Aaron Volpatti on Waivers, Pinizzotto to make NHL debut?

Thomas Drance
February 27 2013 11:33AM


Aaron Volpatti fought Ryan Reeves nine days ago which is crazy.
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

The Canucks have placed popular BC-born pugilist Aaron Volpatti on waivers today, as first reported by Darren Dreger and since confirmed by the club. The move was recieved with skepticism from the fan-base, partly because Aaron Volpatti is a "louder" presence on the ice than chronically under-appreciated fourth line winger Dale Weise.

Some theorize that the Canucks are sending Volpatti to Chicago in order to call up diminutive center Andrew Ebbett, who has the advantage of being a left-handed centreman. That makes some sense but I prefer to trust Bob McKenzie who suggested that that the Canucks are waiving Aaron Volpatti - who I'd describe as relatively unlikely to be claimed by another team - in order to clear space for Steve "editor's bane" Pinizzotto who is finally healthy.

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Forget the recent kerfuffle, Nicklas Jensen's year with AIK is all upside for the Canucks

Thomas Drance
February 25 2013 01:38PM


Photo Credit: Marcus Ericsson / Bildbyrån

Appearing on the Team 1040 late last week with Matt Sekeres and Blake Price, Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis was asked a pointed question about Nicklas Jensen's status with his Swedish Elite League club, Stockholm based AIK. You'll recall that Jensen took a non-traditional route for his 19 year old season, choosing to leave the Ontario Hockey League in favour of a tougher professional men's league in Sweden. This season he's adjusted seamlessly and performed extraordinarily well for a nineteen year old skater in the third most difficult professional hockey league in the world. In 46 games this season, he leads AIK in both goals and power-play goals and is the most productive teenager in the Swedish elite League by a wide-margin.

So it seemed odd that - following a coaching change at AIK - Jensen found himself a regular healthy scratch...

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Game 18 Preview: Canucks @ Red Wings

Thomas Drance
February 24 2013 01:24PM


Photo Credit: Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press

Early on Sunday evening, the Canucks will conclude a heartland road swing that has taken them through Chicago, Dallas and Nashville over the past five days  with a visit to MoTown to face the winged wheel. The Canucks have performed relatively well on the trip, and have played some pretty respectable hockey with the exception of two really rough periods (the 2nd period in Chicago, and the 1st in Nashville). Ultimately the team has come away with points in every game to go with two regulations wins (albeit none of the "clear" variety).

The Red Wings aren't quite the team they used to be, with the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom being felt acutely in every game state. But their top-six forward group remains nearly as dangerous as any in the game (outside of Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and maybe Vancouver and New York). The Red Wings and the Canucks have played a handful of memorable, high-scoring contests over the past few years, both puck possession teams seeming to bring out the best in one another, so Sunday's matinée (for West Coast viewers at least) should be fun. Or at least more fun than the relatively eventless Friday night contest against the Predators was, but that's a low bar.

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Luongo Blanks Predators, Weise Scores the Game Winner

Thomas Drance
February 22 2013 11:28PM


I Am Not a Human Being II
Photo Credit: Frederick Breedon/NHLI via Getty Images

In the second game of a road back-to-back and facing one of the league's mingiest defensive clubs, the Vancouver Canucks chose a conservative gameplan and at least once the team woke up at some point during the first intermission, they executed it successfully. Not that the two points does anything to make Friday night's one-to-nothing victory over the Predators any easier on the eyes, in hindsight.

Sure the game was conducted at a stultifying pace and was certainly no diamond in the rough (like a baby in the trash), but Roberto Luongo was excellent and in front of him the Canucks were the decidedly better club over the latter forty minutes. They deserved the two points and also Dale Weise scored the only goal, so we can quote Lil Wayne in the gamer!

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Game 17 Preview: Canucks @ Predators

Thomas Drance
February 22 2013 01:39PM


Ain't no thing chicken wing! (They love Kesler down in Nashville, I hear).
Photo Credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Canucks ended their three game losing skid on Thursday night, and did so in fine fashion with a dynamite third period on the road against the team that beat them a week earlier and initially set off the string of Canucks defeats. Vancouver's new defensive pairings looked pretty good with a couple of qualifications - Tanev and Edler were a bit too low-event for my liking (neutring at least some of Edler's effectiveness) and Bieksa's two-way game is still iffy - and Jordan Schroeder and Mason Raymond continued to impress on a speedy third-line alongside David Booth. Those are good signs for the Canucks, who should only get better as Ryan Kesler finds his form and the Sedin twins work their way further into an offensive groove. 

Tonight the Canucks, who have faced a platter of second-tier - or at least untested - netminders over the past eight games including Leland Irving, Chris Nilstrop, Ray Emery, Jake Allen, Darcy Kuemper and Richard Bachman, will face Pekka Rinne (probably) and his bottomless glove hand. I'd say that represents a step up in quality, that is unless Barry Trotz decides to roll out Chris Mason instead...

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