Turning the page in 2010…


'Getting ahead of ourselves' is what we would be doing if we starting looking at the ongoing reshaping of the team with Mike Gillis as GM. So... I will do it for those that haven't given the issue much thought ...

Who will not be here in the summer of 2010? I know that Pavol Demitra will not be. I would like to think the Canucks would waive the 'man of glass' Salo ... it would be nice to have a D-man play above 60 games per year in his stead. I would suppose the Canucks will 'buck up' and resign both Ryan Johnson and Ryan Kesler... they have been key players when the team is playing well.

Do the Nucks resign Willie Mitchell? wmitchell8 It's hard to say as he is a unrestricted free agent after this season. Being a local boy is a big plus - but can the Canucks afford a pay raise on top of Willie's $3.50 Million? The only D-man under contract that doesn't have a no-trade clause is Bieksa. It would be hard to argue he has played up to his potential this year.

The truth is and has been for a long time - the Canucks lack a 'go to' sniper outside of the Sedins. sedins Who can fill the need for more scoring? Could it be a prized free agent? Unlikely... the Canucks have a limited amount of cap space - especially with 're-upping' Kesler and Johnson. More likely - we need the emergence of future stars of Hodgson and Grabner to come off without more set backs in the new season...mgrabner


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Puck turnovers are key to playoff success.

58783421keslerSS#6 If you look at the Vancouver Canucks - (having just walloped the Avalanche last night as I write this post...) as a completely healthy lineup; it begs the question...

"Can the Canucks go deep into the 3rd round or further of the playoffs with this lineup?"

Looking at the players on the roster most would agree the potential and talent level is there... However, I am unimpressed with the team balance still. I won't disagree with the players of the Sedins ... Samuelsson... they are very talented true enough. Perhaps the return of Pavol Demitra will overcome the lacking in other areas. What worked so well last season was the grit factor added by Kesler and Burrows.

Burrows has not been as effective as he was last season. But he may still find his form ... having been hampered by injuries and illness - and the obvious absence of Daniel Sedin - the chemistry hasn't been the same. Ryan Kesler has been outstanding... and the continued development of Mason Raymond adds scoring punch.

Still, sounding much like Don Cherry - there are too many soft Europeans in the forward positions who cannot throw a body check which creates a puck turnover. Come playoffs - the need to throw body checks and create turnovers are critical factors. Remember ... Chicago Blackhawks performed the puck turnover game to a 'T' in dispatching Vancouver in round two? With so many Europeans as it stands right now the Canucks lack the one player who can fill that role specifically.


The likes of Bernier - Rypein - Kesler - Burrows - and Glass will bodycheck in the offensive zone. But they are comparatively light weights to what is needed to counter a player like Dustin Byfuglien or Scott Hartnell... Canucks Blackhawks Hockeyscotthartnell

The Canucks need another player with the tenacity of Burrows Alex Burrows (celebrates SH winner) but with the size of the larger power wingers of Byfugilein or Hartnell.


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A pathetic effort in St. Looo


Wow ... would the real Slim Shady...err I mean the real Canucks please stand up?

Since when are our local boys the slump breakers? The record for the Blues over the past seven home games had been 1-7-1 ... . Brad Boyes was pointless in 10 games and had but 6 points in 16 games previous. David Perron had never before scored a NHL hat trick...

Raycroft who had been pulling out his retro 2003 - 2004 play of late (*with the exception of his debacle in Anaheim) looked like just another sad excuse for a back-up to Luongo... The Canucks actually looked liked the team missing 6 regulars from its lineup. What can you say about Sami Salo? He continues to proove what a dunce Dave Nonis was for signing a no-trade clause to an extended term contract ... he looks like he is still injured and is making mistakes to make you pine for the appearance of Aaron Rome in his stead.

It's time for someone to find a bus ticket in his locker after a performance like that.

Not even our gift from the heavens could stop the bleeding Loooooo

... Can we sit the coach out the next game?

The team was terribly under prepared to play a workman like game...



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Where does Peter Forsberg fit?

forsberg On what seems like a certainty - I ask where would Peter Forsberg fit into the NHL? Philadelphia... Colorado... New York? Would he fit with the Swede friendly Vancouver Canucks? I am interested in what the team will look like when and if the Forsberg situation plays out. If PF is on the roster - is it another 2 month conditioning camp or a 'ready-to-go' addition to the lineup? Will the cameo appearances of Glass - Grabner - Shirokov and Rome come to an end? If Forsberg signs elsewhere or nowhere - then does this behoove GM Gillis to bolster the lineup prior to the Olympic break or wait for the table scraps from the trade deadline frenzy? I get the sense that the Nucks could be a good bet for the 2nd and possibly the third round of the post season this year - if they could add grit support for the likes of Kesler and the punch of secondary goal scoring beyond a recovering Demitra...


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Is the CFL a joke?


