Nov 272013
 

Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Markus Naslund, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: National Post

With only a few months before NHL hockey stops and Olympic hockey begins, predictions are a plenty on which players will be playing in Sochi on their respective national teams and who will be left behind to cheer. The Crosbys and Ovechkins are locked into place but others like Matt Duchene and Jamie Benn are making a push for a roster spot. The Vancouver Canucks are, traditionally, a big part of Olympic hockey with many European (cough!-Swedish) players participating. This year should be no different with a handful of Canuck players from around the world making a case for themselves with solid play.

As so discreetly mentioned above, Swedes are often the main ingredient for a successful Canuck recipe. Here we take a look back at some of the all-time great meatball-loving, IKEA- shopping Canucks.

Here are the top 5 Swedish Canucks of all time:

5) Mattias Ohlund - Picked by the Canucks in the first round of the 1994 draft , Mattias Ohlund was with the Canucks organization until the 2008-2009 NHL season. A quiet man who played a solid two-way game, Ohlund was reliable and pitched in with offense when needed, like this PP marker  in a game against Toronto.

4) Thomas Gradin - The player whose name all Canuck fans know, but who’s face most couldn’t pick out of a crowd, Gradin is one of the more offensively skilled players in Nuck history. He played 613 games and put up a respectable 550 points for a point-per-game average that is second only to Pavel Bure in terms of Canuck statistics.  He was also a crucial cog in the cup run of 82′amassing 19 points in 17 games.

3) Markus Naslund - In his prime one of the most dominant players in the league, Naslund was the prototype sniper in the early part of the 2000′s. If not for his arch-rival and compatriot Peter Forsberg, Naslund would have surely garnered a Hart Trophy. The third leading scorer in Canuck history and long-time captain, Naslund put up an impressive 346 goals for the Canucks-still a franchise record.

2) Daniel Sedin - One of the most consistent goal-scorers in Canuck history, Daniel is one of two Canuck players ( the other being his twin brother) to win the Art Ross Trophy. Daniel is the second highest scorer in Canuck franchise history and has an endless supply of highlight reel plays including this one against Calgary which should be considered one of the greatest goals of the past decade.

1) Henrik Sedin - The only Canuck in history to win the Hart Trophy, Henrik has numerous Canuck records including the highest single season point total with 112. Henrik has led the NHL in assists numerous times and is well-known as one of the most gifted passers in the league today. Both Henrik and Daniel are likely to get Hall of Fame recognition by the time their career is over and will certainly see their jerseys rise to the rafters.

Mar 232013
 

Sean Imoo is 11 years old and in grade 6.  He enjoys listening to the latest music, playing guitar and piano, playing hockey and other sports, and whipping his Dad in NHL 13.  Sean is passionate about his favourite team – the Vancouver Canucks.  He is likely the biggest Canuck fan in his school and he is always learning more and more about the Canucks every day.  Here are his insights as to what it’s like being related to a certain CHB writer.

As you may know, my dad (@CanuckClay) is a season ticket holder with his good friend Mike.  This is my dad’s 3rd season as a season ticket holder while Mike has been lucky to have them for over 10 years.  I am very lucky that Dad is a season ticket holder because I can go to games with him for some good “father and son” bonding.  Sadly, I can’t get to all of the games as much as I want to.  This gets very interesting sometimes so here is the good, the bad, and the interesting of having a dad as a season ticket holder.

The Good

First, the good.  Like I mentioned before, my dad and I love to go to games together.  We cheer, we boo, we eat, we drink, and we just talk Canucks.  I am very lucky to have been to a couple very memorable moments.  I was able to see Markus Naslund’s jersey retired, and I saw the Canucks clinch the President’s Trophy 2 years ago.

Being able to go to games forces me to plan and do homework earlier.  However, it wasn’t always this way.  When I first started going to games, I found myself doing homework during intermissions.  I remember bringing my math textbook to study for a math test the next day.  Doing homework at a game is still better than doing homework looking at a TV – or worse yet – in my bedroom.

