October 01 2014 12:59PM
With the Vancouver Canucks 2014-2015 regular season set to begin in just one week, you may have noticed that CanucksArmy has been kind of light on season preview-type content. As Dimitri promised back in the summer, we did have plans for an extensive pre-season series, but some recent changes to our staff put those plans on hold. Well, the show must go on, and it must go on in bigger and better ways than it did last year, so not having a season preview was out of the question.
Starting today, we'll be running a handful of individual player previews each day until the start of the regular season, focusing mainly on all the highs and lows (and oh, there were lows) of the ill-fated 2013-2014 campaign from hell, and what we can expect from each player this coming season. First on schedule is one of the anchors of Vancouver's blueline: Kevin Bieksa.
September 30 2014 12:18PM
Courtesy of @BrendanMBurke
Up in Vancouver, fans are holding their breaths to see which players are going to survive the final cuts at training camp and make the Canucks roster, with much of the focus being on young players like Bo Horvat, Nicklas Jensen, Hunter Shinkaruk and … Cal O’Reilly? But down in Utica, AHL training camp has officially begun today as 37 players took to the ice. The AHL does not have roster limits, such as in the NHL, but you can only dress 18 players a game. As per UticaComets.com the training camp roster contains:
Forwards (21): Darren Archibald, Carter Bancks*, Matt Caria*, Brandon DeFazio, Dane Fox, Alex Friesen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Greiner, Wacey Hamilton*, Dustin Jeffery, Eric Kattelus*, Patrick Kennedy, Ronalds Kennins, Kellan Lain, Stefan Legien*, Alex Mallet, Cam Reid*, Lane Scheidl*, Curtis Valk*, Mike Zalewski, Steve Zalewski*
Defense (12): Peter Andersson, Alex Biega, Jeremie Blain, Ben Blood*, Adam Comrie*, Travis Ehrhardt*, Spencer Humphries*, Kent Huskins, Kane LaFranchise, John Negrin, Bobby Sanguinetti, Henrik Tommernes,
Goalies (5): Joe Cannata, Tony Capobianco*, Jacob Markstrom, Joel Martin*, Joacim Eriksson
(Asterisks indicate the player has been invited on a Professional Try-Out (PTO))
Continue past the jump to meet these Utica Comets hopefuls.
September 29 2014 11:23PM
Radim Vrbata scored once in the first game against his former team, but it wasn't enough to beat the 'Yotes.
A collision between two pre-season powerhouses took place on Monday evening, when the
Phoenix Arizona Coyotes came to town to take on the Vancouver Canucks. Aside from a newly appropriated franchise name, the Coyotes brought with them the full compliment of Canuck-killers in tow and their exciting lamentable brand of hockey to Rogers Arena.
The combination of boredom and team success can make for a tolerable game in Vancouver. When left ticking off the first box and not the second, though, you generally have a loss to the Nashville Predators or Arizona Coyotes. Tonight's game was heavy on the first order and lacking on the second. You do the math.
That's not to say that even a game as lacking in excitement as this one wasn't worth the price of admission. From injuries to the Canucks sole remaining defensive prospect, to the offensive pressure of the three offensive ones crammed into a single line... this game wasn't lacking in developments.
All of which I'll try to get to, on the other side of the jump.
September 29 2014 02:29PM
It's not difficult to see why this city is so excited about their team's prospects of late. The core of this team just ain't what it used to be, and the mantra around town is "Change is Coming". The most noticeable difference between the franchise now and last season would be the burgeoning cupboard of prospects the Canucks can now call their own; it's amazing how significantly consecutive seasons with two selections in the first-round (including two top-10 picks) can change the complexion of an organization's system.
Fans see it, they like it and they want it sooner, rather than later. The external pressure alone - coupled with declining ticket sales - could prove a daunting duo of factors that might sway the Canucks in their decisions regarding these prospects. Internally, they are faced with an equally challenging set of circumstances surrounding these decisions.
If that wasn't enough, the youth of this team has done their best to try and force themselves into a spot with impressive point totals so far in the pre-season. These are new wrinkles to the plot that have surely given Jim Benning reason for pause when filling in his opening night roster with a ballpoint pen. Stick with lead, not ink, for now Mr. Benning.
We'll find out just how NHL ready some of these prospects are and get a better idea of how well they've played this pre-season on the other side of the jump.
September 29 2014 12:06PM
Ah it’s been quite a week. First we got to announce Jeanshorts is joining the Nation Network full time to head up our new video department. Then last Thursday we told you that The Royal Half has joined the Nation Network as our first American team site.
And now today the grand daddy of them all: we have purchased the immensely popular HockeyFights.com, making it the 9th site in the Nation Network.