CanucksArmy Presents: The Canucks Fan Round Table - Oct 2013

Thomas Drance
October 08 2013 04:03PM

(Editors Note: It's back! Last season we debuted the "Canucks fan round-table." The reader response was really good and so were the answers from participants. Because I really enjoyed putting these pieces together last season, I figured we'd continue on with the feature this year.

Today's featured guests include Dave (@BrowntoBure), Sam (@anothersamchan) and Melissa (@mel_leigh). Here are the questions we asked:

  1. Do the Vancouver Canucks have the wherewithal to compete with the likes of Los Angeles and San Jose in the Pacific this season? Why or why not? What has to change to give them a fighting chance?
  2. On a scale of one to ten, how much do you think the team will miss Cory Schneider this season? Why or why not?
  3. What are you first impressions of the John Tortorella era? Are you, or are you not entertained?
  4. Recommend three twitter accounts - players, bloggers, fans, media or whatever - that you find indispensable for  helping you follow the Canucks.

If you'd like to participate in next month's round table, just let me know in the comments section! We're going to have new guests every month, so everyone should get a shot eventually! Read on past the jump for the round table!)

The Wherewithal

Question 1: Do the Vancouver Canucks have the wherewithal to compete with the likes of Los Angeles and San Jose in the Pacific this season? Why or why not? What has to change to give them a fighting chance?

B2B: The fact it took me twice as long to answer this than the rest of your questions put together tells you all you need to know. Canucks could win the division, they could miss the playoffs. They're still a mystery at this point and their apparent lack of depth scares the hell out of me. If I had to put your money on it, I'd say they are right there with them at the end of the season though.

Sam: In a word, no. I would consider both those teams 'contenders' for the cup, and right now the Canucks are nowhere near there. If you recall from the most recent cup winners, they've all had valid contributors from their bottom six, from Greg Campbell, to Trevor Lewis, to even bloody Matt Cooke. They all chipped in with gritty hockey and timely goals. None of them had any Tom Sestitos, and you simply cannot be a contending team with a bottom six of the best waiver pickups in the league. Let's drill down a little further:

  • Dale Weise - waived by Rangers
  • Tom Sestito - waived by Flyers
  • Mike Santorelli - waived by Panthers (!!!)
  • Brad Richardson - benched by Kings
  • Zac Dalpe - couldn't crack the Hurricanes (!!!!!) roster

I've always been a fan of reclamation projects, but if you're expecting 5 in one season, you must have bought too much of what Walter White was selling. This Canucks squad talent wise definitely took a dip from last year.

Mel: I’m an optimist (and a passionate fan to say the least) so I want to say “Yes! Of course they can!” The reality is that when it comes to the Pacific division we really are middle of the pack. What teams like LA and San Jose have that we don’t is depth. With ever changing line-ups due to injuries, performance issues and trying to find some sort of compatibility between line mates, we have yet to determine 4 solid lines to roll with.

Another issue we seem to be facing is getting the puck on the net. Take the season opener in San Jose for example: San Jose had 35 shots on net in addition to the 22 that Vancouver blocked – that’s almost 60 shots that could potentially be a goal. Vancouver had 22 shots on net and San Jose blocked 18. That’s half. HALF! I know this is only one game but if, on average, we are shooting the puck half the amount of times as our biggest competition we don’t stand a chance scoring more than them. Sure there is something to be said about quality over quantity, but I think at this point we need to give quantity a shot.

Miss you buddy!

Quesiton 2: On a scale of one to ten, how much do you think the team will miss Cory Schneider this season? Why or why not?

Mel: 3 (out of 10).

Vancouver has watched Cory Schneider grow over a number of years and the organization should be proud that they produced such an outstanding player. I’m sure his teammates will miss having him around as they would any player that they got to know over the last few years. Having said that there are a lot of great goalies in the NHL, including Roberto Luongo.

