Friday, December 19, 2008

Sami Salo Out 4 Weeks

According to the Team 1040 Sami Salo will be out 4 weeks with a broken rib.

Better news than the apparent shoulder injury everyone thought it was. Of course when it comes to injuries the Canucks are often vague and maybe even downright "untruthful" on occasion, so who knows...

Sundin Contract Details

According to the Vancouver Province Mats Sundin has signed for $1.4m less than the $10m he was offered.

The total cap hit for Sundin will be $5.625m leaving the Canucks with $2.5m in cap space. That's plenty of room to add a quality player or two.

Mats Sundin a Vancouver Canuck

Christmas has come early for Canuck fans.

Before July 1st I was looking at the list of free agents and there was one name that jumped out. Mats Sundin. Forget Hossa, Malone, Jagr, Ryder, etc. Mats Sundin was exactly what this team needed, a big top line centre who could make the players around him better. When word of the Canucks huge contract offer came out I was pretty excited. Sure it was a lot of money, but it wasn't my money and the cap space was there. I never suspected that we would have to wait almost six months to find out if Sundin would be a Canuck. It was well worth the wait...

So what are the Canucks getting?

Almost the perfect player for their needs. The only downside to Mats Sundin is his age. It's a legitimate concern, but I don't think it will be much of an issue. The Canucks don't need Sundin to play 20 minutes a night and carry the team on his back. He doesn't even need to play on the PK. This isn't Messier part deux.

Last season Mats Sundin finished 20th overall in the NHL with 78 points in 74 games, almost 20 points more than any other Leaf. I don't see Mats Sundin falling off a cliff statistics wise, especially when he can play behind the Sedins.

Over the years we have been force fed the Leafs every Saturday night on HNIC. As much as I hate having to watch the Leafs I always admired Mats Sundin. How many times did you see Mats Sundin involved in some improbable last minute goal? When Sundin was on the ice there was always a threat of the Leafs scoring. He was that good.

The Canucks are getting a great player.

I'll have more thoughts later today... how does the lineup shake down, what's next on Gillis' agenda etc.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mats Sundin Signs With Canucks!

It's official. Mats Sundin is a Vancouver Canuck!

After working two days with almost no sleep, this was great news to wake up to on Thursday evening. I'll have more soon...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Sundin-O-Meter

Introducing the Sundin-O-Meter -- Which way I'm leaning at any given time based on the entire Sundin saga...

  • Date/Time - VAN-NYR
  • Dec 16/5:00pm - 60-40 (Gillis very positive, Met twice with Barry, NY Cap issues)
  • Dec 16/AM - 50-50 (Nothing happening out of NY)
  • Dec 15 - 45-55 (Fan 590 "report" that Sundin has agreed to NY)

Mats Sundin to Make Decision on Thursday?

According to Canucks GM Mike Gillis, Mats Sundin will make his decision on who to sign with on Thursday. Why Thursday? Because Sundin doesn't want his story to overshadow the Trevor Linden jersey retirement.

So what can we read from this? Only that it is extremely unlikely that Sundin has already made a decision to sign with New York... if he had J.P. Barry would have told Gillis who would have told everyone else. There would be no need to "delay the story" until Thursday.

Scott Gomez ain't commin' here

Seriously people. Look at the numbers. It makes 0 sense. None.

The whole idea of a Rangers/Canucks trade is pretty outlandish. Anyone the Canucks would want doesn't clear enough salary for New York, or has a ridiculous long term contract that would completely handcuff the Canucks.

The Canucks aren't going to help New York sign Sundin unless the Rangers give up some ridiculous combination of guys like Zherdev, Dubinsky, Voros, Mara or Stall. The Canucks do not want Gomez for five more years at $7.35m or Drury for three more years at $7.05m. Not when they have the Sedins, Ohlund, Burrows, Bernier(RFA) and Wellwood(RFA) to take care of this off-season and Kesler & Luongo in 2010. Combine those players and a decreasing cap and Gomez has negative value to the Canucks.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mats Sundin - Rangers VS Canucks

Bob MacKenzie is reporting that the Mats Sundin Sweepstakes are "likely" down to New York and Vancouver.

Nothing really new or surprising, but it does lend some credibility to the various rumours/stories of Chicago and Montreal being out of the running.

It's going to be an interesting week of speculation...


J.P. Barry has officially stated that Mats Sundin has narrowed his choice down to New York and Vancouver:

"Mats has had enough opportunity now to obviously look at all the different proposals and he's focused on Vancouver and New York," Sundin's agent J.P. Barry told on Monday. "I expect him to make a decision in the next week so that he can join one of those teams after Christmas."

J.P. Barry has also shot down the report on the Fan 590 that Sundin has agreed to sign with the Rangers.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

November Report Card

Team Grades

Overall: A- (Oct: C+) (W 8 - L 3 - OTL 2 - 18pts, GF 34 GA 29)
For the Vancouver Canucks the month of November was one of the best months in recent memory. It began with an important 6 game homestand before a terribly scheduled 4 game road trip. The Canucks went 4-1-1 at home which set them up for the usual goal of having a .500 road trip. The trip started off with a wasted opportunity against the Islanders. What followed was three very impressive victories against the Rangers, Minnesota Wild and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately Roberto Luongo went down with a serious groin injury and the Canucks were faced with the possibility of not having their most important player for more than a month. Still riding high, the Canucks would come home and beat the Detroit Red Wings in overtime for the second time this season. To finish off the month the Flames and Canucks would square off in a home and home series with a huge point swing up for grabs. The Flames would go on to spoil what was otherwise an outstanding month for the Vancouver Canucks.
The Penalty Kill: C+ (Oct: C) (PK% 81.0, 47 for 58, SHG 1, Home 80.0%, Road 82.6%)
The Canucks were only one kill better in November, oddly enough they were shorthanded 58 times -- the same as October. So why the higher "C+" grade? Well, although the PK numbers were nearly the same on the road the PK was a solid 82.6%, up from October's dismal 73.9%. I think it's safe to say that the Canucks wouldn't have gone 4-0-1 on their 5 game road trip from hell had they continued to only kill 3 out of 4 penalties.
The Power Play: F (Oct: B) (PK% 11.9%, 7 for 59, Home 11.9%, Road 11.8%)
It's remarkable that the Canucks managed to pick up 18 of a possible 26 points in a month where their power play was so terrible. At the best of times the Canuck power play isn't great, but without two of their best point shots (Salo and Bieksa) in the lineup the power play becomes anemic. Really there's not much more to say, the power play was simply atrocious in November. The Canucks won't make the playoffs with a 12% power play success rate.

The Forwards

Format: Grade (Oct) (Games, Goals, Assists, Points, +/-, IceTime[season avg] )

