Shooting from the Hip with @jBowmancouver: Calder Chances, Moving Cory and Second Period Struggles

[Every week, Clayton Imoo sits down and talks hockey with a CHB follower and fellow fan.  If you’re interested in being featured in “Shooting from the Hip”, send us a tweet at @canuckshockey or @CanuckClay.]

j.Bowman (@jbowmancouver)  currently makes up 1/4 of The Province Sports Canucks blogging team: The Legion of Blog. A lifelong fan of cinema and Canucks hockey, “jBow” credits two events from his childhood as shaping his future: Seeing “Jurassic Park” on the big screen at 7 years old in 1993 and watching the Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup run in 1994. After graduating high school with a theatre scholarship (and being forced to admit he would never make it further than Beer League hockey) Bowman appeared onstage in a variety of productions from 2003-2007. Acting took a backseat when he became a Retail Manager with Rogers Communications, a position he held for 4 years before leaving to pursue his dreams of writing, acting and anything to do with Canucks hockey. He combined those passions for a series of popular campaign videos during the “Replace the KB” contest for The Province: “Getting to Know Bow” and an exploration into his personal mantra “Jersey Always”. He continues to make videos with his production team, “The House of Linden”.

You can read j.Bowman’s posts and view new videos on all Canucks related issues at The Legion of Blog. Among his regular features: “Last Night’s 4th Star”, “Haiku Hat Trick”, “NHL Casting Call” and “Post-game Quotes (I Wish Were Real)”.

He currently resides in Surrey and remains a mediocre Beer League hockey player to this day.

1.  Where did the Twitter handle @jBowmancouver come from?

The twitter handle doesn’t really have a super interesting story behind it, sadly (as much as I‘d like to say I won it in a super dramatic poker game, I feel I should tell your readers the truth). I had recently started my independent blog, “j.Bowman Can’t Sleep” and a friend had convinced me to join twitter to help promote it. I love Vancouver, and I consider it to be a huge part of who I am (no matter where I end up in life, this is my home) so I combined my writing moniker j.Bowman (which is a tribute to my dad) and Vancouver. Definitely better than original choice “@jBowmanwritesfromVancouverandhelovesthecityaswellaswritingaboutmoviesCanucksandstuff”.  That would’ve killed my retweet potential.

2.  How would assess the play of Cody Hodgson this season? Does he have a chance to win the Calder Trophy?  And are you okay with his ice-time?

Like the vast majority of Canucks fans, I’m LOVING Cody Hodgson’s play this season. There was a lot of hype and high hopes when he was drafted, and having the label of “The next Trevor Linden” certainly doesn’t help quell expectations on a young player in this city. After a couple years of making brief appearances before being sent back down to the minors, as well as his much publicized back injury, this is his first REAL shot on the team and he is crushing it.

I do not think he has a chance to win the Calder Trophy (settle down everyone! I had to be honest). As much as I would love to see it happen, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins built up a sizable point lead before his injury and has since returned. With 35 points in 39 games this season, it’s his to lose. It would be as good as a win for Cody to be named a finalist.

As for Cody’s ice time? As funny as it would be to demand more and incur the wrath of his agent, I don’t have any problems with his minutes. More ice-time for him would either mean: a) more for the entire 3rd line, which limits use of the top 6 (and nobody needs to see more Mason Raymond wrist shots); b) bumping him up the a top-6 position which would have him playing against stronger defensive pairings; or c) people moving on to another non-issue to complain about (does Manny take enough face-offs).  I have never written about Hodgson’s ice-time before because Cody Hodgson is 21 years old. His ice-time will come. I look forward to all the “Is Cody Hodgson getting too much ice-time?” articles when he is 30, but he is still developing and giving him too much at this stage would be a mistake. His “reward” for solid play seems to be logging time on the second powerplay unit, which is a perfect way to get him more involved. Hodgson is a green banana. Yes he is off the tree but he isn’t ready to be in a fruit salad yet. If he undresses Shea Weber and Ryan Suter several times tonight, I will gladly eat my words (and probably a celebratory fruit salad).

