Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Roberto Luongo Named Captain of the Vancouver Canucks

Today the Vancouver Canucks named Roberto Luongo captain and Willie Mitchell, Mattias Ohlund and Ryan Kesler as assistant/alternate captains.

So, for the first time in 60 years, a goaltender will be the captain of an NHL franchise. Who saw that one coming? Now it's no secret that Luongo has had a huge presence in the locker room and is essentially the key leader of the team, but naming him captain is interesting to say the least.

I can't say that I disagree with the decision, but I almost have to ask what's the point? Luongo would be one of the top leaders of the team with or without the "C"... err wait a minute he can't where that anyway. Mitchell will essentially be the "on ice captain" in terms of performing the duties of a captain, while Ohlund will act as the captain for ceremonial faceoffs etc. So again what's the point of naming Luongo captain? Why not Mitchell?

I'm a little concerned about what message this sends to the other captain candidates. "Sorry we don't think you're really the right choice to where the 'C', so were giving it to a guy who isn't allowed to even wear it". Obviously the players passed over have too much class to make a stink about it, but if I'm Willie Mitchell or Mattias Ohlund I would feal a little slighted. This situation isn't that big of a deal, but it's something to keep in mind.

Overall this is just an interesting story, it's not going to have much of an affect on the outcome of the season. Still, it will be nice to hear the words "Roberto Luongo come get the Stanley Cup" from Gary Bettman :).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Canucks Make Cuts - Roster Down to 34

As expected the Canucks announced their roster cuts today following their weekend in California.

Seven players are packing their bags for Manitoba...

  • F Michael Grabner
  • F Jason Jaffray (Must Clear Waivers)
  • F Dan Gendur
  • F Pierre-Cedric Labrie
  • D Daniel Rahimi (Did not see any pre-season action)
  • D James Sharrow (Must Clear Waivers)
  • F Mark Cullen (Must Clear Waivers)

No real surprises among the group, the only two players who had any kind of chance of making the team were Grabner and Jaffray.

As noted in yesterday's Pre-Season Power Rankings Grabner simply wasn't doing anything to warrant much more of a look. Considering how the Canucks need offense some might be pretty dissapointed in Grabner, but realisticly he only has one pro season under his belt and simply isn't ready for the NHL. He needs to get a full season in the AHL and show that he can both produce consistent offense and improve his game away from the puck.

Jason Jaffray didn't have much of a chance considering the additions of Wellwood and Krog. He had a decent pre-season, but at 27 years old he is no longer a prospect. He should have a good year with the Moose, as he definately has enough talent to produce in the AHL, and may even get the odd callup to the Canucks should injuries become a problem. Jaffray is a nice depth player to have in the organization, but his chances of being an NHL regular are slim to none.

In other news... Alain Vignault had good things to say about Kyle Wellwood meeting his fitness goals: "He has made unbelivable strides and I think a lot of credit goes to him and his commitment to getting to where he needs to be"

The Canucks have three more pre-season games beginning at home against Calgary on Wednesday (Televised on TSN). Expect another round of cuts after the game as the Canucks are currently carrying 11 extra players and will likely want to have most of their 23 man roster suited up in the final two pre-season games.

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pre-Season Power Rankings V 3

Updated Rankings After 4 Games...

  1. Mayson Raymond (1) - Did not play in Anaheim
  2. Jannik Hansen (2) - Did not play in Anaheim
  3. Matt Pettinger (3) - Very strong on the PK in Anaheim, but where's the offensive game?
  4. Kyle Wellwood (5) - Invisible > Scores > Invisible > Scores shootout winner. The Canucks need his offense, but can he take a regular shift without being a liability? Good game in faceoff circle.
  5. Jason Krog (4) - Unspectacular in Anaheim, only 33% in the circle, but strong contribution on the PK.
  6. Jeff Cowan (7) - Two very poor penalties in offensive zone, ice-time cut noticeably in 3rd, has contract and experience advantage over the young guys.
  7. Rick Rypien (9) - Very physical as usual, made some good plays, made some poor plays, brutal in faceoff circle. Ice time decreased as game moved along.
  8. Cody Hodgson (6) - Scored in shootout, but it's pretty clear Hodgson isn't ready for a full season in the NHL, may still get a look in the regular season, but it's not likely.
  9. Mike Brown (10) - Did not play in Anaheim
  10. Michael Grabner (8) - Not doing anything to generate any kind of interest, 1 shot on goal with 12 minutes of ice time, may not make next round of cuts.
  11. Jason Jaffray (11) - Did not play in Anaheim

