July 23 2014 11:45AM
There have been plenty of occasions over the years where Kevin Bieksa's name popped up in trade rumours, and it seemed like a realistic possibility that he could be on his way out of town. One of those times came back in 2010, with the team fresh off of bringing in the likes of Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard and Bieksa set to hit the last year of his contract with the Canucks.
Then a crazy thing happened: Bieksa was paired with the newcomer Hamhuis during his first season with the team, and the two made sweet music together. In essence they became the de-facto first pairing, logging heavy minutes against the opposition's best and making it all look very easy.
It was nothing new for Hamhuis, who has as we now know made a career of propping up his partners with the unique ability to make those around him look just that much better. In this case though, it resurrected Bieksa's career.
But after the team dipped its toes into the free agent market and signed Jason Garrison in the summer of '12, Alain Vigneault figured a better allocation of resources was to split the dominant pairing up. Apparently he wasn't alone, because John Tortorella felt the same way last season.
It'll be interesting to see how Willie Desjardins approaches the matter, but there's ample reason to believe that it would behoove both himself, the team, and the two players in question themselves to put the them back together this coming season.
July 18 2014 01:27PM
Wow, it really is the silly season, isn't it?
While the default here on the coast is bleak pessimism and recrimination no matter what time of year, our friends up in Northern Alberta have no shortage of optimism when it comes to anything related to oil it seems. That includes the local hockey team, which, coincidentally enough, is named for the stuff. So it makes sense that they would be resistant to reality, no matter how much evidence there is to support it.
So why have I chosen now to pick on the Oilers? Well, it all started with that little poll the right... ---->
July 18 2014 11:30AM
The following article was written by Jordan Clarke, whose work you're likely familiar with if you've been a reader of this blog for longer than just the past few months or so. He's back from his soul searching mission, and we're happy as ever to have him back. Enjoy.
"Change is Coming”, or so says the Vancouver Canucks' latest marketing slogan.
While the fact that the team feels they need to spell this out for everyone doesn't say much for the intelligence level of the average fan, it does tell you how desperate they are to rebuild their image in the eyes of Vancouverites.
While every piece of NHL PR seems to scream "please like our sport", in Vancouver it's "please like us". The front office and coaching staff is now stocked with humble, unassuming "hockey people", and the prospect pool is beginning to look like it follows the same CanCon regulations as your local rock station.
The rebuild is on, in image as much as player personnel. Trevor Linden, Jim Benning, Willie Desjardins, even the first round selections from last month -- it’s all about airing out the stench of the last few seasons. The mishandling of Roberto Luongo, the sudden trading of Cory Schneider, the John Tortorella hire, the one playoff win since 2012, the team’s MVP asking out. All of these issues are now buried, and the team is finally free to build a new identity for itself and its city.
Nation World HQ
July 18 2014 09:12AM
The most boring stretch for any hockey fan is between now and early September. We do our best to scratch that hockey itch below.
July 15 2014 12:19PM
In the past year or so my interests as it relates to hockey have shifted towards the analysis and of prospects specifically. With the Canucks acquiring their own farm
team only a short drive from where I live I think I paid more attention to
the Utica Comets this past season than most fans and probably a good chunk of Vancouver's pro
management team, as well. This coming season is shaping up to be an even more interesting one (but for different, better reasons) in Utica, following the litany of moves the Canucks have made throughout this offseason. Just past the jump we'll take a look at the prospective lineup for the Utica Comets in 2014-15, which could have a legitimately exciting influx of young talent should the parent club go with a more veteran-based approach with its own roster.
It's a funny business, really, because even the most minuscule of NHL moves can have major repercussions on the AHL affiliate. There was a point during last season when the Canucks drudged through an inordinate amount of injuries, having to make do with call-ups from Utica. The Comets were already a team that noticeably lacked top-end talent without these substitutions, so the end result was an interesting one to say the least.
This coming season is shaping up to be an even more interesting one (but for different, better reasons) in Utica, following the litany of moves the Canucks have made throughout this offseason.
Just past the jump we'll take a look at the prospective lineup for the Utica Comets in 2014-15, which could have a legitimately exciting influx of young talent should the parent club go with a more veteran-based approach with its own roster.