Apr 142014
 
Joseph, Ariellle, Marie, Oggy, and me in an afro

Joseph, Ariellle, Marie, Oggy, and me in an afro

Last week, Trevor Linden was named President of Hockey Operations of the Vancouver Canucks. Arguably the most-popular player in the history of the franchise, Linden’s hiring ushers in a new era for the team.

Thus, as with any big Canucks development, I wrote a song about it.

Inspired by “Treasure” by Bruno Mars, we proudly present to you my latest Clay’s Canucks Composition: “Trevor” — a song that pays homage to the new President.

I’m blessed to be joined by four wonderfully talented friends, all of whom have appeared in previous videos of mine: Marie Hui, Arielle Tuliao, Oggy Luistro, and Joseph San Jose. Enjoy!

Apr 142014
 

In typical 2013/2014 Canucks fashion, the Canucks ended their train wreck of a season with a 5-1 plastering of the Calgary Flames. I mean, 5 of their 36 wins this season were against the Flames.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Apr 112014
 

In the Canucks’ first game in the Trevor Linden as President era, they lost 4-2 to the Colorado Avalanche and slipped to 12th place in the Western Conference, just ahead of the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. On the bright side, as it stands right now, they look to be on track for another top 9 pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Apr 092014
 

In typical Trevor Linden fashion, Vancouver’s favourite son has arrived – and not a moment too soon.

Brought back from obscurity – and a successful venture establishing gyms around the Lower Mainland – Trevor Linden’s appointment to the position of president of hockey operations comes with many responsibilities. Linden will oversee all decisions regarding the coaching, scouting, drafting, trading, and player development, essentially wielding the big and powerful rubber stamp.

That’s a lot of power, even for the man who 26 years ago began his ascent to becoming the most iconic Canucks player in franchise history.

You can call the move whatever you want to call it. Call it a move by ownership to appease unhappy season ticket holders, or a decision to boost the franchise’s tainted image in the public eye. But as the great Yoda would probably say: Sense, this makes none.

Linden, as great as he once was, has been gone from the game for six years. That’s a long time. He always kept close ties with the Canucks during that span sure, but always kept his distance. For the Canucks to pull their white knight back into the fold is a move which has as much risk as it has reward.

First, the best-case scenario: Trevor Linden picks up the ball and runs with it right away; his decisions are all golden maneuvers which helps the franchise climb out of mediocrity for the first time in three years and catapults them back into elite territory in quick and timely fashion, effectively saving the franchise from falling into the NHL’s basement like many projected would’ve been the case under the charge of Mike Gillis.

Now, the worst-case scenario: Linden’s lack of hands-on experience in an NHL front office leaves him slow to adapt, and his execution on decisions hampers the Canucks ability to rise from the ashes and Vancouver’s white knight and his image in the public eye leaves some questioning whether or not he’s fit to be the leader of this team.

Linden is not cut from the same cloth as players-turned-executives like Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman, and Cam Neely, all of whom spent considerable time in smaller front office roles before they took on the positions of president of hockey operations and general manager. Linden is being asked to go from a backstage role to the star of the show, and those great expectations that stem from a demanding Vancouver market are stacking the odds heavily against him as a result.

That’s a ton of pressure, again for a guy who has spent zero hours in the front office department. I’m not saying it can’t be done; if Linden makes the right hire for general manager and surrounds himself with people who can help him lead the charge, perhaps Linden can get the job done.

Linden’s reputation is on the line now. The prodigal son has a lot of work ahead.

Apr 082014
 
Source: Canucks.com

Source: Canucks.com

I was at Rogers Arena last night to see the Vancouver Canucks lose 3-0 to the visiting Anaheim Ducks.  It’s crazy to think that just three short years after witnessing the Canucks clinch their first-ever Presidents’ Trophy (on March 31, 2011), I was watching them being eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since the 2007-2008 season.

With three minutes to go in the third period, a very audible “Fire Gillis” chant broke out in the arena and it went on for a considerable amount of time.  Obviously, the Canuck faithful are restless and are demanding a change – whether it be Gillis, Tortorella, or maybe even both of them.

With the Canucks playing two of their final three regular season games at home (Thursday vs. Colorado and Sunday vs. Calgary), I went to Twitter to ask what other chants we might expect from the crowd.  You responded, and thus we have the Top 10 Chants That Are Likely to Break Out in Rogers Arena:

10.  “Ref You Suck!” – submitted by @Adamcanucks17

9.  “Go Leafs Go!” – submitted by @jehovasvictim

8.  “Bring Back Lu!” – submitted by @FearTheBeard13_

7.  “Shoot the Puck!”

6.  “Blow Canucks Blow!” – submitted by @BlahvBlahvBlah

5.  “We Want AV!” – submitted by @maggiecanuck

4.  “We Want McDavid!” – submitted by @elliottneck

3.  “C-H-B! C-H-B!”

2.  “We Want Free Beer!” – submitted by @waterboy99troop

1.  “Woe Canucks Woe!” – submitted by @MartinvandenH 

Apr 062014
 

Yup, the Canucks are still alive.

Something happened during the second intermission. Trailing 1-0 to the Los Angeles Kings going into the final frame, it’s as if the Canucks decided that, hey, they should be playing up-tempo hockey. And the result was probably their best third period of hockey in a long, long time, and a 2-1 win.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Apr 042014
 
injury

It is truly hard to pinpoint one reason why the Canucks will be on the outside looking in this spring. It would be unfair to blame their failures on one key thing. So I’m going to go ahead and name five.

