Nov 052013
 

Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks stops Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals on a penalty shot.

After a long, grueling road-trip the Canucks were looking to ease their way back into the game with a nice home-start against the Washington Capitals. Unfortunately for them, the “Hockey Gods” had other plans and granted the Caps a penalty shot less than two minutes into the game. But hey, at least the shooter was only Alex Ovechkin, league leader in goal-scoring and the reigning Hart Trophy winner (SARCASM).  Fortunately for the ‘Nucks, Bobby-Lou was on his game and held Ovi off the scoresheet, allowing our boys to cruise to a 3-2 victory. 

The Canucks have had a few historical moments involving the “most exciting play in hockey”, some glorious, others heartbreaking. But regardless of the penalty-shot outcome we can all agree wholeheartedly, none were forgettable. Here are the top 5 memorable penalty shot moments in Canucks history.

5) Alex Burrows vs. Corey Crawford. In arguably the most important game in Canucks history, Alex Burrows was granted a penalty shot against Corey Crawford to give the Canucks a 2-goal lead in game 7 of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Despite Burrows failed attempt he did get the last laugh putting a knucklepuck past Crawford in overtime to win the series.

4) Pavel Bure vs. Damian Rhodes. Not an especially important goal in terms of the bigger picture, but fun to watch for the cocky call by the Russian Rocket. Read his lips when he’s talking to the ref. Gotta love Pav.

3) Henrik Sedin vs. Chris Mason. One would think that Hank has nightmares about coming down on a goalie without a pass option. This cheeky move seems to prove otherwise, as the Canuck captain puts in a beautiful insurance marker late in a game versus Nashville.

2) Sidney Crosby vs. Roberto Luongo. The best player in the world versus one of the greatest goalies in the world in overtime. Need I say more?

1) Pavel Bure vs. Mike Richter. It’s hard to put a play where the Canucks come out on bottom this high on the list, but no one can deny the sheer excitement of this moment. The most dynamic goal-scorer in the league taking a penalty shot in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals – heart-breaking result but thrilling nonetheless.

Nov 032013
 
TGATT - The Game According to Twitter

Fittingly, on the night the Vancouver Canucks retired Pavel Bure’s number up to the rafters, they played perhaps their most exciting, most entertaining game of the season.

On a typical Saturday Fall afternoon in Vancouver, the Canucks took on the Leafs and slugged it out with them. All four lines scored and Roberto Luongo recorded his 64th shutout – yes, his 64th shutout, just 2 shutouts behind Patrick Roy, who had 66 shutouts in 269 more games, in the NHL’s all-time shutout leaders list – en route to a 4-0 dismantling of the Eastern Conference-leading Leafs.

It sure looked like it, eh?

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jul 232013
 

When Pavel Bure returned to Vancouver last season and took in a Canucks game, the response from fans was overwhelmingly positive. Whatever damage was done when Pavel abruptly held out and demanded a trade out of Vancouver was forgotten. Whatever sins he committed to the city was instantly forgiven.

The people have spoken – they want the most exciting, most dynamic, and first real superstar player this franchise has ever had to have his number retired. The Canucks listened, and tonight, they made it official – this season, Pavel’s no. 10 will be raised to the rafters.

I don’t think I’ve made any attempts to hide my thoughts on this, but I’m aware I’m in the minority of Canucks fans who feel the way I do. Ultimately, the decision to retire someone’s number symbolizes that the organization and the fans think so highly of that player that no one else should ever wear his number again. In Pavel’s case, it’s clear they agree with this decision, and in the end, that’s all that matters. Know this though, whether I agree with it or not, like everyone else, I’ll be cheering along as we re-live the many – and yes there are many – highlights of his career as a Canuck, and we raise his number next to Stan’s, Trevor’s and Markus’.

Apr 102013
 

In this latest episode of CHB TV, Chris, Ed, Caylie and I went to Library Square in Downtown Vancouver and wondered whether or not the Canucks did enough to get prepped for the playoffs and whether or not retiring Pavel Bure’s jersey was the right thing to do. Damon Holowchak, Marketing Coordinator for the Donnelly Group, also joins us on the panel.

But also, Jay Jones, Executive Bartender and Brand Ambassador for the Donnelly Group whipped up some Canucks-themed drinks – the No. 5 Garrison, Dirty Higgins and Honey Badger – that will be on their menus at Library Square, Cinema and the Lamplighter on Canucks game days until the end of the playoffs.

