Dec 302009
 

It looks like Mathieu Schneider has indeed played his last game for the Vancouver Canucks. The veteran defenseman cleared waivers this morning. The club could assign him to Manitoba, but it doesn’t sound like that decision has been made. Regardless, don’t expect him back in Vancouver’s blue and green.

From Iain MacIntyre (Vancouver Sun):

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Mathieu Schneider cleared waivers today but won’t be rejoining the Vancouver Canucks despite blueliner Kevin Bieksa’s leg injury.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said the team and Schneider agreed to part and neither Bieksa’s skate cut nor Schneider’s waiver status changes anything.

“Mathieu’s had a really good career in the NHL and we wish him luck,” Vigneault said. “Let’s leave it at that.”

He said the 40-year-old blueliner will probably be assigned to the minors, although assistant general manager Laurence Gilman said that decision has yet to be made.

Adds Jonathan McDonald (Vancouver Province):

And finally, all the wrong things are now being said about Mathieu Schneider. While it’s still not been announced where he’ll be playing — likely Manitoba, but you never know — he won’t be coming back to Vancouver. How do we know that? Because AV said so. He made that quite clear this morning. I believe he means it. Asst GM Laurence Gilman had been more diplomatic, but once he heard what AV said, he too became less diplomatic. And yet Schneider seemed so happy on After Hours just three weeks ago.

Messsssy.

Dec 232009
 

Elliott Pap (Vancouver Sun) has an interesting article today about Mathieu Schneider’s “personal leave” from the Canucks.

Injured Vancouver Canucks forward Pavol Demitra rejoined his teammates for an optional practice Tuesday morning but, for the third straight day, veteran defenceman Mathieu Schneider was nowhere to be seen.

Schneider is away due to a “personal” issue, according to club officials. General manager Mike Gillis, Schneider’s former agent, would not shed any light Tuesday on his ex-client’s mysterious absence.

“Well, it’s a personal matter, really,” Gillis said.

Asked whether Schneider was contemplating his future with the Canucks, or if the matter was family related, Gillis replied: “I’m not going to say.”

Head coach Alain Vigneault was equally cryptic. He would not reveal whether Schneider was even in Vancouver or if the blueliner would rejoin the team on Boxing Day following the three-day Christmas break.

“It’s just a personal matter,” Vigneault said. “Can’t talk about personal matters, same as with [Rick] Rypien last year.”

To add to that, Twitter is now abuzz with rumors that Schneider may now be contemplating retirement.

It hasn’t been a banner year for Schneider, though I don’t think even the most pessimistic of fans expected his game to have slid as much as it has. He was brought in as a good depth defenseman, powerplay specialist and veteran mentor to the team’s younger defensemen. But while he’s had some good games on the powerplay, he’s also had a rough time defensively. His foot speed has been slow and his defensive positioning has been off, to the point that few Canucks fans questioned Vigneault’s decision to scratch him and play Aaron Rome against the high-octane Washington Capitals.

Especially for a veteran like Schneider, who’s played more than 1,300 games in the NHL, that has to be disappointing. And in fact, I don’t blame him if he is indeed doing some soul searching about his future. Brendan Shanahan went through the same process earlier this season, and maybe, Schneids has to now as well.

Sep 252009
 

Well, you didn’t expect the Canucks to go 107-0 this season, did you? Without further adieu, here are today’s Canucks-related links:

Sep 162009
 

The topic du jour is the Canucks’ depth on defense. With 10 defensemen on one-way contracts, the competition to be one of the top-6 or even top-8 is fierce. And plus, there’s some Cody Hodgson stuff.

Sep 132009
 
Kevin Bieksa

Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com

I’ll be going to training camp today so keep an eye out on my Twitter feed. In the meantime, here are some Canucks-related links on the Interweb:

Sep 072009
 

Sarah Vital has been a big Mathieu Schneider fan for 16 years, and even has a blog – The Unofficial Mathieu Schneider Homepage – dedicated entirely to the new Canucks defenseman. In the following guest post, Sarah tells us more about the man they call “Schnieds” and what we should expect from him.

———

Any unmarried person over the age of 30 has experienced the “if he/she is so great, why is he/she still single” conundrum. The same unease comes with “journeymen” in the sports world. If he’s so great, why has he bounced around so much? But much like the totally awesome over-30 single person, there isn’t really an answer why Mathieu Schneider has bounced around so much. Is it that people just don’t “get” him? Does he just have bad luck? I wish I knew. But after following his career for going on 16 years, what I do know is that he has always had, and still has, loads to offer.