The Bad

The downside to this is that the games are mostly on school nights, so by the time the game is over, we usually get home after 11pm (we like to enjoy a delicious post-game meal of Japanese food).  Oh well, going to games is worth losing 60 minutes of sleep.

Also, my dad’s tickets are in the upper bowl.  So, for a lot of the games I go to, there are people that get extremely drunk and swear like crazy.  Not the best environment for an 11-year old kid that goes to a Catholic school.  I’ve even seen many people kicked out of the arena.  It’s kinda funny, actually.

The Interesting

I’m not the only person in the house that wants to go to games though.  I’m okay when my dad goes to games with Mike or other friends, but when it comes to family, it’s not pretty.  The most common fight is between me and my mother.  When my dad asks who wants to go to a game, we both say that it’s our turn (sometimes I lie).  Then…we start to argue.

I say, “I bet you can’t even name 5 players!” or “Explain to me a delayed offside!”

And she replies with, “Whose house do you live in?” or “Who pays for the tickets?”

She’s stopped short of kicking me out or telling me to get a job.

After these friendly discussions, no one knows who is going to get to go.  That’s when I go into suck up mode.

PS. Would someone please volunteer to film my dad’s Clay’s Canucks Commentaries?  It’s getting to me…look at the format of this blog!  You must be able to work late nights and handle verbal heckling.  I can’t take it anymore.

Dec 162010
 

Via a tweet from Jon Häggqvist, who writes for Allehanda in Ornskoldsvik, we’ve found out that Markus Naslund has been named as the new general manager for Modo of the Swedish Elite League.

@mozy19 It’s the middle of the night over at your place, but here’s a news flash for you: Näslund is the new general manager for Modo.”

Hiring a GM is a bit of an unusual move for a team in the SEL; only Frolunda has had one before. Häggqvist adds, “Modo has had a couple of unsteady years (right now they are struggling) and Markus is steady and has a lot of knowledge. And a name.”

Markus, of course, has strong ties to Modo, having played there prior to coming over to North America and returning to play there after his retirement from the NHL.

[update: 12/16/2010, 7:44 AM]

Link is up now.

Dec 132010
 

[Every Monday, Katie Maximick takes your questions and gives her take on the Canucks in her own cantankerous style. If you have any questions about the Canucks, send it to her via Twitter (@canucksgirl44)]

On Saturday night the crew from Canucks Hockey Blog was lucky enough to witness the retirement of Naslund’s number at Rogers Arena. I think it meant something different to each of us, so I can’t speak for any of the other writers, but I can say there was a general consensus that what we had the privilege to see Saturday was something none of us will forget.

For me it was closing the end of an era and saying thank you to the player who got me interested in hockey to begin with. Simply put, Markus Naslund is the reason I love the Canucks and the reason I’m involved in hockey writing at all. The least I could do was show up to see him off.

To celebrate Naslund’s number going to the rafters, I decided to base today’s “Ask Katie” on #19.

It’s well known that Naslund’s jersey retirement was a controversial one; a lot of people didn’t believe his number belonged up there next to Smyl’s and Linden’s, saying he didn’t take us to a Cup final. Frankly the argument is redundant at this point, not to mention dead in the water since the banner is in the rafters as we speak. But I honestly think that after last night’s ceremony at least a few of the fans changed their minds; that with the photo and video montages, the speeches, and the crowd’s incessant cheering, doubtful fans remembered why Markus Naslund is still the Canucks’ all-time points leader, goal scorer and an irreplaceable figure in the Vancouver community.

Mark (@marktgledhill) asks: Do you think the bad reputation that Naslund has with some fans is unfounded?