3.  The Canucks have struggled in the second period this season.  With only 2 months left in the regular season, do you think they’ll ever find their 60-minute game? If so, what do they need to do to make this happen?

They better find their 60-minute game. If they think they can survive longer than six games in the playoffs without it, they are in the deepest of trouble. If the Canucks were dominating the first and third periods this season, this would almost be a non-issue. Their second period woes would be looked at as a minor nuisance but we’d all come back to the point of “Well, they’re still winning games by 3 or 4 goals, so what does it matter?”. They aren’t though, so this has been upgraded to “Major Concern”. I don’t know what it will take for them to play a complete 60 minute game (short of eliminating the second period all together), but this has to be the most glaring issue facing the team right now. Maybe give Hodgson crazy amounts of ice time in the second period? Kill two birds with one puck.

4.   Luongo. Schneider. As long as both are here, we’ll always have something to talk about.  So we ask you: should the Canucks trade Cory Schneider before the trade deadline?  Or will they wait until the off-season?  Or not trade him at all?  After all, it was only a couple of months ago that fans wanted to drive Luongo to the airport.

I want to prefix whatever I’m about to say by stating for the record that I am a big fan of both guys. Coming closer to the trade deadline more and more people will be proclaiming themselves “Team Lu” or “Team Ginge” and as much as I would love to keep both, Luongo’s contract means Schneider has to go. Not because he is the lesser goalie or because Luongo has been incredible, but the value for Schneider is high at the moment and with what we’ve seen the last few months, we need help NOW.

I’d love to have both during our playoff run this year, but the team in front of them is struggling. If the team was playing consistent, solid 60-minute games, I’d say keep both, we have all our pieces in play. If we were to trade a forward or a D-man (like Raymond or Ballard) the return we’d get would be a lateral move. Schneider gives us a chance to trade up at another position while keeping a viable option in net. This team is one upgrade away from potentially slaying the big dragon and bringing a Stanley Cup to Vancouver. I’d imagine another team is more willing to part with that kind of upgrade based on what Schneider could be, rather than what Luongo is. Schneider has been put in several high pressure situations this year (Boston, Chicago…Tampa Bay?) and has responded with strong play and in a few cases, has been the primary reason we won those games.

Many teams build around goalies, and if there is a team with strong prospects everywhere but in goal, Schneiderman should move to another friendly neighbourhood. We should all realize that whether Schneider gets traded pre-deadline, offseason or ever, anything short of a Stanley Cup in 2012 will result in second guessing the likes of which this city has never seen before. If they lose, prepare yourself for at least a decade of “What if?” based on these two goalies and the move that will/won’t/could/should/might/better happen.

5.  Why should people follow you on Twitter?  What can new followers expect?

People should follow me because…I’m a good person? That is actually one of the harder questions to answer because I honestly don’t know. There are a lot of great “Tweetists” out there in the Canucks community, but the people who follow me seem to enjoy it (either that or they hate it so much they can’t find the words to express it). It’s a good way to get up to the minute updates on anything I post for the “Legion of Blog”. I also live tweet during most games, and try to do what I can to add some humour to them. Whether that be in-game comments, critiquing commercials or tweeting photoshops of Brad Marchand as an Oompa Loompa, you’ll get anything but a standard Canucks tweeting experience from jBowmancouver. On off hours I tweet about a wide variety of pop culture topics, primarily movie news, views and reviews in 140 characters or less. Also it takes less time to click “follow” as it does to drink a glass of water, so what will it hurt?

Thanks to Clay Imoo and the entire team at Canucks Hockey Blog. Keep up the great work!

Clay Imoo

Clay Imoo is a Canucks season ticket member and creator of Canucks parody songs. He is a co-host of the C4 podcast and writer of Things That Make You Go Hmmm and CHB's Top 10. More importantly, he is a husband and father.

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