First, the shortcomings. Never the fastest or the strongest, defensive play has never been his strong point. Mathieu plays best when paired with a defensive-minded defenseman, or at least a quick skater who can get back into position. He can be prone to giveaways, and doesn’t always make the best defensive positional decisions. He will take loads of risks and pinch in on plays, sometimes when it is best to have a defender stay back. He’s been known to take some ill-timed penalties, but mostly interference-related calls when he tries to get back into a play he’s been beaten on.

Statistically, after reaching career highs with Detroit in 2005-06, his offensive production has fallen a tad. The game has changed a lot, and his role on teams has been changing. Last year in Atlanta, he had one of the worst few months of his career. He was brought in to be a mentor for young Zach Bogosian (which, judging by the comments Bogosian has made, he did exceedingly well), but beyond that, his role was never defined. And his unsettled role was reflected in a terrible season.

Then came the trade to Montreal, where he was brought in to help the team’s weak powerplay. He had an immediate offensive impact on the team’s powerplay, and in only 20 games, matched his offensive numbers in Atlanta. Most notably, in fewer than half the games, he had more than twice the powerplay points. In fact, if he maintained the pace he had with Montreal for an entire season, he would match the production of his Detroit years, and possibly have a career year.

His utilization in Montreal was about as perfect as his utilization in Atlanta was awful, and Vancouver would be better for following Montreal’s lead and save him for powerplay duty. The man advantage has always been his specialty, and as the game gets bigger and faster (and he doesn’t), powerplay quarterbacking is where he continues to excel. In his career, 53% of all of his points have come on the powerplay. The majority of those points are assists, but the goals he scores from the point are something. Mathieu likes to shoot and he still has a rock of a shot. He probably misses the net a lot more than he actually hits it, but even those shots provide key rebounds his teammates can bang home.

Finally, at this point, you’ve noticed that he’s old. Not an article has gone by this year where he hasn’t been referred to as “40 year old Mathieu Schneider”. Yes, he’s 40, the 3rd oldest player on an NHL roster. He was drafted 2 months before Sidney Crosby was born. He played his first NHL game over a year before Steve Stamkos was born. And he has been a bit injury prone throughout his career, usually missing 15 games or so a season do to injury. But he’s had a serious year-round commitment to conditioning and fitness for most of his career. He spends the summer working out with famed training T.R. Goodman (best known as Chris Chelios’ trainer). The man is in amazing shape. He logged an average of just under 21 minutes per game last season, and has been known to play upwards of 25 minutes. If he’s kept to fewer minutes (mostly on the power play, or short even-strength shifts), there is no reason to expect him to perform any different than a player 10 years younger.

So have fun with Mathieu. Don’t look to him to be a magical cure or “missing piece”. Keep expectations reasonable and just enjoy what he brings – powerplay numbers, years of experience, veteran leadership, a good quote or two, and a quick and easy smile.

Aug 292009
 

Just when I was coming around to doubting Gillis, he pulls a trade that rights the ship all of a sudden. For the entire off season the Canucks had made moves that didn’t put them ahead of where they were last year, but rather were moves necessary just for them to keep pace with the rest of the division and conference and keep them on par with where they were last season.

Gillis after being quiet most of the off season in addressing the needs for a top 6 forward and a top 4 defenseman landed three defenseman – 2 via trade with San Jose (Prospects Rahimi and White for Ehrhoff and Lukowich) and the free agent signing of veteran puck moving blue liner Matheiu Schneider. While everyone talks about how much of a steal it was for the Canucks to pick those two guys off of the Sharks, there’s a couple things that are overlooked. The Sharks who clearly got the short end of the stick had little choice because they had to dump cap and as I predicted, Gillis is going after name players from teams that need to get rid of cap space in time for the season.

The interesting thing in this deal is that Gillis made clear that he was not happy with the development with Patrick White at the University of Minnesota, and he had some choice words for what he thought about the draft pick that was yet to pan out for the team. Gillis has turned around a prospect he wasn’t happy with, and a pick that was unlikely to make the team, into a solution for our current problem.