I don’t think Naslund necessarily has a bad reputation among those fans who didn’t want to see his jersey retired. I think the issue is that after the Bertuzzi/Moore incident, the West Coast Express era died. Both Morrison’s and Naslund’s stars faded in this city as their skills slipped away and the magic disappeared. To be blunt, neither of them fit with the new Canucks, as Naslund said himself before going to the Rangers and it was time for them to move on. I just wish Vancouver had sent Naslund off properly, which is why Saturday’s ceremony was so important. We needed to show Markus that we appreciate what he did for the Canucks after his 12 years on the team. I highly doubt any fan in this city can say they don’t like Naslund – who can’t like him? He’s the classiest guy to have graced this city since Trevor Linden.

However, if you’re talking about whether the argument to NOT retire Naslund’s jersey is unfounded, I say yes. Then again, I’m extremely bias about the issue and emotionally attached to Naslund in general.

Either way, the argument is now moot. The next argument will undoubtedly be whether or not Pavel Bure should be recognized now that Naslund has been.

Michael (@ArcticLeo) asks: Naslund and Forsberg killed it on the same Modo line and were #1 and #2 in NHL scoring one year. What if they had played together here?

I think my brain just exploded even thinking about that. Some background: Forsberg and Naslund played together for Modo for three seasons from 1990-1993 until Naslund went off to Pittsburgh, and then again in 2009/2010 after their departures from the NHL. It was in 1998/1999 when Naslund had 36 goals and Forsberg had 30, but that was the only season that they came close to each other in scoring. Naslund went on to play three consecutive seasons with 40+ goals and Forsberg hovered in the late twenties and then slowly declined.

But if we had them on the same team back in the day? The chemistry would be undeniable and I’d like to say we could have made it farther than the second round of the playoffs, but then again we still might have had Dan Cloutier in net. Could Vancouver win a Cup with Clouts? I’m not sure. And I guess we’ll never know.

But something we do know?

That no other Vancouver player will ever wear the number 19 again. And that’s just fine by me.

Thanks for everything, Markus. You left some big skates to fill.

Dec 122010
 

[I Watched This Game is a recurring feature at Pass it to Bulis, the hockey blog that knows who needs the puck. It chronicles the insights and observations of two guys who watched a hockey game. To view this post and other foolishness insightful takes on the Canucks and the NHL, visit Pass It To Bulis.]

So I don’t think the Tampa Bay Lightning realize they were supposed to treat this game like a ceremonial faceoff: show up, smile for a photo, then stand back while Henrik Sedin picks up the puck and hands it to the Queen. It should have been fairly simple. Instead, the Lightning came out trying to win, and did, which I found completely classless. Somebody needs to delicately tell them they ruined a fabulous night. I watched this game:

