Camp Cuts: Markstrom on waivers, as Canucks give up on goalie triad; Virtanen sent home

Seven days ago, right here on this very blog, we reacted to a report that the Canucks were considering starting the season with three goaltenders. You probably remember this post especially well, since our website’s been glitching up ever since and hiding all the stuff we wrote after it. (It’s a cache issue, by the way — we’ve been told it’s been fixed.)

Anyway. Turns out the post our glitchy server’s been foisting on you for a week straight is not only annoying — it’s obsolete, unless Joacim Eriksson is the surprise third wheel. The organization has decided to chance sending Jacob Markstrom through waivers after all, making the bid to send him to Utica on Friday morning. (Also on waivers: Sestito. The one named Tim.)

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Camp Cuts: Canucks send eight players to Utica

Less than 24 hours after returning three more players to their junior teams, the Canucks have trimmed their pre-season roster by eight more, and before we go any further, it’s worth noting that if you list them in the right order, you have a nice little couplet. So the Canucks have released:

Mike Zalewski, Alex Grenier, Alex Mallett, Kellain Lain,
Dane Fox, Curtis Valk and Spencer Humphries, and Jeremie Blain.

Poetry!

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I Didn’t Watch This Pre-Season Game: Canucks at San Jose Sharks, September 23, 2014

Tuesday night was a special night in Vancouver, as the Canucks returned to Rogers Arena, along with the San Jose Sharks, to provide us: one unit of hockey. But that’s not all, for the evening actually yielded not one, but two units of hockey. Elsewhere, on the banks of the San Joaquin River, in the tiny community of Stockton, California — a town filled with paranormal activity, such as a mysterious, unfeeling, sentient glow cloud that blocks out all telecommunication and broadcast signals, the Canucks and Sharks were playing another game. A secret game.

At least we assume it was a secret game played in the shadow of an nefarious glow cloud — all hail the mighty glow cloud — since it wasn’t televised or otherwise broadcast in any way, which is insane, because the government is literally watching me compose this blog, and yet no one could find a way, in 2014, for us to follow this game. No TV, and no radio (and no beer, which makes Homer something something). It was a total pain in the butt parts.

Especially for those of us who run a blog committed to writing a thing on every game, and moreover, a thing called “I watched this game”, which requires you to say you watched the game right in the title, and thus, to watch the game. But dammit, I didn’t watch this game.

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Stick in Link: Linden on separation; holy cow, there’s hockey tonight

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 Tuesday and Thursday. 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.)

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Camp Cuts: McEneny, Pettit, Stewart sent back to junior

Canucks training camp is over, and we now move to phase two of the preseason: the playing of games. Today, it was blind dodgeball for some reason. But tomorrow, it’s hockey, with half the training camp roster hitting Rogers Arena to play host to the Sharks, and the other half off to San Jose to let the Sharks play host to them.

Save Kyle Pettit, Evan McEneny and Mackenze Stewart, who have been kindly asked to return to be at neither game, and instead return to their junior clubs.

The first two are headed back to the OHL, where Pettit plays centre for the Erie Otters and McEneny patrols the blueline for the Kingston Frontenacs. Stewart returns to the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.

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Canucks kick off training camp with potential opening night lines

With 61 players at training camp, the Canucks have more than enough guys to comfortably make three full teams. Now, obviously, the goal here is to pare it down to one team, but for the time being, the players have been split into three groups: Blue, Green, and White.

It’s the first day of training camp, so it doesn’t make much sense to read too much into the lines that we see at this junction. They probably aren’t going to stay like that.

