With less than 10 minutes until the trade deadline, Roberto Luongo was called off the ice by Canucks management, leading to rampant speculation that he was about to be traded. It turned out to be a massive false alarm, as the trade deadline came and went without a Luongo trade. In fact, the Canucks didn’t make any trades at the deadline, standing pat with their trade for Derek Roy the day before.
Considering the trade fervour in Vancouver, Luongo was naturally asked to speak to the media after practice and gave one of the most honest and intriguing pressers of all time.
The highlight: when asked why he thinks he hasn’t been traded yet, he chuckled and said, “My contract sucks.”Continue Reading —›
Normally, NHL trade deadline day is massive bore, with nothing happening for most of the day until the very last minute, particularly when it comes to Mike Gillis, who usually treats deadlines the same way a college freshman treats studying for a final exam: last minute cramming.
We expect this year’s trade deadline will be completely normal.
But PITB will be here all day, from 5 AM in the morning until there’s no chance that Gillis snuck in a last-second fax to the NHL head offices. We’ll give you up-to-the-minute updates and analysis, not just of the various trades throughout the day, but also of James Duthie’s bad jokes, Aaron Ward’s tie, and Bob McKenzie’s on-air cell-phone use. If past livechats are an indication, we’ll also talk about penguins, what we’re eating for breakfast, and Batman.Continue Reading —›
Early this morning, the Canucks traded a second round pick and defenceman prospect Kevin Connauton for Derek Roy, a pending unrestricted free agent. While this was certainly reasonable value for a scoring centre like Roy, the pending UFA part made some people a little nervous. There’s the possibility that he walks away from the Canucks in the off-season and is little more than a rental.
Of course, some rentals turn out better than others. Perhaps in an effort to qualm these concerns, the Canucks announced that they have re-signed Chris Higgins, another former rental, to a 4-year extension.Continue Reading —›
Over the course of his tenure as Canucks GM, Mike Gillis has earned a reputation as an eleventh hour dealer. Typically, the Canucks go completely quiet right up until the deadline appears to have passed, and then, just as Vancouver hockey fans begin to pout, it’s announced that Gillis’s paperwork has just beaten the buzzer.
Not so this time around, where it would appear Gillis’s New Year’s Resolution was to stop leaving things until the last second. A day in advance of the trade deadline, he’s made what may be his big splash: the Canucks have acquired centre Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2nd round pick and prospect Kevin Connauton.Continue Reading —›
The best thing that can be said about this game is that it wasn’t as bad as the last one. Like their game against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, the Canucks got soundly outplayed by the San Jose Sharks and similarly succumbed to their opposition thanks to a flurry of goals in a short period of time.
Unlike their game against the Oilers, however, the Canucks actually showed some gumption, battling back by creating scoring chances, scoring goals, and coming just short of tying the game in the final minutes. Thanks to that, it was a lot more enjoyable when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
New Van Fan is a web-series that follows the adventures of long-time Canucks fan Dan as he attempts to bring novice Canucks fan Andreas up to speed. The whole thing may or may not be an excuse to point out the inherent silliness of this fanbase — we’re not quite sure. Have an idea for an episode? Suggest it in the comments.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks have been wildly inconsistent all year, but if there’s been one thing that Vancouver hockey fans have been able to expect from this team night in and night out, it’s the sight of Daniel and Henrik Sedin playing on the same line. But now it would appear that this too is in jeopardy.
The Swedish twins have been playing together despite a lengthy quarrel all season long, but over the weekend, both decided enough was enough, independently approaching coach Alain Vigneault and demanding to be split up.
According to a report from the Vancouver Sun’s Elliott Pap, Henrik Sedin was the first to demand a new linemate, citing stale play as the primary reason for the split. “I think both of us would benefit from new linemates, new challenges,” Henrik said. “We’ve become predictable to defenders and to one another. This team needs more offence from us and we can no longer provide it together.”Continue Reading —›
On Saturday, the Canucks put in their most lacklustre effort of the season, losing to the Edmonton Oilers in less than 8 minutes. It was a demoralizing loss and, with the trade deadline just a couple days away, many Canucks fans are eager to see Mike Gillis shake things up by making a big move.
On Sunday, the Canucks called up Nicklas Jensen and Bill Sweatt from the Chicago Wolves and sent down Zack Kassian and Andrew Gordon.
