For my first Clay’s Canucks Composition of 2013, I assembled four of the most talented Canucks fans around to put together a song to mark the start of the shortened 2013 season. Thus, I’m thrilled to present to you Season of Cup (based on Seasons of Love from RENT).
You’ll likely recognize most of the singers in this fun video. Marie Hui helped me with my Canucks Medley in November 2011 while Arielle Tuliao and I got together for Don’t Stop Believing back in April for the Canucks’ playoff run. I’ve been wanting to get these two amazing ladies together for a collaboration and I’m thrilled we made it happen! The guys aren’t too shabby either. Joseph San Jose is the star of all of my Canucks Christmas carols, and my good friend Gary de Guzman has one of the most pure voices around. Put the four of them together (with me pounding on the piano) and you get a powerful anthem for the Vancouver Canucks as they look to get back to the Stanley Cup.
This is Our Team, Our Way…and Our Time.
PS: See if you can figure out the “one hundred seventy-two thousand eight hundred seconds” part.
After trying out Tom’s Rum & Egg Nog recipe last night and getting your New Years Eve party on, we here at CHB thought we would regale you with more thoughts & prognostications on what we think is in store for the Canucks in 2013.
Which brings about what to expect in 2013. Will there be a shortened 48-game season? My guess is yes; I’m an optimist by nature and I think both the owners and players would hate to see another full season flushed down the toilet. But the journey to this point has been like a roller coaster; one very ugly, scary, and sickening roller coaster you can never get off of.
If there’s a season, I’m looking forward to it. Instead of writing what to expect, here’s a brief list of questions I’m interested in seeing answered:
Will Cory Schneider be able to handle a season as the new king of the Canucks crease?
Can Jason Garrison and Zack Kassian live up to the monumental expectations placed upon them as new arrivals?
What version of Ryan Kesler will show up when he returns? The guy who called himself “Bull” in his early days, or the player we saw flopping his way to a first round playoff exit?
Are the Canucks going to retire Pavel Bure’s #10 or has that ship sailed?
Will the Sedin twins production soar or sag after a lengthy layoff?
As for 2013, I can see the Canucks being undefeated for the first half of January (hahaha, had to be said!).
In all seriousness, I don’t see anything happening for the Canucks in 2013 because I don’t see the lockout ending in time. If the hockey Gods’ pull out a miracle and there is a season, my money is on the Canucks to win the Cup. A season this short would leave no room for burnout and hopefully less chance for injuries (I’m looking at you Ryan Kesler), which, in my opinion, has been the Canucks biggest problems.
But to be very honest here, I don’t want the Canucks to win the Cup on a short season. Because, as some of you know, I married the biggest Canucks hater on the planet and if we win the Cup on a shortened lockout season all I will hear for the rest of my life is “It doesn’t count because the season was short”. I know it’s selfish but I would rather avoid divorce than win a Cup on a short season.
Firstly, I truly believe that there will still be a 2012-2013 (well technically 2013) season. Having said that, I think the shortened season will work towards the Canucks’ advantage. They can’t afford a slow start as a losing streak of 4 or 5 games could conceivably put them out of the playoffs early. There is enough veteran leadership to hopefully help the team get out of the gates quickly.
I’m very interested in what becomes of Roberto Luongo. Does he turn into a second-line centre? Perhaps a couple of depth players? A prospect or two? Luongo’s fate will undoubtedly be the biggest story surrounding the team until something is done. Thus, the Canucks will need to rely on their veteran leadership to help the team remain focused on the task at hand: a strong start in a shortened season.
Look for the Canucks to hold off the improved Minnesota Wild and surging Edmonton Oilers to secure yet another Northwest Division title.
2013 looks to be a big year with the Olympics of competitive facial hair growing, the World Beard and Moustache Championships held in Germany. Will Wolfgang Schneider use home field to his advantage to defend his natural moustache crown? Can Evan Gillespie of Canada take the championship away from freestyle moustache juggernaut Keith “Gandhi Jones” Haubrich? Will we see a surprise in the Fu Manchu division, which is always a bloodbath, and we never know what to expect from the freestyle sideburns guys…those dudes are crazy.
