January 14 2013 11:02AM
Where's the harm in having both Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider on the roster this year? You may be significantly lowering one's trading value by reducing them to backup status, but right now the Vancouver Canucks have all kinds of cap space, and play in a schedule where having two goalies is important. Run through HFBoards or any other corner of the Internet where a lot of hockey fans congregate and you'll see people proposing trades for Luongo for pennies on the dollar under the impression the Canucks are in a hurry to trade Luongo. Why?
"You clearly approach the season differently on a tightened schedule," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "Games are closer together. We have a lot of games every other day. We have stretches where we go four in six, and six in eight, and seven in 10. So, there's a lot of hockey games, and I think you're going to see the goalies be used more, not so much based on who we play as on each goalie's going to get their share of games, their number of games. Marc-Andre Fleury will play a majority of the games, but in the last 48-game season, we saw the teams that had success, we saw their two goaltenders, one played in the 35-game range and the backup played in the 18-to-20 range. It's a lot of games in a 48-game season, 20 is, but that's managing the schedule and managing the playing time."
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!
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.
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.
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.