The drinks were amazing and Jay kindly shared with us – to share with you, our loyal readers – how to make them.

No. 5 Garrison

Vancouver Canucks-themed drink: No. 5 Garrison

Local boy, Jason Garrison has come home. This cocktail stands to represent his strong character and play. Based around the design of a classic Old Fashioned, spiced whisky defines the depth and boldness of the drink, while brown sugar mellows the bite and whisky barrel-aged bitters lend further complexity. Orange zest creates great aroma and flavor in pairing with the vanilla of the whisky. Served ‘on the rock’ as a nod to his hometown of Whiterock, BC.

Recipe

1.5 oz Canadian Club Dock
no. 57 Spiced Whisky
1 Brown Sugar Cube
3 hard dashes Fee Brothers Whisky Barrel-Aged Bitters
1 large Orange Peel Zest

Method

1. muddle sugar with whiskey & bitters in a mixing glass
2. stir without ice to dissolve sugar
3. add cracked ice & stir to chill
4. loose strain into a small rocks glass (8 oz capacity)
5. place 1 oversized ice ‘rock’ in the glass
6. zest heavily with a large slice of orange peel
*garnish with spent orange peel

Dirty Higgins

Vancouver Canucks-themed drinks: Dirty Higgins

Gritty Canucks forward Chris Higgins isn’t a ‘dirty’ player, but he certainly gets his hands dirty fighting for pucks, goals and wins with relentless tenacity. The ‘Dirty Higgins’ pays respect to that character. The Bloody Caesar is a classic Canadian savoury cocktail and inspiration for this creation – Clamato juice creates the body, but instead of vodka, the strength of character at the core comes from Bourbon, an American classic, just like Higgins himself – Jim Beam ‘Devil’s Cut’ acknowledging his devilishly determined style of play. This drink gets dirty with traditional seasoning of Tabasco & Worcestershire sauces, but with the added flavor of pickle brine to create a truly unique flavor profile. A touch of lime juice freshens the palate, while baby pickles and balsamic onions make for a crunchy and tangy garnish.

Recipe

1.5 oz Jim Beam ‘Devil’s Cut’ Kentucky Straight Bourbon
1 oz Pickle Brine
4 oz Motts Clamato® Juice
25 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3 hard dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 hard dashes Tabasco sauce

Method

1. combine all ingredients and roll between mixing glasses
2. pour into a large rocks glass (12 oz capacity)
3. fill with large ice cubes- stir to chill
*garnish with cornichon and a balsamic onion

Honey Badger

Vancouver Canucks-themed drinks: Honey Badger

The Honey Badger is revered as the fiercest of all creatures – underestimated because of it’s appearance and size. Our beloved Dane, Jannik Hansen earned this nickname for the ferocious and fearless style of play he exhibits every single shift. Over the past seven years as a Canuck, his two-way skills and tireless drive have made him one of the most appreciated and respected players on the team. Somersby Danish apple cider is a nod to Hansen’s home country. Melon liqueur and vanilla-flavoured Galliano combine to add fruity, delicious honey-like tastes – in combination they pack a surprising wallop. The resultant colour is reminiscent of Canucks green – an easy-drinking and refreshing reward after hard work, or play.

Recipe

1.5 oz Bols Melon Liqueur
.25 oz Galliano Liqueur
Somersby Danish Apple Cider

Method

1. combine liqueurs in a draft beer glass
2. pack glass full with ice cubes
3. add ice and top with cider
*serve with a straw

(All photos courtesy of Jay Jones.)

Apr 042013
 

Taylor Hall scores a hat trick against the Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: The Globe and Mail

After last night’s 8-2 whooping of the Calgary Flames, the Edmonton Oilers woke up this morning to find themselves in a playoff spot – in 8th place in the Western Conference. After falling out of the playoff picture with a 3-6-3 stretch in the beginning of March, the Oilers have clawed their way back and are now one of several teams fighting for the last couple of playoff spots in the West. With most teams having only 11-14 games left in their schedule, the difference between 8th and 13th place in the West is just 4 points and the difference between 3rd and 10th place is just 6 points.

While the Oilers are on the second game of a back-to-back, the Canucks have had two days of rest, or for some, two days to think about their long weekend no-shows against these same Oilers (a 4-0 loss on Saturday) and the San Jose Sharks (a 3-2 loss on Monday). Not that the Canucks should need any more motivation, but I hope atoning for giving Taylor Hall a hat trick just 8 minutes into the game on Saturday and allowing the Sharks to score 3 goals in under 3 minutes on Monday would be on their agenda tonight.