Daniel Sedin A- (C) (GP 13, G 8, A 6, PTS 14, +8, 19:46)
November was a big month for Daniel, as he scored at a 50 goal pace and nearly brought his numbers up to a point a game pace. He was also a plus 8 in nearly 20 minutes of ice time per night. The only downside to Daniel's game was the 4 minor penalties which is one or two too many for a non-physical player (IE: too many hooking type penalties).
Pavol Demitra A- (C-) (GP 8, G 5, A 5, PTS 10, +3, 17:52)
After missing half the month Demitra returned to the lineup with a vengeance, putting up 10 points in 8 games. Demitra found himself riding shotgun on the Sedin line and he capitalized on the opportunities. Demitra's point totals included 5 goals and an assist during the critical 4 game road trip.
Kyle Wellwood B+ (B) (GP 13, G 6, A 2, PTS 8, +4, 13:50)
If October solidified Wellwood's spot in the lineup, November solidified his status as a key offensive contributor. Wellwood has an uncanny knack for coming out of nowhere to score big goals. Question marks still remain regarding his liabilities defensively, but he continues to be excellent in the faceoff circle and shows great intelligence both offensively and defensively. The only thing limiting Wellwood's defensive ability is his body (size, strength, conditioning and skating) -- the brains are there.
Taylor Pyatt B (D) (GP 13, G 2, A 4, PTS 6, +2, 14:58)
Taylor Pyatt had a terrible October, but managed to turn things around in November. Yes, you want more than two goals in 13 games, but Pyatt did put up a 38 point pace in November, which is exactly one point more than the 37 pts he has in each of his two seasons as a Canuck. What wasn't really expected from Pyatt is his strong contribution on the penalty kill where he added nearly a full minute to his average short handed ice-time per game, demonstrating the confidence he is receiving from the coaching staff. While he is never going to be a "mean power forward", Pyatt is finally using his size effectively which is a good sign for the remainder of the season.
Henrik Sedin B- (C+) (GP 13, G 1, A 12, PTS 13, +6, 20:08)
Henrik Sedin nearly managed to put up an assist per game average, but only scored 1 goal all month. One goal isn't good enough. That said, a point a game is great and Henrik continued his strong play in the faceoff circle, maintaining his 52.4% rating.
Darcy Hordichuk B- (C) (GP 13, G 1, A 0, PTS 1, +3, 5:47)
Darcy Hordichuk picked up his first goal as a Canuck and was a +3 for the month. Combined with his enforcer contributions it was a very solid month for Hordichuk, but I would like to see more good forechecking shifts from the 4th line.
Ryan Kesler C+ (A) (GP 13, G 1, A 2, PTS 3, +3, 19:06)
After a red hot October, Kesler cooled off in a big way in November with only 3 points. However his strong defensive play continued as did his faceoff numbers. Offensively the Canucks expect more, but you have to wonder if Kesler is playing hurt. He's been noticeably banged up on numerous plays this season and the offense has been limited.
Alex Burrows C+ (A) (GP 13, G 2, A 2, PTS 4, +1, 16:02)
Alex Burrows continued to play his usual strong defensive game on the Canucks third line and the PK. However, the offense dried up a little bit. Burrows needs to find a balance between his October 67 point pace and his November 25 point pace.
Ryan Johnson C+ (C+) (GP 11, G 1, A 0, PTS 1, +0, 12:01)
Johnson managed picked up his first goal of the year, a game winner against the Rangers, but that was it for offensive contributions. Defensively, he continued to be a monster shot blocker but also struggled in the faceoff circle. We would later learn that he was playing with a fractured foot.
Jannik Hansen C (B) (GP 9, G 0, A 5, PTS 5, +4, 13:36)
Hansen missed four games with an injury and failed to put the puck in the net all month. He also managed a meager 9 shots on goal. Numbers aside, during his injury Hansen's presence was missed and that says a lot about his non-offensive contributions.
Mike Brown C (C-) (GP 6, G 0, A 1, PTS 1, +0, 5:41)
It was a better month for Mike Brown as he finally contributed something more than a willingness to drop the gloves. Still, that something wasn't much. He had a couple games where his ice-time got up around 9:00, demonstrating that he can earn ice-time when he is effective (ie: generating a forecheck). However he still had too many sub 6:00 minute games.
Mason Raymond C- (B+) (GP 13, G 2, A 2, PTS 4, +6, 15:08)
It was a disappointing month offensively for Mayson Raymond. Two goals in 13 games is not good enough for someone who is supposed to be an offensive contributor. Raymond was demoted to the 4th line and saw his season ice time average drop by nearly an entire minute. To make matters worse he took 6 minor penalties, that's nearly one every other game. His low point may have been a terrible game on Long Island.
Steve Bernier D+ (C+) (GP 12, G 1, A 1, PTS 2, +4, 14:05)
While I don't think Bernier played as poorly as his numbers would indicate, this game is about results and the results simply aren't there for Bernier. Bernier has been a huge disappointment offensively. Still there are things to like. He leads the team in hits by a wide margin and is also right up there in takeaways, which tells you that he has been strong on the forecheck. He also continues to go to the net and is still getting shots on goal. If he keeps doing these things eventually the offense should come.
Jason Krog NG (C) (GP 1, G 0, A 0, PTS 0, +0 10:14)
Not Graded
Rick Rypien NG (C+) (Did not play)
Not Graded
Alexander Bolduc NG (NG) (GP 2, G 0, A 0, PTS 0, +0, 7:34)
Not Graded
Michel Ouellet NG (NG) (GP 3, G 0, A 0, PTS 0, +1 9:38)
Not Graded

The Defense

Willie Mitchell A (B+) (GP 13, G 1, A 2, PTS 3, +8, 22:45)
Willie Mitchell probably had the best month of his career and was a major factor in the Canucks successful road trip. Up until the Calgary back to back, Mitchell had a stretch of 14 games where he was not a minus and there was also a stretch where he wasn't even on the ice for an even strength goal. As if his defense wasn't enough, Mitchell has also shown a new emphasis on joining the rush and also on getting pucks on net. The result: 8 points and 29 shots on goal in 24 games. His career bests: 14 pts and 67 shots.
Shane O'Brian B+ (C) (GP 13, G 0, A 1, PTS 1, +5, 16:05)
Shane O'Brian stepped up in a big way during Bieksa's injury. O'Brian was a completely different player than the one who arrived in Vancouver. He showed great poise and confidence with the puck and was very solid in his own end. The only downside to his game was the obscene number of minor penalties.
Mattias Ohlund B+ (B) (GP 13, G 0, A 6, PTS 6, +12, X:XX)
Ohlund finished November without being a minus in any game and was an impressive +12 for the month. While he was strong defensively Ohlund failed to step up on the power play with only one assist. He did a better job of getting pucks through to the net, but the Canucks need Ohlund to contribute on the power play, especially when Bieksa and Salo are out.
Kevin Bieksa B (B+) (GP 7, G 1, A 3, PTS 4, +2, 24:13)
Kevin Bieksa missed the middle of the month with an injury and played in only 7 games. Before his first game back against Calgary, Bieksa had a streak of 8 games without being a minus. He continued his strong play from October and aside from the injury he had a good November.
Sami Salo B (B) (GP 11, G 2, A 3, PTS 5, +4, 19:59)
Sami Salo scored twice and made them count as they were both game winners. He also managed an average of two shots on goal per game, a welcome sign for someone who often seems unwilling to shoot the puck. Defensively he was his usual solid self. Unfortunately Salo again missed a couple games, which is very concerning moving forward -- the Canuck power play isn't great with him in the lineup and is downright terrible when he isn't.
Rob Davison B- (NG) (GP 5, G 0, 0 X, PTS 0, -1, X:XX)
Davison stepped in and did a decent job during Bieksa's injury. He even earned the start against Detroit (over the more mobile Nycholat) after what was his best game of the season in Pittsburgh where he was a plus 1 in almost 15 minutes of ice-time. Davison lived up to his role as a physical7th defenseman -- he didn't hurt his team during a key stretch and he was ready and willing to drop the gloves.
Alexander Edler C- (B-) (GP 11, G 0, A 2, PTS 2, -3, 21:51)
Alexander Edler had his worst month as a Canuck. His struggles in October were only a small sign of things to come. Poor passes and giveaways in his own zone were familiar occurrences. Offensively Edler managed only a pair of assists and failed to take advantage of his opportunity to get back on the power play during the absences of Salo and Bieksa. The Canucks need Edler to be better.
Lawrence Nycholat C- (NG) (GP 5, G 0, A 1, PTS 1, +3, 10:15)
With injuries on the blueline, Nycholat had an opportunity to step in and show what he could do. Unfortunately it wasn't much. At a time when the Canucks power play was struggling and lacking defensemen, Nycholat didn't step up in what should be his niche role. Nycholat also saw his ice time decrease in each consecutive game of the road trip -- with such a travel schedule you would think you would want to spread the ice-time around -- Nycholat couldn't earn the confidence of the coaching staff. That said, he was a plus 3 on the month and only took one minor penalty so he wasn't terrible.

The Goalies

Roberto Luongo A (C) (GP 9, Record: 5-1-2, GAA: 1.11, Sv%: 0.959, SO 3)
Roberto Luongo was simply outstanding in November. Tremendous numbers and three consecutive shutouts. A big improvement over October, hopefully his injury will not keep him out for too long.
Curtis Sanford A- (C) (GP 4, Record: 3-1-0, GAA: 2.25, Sv%: 0.921, SO 0)
Sanford stepped in and got the job done in a difficult stretch of games. Despite a few soft goals, the numbers don't lie. The only blemish on Sanford's month was the final game against Calgary, aside from that Sanford came up with 3 huge victories.
Cory Schneider NG (NG) (GP 1, Record: 0-1-0, GAA: 3.00, Sv%: 0.903, SO 0)
Not Graded

Previous Report Cards

Avalanche 5 - Canucks 4 - Game Notes

Another game in Colorado another loss for Vancouver. Continuing their trend of mediocrity vs the Avalanche, the Canucks find a way to lose a game they should have won...

  • This one falls squarely on the shoulders of Cory Schneider who let in a terrible goal to tie the game and couldn't stop anything in the shootout. None of the Colorado goals were particularly good, although they did catch a break when Ryan Smyth did not get called for clipping Schneider's mask.
  • The Canucks dominated in the faceoff circle winning 69% of the draws.
  • Sami Salo left the game early with an undisclosed injury, no info on the injury as of yet. Kevin Bieksa finished just shy of 29 minutes of ice time.
  • It was nice to see Steve Bernier get a couple goals, hopefully this is a sign of things to come.
  • The Canucks did a poor job of exploiting Peter Budaj's rebound control, or lack thereof.

Not much more to say about this one. The Canucks were the better team in almost every area except goaltending.

Almost finished the November report card, just have to finish off the defensemen...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Streak Snapped, Sundin Decision Soon, Coyotes in Trouble

Canucks 2 - Wild 1

The losing streak is over... about time.

For the second time this season the Canucks pulled off a huge win in Minnesota playing on back to back nights. The Canucks were perilously close to losing 5 games in a row for the first time in nearly a decade... the strange thing was that they weren't playing that bad. They were in every game, at times even leading, yet they weren't good enough to win. It was the little things that were costing them games. The defense core was having a terrible time with the puck, often giving the puck away in their own zone (particularly down low) when they had opportunities to get the puck out. The team as a whole was taking far too many penalties, while at the same time failing miserably on the power play. As if that wasn't bad enough the goaltenders were averaging a soft goal every game. The difference between winning and losing in the NHL is often a fine line and it's usually the little things that decide which side of the line you fall on.

For most of the night in Minnesota the Canucks were doing the little things. They weren't taking penalties, or giving the puck away down low. They were also managing to get shots through on the power play and to top it all off the goaltending didn't give up any weak ones. But then with a few minutes to go in the game Willie Mitchell, who had plenty of time, failed to dump the puck deep into the Minnesota zone which led to a Taylor Pyatt penalty on the Wild transition into Vancouver territory. I was thinking "Oh boy here we go again..." Fortunately the Wild power play was short lived and the Canucks managed to kill the rest of the clock. Still, it was one of those little things that nearly cost Vancouver the regulation win.