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:

Canucks 5 - Ducks 4 (SO) - Game Notes

The Canucks remain perfect in the pre-season with a shootout victory in Anaheim.

  • After a long off-season we finally got a look at Bernier with the Sedins and it was a pretty good one. Bernier was creating a lot of space on the ice by drawing defenders while the Sedins looked to make plays. Bernier was also a force in front of the net and on the forecheck (when this guy throws a hit, it looks like it hurts). The line is looking pretty good so far, the Sedins look ready to start the season tommorow.
  • With the exception of the Perry goal, Rob Davison had a really good game. He was especially strong in front of the net and along the boards. He is going to give Krajicek a run for his money for #6 ice-time, likely drawing in against the bigger more physical teams.
  • Kyle Wellwood was invisible for most of the game, but somehow manages to score a nice goal and win the game in the shootout. The Canucks can clearly use his offensive skills, but is there room for him in the lineup. Are they willing to hide him on the 4th line and bring him out for PP's and in the shootout? Can they afford to have him taking a regular shift on the second line? Wellwood is going to get a long look.
  • Vintage Salo. Nice to see.
  • Jeff Cowan took a couple of terrible penalties in the offensive zone. I can live with one, but to come back and take a second hooking penalty in the offensive zone is just unacceptable. Cowan has an experience and contract advantage over some of the guys trying to take his job, but he is really going to have to step up if he's going to crack the top 14 forwards.
  • Penalties are becoming a concern, it's early but at some point they really need to tighten up the discipline.
  • Lawrence Nycholat had a pretty decent game, played 20 minutes. Nice to see Gillis get a decent asset for a guy (Shannon) who wasn't going to fit in here. Nycholat is a nice addition to the callup depth. Between Nycholat, Baumgartner and McIver the organizational depth on defense is pretty solid.
  • Curtis Sanford had a great game. Sanford really needs to establish the confidence of the team and coaching staff. So far so good.
  • Henrik and Wellwood were both over 65% in the faceoff circle.

Cuts coming tommorow, many players will be packing their bags for Moose camp.

Comments Enabled - Anaheim Pre Game Info

From this post on, it is now possible to leave comments... working on getting older posts to include the option to allow comments.

Update: Unfortunately there is no automated way to turn comments on for older posts which had comments initially turned off.

Anyway, enjoy the game against Anaheim, you can watch it live on Sportsnet at 5:00pm (The game will most likely also be streamed live on Canucks.com). The lineup should look something like this...

  • Sedin - Sedin - Bernier
  • Grabner - Hodgson - Labrie
  • Hordichuk - Johnson - Burrows
  • Bolduc - Cullen - Gendur
  • Mitchell - Bieksa
  • Davison - Salo
  • Nycholat - Sharrow
  • Sanford
  • Schneider

Check back after the game for a recap and an update to the Pre-Season Power Rankings!

Update #2: It sounds like Cody Hodgson will be playing alongside Rypien and Cowan, so take the above lineup with a grain of salt. Wellwood will also be drawing in on a line with Grabner and Pettinger.

Around the Web (Sept 28 Ed.)

Not much out there today...

Pre-Season Power Rankings V 2

Updated Rankings After 3 Games...