Ehrhoff is a solid top 4 defenseman, and Schneider is the puck mover we’ve been looking for. They bolster a lineup that already boasts the likes of becoming defenseman Alex Edler, howitzer producer Sami Salo, lock down defenseman Willie Mitchell and “Boom Boom” Bieksa. Gillis as predicted is going to build from the back end forward, and with Luongo in net, and that defense in front of him the Canucks again look like they’re going to have one of the top defenses in the league.

The Canucks still need to drop below the cap, and if the rumours on the Luongo extension are true, we might see Schneider (the goalie) packaged up with a couple of players (likely a defenseman – my money is on Lukowich) to get rid of some cap, and bring back a top 4 forward that would bring us to the cap ceiling, but not put us over. Gillis is all but over. He’s just getting started.

Aug 282009
 

The lovely J.J. re did our sidebar and it looks gorgeous doesn’t it? The only thing is, it tells me exactly when my last post was. July?!?! Sweet Swede on a meatball! What a terrible, terrible blogger I am. I should go to the blogger penalty box for a 10 minute major or something. Do I need to make a sacrifice to the blogger gods? I do apologize, my lovelies. Just know that I still really do love you. I love you madly. Starting in September I’m going to blog so much you’ll be sick of me.

Anywaysssss, we have actual honest to goodness hockey news! All the other GMs are sitting back on their fishing boats, maybe lighting a smoke, daydreaming about ice girls, and Gillis is being a stone cold monster trading/signing P.I.M.P. I mean come on will someone just get this man a pimp cane already? Maybe a nice jacket? Some gold chains? The Canucks pick up Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich from the Sharks and gave up Daniel Rahimi and Patty White. I was probably the only person in Vancouver that was still pulling for Patty White and I hate losing Swedes, but I think the Canucks “won” this trade. Ehrhoff and Lukowich both played for the Sharks last year and Rahimi and White weren’t going to make the big boy team. The Canucks now have a German and another BC boy. YAY!

As if the trade wasn’t sexy enough, Gillis also signed Mathieu Schneider. Now, he’s kind of ancient. But apparantly he totes loves Vancouver and will amp up the power play with his offensive skills. I actually really kind of dig the possible offensive loveliness that could come from our defence next season. Now there are SOOOO many defencemen Gillis can hold a too many defencemen SEXY PARTAYYYY!!!1 Gillis loves the same things I do! I hope I get an invitation in the mail. I’ll bring the tang. The only little hiccup now is that the Canucks are over the cap kind of significantly. I don’t want to lose one of my fave buttons to a trade. Le sighhhh.

What else do I need to catch you darlings up on? As J.J. mentioned in a previous post, the Canucks will play 15 games in their third sweater. The third sweater is my absolute favourite logo so I’m just delighted. Next sweater I buy will defs be the third. And it’s time to committ to a new Canucks player, which brings me to my next point. After extensive research and deep contemplation, I’ve picked Shane O’Brien as my brand new Canucks boyfren. OWWWW OWWWW OWWWW! Congratulations Shane bay-bee! You can look forward to totally ridiculous cooing over your game, possibly embarrassing nick names, and fierce loyalty. I was close to bitchslapping my own sister for insulting Matty Ohlund once. It was a tough race. Kes, Bieksa, and Edler were all really close. I adore Shane O’Hunky(heh) because

1) I loooove watching him fight and he takes care of his teammates
2) He’s usually a fun interview and always seems to be smiling
3) Some random person sent me a picture on facebook a long time ago of Shane busting a move in a VELVET BLAZER. I mean, swoon, right? I can never resist a well dressed man. ESPECIALLY a well dressed man that can dance.
4) Hardly anyone actually owns his sweater. I love having a guy’s sweater that not everyone in Vancouver has. It was one of (the many) reasons I adore Matty Ohlund so.

There was one last thing I wanted to finish with…oh right! Lui’s contract extension deadline set as Sept 13. Oh myyyyyyy. I know I’ve bitched on here about him occasionally being a princess, but deep down my love for St.Lou knows no bounds. It’s limitless. It’s the size of Texas. It’s the size of my shopping bag at the new Sephora in Vancouver. It’s as big as a giraffe. Uhhhhhh where was I? Right…His extra rad saves give me a funny feeling inside. When this sexy contract extension is finalized, I will probably dance through the streets of Vancouver in just my Canucks sweater and a bottle of vodka and a poutine in each hand.

An ode to ze new Canucks boyfren in blingee form:

BOYFREN

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