April 05 2012 09:07AM
During the course of the season, I've tried to bring attention to several less heralded prospects in Vancouver’s system. That trend continues today with a profile on Niagara Ice Dog and 2010 6th round draft pick, center Alex Friesen.
March 29 2012 08:49AM
For a team to win the Stanley Cup, a lot of different factors have to correlate in their favour. Health, goaltending, and special teams are the three most important (in order). We saw all three affect the Canucks negatively during last spring's Stanley Cup Final loss. Boston was healthier, they received better goaltending, and their penalty kill stifled Vancouver’s league-leading power play and snsurprisingly, the Bruins won in convincing fashion. Are the Canucks now better equipped to deal with the issues that plagued them in the Final last year?
Read on past the jump to find out.
March 22 2012 10:06AM
As the Canucks crawl towards the postseason, it is becoming painstakingly obvious that the team isn’t giving a full and committed effort each game. It isn’t like they are trying to tank (like a certain divisional rival the past few seasons), but they aren’t willing to risk injury or fatigue. When you combine that mentality with the fact that the teams they are playing are desperate for points, it becomes clear why they are losing more than they are winning right now.
Read past the jump!
March 15 2012 09:53AM
If you have somehow managed to avoid hearing Justin Schultz’s name in recent days, don’t expect it to continue. The top defenseman in the entire NCAA (and currently property of the Anaheim Ducks) is weighing his options for next season. Why is this news to Canucks fans? Well, Schultz played a year of junior hockey (in the BCHL) after being drafted, and there is a loophole in the current NHL CBA that allows him to become an unrestricted free agent this summer (with a limit on how much he could earn on his first professional contract).
Read past the jump for more!
March 08 2012 09:04AM
If you have read my articles here at the Canucks Army for the past few months, you are aware of Vancouver’s collection of unheralded college prospects. Back in October, I profiled 2011 draft pick Joseph LaBate, even going so far as to compare him to David Backes. LaBate’s freshman season at the University of Wisconsin has gone according to plan – he is playing a top six role for a strong college program, and his regular season recently wrapped up. He finished with five goals and 20 points in 34 games for the Badgers.
The University of Wisconsin has churned out some impressive NHL talent in recent years. The notables include Derek Stepan (Rangers), Craig Smith (Predators), Brendan Smith (Red Wings), Jamie McBain (Hurricanes), Jake Gardiner (Leafs), Ryan McDonagh (Rangers), and they currently have the best skater in college hockey in puck-moving defenseman Justin Schultz (Ducks). Coach Mike Eaves has done a great job preparing these guys for the NHL, as the majority of them have spent little to no time in the AHL. Leading up to the 2011 draft, LaBate was pegged as a bit of a project pick (as most 6’4” 18-year-old skaters are), but his overall improvement this season is extremely encouraging.
I have seen bits and pieces of his games on television and the internet, but to get a more thorough picture of how his game has developed, I decided to reach out to Chuck Schwartz from Bucky’s Fifth Quarter, a blog covering all things related to University of Wisconsin sports.
Give Chuck a follow on Twitter (@UWChuckSchwartz).