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Good Riddance to Canucks Ryan Kesler and His Me First Attitude

Sharks Canucks HockeyI just couldn’t resist not writing this article after this whole escapade with Ryan Kesler – and the developments that went down up to yesterday.

Let me get this straight. Ryan Kesler decides around the time of the Winter Olympics that he wants out of Vancouver. It gets leaked out to the media and Canucks management leap into damage control.

Kesler and his agent emphatically deny the rumour as being just that, a rumour started by the media. As we find out later, from what has been divulged in the media, it is Kesler that goes to management, not the Canucks who want him to waive his No Trade Clause, and proceeds to give them a list of teams he would like to be moved to.

Former GM Mike Gillis is not able to move Kesler before the trade deadline and the Canucks fail to make the play-offs. Gillis is fired and then after the change, President, Trevor Linden and General Manger, Jim Benning, both go to Kesler to clarify and try to sell him on staying – which doesn’t work.

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Were the Canuck Players as Bad as the Season Ending Stats Indicate?

Canucks' - Sedins

Canucks’ – Sedins

Last season Canuck scoring stats were a mystery for a lot reasons and the first one would be how could so many players have a poor year at the same time? Usually on a team you see a couple of players that for health or performance reasons fail to attain their average scoring points.

The Canucks had four forwards of which two, the Sedins, are their top point getter and one D-man in Alex Edler, their usual top point man on D. This whole dilemma filtered down throughout all the lines in some capacity, but when you look at some of the Corsi and Fenwick stats, it doesn’t display the whole picture.

Obviously you must have top puck possession stats in order to afford yourself the opportunity to score and the Canucks were 24th in offensive zone face-offs and off course the offset would be defensive zone face-offs – 6th worse.

Okay that’s clear to me, but did the Canucks generate enough shots to be able to score. The stat for that is the Fenwick, which = Shots + shots attempts that missed the net. The support for the Fenwick is the Corsi (Shots + shots attempts that missed the net + shot attempts that were blocked).

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Canucks Pres. Trevor Linden with a Lot of Work to Do

PNG 0409S linden 488Canucks President Trevor Linden and new GM Jim Benning would have us believe that they feel last year was an off-season for most of the Canucks players,and that this team can/will make the playoffs this coming season. Really! Has anyone looked at the roster lately to see just who will lead this team to the playoffs?

First let’s start with the average age of the Canucks (28) in comparison to the final four teams that were in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Those were: Bruins (29), Hawks (28), Rangers (27), and Stanley Cup Champions Kings (27). Okay, there’s not a huge gap in the overall average team age.

The key factor here is the age of the core of each team, which is made up of three forwards and two defensemen.

Bruins (28) are made up of: Patrice Bergeron (28), David Krejci (28), Milan Lucic (26), Zdeno Chara (37)and Dougie Hamilton (21). You can see that Chara’s 37 really has an impact on the Bruins avg. age.

Hawks (29) consisted of: Jonathan Toews (26), Patrick Kane (25), Marian Hossa (35), Duncan Keith (30) and Brent Seabrook (29). Here, Hossa at 35 raises this average. Read more »

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NHL Playoff Predictions so far. How are you doing?

Montreal Canadiens v Boston BruinsI have to say I can’t remember the last time I watched so much hockey. All of the first and second rounds and parts of most of the games.

The first round was just a warm-up for a lot of teams and the 16 was reduced to eight. I was fortunate enough to go six for eight. But it was the second round where the series picked up the pace and some upsets happened.

When was the last time that you saw three game sevens in rounds one and two? I mean this playoff hockey has been the best in recent memory, which for most of us, is probably last seasons playoffs. Three game sevens in the first and second round, which was an NHL record, along with the number of hits.

Who would have thought that the talent of the Pittsburgh Penguins, with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Kris Letang and a host of supporting others, would fall to the New York Rangers? But as I mentioned before that series began, if Crosby and Malkin had a similar series as their first round, than Alain Vigneault’s team along with the King – Henrik Lundqvist, would shut them down, even if it took game seven.

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Be Careful About Drinking the Canucks Kool-Aid

John+Tortorella+Vancouver+Canucks+Announce+mklvTT-cJw7l[1]I don’t buy into this media assumption that John Tortorella’s system was not doable for the Canucks and that their failure was in essence his responsibility. First of all, professional hockey players can adapt to any system, because they have been doing that since they played at the PeeWee level, and there is only so many ways that you can attack and defend.

Sure maybe the team concept of blocking shots was foreign to a number of players, but Canucks had been blocking shots under Alain Vigneault’s system also, and many teams play a collapse around the net type of defense.  Watch any team in the NHL defend their net and you’ll see that.

Now if the Canucks had not bought into Tort’s system, they would have struggled the whole season. Tell me where that was in the month of December when out of a possible 26 points they collected 21 (8W, 1 OT W, 1 SO W, 1L, 2SO L). That month they had only ONE loss in regulation.

No, the real reason the Canucks couldn’t survive was due to a lack of depth at the forward position when the injuries started piling up, with players playing out of position, more ice-time than normal, and not enough scoring ability. This has nothing to do with the Tort’s system, nor his coaching abilities, but has to do with former Canucks Mike Gillis not stocking the system with the right mixture of players for the Coach. Read more »

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Vancouver Canucks – Who will stay and who will go?

CanucksThere are a number of players that are UFA’s and RFA’s. Just which of the Vancouver Canucks will be re-signed or will the off-season changes, which will surely develop, force them out.

UFA’s

There are two UFA’s in Mike Santorelli and Andrew Alberts.

Mike Santorelli – will be 29 in December and was another of Gillis better signings in the off-season. He will be a UFA in July and to me, was the most consistent player before he got injured. His cap friendly hit of $550,000 was a steal for the production he put up until he was injured. Too bad, because he was heading towards a career year.

In 49 games he finished with 10G, 18A with a plus/minus +6. A versatile forward that is a natural Centre played also on the wing and was an exciting player to watch. This is the type of depth player that the Canucks need to bring back.

Andrew Alberts – 33 in June and was a part-time D-man before getting knocked out of the game with a concussion. He only played in 10 games and never did return from the concussion.

A very useful depth player come playoff time, his physical play was a bonus on defense but with the depth now at that position, I don’t think he will be brought back, even if he does recover from the concussion.

David Booth – has one more year at $4.2 million and will turn 30 in November. Although I have always maintained that he would be bought out at the end of this season, I have since soften my stance on this. He has been one of the better players since the beginning of March, although it will not show up in his 9G, 10A. Read more »

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