Controversy surrounds the full beard group after the performance enhancing drugs scandal that shocked the world in 2012 but the bans allow for new stars to emerge. Personally, I predict that Elmar Weisser will take Best in Show all over again although no word yet on what his beard will be shaped like for 2013. He hasn’t yet responded to my repeated suggestion do one inspired by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, complete with dice in the taxi’s mirror and guys up to no good spinning Will Smith around their heads.
No word on whether there will be an NHL season in 2013 but who needs it when there’s all this competitive bearding going on?
Hopefully the holiday season has you in a much more festive mood than the current state of the NHL, and if not, we here at CHB ask that you please drink more Rum & Egg Nog (pretty sure Tom provided the best recipe last year).
Anywho, with the year winding down and us in need some content to keep the dust bunnies from collecting on the site, I sent out the call to our contributors to see what they could remember from the past year & what they can foresee for the next (which you’ll learn more about tomorrow).
2012 was supposed to be the year the Canucks would take that one final step towards winning their elusive first Stanley Cup. With a largely intact roster from the 2011 team that fell one win short and the addition of a second-line power forward in David Booth, they were certainly poised to make another run at it.
However, as GM Mike Gillis admitted, the Canucks peaked seven days into 2012. Led by Cory Schneider and Cody Hodgson, they exacted revenge on the Boston Bruins, beating them in a Saturday matinee in Beantown, a win which probably ranks among the most memorable in this franchise’s history.
It’s just too bad the calendar read January 7, 2012 instead of June 15, 2011.
The Canucks were physically and emotionally-spent after that win and played less than stellar hockey the rest of the way. They somehow snagged a second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy, but were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings.
With Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler coming off major surgeries, the Sedins, Alex Burrows, Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa a year older, and the salary cap expecting to shrink with a new CBA, the window for this core may be closing and 2012 may prove to be a year of “what-ifs”, unfortunately one of many in the Canucks’ 41 years.
2012 was a pretty bizarre year for the Canucks not only on the ice, but off of it, too. Going into the season, a lot of the talk was about how Vancouver would tackle the Stanley Cup hangover (which was of course answered with their season ending in 5 playoff games). But on the ice, you’d be hard pressed to find any particular game which gave you a reason to stand up and cheer. For me, only a couple games seemed to stood out, one of which was the Boston Bruins rematch back in January. The highlights speak for themselves, though:
Almost hard to believe the Canucks called it “just another game” after watching that, huh?
The other game which also proved memorable was the Canucks in Detroit back in February. The Red Wings had a lengthy home winning streak going at the Joe, and Vancouver was still the cream of the crop in the NHL standings. The game had the makings of a classic, and it was in every possible way.
But again, off the ice it was a circus. The fallout from their abrupt first-round playoff exit ushered the era of Cory Schneider and the (still going) exodus of Roberto Luongo. If the NHL lockout ends any time soon, it’ll just be a matter of time before the Luongo trade rumours swirl once again.
That doesn’t even include some other bizarre happenings: The Cody Hodgson trade rocked the city, Ryan Kesler’s continued rehab from another major surgery sparked worry among fans about how ready he will be in the event of a shortened season, and the signing of Jason Garrison in July was met with some cheers and some jeers… And the guy hasn’t even played a game yet.
2012 started off with so much promise. The Canucks entered the year having just passed the mighty Minnesota Wild for the Northwest Division lead – a lead they would never relinquish for the rest of the season. Then came that fateful game in Boston on January 7.
In the highly anticipated Stanley Cup Finals rematch, the Canucks prevailed 4-3 in a fight-filled affair. At the time, Canucks fans were on top of the world having just defeated their nemesis. However, the team struggled at times for the rest of the season despite locking up a second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy. In fact, even General Manager Mike Gillis admitted that the game may have taken an emotional toll on the team.
Add in a struggling power play and Duncan Keith’s dirty elbow on Daniel Sedin, and Vancouver looked over-matched in their first-round playoff series against the eventual Stanley Cup winners the Los Angeles Kings.
Looking back on the 2012 season for the Canucks, I have to say it peaked early for me.
January 7, 2012 was the only game that really mattered to me in 2012. It was the game that should have happened on June 15, 2011. But it was more than just beating the dirty bears, it was also the first sign of the big changes the Canucks would make in 2012.
