October 08 2015 10:08AM
For five years now the Vancouver Canucks have hosted an annual Young Stars tournament in Penticton, British Columbia in the sunny heart of wine country.
It was a small event to begin with, but the Young Stars tournament has begun to morph into something a bit more interesting. Initially the prospects wore practice jerseys, and the games were only occasionally broadcast. Now the prospects wear full jerseys and every team live streams every game with huge viewership numbers.
I was there for the first time this year, and enjoyed myself enormously. 30 degree weather, excellent wine, the general managers and head coaches (except Willie, of course) from all four teams attended, a bevy of top-10 picks. Good hockey, good food, good weather, good access - there was a lot to like.
Unfortunately, at least from the perspective of this hockey writer, it seems that the Young Stars tournament in Penticton may become an 'every other year' event. Or at at least the Penticton part of it will, according to a report from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
October 07 2015 11:31PM
Look, we all know that this fanbase has it's moments of division, and this offseason has displayed.. a lot of them, to say the least. Jim Benning's efforts to rebuild on-the-fly have polarized the crowds further than they've been in a long time, but if there's one thing that we can all agree on, it's that we hope, as fans, that the Canucks will do great things. We may have disagreements on the timeline and the process, but we're all chasing the same dream.
When games like this happen, you have to imagine that both sides of the debate walk away happy. The Canucks opened off their season with not just a win, but an overpowering win over the Calgary Flames.
October 07 2015 04:00PM
Ladies and Gentlemen, this one's for real! It's been an eventful offseason and preseason to say the least but tonight we get to see what Jim Benning, Trevor Linden and Willie Desjardins have built. The obvious points to note are no Bieksa, Matthias, Lack or Corrado. Vey is in the minors and Sbisa, well he's still here.
The Calgary Flames are hosting our boys this evening and nothing would be better than handing those young punks a loss in their own barn. Sven Baertschi has some linemates he'd love to show off to his old team with a bit more flair than before.
Let's do this!!
October 07 2015 02:24PM
Training camp is a time for experimentation, so it shouldn't come as much of surprise when pretty odd line combinations show up. Of course, once you get closer to the end of training camp, you normally start to see lineups that resemble what they will be on opening night. In fact, experimenting for too long risks drawing the ire of some of your veterans.
So it came as a bit of a surprise when the Canucks were still experimenting during the final game of the preseason. In an effort to accommodate 19-year old centre Jared McCann by flanking him with top 9 wingers, while Adam Cracknell centered the fourth line, the Canucks coaching staff moved career centre Brandon Sutter to right wing. On the top line. With the Sedins.
The results were disastrous, apparently. Sutter's 38% CorsiFor percentage was pretty damning. Fans were not impressed, yet evidently head coach Willie Desjardins liked what he saw - on Monday morning, Sutter was again skating with the Sedins at practice. Like it or not, it looks like the Sedin-Sutter combination will be making another appearance.
So we have to ask: how bad was Brandon Sutter with the Sedins?
October 07 2015 12:00PM
Photo Credit: Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
The Canucks are going all-in on youth this season, so for the time being anyways, Jared McCann, Jake Virtanen and Ben Hutton are all active members of the 23-man roster.
For the select few who followed Hutton's collegiate career, this isn't an overly surprising development where he's concerned. Frankly, Virtanen's sticking wasn't overly shocking either - management admitted pencilling him in earlier this summer. The McCann development certainly surprised though, despite there being a strong argument that he's considerably further along in his development than Virtanen.
Given that Hutton is 22-years old, it's not extraordinary by any means that he's starting his season in the NHL. With two young 19-year olds with a low-end first round pedigree, there's considerably more intrigue.
Let's see what history tells us about their chances to be successful, on the other side of the jump.