Jul 032009
 

As per TSN’s article the Canucks have signed former Red Wing Mikael Samuelsson to a 3 year deal. The cap hit is expected to be about 2.5 million dollars which still leaves Gillis some room to play around with signing the likes of Sundin (rumours of his return to the Canucks have resurfaced again) and to go out and sign a free agent like Beauchemin, or absorb the cap hit of a player by the name of Kaberle who’s rumoured to be on his way to Vancouver.

Samuelsson is a great pick up by Gillis for a number of reasons, all almost as important as the fact that he doesn’t break the bank. He brings size to what will probably be the third line at 6-foot-2 210 pounds. Last season he had 40 points in the regular season and followed up with another 10 in the post season through the 23 game trip he and the Red Wings made to the Stanley Cup Final.

The newest Swede addition to the team also has several ties to Canucks players from his play in other organizations. He played with Luongo and Hordichuk in Florida, but more importantly he played with the Sedins on a line on team Sweden. I doubt that means he’s going to play on the first line with them next season, but should Alain Vigneault not waste a second and start line juggling, that might be a mix and match line made in heaven.

One of the most important things Samuelsson brings to the team is playoff experience. But not the type of playoff experience Sundin has, or the type that the Sedins have racked up. In the 4 seasons Samuelsson played with the Red Wings he only failed to make the Conference Finals once and that was in 05-06 when they were ousted by the Oilers in the first round. He’s been to the Cup Finals in back to back years, and has a Stanley Cup ring to his name after the Red Wings won in 07-08.

He becomes the 6th Swede to join the team and in 466 career NHL games, he has 208 points and 244 penalty minutes. He has also produced a career total of 35 points in 69 postseason games.

Gillis has been quiet so far at the deadline, but he’s not an impulse buyer the way Burke is. Gillis is smart, and has so far made calculated moves. This is just the first step in the Mike Gillis era, the first of many.

May 222009
 

Hey all,

I’m involved in organizing a charity run which benefits Canuck Place and I wanted to share it with you in hope that you’ll pass it on to as many friends of yours as you can and hopefully turn out for a beautiful run/walk for an excellent cause. The details are below and you can find everythin at the SeaWalk Run Website.

4th Annual SeaWalk Run

Benefitting Canuck Place Children’s Hospice

Time: 7:30am

Date: May 31th, 2009

Start/End Point: The Village at Park Royal South.

Breakfast: A runner’s breakfast will be waiting for you at the finish line

Run Gear: An original design T-shirt is included in the race package along with stuff from Lululemon, and Canuck Place.

Prizes:

  • Individual raising the most money wins a Team Signed Canucks Jersey
  • Team raising the most money wins a Team Signed Canucks Flag
  • A Canadians Baseball Package – Tickets to 15 games, The chance to throw the ceremonial first pitch, and the opportunity to broadcast live for half an inning in the Canadians Broadcast booth with broadcaster Rob Fai
  • On top of that there are great draw prizes for everyone to win

Awards: Awards will be presented from 8:45 onwards

Register Online at: http://www.eventsonline.ca/events/seawalkrun/

Nov 212008
 

Some of you have probably already noticed “The Score” banner on top of the site. Well, this past summer, I was approached by Scott Carefoot, who works for The Score and also writes the Raptor Blog, about joining their new sports federation. After careful consideration, I agreed.

I still get a snicker when I read the line, “some of the most influential blogs in sports”. I love doing this blog and all and I know a lot of you come back regularly, but I hardly consider myself influential. I’m just a regular Canucks fan with a lot of Canucks-related opinions and some spare time. If CHB is considered influential, it’s because of you and your comments on what I post, and for that, I thank you.

I’m not sure completely what this new partnership with The Score will bring. One thing that I’ve been assured of is that my content will remain untouched – that was important to me as I’m sure it is to you too.

Anyway, if you look at the top-right corner of the page, you’ll see a drop-down menu with the other members of the federation. You’ll probably recognize some well-known hockey blogs – especially Five Hole Fanatics (Flames) and Black Dog Hates Skunks (Oilers) – and others as well. Make sure you give them all a visit. After all, we are all one big, happy family now. Well, that and maybe to brag about the Canucks’ sweet division record.

Oct 202008
 

If you’ve been subscribing to The Crazy Canucks podcast, you already would have known about John, Rebecca, Dave, Alanah and I being part of the Vancouver Canucks’ ad campaign this year. And over the last couple of weeks or so, we’ve been seeing the product of a three-hour long photo shoot with the team.

First, there’s the launch of the Canucks Fanzone, which showcases various Canucks bloggers, podcasters and other media. Second, we’re starting to see our mugs on buses and Sky Train stations around Metro Vancouver.

We Are All Canucks ad campaign
We Are All Canucks ad campaign

Apparently, we appear on 55 buses and each of the Sky Train stations. Weird, I know. (By the way, if you see any of the buses or Sky Train posters, take a picture with our picture and you can win a pair of tickets to the Canucks Open practice on October 26th. The tickets are row 4 beside the player benches.)

Anyway, it’s a great feeling being acknowledged by the Canucks organization and I just want to take this opportunity to publicly thank Jamie Ollivier and Bruce Warren from Anton Sledgehammer (the guys who brought us the Ultimate Canucks contest), Kevin Kinghorn (CDC webmaster), Paul Del Monte (Director of Canucks Brand Marketing) and everyone else from the organization. I really do appreciate how much the team is starting to recognize us bloggers and podcasters and the type of role we can play in this new media world.