It would be a mistake to connect these two days together by anything more than chronology. Fans and media alike were quick to call this a desperation move, but the roster movement doesn’t seem to be sparked by the loss in Edmonton. Instead, it looks like this roster move was caused by something that happened before the game even started.Continue Reading —›
This game must have been a massive relief to Canucks fans who were tired of the low-scoring, defensive snoozefests that the Canucks have been known for recently. For once, the Canucks didn’t sit on a one-goal lead and bore fans to tears. This game was wide open right from puck drop, with goals galore. Heck, even one of Wayne Gretzky’s seemingly unbreakable records was broken, tonight! What more could you ask for?
Wait, you wanted the Canucks to score? Oh.
Well, crud. That sure didn’t happen. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
The game of AHL thrones appears to have begun. Who will win? Who will die? As we all know, there is no middle ground.
10 days ago, we discussed a report from the Team 1040′s Tom Mayenknecht that had the Canucks, Flames, and Blues working on a three-way affiliate trade, of sorts. In a move that seemed needlessly complicated, Mayenknecht said that the Canucks would be buying the Peoria Rivermen and moving them to Abbotsford, the Blues would be partnering with the suddenly vacant Chicago Wolves, and the Flames would be moving the Abbotsford Heat to Utica.
It had the look of a few steps too many, and we speculated instead that it would likely be the Flames purchasing the Rivermen while the Canucks snagged the franchise in Abbotsford. That still seems, to us, to be the most logical course, but over the weekend, more reports surfaced tying the Canucks not to Abbotsford, but Peoria.
Late Saturday night, Andy Strickland of True Hockey reported that St. Louis and Vancouver have reached an agreement on the Rivermen.Continue Reading —›
The 2013 NHL lockout yielded many horrors, from “the podium” to “assmode” to the three-act masterpiece that was “The Voicemail”. But if, like me, your efforts to suppress the four-month ordeal have been unsuccessful to date, you may recall the lone bright spot that was the Bieksa’s Buddies charity game.
In an effort to mitigate some of the difficulty charitable benefactors like Canuck Place and the Canucks Autism Network were facing with the lockout eating into their donations, Kevin Bieksa organized a charity game, pitting a ragtag group of Canucks, Canuck family members, and celebrity Canuck fans like this sauve, poncho-wearing stud against the UBC Thunderbirds for a game at Thunderbird Arena. It was a rousing success, yielding a $200,000 intake to split between the charities.
It also yielded this sweet quilt.Continue Reading —›
What do I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, American Psycho 2, Son of the Mask, Home Alone 4, Return to Oz, S. Darko, Roadhouse 2: Last Call, and this game have in common? They were all sequels that absolutely nobody asked for. But, unlike those movies, the complete cast from last Tuesday’s snoozefest versus Columbus returned for another non-adventure (save Keith Ballard, who wisely hurt his foot).
You may have thought the Canucks’ actionless affair with Columbus was a one-off. Not so. The Canucks returned Thursday with [the complete absence of] a vengeance, perhaps realizing about eight minutes in that Cory Schneider was going to be nigh unbeatable and taking the rest of the night off. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do the same, because there is no Cory Schneider equivalent for blogging (except for, like, the spam blocker, maybe.) I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
It seems like every fan is looking for their team to make a big splash at the trade deadline. The rumour-mongers know this, of course, which is why all anyone can talk about heading into the deadline are the big names — guys who were high first round draft picks or have played in All-Star Games and at the Olympics — when the bulk of the trades made at the deadline are small deals for depth players, prospects, and draft picks. The main reason the trade deadline is usually such a disappointment is that people’s expectations are all wrong.
One of the Canucks’ needs is for a right-handed defenceman and all of the big-name defencemen that are rumoured to be available are left-handed shots except for Dan Boyle, who I still have trouble believing is actually available and who has a cap hit of $6.67 million through 2014. If you were worried that the Canucks might have trouble fitting Jussi Jokinen’s $3 million cap hit if they had claimed him from waivers, but you want the Canucks to trade for Boyle, you might have some cognitive dissonance you need to work through.
In any case, I’m not convinced that the Canucks need a big-name, top-pairing defenceman at the trade deadline. The Canucks essentially already have five top-four defencemen if you count Chris Tanev. At most, the Canucks could use a second pairing right-handed defenceman, but might be better served trading for a depth defenceman who can step in on the right side in case of injury or play on the third pairing.
