January 05 2012 09:52AM
Patrick McNally playing as a member of the Harvard Crimson.
(Photo courtesy canucks.com)
The Canucks didn’t pick until the fourth round back at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, thanks in large part to the Keith Ballard trade (the team gave up its first round pick, which Florida used to select WHL winger Quinton Howden). With the 115th overall pick, the Canucks took skilled American defenseman Patrick McNally.
McNally was a very interesting pick at the time, as he represented a significantly long-term investment. He still had one more year of prep school hockey to play, as he wasn’t eligible to begin his college career until the fall of 2011 (he had already verbally committed to Harvard). The fact that he had another year of school before starting his college likely scared off a few NHL teams (he was projected to go anywhere from the second to the fourth round at the draft).
December 29 2011 04:23PM
It is not unusual for a professional athlete to be revered in the city he makes his home in during the season, but hated in most of the rest of the country or continent. In competitive sports, one team always has to win, and one team always has to lose. Teams that win more often than not are usually more hated than teams that lose more often than not (success breeds jealously), and in the past few years we have seen that highlighted with the suddenly successful (and suddenly hated) Canucks.
December 22 2011 11:57AM
Back in early November, I (figuratively) handed out some hardware to Canuck players. Some of the “trophies” awarded were more serious than others. At the time, the Canucks were hovering around the .500 mark, thanks to sluggish starts from a few key players. Since then, they have been on a tear, thanks to said players playing much, much better. Cory Schneider channelling Dominik Hasek for a few weeks didn’t hurt, either. Why don’t we hand out some more awards that are completely made up and mean absolutely nothing!
December 15 2011 08:06AM
I promise I won’t mention anything about David Bolland or his comments in today’s post (from now on, of course), but I do want to talk a bit about the Sedins. The amount of criticism they receive isn’t really surprising. They are both humble, mild-mannered, clean players on the ice who do an immense amount of charity work and are fantastic human beings off the ice. So are why are some in the hockey world still criticising and mocking them? As we are starting to see with great frequency, winning and success breeds jealousy.
December 08 2011 09:10AM
It is no secret that the Canucks coaching staff does not consider Keith Ballard a top four defenseman. There are a few reasons as to why (his level of play, most notably). Ballard is a great skater, but he gets lost in defensive coverage, and often times struggles with gap control against rushing forwards. He can’t play the right side, which makes it tough for him to move up the depth chart with Dan Hamhuis and Alex Edler firmly entrenched as the top two left side defensemen.
With the past (and present) injuries to right-sided defensemen Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo, a lot of pressure is put on the likes of Aaron Rome and Andrew Alberts to step in and play a larger role on the right side. The Canucks need to add at least one defenseman before the trade deadline this season, and one that can preferably play a top four role on the right side. I’d go as far to say it is the only real weakness the team will need to shore up (depending on the injury situation up front).
Chris Tanev may step back in and assume an important role down the stretch like he did last season, but relying on an unproven sophomore is far from a foolproof strategy. The Canucks could very likely swap out Ballard and bring in a more stable defensive defenseman. They could also keep Ballard and bring a defenseman in, but I can’t see them continuing to justify paying a bottom pairing (at best) defenseman over $4 million annually. So who are some of the potentially available defensemen the Canucks could target?