Mar 092009
 

Not that his status as one of the best defensemen to ever wear a Canucks jersey was ever in doubt, but Mattias Ohlund reached a significant milestone on Saturday night.

From Elliott Pap (Vancouver Sun):

Canuck Mattias Ohlund earned another piece of franchise history Saturday when he collected the 321st point of his career. Ohlund is now tied with Jyrki Lumme and Dennis Kearns for most points by a blueliner. He has 18 games to set a new mark.

“Eighteen more to go, you never know,” Ohlund said Sunday, smiling. “I guess [it’s possible]. I’m not too concerned about it. My focus is on winning games.”

Ohlund has netted 91 goals, which is already a club record for defencemen, and 230 assists in 752 games as a Canuck.

Ohlund isn’t that far off from other Canucks records for defensemen. He has 35 powerplay goals, which is only two powerplay goals away from Rick Lanz’s franchise mark (37), and 230 career assists, which ranks him 4th in the franchise behind Dennis Kearns (290), Doug Lidster (242) and Jyrki Lumme (238).

He has also appeared in 752 games in a Canucks uniform; Harold Snepts appeared in 781. It’s a shame, but with only 18 games left this season, Ohlund won’t break the record for most games by a defenseman in a Canucks uniform unless he comes back next season.

Mar 042009
 

Good morning boys and girls. It’s 5:19 AM and I just rolled out of bed and wife’s annoyed. We go through this same routine every trade deadline day. I set my alarm for 5:00 AM, I wake up, and she wonders why the heck I do this. No worries. I know she follows along at work. I hope you will too.

But first, coffee.

[update: 03/04/2009, 5:23 AM]

From Bruce Garrioch via Hosea Cheung:

League sources say the Canucks are offering D Kevin Bieksa, LW Mason Raymond and a No. 1 pick for Bouwmeester.

That package is about what I figured would be the starting point for Bouwmeester. To be honest though, I’m not sure it’s enough to get it done. But then again, I never would have thought Florida would trade Roberto Luongo for Todd Bertuzzi.

[update: 03/04/2009, 5:38 AM]

The TSN panel just mentioned that Tim Connolly, a UFA in the summer and one of the guys rumored Mike Gillis is after, is close to a contract extension with the Sabres.

[update: 03/04/2009, 5:44 AM]

I’m curious. Who would win a fight between two pugilists turned panelists? Matthew Barnaby or Nick Kypreos?

[update: 03/04/2009, 6:20 AM]

Sportsnet is talking about whether or not the Canucks should pick up Miroslav Satan to play with the Sedins.

It’s like 2006 all over again.

[update: 03/04/2009, 6:33 AM]

canucks.com is getting in on the trade deadline day action with a dedicated page for today, complete with a picture of a dreamy Scott Rintoul.

[update: 03/04/2009, 6:55 AM]

Sportsnet is reporting that the Bruins are after Mattias Ohlund. TSN is saying that Ohlund is not available.

[update: 03/04/2009, 6:59 AM]

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our 1st trade of the day.

Pascal Leclaire and a 2nd round pick goes to Ottawa; Antoine Vermette goes to Columbus.

Did Leclaire’s stock drop that much or did Vermette’s go up?

[update: 03/04/2009, 7:40 AM]

Just reading Jay Onrait’s blog on TSN. Funny stuff, like this entry:

9:42 – Chris Finlay writes in to ask:

“Are you going to keep blogging past 3 p.m to ensure you don’t miss any trades?”

Sure. Rub in the fact that a few years ago I stopped blogging at 3 p.m due to exaustion, only to miss the Ryan Smyth trade, the biggest one of the day. I took a lot of heat for that, but at least I didn’t read about the Ryan Smyth trade on New York Newsday’s website and try to pass it off as my own. Or worse, report that Smyth had signed with the Oilers, only to have Edmonton trade him hours later.

[update: 03/04/2009, 7:57 AM]

Lost in all this trade deadline talk is the waiver deadline for all those players waived yesterday. In an hour, we should find out who goes where.

I’m on the fence on whether or not the Canucks should put in a claim for Brendan Morrison. I love the guy, and if he’s healthy, he’d suit the 3rd line center role more than Kyle Wellwood. I’m not sure he’s completely recovered from all his injuries in the last couple of seasons though.

[update: 03/04/2009, 8:15 AM]

Via Jason Botchford’s Twitter feed, the Canucks aren’t interested in Brendan Morrison. There goes that.

[update: 03/04/2009, 8:24 AM]

Bob Mackenzie is reporting that the Flames and the Coyotes are working on a deal that will send Olli Jokinen to Calgary. As a Canucks fan, that’s scary.

[update: 03/04/2009, 8:31 AM]

Is it just me or does a $1.6 million per season raise for two seasons for Tim Connolly seem high? Yeah, he’s almost a point-per-game guy, but he makes Sami Salo look like an iron man and has only played 79 games in the last 2.75 seasons.