Sunding Decision Coming Soon

Canuck fans will soon find out whether they will be receiving an early Christmas present. According to Sundin's agent J.P. Barry, Sundin should be making a decision by December 15th. Mike Gillis was also on the Team 1040 and sounded optimistic about the chances of Sundin landing in Vancouver. He will be meeting with Barry soon. Obviously Sundin would be a huge addition to the Canucks, but as a long suffering Canuck fan you can't help but think something will go wrong and Sundin will end up somewhere like Colorado.

Coyotes Facing Bankruptcy?

According to the Globe and Mail, the Phoenix Coyotes are in serious financial trouble. With the current economic crisis you have to wonder how many other teams are in serious jeopardy. As much as I would like to see more teams in Canada, it's never a good thing when a team has to move or fold.

Still working on that November report card... I'm going to force myself to get it done by tomorrow.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Around the Web (Dec 4 Ed.)

Yes I'm still alive. Apologies for the lack of updates, it's been a busy week. It hasn't been a complete right off though... I'm about half way finished the November Report Card and hope to have it posted before the weekend. In the meantime here's some reading material...

Canucks at Detroit

The Canucks will have their hands full as they try and stop a three game losing streak. The problems for Vancouver have been pretty obvious -- they're taking too many penalties, not scoring on their power play opportunities and their goaltending has been average at best.

Will have some game notes later in the day...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Brian Burke Agrees to Terms With the Toronto Maple Leafs

Former Vancouver Canuck GM Brian Burke has finally agreed to contract terms with the Toronto Maple Leafs. According to TSN and Sportsnet the deal has not been officially signed, but the terms have been agreed upon. The deal is reportedly for 6 years and $18 million.

So does that mean we only have to endure one more Saturday night of nauseating Brian Burke talk on Hockey Night in Canada... don't hold your breath.

Gameday - Flames at Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks take on the Calgary Flames tonight in the first game of a home and home series. It's only November, but it's hard not to call these "big games". Two wins by Vancouver and they can put Calgary nine points back, on the other hand two wins by Calgary and the Flames can get within one point of the Canucks.

The Flames are coming off a 6-2 rout of the Los Angelos Kings, following their trend of beating the lesser teams in the NHL. Unfortunately for Calgary, the Flames have had a lot of trouble beating the better teams in the NHL. They will hope to change that tonight.

Who's in Who's Out?

Courtesy of Tom Larschied on the Team 1040:

  • Kevin Bieksa will be back in the lineup, returning from his fractured foot. That means the Canucks will have their regular top 6 defensemen and regular pairings.
  • Steve Bernier will not play tonight, but is expected to practice tomorrow so he may be back for Saturday's tilt.
  • With Bernier out Mayson Raymond will get a chance to return to the 2nd line with Kyle Wellwood and Taylor Pyatt.
  • Mike Brown will get back in the lineup on the 4th line. It's about time he shows he can do something other than drop the gloves. Quite frankly, Brown hasn't contributed a thing and has often been a liability.
  • Alexander Bolduc will make his NHL debut replacing the injured Ryan Johnson. Bolduc has some pretty big shoes to fill as Johnson has been excellent on the penalty kill.

Keys to the Game

Miikka Kiprusoff has struggled at times this season while the Canucks will be going with Curtis Sanford again. Sanford has played very well, although I don't think he has been as good as many seem to think. He's allowed a weak goal in every game and has often looked awkward, particularly on the short side and while guarding the posts. The good news is that he has shut the door when he's had to. Kiprusoff comes into the game sporting an ugly 3.15 GAA and .893 Sv %. Can Sanford continue to shut the door or will the Flames exploit his small stature? Which Kiprusoff shows up tonight? Those two questions will likely decide the game.
The Flames Defense
The Canucks will want to exploit the foot speed of the Calgary defense. The Canucks need to get the puck deep and turn the defensemen around. Guys like Raymond, Kesler, Burrows and Hansen could have big games.
Special Teams and Discipline
This will be another physical game between these two division rivals. Whoever stays away from the bad penalties will have a very good chance of taking this game. The Canucks will need to find a way to replace the loss of Johnson on the PK and contain Dion Phaneuf's shot from the point (particularly with the smaller Sanford in net).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ryan Johnson Out With Broken Foot

Well, not only does Ryan Johnson have a broken finger, he also has a broken foot. The Canucks revealed today that Johnson has been playing with a broken foot since the game in Washington. Johnson could be out 4 weeks.

Looks like Alexander Bolduc is going to get a good opportunity.

Still On a Roll

It seems like the past week or so has been a string of "biggest win of the season" games and just when you think it couldn't possibly continue they pull another one off. Coming off a shootout loss to the Islanders, in which they played one of their worst periods of the year, the Canucks picked up what was essentially a "road trip saving" win against the Rangers. The next day they followed it up with one of the biggest wins in recent memory against the Wild, a game everyone thought they would probably lose. Two days later they lose their captain to what appears to be a devastating injury, yet they still manage to pull out a victory against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Back home they learn that Luongo is going to be out for a while and then they get to face the defending Stanley Cup champions...

The Red Wings were the better team for most of the night, winning most of the battles against a Canuck team that looked out of gas. And yet the Canucks were still playing well, limiting Detroit's chances while generating a good number for themselves. It was a valiant effort, spoiled by a Detroit goal with 3:30 to go... this one was over. A minute later Sami Salo floats one towards the net and Daniel Sedin gets a piece of it, managing to bounce the puck past Chris Osgood... tie game, did that really just happen? On to overtime and the Canucks catch a break and get to go on the power play, Sami Salo absolutely wires a shot top corner and the Canucks win again. Another huge win.

The Canucks now get the Flames tomorrow at home before heading to Calgary to start a seven game road trip. Needless to say, the next two games are pretty big. Their goal should be a split, which would keep the Flames five points back and give the Canucks a nice cushion for their tough road trip. A sweep would put them nine up on the Flames, but you have to think that this roll is going to come to an end soon. I guess we'll find out starting tomorrow night...

Injury Updates

  • On Monday I wrote that Kevin Bieksa was still a ways off... but looking back at his prognosis he was listed as 2-4 weeks, it's been almost two. Still a little early, but it sounds like he's probably going to be ready for Thursday's game.
  • Ryan Johnson has been playing with a broken finger and will miss the next couple games as they re-assess the injury. Hopefully he won't miss a significant amount of time, but it doesn't look too good. He's been great on the PK. Alexander Bolduc has been called up to replace him on the 4th line. Bolduc had a very solid pre-season, sticking around until the final two pre-season games.
  • Steve Bernier banged up his shoulder against the wings, but everyone seems confident that he will be able to play Thursday. Update: Bernier did not skate today and is now doubtful for Thursday's game. Obviously the shoulder and toe injuries are bothering Bernier more then they let on yesterday.

An interesting side note... think Canuck fans were desperate to find some news on Luongo's injury? Well, on Monday visits to this blog were up 800% compared to an average day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Roberto Luongo Week to Week with Abductor Strain

The Canucks have finally spoken and have basically told the fans what they already knew. Roberto Luongo is going to be out with a groin injury and it's probably going to be a few weeks.

You didn't really expect a time frame did you?

Life Without Luongo

Life without Luongo begins tonight against Detroit. Curtis Sanford is going to get a chance to run with the ball, but the Canucks won't hesitate to go with Schneider should Sanford drop the ball. My guess is that Sanford will start until he loses, simple as that.

Sanford has been receiving plenty of praise however I'm not sold on his play, at all. Yes he has made some big saves, but he has also let in a couple really poor goals. Great saves and bad goals aside, the reason I'm not terribly confident in Sanford is that he is a small goaltender. Simple as that. There is just too much net to shoot at. With that said, one of the positives of having Sanford between the pipes is his ability to handle the puck. Sanford is a significant improvement over Luongo in that department and that will be a big help for the guys on the backend.

After a strong pre-season with the Canucks Cory Schneider has been phenomenal in the AHL, sporting a 10-1 record with a 1.37 GAA and .945 save percentage. With those kind of numbers combined with top prospect status, the Canucks will be very interested in what Schneider is capable of at the NHL level. He will have to earn his playing time, but the Canucks won't hesitate to go with him if Sanford falters.

Blueline Getting Healthier

The news isn't all bad for the Canucks. Sami Salo will be back in the lineup tonight after being out with what the team has been calling the flu. Kevin Bieksa also skated for the first time today, he's still a ways off but the fact that he is already skating is certainly encouraging.

Nolan Baumgartner has been sent back to Manitoba.

Luongo Injury Update

There is no official news as of yet, but La Presse is reporting that Luongo will miss 4-5 weeks. There is a direct quote from Luongo's agent Gilles Lupien (which is now refuted).

Still waiting on official confirmation from the Canucks, but 4-5 weeks isn't too bad. Could have been a lot worse.

More to come...

Update #1

The Team 1040 is reporting that Luongo is having an MRI today and the Canucks won't be updating his status until tommorow. We'll see how this plays out as the day moves along...

Update #2

On the Team 1040, Pierre McGuire is saying that Luongo's agent is denying he spoke to the paper. So take that for what it's worth.

Update #3

Roberto Luongo listed as week-to-week.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Still Waiting on Luongo Injury Update

It looks like Canuck fans will have to wait another day to find out the severity of Roberto Luongo's injury.