I ask plainly - is the Canadian Football League a joke? Where else can a 8 win and 9 loss team make it into the post season? How can we call this a national league where only 8 teams exist? How can the league motto "It's our game" hold true? The Canadian rules aside - all the 'skilled positions' still belong to B grade American athletes who could not make it to the NFL or aspire to one day do so...

If we truly wanted to make this a "Canadian game" we would demand a higher non-import content and support the grass roots better. The owners spend more on the scouting on NFL cuts than developing local Canadian talent.

Why would anyone hold these businessmen in esteem? Their motivation is not for the good of the league .... it's for the good of their pocket books first.

Add 2 to 4 more Canadian teams - reduce the number of imports - and force all the teams to add to the Canadian junior development. Then we will truly have a Canadian Game.


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Chat with Steve Kouleas

21:35 pm SKthescore

[Comment From deanofnucks: ]
Kool - where do you place the play of Kesler in Vancouver this year? Is he overachieving or has it been a sign of his emerging talent and leadership?
Monday November 09, 2009 21:35 pm deanofnucks http://www.wetcoastsports.com

Steve Kouleas:
Great question. I believe he's taken his game to another level. But I honestly don't know if he can maintain this production for the rest of his career. He's a very good two-way player, who's playing like a great player. I hope he can maintain this pace, but I do see a natural drop off back to being more of a role player in his future. Rkesler

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50 years to the day, the goalie mask was born!

The night Jacques Plante made goaltending history

At approximately 7:10 p.m. on Nov. 1, 1959, 'just another game' turned into one of the landmark moments in NHL history.

The streaking, first-place Montreal Canadiens (8-2-3) were playing the struggling New York Rangers (2-7-2) at Madison Square Garden when at 3:06 in the first, a series of historic events unfolded.

Stan Fischler, who was covering the contest for The Hockey News and The New York Journal-American, vividly recounted the play:

"A Montreal attack was blunted and the Rangers counter-attacked. Andy Bathgate, the Rangers’ hardest-shooting forward, got the puck in the Canadiens' zone. Andy had been notorious among NHL goalies for his slapshot, but this time Bathgate went to his backhand, using a screen. Like Rocket Richard, who was playing for the Habs, Bathgate had a menacing backhander and this one caught Plante square in the mug. Since the old MSG press box hung from the mezzanine, my seat was practically on top of the ice.

"I watched Plante crumble to the ice in a pool of blood. It was obvious that this was serious stuff and the Canadiens’ trainer skidded out to the crease,” Fischler added. “With a trail of blood behind him, the goalie was escorted to the Montreal dressing room.”

Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette, who has covered the NHL for more than 50 years, describes the scene after Plante was struck.

“He had been struck in the face and it opened up a cut from the corner of his mouth all the way up through his nostril,” the dean of NHL writers said. “Try and imagine that – the pain that he was going through.

“I rushed down to the dressing room and there was Plante, looking in the mirror and separating the cut and looking at it. ‘Pretty ugly,’ he said to me. I said ‘Yeah, well you had a good start Jacques.’

“Then he laid down on the table and was stitched by the doctor.”

After a 21-minute delay, Plante returned to the Canadiens’ bench. Hall of Fame center Jean Beliveau recalled the players’ reaction when Plante spoke to Coach Toe Blake.

"Jacques came back to the bench and told Toe, 'I'm ready to go back in but I have to wear my mask,' " Beliveau said. "[Plante] had worn it in practice but Toe never liked the mask until this incident in New York."

“When [Plante] came out with the mask, you could feel and hear the buzz of the crowd,” Fischer recalled.

That November night saw the Canadiens prevail 3-1 over the Rangers, and a goalie change the face of the game forever.


With Jacques Plante suffering from asthma attacks, the Canadiens decided to call up a back-up goaltender: Canucks alumnus Cesare Maniago, who had been playing with Spokane.

“When I arrived in Montreal Jacques told me that he was going to have a mask made and asked if I wanted to get one too,” recalls Maniago. “I said yes and we both went to the Montreal General Hospital where they made molds of our faces.”

The masks arrived and both Plante and Maniago first donned the new equipment during a practice. Following the warm up skate, Maniago pulled his mask over his head in preparation for the first shot he was about to face.

“[ Head Coach] Toe Blake skated up to me and asked what I was wearing,” said Maniago. “After a short conversation he told me ‘If I were you I wouldn’t wear that.”

Trying to break into the League, the young keeper decided to put away his mask, at least for his time being with the Canadiens. But Plante stood his ground and continued to wear his mask.


After his days with the Montreal organization, Maniago brought his mask out of retirement. After a series of losses with the piece of equipment while playing for the New York Rangers, superstition overrode safety and the mask came off, but only temporarily.

It was while he was playing for the North Stars that Maniago witnessed a terrible event to his teammate, forever changing his opinion of the mask.

Gary Bauman was in net when he took a Bobby Hull slapshot to the throat. Severely injured, Bauman’s airway was blocked and he began to turn blue.

Knowing he would have to take to the ice, Maniago turned to one of the trainers and asked that his mask be brought to him. The trainer rushed down 15 flights of stairs and grabbed the mask for keeper.

