Through trying times, Hunter Shinkaruk is still smiling

Thomas Drance
September 15 2015 11:09AM

Photo Credit: Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports

If you've watched Vancouver Canucks prospect Hunter Shinkaruk play hockey at all, what stands out as much as any of his particular on-ice skills, is the joyfulness that he brings to the rink. It's a joyfulness that becomes especially pronounced when he scores. 

In his rookie year as a professional, Shinkaruk bounced up and down the lineup with the American League's Utica Comets. Coming off of major hip surgery, Shinkaruk was snake bit to begin the year. From October through to February, Shinkaruk appeared in 54 games, and while he averaged better than two shots on goal per contest (a very healthy rate), he scored just seven goals. 

It was tough sledding for the 2013 first-round pick, but he's put that trying period behind him going into his second season as a pro. Has the organization though?

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5 most interesting quotes from Jim Benning's interview with Bob McKenzie

Thomas Drance
September 14 2015 08:58AM

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Screen cap courtesy:

The awesome thing about the Penticton Young Stars tournament - aside from the high pace of the games, the intriguing talent on the ice, the weather, the proximity to good wine, great golf, a gaggle of writers, and the glorious Okanagan beaches - is that there are four general managers, four head coaches (most years), and the entire scouting team from all four Western Canadian NHL teams. It's basically a hockey reporter's Mecca.

That's especially true if you're a stone cold boss like TSN's Bob McKenzie, who sat down for lengthy conversations with the general managers of every team at the tournament this weekend. You can watch his 20-plus minute interview with Canucks executive Jim Benning here

Click past the jump to read our summary of the five most interesting quotes Benning gave McKenzie this weekend.

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Canucks defeat Jets 4-1 in Game 2 of Young Stars tournament

Thomas Drance
September 13 2015 06:31PM

On Sunday afternoon the Vancouver Canucks' Young Stars team - and their defense in particular - bounced back from an 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in the tournament opener by dominating throughout and defeating the Winnipeg Jets' Young Stars side 4-1. 

Vancouver's prospects controlled proceedings throughout, outshooting the Jets' young players by a better than two-to-one margin. While the game was close late the Canucks busted it open in the third period thanks to goals from AHL signee Michael Zalewski, tryout Reid Gardner and Hunter Shinkaruk - who iced the game with an empty netter. 

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GIF: Jared McCann shows off his NHL-quality wrist shot and his love for referees

Thomas Drance
September 13 2015 04:30PM

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Caucks prospect Jared McCann can absolutely rip it.

When the two-way centreman - who will likely return to the OHL to play first-line minutes for the powerhouse Soo Greyhounds this season - misses with a wrister - he dents the glass. When his shot is on target though? Well then even Jets prospect Connor Hellebuyck, by most accounts the best goaltender outside the NHL, has no chance.

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Young Stars Tournament - Game 1 Preview: Canucks v. Oilers

Thomas Drance
September 11 2015 06:02PM

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Hockey is back! And the dawn of the McDavid era is upon us.

The Vancouver Canucks' - the hosts of the now annual, and actually really cool Penticton Young Stars tournament - prospects will face the Edmonton Oilers' prospects in an exhibition at 7:30 pm PST on Friday night. The game will mark the first Canucks hockey any of us will have watched since Vancouver coughed up a three-goal first period lead to the Calgary Flames in Game 6 of their first-round series loss back in April. It'll also mark the first time Connor McDavid has sported an Oilers jersey in a professional-level game.

Will McDavid dominate and give Canucks fans a taste of the sort of other-worldly speed and puck control dominance that will come to characterize the next decade of Pacific Division hockey? Or will the Canucks find a way to keep the phenom relatively in check, and put together a win in the interior? You'll have to tune in to find out!

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