  • Mayson Raymond (1) - Considering his play and how he is being used I don't see how he can lose his spot barring injury
  • Jannik Hansen (3) - Great game against San Jose, looks smart, showing offensive skills, showing that he can play a two way game on 3rd line. Will now have to play his way off team.
  • Matt Pettinger (2) - Solid game on a line with Wellwood and Hansen, versatility will keep him on the roster
  • Jason Krog (5) - An audition on the wing... showing versatility and producing both on the scoresheet and in the faceoff circle, great hustle on his goal
  • Kyle Wellwood (4) - Showing great hands, but also getting out muscled/played downlow... stock dropping fast
  • Cody Hodgson (6) - Did not play in San Jose
  • Jeff Cowan (7) - Played under 10min, but 1/3 of that was on the PK, fate may rest on Wellwood/Krog and whether Hodgson sticks
  • Michael Grabner (8) - Did not play in San Jose
  • Rick Rypien (10) - Great fight in SJ, still needs to show more than just a physical game if he wants to make team
  • Mike Brown (9) - Has a future just not now, physical game and skating are good, too many vets in front of him at this point, played under 10min against SJ but did get a little PK time
  • Jason Jaffray (11) - Reminded people that he does have skill... is it enough for the nhl? Not right now.

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.

Previous Pre-Season Power Rankings:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Canucks 3 - Sharks 2

One advantage of watching a game on the internet is that it is easy to type notes as the game goes along and you don't have to go off of your beer fogged memory! So here are the random things that stuck out tonight...

  • The Canucks used both Demitra and Krog on the point on the power play. Is this a sign of things to come, or is the move just based on the lack of offensive depth in pre-season lineups?
  • Wellwood continues to show great hands... but also continues to be outplayed in any kind of physical battle.
  • The Canucks 4th line had a breakaway... yes all 3 of them, Cowan, Rypien, Brown... and failed to score.
  • Krog showed good speed supporting Hansen's breakaway and eventually knocking in the rebound.
  • Great fight between Rypien and Brad Staubitz, both guys landing good ones, Rypien cut after a series of about 4 rights but you could easily give him the decision after dropping Staubitz with a right to end the fight.
  • During the first two periods the Canucks were drawing a lot of penalties with their speed/determination.
  • Wellwood actually showed a little grit on Hansen's goal, going to the net and creating room for Pettinger who centred the puck to Hansen in front.
  • If Cory Schneider had more than one pro season under his belt he would be Luongo's backup this season.
  • Demitra made a very poor clearing attempt in the final minute, leading to SJ's 2nd goal.
  • We had a good look at who the Canucks envision as the 2nd line.
  • The defense looked good, especially considering that half of them will be playing in Manitoba to start the season. The 3 Moose bound guys will be good depth options should injuries strike.
  • Luongo was Luongo

Finally here are the line combinations:

  • Raymond Demitra Pyatt
  • Pettinger Wellwood Hansen
  • Jaffray Kesler Krog
  • Cowan Rypien Brown
  • Ohlund Baumgartner
  • McIver Edler
  • Fitzgerald Krajicek

PK Forward Duos:

  • Rypien Kesler
  • Krog Hansen
  • Cowen Krog?
  • Pettinger Brown

Pre-Season Power Rankings V1

Introducing the Pre-Season power rankings, a list detailing the current battle for positions on the 2008-2009 edition of the Vancouver Canucks.

The power rankings consist of players who do not have an NHL job "locked up". Since the 7 defenseman appear to be set in stone barring injury they will be ommitted from the power rankings.

So, here are the initial rankings heading into tonight's game vs San Jose...

