November 04 2013 02:08PM
We're at the quarter poll of the WHL season, so now's a good time to take a look at how the Giants have stacked up against their B.C. Division rivals. Although the results haven't always been there, they're just two points back of 8th place Prince George for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a game in hand, and statistically, they compare very favourably to the teams they're locked in a playoff race with.
Read past the jump for more.
November 04 2013 11:52AM
Ryan Stanton is loving life right now, and making Mike Gillis look real smart. [Image via Timothy Ludwig]
If you live in or around Vancouver you know that the majority of the summer around here was spent verbally eviscerating the job Mike Gillis was doing running their favourite team. It wasn't fair for the most part given the way the lowered cap had tied his hands, but still, it was hard not to look around and see teams getting better while the Canucks were standing pat. That anger was only exacerbated by the four game sweep at the hands of the Sharks that had put a bow on a rather miserable lockout shortened campaign.
By hook or by crook the Canucks had lost Derek Roy, Mason Raymond, Max Lapierre, Keith Ballard, and Andrew Ebbett (all of whom had contributed to the team in some way, shape, or form). They ultimately replaced those guys with the following list of players, which I mockingly tweeted out back on September 30th. It's safe to say that I wasn't overly optimistic about the way the roster was constructed heading into opening night.
Obviously five weeks later, myself and many others have been made to look silly by a team that has managed to go 10-5-1 despite a series of unfortunate events. Even Lemony Snicket couldn't have made this stuff up. Their best players can be thanked for the success, no doubt, but it's hard not to appreciate what three of the players on that aforementioned list - Mike Santorelli, Brad Richardson, and Ryan Stanton - have brought to the table. We all know about Santorelli's accomplishments by now. And Richardson has done a fine job moving around the bottom-6 and contributing on the penalty kill.
But it's quite possible that the best acquisition of the summer was the one that Mike Gillis made just a day before the preseason, and that was bringing in undrafted AHL veteran Ryan Stanton. Read on past the jump for more on the unsung defenseman that will finally get his due.
November 02 2013 09:20PM
More than the victory, what should really matter for the Vancouver Canucks is that they were able to get out of Saturday afternoon's chippy affair with the Maple Leafs in good health. After taking an early 1-0 lead, the game turned bleak, with Phil Kessel fighting Alex Burrows, Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren's presences looming large, and perhaps a Leafs team looking to send a message after an unfortunate collision between Zack Kassian and David Bolland left Bolland en route to surgery on his leg in Vancouver tonight.
For an early season non-conference game, it was a very violent game, and you could tell that the result meant more to the players in the game than the value of the two points up for grabs. There are going to be theories as to why, but both the Leafs and Canucks play aggressive styles that happened to clash tonight. Because the game was pretty one-sided even before the score was one-sided, tempers flared over.
Vancouver won 4-0.
November 02 2013 02:02PM
In keeping with tradition, the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs will start at 4:00 p.m. local time to necessitate the CBC's mandate of having a pre-game ceremony before puck drop of the national game. For once, it will be non-Leafs related, and the Canucks will get to play a highlight reel of Pavel Bure's Hall of Fame career in front of a national audience in prime time. That's good, yes? Bure's number retirement is probably long overdue, and owing to him being enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame makes him the first of the Canucks numbers retirees with that honour
And then they will play a hockey game, and why bother? The Toronto Maple Leafs are an unstoppable juggernaut. They are the Lernaean Hydra of sports. Dominate a period of play against them, and they'll get out of it with red-hot goaltending, and catch a lucky break at the end of the period and take a lead. They cannot be killed, and the more you outplay them, the stronger they get.
November 02 2013 12:28PM
Gerry Kahrman/The Province
Call me nostalgic.
Pavel Bure is the best hockey player I've ever seen. The Sedins are close, but that should tell you just how good Pavel Bure was.
He's the star of my youth.
But there's no denying that there's complexity to how we should understand Pavel Bure.