November 09 2012 08:36AM
Canucks prospect Joseph LaBate has gotten off to a slow start this season at the University of Wisconsin. He is seeing more ice time compared to last year, but the Badgers have struggled out of the gate.
To find out why, I called on friend of the blog Andy Johnson, the editor of Wisconsin sports blog Bucky’s 5th Quarter.
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.
November 08 2012 09:40AM
With no NHL hockey being played, Canucks fans haven't been left with too many alternatives to consume their time as these dreary Fall days drag on. Sure, there are some big names playing in the KHL - and its legitimacy is being supplemented by the wonderful highlight packages Steve Dangle and Andrey Osadchenko have been doing - but it's just not the same.
I'm sure you'd prefer to be spending your time looking for suitable trade partners for Keith Ballard on Cap Geek as he's glued to the bench, or making fun of Mason Raymond for displaying the on-ice stability of an intoxicated 16-year old girl. But both of those will have to be put on hold for the time being.
For now, fans of the team will have to settle for two particular forms of entertainment to get by: following the Chicago Wolves as the team's top prospects continue to develop, and playing armchair GM in the anticipation of the inevitable Roberto Luongo deal. We have been covering the Wolves on a regular basis thus far, providing you with game recaps for every contest to-date.
But let's focus on the other topic, which Thomas Drance has wittily coined "Strombabble". In the months since the Canucks bowed out of the playoffs, there has been no shortage of rumours floated around. Unfortunately, there has been nothing definitive and thus, there's still plenty of uncertainty. What we can agree on is that three suitors have separated themselves from the pack - the Leafs, Oilers, and Panthers.
We all know about the big names from each of those teams that we'd like to see in a Canucks uniform, but chances are that Gillis won't be able to pry any of them loose. Instead, we'll spend the next few weeks taking a look at some of the more intriguing players that may actually be available. The name Joe Colborne has popped up in recent weeks, as a potential return for Luongo. But who exactly is Joe Colborne? And should Canucks fans care?
Read Past the Jump for More.
November 08 2012 08:29AM
NHL owners are a fickle bunch. They're savvy investors, skillful prognosticators, overall captains of industry. But what Joey Middle Class and Johnny Blue Collar fail to understand is that these billionaires who preside over the day-to-day actions of the NHL franchises we all know and love and used to watch play hockey is that they too are human. Behind the steely gaze of a Murray Edwards or brash bravado of an Ed Snider is a small, withered, insecure husk of a man who wants everyone to like them and hopes that no one is around to embarrass them when they try to talk to girls.
Part of that insecurity we have to acknowledge as hockey fans is that these owners are prone to mistakes. Proprietorship over a club is like having that whole collection of Ninja Turtle action figures you had as a kid, except on a much larger scale where there are real people involved. Who you control. Safe to say, that power can go to your head. Owners who fall prey to their own egos will test the limits of what is accepted or rational or allowed, just to see if anyone tries to get in their way and stop them (Exhibit A). Naturally, this can get owners in trouble, and unfortunately, they don't see the errors of their ways until it's a little bit too late (Might I once again remind you to take a gander at Exhibit A?!?!)
But, as luck would have it, these executives are empathetic and tend to look out for each other, as if they let one man go down based on his own merit as a billionaire, that's one less person they can play laser missile squash with at their secret rich guy clubs that we're not supposed to know about. As such, they band together, looking for ways to safeguard their power and vast influence from their single greatest nemesis:
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.