On the PR Front: Hamhuis, Bieksa and the NHLPA are Schooling the Owners

Thomas Drance
October 01 2012 11:48AM

Photo Credit: Steve Bosch, PNG, Vancouver Sun

Most close observers tend to agree that "Public Relations" won't matter much in shaping the outcome of a new CBA, and they're probably right. But for a gate driven business in the midst of a public negotiation, the public relations angle isn't meaningless. The current lockout is a three dimensional game of chess and every little bit of leverage matters, especially because the owners possess a large structural advantage (since they control a Monopoly on elite-level professional hockey in North America).

To that end, over the past week Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis - the Vancouver Canucks' ace shut-down pairing - have been on a subtle media blitz. In contrast with Daryl Katz's Seattle feint (which was bungled messily by the reactive @NHL_Oilers Twitter account), and Jimmy Develano's mishandling of facebook (and his series of stupid public comments that led to his $250,000 fine); what Bieksa and Hamhuis have managed to do over the past ten days has been doubly impressive.

Read past the jump for more.

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The Cloutier Hire Reax

Thomas Drance
September 27 2012 01:25PM

Petbugs on why Cloutier is a fine choice as the Canucks' newest goaltending consultant.

On Tuesday morning, the @News1130Sports Twitter feed dropped a little nugget of Canucks related information that set off a wave of cursing, recriminations and beach ball jokes among Canucks fans:

Granted, Dan Cloutier was a below average goaltender in his career and for the Canucks, but he's far from the worst starting goaltender the team has ever employed. You wouldn't know that, however, from his reputation. From the epic Lidstrom flub, to that blown series and game 7 lead against the Minnesota Wild in the playoffs that one time; there are too many tough moments that overshadow Cloutier's string of 30 win seasons playing behind one of the most entertaining and offensively gifted clubs in team history. It's not fair, but that's life for a professional hockey goalie.

Read on past the jump for media reactions to the Cloutier hire.

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The Sedin Twins, Naslund and the SEL Hornet's Nest

Thomas Drance
September 26 2012 12:27PM

Alex Steen made his controversial debut for Modo on Tuesday evening.

Today the Sedin twins turn 32 (and a happy birthday to them both). Their purpose on this Earth is to deliver sweet tape-to-tape backhand saucer passes to each other, and Canucks fans have been very fortunate to get to watch and enjoy their careers over the past decade. 

There has been a lot of speculation about where the Sedin twins might end up playing in the event that the NHL lockout goes for a full season. It's possible that their reluctance to commit to playing in Sweden's top-tier professional hockey league is connected to the fact that the NHL Lockout has exported its internecine strife abroad to the Scandinavian peninsula (and to the KHL as well, for that matter).

Read on past the jump.

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Headshots September 22nd

Thomas Drance
September 24 2012 03:08PM

Not Canucks related but, isn't it crazy that Henrik Zetterberg so closely resembles Jake Gyllenhaal?
Via Sealcat.

Headshots are a Canucks Army feature where we link to the day's freshest news, and other assorted Canucks web-goodies. If you've written a blogpost, produced a tribute video, birthed a clever .gif into existence, or have a hockey related cause you'd like to see promoted in this space - please e-mail Thom at thom.drance@gmail.com.

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How Long Will The Lockout Last?

Thomas Drance
September 24 2012 01:38PM

Photo Credit: Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press

As the prospect of a prolonged NHL lockout came into focus during the course of the summer, a consensus emerged: that the team could actually stand to benefit from a shortened season. Tony Gallagher wrote about it, Jeff Angus wrote about it and Dimitri Filipovic wrote about it, and they all agreed: in a shortened season the team wouldn't necessarily miss Ryan Kesler (who is recovering from labrum surgery until December), and they might be a little bit fresher headed into the postseason.

The flip side of this particular coin is another consensus, this one more worrisome. It's widely believed that losing an entire season would be an unmitigated disaster for the Canucks and their aging core. This teams "window to win" is this season (before Alex Edler, and key role players like Chris Tanev, Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre are due for a raise), and perhaps a season or two beyond it. The Sedins aren't getting any younger and Kesler isn't getting any more durable, so losing a full campaign and another shot at hoisting that cherished silver mug would be, to use a euphemism, inconvenient.

The lockout is now eight days old, and will finally cost the Canucks some preseason games beginning tonight. With that, let's wade into the muck and try to determine which scenario - a shortened season, or a lost one - looks to be more likely at the present juncture. Read past the jump.

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