Are negotiations on this collective bargaining agreement going better or worse than they went in 2004?

Jonathan Willis
July 08 2012 09:50AM

The collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA is slated to expire on September 15, 2012. The league and players’ association have until then to negotiate the details on a new agreement, or else the possibility exists that the 2012-13 season will not begin on time. How are things looking so far?

Read Article | 21 Comments


July 07 2012 07:12PM

Last Sunday we boarded an "aeroplane" and headed off to nerd summer camp in San Francisco. And because we basically use the Nations as a diary and because Kent hasn't figured out how to override our author clearance on the site you are about to hear all about it.

Come on it's summertime - you gotta read about something right? Right.

Read Article | 20 Comments

Sergei Shirokov Fondly Recalls his North American Hockey Experience and "Crazy" Canucks Fans

Andrey Osadchenko
July 07 2012 03:34PM

This is a translated version of an interview Sergie Shirokov originally gave to Vyacheslav Sambur in early June. Sergei Shirokov spent two seasons in the Canucks organization, and while he was an AHL All-Star, he never cracked the club's NHL roster full-time.

While he didn't make much of an mpact at the NHL level, he's an interesting guy and a good quote. Here he talks about playing in the AHL, why it's tough for AHL scorers to crack the big leagues, the influence of Mike Keane, and his experiences during the 2011 Stanley Cup Riot.

Read Article | 1 Comments

Dale Weise, Advanced Stats and the Arbitration Process

Thomas Drance
July 06 2012 09:25AM

Today, Dale Weise's agent filed for player elected arbitration. In lieu of an agreement with the Canucks before the hearing (which will take place at some point in mid-to-late July) an arbitrator will hear arguments from Dale Weise's side, and from the Canucks and will independently determine Weise's salary for the 2013/14 season. Weise's decision to file for arbitration didn't surprise the Canucks, per Ben Kuzma:

Generally speaking, the Canucks have done well to avoid arbitration hearings during Mike Gillis' tenure. Mike Gillis has extended Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen on the eve of their arbitration hearings in the recent past, and in five off-has only gone to arbitration with one player (Kyle Wellwood). I'd expect that number will increase this summer, with both Weise and Mason Raymond on the docket.

Dale Weise takes a lot of flack from Canucks fans because he's not a prototypical enforcer type. He's not a glass shattering hitter, and though he is a willing combatant, his fighting skills are limited (he put up an 0-8 record according to voters). Of course, this line of criticism fails to take into account the fact that Dale Weise is a useful, albeit replacement level hockey player in a limited role, and a prototypical Alain Vigneault fourth liner. Unfortunately for Weise, it's not just the criticism of his play from Canucks fans that misses the forest for the trees, the arbitration process does as well...

Click past the jump for more.

Read Article | 2 Comments

In Suter's Wake, the Canucks Acquiring Shea Weber Remains a Farfetched Pipe Dream

Thomas Drance
July 05 2012 01:09PM

Dan Hamhuis is pretty much the least sexy player in the entire NHL. He has an under-stated two-way game, and he puts up points, but he does so as quietly as a mouse on Christmas Eve. Still, he gives your average Canucks fan a raging hard sea-to-sky boner.

Quebec has their goaltenders, Ontario produces elite forwards seemingly off of an assembly line, and while the West may not be an "enforcer factory," British Columbia does have a nice history or producing elite NHL defenseman.

Scott Niedermayer is actually from Alberta, but British Columbian hockey fans are convinced he's a "BC boy." Counting him, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Shea Weber - you have more than half of Canada's 2010 Gold Medal winning Olympic blueline hailing from the country's westernmost Province. 

For hockey fans from the west coast, there's a pride and a mystique that surrounds the "BC-born defenseman." Over the last decade that mystique has co-mingled with a sense of frustration and resentment borne out of the fact that a truly elite 1A d-man has never played for the Canucks franchise.

"We produce so many great defenseman in our own backyard, why can't we get them on the team I root for?" Asks Joe Canucksfan from Vernon, British Columbia - speaking for the whole damn Province. As a result of this popular notion, even relatively unproven commodities like West Kelowna's Justin Schultz, or White Rock's Jason Garrison will drive Canucks fans into paroxysms of hysteria. So, imagine how Vancouver's hockey fans react to the notion of Shea Weber - arguably the most dominant single defenseman in the league - wearing the blue, green and white?

On Wednesday, the Predators lost Ryan Suter, a blue-chip defenseman in his own right, to unrestricted free-agency and the Minnesota Wild. They'd kept Suter on the team past the trade-deadline, and they didn't trade his rights at the draft, all in a desperate effort to re-sign Shea Weber's long-time defensive partner. Now, Predators General Manager David Poile is left at the altar, down one elite defenseman, paying a goaltender 7 million dollars for the long-term, and uncertain about the future of captain, and franchise cornerstone Shea Weber, who is reportedly distraught about Suter's departure.

Does Suter's departure open the door for the Canucks to take a serious run at Shea Weber? Maybe, but do the Canucks really have the assets to make a deal happen? Should they try a predatory offer-sheet? It's a tantalizing mixture to think about, but the prospect of Shea Weber in a Canucks uniform remains an extremely farfetched pipe dream. Let's get into why.

Read Article | 14 Comments