Mar 022010
 

Apparently, the Canucks got together in Columbus to watch Team Canada win Olympic Gold against Team USA.

Like countless other Canadians, Alain Vigneault was a nervous wreck.

“Come on, Louie,” the Vancouver Canucks coach said for about the 100th time as overtime started in Sunday’s Olympic final between Canada and the United States.

From about 5,000 kilometres away, Vigneault was doing everything he could to will his goaltender, Roberto Luongo, and the rest of Team Canada to a gold medal.

And like every other Canadian, they celebrated when Sidney Crosby scored the game-winning goal in overtime. Check out the video (original from canucks.com):

Well, at least it looks like everyone celebrated except for Mikael Samuelsson. Suck it Sammy? Play nice, OB, play nice.

Dec 182009
 

It’s no surprise that O’Brien’s been in the hot seat for most of his time in Vancouver. Be it for taking bad penalties, own goals or glaring errors that cost the Canucks. He’s probably the only person that gets more flak for going to the penalty box than Mats Sundin. That and the fact we had Schneider just sitting ready to go lead to O’Brien’s timeout in the press box.

With that in mind it’s no surprise the Canucks have a couple of extra defenceman and I’m fairly sure it’s a no-brainer if you had to pick between O’Brien and Schneider. Shane’s salary is large enough that he’s not someone you want sitting out of games regularly and as quiet as O’Brien’s been about it I’m sure he isn’t the type to just shut up and sit his season away in the press box.

O’Brien’s been slotted in recently and I think this is his time to shine and he’s being showcased. With Lukowich on the farm, and Schneider’s experience O’Brien just doesn’t have the fit he needs on this blueline. While he’s still a young defenceman with promise, his play of late that’s seen him notch a few assists, get in a fight, and solid play. Most importantly his play of late has been penalty free with the exception of the fighting major against Anaheim. The way O’Brien’s playing right now, if you’re Gillis you have to be thinking of some way to package the guy up in a deal that sees multiple players leave Vancouver and one return.

O’Brien’s been quiet, he hasn’t said much about his limited play, but he’s not a staple on this team and there’s nights where he leaves much to be desired. With his status on the roster almost a day to day decision, it’s starting to come off that he’s being played sparingly at times just to showcase his talent and his penalty-free ability.

O’Brien’s been alright while he’s been here, but he’s a penalty liability, and with the exception of his last handful of games, he’s lacked penalty-free grit, hasn’t fought, and his offensive game leaves much to be desired. This isn’t a post to slag on Shane O’Brien. He hasn’t been bad, he hasn’t been good, and to be honest the guy has grown on me. However, as we approach the New Year, Olympic Break, and ultimately the trade deadline, you have to think that he’s being showcased right now and will be gone before the end of the year.

Dec 072009
 

There are a couple of Canucks trade rumors making the rounds today. Now, before you get giddy on the possibility of these trades actually happening, please do consider the source.

The first rumor involves Pavol Demitra to the New York Rangers:

Desperate to make the playoffs, the Rangers are beating the bushes for a top-six forward.

While they’d prefer a centre, league sources told Sun Media yesterday that GM Glen Sather is so anxious for help up front, he’s looking at acquiring injured Canucks winger Pavol Demitra once he gets healthy.

Demitra has scored 301 goals over a 15-year career, but hasn’t played this season after complications from off-season shoulder surgery forced a second operation. He hopes to return after Christmas.

After an 8-3-1 start in which they scored 46 goals (3.83 goals per game), the Rangers have lost 11 of their last 17 games and have scored only 35 goals (2.06 goals per game). I don’t know if they miss Scott Gomez that much, but certainly, they lack a top-six forward and that’s perhaps where the interest in Pavol Demitra comes in.

I do doubt though that Mike Gillis has a similar interest in trading Demitra. An injured Demitra – i.e. on LTIR – helps the team with respect to managing the salary cap; a healthy Demitra pushes Jannik Hansen off the top-six (and with all due respect to the Great Dane, a healthy Michael Grabner will too). At worst, he pushes Kyle Wellwood or Steve Bernier to the 4th line.

Of course, the flip side of this is that the Canucks’ depth does give Gillis some options. Even with Demitra out, the Canucks offense is currently ranked 5th in the NHL with an average of 3.07 goals per game. So perhaps the option is to trade Demitra to upgrade the defense. That said, unless Glen Sather gets a brain cramp and includes a Michael del Zotto or Marc Staal, then the Rangers, who are currently ranked 24th in the league in goals against (3.03 goals against per game), may not be the Canucks’ best trading partner.

The second rumor involves Shane O’Brien:

The Canucks are expected to move D Shane O’Brien, whom GM Mike Gillis has been offering around the league. Nobody is sure exactly what Gillis wants in return, but knowing him, it’s probably too much. O’Brien might be able to help a team like the Sharks.

Since returning to the lineup 3 games ago, SOB has played a somewhat regular shift, was a plus-1 and didn’t take a penalty. However, his place on this team is as a no. 6 or no. 7 defenseman – a role that I’m sure O’Brien is not happy with, and also, doesn’t justify his $1.6 million salary. At one point, there was genuine hope that he would develop into tough and steady stay-at-home defenseman, kinda like Bryan Allen but more mobile and a better first pass. At 26 years old, it’s not too late for him to develop into that guy, but it’s looking more and more that it’ll have to happen with a different organization.

If the Sharks are interested, then maybe we can get Patrick White back.

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.

May 142009
 
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