The Canucks will not be updating Luongo's status until after Monday's morning skate. I don't know what to read into the delay, is it more severe than first feared?

The Canucks have a history of being less than truthful when it comes to disclosing injuries, but in this case you would think they would be honest with the fans. We shall see.

Until then enjoy the Grey Cup.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Roberto Luongo Injured in 1st Period VS Pittsburgh

Just when everything seemed to be going right in Canuck land... Roberto Luongo hurt his left leg on a routine save, extending his left pad.

I'm no doctor, but it appeared to be either a groin injury or possibly a knee injury. No word from the Canucks as of yet and there likely won't be many details until the Canucks return to Vancouver. Canuck fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that the injury is some kind of groin strain and not any kind of tear or knee injury... worse case scenario would be a Brendan Morrow style knee injury (torn ACL - 6 months).

In the meantime, the Canucks will be riding the Sandman. Canuck fans are also likely to see Cory Schneider a lot sooner than they had hoped.

More to come post-game...


Ian MacIntyre during the intermission on the Team 1040 is confirming that the injury is groin related and thinks it is "very serious".

Update #2

Well the radio guys are saying that Luongo was in good spirits "joking with the trainers" and that they don't think it is a torn groin... Canucks won't know for sure until he is checked out in Vancouver.

Update #3

OK, Luongo and Vigneault were both interviewed post-game. It is the groin, will have MRI done in Vancouver(within 24 hours), no prognosis until then. I'm sure they will replay the interviews again on Hockey Night in Canada at some point tonight, if you want to see/hear for yourself. By the way he was limping I'm gonna throw out 2-4 weeks as my guess. Cory Schneider should get the callup.

Canucks Win 2-1

Another huge win to cap off one of the best road trips in team history.

  • Mitchell and O'Brien were outstanding
  • Mattias Ohlund has really stepped up his game since Bieksa and Salo have been out.
  • However, Davison and Nycholat have to be a concern. Either is fine as a short term fill in, but the Canucks can't go long term trying to hide two defensemen.
  • Matt Turtle was up to his old tricks... forcing his teammates to stick up for him... it's obvious no one in the Canuck room was sad to see him moved last year.
  • Malkin and Crosby were invisible for most of the game.
  • Michel Therrien did a poor job of exploiting the Canucks lack of depth on defense, or the disjointed 3rd and 4th lines of the Canucks. When you have the benefit of the last change and have talent like Crosby and Malkin you have to take advantage of it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Canucks 3 - Wild 2 - Game Notes

The Game Log...

First Period

  • The 4th line sure looks more capable of generating a forecheck. Is it more to do with having Raymond or not having Brown?
  • Despite 5 minor penalties in New York, Shane O'Brien is playing with a lot of confidence.
  • Two slashes on puck carriers and a missed high stick on Nycholat... is there some league directive not to call penalties on Jacques Lemaire?
  • Easy to be a tough guy with a shield over your face. How does O'Brien get the only extra penalty for slashing the stick? No call on the cross check to the kidneys from behind with an official looking right at it. Wellwood was abused in NY nice to see guys sticking up for him tonight.
  • That Sanford whiff was scary, could have been a turning point in Sanford's Canuck career. If that goes in and they lose the Canucks would probably be considering other options.
  • Bernier gets away with a grab on the stick.
  • Daniel made an absolutely terrible pass to a Wild player on the power play.
  • Demitra playing the point on the power play was almost beat by Koivu. Again not a fan of forwards on the point. Why isn't Nycholat out there?
  • Decent period by the Canucks, terrible period to watch.

Second Period

  • As good as their shift was in the first period the 4th line had one that was equally bad to start the second. Raymond's gotta pick up his stick.
  • Kesler slashed while flying through neutral zone... not called. It's frustrating enough watching a Lemaire coached team play, but it's doubly so when they get away with any kind of interference in the neutral zone.
  • Weak goal by Sanford. Not acceptable.
  • Boy, Raymond is really fighting it right now.
  • Canucks were lucky not to get another too many men on the ice penalty as Burrows got caught up with a Wild forward.
  • I have a feeling the Canucks are going to have to score on the power play if they hope to come back and win this one.
  • Nice work by Bernier, finally caught a break.
  • Mitchell is doing a great job of both getting pucks on net and jumping up in the play when it's there.
  • Great pad save by Backstrom on Demitra.
  • Sanford barely out of the blue paint on Koivu breakaway goal. Edler was right on Koivu, Sanford has to come out more. Bad bounce on the Canucks end, but it was also a poor centering attempt.
  • Canucks get a lucky bounce in return. Sometimes karma is on your side.

Third Period

  • I like the way Vigneault is swapping Raymond and Pyatt back and forth on the 2nd and 4th lines... its giving Lemaire something to think about (speed vs size dynamic).
  • Great power play shift by the Sedins, one of the best of the season. Too bad the second unit couldn't follow it up.
  • Man the Wild are excellent at supporting the puck. Seems like every pass they have to make is under 8 feet.
  • Linesmen are having a rough night... botched icing call and two obvious missed offside calls (at least it's one for each team).
  • Great shift by the Sedin line leading to the goal... can they hang on?
  • Willie Mitchell is having a great game.
  • Two minutes left and Ohlund fails to get the puck out... he's been struggling in this department... doesn't cost them.
  • Have to wonder what Lemaire was waiting for, the Wild had control of the puck for a good 20+ seconds and Backstrom didn't come out. Missed opportunity.
  • Woot! Great win, biggest of the season.

Post Game Thoughts

Still to come...

Gameday - Canucks at Wild

Big Game

A battle for the Northwest Division lead features what should be a tired Canuck team facing the Minnesota Wild. The Canucks flew out from New York after the game last night and ended up hitting their beds around 2:30 local time.

Sami Salo is out with a combination of the "flu" and a hamstring problem. Nolan Baumgartner has been called up and may replace Salo's right handed shot. Not sure which defensemen are going to play, Nycholat in my eyes wasn't good last night so Davison may draw back in. Expect the forwards to remain the same.

Curtis Sanford gets the call between the pipes. This is a huge game for Sanford which will have significant ramifications on how the Canucks manage Luongo the rest of the season. Like Sabourin two years ago, Sanford failed to gain the confidence of the players and coaching staff last season and it forced the Canucks to go with Luongo on nights they would have preferred to give him a rest.

Meanwhile, Minnesota is coming off three straight wins since their 2-0 loss at the hands of the Canucks. Minnesota's bread and butter is their special teams play (more on that below) as they are one of the lowest scoring teams 5 on 5. That's likely to continue as Marion Gaborik is still out of the lineup. Vancouver has the 2nd best 5 on 5 goals for/against ratio at 1.46, while Minnesota ranks 16th at 0.96.

Keys to the Game

Scoring First
This one should be no surprise to anyone. Minnesota is perfect when leading after one period and has won 85.7% of their games when leading after two periods. For the sake of entertainment value alone, who scores first will be very important.
Curtis Sanford
Curtis Sanford needs to shut the door early and gain some confidence, both for himself and the team. Sanford was beat early and often in his lone start this season against Buffalo. He needs to give his team a chance to take the lead. Most importantly he has to show the Canucks that they can go to him in big games.
Discipline & Special Teams
Minnesota is the least penalized team in the league, taking 46 fewer minor penalties than the Canucks. Minnesota also has the best special teams in the league. They rank third on the power play at 23.2% and their penalty kill is the best in the league at 93.8% (only 4 goals against, and only 1 on home ice). On the other hand the Canucks special teams have struggled, the power play is at an anemic 16.7% and the penalty kill is at 79.8%. One of the ways the Canucks can win the special teams battle is to use their statistical advantage in the faceoff circle, 51.4% vs 48.1%.

You would expect the Canucks to be out of gas tonight, but hey you never know... sometimes teams surprise you when you think they should have nothing in the tank.

Game time 5:00pm pst.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Canucks 6 - Rangers 3 - Game Notes

Something a little different tonight, game notes as the game progresses...

First Period

  • Hearing the Hockey Night in Canada theme on TSN is just wrong.
  • Speaking of the broadcast, I don't know if it's just my signal but the sound of the skates on the ice is extremely irritating... it gives you that "nails on chalkboard" effect you sometimes get when you are scraping the frost off your windshield.
  • Great pass by Ohlund to Wellwood on the first goal.
  • It's not often the Canucks have 3 breakaways in a week let alone in one period.
  • Ryan Johnson was brutal in the faceoff circle, 1 for 6.
  • The Kesler line had their best period in a while. Burrows bumps a slump.
  • The Rangers were awful, simply being out-skated everywhere on the ice.
  • Canucks did a good job in their own end keeping the Rangers to the outside, the defense down low was especially solid.
  • Have the Canucks learned from their dismal 2nd period on Long Island? We'll find out...

Second Period

  • Rangers are still awful.
  • Great shift by Pyatt on the 4th goal. This is why many fans are so frustrated with Pyatt.
  • Daniel has to shoot the fricken puck.
  • Johnson loses another draw, directly leading to the second New York goal.
  • Wow, did Lundqvist just pull himself there?
  • Despite scoring his first goal Johnson is having a terrible period.
  • If this was a one goal game that review would have been a lot more controversial. Why don't they have a camera that is solely dedicated to the goal line? Or for that matter why don't they create an electronic system to determine the location of the puck? They can do it in tennis, why not hockey?
  • Not liking Nycholat's play.
  • When I noticed that Voros was going to be a free agent I was hoping the Canucks would go after him. 7 goals already, with toughness.
  • If the Canucks lead would have remained 4, it would have been interesting to see if they would consider putting Sanford in to give Luongo a little rest and then come back with him in Minnesota.