  1. Mayson Raymond (NR) - At this point a top-6 forward spot is his to lose, decent game in Edmonton
  2. Matt Pettinger (NR) - Many will question this ranking, but I really like Pettinger. Very versatile, strong at both ends, good size/physical play and offensive upside
  3. Jannik Hansen (NR) - Off to a great start, the questions are: can he provide enough offense to stick in the top 6? & does he have a enough grit to contribute in the bottom 6?
  4. Kyle Wellwood (NR) - His contract and offensive potential are the only reasons he is ranked this high
  5. Jason Krog (NR) - Impressed in Edmonton, especially in the faceoff department, not likely to centre 2nd line, but if he shows enough of a two way game could centre one of the bottom 6
  6. Cody Hodgson (NR) - He's going to get a long look in the pre-season and has a good shot at sticking around for a few regular season games
  7. Jeff Cowan (NR) - Hordichuk may make him redundant, but if he can regain his "brabarian" form the Canucks would like his toughness
  8. Michael Grabner (NR) - There's room in the top 6, his play has not ruled him out of a top 6 spot
  9. Mike Brown (NR) - Two-way contract hurts his chances, will have to play his way on to the team as opposed to off
  10. Rick Rypien (NR) - Poor AHL season and the new competition at centre will make things tough for Rypien
  11. Jason Jaffray (NR) - Decent depth option, but at this point he barely makes this list

Assuming the Canucks carry 14 forwards (which I consider likely for at least the first few weeks of the season) 5 of these forwards will make the team.

Around the Web (Sept 27 Ed.)

And in case you missed it, tonights game against San Jose will be streamed live on Canucks.com. So it looks like all of the pre-season games will be available on tv in some form. Great news for Canuck Addicts.

Thoughts After Two Games

The most noticeable aspect of the 2008-09 edition of the Vancouver Canucks is the new found emphasis on going to the net. I don't know if this has to do with the new "grittier" personnel on the ice, a stronger emphasis from the coaching staff, or a combination of the two. Whichever it is, it is certainly encouraging to see. Too many times in the past this team has been purely a perimeter team. It is no secret that this team has offensive challenges, hopefully this new attitude can help alleviate some of those challenges.

Cory Schneider had an outstanding game in Edmonton, clearly demonstrating that he is one of the organizations strongest assets. Schneider is set for a full season in Manitoba, but don't be surprised if he makes an appearance in the second half of the season should the Canucks confidence in Sanford waiver.

It's exciting to see some depth down the middle. Obviously the Canucks cannot keep every centre who has appeared in the first two games on the roster, but if they somehow manage to sneak a Krog or Wellwood down to Manitoba they will be well prepared should any injuries strike down the middle.

Rob Davison will bring some much needed size and grit to the backend. Don't be surprised if he beats out Lukas Krajicek for #6 ice-time.

The arrival of Darcy Hordichuk means that Jeff Cowan's days could be numbered, however Cowan has responded well to the challenge. There's a chance he can put his injury riddled 07-08 season behind him and maybe re-emerge as the "Brabarian".

Jannik Hansen is going to get a very long look for the rest of the pre-season.

Kyle Wellwood has been a dissapointment so far, although that's not really a surprise. He is really going to have to step it up if he wants to stick. Can the Canucks afford to keep him around as a 13th forward, power play/shootout sepecialist? Last year I may have said yes, but with the depth and versatility of this year's roster Wellwood is going to have to demonstrate that he can take a regular shift without being a liability defensively. In his lone game so far we saw the offensive talent, but we also saw that he gets beat too easily in any sort of battle for the puck or even positioning. Throw in his questionable conditioning and it appears Wellwood will have to really be productive if he wants a job.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie is BIG. If he can improve upon his skating he may have a future in the NHL.

Cody Hodgson did not look out of place at all. I really liked how he moved the puck, especially on the backhand(both passing and shooting). I'm excited to see how he does in the rest of the season, he may have a chance to get into some regular season action before he must be returned to Junior.

First Round of Cuts

The Vancouver Canucks have reduced their roster by 4 players.