Saying that the team will miss Schneider THIS season is like saying we don’t have a stellar goaltender to fall back on. Everyone is hard on Luongo when he’s having his tough times (I know I’m guilty of it) and I think we forget that he is an excellent hockey player. And lets not forget about Eddie Lack – sure he’s new to the big leagues, but so was Cory Schneider once upon a time. Lack has already had a couple great showings under his belt so I think we can all rest a little easier and enjoy cheering on our beloved team.

Sam: One. Goaltending has never been the problem, scoring and sitting on leads are. That being said, it would have been nice to have gotten a roster player for our best asset.

B2B: I don't like your scale, so we're going to use mine. 17, that is how much the Canucks are going to miss Cory Schneider. Seven-Teen.

Under John Tortorella-ella-ella

Question 3: What are you first impressions of the John Tortorella era? Are you, or are you not entertained?

B2B: e's been as advertised so far and I love it. Dude told an Oilers coach to shove it, ripped CBC and has the team playing a style that actually allows me to sit through a game again. Can't wait for the first meltdown.

Sam: I enjoy Tort's philosophy of aggressive hockey. I hated when AV sat on leads, because 1) it's boring 2) playing it safe never wins championships 3) it creates complacency that can't be flipped off when the playoffs roll around.

Unfortunately, it's a really crappy time for Tort's first season. The Canucks are in no-man's land. I already mentioned the lack of bottom six support, but what can they do at this point? Trade Edler or Bieska? No Trade Clause. Trade Booth or Richardson? No one wants them. Trade a prospect? Which one? Thought we were doing a youth movement. They aren't good enough to win, aren't bad enough to rebuild, and don't have enough assets to make a real splash for quality players.

So what we'll end up doing is trading Yann Sauve and a 5th rounder for a pending mediocre UFA like Brian Boyle, Steve Ott, or Gee I Hope Not Olli Jokinen, overhype them, and watch them fail. It's really too bad Torts didn't arrive 2 years earlier when there was more talent.

Mel: Oh John Tortorella. When I found out he was named head coach, the first thing I remember thinking was “the media in this city is going to eat him alive – or he’ll destroy them. Hard to tell at this point.” At the very least it was going to be interesting. But I do have to say I am entertained by his manner towards the media; he is calm and collected but every now and then we see his tenacity come out to play. From a coaching stand point he’s got a lot on his plate and I think he’s done well so far. It’s really early to say too much about him, but am I entertained? Yes, yes I am.

Twitter Recommendations:

Question 4: Recommend three twitter accounts - players, bloggers, fans, media or whatever - that you find indispensable for  helping you follow the Canucks.

Mel: I use Twitter as more of an entertainment piece rather than getting information and following trials and tribulations of the Canucks. So here is who I find entertaining:

  1. Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) – Sure it sounds like I’m sucking up here so I will be invited to be a part of this panel in the future here on Canucks Army. But I enjoy Mr. Drance’s sense of humour and I have learned a lot about advanced stats through Canucks Army. This article is one of my favourites as it breaks down hockey (and the Canucks) in very mathematical terms. Yes, I’m a big math/stats nerd and yes I thoroughly enjoyed “Moneyball”. I could go on and on about math and sports, but I’ll leave it at that.
  2. Nucks Misconduct (@nucksmisconduct) - Competing hockey blog Nucks Misconduct usually has news about the Vancouver Canucks before it is even officially announced on the team twitter account (@VanCanucks). Although I may not agree with some of their opinions, it’s nice to hear an opposing opinion once in awhile. Makes us better people, right?
  3. I thoroughly enjoy the witty antics of 3 of our beloved Canucks. Ryan Kesler (@Ryan_Kesler), Kevin Bieksa (@kbieksa3) and Roberto Luongo (“allegedly” @strombone1) always have something going on. My particular favourite was when this happened:

 

Sam: If you're reading this, you're probably already following some of the best Canucks guys in the biz, Harrison, TDrance, Scott Rintoul...so I'll go in a completely different direction and name some people you maybe haven't followed yet. All of them are and great Canucks fans (aka, not a bandwagoner), and even better people: @itsMichelleNgai, @WinMoney13, @darthchilli. Give them a try!