Oct 022008
 
Ohlund, Kesler, Luongo and Mitchell

Photo credit: canucks.com

Goaltender Roberto Luongo’s selection as captain of the Vancouver Canucks may have been unconventional but I think it’s still the right choice. No one can dispute that he is the Canucks’ best player. He makes his teammates better. He makes the team better. He is one of Canucks’ most vocal leaders, and really, they’ll go as far as Luongo takes them. By definition, he already was the team’s captain. And that’s just the on-ice stuff.

One of the characteristics I’ve admired most in Canucks captains is their dedication to charities and involvement in the communities. Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund, Stan Smyl all devoted a great chunk of their time at Canucks Place and other causes. Luongo has already started embracing the same causes. For example, after Naslund signed with the Rangers, Luongo took over “Nazzy’s Suite Corner”, a program which gives sick and underprivileged kids an opportunity to watch Canucks games. It has since been renamed as “Lui’s Crease Corner”, and like Naslund before him, Luongo pays for use of the suite out of his own pockets.

To be honest, I didn’t even consider Luongo as a possible candidate for the captaincy. After all, NHL rule 14-D states that no goaltender can serve as captain – Joe Pelletier has a great history of this rule on his blog. – and in fact, the Canucks had to seek an exemption from the NHL prior to formally announcing Luongo as their team captain. The NHL approved the exemption on the conditions that Luongo can’t wear the ‘C’ on his jersey and the Canucks designate alternates to confer with the officials (Willie Mitchell) and perform the ceremonial duties (Mattias Ohlund).

While I understand the logistical issues with a goaltender having to leave the crease to talk to the officials, I don’t understand the issue with wearing the ‘C’ on his jersey. My feeling is that if the league approved Luongo’s appointment as team captain, they should have also approved him having a ‘C’ on his jersey. Remember that this is the same NHL that was considering plastering ads all over the goalie. I imagine Francesco Acquilini or Mike Gillis will start petitioning the league at some point to change this rule.

Regardless, after a summer of speculating, the Canucks finally have their captain and a worthy choice at that. He’s their best player and a proven leader. With or without a ‘C’ on his jersey.

Sep 302008
 

The Vancouver Canucks have scheduled a press conference at 11:30 this morning. Word from the rink is that the team will annouce its 12th captain in team history. The press conference will be streaned live from canucks.com.

Thanks to fellow The Crazy Canucks podcaster John Bollwitt for the tip.

Sep 152008
 
Mitchell, Kesler and Bieksa

Photo credit: Daylife.com

Going into the start of training camp this weekend, there are some obvious questions surrounding the Vancouver Canucks. Will Mike Gillis acquire another top-6 forward? Or does he hope that Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner play well enough to warrant roster spots? Can the defense stay relatively injury-free? Can Demitra?

But one question that is sure to come up more as the season approaches is this – who will be the next Canucks captain?

With Trevor Linden’s retirement and Markus Naslund’s and Brendan Morrison’s departures, the team has yet to announce the next Canucks player to don the ‘C’ on his jersey.

This question came up at the State of the Franchise back in July and Mike Gillis, probably expectedly, was non-committal. He simply mentioned that the coaching staff would decide on who would assume that role and thought that perhaps some of the younger players would be ready to step in.

Considering the makeup of this team, I think it’s fair to assume that the young players Gillis is referring to are Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa. On the ice, both seem to have the attitude and character befitting of a captain. They’re vocal and willing to back up their teammates. But especially in this market, it is just as important to exhibit the same qualitites off the ice. At 24, can Kesler handle that added pressure? After only one full season and an injury-plagued one, can Bieksa? Us Canucks fans were notoriously critical of Markus Naslund, even though by all accounts he was great in the dressing room and a saint outside of it.

My personal choice for new Canucks captain is Willie Mitchell. He’s a leader and a warrior on the ice – for evidence of that, remember this shift? He also exudes a great personality for the local media (kinda Jarome Iginla-ish actually) and is quite active on the local charity scene. He’s 31 years old, a BC boy and has two more years left on his current contract. From the outside looking in anyway, he seems perfect for the role now and at least until Kesler and Bieksa (and I’ll add Cody Hodgson to this list) develop further.

Now for the fun part of this post.

Thanks to the Vancouver Canucks organization, our crew from The Crazy Canucks podcast will be guests in a suite for the first preseason game on Tuesday, September 23rd against the Edmonton Oilers. As a result, I have two spare tickets now to that same game. And here’s your chance to win them.

What do you guys think? Who is your next Canucks captain?

Leave your comment on this post and I’ll randomly draw a name on Sunday, September 21st at 8 PM. I can meet the winner in downtown Vancouver on Monday or Tuesday before the game to give them the tickets.

Sep 082008
 

It wasn’t much of a surprise when the Vancouver Canucks announced that they will retire Trevor Linden’s jersey and raise it to the rafters this season.

The Vancouver Canucks announced today that they will host ‘Trevor Linden Night’ at General Motors Place on December 17th when they play the Edmonton Oilers. The night dedicated to the longtime Captain of the Canucks will be highlighted by a pre-game ceremony where Linden’s number 16 will be retired. Linden’s sweater will join Stan Smyl’s number 12 in the rafters at General Motors Place.

“Retiring a player’s sweater is one of the highest honours a club can pay to its most elite players and ambassadors,” said Chris Zimmerman, President and CEO, Canucks Sports & Entertainment. “Trevor embodies the qualities we strive for as an organization; character, hard working, commitment, generous and loyal. We are proud that his sweater will hang beside Stan Smyl’s at General Motors Place.”

I already said my piece regarding Trevor here and here. I won’t add much more, except to say I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor.

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