It’s been an abysmal year for the Canucks and unless some youth is injected into the lineup next season, we may be in store for a few more. The core which seemed so indestructible just two short years ago is imploding and many of the veterans seem nonchalant and indifferent to the failures of this season. Injuries took their toll and the team’s plethora of “experience” is just starting to look like old age. Here’s hoping that management looks at this objectively and realizes that their window has closed and a new one in a different room needs to be opened. Tacky clichés aside, virtually everything that could go wrong did, so this should be pretty straight-forward.

5) Power Play Troubles: The power play struggles go back almost two years now. A huge reason why the Canucks have become one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league - the man advantage, serves as more of a momentum swing for the opposing team’s PK. Here’s a nice Hamhuis own goal I’m sure you all remember well.

4) Goaltending Fiasco: Whether it was the Schneider trade at the draft or the Luongo trade at the deadline, this year has been a mess when it comes to  goaltending. The trades weren’t necessarily bad, but the distractions were too much for an already weakened squad.

3) Injuries, Injuries, Injuries: Coaches always say injuries are not an excuse but if that was the case we wouldn’t pay certain guys millions of dollars more than others. Simply put, when your best players are injured your team sucks more.

2) Coaching Decisions: John Torterella has had a rough year. Between over-playing players and storming opposing teams’ dressing rooms he’s certainly left his mark on this season. His future with the organization remains unclear.

1) SLUMPS: Scoreless droughts for a number of key-players making millions plagued the team. This culminated in an epic 35 game drought for Alex Burrows, a one-time 35 goal scorer.

Apr 012014
 
With the Canucks outside looking in on the playoff race, there has been plenty of speculation around the Tortorella coaching regime, to add more fuel to the fire, former Canucks' coach Alain Vigneault returns tonight with his post-season bounce New York Rangers. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

While the Canucks are outside looking in on the playoff race, there has been plenty of scrutiny around the Tortorella coaching regime, to add more controversy, former Canucks’ coach Alain Vigneault returns tonight with his post-season bound New York Rangers.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

With only 6 games left in the regular season, the likelihood of our Vancouver Canucks making the post-season sits at 0.3%.

If you’re the most optimistic of fans, then yes, absolutely, there’s still a chance at a miracle finish here. But the reality is, the injuries, the inefficiencies on the power play, the inability to protect leads, especially in the third period, everything that has plagued them this year, have caught up, and we’re left to grind about the many questions facing this team the rest of the season, and in all likelihood, the off-season.

With the New York Rangers in town tonight, and coach Alain Vigneault returning to Rogers Arena behind the visitors bench, perhaps one of the most prominent questions is, was AV really the problem?

In Av’s time here, he led the Canucks – with the same core of players as John Tortorella has – to six Division titles, two Presidents Trophies, a Stanley Cup Final appearance, and a 313-170-57 record. Obviously, they struggled in the post-season in his last two seasons – the Los Angeles Kings, who barely clinch the 8th and final playoff berth in the West, beat them in 5 games in 2012, and the San Jose Sharks swept them last season – but hey, at least they made it. I don’t think this was entirely his fault, and in fact, you can argue he got the best of whatever Canucks roster he had – even made them Stanley Cup contenders – and he’s doing the same now with the Rangers, who have much of the same players that Torts had. On the other hand, the Canucks, under Torts, have done worse, much worse, this season. Regardless, the consensus last year was that the Canucks had gone stale and that they needed a new voice.

Was the coaching change the right call? Maybe. Did they hire the right replacement? I don’t know, and maybe, that’s the better question.

Mar 302014
 

Just when you thought the Canucks were kinda, sorta looking like they at least gave two shits about the rest of the season, they pulled off another stinker last night. With their 5-1 loss to the Ducks – combined with the Wild and the Stars’ wins – the Canucks are now 5 points back of the final wild card playoff spot, with only 6 games to go.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Mar 292014
 

lack-131022-620
(Photo credit: cbc.ca)

Talk about different circumstances.

While the Vancouver Canucks are fighting to keep their diminishing playoff dreams alive, the Anaheim Ducks are fighting for first place in the Pacific Division.

With a win tonight, the Ducks can match a franchise record for victories. With a win tonight, the Canucks’ chances of making the playoffs will still be at around 3%.

Ass-Kicking in Anaheim

Without a doubt, the Ducks will not be an easy team to beat. Heck, the Canucks have yet to beat them this season. Remember that brutal 9-1 loss in Anaheim in January? Remember the Ducks’ 7-minute, 5-on-3 power play in the third period while already leading by 6 goals?

Good times.

Duck Domination

The Ducks have outscored the Canucks 16-5 in their first 3 games this season.

Not Lacking Goaltending

Rookie goaltender, Eddie Lack, has started 14 games in a row. Sure, he’s had his ups and downs, but for the most part, he’s given the Canucks some solid goaltending. He’s 3-0-1 with one shutout (against the Nashville Predators) and a 0.929 save percentage in his last 4 games.

Top Sixtito

If you want a reason for the Canucks’ lack of success against the Ducks this season, consider that Tom Sestito is the only Canuck to score two goals against them this season. (Zack Kassian, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa have the other goals.) However, in their last matchup, Sestito finished with a game-high 22 penalty minutes. Incidentally, Sestito leads the NHL with 201 penalty minutes. Less fighting, more goals, please?

Corrado Called Up

The Canucks today recalled Frankie Corrado from the Utica Comets in case Kevin Bieksa, who suffered some sort of injury last game, can’t play. For what it’s worth, Bieksa’s on the ice for the morning skate.

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