That kind of player, however, isn’t particularly sexy and doesn’t find his way into trade rumours very often. So I’m going to look at some of the right-handed defencemen out there who might be available, looking mainly at teams who will be sellers at the deadline or might be looking to trade from a position of depth to fill in a position of weakness heading into the playoffs.
Here are 8 right-handed defencemen who the Canucks could potentially target at the deadline, some more likely than others:Continue Reading —›
ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun gave Vancouver hockey fans some food for thought Wednesday when he named the Canucks among the teams showing an interest in San Jose bruiser Ryane Clowe, who might be on the market as the Sharks debate a deadline sell-off. “Don’t just assume he’s 100 percent headed to an Eastern Conference team,” Lebrun added after discussing a number of scenarios in this regard. “I’m told there are Western Conference teams, the Vancouver Canucks among them, that also covet Clowe.”
This left many Canuck fans scratching their heads for several reasons. Does the club really need a guy that takes a lot of penalties, has yet to score a goal all season, and abuses the letter E so brazenly? And beyond that, don’t the Canucks need a centre more than they need another winger?
Let’s ignore, for the moment, Clowe’s awful luck this season, the blowups it’s produced, and the extraneous E’s, instead taking a look at that last objection. All season long, the Canucks have been shorthanded up the midde, what with Ryan Kesler spending so much of the year on the IR and Manny Malhotra’s tenure as a Canuck ending back in February. It’s been our understanding that acquiring a centre has been a top priority for this team all year.
But now we’re beginning to wonder if Jordan Schroeder may have helped to shift their priorities.Continue Reading —›
With the NHL’s trade deadline now less than a week away, Canucks fans have spent the last few days debating which of their prospects Mike Gillis and co. should consider off-limits. The name that comes up most frequently: winger Nicklas Jensen.
It’s easy to see why. Jensen is exactly what you want an NHL forward to be these days — big. But it’s not just that. He’s also got some soft hands for a large man. As evidence, we submit his lovely shootout goal for the Chicago Wolves Wednesday night in their 3-2 win over the Oklahoma City Barons. Feast your eyes on this fabulous move, as Jensen pulls off the deke made famous by Peter Forsberg to make veteran goalie Yann Danis look silly:Continue Reading —›
Thanks to a litany of injuries (and, apparently, dehydration), the Canucks’ forward lines have been a complete mess recently. During one game, last season’s second line of Ryan Kesler, David Booth, and Chris Higgins was out, and Keith Ballard has now played three games as a forward on the third line. After passing up Jussi Jokinen on waivers, the Canucks are still relying on Andrew Ebbett to centre their third line until Kesler returns.
Despite all this, the Canucks are on a five-game winning streak, largely thanks to some stellar goaltending by Cory Schneider, as well as secondary scoring from the second and third lines. While some fans have complained about the Canucks’ depth at forward, it strikes me that their forward depth is actually pretty strong for the team to be missing so many players and still ice a lineup capable of winning games.
So how do the Canucks’ lines compare with the rest of the NHL? Despite missing Ryan Kesler, the Canucks’ lines compare very favourably.Continue Reading —›
Originally, I considered filing this picture of Roberto Luongo at the Vancouver Canucks’ bench under the “I find this photo odd” feature, but truthfully, I only find the caption odd. According to Getty Images, in this photo, “Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks checks the replay on his iPad during their NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rogers Arena March 26, 2013.”
But that can’t be right. Why would any non-masochistic person replay any portion of Tuesday night’s game? It made Season 1 of Treme look like Season 4 of The Wire, that’s how dry that game was.Continue Reading —›
This was easily the worst game of the season. It’s not that the Canucks were bad at all — in fact, they dominated the Blue Jackets from start to finish — but the entertainment value of this game was nearly non-existent. This game was duller than a beach ball. Construction workers had to turn off the game on the radio so that they could operate heavy machinery. It was like Waiting for Godot with less Godot.
I regret to say that I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Everything’s coming up Keith Ballard these days (inasmuch as is possible so long as he continues to play under Alain “My defenders should defend” Vigneault, that grump). Sure, he remains the sixth or seventh defender on the Vancouver Canucks’ blueline depth chart, but due to a rash of injuries up front, he’s skyrocketed all the way up to ninth on the depth chart for forwards. Huzzah!
What’s more, like Brent Burns in San Jose, Ballard hasn’t looked out of place in this temporary reassignment. In two games up front, he’s generated scoring chances and been a part of cohesive lines. Granted, he hasn’t been as productive as Burns, who has 7 points in 7 games as a forward for the Sharks — but on Sunday night, Ballard got his first, an assist on a lovely goal by Alex Burrows.