  • A lot of people are going to want to pin this loss on Cory Schneider. Let them.] Ignore the pundits eager to criticize his infrequent usage, eager to pin this on coaching and continue to innocently plant the seeds of a goaltending controversy. The Canucks outplayed the Lightning and needed a few stops to make sure the final score reflected that. If Luongo never gets a pass (and he never does), then let it be so for all Canuck goaltenders. Schneider didn’t look so good on a few of these goals; he needs and has the capability to be better. So what if it had been nine games since his last start? He was slotted, at the season’s outset, to start every fourth or fifth game. With a nine-game break, he actually only missed one start. Players miss starts. They’re still expected to be good when they get back in. Schneider did make a couple of very impressive saves, including a brilliant toe kick early in the first period that made me think, maybe, he was going to have Stamkos’s number. It was not meant to be.
  • Steven Stamkos is pretty good at hockey, don’t you think? If I was picking teams, and he was one of the guys waiting to be picked for some reason, I’d pick him pretty early on. Stamkos had 3 points last night, including the game-winner on an incredible one-timer. The last time I saw a shot that unstoppable, I ignored the desperate pleadings of everyone at my intervention and I drank it.
  • How to explain this loss? I’ll tell you what happened: The Lightning saw Brian Burke in attendance, and assumed this was a winnable game. Zing.
  • How badly did the Canucks miss Christian Ehrhoff? Ehrhoff facilitates more breakouts than the grill at McDonald’s, and Vancouver could have used him on more than a few clunky-looking rushes. Realizing the importance of his contributions for the first time, I spent the whole night humming Big Yellow Taxi. The Hoff was especially missed on the powerplay, where the five-man unit was sorely lacking in a guy who does what he does. Dan Hamhuis, his replacement, did different things, and unfortunately, those things were counterproductive.
  • Alain Vigneault would be forgiven for bumping Kevin Bieksa to that top special teams unit. Bieksa is a good puckhandler, and nobody on the Canucks pinches along the boards better. But I wouldn’t recommend it. Bieksa’s shot isn’t overly threatening; his presence would allow defenders to shade off of him and attack the open passing lanes this unit exploits so well. Rather, this might be Keith Ballard’s best opportunity to show what he can do. His end-to-end rush that resulted in the game-tying goal was, while a bit of a softie, an impressive display of offense and skating from a defenseman who has yet to fully convince his coach of his skill level. Ignore the terrifying fact that Cory Schneider has as many points as he does; Ballard’s been exploding out from behind the net for a few games now in a way that only Christian Ehrhoff could emulate. What other Ehrhoffian traits does he possess?
  • Andrew Alberts’ return to the lineup coincided with a suspicious upstick in team hittiness. The Canucks had 23 hits to Tampa’s 13. My theory: Alberts is an instigator of violence, akin to Mookie from Do the Right Thing. Keep him away from Brooklyn, trash cans, and Italian restaurant windows.
  • The Markus Naslund retirement ceremony was a thing of beauty, and done with penultimate class, but who expected Nazzy to talk for that long? We’ve come to expect brevity from him. Instead, we discovered that Markus Naslund is, like any other retired father, prone to rambling. That said, his reunion with the Vancouver fans still seemed much too short. We needed a left winger last night. He should have just played.
  • Best tie of the night goes to former Canuck goaltender Dan Cloutier. Daniel suggested Alain Vigneault was sporting some pretty spiffy neckwear as well, but my wife insisted, “Cloutier never won anything; let him have this one.”
  • Mason Raymond’s absence was felt yet again. Even when he’s not scoring, he’s a threat to do so, and it gives Ryan Kesler a bit more space to work with. Kes was going full tilt in the opening frame, but once the Lightning realized he was doing it alone, they smothered him like an only child. Related: Kesler never gets through with those bullish sprints up the middle, but I hope he never stops.
  • The Canucks won 64% of faceoffs, led by Manny Malhotra winning 14 of 19, including 9 of 10 in the neutral zone. Henrik went 11-for-19 and Kesler 11-for-16. The dirty underbelly of this stat? The Canucks only won 5 of 12 in the defensive zone, thereby failing to take advantage of their faceoff superiority by giving up possession on their defensive zone starts too often. Alex Bolduc lost all three faceoffs he took, by the way.
  • Food for thought: Manny Malhotra finished minus-1 and only won 1 defensive zone faceoff. As the Canucks’ defensive center, you’d have to call this a bad game for him. Despite scoring a goal, he didn’t do the things he’s in the lineup to do.
  • Spend a shift or two watching Raffi Torres. He makes some bizarre decisions with and without the puck. He makes cross-ice passes that suddenly end promising odd-man rushes. He puts himself out of position to make needless (albeit sweet) hits. In one instance, he tried to one-time a puck that was bouncing like Li’l Bow Wow on roller skates. My favourite Torres moment: when he sat down in the box after a first period penalty, the camera caught a nearby lady in a Bertuzzi jersey (with a Degrassi haircut) give him an amorous eyebrow raise. You know what they say about a guy with big eyes.
  • Ron Maclean still thinks it’s Mardi Gras. During the first intermission, he talked about how Guy Bocuher doesn’t focus enough on threesomes. Not everyone is into your kink, Maclean.
  • I actually really enjoyed the broadcast team last night. Mark Lee’s vocabulary was incredibly entertaining, and Weekes is steadily improving as a commentator. My wife: didn’t Kevin Weekes used to play goalie for the Canucks? Us: Kind of.
  • Before you lament the lost point, consider that the Canucks made an impressive comeback to get one. Furthermore, consider that comeback was led by two distinct instances of Wizardous Sedinerie. As the broadcast team showed Henrik’s goal (above) is scored on a shot so accurate it bent the space-time continuum.
Dec 112010
 

(Post by J.J., Chris Golden and Harrison Mooney.)

