March 10 2014 10:54AM
If you've been following me on Twitter over the last few days, you'll have noticed that I haven't exactly been too complimentary of the Vancouver Canucks' top prospects. Taking it even a step further, I guess you could say that, overall, I hold a pretty negative view of the long-term future of the franchise.
It's not that I don't think that guys like Bo Horvat, Brenden Gaunce, and Hunter Shinkaruk can't or won't turn into useful NHL players; it's just that we need to establish what are reasonable expectations for these players moving forward. The fact of the matter is that aside from Hunter Shinkaruk, not a single prospect the Canucks have in the system has produced at a high enough level that you can say with any degree of confidence that they'll be a top-6 NHL forward.
The focus here will be on Bo Horvat since he was recently ranked as the #1 prospect in Vancouver's system, #12 in all of hockey by The Hockey News, and the 6th best prospect with no NHL experience by International Scouting Services and Buzzing the Net, but it also applies to Brenden Gaunce to a lesser degree. We'll look at some of the arguments in favour of Horvat, examine the validity of these arguments, and look at where NHL top-6 centres really come from. I suggest you get comfortable, because this is a pretty hefty read.
March 08 2014 03:13PM
After getting plowed 6-1 in a critical game against the Dallas Stars and falling all the way to 28th in the league in scoring, the Vancouver Canucks return home tonight to Where It All Began and face the Calgary Flames. We all remember what happened last time these two teams met in Vancouver, and we all know that since that fateful night, the Canucks have just 3 wins in 15 games stretched over two months. The pre-post-Torts era that began that 1st intermission has been nothing short of hapless, uninspired, and just putrid.
Fortunately for the Canucks, and unfortunately for fans of the Canucks, Flames, or just hockey in general, Calgary has been hapless, uninspired, and just putrid for pretty much the whole season. They're just as anemic offensively as the Canucks, so this game is gearing up to just be an absolute barnburner. We may see three goals scored! Are you excited yet!?
March 06 2014 11:02PM
"Must-win game!" "Biggest game of the year!" "Fighting for their playoff lives!"
Those are all things you probably heard leading up to tonight's showdown with the 2nd-place-in-the-wildcard Dallas Stars. Since Vancouver was sitting just two points back of the Stars but with two more games played, a loss would really go a long way to pushing Vancouver's season to the brink. You'd expect then that the Canucks would come out flying in a desperate attempt to gain some oh-so-valuable ground on one of the teams they're chasing, right?
Haha, wrong! Vancouver learned the hard way that you cannot stop Jamie Benn, you can only hope to contain him. He and Tyler Seguin combined for 4 goals and 4 assists in a 6-1 beatdown of the Canucks in the first game of the post-Luongo era. Read past the jump for a recap and possibly some group therapy. Possibly.
March 02 2014 07:26PM
In isolation, or to the outside observer, I'm sure the Heritage Classic was a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon as the NHL gears up for the trade deadline and post-Olympic stretch drive. It was a relatively fast-paced game with goals scored off the rush, plenty of shots, scoring chances both ways, and some intensity and nastiness to boot. Under different circumstances, we'd probably be regaling in how that was an entertaining game and a welcome break from the monotony of the regular season, and even though the Canucks didn't get the result they wanted, they can put this in their rear view mirror and get on with their season.
Of course, the operative term is "different circumstances." John Tortorella (or Rollie Melanson if you pay attention to Jason Botchford) decided to bench Roberto Luongo in favour of Eddie Lack, kicking the "goaltender controversy" hornets nest that had so far been dormant. The move backfired, as fans voiced their displeasure at John Tortorella and the rest of the Canucks brass who allowed this to happen by booing the likable Swede at times during the game. Like the rest of the Canucks, Lack didn't have a particularly strong game in a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Read past the jump for more.
February 22 2014 10:48AM
The last time we checked in on the Vancouver Giants, they were fresh off a loss against division rival Victoria, but just a game removed from a 10-0 blowout of the Lethbridge Hurricanes (despite having lost their captain and #1 defenseman Dalton Thrower to a reported ankle injury).
Since then, times have been tough for the G-Men as they stared down one of the toughest stretches of the season without their best player. The wins have stopped coming, goaltending has struggled, and the possession numbers have slipped.
More importantly, Vancouver has lost ground in the all-important race to stay out of 7th in the WHL. They sit just 4 points up on the 7th place Everett Silvertips, and with just 10 games remaining in the regular season, it's definitely scoreboard-watching time. For a look at how the rest of the season is shaping up, read past the jump.