Oct 292013

Brad Richardson of the Vancouver Canucks scores the OT winner against the New York Islanders.

Photo credit: CTV

Canuck goal-scoring leaders: Ryan Kesler- check. Daniel Sedin- check. Brad Richardson- che- whoa, wait a minute…..Brad Richardson? Can we really be reading this stat-line correctly? The answer is yes and while there’s no chance “Rocket Richardson” will be hitting the 50- goal mark, he’s been a pleasant surprise in the early-goings of the season.

The Canucks will be needing goals from everyone more than ever with injuries popping up all over the forward squad. Fourth line goals have been hard to come by for the Canucks in recent years but every once in a while we bare witness to a diamond in the rough. A tasty little treat from the boys who grind it out eight minutes a night for no glory. Here are the top five goals from Canuck fourth-liners both past and present.

5) Dale Weise- We think of him strictly as an edgy grinder, but during the lockout he scored a god-like 48 points in 19 games for the Dutch league’s Tilburg Trappers. Here he drives the net for a classic power-forward goal against the Sens.

4) Darcy Hordichuk (featuring Rick Rypien)- Two scrappers for the price of one. Darcy Hordichuk takes a great feed from the late Rick Rypien and slips it five-hole to give the Canucks a one goal lead in game four of the 2009 Western Conference Finals. Huge goal from a couple of guys known more for their fists than finesse.

3) Jeff Cowan- Cowan the Barbarian rips one home, bringing the home crowd to their feet and bras to the ice.

2) Gino Odjick- Poise and Precision. Not words you would normally associate with tough-guy Gino Odjick but in this case they fit. He beats Calgary goalie Mike Vernon on a penalty shot with a wrister and then solidifies the goal with a celly for the ages. 

1) Rick Rypien- How can this list be complete without at least one Rick Rypien goal? Here he outskates two Calgary defencemen, fights off hooks, manages to get in a deke and then buries it top corner. Beautiful.

Oct 062010

I’ll say this about Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman, they know their way around the CBA and the salary cap.

If you remember, they signed Joel Perrault and Jeff Tambellini as free agents this summer and then placed on waivers earlier this week. Both cleared waivers – Perrault yesterday and Tambellini this morning. (New Canuck Ryan Parent cleared too.) Perrault has since been assigned to the Manitoba Moose.

Because both are considered veteran minor leaguers according to section 50.9(g) of the CBA – meaning they’ve played in 320 or more games in North America (NHL, AHL and ECHL), and not played in more than 40 games in the NHL in the previous season – they are exempt from re-entry waivers. (That is, assuming Tambellini gets assigned to the Moose too.)

And according to section 13.2(b) of the CBA, because no team placed a waiver claim on either player, they don’t have to go through waivers again as long as they don’t play in 10 or more NHL games or spend more than 30 days on the Canucks’ roster.

This may seem like a minor point, but what it does it give the Canucks additional options in case they need to call someone up from the farm.

The same sections of the CBA apply to Andrew Peters. As you know, the Canucks traded Darcy Hordichuk to the Florida Panthers this morning and received tough guy Peters in return.

First, a couple of things on Peters: 1) he’s not a very good hockey player, but 2) he’s as big and scary a loose cannon as you’ll ever see in the NHL.

Now there’s been considerable debate on whether or not teams still need an enforcer in their lineup. My personal opinion is that teams don’t need to dress a Hordichuk or a Peters every game, but for certain games, they should probably dress one to deter opposing teams from taking cheap runs at, say, the Sedins and Roberto Luongo.

And that’s the beauty of the Hordichuk-for-Peters trade. Peters already cleared waivers earlier so the Canucks don’t need to place him on waivers again to send him to Manitoba. But also, he’s considered a veteran minor leaguer – he has 402 career NHL and AHL games played and played in only 29 NHL games last season (57 in the last two seasons) – and is thus exempt from re-entry waivers. His two-way contract also helps; the Canucks will pay Peters $75K to play in Manitoba and would have had to pay Hordichuk $800K to do the same.

From Hordichuk’s perspective, this trade allows him to stay in the NHL and return to the Sunshine State where he played from 2002 to 2004.

It’s a win-win trade.

(Note: I’ve been thinking about these sections of the CBA the last couple of days. If any CBA experts are reading this, please feel free to chime in in case I’ve misunderstood any of it.)

Oct 022010

According to Dan Murphy from Sportsnet, Shane O’Brien and Darcy Hordichuk were placed on waivers this morning.

His love for establishments such as The Roxy aside, SOB is actually a decent bottom-six defenseman, and by most accounts, is well-liked by his teammates. Truthfully, I wouldn’t be surprised if another team – Anaheim, Edmonton and Columbus come to mind – took a chance at him.