“There were times in my career that I knew if I hadn’t been wearing a mask, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” says Maniago of the slapshots he faced.

From that point on, Maniago followed in the footsteps of Plante and wore his mask until the conclusion of his career with the Canucks in 1977.78.


“It’s not manly,” “I won’t be able to see the puck clearly,” “fans won’t be able to identify who you are” were all excuses muttered in an attempt to prevent goaltenders from wearing the mask.

It seems almost inconceivable today that goaltenders ever played without protecting their faces.

Jacques Plante forever changed the dynamics of hockey when he made a simple yet strong statement when he chose to protect himself with a mask. He was able to resist the scrutiny and pressure to adhere to a “macho code” perhaps, in the long run, helping to save the lives of goaltenders that followed. The first of November marks the day that the ‘face of hockey’ changed forever.

- Canucks.com

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3 in a row, and the Captain gets a shutout!

The Vancouver Canucks win their third straight game. Roberto Luongo posted his 48th career shutout in the 2-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Luongo's  shutout moved him into a tie with San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov for third place on the active list, one behind Detroit's Chris Osgood, but 54 back of New Jersey's Martin Brodeur.

It was also Luongo's 21st shutout with Vancouver, moving him past Kirk McLean and into first place on the franchise's all-time list despite playing just over three seasons with the Canucks.

Michael Grabner, and Henrik Sedin scored for the Vancouver Canucks. Grabner's second of the season, moving him almost up to a point a game on the season. Henrik's second period goal was his first since his brother Daniel had dropped from the line-up due to injury.

It wasn't a flashy win, but it was a great win for the confidence of a few players. 2 points looks good no matter how it's aquired.

- Jase

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Kyle Wellwood will be out with a broken toe without a definite timeline for his return. He is officially day-to-day.

"It's just a matter of when I can fit it into a skate an put some more pressure on it," he said.

The injury occured after taking a shot off his skate in the third period against the Leafs Saturday night.  Wellwood has an assist in the first 10 games this season.

Sergei Shirokov was recalled Sunday morning and is en route to Vancouver. He will slot into tonight's lineup but Bowness didn't say who he will skate with.

Shirokov immediately made an impact upon his return to Manitoba earlier this month and is currently the team's leading scorer with 10 points (4-6-10) in as many games.



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Canucks compound Leafs’ misery

The Vancouver Canucks compounded the misery of the floundering Maple Leafs, defeating Toronto 3-1 at General Motors Place on Saturday.

Power-play goals by Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead after the first period and Niklas Hagman responded for the Leafs in the second, cutting the lead in half.

Toronto threw everything it had at Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo in the third period, but the Canucks captain held the fort to give his team the victory and Raymond added an empty-netter late to ice the game.

"We did everything we had to do except bury the scoring chances we had," said Leafs coach Ron Wilson.

With a 5-5-0 record, Vancouver is back at the .500 mark, while the Leafs (0-7-1) remain the only winless team in the NHL this season and are off to their worst start in franchise history.

Third-string goalie Joey MacDonald kept Toronto in the game when the Canucks pressed for the third goal, but wound up with his third loss of the season, making 23 stops in the contest.

Luongo showed why he's considered one the best goalies in the league, stopping 35 of 36 shots, with 23 of those coming in the final two frames as the Leafs pressed.

"They were throwing everything on the net and crashing the net but during those spots I thought we did a pretty good job protecting the front of the net," Luongo said.

Toronto carried the play for the first five minutes of the game, but landed into penalty trouble and it cost the squad two goals.

Canucks strike first

Raymond gave Vancouver the opening goal on the Canucks' third straight power play in the first period. He jammed the puck past MacDonald at 14:50 for his second of the season.

Vancouver exploited terrible Toronto penalty killing again on the Canucks' fourth straight power play of the period. Kesler fired a shot through traffic and past MacDonald at 17:32 for his fourth goal of the season.

After Toronto took the only four penalties of the first period, the Canucks were down a man three times to the Leafs' one in the second period.

Hagman gave Toronto some hope on the Leafs' final power play of the period, firing a shot past Luongo at 16:46 of the frame.

Matt Stajan did most of the work on the goal, as he drew the penalty, screened Luongo on the man-advantage, and was rewarded with an assist on the play.

In the third, the Leafs threw everything they had at Luongo, but couldn't find the back of the net a second time.

Their best chance came near the five-minute mark as Luongo was down-and-out during a scramble in front of the net, but Toronto's Rickard Wallin fanned on the shot with the cage gaping wide.

Vancouver got a break on that play too, as Ale Edler cleared the puck out of the Canucks' crease by closing his hand on it, a clear penalty shot play. But with all the chaos in front, the referees missed the call.

The Canucks had the best chances to score when MacDonald was pulled for an extra attacker, hitting the post twice and missing the open net by inches, and Raymond finally put the game away with his second of the game at 19:52.

Vancouver was outshot 23-13 in the final two periods.


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December 2009
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