The SYAE Podcast: A Season Preview

Dimitri Filipovic
January 15 2013 09:17AM

"I'd be a lot more comfortable if you just asked Dimitri and Jeff these questions instead."

Short. Sweet, but still a little rugged in an intriguing way. All business. Definitely taking nothing off of the table.

You might think that I'm talking about Andrew Ebbett, but in this particular instance, I'm not. Instead I'm referring to the latest edition of the So You're an Expert podcast, in which Jeff Angus joined me to preview the season that's nearly upon us.

You'll notice that it's a short episode (hovering around 15 minutes in length), and that's because we just don't know very much at the moment as it relates to the two biggest talking points surrounding the team - the Roberto Luongo trade saga, and the opening down the middle on the second line. But we did our best to broach the subjects, despite the potential for the entire discussion to be deemed obsolete at any moment.

We also took a look at the two depth defensemen signings, and meandered around the Northwest Division.

Click Past the Jump for the Podcast.

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A Closer Look At How The Canucks Have Owned The Northwest Division

Dimitri Filipovic
January 11 2013 12:53PM

"If you stop looking maybe they'll stop beating us so badly!"

After you see something happen time and again right in front of your very eyes, you come to expect it. It's human nature. You simply stop thinking that there could possibly be any sort of other outcome.

And that's why you may have noticed that in Jeff Angus' preview of the 2013 season, where he answered questions from readers in a mailbag format, there was no one losing any sleep over where the Canucks would finish in the standings. Anything can happen in a 48 game season - pigs could fly, the Wild could manage to fight off regression, even - but Canucks fans have just come to expect a Division title and a seat atop the Western Conference standings. 

I take issue with people who look to undermine the Canucks' accomplishments over the past two seasons. Obviously Presidents' Trophies aren't the ultimate goal, but there's a reason the regular season takes place. The Canucks have absolutely dominated it, leaving no real doubt as to who the best team was. Just because they fell 60 minutes short, and then ran into a juggernaut who was sipping on some special sort of health elixir, doesn't take away from the other 164 games over that span.

How have the Canucks managed to make it look so easy? Well, it doesn't hurt that their two leaders have been the most consistent players in the league over the years. But more than anything, they've been able to run wild all over the Northwest Division.

Read Past the Jump for More on their Dominance of the Northwest.

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Andrew Ebbett is a Viable Candidate to Center A Scoring Line in Kesler's Absence

Dimitri Filipovic
January 10 2013 09:06AM

Who will Andrew Ebbett be looking for once the NHL season gets underway?

We spent most of the fall scratching and clawing for topics to discuss. There was a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo being tossed around, but the void left by actual hockey to analyze was abundantly clear. It got so bad that some of us - I'm not one to name names - began dissecting charity games, picking on poor souls like Jim Vandermeer.

But now, the NHL is back, and we've been left with the task of jamming months worth of story-lines and strategy into a few weeks. Not that anyone is complaining, though, because it's so much better than the alternative. 

As could have been expected, the main storyline that has grabbed the headlines has been 'Strombabble'; a term Thomas Drance affectionately came up with for anything and everything to do with the animal that is Roberto Luongo trade talk. Is he going to Toronto, now that Dave Nonis is in charge? Is Philly really interested? Who knows.

Something that we do know however is that there is a gap that needs filling in the middle of the second line, with Ryan Kesler a ways away from recovering from his offseason surgery. Unless the Canucks acquire a center in return for Luongo, that role will be filled in-house.

Options that have been bandied about but make me uneasy include either Alex Burrows (with Zack Kassian hopping along for a ride with the Sedins) or Chris Higgins (departing the right wing, on which he thrives). Jordan Schroeder is an option, but having watched a ton of Chicago Wolves hockey this year, there were far too many times where he left me feeling lukewarm. 

There's one final option that isn't quite as sexy as the others, but may have some merit, and it's Andrew Ebbett. Can he fill in for Kesler, and solve the riddle down the middle?

Read Past the Jump for More.

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The Sedin Twins: The Epitome of Consistency

Dimitri Filipovic
December 21 2012 10:36AM

The near 19,000 in attendance have known exactly what they're going to get from these two over the past 7 years.

Over at Leafs Nation, Cam Charron, as he's one to do, rather eloquently dismantled the narrative that Phil Kessel is an inconsistent, streaky scorer. It got me thinking about the Sedins, who have been consistency personified since the (last) lockout. Even the biggest Sedin detractors - and there certainly have their fair share - can't help but marvel at how reliable they have been over the course of their peak seasons.

Since 2005-06, they have been a virtual lock for 75-85 points each (with both of them having 1 remarkable outlier of a season jumbled in there), while lacing the skates up and being out there every single night. While they haven't had the prolific 60-goal campaign of an Alex Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos, or even a miraculous run along the lines of Sidney Crosby in 2010, they have routinely found themselves atop the list of points leaders come the end of the season.

Consistency is a skill. It's a skill which separates the transcendent players from the ones that are just good. It's impressive seeing a player put together a memorable season which vaults him into the discussion for the best the game has to offer. What's even more impressive, though, is seeing a player prove that it wasn't an abberation by maintaining his place at the top.

What do the numbers, and trends, say about the Sedins' consistency over the years?

Read Past the Jump for More.

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Wolves Take the Heat to School, Continue Winning Ways

Dimitri Filipovic
December 19 2012 01:18PM

Back on October 19th, the Chicago Wolves improved to 4-0 on the season thanks in large part to a virtuoso performance by Zack Kassian in front of a building filled with Canucks fans, and brass. It would be an understatement to say that the Wolves have seen their share of ups and downs since then. Nonetheless, they continued their winning ways, stretching their winning streak to 4 games following a 1-0 victory against the Abbotsford Heat. Enjoy one of their patented "ups" while it lasts, folks.

Read Past the Jump for Notes on the Game.

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