Third Period

  • The Rangers have finally figured out that you can exploit the Canucks defense by dumping the puck in deep.
  • The Canucks look content to sit on the lead... better be careful.
  • Sure enough, they've given the Rangers a chance to get back in it. Can't afford to turn the puck over in the neutral zone... get it deep.
  • It's not often you see a player take 5 minors in one game.
  • It's interesting to see Henrik Sedin out late in the game as the extra faceoff guy. He's come a long way in that department.
  • Thumbs down to TSN for not having any post-game coverage on games that don't involve the Leafs.

Post Game Thoughts

Big win for Vancouver, three out of four points in New York is critical heading in to two tough games in Minnesota and Pittsburgh.

  • Sami Salo did not finish the game... again. Vigneault is saying flu... I'm saying B.S.
  • Ryan Johnson was brutal in the faceoff circle finishing 1 for 9.
  • After a few good first period shifts Steve Bernier was pretty invisible the rest of the way.
  • Other than a third period mistake not getting the puck deep, Taylor Pyatt had another strong game, continuing his improved play in November.
  • After a bit of a funk Mattias Ohlund was much, much better tonight.
  • Luongo was tremendous again.

Gameday - Canucks at Rangers

The Canucks visit Madison Square Garden for the first time since 1994... er wait... it hasn't been that long, but it sure seems like it.

The Canucks will have Alex Edler (flu) back in the lineup. According to the Team 1040 Rob Davison will be out and Lawrence Nycholat will be in. After a terrible performance by the power play against the Islanders it will be interesting to see how much time Nycholat gets on the point and whether Vigneault will move away from using a forward on the point. Here's how the lines should shake down...

  • Sedin Sedin Demitra
  • Pyatt Wellwood Bernier
  • Burrows Kesler Hansen
  • Hordichuk Johnson Raymond
  • Ohlund Salo
  • Mitchell O'Brien
  • Nycholat Edler

Roberto Luongo will get the start in goal with Sanford starting tomorrow in Minnesota (although I wouldn't be surprised to see Luongo should the Canucks lose to NY).

Keys to the Game

Special Teams
On most nights special teams are the difference and with two of the best goaltenders in the world between the pipes tonight should be no different. The Rangers have the 2nd best PK in the league at an outstanding 91%. The Canucks sit 18th at 80.6%. However the both teams struggle on the PP, the Rangers at just 15.4% & the Canucks at a marginally better 16.3%.
The Canucks have been turning the puck over a lot lately, they've also had trouble getting the puck out of their own zone. Keep an eye on turnovers at the bluelines leading to scoring chances or penalties.
In tight games it's often the little things that make the difference. With two great goaltenders in the game this one will likely be close. New York has struggled this season in the faceoff department ranking 22nd in the league at 48.8%. Surprisingly the Canucks are much improved in this department ranking 8th at 51.%.

Catch the game on TSN at 4:30 pst.

Might have more leading up to game time...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Islanders 2 - Canucks 1 (SO) - Game Notes

Another wasted opportunity, the Canucks decided they could take the second period off and it cost them...

  • One of my pet peeve's has always been using a forward on the point during the power play when you are tied or leading a hockey game. I'm fine with it when you need to come from behind, but there is simply too much risk and not much upside when you have the lead.
  • Mayson Raymond had an absolutely terrible game. Absolutely brutal play leading to a penalty and the tying goal.
  • I mentioned earlier that special teams were going to decide their fate on the road and tonight the power play generated next to nothing chance wise and went 0-4. The PK was decent and finished 4-5. The special teams were a -1 on the night, you'll usually lose when that's the case.
  • Offensive zone penalties continue to be an issue... Taylor Pyatt and Daniel Sedin added to that category tonight.
  • Lawrence Nycholat received only 1:15 on the power play. I'm not sure I understand why he is in the organization (and being protected from waivers at the expense of others) if he is not going to be used in offensive situations. The guy had 49 pts in the AHL last year.
  • Definitely a sub-par night in the officiating department, there were several obvious calls missed both ways, the most glaring being Trent Hunter throwing the puck out of the zone and Rob Davison breaking the stick of an Islander with a blatant slash.
  • Mattias Ohlund had another bad night in the giveaway and blocked shots department.
  • Henrik Sedin should be embarrassed that he couldn't generate anything on a breakout where he had to pull away from Andy Sutton.
  • The Canucks have to find a way to get Kyle Wellwood on the ice, 13:25 isn't enough when you are struggling to score 2 goals a game.
  • Although they failed to generate a scoring chance, the 4th line finally offered up a good shift in the offensive zone... a rare sight this season.
  • Luongo continues to be on a roll, keeping his team in every game. The soft goals of October are long gone.
  • Shane O'Brian is looking much better than the player who joined the Canucks in October. If he gets his stick tilted just a bit Weight's shot is up over the glass instead of in the net.
  • Steve Bernier continues to be shut out on the score sheet, but he's starting to play a little more like he did in the pre-season/first week. Five shots on goal tonight and some good hits. Somethings gotta give for him eventually.
  • Henrik Sedin was a monster in the faceoff circle, 15-22 for 68%. The overall team improvement in the faceoff circle is probably one of the most encouraging signs so far this season.

The Canucks now head over to MSG to face the Rangers on Wednesday. Winning two out of the next three (for a 5 point trip) is going to be a tough challenge.

Critical Stretch Ahead

After a successful homestand the Canucks embark on a difficult road trip that will see them play 4 games in 6 days. To make matters worse the Canucks have to play the Rangers and then fly to Minnesota to play the next day, then they get to fly back east to face Pittsburgh on Sunday at noon. If that's not bad enough tonight begins a stretch of 11 out of 13 games away from home... btw those two home games are against Detroit and Calgary. Needless to say this is a critical stretch in the Canucks season.

The Canucks are currently 10-6-1 for 21 points in 17 games. If the Canucks play .500 (6-6-1) over the next 13 game stretch they would have 34 points with 50 games to go. For arguments sake, lets say that for those final 50 games the Canucks manage to continue their pace during the first 17 games in which they have averaged 1.235 points per game... 50 games X 1.235 = 61.8 or 62 points per game. So their final total would be 34 + 62 = 96 points. Since the lockout it has taken 91 to 96 points to make the playoffs.

That's not a very big margin for error. A sub .500 stretch would force the Canucks to play .580+ hockey the rest of the way.... or about a 27-19-4 record.

OK, enough with the numbers...

The Canucks start off with the Islanders today at 4:00pst. According to Tom Larchied on the Team 1040 Alex Edler (flu) will not play tonight, so you're looking at the same lineup that beat the Leafs on Saturday night.

Things to keep an eye on...

  • Without Edler and Bieksa in the lineup the Canucks struggled to get the puck up the ice against the Leafs, managing only 15 shots on goal. Even when healthy this has been the weak link of the Canuck blueline. The Canucks need to find out if Lawrence Nycholat can really contribute.
  • Mason Raymond hasn't produced with the Sedins and neither has any one else... how long till Wellwood gets a shot?
  • Demitra looked excellent in his return, showing nice chemistry with Wellwood... that will make it difficult to audition Wellwood with the Sedins.
  • The offense has dried up on the third line. These guys are going to have to start showing some offense soon.
  • The 4th line still hasn't produced in terms of "momentum changing shifts". The Canucks could really use one or two of those on this trip.
  • Special teams are likely to decide their fate on the road. The PK was great against the Leafs and Demitra should be a boost to the PP.
  • How many games will Luongo get on the road? Ideally you'd want him in each of the final 3 games, but that's a lot of games with a lot of kilometers in a short amount of time.
  • Finally, the Canucks can't afford to take the Islanders lightly... something they are often guilty of doing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Injuries, Jerseys and More

Bieksa Out With Fractured Foot

The inevitable finally hit the Canucks blueline as both Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa are now injured. Bieksa is out with a fractured foot which is listed as 2-4 weeks. Meanwhile Salo is out with a shoulder injury, the Canucks as usual aren't saying much about the severity. The good news is that Salo did practice today, so hopefully his shoulder injury is minor.

The loss of Bieksa, who was playing his best hockey since the '06-'07 campaign, is going to hurt. Paired with Willie Mitchell, Bieksa is tied for 3rd in team scoring with 11pts and is a plus 5 (the duo has only been on the ice for 2 even strength goals against all season!). Bieksa could miss anywhere from 7 to 13 or more games, which include a big home and home set with the Flames and two games against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Lawrence Nycholat is back from his conditioning stint, it could be him or Rob Davison stepping in for Bieksa. Nycholat had 3 assists in his short 3 game stint with the Moose. In his 3 games with the Canucks Nycholat hasn't impressed. A minus 3 with no points, Nycholat managed only 6 minutes in 9 shifts during his last game against Columbus, clearly not earning much confidence from the coaching staff. Davison meanwhile hasn't played since October 25th and has only played twice all season, but he did look pretty solid in the pre-season. My guess is that Nycholat will draw in against the Leafs and Davison will see time against the bigger more physical teams.

Canucks New Third Jersey Unveiled

The Vancouver Canucks unveiled their new third jerseys last night.