  • Juraj Simek (RW) has been assigned to the Manitoba Moose
  • Yann Sauve (D) has been sent back to his junior club
  • Taylor Ellington (D) has also been sent to his junior club
  • Karl Goehring (G) has been released, but will be attendting Moose camp

None of these players had a chance to make the Canucks, but it is pretty disappointing to see that former 2nd round pick Taylor Ellington has been sent to junior so soon (I believe he is eligible to play in the ECHL). Hopefully he has a big season as an over-age in the WHL.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Vancouver Canucks 2008 Pre-Season Schedule

  • Mon, Sept 22 - at Edmonton 6:00pm - RSN
  • Tue, Sept 23 - vs Edmonton 7:00pm - RSN
  • Sat, Sept 27 - at San Jose 7:30pm - No TV*
  • Sun, Sept 28 - at Anaheim 5:00pm - RSN
  • Wed, Oct 1 - vs Calgary 7:00pm - TSN
  • Thu, Oct 2 - vs San Jose 7:00pm - No TV*
  • Sun, Oct 5 - vs Anaheim 7:00pm - No TV*

* It's looking like all pre-season games will be streamed live on Canucks.com starting with the San Jose game at 7:25 pm PST!

Vancouver Canucks 2008 - 2009 Schedule

G #DateH/AOpponentTimeTVResult
Ex 1Sep 22AEdmonton6:00RSNW 4-3(SO)
Ex 2Sep 23HEdmonton7:00RSNW 2-1
Ex 3Sep 27ASan Jose7:30NoneW 3-2 - Recap
Ex 4Sep 28AAnaheim5:00RSNW 5-4 SO - Recap
Ex 5Oct 1HCalgary7:00TSNW 6-1 - Recap
Ex 6Oct 2HSan Jose7:00NoneW 3-2
Ex 7Oct 5HAnaheim7:00NoneL 4-3 (OT)
G #DateH/AOpponentTimeTVResult
October (6-5-0) - Report Card (C+)
#1Thu 9H Flames7:30 PMCBCW 6-0 - Recap
#2Sat 11A Flames 7:00 PM CBCW 5-4 (OT)
#3Mon 13 A Capitals 4:00 PM PPVL 5-1
#4Thu 16 A Red Wings 4:30 PM TSNW 4-3 (OT)
#5Fri 17 A Sabres 4:30 PM RSNL 5-2
#6Sun 19 A Blackhawks 4:00 PM PPVL 4-2
#7Tue 21 A Blue Jackets 4:00 PM RSNL 4-2
#8Sat 25 HOilers 7:00 PM CBCW 6-3
#9Tue 28 HBruins 7:00 PM TSNL 1-0
#10Thu 30 A Kings 7:30 PM PPVW 4-0
#11Fri 31 A Ducks 7:00 PM RSNW 7-6 (SO)
November (8-3-2) - Report Card (A-)
#12Sun 2 HRed Wings 7:00 PM RSNL 3-2
#13Tue 4 HPredators 7:00 PM TSNW 4-0 - Recap
#14Thu 6 HCoyotes 7:00 PM RSNW 1-0
#15Sat 8 HWild 7:00 PM CBCW 2-0
#16Wed 12 HAvalanche 7:00 PM TSNL 2-1 (SO)
#17Sat 15 HMaple Leafs 4:00 PM CBCW 4-2
#18Mon 17 A Islanders 4:00 PM RSN L 2-1 (SO) - Recap
#19Wed 19 A Rangers 4:30 PM TSNW 6-3 - Recap
#20Thu 20 A Wild 5:00 PM RSNW 3-2 - Recap
#21Sat 22 A Penguins 11:00 AM RSNW 2-1 - Recap
#22Mon 24 HRed Wings 7:00 PM RSNW 3-2 (OT) - Recap
#23Thu 27 HFlames 7:00 PM RSNL 4-3
#24Sat 29 A Flames 7:00 PM CBCL 3-1
December 2008
#25Mon 1 A Blue Jackets 4:00 PM RSNL 3-2
#26Thu 4 A Red Wings 4:30 PM PPVL 6-5
