Fixing the Fourth Line: The Left Wing

Jeff Angus
June 04 2013 10:19AM

 
Tanner Glass - Wikicommons Media

It has been a while since the Canucks have had a consistent trio of players on the fourth forward unit. Max Lapierre, for the most part, has played the role as fourth line center since coming over at the 2011 trade deadline, but to say that he has seen a revolving door of wingers would be a significant understatement.

Just because a fourth line is the fourth most important forward unit, that doesn’t mean that it should be overlooked.

There aren’t many NHL teams with a consistent fourth line nowadays, though. As depth players mature and improve, their salary demands increase. And because of this, teams continue to have to find more cost-effective options to place on the fourth line. This can be done through the draft or through smart open-market signings.

Over the next week, the past, present, and future of Vancouver’s fourth unit will be analyzed. Today, we look at the left winger(s).

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Mike Gillis' record: a look back at 2008

Patrick Johnston
June 03 2013 03:26PM


The 2007-08 season ended badly; the Canucks stumbled out of the playoffs, Markus Naslund moved on (and yes, that's Brad Isbister behind him), Dave Nonis was fired. (photo: Jeff Vinnick/Canucks.com)

When assessing Mike Gillis' record as GM, we must consider the lineup he had, year-by-year.

Appointed in the spring of 2008, Gillis had never worked in NHL management. Instead, he'd spent the better part of two decades as a player agent, cultivating a reputation as a black sheep. He was the agent who delivered massive contracts to Bobby Holik, Tony Amonte and others. Gillis was the lead agent who recognized better than the GMs how to best exploit the free agent market; his prediliction towards unconventional thinking is why Francesco Aquilini hired him.

In the five years since his appointment, the Canucks have won the second-most regular games in the league - only Pittsburgh have won more. And yet, a chorus of discontent has risen. In the wake of Alain Vigneault's firing, it got louder than at any other time during Gillis' tenure. 'The wrong guy is out,' many have screamed. 'Gillis is to blame!'

But is that really the case? Indeed, Mike Gillis inherited a solid young core from the previous regime. But has he really done nothing to improve this team? Beginning today, the first in a series of season-by-season looks at Gillis' work (or lack thereof) in assembling the team that two years ago was on the brink of glory and today stands at an apparent crossroads.

The 2008 off-season, after the jump.

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CANUCKSARMY GEAR: T-SHIRT DESIGN CONTEST

Thomas Drance
June 03 2013 01:04PM


Image via http://tiarasandacus.blogspot.ca/

Our site has been around for a while now. You've read our blog through epic Canucks disappointments and through other epic Canucks disappointments. All the while we've mostly just made silly graphs, churned out the nerdiest Canucks content around, and made a whole load of bad jokes about how Jason Garrison is a hipster.

Somehow, someway, in spite of all of this, lots of you seem to read and like our stuff. Well now we want to give back! And by want to give back, we mean that we want to give you the opportunity you wear Canucks Army gear on a day-to-day basis. You'll be the talk of the town (of course most of that talk will be negative like, "why did that idiot wear a sick t-shirt to a wedding?").

To that end we're holding a t-shirt design contest and we're really excited about it! Read past the jump for more info!

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Rick Bowness to join Lightning Staff as Associate Coach

Thomas Drance
June 03 2013 12:32PM


Rick Bowness has a new job in Florida.
Screengrab via Canucks.com

Of the three former Canucks coaches who were relieved of their duties two weeks ago, Rick Bowness has become the first to land a new job. As reported by multiple sources including Ben Kuzma in Vancouver and Renaud Lavoie in Quebec, Rick Bowness is poised to join the Tampa Bay Lightning as an associate coach on wonderkid John Cooper's staff. (Update: those reports have now been confirmed by Sportsnet's Chris Johnston).

There had been ample speculation that Bowness and Vigneault, two coaches who have basically worked together forever, would be something of a package deal this offseason. Obviously with Bowness heading down to Tampa, that won't be the case. 

Read past the jump for more.

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Jason Botchford to Leave the Scotty and Company Morning Show

Thomas Drance
June 03 2013 11:51AM


Photoshop via Wyatt Arndt.

On Monday morning it became public knowledge that the Vancouver Province's Canucks beat writer and TSN hockey analyst Jason Botchford will leave the Team 1040's Scotty and Company morning show later this month. The last Botchford co-hosted show will air on June 14th.

Jason Botchford took up co-hosting duties alongside Scott Rintoul in the 8am-to-10am PST drive time slot shortly after Dave Pratt's departure from the local sports talk radio juggernaut last fall necessitated some lineup juggling. The morning show had become "appointment listening" for a wide swath of Canucks fans - a rare bit of sports media that stats milts and shappers could see eye-to-eye on. 

More analysis after the jump.

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