Cheers and Jeers - Oct. 10, 2014

Thomas Drance
October 10 2014 02:34PM

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It's Friday, hockey season is underway (thank goodness), and now it's time for: "Cheers and Jeers!"

This regular feature was originally started by Canucks Army forefather Cam Davie during the 2011-12 hockey season. Now that I'm the old hand at this here Canucks hockey blog (that happened... quickly), I figure it's my turn to carry on tradition.

This week, on the other side of the jump, I give a high-five to some great bloggers getting paid and to Luca Sbisa; while I toss some shade at the NHL's continued inability to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest in player discipline and the inability to Canucks centermen to win a damn draw.

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Canucks Army Player Previews: Henrik Sedin

Thomas Drance
October 06 2014 02:00PM

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Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin is coming off of his worst offensive season, and perhaps not coincidentally, the first injury plagued season of his career. A hallmark of durability and offensive consistency throughout his career, Sedin missed 12 games and the entire Olympics with a variety of rib and leg related ailments, and finished the season with his lowest point totals since the 2004-05 NHL lockout. 

The 34-year-old playmaker is getting long in the tooth, so some decline is to be expected at this stage of his career (though I've always contended that his drop off would be less precipitous than your average player due to his style of play and level of fitness). Was Henrik's 2013-14 season an outlier then, or was it something more troubling like the first major sign of his atrophying abilities as a top-end NHLer?

Read on past the jump for more.

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Drance Numbers: Radim Vrbata Could Work With the Twins, But Still Lose His Job

Thomas Drance
October 06 2014 09:00AM

Drance

There isn't a more anonymous consistent 50 point scorer in the entire NHL than new Vancouver Canucks first liner Radim Vrbata.

Vrbata, who has out produced any number of more famous forwards over the past three years including Rick Nash, Mike Cammalleri, Scott Hartnell, T.J. Oshie, and Alexander Semin, has routinely led all Phoenix Arizona Coyotes forwards in scoring, and he's done it seemingly without ever making a major headline. The Czech winger's uncanny ability to hide in plain sight could prove a more useful skill in a rabid hockey marketplace like Vancouver, where the media's glare can be paralyzing even when the demand for tickets is soft, than even Vrbata's right-handed shot on the power play.

Entering training camp Vrbata's story line - can the 33-year-old first line winger revitalize the Sedin twins offensively - is arguably the most critical question for a club that couldn't buy a goal last season. Yet the attention was focused instead on Vancouver's burgeoning youth movement, on Nick Bonino's impossible task of replacing Ryan Kesler, on the possibility of a redemption season for Alex Edler, or on the three-way goaltending controversy...

So let's give the anonymous Czech volume shooter some due attention on the other side of the jump.

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Canucks Army Player Previews: Shawn Matthias

Thomas Drance
October 05 2014 12:53PM

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In the past 12 months the Vancouver Canucks have traded a pair of star players in Roberto Luongo and Ryan Kesler in exchange for a pair of offensively gifted pivots best suited to playing a bottom-six role (and also two non-tender candidates, and a first round pick, and a third that became Derek Dorsett). 

That pair of centers with offensive talent includes Shawn Matthias who has size and skill, but has never really put it all together. At 26-years-old he's likely running out of time and upside.

What can we expect from Matthias this upcoming season? Read on past the jump.

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Cheers and Jeers! - Oct 3rd, 2014

Thomas Drance
October 03 2014 01:27PM

CheersandJeers

It's Friday, and with the dawn of a new season rapidly approaching, we've decided to revamp an old favorite: "Cheers and Jeers!"

This regular feature was originally started by Canucks Army forefather Cam Davie during the 2011-12 hockey season. Now that I'm the old hand at this here Canucks hockey blog (that happened... quickly), I figure it's my turn to carry on, carry on tradition.

This week, I give a high-five to the Canucks' suddenly promising stable of young talent and the Smylosphere in general, while I point and laugh at Luca Sbisa and the Edmonton Oilers.

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