But it’s hard not to when you look at the line-ups. It’s clear the plan for Willie Desjardins and company isn’t to start with chaos and see how it comes together (ala John Tortorella last year, or Alain Vigneault a few times during his run). Rather, it’s to start with the ideal opening night lines and defense pairings, the ones written in pencil this summer, and see if anyone or anything else at training camp makes them reconsider. Let’s take a look at how it’s shaping up:

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Here’s the full 2014 Vancouver Canucks training camp roster

Canucks training camp opens Friday in Whistler, but the festivities actually began Thursday in Vancouver, as the players reported to Rogers Arena for fitness testing, headshots, and a meet-and-greet with the media. (According to reports we can predict before they’re even filed: as per usual, everyone worked out really hard this summer and is in the best shape of their life, everyone likes this year’s team a lot and thinks they have a great chance, and everyone is excited to hit the ice.)

There are 61 players attending the Vancouver Canucks’ 2014 training camp: 34 forwards, 21 defencemen, and 6 goalies. Over the next few weeks, this combination of veterans, prospects, invitees, and tryouts will vie to survive through to the team’s final, 23-man, opening day roster.

As we do every year, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this list, as the Canucks work to trim it down to a more manageable number. But first, a role call. Here’s the complete training camp roster, barring any last-minute adjustments or tryouts.

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Who are these media guys Ryan Kesler is talking about?

Unwilling to adjust to waking up one to three hours earlier, Ryan Kesler forced a trade within the timezone this summer, joining the Anaheim Ducks. The centre will still be around Rogers Arena quite a bit, of course, since he just had to go to a team in the division, but he is no longer one of us. Now he is the enemy.

But Kesler doesn’t view Canucks fans the same way. He doesn’t hate you, Vancouver — just select members of your media.

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J.T. Wyman gets Canucks training camp tryout; does he have a chance?

J.T. Wyman was the 100th draft pick in 2004, just nine spots after Alexander Edler (and 186 before Jannik Hansen). After the draft, he committed to four years at Dartmouth, where he played with former Canuck Tanner Glass, and then signed with his big-league team, the Montreal Canadiens. He played 3 games with them in 2009, probably encountering Perry Pearn, who was an assistant coach in Montreal at that time.

Five years on, Pearn and Wyman are set to reconnect. Pearn is an assistant in Vancouver now. And Wyman is on his way there to join the Canucks’ training camp on a professional tryout contract.

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Stick in Link: Jim Benning says some things; features on the new guys

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 Tuesday and Thursday. 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.)

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Here’s what happened at the Canucks’ third Youngstars game

The Canucks prospects didn’t look like a team hungry for their first win in their third and final outing at the YoungStars tournament. Instead, they looked like a team that was hungry for real, and they were only too glad to let the Flames hand them their lunch.

After dropping two close ones to open the tournament — falling in overtime to Edmonton’s kids, then doing the same versus Winnipeg’s, these Canucks were never really in game three, closing the training camp tune-up (for some) with an ugly 6-1 loss. It was a total blowout. You’d have thought they feared overtime, having been hurt before, and wanted to make sure there was absolutely no risk of it.

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Hunter Shinkaruk and Bo Horvat are totally all about playing their game

Among the takeaways from the Canucks’ first two games at the Youngstars tournament: Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk have some chemistry.

It’s really a shame that Horvat and Shinkaruk probably won’t get to play together when September ends, what with Shinkaruk likely headed to the AHL after Canucks training camp, and Horvat looking at an NHL-or-bust scenario, where bust means “back in juniors for another year”, not “failed prospect”. The two look good together. An optimist might even imagine a future where they replace the Sedins as the next prominent duo in Vancouver.

Granted, they didn’t share a womb, which puts them behind the eight ball a little, although, heck, if the Canucks are smart, they’ll convert Mike Gillis’s now-abandoned “mind room” into a “utero room”, then put Horvat and Shinkaruk in there for nine months or so, just to really cultivate this chemistry. First one out succeeds Henrik as captain.

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Here’s what happened in the Canucks’ first Youngstars game

The Canucks prospects dropped their opening night tilt with the Edmonton Oilers’ prospects 4-3 in overtime on Friday night. That’s the short version. Here’s the long:

Clearly looking to make the transition from the team that closed last year to the team opening this one as seamless as possible, the Canucks opened the 2014 Youngstars tournament playing some ugly and ineffective hockey versus their Alberta rivals. Watching the first period of this thing, you’d have thought they picked up right where they left off: Vancouver couldn’t get the puck out of their zone, they couldn’t get a shot through, and their goalie was being hung out to dry.