[update: 03/04/2009, 8:50 AM]

Calgary just acquired Jordan Leopold for Lawrence Nycholat, prospect Ryan Wilson and a 2nd round draft pick 2010. Basically, they got a top-4 defenseman without giving up anything from their roster.

I hate to admit it… but nicely done.

[update: 03/04/2009, 9:05 AM]

The waiver wire list:

Martin Gerber to Toronto
Brendan Morrison to Dallas
Craig Adams to Pittsburgh

I echo TSN’s sentiments on Gerber. Why?

[update: 03/04/2009, 9:19 AM]

A couple of minor deals: Buffalo acquires Mikhail Tellqvist from Phoenix for a 4th round draft pick, Blues trade Andy Wozniewski to Pittsburgh to Danny Richmond.

Lots of chatter, not a lot of action. I wonder if I have time to run out and get another coffee.

[update: 03/04/2009, 9:39 AM]

Per TSN, Calgary acquires Olli Jokinen for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust and a 1st round draft pick. That’s a steep price to pay but the Flames just got a lot deeper.

The salaries don’t work – the Flames are about $3 million over the cap at this point – so Sutter must have something else brewing.

[update: 03/04/2009, 9:54 AM]

Vesa Toskala’s going on injured reserve, which explains the Gerber pickup.

I suppose that means TO is still very much in the Tavares/Hedman sweepstakes.

[update: 03/04/2009, 9:58 AM]

A quick hit on the Canucks seeing that I haven’t really talked about them in this post.

Jason Botchford and Hosea Cheung are both reporting that Mike Gillis is chasing hard after Jay Bouwmeester. I think this is significant because it underscores Gillis’ philosophy in managing this team.

With Sundin’s signing and Burrows’ re-signing, it shows he’s willing to chase and pay big bucks for players who are very good at what they do. If they’re going to get paid, they damn well have a significant impact on the team. On the flip side, he won’t spend much time on average players who only make his team marginally better.

Look at the makeup of this team right now. It’s tough to point to a player who is considered “overpaid”. Gillis has gotten bang for his buck. It’s the moneyball philosophy.

So I’m not surprised to hear the Canucks are still in the Bouwmeester sweepstakes. He’s the kind of guy who will make this team much, much better. He’s the kind of guy who could take this team over the hump. The only question left really is whether the Canucks have the assets to pull it off.

[update: 03/04/2009, 10:25 AM]

More on Bouwmeester.

Apparently, Florida want Cody Hodgson as well.

Not saying it’s gonna happen, and actually, if I was Gillis I’d probably just hang up. But if it does and Hodgson goes the other way, then the Canucks best well win the Stanley Cup this year.

[update: 03/04/2009, 10:42 AM]

I’m trying hard to keep up on the Twitter updates and I also have a Skype chat going on with other Canucks bloggers.

The rumor of the moment is that the Canucks and the Panthers have agreed on Raymond and a 1st for Bouwmeester, but the Panthers also want Kevin Bieksa. (Incidentally, this was the rumored package from earlier today.)

Keeping in mind Gillis’ moneyball approach, is adding an unsigned Bouwmeester and removing a signed Bieksa worth it? Is it a significant improvement on the Canucks’ ‘D’?

[update: 03/04/2009, 10:57 AM]

Boston’s been busy:

  • Boston acquires Mark Recchi and a 2nd round pick in 2010 from Tampa Bay for Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums
  • Boston acquires Steve Montador from Anaheim for Petteri Nokelainen

[update: 03/04/2009, 11:03 AM]

Bill Guerin’s on his way to Pittsburgh for a conditional draft pick.

Per TSN, the return is a 5th round pick. If the Penguins make the playoffs, it becomes a 4th round pick. If they win a round, it becomes a 3rd round pick.

[update: 03/04/2009, 11:40 AM]

20 minutes left and only 8 trades so far.

A lot of names haven’t moved yet – Jay Bouwmeester, Derek Morris, Nik Antropov – and I’m wondering now if they would be.

Big finish boys. Big finish.

[update: 03/04/2009, 11:47 AM]

Phoenix acquires Scottie Upshall and a 2nd round draft pick; Daniel Carcillo goes to Philadelphia.

Damn. Upshall would have looked good on the Canucks’ 3rd line.

[update: 03/04/2009, 11:52 AM]

Nik Antropov is Broadway-bound; the Leafs receive a 2nd round draft pick and a conditional draft pick.

So much for Burke’s asking price of a prospect and a 1st round draft pick.

[update: 03/04/2009, 12:00 PM]

Derek Morris is on his way to the Rangers as well. The Coyotes get Nigel Dawes, Dmitri Kalinin and Petr Prucha in return. Not a bad return, I might add.