The addition of Derek Roy should help. Cory Schneider is getting the start tonight – on Roberto Luongo’s birthday.

Canucks Record

19-11-6, 44 points (2nd in the Northwest Division, 4th in the Western Conference)

Season Series

Offensively, the Canucks and Oilers are going in opposite directions. The Canucks have lost 2 straight games, and dating back to the Vancouver Millionaires night against the Detroit Red Wings, have only scored 15 goals (plus 2 empty-net goals) in 10 games. The Oilers, on the other hand, have won 5 straight games and have outscored their opponents 25-7 in that span.

Who’s Hot

2010 1st overall pick, Taylor Hall, has been exceptional. Currently on a 6-game point streak (7G-8A-15P), Hall leads the Oilers in scoring and sits 5th in the NHL in assists (28) and 7th in overall scoring (41).

Who’s Not

Daniel Sedin has just 2 points in his last 7 games.

Quickies

  • Zack Kassian is back with the Canucks after a brief demotion to the Chicago Wolves. (CKNW)
Jun 272012
 
Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com

1. Some fallout from the NHL Draft: Is it possible that, after the Cody Hodgson fiasco, the Canucks are doing more “background checks” on possible NHL draft picks? I found it interesting when Mike Gillis said that Brendan Gaunce has “good parents, good potential, and good leadership”. Wait, good parents? Sounds familiar.

2. You could make the argument the Canucks were ecstatic that Gaunce was available to them at pick 26. Outside of the offensive upside, there isn’t a ton separating Gaunce and Hodgson. Gaunce wore an ‘A’ for Belleville last season and is close to a lock when it comes to getting a spot on the Canadian world juniors team next winter.

3. Are the Canucks just steering clear of drafting WHL players completely? The club has now made 25 consecutive selections without taking a single WHL player. The last was Morgan Clark (2008, 7th round), and for the last ‘successful’ WHL pick outside of the traded Michael Grabner, you’d have to go all the way back to 1995 when Brent Sopel was a 6th round selection.

4. There was a rough reception for the Canucks on Day 2 of the draft, when they selected all overage players with their remaining picks. A lot of people cried uncle when the team could easily have signed the players over the summer without sacrificing picks. Perhaps the club wants to draft more mature players who could be ready in 2 years as opposed to 3 or 4.

5. How sold are you on the “draft the best player available” mentality? The Canucks certainly aren’t, given most of the drafted players could’ve been available later.

6. One team that didn’t draft the best player available was the Calgary Flames, who took Mark Jankowski when they could’ve arguably had him in the second round. Canucks fans who went through the Patrick White fiasco in 2007 know the pitfalls that can follow when a marginal prospect goes in the first round.

7. The Canucks didn’t make qualifying offers to Victor Oreskovich, Marc-Andre Gragnani or Andrew Ebbett, allowing all to become unrestricted free agents. Oreskovich and Ebbett aren’t total surprises, but steps had to be taken for Gragnani to avoid becoming a UFA in the first place, so the fact the club didn’t extend a qualifying offer is a bit shocking.

8. The problem with Gragnani is that he’s a good to great player in the AHL, but a fringe player in the NHL. Either the Canucks didn’t think he was worth a contract, or Vancouver has another defenseman coming into the system soon…

9. Also sounds like Aaron Rome won’t be returning to the Canucks. Unfortunately, the biggest impact Rome had in a Canucks uniform was for his hit on Nathan Horton which arguably cost the Canucks the Stanley Cup. Rome certainly wasn’t an impact player on the blueline during the run, but the team had been crippled by injuries beforehand so his suspension didn’t help matters.

10. With Rome and Gragnani cast out by the Canucks, who’s going to fill the void? It’s been floated around the Twitterverse that Sami Salo will be back for another year, but that still leaves a spot or two on the blueline open.

11. You can put together an opinion that Vancouver is opening a roster spot for high-profile UFA Justin Schultz to come to the Canucks, but nothing can be certain at this point. You could also argue the Leafs traded Luke Schenn so that they could free a roster spot for Schultz as well.

12. Is Toronto off the table for the Canucks and Roberto Luongo? Trading Luke Schenn, who was rumoured to be offered straight up for Luongo, certainly seems to answer that question.

13. Florida is said to be the frontrunners for Luongo now, but GM Dale Tallon questions whether or not the Cats can fit a gargantuan contract like Luongo’s into the equation, though reportedly, Florida ownership have no problems having to pay Luongo ten more years.