Fortunately, the Canucks have a way of ensuring that this team doesn’t look too much like last year’s team: white helmets for some reason! In keeping with Youngstars tradition, all the prospects wear safety hats whiter than wedding dresses, I think to signify their relative hockey chastity or something, I don’t really know.

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Spitballin’ on betting odds, bad systems, and Bo Horvat

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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Stick in Link: It’s going to be the best season ever, says everybody

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 Tuesday and Thursday. 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.)

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Eddie Lack provides hope for controversy-free season on TSN 1040

Eddie Lack is everywhere these days. EA Sports events. Tim Hortons for some reason. And on Tuesday morning, the Canucks’ backup was on TSN 1040 to talk about the upcoming season.

Needless to say, after a season in which Lack won the starter’s role (if you can even call that death march a victory), there’s some concern that he might be a little annoyed to be back in the backup role. Lack will be watched closely all season, then, for any hint of frustration, any opening to start talking about the Canucks’ crease.

Fortunately, he knows it, and to that end, we have to give the guy credit for deftly sidestepping the question that would have otherwise fuelled this year’s goalie crisis.

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Who will the Canucks be in 2014-15? (Spoiler: we have no idea)

It’s difficult to know quite what to make of the upcoming Canucks season. There are causes for optimism: new management, and with it, a new way of doing business; a fresh-faced (sort of — he has an old man moustache) and slightly calmer coach that won’t try to Double Dragon his way into the visiting locker room or scream at David Booth for no reason; no David Booth, which likely means a higher team shooting percentage; actual prospects who just might make the team out of training camp; and, of course, those billboards promising “change is coming”, as though the Canucks are a vending machine from which you just bought a Caramilk.

But there is also fuel for the cynic. Last year’s leading goal-scorer plays for another team in the division now. Many of the returning players are hockey old. Willie Desjardins, Jim Benning and Trevor Linden have never done this before.

In other words, it’s a crapshoot. Frankly, I’d say the most accurate Canucks season preview comes to us from Doris Day, who said “que sera, sera”. That about sums it up. Will we have rainbows, day after day? No clue, as the future’s not ours to see. But we do know the past. And I can think of four recent teams that next year’s club could be.

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Watch every goal Ryan Kesler scored last season (Part 3)

And finally, we come to the last run of Ryan Kesler goals for which Vancouver fans are ever going to cheer. It’s been amusing watching the backlash to these posts. People: we do this every year. Plus it’s not like Kesler’s the only guy in the videos. More often than not, it’s about seeing what the other guys do to contribute.

Still, I understand that Kesler has become public enemy no. 1 around these parts, and fans don’t want to see him smiling or celebrating ever again. People: your nightmare ends here.

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Watch every goal Ryan Kesler scored last season (Part 2)

Ryan Kesler may be gone, but we can’t forget him just yet. The outbound jerk scored 25 goals for the Canucks last season, which means we have to account for them in our annual series, in a three-part series. The humanity!

We know, you aren’t so fond of him anymore. But before you write him off completely, remember some of the good times. Here are eight more of said good times.

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Eight guys that could centre the Canucks’ second line

The departure of Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks has left a Ryan Kesler-sized hole in the roster, like when a cartoon character exits a room through the wall.

It’s a concern, no doubt. Nobody in the Canucks’ room has the tools or the skillset to contribute what Ryan Kesler did at his best (although if it’s any consolation, neither does Ryan Kesler anymore). Still, someone is going to fill that role this season, and it’s not like the Canucks don’t have options. Let’s take a look at the most likely guys to win that job this season.