Hordi’s a character guy himself, but unfortunately, he’s been noticeably slower and was outplayed this preseason by guys like Tanner Glass and Guillame Desbiens. Such is life on the fourth line, I guess.

Sep 132010

(Editor’s note: Welcome to the inaugural edition of “Ask Katie About The Canucks”. Every week, Katie Maximick – some of you know her as @canucksgirl44 on Twitter or as the Cantankerous Canuck on her personal website – will take questions from you and answer them in this space. We hope you enjoy her sass as much as we do. – J.J.)

First question from @BobSongs: “Who will wear the mantle of goat this season? Sundin, Welly and Alberts… who’s next?”

Katie:  Honestly, Bob, this year’s scapegoat may be Andrew Alberts again. Last season he was everyone’s favourite person to yell at near the end of the year, replacing Shane O’Brien who, surprisingly, ended his season with a +15 and 8 points. If Bieksa plays similarly to his 2009/2010 season, he may also become the new person to hate or blame for horrendous giveaways that lead to goals. Bieksa not surprisingly ended his season with a -5 rating. I can also see Raffi Torres becoming targeted. The announcement of Torres as an addition wasn’t received very well, and he’s known to be quite injury prone, so if he doesn’t contribute and gets hurt soon after, he’ll probably become the Goat pretty quick. Torres will have to work extra hard extra early to avoid this.

Darcy Hordichuk and his puppies

Photo credit: Vancouver Sun

@NatashaCarpio asks: “What would you say to Darcy Hordichuk before training camp?”

Katie: I’d probably tell him not to HulkSmash any of the rookies at training camp. I would also thank him for routinely fighting Flames players last season, which made me happy, even if he got owned by McGrattan (who’s like a foot taller than Hordi). He also took on George “the Stache” Parros a few times and really held his own against the Anaheim Titan, who I’ve met and is also four inches taller than Hordichuk. I’d like to see Darcy keep this up this season. To me fighting is a strategic part of the game that Darcy and Rypien have mastered. They stir it up, entertain the fans and hold their own, despite their lack of size. Sure, they don’t score a million goals (Hordi only had 2 points last season) but they contribute in other ways that, to me, are pretty important to the game. I would also ask him if he did any more MMA training in the off season, a question not many other Canucks would be asked before training camp.

Jandee asks: “Do you think the Canucks like the Sedins and Raymond, etc., will have career years again? Out of the new Canucks, who do you expect the most from and why?”

Katie:  I would like to hope that the majority of the Canucks’ roster would continue to improve year-by-year, but it’s never really that easy nor is it predictable. Raymond, for example, just signed that 2 year $5.1 million deal, much higher than the Canucks wanted to pay for him, and so as Canucks fans, we would hope that Raymond would play up to his pay, right? But it’s not that simple (look at Luongo’s last season). Burrows and Kesler both had an amazing record season as well, Burr with 67 points and Kesler with 75, and for those two, I can only see room for improvement out there on the ice. They get better every year. The Sedins, on the other hand, are eventually going to plateau, so it’s hard to say if Henrik will have another award-winning season as amazing as 2009/2010, considering a lot of his success in the points race was caused by his brother’s injury. If they happen to surpass last year’s success, consider my mind blown.

For the second part of your question, a lot of people are expecting the most from either Hodgson (if he even plays) or our new blueline additions, like Hamhuis and Ballard. Personally I would like to see Manny Malhotra strengthen Vancouver’s offense, seeing as he’s a good-sized centreman with an average of 34 pts in the last two seasons. I’m also excited to see what youngster Jordan Schroeder can do. We have a stacked blueline, even with the loss of Mitchell and Salo (the former to LA and the latter to off-season injury), so it’s important to keep our offensive punch in tact and have more than two scoring lines. If we’re looking for depth, I think our blueline is covered, whereas we can never have enough scoring.

Sedins and NHL 11 EA Sports

Alain (no, not Vigneault) asks: “Who’s the better video gamer between cover athletes Hank and Dank (EAS Swedish Covers) and Kesler (2KSports)?”

Katie: Well I’m not exactly a gamer myself, so I have no idea who would outplay the other in front of a TV with game controllers in their hands. From what I’ve seen in the media, Ryan Kesler is a lot more involved with the promotion of NHL2K11 than the Sedins were with the EA Sports Swedish edition, which means Kesler is getting in a lot more practice. It also seems like he loves playing video games at home, whereas the Sedins probably spend their time in saunas eating knäckebröd. Personally I’d say Linden would whoop them all, since I saw his multi-tasking abilities shine in an interview with Global BC’s Squire Barnes. Trevor not only answered Squire’s questions, but did this while playing NHL10 at FutureShop. Then again, it’s Trevor Freaking Linden. He’s the best at everything. So my answer is Trevor Linden.

