August 27 2015 04:00PM
It is often said that the light that burns twice as bright, lasts half as long. One could certainly argue as much for Igor Larionov in his briefest of stays with the Vancouver Canucks, between 1989-92.
Part of a package deal which included Vladimir Krutov, the Canucks essentially paid their way into acquiring their talents despite selecting the duo several years prior in the later rounds of the NHL Entry Draft. For the Canucks, their inclusion represented a philosophical shift away from north-south hockey into a more lateral and cerebral game. They also marked some of the earlier pieces in the Russian invasion in the years leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
August 27 2015 11:14AM
Perhaps no Vancouver Canucks prospect has seen their stock increase as quickly and substantially as Oshawa Generals centreman Cole Cassels has this year. When Vancouver selected Cole Cassels with the 85th overall pick in the 2013 draft, the hope was undoubtedly that he would develop the way he has over the past two seasons.
August 27 2015 09:43AM
He was a playmaking Swedish centreman whose pass-first approach both wowed and occasionally frustrated fans. Though you knew he could score, shooting always seemed to be his last resort, even passing on the occasional breakaway. Even though everyone know he was looking to pass, his vision was such that defenders were often powerless to prevent him from finding linemates in prime scoring position. It was the 1980's, and - wait a second, who the hell am I writing about?
Thomas Gradin was just one identical twin winger away from being the 1980's answer to Henrik Sedin. Hailing from the town of Sollefteå, only an hour away from Örnsköldsvik, even his accent is of the same dialect as the wonder twins. Add to this that he played for Modo in the years before arriving in North America, and he also has a brother named Peter who played hockey but was never drafted... The resemblance is some kind of freaky. He was basically a Sedin before Sedinery was even cool.
Gradin easily makes the cut for the Canucks' All-Time team. Let's find out why.
August 26 2015 05:12PM
So in the last few weeks we've had a rash of blog posts and commentary about Jim Benning's "plan" for the Canucks. The takes range from "Benning has a great plan and he's making great deals just like when Gillis brought in Sundin" to "Benning has a plan, and don't worry if it makes you uneasy because look at the dumb moves Gillis made in his first couple years, like bringing in Sundin."
Now, do I think Benning has a plan? Sure. He has a plan. I don't particularly think it's a great plan, but he has one. The question, really, is whether or not this plan to retool on the fly, rather than tear it down and rebuild it is the way to go.
The interesting bit to me, is that Trevor Linden doesn't seem to think the full rebuild can work in this market. That the fans won't put up with it. But I've been around here long enough to know that what this fan base really won't put up with, is unrealistic expectations.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
August 26 2015 02:56PM
Do you ever wonder what the Vancouver Canucks would look like if they wore green jerseys? Well, you'll have to keep waiting, but the Utica Comets gave a bit of a teaser as to what such a design would look like, revealing their third jerseys for next season.