Why the Canucks prefer Brendan Gaunce as a winger

Thomas Drance
September 11 2015 03:43PM

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

Drafted with the Vancouver Canucks' first-round pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Brendan Gaunce was initially touted as a big, two-way centreman - the sort of player that's always at a premium in the NHL.

To open the 2015 Young Stars tournament on Friday, however, Gaunce will be flanking centreman Jared McCann on the left wing. It's where he spent the entirety of his first professional season with the Utica Comets too.

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Report: Canucks invite AHL enforcer John Kurtz to training camp

Thomas Drance
September 11 2015 09:33AM

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Photo Credit: Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks have invited a designated fighter to training camp, according to a report from News 1130 Sports.

John Kurtz, 26, has spent his professional career bludgeoning opponents in the minor leagues with the Anaheim Ducks organization. Kurtz has fought 40 times over the past two seasons, according to hockeyfights.com - crooked numbers for sure. He's also scored 18 goals and 37 total points in 271 AHL games, so there isn't much to his game beyond the face-punching dimension.

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Report: Canucks could open regular season with interim head coach

Thomas Drance
September 10 2015 05:37PM

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Photo Credit: James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins, a career bench boss, waited 57 years before he got the opportunity to open an NHL campaign as the top dog on an NHL coaching staff. Heading into his second season as an NHL head coach, it would appear that Desjardins may have to be patient once again.

The Canucks' 58-year-old bench boss is currently recovering from hip replacement surgery, which will cause him to miss this weekend's sure-to-be fascinating Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C.. How much more time Desjardins' misses thereafter isn't clear at the moment.

On Wednesday the Canucks declared that Desjardins would be ready for the regular season opener on Oct. 7, and general manager Jim Benning indicated to the Vancouver Province's Jason Botchford that his head coach is expected to be in Prince George for the opening of training camp next week. Desjardins' expected presence at training camp and behind the bench for the season opener is far from a foregone conclusion though, according to a report from TSN 1040 host Matt Sekeres

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Chris Johnston on tanking, Puck Talks and why a Canucks rebuild is inevitable

Thomas Drance
September 10 2015 04:00PM

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Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

From dampened tracksuits to potentially disastrous predatory offer sheets that failed to account for a pretty important CBA article, Sportsnet reporter Chris Johnston has broken all kinds of colourful, interesting, and controversial stories in his career. 

This month Johnston has got a new sort of challenge though: tour the country and host four live hockey-talk shows in four different cities in four nights. It's called Puck Talks Live and it's coming to Vancouver! The event will take place at your favourite watering hole (the Pint, duh) on Friday, Sept. 18th and you can buy tickets here. For some reason (some reason that the Puck Talks crew is sure to regret), they've decided to invite me to be part of a panel. But really we'll all be there to hear Ray Ferraro spit some unvarnished truth. 

Anyway, we caught up with Chris to talk about why a rebuild in Vancouver is inevitable, why tanking doesn't work, and also about the upcoming Puck Talks Live event.

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Rogers Arena 20th anniversary celebrations will honour Bertuzzi, Oprah and hopefully Big Country

Thomas Drance
September 03 2015 04:39PM

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their home rink - formerly GM Place, now Rogers Arena - this season, and they'll do so with a variety of themed nights. 

We already knew this, and already knew that the retro 90s skate logo would be part of the festivities, but the full gamut of the club's plans was revealed on Thursday and from Vancouver Grizzlies night to a celebration that name-checks Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton, there are some eclectic choices to say the least.

You can see the full list here, but we'll offer some thoughts on the other side.

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