Even as Markus Naslund’s career in a Vancouver Canucks uniform was winding down – a career that saw him revitalize a moribund franchise, rewrite numerous franchise scoring records, become the longest-serving captain in Canucks history, and spend countless hours in the community – many fans questioned whether or not his jersey #19 was deserving to be raised to the rafters. Whether or not it deserved to hang alongside #12 and #16.

The fact is, many fans have come to compare Naslund’s accomplishments with Trevor Linden’s and Stan Smyl’s. And that’s certainly their prerogative. Naslund was an elite level player – an All-Star, Lester Pearson Trophy winner and Hart Trophy nominee – but was unable to take the Canucks as far into the playoffs as Linden and Smyl did. Linden and Smyl played with as much as grit as skill. Fair or not, Naslund was known more for his skill and finesse than anything else.

Because of these differences, however, it’s perhaps more appropriate to compare how they connected with Canucks fans. We can debate and dispute stats and playoff runs all we want, but there’s one thing that we may all be able to agree on – that Naslund connected with Canucks fans who grew up watching the team in the post-Messier era as much as Linden and Smyl did in their respective eras.

Chris:

Having grown up in Vancouver, I’ve been a diehard fan of the Canucks since Chris’ birthday plus one. But there’s something about kids from Alberta that I remember the most. I’ve cheered for an average guy from Glendon, Alberta who went by the name “Steamer.” I also hollered “HAR-OLLLLLLD” in the hope that the best ‘stache this side of the Rockies hailing from Edmonton would lay out to block a slapper. But it was a young kid from Medicine Hat that I first felt truly connected to.

Harold & Stan were already well into their own careers and I liked them because those were the players my Dad thought were the best. Yet, it wasn’t until 1988 when this 18 year old kid named Trevor first donned a Canucks jersey that I truly became excited about the team. He was skilled, yet understood the importance of a blue collar work ethic (as Jim Robson once said “who will play, you know he’ll play, he will play on crutches”). He was exciting to watch and wore his emotions on his sleeve.

But it wasn’t just how he performed on the ice that had me enamoured (I’m a confident guy, I can admit that). He may have been from Alberta, but he found his home here on the West Coast of British Columbia. He was the first face of Canucks Place, the player I remember seeing down in the caverns of the Pacific Coliseum talking to the fans, and the player who you’d walk into the most while around town. Some of the darkest days as a Canucks fan were when “he who shall not be named” traded Trevor away and some of the brightest days were after he came back.

And if there were ever an indication that the team got it right when they raised number 16 to the rafters, it’d have to be this – he was always the player that my friends and I ever dreamed we wanted to be when we picked up a stick. And I bet he’s still the player younger fans still want to be.

Harrison:

I watched the Trevor Linden jersey retirement ceremony with some emotional distance, as I never quite understood what he was to Vancouver. It’s understandable. In 1994, I was nine; I didn’t understand what my testicles did, either. Linden’s contributions were a bit beyond my comprehension. By the time I was old enough to understand those contributions–the ones that crafted Linden as the greatest Canuck–Markus Naslund was the guy making them. He was the face of the Canucks; the top draw; the best hope; the spiritual and emotional leader. Yes, Markus Naslund was the greatest Canuck I ever personally witnessed.

And it doesn’t matter that he never won a cup; Trevor Linden never won one either. Instead, these guys built their legends on great hockey matched by great work in the community. It’s a model for greatness that started with Trevor Linden; Markus Naslund took it and ran with it, and that’s where I recognized it. We’re all hearing the stories now, about how Naslund passed it to Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and the Canucks are just now reaping the benefits of their great leap forward into a similar role. In that respect, it’s important to recognize who Markus Naslund was: the guy that took Trevor Linden’s example and turned it into a tradition.

