October 07 2014 11:30AM
Before the regular season begins, I just wanted to take a moment to talk about John Tortorella one last time. I feel like I never gave him a proper send off, and I wanted to make sure I gave one of the greatest coaches in Canucks history his just due.
Although our time together was short, John had quite an impact on the city of Vancouver. I remember his hiring like it was yesterday... (read more past the jump)
October 06 2014 05:00PM
March 1st, 2013 - a landmark date in Vancouver Canucks history. That was the fateful day on which the Canucks claimed Tom Sestito off of the waiver wire, ushering in the glorious era of #TopSixtito and moral victories for everyone!
Well, not quite. The actual story goes like this:
With too many men on their roster, the Canucks were forced to put Aaron Volpatti on waivers in hopes of sending him to the Chicago Wolves. Unfortunately for the Canucks, the Washington Capitals claimed the B.C.-born grinder, and to make matters worse, only a few short hours after Volpatti was put on waivers, Canucks brass was informed that Ryan Kesler was injured and Vancouver did not need to waive anyone. To make up for the lost man, Vancouver claimed whomever they could on waivers the next day in a reactionary move, and that lucky man was none other than Tom Sestito.
Many fans, except those who love face-punchers, were not too happy with this turn of events, especially considering how it all unfolded. Further to their disliking, Sestito was re-signed that summer to a two-year, one-way, $1.5M contract by Mike Gillis. Last season, after a total of 34 NHL games played over his previous six, Tom Sestito played his first full season in the NHL, leading the entire league in fighting majors and PIMs.
Read past the jump to see how Sestito fared in his first real NHL season. Spoilers: it wasn't good.
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.