My favorite gum-smacking coach may say that he only started Cory Schneider because he wanted to let him play in his hometown, but no one believes that. It was a chance for Luongo to redeem himself and Vigneault didn’t trust him enough to let him have that chance. Schneider, was epic in that game. He played himself into the number one goalie spot.
Every game after the Boston game, seemed to be lack luster. Even when we won games, it seemed to me like it was by happenstance not due to actually working hard. I don’t blame the Canucks. Having a short summer break after a long, hard season with a heartbreaking Game 7 loss I didn’t think we would actually make it that far again.
That said, I didn’t think we would go down to the Kings in Round 1. The only thing more painful than watching Raymond fall down and Edler’s defensive meltdowns in Round 1 was reading the LA Kings snarktastic twitter posts.
Kevin Bieksa proved that you can’t lock out the heart of a Canuck. Knowing that charities like Canuck Place, Canucks Autism Network and Canucks Family Education Centre were probably also suffering thanks to the NHL lockout, he organized Bieksa’s Buddies – a charity hockey game between NHL players and special guests and the UBC Thunderbirds.
I was lucky enough to snag a ticket in the 20 minutes before it sold out. Here’s my recap.
As I got out of the car and made my way to Thunderbird arena, I was swimming in a sea of blue and green. Oh how I missed it! Contrary to talk in social media circles that fans were hesitant to wear Canucks colors, many came out wearing them anyway. I’m okay with that. Regardless of which side you support, that is, if you support either side, during this NHL lockout, the charities benefiting from the evening’s events all have the word “Canucks” in their name so it felt right.
The pre-game festivities included an introduction for each player. Besides current Canucks and ex-Canucks, there were some other exciting additions like Marty Bieksa and Martin Nash. Michael Buble and Willie Mitchell, listed as players on the program, turned out to be “game-time decisions” and the decision was they would coach alongside Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler. Buble later admitted he “chickened out” of playing. As for Willie, my guess is his Stanley Cup ring was too heavy and throwing off his balance when he skated. Lucky guy.
The first period started off with a lot of back and forth action. UBC scored, then Bieksa’s Buddies scored, then UBC scored again, then Bieksa’s Buddies again.
The second period turned into a bit… okay a lot… of a runaway for the Thunderbirds. With 4 unanswered goals, it made it feel even more like I was at an NHL game. I mean, it wouldn’t be a Canucks game if there wasn’t a coma nap in the middle, am I right? By the end of the second period, the score was 7-3 for UBC. Still, the mood was upbeat. I, myself, was giddy because it meant I could use my favorite hashtag – #windaturd!
And win da turd they did!
Bieksa’s Buddies came back strong in the third period. It started with a Bieksa goal – a Marty Bieksa goal! Then Chris Higgins started taking shots. Like shots as hard as his abs shots. Like shots so hard I could hear the slap of the puck against the Thunderbirds goalie’s pads from my seat in the very last row of the arena. And when he finally scored, it was a zinger and I was surprised it didn’t slice through the net. After Manny Malhotra tied the game came some Sedin magic mojo – a beauty of a cross-ice pass from Daniel to Henrik, who then passed the puck back to Daniel for a pretty much open net goal as the UBC goalie tried to get over his motion sickness. Canucks fans sighed a giant sigh of relied – the twins still got it!
Bieksa’s Buddies eventually won by a final score of 8-7.
Some other highlights:
Max Lapierre’s tenacity. Lappy was intense from the get go. He dug in the corners, he was hard on the puck and did everything but scored a goal.
Penalties. Most notably, the first penalty of the game for elbowing. I mean, who elbows in a charity game? Tanner Glass, that’s who! It got a lot of chuckles from the crowd. Almost as many laughs as the penalty called by Daniel Sedin. He got slashed, referee Al Bieksa didn’t see it, but after Daniel did some pointing and explaining, it was called. If only NHL refs would listen to Danny like that.
Marty Bieksa. He played incredibly well which left me wondering if we could trade Mason Raymond for him once the season starts.
Cory Schneider’s charitable acts. Buble may have donated $100,000, but Cory was definitely in a giving mood as well. Not only did he give up 7 goals, but when UBC pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, with UBC down by a goal and a minute left to play, Schnoo skated off the ice (to Darth Vader’s theme song) and watched from the bench and gave UBC a free shot at the open net.