Let me put this in a way that you boomers might understand: Markus Naslund is the Trevor Linden of my generation.

*****

Giveaway time!

We here at CHB are partnering with Harrison and the Pass It To Bulis boys to give away a total of four (4) Trevor Linden lithograph prints.

(Print only. Frame not included.)

We are giving away two (2) lithograph prints here on CHB. (PITB is giving away another two (2) prints on their site.) One winner will be drawn from Twitter; another winner will be drawn from the comments section.

1) To enter on Twitter, send the following tweet:

RT/follow or enter a comment to win a Trevor Linden lithograph from @canuckshockey and @passittobulis. http://bit.ly/f1gbbu #Canucks

2) To enter in the comments section, write which one of Naslund, Linden and Smyl you connected with the most and why.

We’ll draw the winners on Tuesday, December 14th at 7:00 PM so get your entries in before then.

[update: 12/14/2010, 19:24 PM]

And the winners of the Linden lithographs are: @ArcVancouver and Amy N. (@ameecq). Email me with your mailing address at [email protected] and I’ll send each of you a print.

Dec 072010
 

As we approach Saturday night’s retirement of Markus Naslund’s jersey to the Rogers Arena rafters, there hasn’t been a shortage of tributes to the former Canucks captain and franchise leader in many statistical categories, including points and goals scored.

Indeed, the Canucks have a page dedicated to stories, moments and videos about him. They even have a “#19 in the City” contest asking fans to submit photos of Nazzy’s #19 in a bunch of creative ways.

Today, your favorite Canucks bloggers take a turn and look back at some of their favorite moments of Naslund in a Canucks uniform.

J.J. Guerrero from CHB

One of my favorite Naslund moments was against the Toronto Maple Leafs early in the Westcoast Express years. The Canucks were down 5-1 going into the third period before they mounted a furious comeback. They had cut the deficit to 5-4 with about a minute left in the game, and with the goalie pulled (come to think of it I’m pretty sure both Canucks goalies rotated in and out a couple of times during the game), Naslund took a breakaway pass and tied the game. The Canucks eventually lost the game in OT, but Naslund showed then how much of a gamebreaker he was. In fact, in the year that followed, he recorded the first of three 40-goal seasons in his career.

Richard Loat from CHB

My favourite Naslund moment is split between two games.

The first was his four-goal effort against the Oilers in which he scored the OT winner and the next day’s sports headline in the Sun read “Naslund 4 – Oilers 3″.

The other was in a game against Detroit in ’03, I believe. The Canucks were down 3-0 at the start of the period and Naslund scored the game-tying goal with 24.3 seconds left after a fortunate bounce off the referee’s skate. Malik scored the OT winner, and watching that game I fell in love with Naslund.

Chris Golden from CHB

Although I’m probably one of just 19 people who believe this to be the case, my favourite moment in Markus’ career with the Canucks was the night he told the fans his feelings about the evening’s tilt with the LA Kings, “We choked!”

Many, if not everyone, seemed to pillory Nazzy for making such a defeatist statement. Others said it showed how a Swede couldn’t lead a team in the NHL as it alluded to a lack of leadership. And yet I thought it was quite refreshing to see a team’s leader take hold of the situation and admit what every fan was thinking. In a league where nearly every player interview is a mishmash of cliche and anecdote, the Canucks had one of the few who was willing to say how it really was.

Harrison Mooney from Pass It To Bulis

Two words: “We choked.” After a loss that would cost the Canucks both the Northwest Division title and the Art Ross trophy, Naslund said that to an upset Vancouver crowd. It seems crazy today that, despite witnessing the greatest regular season in Canucks history (led by arguably the greatest Canuck ever in his greatest season), Canuck fans could feel ripped, disappointed in their team and captain. But we were. And so was Markus Naslund. With these two words, he showed that he had the same immense expectations as anybody. He was one of us. People questioned his leadership. But if the most honest answer in Canucks history doesn’t exemplify leadership, I don’t know what does.