Canucks New Third Jersey

I'll give this one a big "MEH". Safe, essentially the same as the vintage jersey, what's the point. There's nothing really wrong with the jersey (except maybe the cartoonish stick), but I see this as a wasted opportunity. There are numerous fan concepts that are much better than this jersey. Here's my favourite, a re-working of the Vancouver Millionaires concept...

Vancouver Millionaires Concept Uniform

There's also the "real Johnny Canuck" (not the cartoon lumberjack) WWI aviator concept logo...

Canucks Aviator Concept Logo

The new third jersey isn't a disaster, just a wasted opportunity.

Random Notes

  • Pavol Demitra will be back in the lineup on Saturday against the Leafs. With Demitra back in the lineup Steve Bernier has been dropped down to the 4th line in practice this week, although he is still on out on a PP unit. Demitra is skating with Wellwood and Pyatt.
  • Speaking of the 4th line, Mike Brown has been a complete waste of a roster space this season. He was terrible against the Avalanche, failing to get the puck out of the zone on numerous occasions.
  • Here's a nice article on Jannik Hansen
  • Mattias Ohlund had an awful game against the Avalanche, like Brown he also couldn't get the puck out of the zone and he took a delay of game penalty. He also had six of his shots blocked (most on the power play).
  • Taylor Pyatt continues to look much better than he did for most of October.
  • Finally, don't forget that the Saturday game starts at 4:00pm local time, because we all know the Leafs absolutely have to play during primetime on Hockey Night in Canada. At least we'll get the "A" broadcast crew in Hughson and Simpson.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Canucks Send Ouellet Back To Moose

With Jannik Hansen ready to return to the lineup tonight, the Vancouver Canucks have sent Michel Ouellet back to Manitoba.

Ouellet's short three game stint with the Canucks was pretty uneventful. After getting a chance to ride shot gun with the Sedins, Ouellet appeared to quickly fall out of favour with Vigneault. Ouellet received only 6:39 of ice time against Minnesota, none on the power play and only 2 shifts in the third period. The writing was on the wall.

With Demitra close to returning it's unlikely that we will see Ouellet anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Around the Web (Nov 11 Ed.)

  • With three consecutive shutouts it's no surprise that Roberto Luongo has been named the NHL's First Star of the Week. Coming into November the Canucks needed Luongo to be better and he has delivered. Still, he has a long way to go to reach Brian Boucher's record.
  • Injured forwards Pavol Demitra and Jannik Hansen both took part in non-contact drills at practice yesterday. It sounds like Hansen is the closest to returning, he skated on his regular line in practice this morning. He will take over for Maxime Ouellet, who played only 6:39 on Saturday with only 2 shifts in the third period.
  • The Canucks are set to unveil yet another jersey on Saturday against the Leafs. I'll give this one a big thumbs down if it's just another re-working of the stick in rink jersey with Johnny Canuck slapped on the shoulders.
  • The Manitoba Moose finally saw their nine game winning streak come to an end over the weekend. Manitoba currently sits in first place in the North Division with a 10 - 3 record. Cory Schneider has been great: 7W - 1L, 1.25 GAA, .945 Sv%.
  • Ever wonder how closely the Canucks keep an eye on the cap status of other teams? Well that duty falls to Assistant G.M. Laurence Gilman. Keeping a close watch on other teams allows them to make educated gambles on sneaking players through waivers, as they did with Maxime Ouellet and to a lesser extent Kyle Wellwood.
  • Finally Cody Hodgson was named OHL player of the week. Hodgson has 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points in just 12 games.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Canucks 4 - Nashville 0 - Game Notes

The Vancouver Canucks rebounded nicely from their loss against Detroit with a decisive 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators...

  • If there was any lingering doubt as to whether Kyle Wellwood had seen the last of Manitoba this season (although I'm not sure if he actually made it to Winnipeg when he was sent down) it was laid to rest on Tuesday night. With two more goals upping his total to 6, Wellwood again showed off his outstanding hands and knack around the net. We all saw his offensive abilities in the pre-season, but it's his overall hockey sense that is going to keep him with the big club. Wellwood has shown great instincts in the offensive zone, but somewhat surprisingly he is also looking pretty good defensively. At this point the only real question mark with Wellwood is whether he can minimize the effects of losing one on one physical battles in his own end. His hockey IQ isn't in doubt.
  • Taylor Pyatt appears to have gotten his game back on track after a terrible first 3 weeks. I don't know how much he was bothered by an injury or whether he simply wasn't prepared to do the things he needs to do to be successful. Whatever it was, he's received the message and is now playing with more jump and determination.
  • Michel Ouellet made his debut after clearing re-entry waivers. Ouellet played 10:26 on a line with Wellwood and Pyatt and he also received a little power play time. So far he looks to have pretty good hands and defensive awareness. It will be interesting to see how he fits in during the rest of this homestand.
  • It was nice to see a renewed focus for the defensemen to get pucks through to the net on the power play. They weren't all on the power play, but the Canucks defense managed a total of 18 shots on goal.
  • Is it a coincidence that the Canucks scored 2 power play goals on a night where they were 82% on faceoffs with the man advantage?
  • Finally it was nice to see the Canucks come out hard in the third period instead of attempting to sit on a one goal lead. Maybe their relative success coming from behind in third periods has shown them that it's hard to keep the puck out of your own net when the opposition is continually on the attack.

The Canucks host Wayne Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Canucks Place Michel Ouellet on Re-Entry Waivers

With Jannik Hansen out with a groin injury the Canucks are attempting to re-call Michel Ouellet from Manitoba. Ouellet has 4 goals and 6 assists in 10 games for the Moose.

It's funny, during last nights game I was thinking that if the Canucks had any intention of getting Ouellet up this season they may as well do it now. Jason Krog, who took Hansen's place on the Kesler line, was pretty much invisible for most of the night with the exception of a couple 3rd period shifts. I don't think Ouellet is going to play on that line, (it's more likely that he will get some time with the Sedins) but I think it was obvious that there was something lacking in the forward group that was dressed. Maybe Ouellet can be the missing piece.

Of course there's still a big question mark surrounding whether or not anyone will claim Ouellet. At half his $1.2m salary, the former 19 goal scorer could be enticing to some teams.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

October Report Card

Team Grades

Overall: C+ (W 6 - L 5 - OTL 0 - 12pts, GF 39 GA 35)
It's been an up and down start for the Vancouver Canucks 2008-2009 season and a tale of two teams, the one that plays in blue and the one that plays in white. After a dominating performance in the opener the Canucks embarked on a tough 6 game road trip which saw them pickup only 2 wins and also included a couple ugly losses in Washington and Buffalo, which oddly enough sandwiched arguably their best game of the season in Detroit. They returned home for two games, beating the Oilers and getting shutout by Thomas and the Bruins. They finished October with two big wins in California, managing to salvage the month. Despite the tough road trip the Canucks find themselves in pretty decent shape heading into November.
The Penalty Kill: C (PK% 79.3%, 46 for 58, SHG 2, Home 100%, Road 73.9%)
It's hard to put your finger on exactly what the problems were with the PK. A combination of luck, goaltending and defensive breakdowns resulted in a PK% under 80%. It's interesting to note that the PK is still perfect on home ice, but was abysmal on the road at 73.9%. If the Canucks are going to make the playoffs they need to improve on that number.
The Powerplay: B (PP% 20.8%, 11 for 53, Home 27.8%, Road 17.1%
Overall the Canucks power play was solid, however like the penalty kill there was a large discrepancy between home and road numbers. The road power play simply has to be better. Of note the Canucks are a Net -1 in the special teams goal department.

