On Roberto Luongo's Vancouver return, insane consistency and Vezina candidacy

Thomas Drance
January 11 2016 04:44PM

Photo Credit: Segei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

It's a shame that Roberto Luongo has never won the Vezina Trophy. In the realm of overdue accolades it’s not quite on the level of ‘Leonardo Dicaprio has never won an Oscar’, but it isn’t too far off.

Voted on by NHL general managers, the Vezina is awarded annually to the goaltender “adjudged to be the best at this position". Luongo is a three-time finalist, but he has never taken home the hardware (he definitely should've won in 2004).

As the 2015-2016 campaign passes the halfway point this week, it’s beginning to look like this could be Luongo’s ‘The Revenant’ season even though Washington’s Braden Holtby is a strong candidate in his own right, probably even the pack favourite.

On Monday night, Luongo will face a Vancouver Canucks club that still pays roughly 15 percent of his salary at Rogers Arena. And he’ll enter Monday’s somewhat-more-meaningful-than-usual regular season contest on an insane roll.

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Honest Etem knows he has to work harder and play less on the perimeter to make it

Thomas Drance
January 09 2016 05:45PM

Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

The chasm between "former first-round draft pick" and journeyman tweener isn't a canyon. It's a fine line. 

New Vancouver Canucks forward Emerson Etem, a former first-round draft pick, is now on his third team. He was dealt on Friday for a modest price. At least one NHL team opted not to make the New York Rangers an offer largely because, at the age of 23, most forwards who go on to be difference makers have already established themselves at the NHL level.

Etem knows this might be his last shot, and he was extraordinarily honest and reflective about his NHL career to this point and what he needs to do to cement himself as a mainstay in the top hockey league in the world.

"This is my third kick at the can here, and I for sure want to make it my last," Etem told reporters on Saturday. "I want to make an impact and make it right away. I’m going to work hard and I think everything will come from there.”

The "work hard" part of the equation is key here because, to hear Etem tell it, that's something he's struggled to bring consistently in his two previous NHL stops.

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Report: Canucks' regional broadcast ratings down 27% this season

Thomas Drance
December 14 2015 03:24PM

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Empty seats at Rogers Arena, a soft resale market for tickets and plummeting local television ratings are a sign of the times for the Vancouver Canucks. 

The regional broadcast ratings for Canucks games are down by 27 percent so far this season, according to a recent report from Yahoo!'s Chris Zelkovich. The Canucks aren't the only Canadian team that has seen their regional ratings fall, but they're the only Canadian team that has seen a drop of more than 10 percent.

It would seem that the Canucks, currently stumbling along with 30 points in 31 games this season, are failing to capture the imagination of the city. We've seen in the past that Vancouverites are relatively more reluctant to support the club through leaner periods when compared with many of the fanbases on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. This would seem to be another indication.

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Should the Canucks claim Jarret Stoll off of waivers?

Thomas Drance
December 14 2015 01:18PM

Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers placed two-time Stanley Cup winning faceoff ace Jarret Stoll on waiver Monday. Stoll's very short Rangers tenure didn't work out and head coach Alain Vigneault told the media on Monday that the club was hoping that Stoll might get an opportunity to play with another team.

The Vancouver Canucks are still reeling as a result of a long-term injury to Brandon Sutter and could use some additional centre depth in the worst way. So should they hazard a waiver claim on a right-handed veteran pivot like Stoll?

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Canucks Army Postgame: Mad House Online

Thomas Drance
December 13 2015 10:13PM

Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

Corey Crawford and the Chicago Blackhawks shutout the Vancouver Canucks in a 4-0 victory on Sunday night.

The Canucks surrendered too many quality scoring chances, but actually played decently well overall and were particularly good in the second frame. They had an opportunity to eke out a point in this game.

Ultimately the Canucks failed to convert on special teams and, if we're being real, simply don't have the required depth to matchup with a team like the Blackhawks when they're on the road. 

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