14. The other problem is the Canucks are said to be asking for one of Florida’s top young players: Erik Gudbranson, Jonathan Huberdeau, Dmitry Kulikov, and Quinton Howden. The first two are unlikely acquisitions, given they were top three selections in the NHL drafts the last two years.

15. Big congratulations are in order for Pavel Bure, who was elected to the HHOF yesterday. As a fan who grew up idolizing Bure as a child, the Russian Rocket spawned a generation of hockey fans in this city. And whether or not you believe he deserves to have his jersey hanging in the rafters of Rogers Arena, his place in the Hall is simply unquestioned.

Oct 312011
 

A few days ago, we explored the first of many trades between the Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers, which was the exchange of Jesse Belanger to the Canucks for a third-round draft choice in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. While Belanger only played for a short time in Vancouver and wasn’t offered a contract the following year, the third-round pick the Canucks gave up started a domino effect throughout the Panthers organization from the way they drafted to the players they traded for, the results of which can still be seen on the current Panthers roster and farm system. Today, we’ll be examining one of the most infamous deals in Canucks history, the one that sent an unhappy Russian Rocket to Florida for, amongst others, fan favorite swashbuckling defenseman, Ed Jovanovski.

Year:: 1999
Canucks receive: Ed Jovanovski, Dave Gagner, Mike Brown, Kevin Weeks and a first-round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
Panthers recieve: Pavel Bure, Bret Hedican, Brad Ference and a third-round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

Background: In case you didn’t follow the Canucks during their last Stanley Cup run…which is probably a lot of you young whippersnappers I see on Twitter these days…Pavel Bure is still to this day the most exciting, electrifying, get-up-out-of-your-seat-when-he-touches-the-puck sort of player the Canucks have ever had. Don’t get me wrong…Trevor Linden is still my favorite all-time Canucks player but he never brought the same sort of offensive danger that Bure did when he stepped on the ice. If you watch Alex Ovechkin today and get that sense of anticipation you feel when he gets that black rubber on his stick that he’s going to do something amazing, that’s the sort of sensation Canucks fans expected during Pavel Bure’s 7 seasons with the Canucks.

Bure still sits 7th on the all-time Canucks scoring list, 4th in goals with 9 hat-tricks and 32 game winners. He’s also got a Calder as Rookie of the Year and remains the only Canuck to score 60 goals in a season, which he did back to back from 1992-’94. Most Canucks fans of that era can tell you exactly where they were when Bure scored some of his most important goals, including that incredibly breakaway goal on Flames goaltender Mike Vernon to advance the Canucks to the Conference Final, completing one of the greatest comebacks in team history being down 3-1 in the series and winning three times…all in overtime…to take the series in the seventh game.

But unlike fellow ’94 alumni like Linden, Kirk McLean, Greg Adams and Gino Odjick, Bure isn’t a universally loved player in Vancouver. Despite his absolutely beast-mode 31 points in 24 playoff games that year (24GP-16G-15A-31P), Bure is thought of by many as a selfish player that turned his back on the team that drafted him. Although he had 51 goals in his last season with the Canucks, the canyon between the Russian Rocket and the Canucks organization had grown. By the 1997-’98 season, Bure had told management that he would not be playing for the Canucks again even though he had a year and $8m left on his contract, which led then-GM Brian Burke to trade him halfway through the season to the Florida Panthers.

What Happened: All you need to know this trade is that it happened during the Mark Messier era in Vancouver Canucks history, which were truly the dark ages. After the ’94 Cup run and the ’95 lockout, a number of changes occured in the Canucks organization, including the hiring of Mike Keenan and the acquisition of former New York Rangers center Mark Messier. I won’t go into detail as even talking about this particular moment in time makes the veins in my head bulge and I don’t know what I did with my Messier voodoo doll but suffice to say, Bure wasn’t happy with the team and wanted out.

The trade didn’t really have any playoff implications that year as both the Canucks and Panthers missed the playoffs, with the Canucks occupying the Western Conference basement and the Panthers were only one point ahead of them.

Long-term Consequences:

Canucks: For the Canucks, this trade meant that they immediately lost one of the foremost offensive threats and easily their most explosive player. Despite injuries that shortened several previous seasons, Bure was still productive and when healthy, he remained a top-level player for years to come.