B2B:

@Camcharron -it's almost too hard to keep up with the frantic pace in which this guy unleashes zingers during a game, he's hilarious. My knee hurts just thinking about how hard I'm going to slap it tonight.

@Passittobulis- If I forget to watch a game, I need not worry, because they sure did and they tell me what happened. These guys are also really funny, and the do great song parodies.

@Winsford99- (Al Strachan) Actually doesn't say much about the Canucks, ever. But he was awesome when he used to be on the HNIC hot stove and was let go for being essentially too honest about what he thought of the league and the people in it sometimes. He let's it rip on twitter, and it's awesome. He's also a co founder of the esteemed "Bruce Arthur is a dick" club.

#jms

Share your shap at the Canucks Army roundtable next month, and a big thanks to this month's participants!

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Thomas
October 09 2013, 09:32AM
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I wish that Van would place Kassian in Wiese's position when he returns (if they are forced to put him on the roaster at all). The best part about his suspension is that I haven't had to watch him miss hits, not score, and lose fights. I know there are the faithful who continue to believe that he is the second coming of Lucic, but reality should sink in at some point, shouldn't it? The real loss was the injury to Burrows. He makes every line he plays on better and I am excited for him to get back in the line up.

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#2 Drams
October 09 2013, 11:28AM
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My hope would be that by playing in the Pacific Division the Canucks would develop their game. They would no longer be able to rely on playing only one to two periods a game against division rivals. Perhaps this would help them late in the season and hopefully in the playoffs. I say hopefully because I don't think the new format helps the Canucks and they need to stay healthy so they do not rely on their depth. Staying healthy will not be an easy feat playing against the teams from California on a more consistent basis and playing in all 30 buildings this year.

I agree with Sam, it would've been nice to get a roster player for a great asset, the one with arguably the highest trade value.

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#3 JChecks
October 09 2013, 09:35PM
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I haven't really followed the Nucks' in great detail over the past couple of years.But it seems to me that the teams' previous approach has been to play a contained positional style of D. Along with a puck controll type of offence,that relys on great passing, positioning and set plays. Nothing wrong with this style, when it works. It can be entertaining and succesful with the right bunch of guys.But when it dosen't,it looks like the guys are playin shiny at the local rink and gettin' punked.So,I understand Gillis's change in direction. Perhaps, Tortarellas' approach to work hard, be aggresive, close the gap and force errors just may be the ticket for this bunch.And if things are going south,at least they'll look like there giving an honest effort. But seriously,lets hope the players buy into the system. And some of that aggression transitions into the offensive play, yet adding another dimension to the teams offence.

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#4 tesujiboy
October 09 2013, 09:39PM
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This year seems like one w more uncertainty than in others. New coach, new systems, new division/conference. But I'm cautiously optimistic. I give us a 70% of making the playoffs.

I'm not concerned about our D. The forwards are another matter. While it's a bit much for the rookies to crack the lineup and no one expected as much this year I was hoping Jensen or Gaunce would make some noise. Here's hoping Santorelli continues to surprise. If/when we suffer a few injuries those coming up from Utica don't inspire a lot of confidence. SJ and LA are both deeper and seem, at this point, more polished and sure of their system(s). The learning curve for us to catch or match them this season seems very steep. Having said that I believe we are a playoff team. But the only way we can do so is to pray on the weaker teams. In the end, unlike previous campaigns there is virtually no margin for error. We cannot afford to lose to Buf or Cgy when they're playing the 2nd of a back-to-back. I'm encouraged by the 3-1 start, but I still believe it will be a major accomplishment for us to be at .500 after the first month of the season.

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