he was in 2009-10 and 2010-11, he’ll still be difficult to replace.

It looks like Jim Benning didn’t even try to replace Kesler. Instead, he placed a premium on having a proven goaltender, devoting significant capspace to signing Ryan Miller rather than going after one of the top centres available in free agency. By doing so, Benning left the second-line centre role up for grabs, banking on quantity over quality.

While the Canucks don’t have any surefire bets to replace Kesler, they do have several potential second line centres who are as yet unproven. The Canucks’ best bet at this point is to rotate players in and out of the position throughout the season until one of them secures it with his play.

Continue Reading —›
2014 Canucks Development Camp Invitees: Forwards

It’s Friday, which means that the Canucks development camp is coming to a close with a 4-on-4 tournament. The prospects have run through drills with Canucks coaches, done yoga, hiked the Grouse Grind, taken cooking lessons, and visited BC Children’s Hospital. Not everyone at camp took part in that last one: the kids at the hospital might not have been as keen to meet the invitees who haven’t been signed or drafted by the Canucks.

Still, they’ve had a busy week getting to know what it will take for them to make the jump to the NHL. For the NCAA prospects, this will be their last taste of the NHL this year, as they’ll be back at school by the time training camp starts, but for several others, they’ll be hoping to earn a second invite to a Canucks camp in the Fall.

These invitee profiles were all intended to go up prior to the start of development camp, but the team ended up a little busier than I anticipated, re-signing several restricted free agents, adding to their coaching staff, and dealing with trade rumours. As a result, the invitee posts ended up spread out throughout the week. Let’s take a look at the last group, the seven invitee forwards.

Continue Reading —›
Watch every goal Alex Burrows scored last season

As scandalous as it was for John Tortorella to suggest the Canucks buy out Alex Burrows, it’s easy to understand why he might think that way. If this was the first year you’d ever really watched Alex Burrows play, I’m sure you’d be at a loss for why he was a fan favourite, let alone how he could possibly have cracked 25 goals in each of his last 4 full seasons in the NHL.

2013-14 was a horrible year for the Canuck winger. At some point, he was less a top-line winger than simply a metaphor for the entire team’s awful season: snake-bitten, beset by injuries, lacking confidence, bewildered as to what the heck was going on, excruciating to watch.

For much of the year, Burrows looked destined to be the best player to ever have a goalless season in the NHL. But eventually he managed to find his way, and with it, the back of the net. For about a week he knew how again, pouring in five in six days before returning to his carousel of injuries and bad bounces. So let’s take a moment to watch the five goals he did score, as we begin our annual, player-by-player look at every goal the Canucks scored last season with the man that closed last year’s series: Alex Burrows.

Continue Reading —›
Stick in Link: Development camp updates, Ryan Miller analysis, and Dane Fox with an owl

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 passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

Continue Reading —›
Spitballin’ on RFA re-signings, Jacob Markstrom trade talk, and Doug Lidster’s return to Vancouver

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.

Continue Reading —›
2014 Canucks Development Camp invitees: Defence

The Canucks 2014 prospect development camp kicked off today and we’re looking at the 16 undrafted and unsigned invitees on the camp roster. On Friday, we looked at the four invitee goaltenders and today we’ll be profiling the defencemen. The Forwards will come later this week.

There are five invitee defencemen coming to camp: three from the NCAA, one from the WHL, and one formerly of the WHL who just spent a season in the KHL.

Continue Reading —›
Canucks sign up for one more year of cheap Chris Tanev

Two days after the Canucks management team showed that they don’t ascribe to a traditional 9-to-5 workday by re-signing Zack Kassian in the evening, they proved they don’t take weekends off either, re-signing Chris Tanev to a one-year deal on Saturday. According to Elliotte Friedman, the contract is for a mere $2 million, well below what I was anticipating.

It’s a superb deal for the Canucks for this coming season, as Tanev will likely skate with one of Alex Edler or Dan Hamhuis on the first or second pairing. That also explains why Tanev and his agent were willing to take a cheaper contract on a one-year deal, as Tanev will endeavour to prove that he’s worth far more to the Canucks long-term and make more money in the end.

Continue Reading —›
2014 Canucks Development Camp Invitees: Goaltenders

The Vancouver Canucks open their summer prospect development camp on Monday at UBC, with 35 players on the camp roster. The majority of those players are in the Canucks’ system already, either draft picks or undrafted free agent signings, but 16 of them are undrafted and unsigned invitees.

These invitees always intrigue me, as they represent a low-cost way to supplement a prospect pool. The Canucks, under Mike Gillis, have done well in acquiring undrafted free agents, with Eddie Lack and Chris Tanev being the biggest successes. While neither of them were invitees to one of the Canucks’ camps, other players in the system, like Evan McEneny and Ronalds Kenins, were.

So, every year I research the invitees on the roster and write a brief profile on each. For this year’s development camp, let’s start with the goaltenders, as just one of the five attending is a Canucks prospect, this year’s 2nd round draft pick, Thatcher Demko. Of the other four, two come from the NCAA and two come from the WHL.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Continue Reading —›