#27Fri 5 A Wild 5:00 PM RSNW 2-1 - Recap
#28Sun 7 A Avalanche 5:00 PM RSNL 5-4 (SO) - Recap
#29Tue 9 A Predators 5:00 PM RSNW 3-1
#30Sat 13 A Oilers 7:00 PM CBCL 3-0
#31Sun 14 HPanthers 7:00 PM RSNW 5-3
#32Wed 17 HOilers 7:30 PM RSNW 4-2
#33Sat 20 HBlackhawks 7:00 PM CBCL 3-1
#34Mon 22 HDucks 7:00 PM RSNW 4-3
#35Tue 23 A Sharks 7:00 PM TSNL 5-0
#36Fri 26 HOilers 7:00 PM RSNL 3-2
#37Sun 28 HSenators 7:00 PM PPVW 3-0
#38Tue 30 HFlyers 7:00 PM PPVL 3-2
January 2009
#39Thu 1 A Predators 5:00 PM RSNW 2-1
#40Fri 2 A Thrashers 4:30 PM RSNL 4-3 (SO)
#41Sun 4 HStars 7:00 PM PPVL 3-2 (SO)
#42Wed 7 A Oilers 7:00 PM RSNW 4-2
#43Fri 9 HBlues 7:00 PM RSNL 6-4 - Game Recap
#44Sat 10 HSharks 7:00 PM CBCL 4-2
#45Tue 13 HDevils 7:00 PM PPVL 5-3
#46Thu 15 HCoyotes 7:00 PM RSNL 4-1
#47Sun 18 HBlue Jackets 5:00 PM RSNL 6-5 (SO)
#48Tue 20 A Sharks 7:30 PM TSNL 2-1 (OT)
#49Wed 28 HPredators 7:30 PM TSN
#50Sat 31 HWild 7:00 PM CBC
February 2009
#51Tue 3 HHurricanes 7:00 PM RSN
#52Sat 7 HBlackhawks 7:00 PM CBC
#53Tue 10 A Blues 5:30 PM RSN
#54Thu 12 A Coyotes 6:00 PM RSN
#55Fri 13 A Stars 5:30 PM RSN
#56Sun 15 H Canadiens 7:00 PM PPV
#57Tue 17 A Flames 6:30 PM RSN
#58Thu 19 A Senators 4:30 PM RSN
#59Sat 21 A Maple Leafs 4:00 PM CBC
#60Tue 24 A Canadiens 4:30 PM RSN
#61Fri 27 H Lightning 7:00 PM PPV
March 2009
#62Sun 1 HBlue Jackets 5:00 PM RSN
#63Tue 3 HWild 7:00 PM RSN
#64Sat 7 HSharks 7:00 PM CBC
#65Mon 9 A Kings 7:30 PM RSN
#66Wed 11 A Ducks 7:00 PM PPV
#67Fri 13 H Kings 7:00 PM RSN
#68Sun 15 H Avalanche 7:00 PM RSN
#69Tue 17 H Stars 7:00 PM TSN
#70Thu 19 H Blues 7:00 PM RSN
#71Sat 21 A Coyotes 7:00 PM CBC
#72Tue 24 A Stars 5:30 PM RSN
#73Thu 26 A Blues 5:30 PM RSN
#74Fri 27 A Avalanche 6:00 PM PPV
#75Sun 29 A Blackhawks 4:00 PM RSN
#76Tue 31 A Wild 5:00 PM RSN
April 2009
#77Thu 2 HDucks 7:00 PM RSN
#78Sat 4 A Oilers 7:00 PM CBC
#79Sun 5 HAvalanche 7:00 PM TSN
#80Tue 7 HFlames 7:00 PM RSN
#81Thu 9 HKings 7:00 PM RSN
#82Sat 11 A Avalanche 12:00 PM RSN

All times Pacific

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog V 2.0

Coming soon...

Update: Well the new color scheme for V2.0 has been updated... things will be added and improved as the regular season approaches. First item on the agenda is to add the full schedule for the season and update some of the remaining out of date links. In the meantime you can catch the Canucks pre-season opener live on Sportsnet Monday night!

Complete 2008-2009 Canucks Schedule is now posted. Schedule includes local(BC) television information, result information and links to game recaps on Canucks.com