From the game itself, Bieksa’s Buddies raised $100,000, after which Buble matched it with a $100,000 donation of his own, bringing the total raised to a whopping $200,000 going to Canuck Place, Canucks Autism Network and Canucks Family Education Centre. In spite of the bickering and pettiness and greed we’ve seen from the NHL lockout in the last 6 weeks, we were reminded last night of the good hearts of many of these guys, and in the process, fans got a chance to watch their hockey heroes again and deserving charities were blessed with much-needed funds – a win-win for all.
The odds are still stacked against them, but you can’t help but feel the collective confidence boost around Canucks Nation after the Canucks’ Game 4 win.
After all, the offense finally managed to put 3 pucks past Jonathan Quick, the first time since Game 2 of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals they scored 3 goals in one playoff game. After going 0-for-14 in the first three games of the series, the powerplay finally broke through with 2 powerplay goals. And despite the manufactured goaltending controversy, Cory Schneider was huge, making 43 saves, including a Dustin Brown penalty shot that could have tied the game in the third period.
Now at home for Game 5, can the Canucks continue to break down the Kings and get themselves back in this series? Here’s the chatter around the Smylosphere:
In case you were enjoying the beautiful Vancouver sunshine yesterday and missed this gem of an interview, Kevin Bieksa punked Mike Dunsmore, a FOX Sports Reporter, and pretended to be Ryan Kesler. (YouTube via Legion of Blog)
And in case you thought this was staged, I doubt it. Otherwise, Dunsmore wouldn’t have gone as far as to first change the title and description, and then delete the original clip, to try and cover his tracks. (HF Boards)
I don’t know about you guys, but I was full of questions all day long. Could the Canucks do it? Is starting Cory Schneider the right move? Will one extra Sedin really make that big a difference? The answers to all those questions wouldn’t come until the 2nd period but when they came, they were all yes.
The Wonderful Wonder Twins
I’ll be honest. I thought Henrik was doing okay without Daniel. He was working hard. He had to think more but he was setting up everyone he could and taking shots. And then Daniel came back and I remembered what I was missing. 19 minutes (each) of blind passes, beautiful set-ups and a beauty of an insurance goal. It took a period for the spark to catch fire, but Daniel’s return ignited virtually the entire team. The passion was back. And most importantly, the powerplay was back. And unlike the Flyers-Pens series, you can’t blame tonight’s outcome on LA’s goaltending. Quick was solid. The Canucks weren’t given any easy goals, so they went out and got the hard ones.
Number 35 Is Number 1. Deal With It.
I’ve said all season long that the Canucks have two #1 goalies. Unfortunately we don’t have two nets to put them in at the exact same time so someone has to sit on the bench. When Schneider was announced as the starter in Game 3 and again in Game 4, Lu-lovers were angry. They had reason to be. Lu was solid in Game 1 and 2. We will never know the exact reason Alain Vigneault replaced him. Maybe AV feels the team has more confidence in Schneids. Maybe AV himself has more confidence in Schneids. Maybe he just flipped a coin. Here’s the reality of it – you shouldn’t care. Because it worked. Schneider was incredible tonight. He kept the score 1-0 while his teammates found their mojo. He stopped 43 shots, including a penalty shot. He deserves to start the rest of this series. Does it suck for Luongo? Yes. And I feel bad for him. But not bad enough to mess with what’s working and risk a chance at a Stanley Cup. Thankfully, I think AV feels the same way.
It’s Not All Redheaded Saviors
The still have problems to fix. Even Sedin Wonder Twin Magic can’t improve David Booth’s output. Although he assisted on Kevin Bieksa’s goal, he still isn’t scoring. And then there’s Mason Raymond. Completely whiffing on checks is his new hobby. I guess falling down got old. Why he goes for checks at all instead of lifting the stick I’ll never know. He was the goat on the Kings’ only goal. Then he gave the puck away about 3 minutes later. Yes ladies he’s cute but if he’s on the bench instead of the press box next game we’re in trouble. Last but not least, the beast that’s inside Ryan Kesler is still in a coma nap. We need to solve a few of these issues pretty quick. I don’t think it’ll take the Kings 3 games to figure out they need to shut down the twins.