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B.C. teachers’ strike is the NHL lockout all over again

It was probably too much to ask for the provincial government and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation to get a deal worked out in advance of Labour Day. After all, both sides have claimed all along to have their students in mind, and clearly, somewhere along the way, thinking of the students turned into thinking like the students. No doubt they looked at this major project, noted they had two months to complete it, and spent the entire summer futzing around before panicking as the deadline approached and making a doomed, last-ditch effort to get everything done in the final weekend.

Good luck chastising the students for procrastinating when you finally do get the chance to bring them back, adults.

Granted, I may not be in a position to moralize about this, since I’m not an educator, nor am I a student or a parent. Plus I haven’t really paid much attention to this dispute, outside of the myriad articles with which my teacher friends have been spamming my Facebook wall for weeks. (Facebookers: the real victims in this dispute.)

But I am a hockey blogger, and as such, I have some experience throwing my hands up at a labour stoppage that needed to be resolved by autumn, wasn’t and now runs the risk of wiping out everything that leads up to the highly-anticipated June finals. This looks familiar to me, and it goes beyond the fact that schools and hockey get going right around September.

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What will the fifth Sedin vs. Sedin challenge be?

Ever since Henrik grabbed his brother by the ankle in utero and then climbed over him to be first out of the womb, the Sedin twins have been extraordinarily competitive with one another. Heck, Daniel only got into hockey so he could be better than his brother at it. He hates hockey. He just hates his brother more.

We’ve seen their competition play out over the last several years here in Vancouver, as Henrik won the Art Ross and a league MVP, so Daniel turned around and won the Art Ross and the other league MVP. Then, this season, when Henrik realized that his Iron Man streak put him way, way behind Daniel in man games lost due to injury, he broke the streak and got injured twice, just so he could make up the ground.

These two don’t quit, and the Canucks just realized that their blood feud can make for some excellent summer content. All week long, they’ve been running a series titled Sedin vs. Sedin, which puts the two brothers against one another in a five-challenge series that will settle the superiority questions once and for all.

Also the loser has to eat a live scorpion, I think.

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Stick in Link: Next year’s Canucks, now with more prospects and coaches!

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 Tuesday and Thursday. 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.)

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Watch every goal Chris Tanev scored last season

Almost nobody flourished under John Tortorella. Almost nobody. Somehow, Chris Tanev found a way. Tortorella admitted early on that Tanev was really the only defender to get the new system, which was both a good thing and a bad thing, if you think about it. It’s never good when five of the Canucks’ six defencemen don’t really know what they’re doing out there. But at least it confirmed our suspicions that Tanev is a highly-adaptable blueliner of above-average intelligence.

For this reason, and thanks to Tanev’s continued development, he really stood out in 2013-14, and looks poised for a top-four role on the right side next season. (It’s part of why the Canucks felt comfortable letting Jason Garrison go.)

But there’s another reason Tanev stood out last year: he scored six goals. After taking nearly 100 games to score even one, it seemed unlikely he’d be a source of much offence over his career. But now there’s some hope, especially since he seems to have found a weapon in his wrist shot. Here’s every goal Chris Tanev scored last season.

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Watch every goal that Mike Santorelli scored last season

Not since Magnus Arvedson has a Canuck player’s time in Vancouver ended as frustratingly as Mike Santorelli’s. Like Arvedson, who was on fire with the Sedins before a knee injury ended his career, Santorelli was going when he left, with 10 goals and 18 assists in just 49 games. On many nights, he looked like the Canucks’ best forward. But then he was felled by an injury, and by the time he got healthy again, the season was over.

In many ways, Santorelli was the perfect Mason Raymond replacement, working his way up to a top-six role and impressing there before suffering an injury, then leaving for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s a shame, really, that Santorelli didn’t get a chance to finish the season healthy in Vancouver, because he looked like an absolute steal. Granted, some of that was luck — like, for instance, the fact that everyone else was sucking, which made him look even better — but still, as his 10 Canuck goals illustrate, he was a pretty good player for this team.

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