Matt Lee from CHB

The Markus Naslund moment which has stayed in my mind for years was his dazzling end-to-end rush against the Ottawa Senators. The Canucks captain started in his own end and blitzed through all of the opposing skaters before unleashing a lethal wrister. Canucks fans missed that Markus Naslund towards the twilight of his time in Vancouver. Now, Canucks fans just miss Markus Naslund.

Mike Pinzuti from Nucks Misconduct

My favorite Naslund moment is like asking which ice girl do I like staring at the most: there’s too many to chose from. So the simplest would be the last game of the 1996 campaign when Naslund – who was pointless in just a handful of games for the Canucks – notched his first hat trick in the final game of the season. That win over the Flames pushed the Canucks into the playoffs just as the season ended. At the time I was getting ready for high school graduation and one final summer before college. The internet was just becoming a household tool, so entrenched in New York I still relied on small blurbs in the very back of the newspaper to keep me informed. But I remember thinking “hey we got this young Swedish guy…cool.”

Of course I didn’t know that the Canucks would lose in the first round to Colorado. I didn’t know it would be their final time in the post season for all four years I was in college. I didn’t know Mark Messier and Mike Keenan would make Vancouver abysmal. At the same time, I didn’t know that young Swedish guy would go on to score the most goals and points of any player in franchise history. He’d be the engine behind the West Coast Express and one of the longest serving captains too. Though it all he had a certain grace: this quiet, humble guy who could skate so fast, cut in near the top of the circle, kick the leg and fire off a wrister that fooled countless poor netminders.

Alix Wright from CHB

I honestly can’t pick just one favourite Markus Naslund moment. I have 100 small moments. He’s why I watch hockey in the first place. His wrist shot and goal scoring and fancy skating hooked me and made me fall head over heels for the Canucks (some days I should curse him for that!). Naslund is why I started my first blog when I was homesick at school in Saskatoon for the Canucks and BC and why I write for Canucks Hockey Blog. Hearing about his work in the community over the years has inspired me to give to Canucks Place whenever I can. I really should buy this lovely man a beer and thank him for giving me my love of hockey and so much more.

Dani Toth from Benched Whale

My favorite memory of Naslund was him being a force skating up ice with the puck after the Flames failed to get the empty net goal, Naslund shooting on net, and Matt Cooke getting the rebound in Game 7 against the Flames that sent the game to overtime. The camera shot of Jovanovski going crazy in the penalty box was priceless.

We didn’t end up winning the game or the series, but the goal that tied that game with 5.7 seconds left made my heart stop for a few seconds.

Brian Wawryshyn from Canucks Corner

My favourite Markus Naslund moment wasn’t anything he did on the ice, but the result of an injury he incurred on March 16, 2001. In that game against Buffalo, on the road, Markus Naslund broke his leg. At the time of the injury, Naslund was tied for 3rd in NHL goal scoring with 41 and the Canucks were in tough to make the playoffs.

The team’s next home game produced my favourite moment, when Naslund appeared in the area where the zamboni comes out. He was shown on the video screen in the arena and the crowd rose to their feet to salute Markus. He returned the favour, genuinely touched, and raised a crutch to the crowd.

Oct 062010
 

[As we approach the start of the NHL regular season, members of the Canucks blogosphere give their two cents about your Vancouver Canucks and address the issues, questions and expectations of the team in their 40th year anniversary.]

Markus Naslund Jersey Retirement, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: Vancouver Province

When Markus Naslund skated off GM Place for the last time in a Canucks jersey on April 5th, 2008, every single Canucks fan in the arena were standing and cheering and hooting and hollering. Only the ovation wasn’t for him; it was for Trevor Linden, who had also just played the last game if his NHL career.