[update: 03/04/2009, 12:07 PM]

Buffalo acquires Dominic Moore from Toronto for a 2nd round draft pick.

A 2nd round draft pick? Wow.

[update: 03/04/2009, 12:12 PM]

Hosea Cheung just let us know that it’s official and that the Canucks are standing pat. Mike Gillis has a press conference scheduled at 12:45 PM.

I’ll gather my thoughts on today and post again later tonight. Remember that I’m also on Jacked In With Jessica (Kelowna AM 1150) at 4:20 PM.

Mar 032009
 
Feb 202009
 
Feb 032009
 
Jan 032009
 

The Vancouver Canucks didn’t just lose a hockey game last night; they lost yet another top defenseman to injury.

From Brad Ziemer (Vancouver Sun):

Mum’s the word on Canuck defenceman Mattias Ohlund, who did not play the third period of Friday night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Atlanta Thrashers.

The Canucks were not divulging the nature of Ohlund’s injury, except to say it is an “upper-body” ailment.

“He’s got an upper-body injury and is going to be re-evaluated when we get home and we’ll let everybody know on Sunday,” said tight-lipped Canuck coach Alain Vigneault.

Ohlund wasn’t saying much more when he emerged from the medical room after the game.

“I just got hurt on a play and we’ll see how it is tomorrow,” Ohlund said. “I just got hit and didn’t feel comfortable enough to finish playing and hopefully it’s not too bad.”

The Canuck training staff appeared to looking at Ohlund’s right hand, but it’s not known if that is what forced him from the game.

If Ohlund misses any games, that’s almost 1/3 of the Canucks’ regular lineup out with injuries, including their top two goaltenders, two of their top three defensemen, and two key PK guys. It’s beginning to feel like 2007/2008 all over again.

Nov 122008
 

After two weeks on the road and almost a week with a nasty cold, I finally got around to watching some Canucks hockey. I don’t know how Mike does it, but it’s damn tough to stay up and watch the boys when the games start at 10:00 PM or 10:30 PM. Anyway, I know I’ve got some catching up to do so here goes.

  • At 201 minutes and 8 seconds, Roberto Luongo’s current shutout streak is nothing short of impressive. If he shuts the door through the first 11 minutes and 4 seconds of tonight’s game, he’ll break his own record that he set just last season. I went with a colleague of mine from Ottawa to Thursday night’s game – he’s a Sens fan first and a Canucks fan second – and at one time he remarked, “So this is what it feels like to have a goalie”. After years of Garth Snow, Felix Potvin, Bob Essensa, Kevin Weekes, Dan Cloutier, Johan Hedberg, Rob McVicar and the list goes on, I smiled and agreed.
  • Luongo, of course, credits his teammates for the streak (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province). But a lot of the credit probably has to go to the penalty-killing units, who have started turning it around after a rough start to the season. Currently, the Canucks rank a good 11th in the league in goals-against (but was as low as 28th, I believe), but only a mediocre 20th in PK% (80.0%) and 22nd in PPGA (15). Removing the PPGA from the equation and the Canucks rank 5th in even-strength goals against. And in fact, the team did not allow a single powerplay goal in 7 of their 9 wins this season. It’s great to see the boys scoring with more frequency these days, but guess where the secret to their success lies this season.
  • To give credit where credit’s due, Kyle Wellwood is leading the Canucks in goalscoring with 6 goals in 10 games. Who would’ve thunk it? With Jannik Hansen and Pavol Demitra coming back soon (Jim Jamieson, Vancouver Province), coach Alain Vigneault has a nice little dilemma.
  • One more thing on Wellwood. There was a lot of disappointment in this city when Fabian Brunnstrom signed with the Dallas Stars instead of the Canucks. (Hello Ed Willes.) I know it’s early, but so far anyway, Wellwood has produced as much as Brunnstrom. Both have 7 points (6G-1A), though Wellwood has played in 3 less games. Also, Wellwood has a plus-3 rating while Brunnstrom has a minus-7. And the kicker? Brunnstrom is making $2.25 million this season while Wellwood is making under a $1 million. Moneyball at its finest.
  • I’ve heard the Ohlund for Vermette and Ohlund for Jordan Staal trade rumors out there. Mattias is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and the Canucks obviously don’t want him to walk away for nothing. Personally, I don’t want to see the longest-serving Canuck to walk away at all, but I do realize that this is the salary cap era and fans have to get used to seeing players come and go. Now, I’m not validating the credibility of these rumors, but if Mike Gillis is considering trading Mattias – and Mattias is willing to waive his no-trade clause – the return has to be significant. He is a number two defenseman on any team (maybe except on the Ducks). Also, the Canucks have depth on defense right now, but admittedly, they’ve been lucky and relatively injury-free to start the season. Can they stay that way?
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 262008
 
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