The Forwards

Ryan Kesler: A (GP 11, G 4 A 6 PTS 10, +3 18:10)
Kesler has started right where he left off last season. While anchoring the "checking line" he leads the team in points demonstrating that he is probably the teams most valuable forward. His strong statistics also include a 55.1% rate in the faceoff circle. The only downside to his game has been the team's slow start in the PK department.
Alex Burrows: A (GP 11, G 4 A 5 PTS 9, +6 16:09)
Along with Kesler, Burrows is off to an outstanding start. He is producing offensively, playing strong defensively all while still being his usual agitating self. Playing with a lot of confidence, especially when he has the puck. It's only one month, but it's worth noting Burrows is on pace for more than 60pts
Mason Raymond: B+ (GP 11, G 4, A 4, 8 PTS, +1 16:03)
While there may be lingering question marks surrounding Raymond's size and ability to play a full 82 game season, there are no question marks surrounding his ability to play at this level. There are still nights where he isn't very noticeable, but he is doing his job of putting up top 6 numbers.
Jannik Hansen: B (GP 11, G 3, A 4, 7 PTS, +4 13:57)
Hansen has been a great addition to the Kesler/Burrows duo, adding more speed and offensive skill to the "checking line". His point totals are great, but I would like to see him earning 15:00+ minutes a game. He can accomplish that by improving on his consistency (on the odd night he isn't very noticeable) and adding to his PK time by giving the coaches a reason to have more confidence in him.
Kyle Wellwood: B (GP 6, G 3, A 1, 4 PTS, +1 14:02)
As in the pre-season, Wellwood has managed to make the most of his (limited) opportunities. It's now up to him to see if he can earn more confidence from the coaching staff. There are still big question marks on his ability to not be a liability defensively. Currently he is averaging 10:24 at even strength. For him to add a real strong contribution to the team he needs to add another couple minutes to that total. If he does that he will put himself in a position to put up 50pts... if he doesn't he may find himself remaining at his current rate of only playing in half the team's games.
Henrik Sedin: C+ (GP 11, G 2 A 7, 9 PTS, -1 19:27)
It's funny how it seems like the Sedins are struggling yet Henrik is an assist shy of being on pace for 15 goal 60 assist season. However numbers aren't everything and the Canucks need much more consistent production from the Sedins.
Rick Rypien: C+ (GP 5, G 2 A 0, 2 PTS, -1 9:14)
Rypien was off to a great start, contributing a couple big goals and punching the crap out of opponents. Unfortunately his grade drops because of his continued inability to stay healthy. Let's hope this is the last injury for Rypien and not his last chance with the team.
Steve Bernier: C+ (GP 11, G 4 A 3, PTS 7, -2 14:58)
While his start with the Sedins has been a disappointment Bernier is still on pace for 30 goals and leads the team in hits with 27. Bernier's big body has been a nice addition to the top 6, but there is still more there. He needs to produce more consistently.
Ryan Johnson: C+ (GP 11, G 0 A 2, PTS 2, +1 11:21)
As advertised on TV... has double the blocked shots (18) as any other forward. Needs to improve in the faceoff circle (41%) and chip in the odd goal. Team PK, which he is a large part of (3:20 per game), also needs to improve.
Darcy Hordichuk: C (GP 9, G 0 A 0, PTS 0, -1 5:25)
Has done his job as team enforcer. Needs to earn some more ice-time and contribute more "momentum changing" shifts, along with the odd point. More divisional games would probably get him more involved, but there aren't many of those upcoming...
Daniel Sedin: C (GP 11, G 3 A 5, PTS 8, 0 19:04)
Three goals simply isn't good enough for Daniel. The Canucks cannot afford prolonged slumps by the Sedins, it's as simple as that.
Jason Krog: C (GP 3, G 1 A 0, PTS 1, 0 10:28)
Needs to capitalize on his limited opportunities if he wants to stay up with the Canucks. Being good on the draws isn't enough to get in the lineup consistently.
Pavol Demitra: C- (GP 6, G 2 A 1, PTS 3, -2 16:51)
Disappointing start for Demitra. After looking very good in the pre-season Demitra and his linemates were slow out of the gate and now Demitra is out of the lineup for a good chunk of games.
Mike Brown: C- (GP 4, G 0 A 0, PTS 0, -1 4:29)
Hasn't done anything but drop the gloves a few times. Gillis' decision to keep Brown over Pettinger is still very questionable.
Taylor Pyatt: D (GP 11, G 1 A 2, PTS 3, -1 15:11)
Status as the new fan whipping boy is well earned. With the exception of the last couple games Pyatt has simply been a non-factor. If the Canucks had a better alternative on the roster he would likely have found himself a healthy scratch on occasion. 7 minor penalties is a big red flag.

The Defensemen

Kevin Bieksa: B+ (GP 8, G 2 A 5, PTS 7, +2 23:47)
Bieksa has played his best hockey since signing his big contract. Frankly his play has been a big relief to Canuck fans. Still makes the odd miscue and is over aggressive at times, but overall his game is in pretty good shape. Perhaps the biggest sign of his strong play is that he has taken only 2 minor penalties.
Willie Mitchell B+ (GP 11, G 0 A 5, PTS 5, +6 22:01)
Strong defensive play has been augmented by some offensive production. Anchors the PK with nearly 5min per game shorthanded. Very solid start for Mitchell.
Sami Salo B (GP 9, G 0 A 5, PTS 5, -1 19:53)
Despite missing a couple games with a groin injury and not having scored, Salo is off to a solid start. The fact that he has only taken 1 minor penalty says a lot about how well he has played defensively. The offense should come eventually.
Mattias Ohlund: B (GP 11, G 2 A 2, PTS 4, -1 20:48)
Average start, average grade. Ohlund has been Ohlund.
Alexander Edler: B- (GP 11, G 1 A 4, PTS 5, +4 22:38)
Decent start for Edler, but he is capable of more. His game has struggled at times and he was taken off the PP by Vigneault who stated he wanted Edler to focus on the other parts of his game.
Shane O'Brien: C (GP 12, G 0 A 2, PTS 2, -1 15:03)
Has looked much better and comfortable recently, but it was a rocky start for O'Brien. Leads the team with 8 minor penalties, evidence that his mobility is a huge question mark.
Rob Davison: INCOMPLETE (GP 2, G 0 A 0, PTS 0, -1 14:41)
Missed both of his games, so no grade.
Lawrence Nycholat: INCOMPLETE (GP 3, G 0 A 0, PTS 0 -2 9:40)
Missed 2 of his games, so cannot grade fairly.

The Goalies

Roberto Luongo: C (GP 10, W 6 L 4 OTL 0, GAA 2.97, Sv% 0.901, SO 2
Rough start for the new captain. Has been outplayed by opposition goaltender too often and was not good at all on the long road trip. Five games with a save percentage under .900. Will be better in November.
Curtis Sanford: C (GP 2, W 0 L 1 OTL 0, GAA 3.75 Sv% 0.878, SO 0
Allowed 5 goals in his only start against Buffalo. Canucks need more out of Sanford if they hope to rest Luongo.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Catching Up on Things

First, apologies for the lack of updates lately, let's see if I can catch up on things...

Mike Gillis' First Mistake

Today the Canucks lost Matt Pettinger on waivers to the Lightning. Pettinger was re-called along with Kyle Wellwood (who cleared re-entry waivers) to replace some injured players (more on that in a minute). You'll recall that Pettinger was sent down at the end of the pre-season in order to keep Mike Brown who was originally on his way to Manitoba when the Canucks had a change of heart over fears of losing him on waivers. On October 6, I had this to say...

I'm very interested to see how Gillis manages this situation. Trading someone away in order to keep someone who was essentially cut isn't a great message to send to your team... I'm also really not sure how keeping Brown makes the Canucks a better team. Can you really keep him around just because you don't want to lose him as an asset? It's a strange situation and it will be interesting to see how it all works out.

Well, it has been worked out and the end result is that the Canucks have lost a useful asset (Pettinger) for nothing, at the expense of keeping a player with dubious potential (Brown). Now don't get me wrong, Pettinger is not a key piece to the puzzle, however he was a useful player... he could skate, kill penalties, possessed solid size & grit, and had the skill to play in the top-6 on a short term basis (something Mike Brown cannot do).

There are also other ramifications to the "Mike Brown saga". The Canucks have very few forwards who can be re-called without being subject to re-entry waivers, Jason Krog and Michael Grabner being exempt. Interestingly Michel Ouellet, who was acquired from Tampa, is probably someone who they would like to bring up but would likely lose. The question has to be asked... did Gillis explore the possibility of including Pettinger in the deal instead of now being on the hook for half his salary?

With all that said, this situation isn't going to have huge ramifications to the outcome of the season, but it is a mistake by a rookie GM... let's hope he has learned from it.

The Road Trip So Far

The Canucks embarked on a tough 6 game road trip to start the season and find themselves with the possibility of coming home with a .500 road trip, which you would have to consider a success. The team has looked great in their two wins, terrible in Washington, and not so great in Chicago and Buffalo.

Overall the team has looked pretty solid, but special teams and discipline have been the major problems. The power-play has been absolutely terrible (a dismal 6.9%) and the penalty kill hasn't been good enough statistically (75%), which could be the just be the result of a little bad luck. The Canucks have also taken the 3rd most minor penalties (39) in the league. If the Canucks improve on those numbers they are looking pretty good. Now a few notes...

  • The Kesler line has been a huge success so far. Burrows and Kesler have started right where they left off last season and have shown that they are the engine of this team. Hansen has been a nice compliment to the line adding a touch of skill.
  • Taylor Pyatt is really struggling. Not only does he only have one assist in 6 games he also leads the team with 5 minor penalties.
  • Henrik Sedin needs to stop the hooking and holding penalties, especially in the offensive zone. You can live with a grab when you are trying to keep the puck out of your net, but not when you are are trying to score.
  • Shane O'Brian has been a mediocre addition so far, too many penalties and suspect mobility. He does however pass the puck pretty well.
  • We all heard that Ryan Johnson was a great shot blocker, but seeing it is another thing entirely. He is currently averaging two blocked shots a game!
  • Luongo is off to a slow start... eerily similar to his first season with the team... he was nominated for a Vezina that year.
  • The Canucks look to be a better team in the faceoff circle this year... only Ryan Johnson (44%) is struggling.

The Injury Situation

  • Darcy Hordichuk (knee)
  • Pavol Demitra (ribs)
  • Rick Rypien's (viral infection, sent home to Vancouver)
  • Sami Salo (groin, might be the closest to returning)

With 3 regular forwards out the Canucks should have Kyle Wellwood, Jason Krog and Mike Brown in the lineup tonight in Columbus. The Sedin and Kesler lines will have to lead the way if the Canucks hope to salvage the road trip.

Enjoy the game.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Canucks Sign Alex Edler to 4 Year Extention

The Vancouver Canucks have locked up defenseman Alex Edler for 4 more years.

The deal is reportedly worth $13m over 4 years, a $3.25m cap hit. At first glace the number seems high, especially considering the Kevin Bieksa contract and his struggles since signing the deal. But that's just the way it is in the "New NHL", players are now payed based on their potential as much as their performance.