This isn’t to say that Trevor didn’t deserve the send-off he received that night. Of course he deserved it. But on that same night, Markus, who to this day still holds the Canucks franchise highs in career goals, points, powerplay goals and game-winning goals, left the ice unceremoniously. On that same night, Markus, who captained the Canucks as long as Trevor did and whose teams made the postseason 6 times in 8 seasons, silently skated off before taking his game to Broadway.

On December 11th, 2010, the Canucks will right this wrong and retire Markus’ no. 19 jersey to the rafters. Will fans do the same and finally give him the appreciation he deserves this time around?

Richard: He better, otherwise there will be hell to pay. Naslund will get what he rightly deserves. I’m thrilled Gillis – the Canucks organization – made the decision to retire his jersey. It was the right thing to do.

Chris: I sincerely hope that Markus gets a hearty ovation. Although Trevor will always be held in higher regard, Markus Naslund was able to take the Canucks to the levels previously unheard of. He nearly led the league in scoring, won the Lester Pearson trophy by being chosen as MVP among his peers, and had a talent which could make or break the success of the team. True he never had an opportunity to take the team to the Stanley Cup Finals as Linden did, but Nazzy helped bring the team back from it’s dark era when “he who shall not be named” was running the team (after “he who shall not be named” ran Linden out of town).

Katie: Not much has angered me in recent years as the treatment towards Markus Naslund when he left the team. Naslund was treated like Grandma on the show “Dinosaurs”, being sent off to the tar pits (aka New York) once he was considered ‘useless’.

It’s my hope that, on December 11th, he will finally get the recognition he deserves from Vancouver after the way he was shipped off. Being overshadowed by Linden’s final game is understandable, but December 11th is his night and his night only. I would hope that the fans will remember what this man did for the franchise and give him a proper sending off.

Apr 232009
 

Before I go praising the Canucks through every high hill and low dale, I have to give credit where credit is due and that’s to the St. Louis Blues. They played a fantastic series, they were young, inexperienced, and they gave us a heck of a run for our money. The 4-0 series sweep was no indication of how close the series was and even in the last game, they were down, they got up, they tied it, and they took us late into OT before they finally fell to their final playoff loss of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

So now the Canucks have up to 10 days off. Should I be worried? Should we start throwing up the red flags? The Canucks of old would certainly have raised question in our minds as to whether they’d benefit from such a long break. Then again, that was the Canucks squad that came out flat against most opponents many nights, that was the Canucks squad that had no secondary scoring, and that was a Canucks squad that’s specialty teams were absolutely brutal. Here’s a Canucks team that defies everything we know and love about this team as fans. They’ve shown us a level of play we never thought was possible from them, and now have me thinking that even after 10 days off they’ll be just fine.

The boys need to use the time wisely and just heal their wounds. The early round advancing was a blessing in disguise. Salo and Sundin who were healthy scratches in game 4 now have a little extra time to fix their respective injuries. Demitra could use the time, as could Luongo and Henrik Sedin who were both a little shaken up at different times in the OT series clincher. I’m sure even Ryan Johnson could use a break and take care of the bruises he’s inevitably amounted after going down for nearly every shot he can.

No matter who we face in the second round I think the break will benefit us. If we face Detroit because San Jose pulls off the comeback in their series, then we’ll face a team that’s equally rested (barring a miracle on ice by the Blue Jackets). If that’s the case then they’ll likely be a little off their game from the lack of game time too. If we play the winner of the Chicago/Calgary series, I get the feeling the winner is going to emerge after 7 games, and with that in mind, they’re going to come out tired, and beat up. So even if we’re off our game a little after the long break, the fact we’ve got rested legs should make up for the temporary out of sync play that should start to dissipate through the first period.

This is a Canucks team that we haven’t ever seen. This is the best team we’ve seen since the West Coast express saw Naslund and Bert finish 2 and 3 in the scoring race during the regular season. While we all could try and predict what might happen, we’re likely shooting in the dark because none of us would have predicted this the way it turned out.

Nov 182008
 
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