September 01 2012 12:34PM
Kevin Bieksa has provided his fair share of highlights over the years. From his days of a feared middleweight fighter, to his goal that sent the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final back in 2011, to his foray into glove tossing this past season, the man known as “Juice” is an integral part of the Canucks, both on and off of the ice. He and Dan Hamhuis form one of the best two-way defensive pairings in the entire league.
In 2011-12, Bieksa set a career high with 44 points in 78 games. The Grimsby, Ontario native now has three NHL seasons of 40 or more points. Even with a career year offensively, his play in 2011-12 could be best described as inconsistent, as his defensive game was a bit of an adventure at times.
August 31 2012 09:05AM
Although Zack Kassian has appeared in only 21 games as a Canuck, he is one of the most important players on the roster as we look to the future. He is the top prospect on the club (according to the Canucks Army writers). He is one of the best prospects in hockey according to a number of scouts, and he brings many attributes to the ice that the Canucks have lacked in recent years - physicality, size, and intimidation.
Kassian has put in serious work this summer to get in terrific shape. He put in work with top trainers at the Nike Headquarters in Oregon back in July along with a few other prospects, including Kevin Connauton and Jordan Schroeder. Kassian trained and spent some time with the Sedin twins and Manny Malhotra in April and May of 2012, as well.
August 30 2012 02:32PM
On the surface, it may seem like the Canucks (a contending team with a window to win that appears to be closing) wouldn't be a team that benefits from missing any hockey in 2012-13. However, that isn't the case. Read on to find out why.
August 28 2012 08:42AM
The Canucks were extremely happy that two-way center Brendan Gaunce slipped all the way to pick 26 at the NHL Draft back in late June. Gaunce has spent the last two seasons in the OHL with the Belleville Bulls, developing into one of the best playmakers in the league.
The 18-year-old forward has been training over the past few years with Gary Roberts in the summers, learning from the likes of Steven Stamkos, Jeff Skinner, Cody Hodgson (hopefully they don’t talk about off-ice issues), and Cameron Gaunce, his older brother and a member of the Colorado Avalanche organization.
Gaunce scored 28 goals and added 40 assists in 2011-12 for the Bulls, nearly doubling the 36 points he put up as a rookie in 2010-11.
August 26 2012 10:53AM
Byron Bitz was signed in the summer of 2011 to supply the Canucks with size and toughness. He missed the entire 2010-11 season dealing with hip and groin issues, and the problem lingered on throughout training camp and into the beginning of the 2011-12 regular season.
He finally made his debut with in February of 2012. Bitz went on to record four points in 10 games with the Canucks, including three over a two game stretch in early February. For that brief period, head coach Alain Vigneault played a hunch by sticking Bitz on the top line with Daniel and Henrik.
Bitz rewarded his coach with a breakout performance against the Predators on February 7th. Although his time on the first line was short lived, Bitz provided some excitement in a largely disappointing season for the Canucks (it sure feels strange writing that about a first place* club).