Rick Bowness Plans on Playing Garrison on the Left Side, So the Right Side of the Canucks' Defense Remains a Big Question Mark

Thomas Drance
November 15 2012 09:47AM

Jason Garrison stands on Alex Edler's right side in this photo. But don't get used to seeing that, says Rick Bowness.

On Tuesday morning, Canucks assistant coach Rick Bowness (who is primarily responsible for handling the team's defense) appeared with Scott Rintoul and Jason Botchford on the Team 1040. Bowness talked about the NHL lockout, the spectre of a super short training camp should there actually be an NHL season in 2012-13, and also briefly discussed his plans for how to deply newly minted Canucks defenseman Jason Garrison in a hypothetical upcoming season. 

Read past the jump for more.

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Justin Schultz: Sensational and Sensationalized

Thomas Drance
November 12 2012 11:59AM

Rogers Sportsnet does a lot of things very well, employing Michael Grange or hosting the Marek Versus Wyshynski podcast for example. Their digital content arm however, lags somewhat behind the offerings hockey fans get from the Score, Yahoo and NBC (among others). 

Today, they're jumping off of Jason Botchford's take on Canucks fans booing Justin Schultz from this past weekend, and plugging the post as Justin Schultz saying that "picking the Oilers over the Canucks was the best decision of his career." Sounds racy, huh? Except that the actual quote itself is anything but.

Click past the jump for more.

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Why the Canucks Shouldn't Retire Pavel Bure's Number 10

Thomas Drance
November 08 2012 01:12PM

This weekend Pavel Bure will be going into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, and it appears that the Russian Rocket - the most exciting player to ever don some variation of a Vancouver Canucks sweater - will be honoured at long last by the team as well. Late on Wednesday evening, Jason Botchford reported that the Canucks are likely planning on retiriing Pavel Bure's number 10 at some point when hockey is played again.

Based on what Bure meant to the franchise, to the city and the sport this should be a no-brainer. There are, however, other factors that make this decision a tricky one for the Canucks.

Read on past the jump.

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Rethinking the Notion that Ryan Kesler is a "Puck Hog"

Thomas Drance
November 07 2012 12:44PM

After posting two consecutive seventy-point seasons, including a 2009-10 campaign that saw him post 50 assists, Ryan Kesler's offensive production dropped by about 20 points during the 2011-12 NHL campaign. If you asked fans of the team, one of the major reasons for Kesler's drop in production (outside of the fact that he rushed back from an injury, and was hobbled throughout the final three months of the regular season) was his seeming reluctance to pass the puck. The most common criticism I've heard: "Kesler has fallen in love with his shot."

In January, with the Canucks' possession numbers cratering and secondary scoring nowhere to be found outside of Cody Hodgson, headcoach Alain Vigneault publicly called out his two-way ace for hogging the puck. According to his coach, it was imperative that Ryan Kesler "use the players around him more," a public accusation that Ryan Kesler bristled at.

Looking over some new data on "Puck Hogging" posted by Benjamin Wendorf over at NHLNumbers.com, it appears that Kesler's annoyance at Alain Vigneault's criticism may have been entirely justified. 

Read on past the jump.

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Did the Sedins "Lose a Step" Last Season?

Thomas Drance
November 05 2012 01:19PM


For a Stanley Cup starved fanbase that roots for an aging team, a team has come oh so painfully close without raising the ultimate mug, the "championship window" is a constant source of argument and scrutiny. I'd argue that not since the Hussites of the 14-hundreds, or more recently Bill Gates, has a single person or group of people ever been so preoccupied with "windows" in the history of human kind.

The most often cited reason for the Canucks' finite championship window is the age of the Sedin twins. The Sedins turned thirty-two in September (on the same day, if you can believe it!) and the list of players who've produced 100 point seasons after the age of 32 is very short indeed.

Some folks, even some folks who write at this blog, have looked at the twins' decline in production last season and have become convinced that the Sedin twins have begun to submit to the power of father time. But looking over the data from the past five seasons, I see little evidence that the Sedin twins have "lost a step" or that last season's slip in production represents the beginning of a downward trend in their NHL careers.

I'll explain myself at length after the jump. 

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