Ed Jovanovski, Vancouver Canucks

The centerpiece in the package the Canucks would get in return was Ed Jovanovski, a former 1st overall defensemen who had spent 4 years with the Panthers already. At 23, he had barely scratched his prime. With the Canucks, “Jovocop” would spend 7 years on a high-flying Canucks team that also featured the West Coast Express of Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison. He would play 434 games in that span with his last three years cut short by various injuries. Although the Canucks wouldn’t make it out of the second round of the playoffs during his time here, Jovo put up some very good numbers for Vancouver (434GP-57G-177A-234P) and for me in particular, he is responsible for some of my best memories of that era. I can still see him jumping up and down in the penalty box after Matt Cooke scored against the Flames to send it to overtime (Martin Gelinas would win it for Calgary a minute later) and that time he knocked Adam Deadmarsh the hell out. He had great years in Vancouver but the team was looking for a change in 2006 and Jovo would sign with the Phoenix Coyotes as a free agent.

Dave Gagner, on the other hand, was not particularly important to the Canucks. He played 33 games (33GP-2G-12A-14P) before retiring later that year. At 35, I don’t know why he was even part of the trade but the last time I heard, Burke insisted that he be included. My dad is still angry about this particular part of the trade to this day. Gagner is currently the Director of Player Development for the Canucks.

Mike Brown spent most of his time in the minors after being selected 20th overall by the Panthers in 1997. While not overly big, he still played the enforcer role decently at the minor league level, once topping a whopping 300 PIMs in 1997-’98, a season where he also scored 56 points in 72 games. At the NHL level, he never quite got there despite being a Brian Burke favorite. He played a total of 16 games for the Canucks, with no points and 78 PIMs. He would sign with the Mighty Ducks after the Canucks left him unrestricted in 2002-’03, the season where he would score his only NHL goal.

Kevin Weekes, Vancouver Canucks

Kevin Weekes…oh man, here we go. I’m tempted to talk about his current stint on Hockey Night in Canada but before he tortured our ears with partner Mark Lee (okay, I’m done…), he was the Canucks goalie-from-the-future! …I mean, goalie-OF-the-future. Drafted 41st overall by the Panthers in 1993, Weekes was a big part of the Bure deal as the Canucks were looking for a goalie to stop the revolving door and Weekes showed tremendous promise. Unfortunately, he never panned out with the Canucks, who were disappointed with his play, posting only 6 wins during his tenure of 31 games (31GP-6W-15L-5T/OTL). He would be packaged with Bill Muckalt and Dave Scatchard and sent to the New York Islanders for Felix Potvin, a 2nd and 3rd round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Potvin would be an even more forgettable goalie and would be dealt to the Kings for future considerations as Dan Cloutier and Bob Essensa took over goaltending duties for the Canucks. Since I can’t find anything about what happened to those “future considerations”, we’ll just assume the Canucks received a shiny bag of pucks, which I’d like to think are still somewhere in Rogers Arena today so we can get some value out of all this.

The 2nd round pick from the Weekes deal was moved to New Jersey in a 3-way trade where the Canucks got Vadim Sharifijanov (…who?) and a 3rd rounder, which ended up being Tim Branham. Branham would never play an NHL game and Sharifijanov, despite scoring a goal in his first shift as a Canuck, played only 17 games (17GP-2G-1A-3P) before he would be released. The 3rd round pick from the Weekes deal was used to draft Thatcher Bell, who also never played a NHL game. Not sure if the Canucks released him or traded him but he has popped up in the Rangers and Ducks system.

With guys like Brad Boyes, Justin Williams and Niklas Kronwall still on the board, the Canucks used Florida’s 2000 first-round draft pick (23rd overall) to draft Nathan Smith. Injuries derailed much of Smith’s time in the Canucks organization where he played from 2002 to 2007. His claim to fame is that he played the same number of games for the Canucks in the regular season and in the playoffs. He would be called up for 4 games spread between 2003 to 2007 and also played 4 postseason games in 2007. He would never score a point at the NHL level, a great example of how poor the Canucks scouting department was at the time. He’s so forgettable that a Google image search brings up a picture of a Smith jersey some ridiculous Canucks fan bought and a screencap of his back. He’s playing in the German Elite League these days.