Alex Edler would have been a restricted free agent at the end of the season, meaning any team could have swooped in and offered just under $4m (1st and 3rd rd pick compensation range) or maybe more. Not many people would trade Edler for a 1st and 3rd round pick, so the money is right even though it's more than you would comfortably give to a still relatively unproven player. All signs point to Edler as being a very good, maybe even great, defenseman for years to come... of course the same could be said of Bieksa, who is coming off a terrible season and is making his contract look a little worrisome.

That said, this deal is a no-brainer for the Canucks as Edler should easily live up to the money.

Canucks 6 - Flames 0

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Roster Set - Pettinger and Krog Clear Waivers

Both Matt Pettinger and Jason Krog have cleared waivers and will report to the Manitoba Moose. Meanwhile, Jeff Cowan has been assigned to the Peoria Rivermen, the St. Louis Blues AHL Affiliate. Due to AHL veteran rules, there was no place for Cowan in Manitoba.

The Canucks also officially placed Lawrence Nycholat on the injured reserve bringing their roster down to the required 23 players.

So all is set for the season opener against the Flames... all except for the Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog Season Preview! I had hoped to finish it before the opener, but it's turning out to be more extensive than previously thought. It may be up tomorrow, but the weekend is more likely... stay tuned.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Getting Down to 23

It's nice having some depth isn't it? On the other hand, it's not much fun losing players for nothing as the Canucks found out as Nathan McIver was snapped up by the Ducks, and promptly scored an overtime winner against his former team. Right now Mike Gillis is in a bit of a predicament...

With Cody Hodgson returning to junior, there are currently 26 players remaining on the Canucks roster, 3 of them have to go by Wednesday's noon deadline. In an interesting development, the Canucks have decided not to put Mike Brown on waivers due to fears of losing him. So where does that leave them?

The Fowards (16)

  • Steve Bernier
  • Mike Brown
  • Alexandre Burrows
  • Pavol Demitra
  • Jannik Hansen
  • Darcy Hordichuk
  • Ryan Johnson
  • Ryan Kesler
  • Jason Krog
  • Matt Pettinger*
  • Taylor Pyatt
  • Mason Raymond
  • Rick Rypien
  • Daniel Sedin
  • Henrik Sedin
  • Kyle Wellwood

The Defense (8)

  • Kevin Bieksa
  • Rob Davison
  • Alexander Edler
  • Willie Mitchell
  • Lawrence Nycholat*
  • Shane O'Brien
  • Mattias Ohlund
  • Sami Salo

The Goalies (2)

  • Roberto Luongo
  • Curtis Sanford

Coming out of the pre-season it appeared that Jason Krog and Mike Brown were on the outside looking in and that Lawrence Nycholat would have a very hard time knocking anyone out of the top 7 on defense. However, all 3 of those players must clear waivers and it appears that Gillis doesn't want to lose any of them. The situation on defense could sort itself out as Nycholat is scheduled to undergo an MRI to find out how serious his back injury is, but this is only a temporary resolution as the Canucks will have to do something once he is healthy. Up front an injury to Matt Pettinger may help relieve some of the roster pressure, but his injury does not sound serious, so again the Canucks will be stuck in the same position. They appear to really want Krog to go to Manitoba, but there may be another team willing to take on his salary and give him a shot at the NHL level.

So the conclusion to draw from all this is that two things will happen: 1) The Canucks make a trade; 2) The Canucks take their chances with the waiver wire; Considering the unusual step they have taken in keeping Mike Brown I have a feeling someone else is on his way out... maybe Matt Pettinger.

I'm very interested to see how Gillis manages this situation. Trading someone away in order to keep someone who was essentially cut isn't a great message to send to your team. On the other hand maybe Brown was cut because they thought they could sneak him through waivers rather than a Pettinger who would likely be claimed and lost for nothing.

I'm also really not sure how keeping Brown makes the Canucks a better team. Can you really keep him around just because you don't want to lose him as an asset? It's a strange situation and it will be interesting to see how it all works out...

Canucks Trade Krajicek to Lightning for O'Brien

The Vancouver Canucks have traded defenseman Lukas Krajicek and prospect Juraj Simek to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Shane O'Brien and Michel Ouellet.

It was pretty clear that Lukas Krajicek was not a favourite of Alain Vigneault, so the fact that he has been traded shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Quite simply, Krajicek was an offensive defenseman who didn't produce (only 27pts in two seasons with Vancouver), while in his own end of the rink he was routinely pushed around and out-muscled in the corners and in front of the net. That combination (and to a lesser extent the emergence of Edler) put him in a position where he was in a genuine battle with Rob Davison for a job as the 6th defenseman.

In return the Canucks have beefed up their blueline. Shane O'Brien is listed at 6'3 - 224 lbs and brings a lot more grit than Krajicek. The question marks surrounding O'Brien revolve around his mobility, which was often criticized in Tampa Bay, however the move to the Western Conference and into Vancouver's tighter system should help in this regard. Offensively O'Brien managed to put up 21pts, which interestingly enough is 5 more than Krajicek's career high. So where does he slot in? It's hard to say right now, but he will likely be battling with Davison for the #6 spot.

The Canucks also picked up an intriguing player in Michel Ouellet. Ouellet has shown an ability to score at the NHL level putting up 116 pts in 187 career games. However, the fact that he has already cleared waivers this season means that the Canucks would have to place him on re-entry waivers and risk losing him to someone else while also being on the hook for half his salary ($1.2m). Canuck fans should also keep in mind that every team took a pass on this guy when he was on waivers and that there are now two teams who have walked away from him in his short career. Nevertheless, if they can sneak him through waivers there could be room on the second line if Taylor Pyatt fails to produce.

Overall, this move certainly helps add some muscle to the backend, but it also raises some concerns about the overall ability of the defense to rush the puck. That said, the blueline got a lot tougher to play against which is a good thing. Just take a look at the current top 7... Kevin Bieksa is the smallest guy at 6'0 205lbs. Speaking of the top 7, this moves still leaves the team with a surplus of defenseman with Nycholat still on the team (albeit injured at the moment) and needing to clear waivers to be sent down. It's unlikely that they will carry 8 defensemen so something has to give...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pre-Season Power Rankings V5

Updated Rankings After 6 Games...

  1. Mayson Raymond (1) - Spot on second line guaranteed.
  2. Jannik Hansen (2) - Should start season on 3rd line
  3. Kyle Wellwood (3) - Held pointless, no shots on goal, didn't see the game, but the word is he had a solid game.
  4. Rick Rypien (7) - Another entertaining fight, pushing hard to make the cut, Coach V likes him, played 4:05 on the PK! I think he's in.
  5. Matt Pettinger (4) - According to Ben Kuzma, Pettinger has hip-flexor injury. Hard to say what's going to happen with him now, depends on the roster options available to Canucks.
  6. Jason Krog (5) - "In the replay" on Sharks goal resulting in a -1 on the night, played on both PK & PP, will likely have one last chance to give the Canucks a reason to keep him. The Canucks are probably looking at sneaking him through waivers and assigning him to Manitoba.
  7. Mike Brown (8) - Vigneault likes him, chances have improved with subtraction of Cowan and injury to Pettinger. Update: Brown is heading to the waiver wire. Vigneault: "Brown was close but we think Rypien right now is just a little bit ahead of him"
  8. Cody Hodgson (9) - May make it to Sunday, but he is heading back to junior. Update: Also according to Jason Botchford, Hodgson will not play on Sunday.
  9. Jeff Cowan (6) - Did not play against San Jose, he's in real trouble (Edit: Placed on waivers as I was writing this post)
  10. Michael Grabner (10) -
  11. Jason Jaffray (11) -

Rankings are a combination of how they've been playing and how coaches have been using/commenting. Five forwards should make the team assuming Canucks carry 14 forwards. Last rank shown in ().

Previous Pre-Season Power Rankings:

McIver lost on waivers, Cowan also waived

The Vancouver Canucks depth on defense took a bit of a hit today as Nathan McIver has been claimed by the Anaheim Ducks. McIver was a decent option as a callup to fill in at the #7 hole, but let's face it, the chances of him having a career as a regular NHL defenseman aren't that great. If everything goes well for McIver he could be a decent bottom pairing defenseman who adds toughness to the lineup. It's unfortunate that the Canucks had to lose him for nothing, but in the end it's not going to have any affect on the outcome of the season.

Meanwhile, Jeff Cowan's quest to make the team is over as he has been placed on waivers. Cowan simply hasn't been the same player as the one who earned the knickname "Brabarian." Last season he struggled through injuries and was asked to play the role of enforcer something for which he wasn't well suited. The jump in his skating was noticeably absent and because of it, he was not effective. The Canucks gave him a fair opportunity in the pre-season, but he was never able to show that he could do any one thing better than those competing for his job.

In other waiver news, both Nolan Baumgartner and Zack Fitzgerald have cleared waivers. They have been assigned to the Manitoba Moose.

Around the Web (Oct 4 Ed.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Canucks Roster Down to 31

The Vancouver Canucks have made another round of cuts.

Cory Schneider, Alex Bolduc and Shaun Heshka are packing their bags for Moose camp while Zack Fitzgerald will be on his way after(if) he clears waivers.

No surprises here. With only two pre-season games remaining Luongo and Sanford are likely to split the duties between the pipes, so there wasn't much point in having Schneider stick around. It's time for him to get prepared for his season with the Moose.

All of the other cuts had pretty decent camps, in particular Alex Bolduc, but none of them had any real chance of making the team.

The Canucks take on the Sharks tonight. Unfortunately the game is not televised, but will be streamed live on