November 27 2013 12:06AM
For those of you familiar with the way major junior hockey works, Brendan Gaunce's trade to a contending team shouldn't surprise you. Gaunce, selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round in June of 2012, was the first domino to fall ahead of the Ontario Hockey League trade deadline on January 10th.
Gaunce got moved from the Belleville Bulls, last place in the 20-team junior league, to the Erie Otters, who are tied for first with a game in hand in the powerful Western Conference. Gaunce is brought in as both a centreman-slash-left wing option for the Otters, who boast a powerful offence with OHL's top scorer Connor Brown and young phenom Connor McDavid, expected to go 1st overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. For those asking off the top, no, this doesn't affect the prospect's status with the Canucks.
November 26 2013 02:33PM
Among forwards with 300 minutes played last season, Matt Stajan was 87th in the National Hockey League in points per 60 minutes, right there with Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and other big names like Claude Giroux and Evander Kane.
Stajan's dipped a little this season, down from 1.96 points per 60 to 1.56 as his on-ice shot percentage has fallen from 11.9% to 7.3%, but his offence is still there. Playing more minutes than he's seen since his first stint in Calgary, Stajan has nine points in 15 games so far this season. It's not earth-shattering, but Stajan should be a very interesting trading chip as we go into the deadline. Calgary, for all intents and purposes, is out of the race. Stajan's contract is up at the end of this season and he costs a very affordable $3.5-million.
He is, in my view, one of the better options the Canucks could add as they look to increase offence.
November 26 2013 12:22AM
Even Daniel Sedin's new smile isn't as ugly as way the Canucks lost this one.
.. the result was once again a fateful one, meaning that all of the positives that could've been drawn from the first 57 minutes or so of action seem to ring kind of hollow. The rest of the Western Conference won't be so kind as to wait for the bounces to start going in the Canucks' favour, and unless things start turning around sooner rather than later, they'll have dug themselves an insurmountable hole in the standings.
It's not all doom and gloom, though. There were quite a few very good things that took place on Monday night at Rogers Arena; unfortunately one of those wasn't the two points. Read on past the jump for a recap of the painstaking 3-2 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
November 25 2013 12:06PM
Let's hope for everyone's sake that Linden doesn't have his Vey with the Canucks again.
If you'll recall it was actually a 5-1 beatdown at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings back on November 9th which started this recent slide for the Canucks. Maybe you don't recall that, because you've perfected the art of blocking things like that from your memory as a coping mechanism. But let me assure you that it happened.
Why am I bringing that up? Well, other than being a mean jerk, I also think that the last few weeks have provided a relevant reassurance of what we already knew. Heading into that particular game the Kings were a team that was struggling to score goals, and as a result were held a 10-6 record. They were the league's 2nd best Corsi Close team (at 56.7%), though, which led us to believe that they were far better than they appeared to be at first glance. Since then they've gone 5-0-3 - despite not having their $58 million goaltender - en route to climbing up the standings in the West.
A really good possession team that can't score and hasn't found a way to win very many games lately.. that sounds vaguely familiar, no? Read on past the jump for a preview of tonight's divisional tilt.
November 24 2013 12:40AM
It's November 22nd, approximately 10:00 PM. The Canucks have just finished a 6-2 rout of the Columbus Blue Jackets, featuring goals from five different scorers. Finally, scoring! Positive regression! And with the hated Chicago Blackhawks coming to town tomorrow, busting this tremendous funk comes at the perfect time.
Fast forward 24 hours, and the picture is significantly less warm and fuzzy and wonderful. Once again, the Canucks peppered a goalie with more than 30 shots and failed to score more than a single goal. Meanwhile, a brief lapse in concentration led to two rapid Blackhawk goals, turning a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 defecit in less than 10 seconds. On the balance it was a solid effort, especially against a Chicago team that's arguably been the most dominant in the NHL once again this season, but an inability to put more than a single puck behind the NHL's 30th ranked goalie in save percentage cost them more points in the standings. For a more detailed look at the game, read past the jump.