February 27 2014 10:23AM
Yesterday was an "interesting" one in Canucks Nation. As I'm sure you all know by now, Ryan Kesler was all the rage after he caused what my friend Jason Botchford dubbed "Hurricane Kesler". What started off with rumours of an injured hand ramped up to a possible broken hand which then ramped up even further into the reports that Kesler had demanded a trade from the team at some point in this season.
As you can see in the timeline above, Kesler never actually got around to the turning into the Hulk, but given how people were talking about him, you would've thought that he had.
Read on past the jump for some thoughts on the situation, as we'll hopefully be able to inject some humour into an otherwise bleak situation.
February 27 2014 12:06AM
Who needs Ryan Kesler who you have this guy? [Image via Jeff Vinnick]
All of the talk heading into Wednesday night's game between the Vancouver Canucks and St.Louis Blues was about Ryan Kesler, and his reported trade demands. The discussion on that front did a good job of overshadowing the fact that his absence due to a hand injury was leaving the team with a Kellan Lain-sized hole down the middle against one of the Western Conference's best, and deepest teams.
Yet some how, some way, they managed to pull out a 1-0 victory for what feels like the first time in exactly one month (January 26th v. Phoenix). It wasn't a dominant performance by any stretch of the imagination, and there were most certainly long sequences in "action" (using that term loosely) which perfectly resembled what you'd expect a game between these two teams to look like, but there's something to be said for the way that the Canucks managed to outplay OJ Tushy, Kelly's Husband, and the rest of the Blues on this night.
And that very something will be discussed just past the jump. If you take anything away from this game it should be this: who needs Ryan Kesler when you have Top Sixtito, right? Just don't call it a Ewing Theory.
February 26 2014 01:16PM
The NHL is back, which is very cool. While the Olympics were a blast - I most certainly enjoyed watching many of the world's best players play together, under different circumstances than we're used to seeing here in North America, not to mention the patriotic feelings I had when Team Canada got the job done - it's good to be back on the daily grind.
And when it comes to the Vancouver Canucks, "grind" is a pretty good operative term, because that's exactly what this season has been thanks to all of the injuries and turmoil. Yet despite all of that, they enter this final 6 week stretch of play with the potential for something of a clean slate; they're on the periphery of the playoffs at the moment, and plenty of the questions we have about which direction they'll go in moving forward should be answered soon enough (particularly at/around the Trade Deadline).
Despite the fact that the Canucks haven't played a game in over two weeks, things are status quo. It's fitting that their first opponent back from the break is the professional hockey team from St.Louis, because a lot of people in these parts are currently singing the Bluuuuuuues. (sorry, couldn't resist).
February 26 2014 09:24AM
Graphic via Matthew Henderson
It has been 17 days since we've covered a Vancouver Canucks hockey game, which as you'll recall was a largely listless performance against the Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada. Since then we've spent very little time actually discussing the team this blog is named after themselves, instead using the Winter Olympics to decompress, and focus on other, less depressing things.
Like, for example, Team Canada's "Golden" pursuit, and boat loads of prospect coverage, including the Utica Comets who have been slowly but surely turning their campaign around). The break has provided a nice little reprieve from all of the cynicism and negativity accompanying the team these days, but we knew it couldn't last. With the Olympics now having concluded, we have to shift gears and bring our attention back towards the Canucks, with the NHL set to embark upon its stretch run.
We ran something very similar to this at the 30-game mark, and it proved to be both a fun and informative project. That was all the way back on December 4th, and suffice it to say that a lot has changed since then in Vancouver. The narrative, as its one to do, has shifted. Let's break it down from all angles.
February 25 2014 10:47AM
Something that you'll notice when it comes to professional sports is that there's an inverse relationship between how good the parent club is, and how much interest the fanbase has in how the up-and-coming prospects are doing.
As long as the NHL team is winning and staying relevant, most people generally speaking are indifferent to the state of the system. Just keeping winning. As soon as the cyclical nature of the sport begins to take a hold, fans start looking down to the minors in the hopes that there are some sort of reinforcements on the way. Is something on the way that'll right this ship?
It's tough to say with the Canucks. They're still not considered as having an overly deep or strong pool of young talent in the system, but things are definitely trending upwards (having two picks in the top 24 of a good draft certainly doesn't hurt in that regard). It takes time cultivating a proper system.
Just past the jump we'll take a look back at our Top-20 prospects from this past summer, and try to assess how they've done, and what they're tracking towards moving forward. Last week we ran Part 1 (focusing on the prospects we had ranked #20 to #11), and now we're going to spend some time running through the Top 10.