July 05 2012 01:09PM
Dan Hamhuis is pretty much the least sexy player in the entire NHL. He has an under-stated two-way game, and he puts up points, but he does so as quietly as a mouse on Christmas Eve. Still, he gives your average Canucks fan a raging hard sea-to-sky boner.
Quebec has their goaltenders, Ontario produces elite forwards seemingly off of an assembly line, and while the West may not be an "enforcer factory," British Columbia does have a nice history or producing elite NHL defenseman.
Scott Niedermayer is actually from Alberta, but British Columbian hockey fans are convinced he's a "BC boy." Counting him, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Shea Weber - you have more than half of Canada's 2010 Gold Medal winning Olympic blueline hailing from the country's westernmost Province.
For hockey fans from the west coast, there's a pride and a mystique that surrounds the "BC-born defenseman." Over the last decade that mystique has co-mingled with a sense of frustration and resentment borne out of the fact that a truly elite 1A d-man has never played for the Canucks franchise.
"We produce so many great defenseman in our own backyard, why can't we get them on the team I root for?" Asks Joe Canucksfan from Vernon, British Columbia - speaking for the whole damn Province. As a result of this popular notion, even relatively unproven commodities like West Kelowna's Justin Schultz, or White Rock's Jason Garrison will drive Canucks fans into paroxysms of hysteria. So, imagine how Vancouver's hockey fans react to the notion of Shea Weber - arguably the most dominant single defenseman in the league - wearing the blue, green and white?
On Wednesday, the Predators lost Ryan Suter, a blue-chip defenseman in his own right, to unrestricted free-agency and the Minnesota Wild. They'd kept Suter on the team past the trade-deadline, and they didn't trade his rights at the draft, all in a desperate effort to re-sign Shea Weber's long-time defensive partner. Now, Predators General Manager David Poile is left at the altar, down one elite defenseman, paying a goaltender 7 million dollars for the long-term, and uncertain about the future of captain, and franchise cornerstone Shea Weber, who is reportedly distraught about Suter's departure.
Does Suter's departure open the door for the Canucks to take a serious run at Shea Weber? Maybe, but do the Canucks really have the assets to make a deal happen? Should they try a predatory offer-sheet? It's a tantalizing mixture to think about, but the prospect of Shea Weber in a Canucks uniform remains an extremely farfetched pipe dream. Let's get into why.
July 05 2012 11:31AM
Derek Joslin and Ryan Kesler have... a dance off?
According to Carolina Hurricanes beat-writers, and the News1130Sports Twitter account, the Canucks have signed depth defenseman Derek Joslin to a one year, two-way deal. Derek Joslin became an unrestricted free-agent a few weeks ago when Carolina bought out his deal. Oddly enough Twitter first heard the news from Derek Joslin's sister:
Here's the press release announcing the signing - along with the signing of Patrick Mullen - from canucks.nhl.com.
Click past the jump for some analysis!
July 05 2012 10:01AM
When it became obvious that the Canucks weren’t willing to give Sami Salo a contract longer than one year, he did what any logical human being would and accepted Tampa Bay’s more generous two-year, $7.5 million contract offer.
Sami was a warrior during his tenure with the Canucks. The word warrior gets tossed around too much in pro sports, but we are talking about a guy whose injury history reads like that of a professional stuntman. Salo’s testicular region was on the receiving end of a 100 mile-per-hour slap shot from Duncan Keith, and it didn’t even cause him to miss a game. He has torn muscles, cracked bones, dislocated limbs, suffered concussions, and been bitten by snakes (well only one snake, but I’m sure if you dig deep enough you will find another snake bite incident in his life, in addition to the metaphorical one).
Salo leaves the Canucks as one of the best defensemen in the history of the organization. Even with the immense number of games he has missed, he still ranks statistically among the best the organization has ever seen:
- 5th in points with 236
- 3rd in goals with 74
- 1st in game-winning goals with 20
- 3rd in shots on goal with 1078 (I’d wager 1070 of them of the slap shot variety)
- 1st in power play goals with 48
- 1st in postseason games played with 74
- 1st (tied) in postseason goals with 9
- 1st in awkward goal celebrations
Salo’s tenure in Vancouver was filled with many memorable goals and highlights. Let’s count down 10 of the best after the jump.
July 04 2012 01:58PM
About a minute after my post on Province Sports about Jason Garrison went live, I got a barrage of texts from resident blog chief Thomas Drance:
"You kidding me?"
"5 Garrison goals"
"You expect JG to score 5 goals"
"Wrote it today"
"Least well thought out thing you've written in a while!"
Obviously I pride myself in thinking out at least half the things I write, but I calmly explained by reasoning. For one, I never stated that Garrison would score "5 goals". I wrote "upwards of five". The second thing to note is that I think five goals is a lot of goals for a defenceman.
July 04 2012 12:17PM
Over the course of this morning, speculation grew and grew that Minnesota would be the landing spot for coveted free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Then it happened, leaving most Canucks fans to wake up and discover that Independence Day had been cancelled, and the Wild had stolen the show.
Parise and Suter are two players whose statistical influence matches the narrative that surrounds them; both are said to be fantastic hockey players, and the numbers back this up 100 per cent. They have played tough, tough minutes in their careers and have succeeded while doing so.
Do the additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter make the Wild the Canucks' chief rival for Northwest Division supremacy? Let's have a look see...