Canucks prospects roar into Abbotsford, ready to make impact at training camp

Patrick Johnston
January 13 2013 02:41PM

Billy Sweatt: ready for take-off? (Photos: Jason Kurylo/Pucked in the Head)

Timing is everything. To get to play in front of the brass and a stack of home-town fans; what else could aspiring Canucks prospects ask for? Not much really.

Those Canucks farmhands who have been biding their time in the AHL during the lockout got one last chance to show off their talent before next week's abbreviated NHL training camp. Alain Vigneault announced on Friday that a number of other Wolves would be brought to that camp. Of course, the team's brass will clearly know who they want to bring in, but the narrrative of players hustling to make a final cut is still a pleasant one, isn't it?

What we saw on Friday and Saturday in Abbotsford were some useful hockey players, both veteran and prospects. For the Wolves to skate out 3-1 winners on Friday and 1-0 winners on Saturday took an impressive performance from a trio of veterans one night and excellent goaltending from Matt Climie both nights. 

There were also notable contributions from the prospects on display; guys like Billy Sweatt, Darren Archibald and Peter Andersson are all well positioned ahead of this week's accelerated training camp.

For scoring chance data and other observations, click past the jump!

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Notes: Cam Barker Signed, Edler to Play the Right Side, Gillis Bullish on the Luongo Market

Thomas Drance
January 13 2013 01:06PM

Back in the friendly confines of Rogers Arena, the Canucks prepare to open training camp this afternoon.
Photo credit: @VanCanucks.

There's lots of Canucks stuff happening today. With training camp opening in about three hours time and media availability just ending, I figured I'd distill a whole of bunch of topics into one medium sized post. 

Click past the jump for some thoughts on Cam Barker, Alex Edler playing the right-side and Mike Gillis' description of the Luongo trade market.

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Everything is Happening: M.O.U Signed, Canucks Schedule Released, Rosters Unfrozen at 9 PM PST

Thomas Drance
January 12 2013 09:14PM

Our four month nightmare is finally, officially, indsputably over. The two sides, both of whom ratified the new collective bargaining agreement this week, finally signed a Memorandum of Understanding late on Saturday night. Their doing so will facilitate the opening of training camps across the league on Sunday.

Shortly after that news broke, the Canucks made their schedule for the 48 game 2013 NHL season public. Oh also, in case you care, the Canucks can sign players and make trades once the clock strikes 9 PM in the Pacific Time Zone. So yeah, buckle up.

Game on! We break down the schedule somewhat on the other side of the jump.

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Looking at how Kassian, Tanev, Connauton and Schroeder Fared in Chicago During the Lockout

Thomas Drance
January 12 2013 01:48PM

As the Chicago Wolves roll into Abbotsford to play the Heat this weekend, five of their best players were held out of the lineup and will be with the Canucks when the club's training camp opens this weekend (pending ratification of the new CBA by the NHLPA sometime on Saturday afternoon). In addition, "Six or Seven" other Wolves may join them after Saturday's game.

On the one hand, the Canucks' reluctance to "experiment" with young players in a shortened season makes sense. On the other hand, four young, possible Canucks roster players have been playing regular competitive hockey games at the professional level while the majority of Vancouver's aging roster have been skating with the UBC Thunderbirds and gathering cobwebs in the endowment lands. Those four players and their accompanying fresh legs could concievably help the Canucks mitigate their recent propensity for slow starts, which might be key in a forty-eight game season.

To get a better handle on how the likes of Chris Tanev, Kevin Connauton, Zack Kassian and Jordan Schroeder have performed with the Wolves so far this season, we spoke with Wolves beat writer Paul La Tour of the Chicago Tribune and play-by-play announcer Jason Shaver this week. Read more on the other side of the jump.

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CanucksArmy Presents: the Canucks Fan Round Table

Thomas Drance
January 12 2013 12:16PM


(Editor's Note: To think that a week ago we were sitting around worrying about whether pettiness might prevail and cancel the 2013 NHL season. How quickly our mood has shifted after a flurry of a week gave us everything from a Luongo to Philadelphia rumour to a short-lived Twitter beef between Roberto Luongo and the Iron Sheik...

Anyway, in anticipation of the start of the shortened 2013 season, I figured I'd reach out to a handful of Canucks fans who I like on Twitter and get their take on the upcoming season. So I got at the likes of original shapper @mariomontega, Ritch Winter's bane @taj1944, hard hitting sports analyst @socialassassin2, our old pal @tinfoiltuque, long-term Canucks blogger and funny lady @alixiswright37, the streaky @kesrows and smart dude @ryanbiech; and asked all of them them five pertinent Canucks related questions headed into this season:

  1. The Canucks are seen as contenders going into this season, but are you confident they can live up to expectations? Should the city hold off on planning the President's Trophy parade? Why or why not?
  2. How much do the Canucks need to acquire in a Luongo trade for you to be satisfied with the return?
  3. Which Canucks player is the most important to the team's chances this season? Least important?
  4. Finish this sentence: if the Canucks fall short again this year they should ______?
  5. If you were giving advice to a Canucks fan who was considering joining Twitter, what are the five accounts you would recommend as "must follows"?

Big thanks to the "Group of Seven" who participated in this post (and all got their answers to me on time). Hopefully their take on Canucks issues is a refreshing change of pace from the long-winded, Vigneault-apologist nonsense that you're used to reading around these parts. Click past the jump for some quality shap, some comedy and a quick, unscientific gauge of what Canucks fans are expecting from their team going into a lockout shortened season.)

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