October 06 2014 02:00PM
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.
October 06 2014 11:30AM
There are few Canucks who enter the 2014-2015 season with as much to prove as Daniel and Henrik Sedin do. When separating the two though, it's Daniel who came out of last season the more maligned twin. For eight years of Sedin dominance prior to last season, fans of this club never had to ask which of the twins was more vital to the team's success. But when faced with that same question last season, the answer was ubiquitously Henrik.
This in and of itself only highlights the divisiveness that was rank within and surrounding this club last season. The question of which player is more important was one I never fathomed entertaining. The whole was greater than the sum of its parts, and that was really all that mattered.
Misuse of the twins individual and combined skill sets played a role in this, but the toll it took was noticeably more profound in Daniel. Despite playing in three more games than Hank (who played through some horrific pain mid-season) Daniel totaled three less points - a massive discrepancy in Sedin terms.
What went wrong for Daniel last season, and will he recover in this one? That's a question for the other side of the jump.
October 06 2014 09:00AM
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.
Nation World HQ
October 06 2014 06:30AM
The Nation Network is proud to introduce the Nation Minute, a rapid fire look around the network and the NHL every Monday morning. With the season drawing closer we take a gander at achievable milestones this year. Enjoy!
October 05 2014 08:44PM
In many ways, Luca Sbisa is an asset that many teams covet. He's big, he's young, he's physical, he's a defenseman, and he has a first-round NHL entry draft pedigree.
Then again, Cam Barker and Ryan Parent had the same things going for them.
Sbisa has struggled to gain his footing in the NHL so far in his career, being relegated to the 9th D role in Anaheim last season, and ultimately cast off by the Ducks in the Ryan Kesler trade. Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins have given Sbisa every opportunity to show he deserves a top-6 role in Vancouver this upcoming season, but that hasn't gone all that well so far. Can Sbisa finally live up to his potential and become a legitimate NHL player? Or will he fail to make a good impression in what may very well be his last shot at being a long-term NHLer? Read past the jump.