Even more valuable than the assist, however, was the additional reward: the hockey hug.Continue Reading —›
The waiver wire is normally the home to fourth liners, career AHLers, and overpriced veterans past their prime, but two players were placed on waivers on Tuesday that are far more useful: Jussi Jokinen and Kaspars Daugavins. Considering the Canucks current injury woes at forward that have necessitated using defenceman Keith Ballard at left wing, Mike Gillis should certainly consider claiming both players.
As is usually the issue with useful players on waivers, it’s likely that one or both will be claimed well before they reach the Canucks. Still, if Gillis has the opportunity, both players would be an immediate fit in the Canucks’ lineup.Continue Reading —›
By now, you’ve likely heard of Jarome Iginla’s “list”, a nebulous, highly dubious group of teams he’d be willing to join if the Calgary Flames asked him to waive his no-trade clause in advance of the April 3 trade deadline.
I don’t think it’s real, but over the weekend, the hockey world erupted with reports of which clubs happened to be on this list. The firmest report came courtesy of RDS correspondent Ren Lavoie, who insisted that the list consists of just four teams: Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and Pittsburgh, the last four Stanley Cup winners. If this is true, it’s clear that Iginla is hoping history repeats himself.
Still, other insiders mentioned other teams. And On Monday, Elliotte Friedman even went so far as to suggest that Iginla might be willing to join the Vancouver Canucks.Continue Reading —›
Andreas has come a long way in his Canucks fandom over the last month or so. In fact, with his innovations like the Snepsts Day and the Alain Vigneault Gum Game, it’s easy to forget that he’s a complete newbie. This episode, then, is a good reminder, as Dan gives Andreas a more complete introduction to the Sedin twins and their wizardry and Andreas discovers for the first time that they, like him, have red hair.
Enjoy episode eight of New Van Fan, where we discover that when it comes to the Sedins, magic isn’t just on the ice — it’s also in the air.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks are on a roll, winning four straight. As a result, the team is feeling pretty loose and relaxed. Want proof? After their victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night, three Canucks engaged in an absurd and ridiculously hilarious conversation on Twitter.
We’re used to Roberto Luongo entertaining Canucks fans and the rest of the hockey world with his self-deprecating humour on his no-longer-alleged Twitter account, @strombone1, but on Sunday night Ryan Kesler (@Ryan_Kesler) and Kevin Bieksa (@kbieksa3) joined in on the fun. The three Canucks riffed on Luongo’s hair, for the most part, but couldn’t resist a couple quips on Burrows’ indecipherability and a couple body blows on Kesler’s nude photo.Continue Reading —›
How undermanned are the Canucks right now? When the announcement was made that Dale Weise had a shoulder injury and wouldn’t play against the Avalanche on Sunday night, it felt like a devastating blow.
Weise joined Ryan Kesler, David Booth, and Zack Kassian on the injured list. Manny Malhotra is done for the season. Steve Pinizzotto is still out with an unknown illness. Alex Edler finished of the second game off his two-game suspension. The Canucks were forced to trot out the absurd third line of Alex Burrows, Andrew Ebbett, and Keith Ballard, placing Chris Higgins with the Sedins.
Yes, Ballard once again needed to play as a forward for the ramshackle Canucks. Fortunately, they were playing the Coloardo Avalanche, the last place team in the Western Conference, who have bigger problems than having to play a defenceman as a forward: at one point in this game, they had Shane O’Brien on their first unit on the powerplay. Yikes. I felt a twinge of sympathy when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
On one hand, Alain Vigneault has to be frustrated by the Canucks’ continued struggle to ice something resembling a competitive lineup. Thursday night, the club was so shorthanded they were forced to deploy Keith Ballard as a top-nine forward, and somehow they managed to lose another key component in that one after Alex Edler was suspended two games for colliding with Mike “I step in front of cars and sue the drivers” Smith.
But on the other hand, the shorthandedness of Vigneault’s club means they have no choice but to go into full-blown shutdown mode, and I think we all know that Alain Vigneault descends into hockey vampirism — sucking the life out of games in order to survive — with unbridled, abject glee. The Canucks were unyielding in their defensive posture in this one, scoring early, then nursing a 1-0 lead so completely that, after the game, they had to burp it. I sort of felt like a creep when I watched this game.Continue Reading —›