Dec 172009

Darcy Hordichuk was brought to the Canucks for one reason and one reason only. To be a brute, to crush not just hit, and to chuck knuckles raining fists of fury. He was brought on to either to spark some energy via taking down, or at least taking on the other team’s heavyweight. He was brought on as our heavyweight and was expected to use his grit as retribution for a bad hit, a yapping Avery-type character, or dirty play.

Hordichuk is not on this team for his speed or his offense. His offense is a notch above Shane O’Brien. Actually, half a notch. Gillis said he brought him onto the team because he was a tough guy and a heavy weight, but also because he was not one dimensional. He could skate, had some hands, and could also use those hands to pummel opponents. I remember the Hordichuk that played for the Predators and Panthers. That’s the Hordichuk that I thought this team was landing. Unfortunately we’ve seen the complete opposite of what we expected.

Since coming to the Canucks his scraps have been Jeff Cowan-esque at best. This isn’t hug fest 2010. Last night his attempted fight further put things in perspective. Hell, even Shane O’Brien stood his ground against Chipchurra and put up a valiant effort. I haven’t seen him decimate someone the way he used to when he was in Florida. This season has put things into an even better perspective because Hordichuk’s orders are being covered by Rypien and Glass who will take on anything with two fists that looks at them the wrong way. Rypien doesn’t care how big a guy is he’ll chuck knuckles. When you have a guy like Rypien taking on the heavy weights, Glass taking on anyone else, and even Kesler trying to pick fights here and there, there is no need for Hordichuk taking up bench space. He’s here to fight, and since he’s not fighting all he’s doing is floating. This team has checkers and 4th liners a dime a dozen and the team would get more from a Mario Bliznak on the 4th line than they’re getting from Hordichuk.

He’s a role player, and his role is supposed to be an enforcer. If he’s not enforcing we don’t need him. He’s not fighting, he’s not hitting, and we don’t need a floater. The Canucks can use his spot for a number of players that would bring more to the game than he is bringing right now. The Canucks enforcer is getting shown up by two kids that can fight and provide an offensive aspect to their game. He’s gone from the multi-dimensional player Gillis saw he was, to playing dimensionless hockey. Remind me why he wasted his summer training with Chuck Liddell?

Sep 242008

The Crazy Canucks podcast crew were guests of the Vancouver Canucks in suite 519 last night. Needless to say, it was an excellent experience and it gave John, Rebecca, Dave, Alanah and I all an opportunity to meet the team’s marketing group and brainstorm on potential partnerships this season. (Plus, the popcorn was damn good.)

It also gave me a chance to form some first impressions on the Canucks.

  • I don’t know if it’s the players or their system, but the Canucks looked faster in their first two preseason games. They made a lot of plays off the rush – quite impressive really.
  • Jannik Hansen should make this team. A lot of the hype has been on Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner thus far this preseason, but after a couple of seasons with the Moose, Hansen looks like he’s ready for full-time NHL duty. Good speed, good two-way play, decent hands and very versatile. If you remember his brief appearance in the 2007 playoffs, he did fine on a checking line with Ryan Kesler. Last night, he was on a scoring line with Henrik Sedin and Michael Grabner and didn’t look out of place. He also made a helluva move to get the puck to Grabner on Grabner’s game-winning goal.
  • Michael Grabner showed a lot of top-flight upside. He has speeds, he has hands and great offensive instincts. Really, the only question mark on Grabner is if he can showcase those, not only on a game-by-game basis but on a shift-by-shift one.
  • It’s easy to see Cody Hodgson’s upside. He sees the ice well and has very good poise for an 18-year old. I’m sure I’ll have more on him as the preseason goes on.
  • Yann Sauve reminds me of where Luc Bourdon (RIP) was in 2006. He obviously has some upside but just has to learn to put it together. He was regularly out of position tonight and would benefit from going back to junior plus a couple of years in the minors.
  • I was really impressed with the Alex Burrows-Ryan Johnson-Darcy Hordichuk line. Not just because of Hordichuk’s goal but also because they did well as a checking line. This bodes well for the Canucks if Ryan Kesler somehow manages to work his way to one of the top two scoring lines.
  • Steve Bernier put in a Pierre McGuire monster performance. If he plays big and aggresive every night like he did last night, the Canucks may have the power forward they’ve been looking for for the last two years.
  • I liked Lukas Krajicek’s play. Very solid kinda like before his injury last year. If he keeps this up, the Canucks will have some big decisions to make on defense.
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