Today’s results: The Canucks did not get much in return for Bure apart from Jovanovski, who was allowed to walk just like several other players involved in the trade. While the 2000 draft wasn’t deep, several NHL-caliber players were available along with Nathan Smith such as Niklas Kronwall, Brad Boyes, Ilya Bryzgalov and Jarret Stoll but instead, the Canucks picked a bust in Smith and busts with all their other acquired picks as well. As a result, all we are left with today as a result of the Bure trade is a couple pictures of Ed Jovanovski hanging in the halls of Rogers Arena and a bunch of 11-year old pucks.

Panthers: In Bure, the Panthers acquired a game-breaker, one of the only guys in the league at the time that could take over a game all by himself. Unfortunately, Bure’s knees would never be quite what they were as a result of his style of physical play. He would appear in only 11 games the season after the trade (11GP-13G-3A-16P) before he had to have surgery on his ACL. Bure would play 3 more seasons with the Panthers, which included a 58-goal season, a 59-goal season and a 94-point season – the latter two still team records. Bure is 9th on the Panthers scoring leaders (223GP-152G-99A-251P).

Igor Ulanov, Florida Panthers

On March 18th, 2002, Florida would trade Bure along with their 2nd-round pick in the 2002 draft for Igor Ulanov, Filip Novak and the Rangers’ 1st and 2nd-round picks in the same year. Ulanov played a couple of years with the Panthers with little success (70GP-1G-5A-6P). He’d sign as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers the next season. Novak would spend most of his time with the Panthers injured on their AHL affiliate San Antonio Rampage’s roster before being dealt to the Ottawa Senators for a conditional draft pick, which doesn’t appear to have been invoked probably since he didn’t re-sign.

The 1st round pick the Panthers would receive in the Bure deal resulted in Petr Tatíček, who they drafted 9th overall. He would play 3 games for the Panthers (3GP-0G-0A-0P) before being sent to Pittsburgh for Ric Jackman. Jackman would be sent to the Ducks a year later (where he won a Stanley Cup) for a conditional pick, which became 181st-overall pick Corey Syvret, who is playing in the ECHL today. The 2nd rounder would turn to Rob Globke, who would play a total of 46 games with the Panthers (46GP-1G-1A-2P) before leaving for Europe.

In that original trade with the Canucks, the Panthers also received, in exchange for Bure, defensemen Bret Hedican, Brad Ference and a 3rd rounder in 2000 that became Robert Fried. Fried appears to have disappeared after playing 4 years at Harvard. Yes, that Harvard.

Hedican stuck around for two full seasons after he was traded to the Panthers (202GP-17G-48A-65P) and was dealt in 2001-’02 to Carolina along with Kevyn Adams and Tomas Malec, where he would win a Cup in 2006. In return, the Panthers received Byron Ritchie (111GP-10G-15A-25P) and Sandis Ozolinsh (88GP-17G-38A-55P). While Ritchie would leave Florida as a free agent (he signed with the Calgary Flames, then the Canucks, and finally in Europe), Ozolinsh was traded to the Mighty Ducks for Matt Cullen, Pavel Trnka and a 2003 4th rounder that became James Pemberton.

At the age of 34, Cullen is still a productive player in the NHL today, but played a season and a half of his worst hockey (statistically) with the Panthers (86GP-12G-19A-31P). He would leave Florida as a free agent after the lockout and sign in Carolina. Trnka (89GP-3G-16A-19P) would head to Europe after the lockout and Pemberton never broke into a NHL roster.

Ferrence would spend about 4 years with the Panthers (167GP-4G-24A-28P) before heading to the Phoenix Coyotes for Darcy Hordichuk and a 2nd rounder in 2003, which which was traded again along with a bunch of other picks for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 25th overall pick. Hordichuk played enforcer for the Panthers for 60 games (60GP-3G-1A-4P) where he’d amass 173 PIMs before heading to the Nashville Predators after the lockout and then signing with the Canucks. The Canucks traded him back to the Panthers for Andrew Peters last year, but signed as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers this past off-season. The 25th overall pick would be Anthony Stewart (105GP-4G-8A-12P), who then signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Thrashers, where he would score go on to score 39 points in 80 games. He’s currently with the Carolina Hurricanes on a 2-year deal.

Today’s results: Like the Canucks, the Panthers received a number of decent assets when it was time to repackage an aging Bure with bad knees but squandered the draft picks on players that never even came close to making the big leagues. Anthony Stewart was probably the best they did in this entire mess but he still isn’t the sort of player you’d want to result from a first round pick and he left the club for nothing two years ago. As a result, the Panthers have nothing today to show for their end of the Bure trade, although they did get two productive, Rocket Richard Trophy-winning seasons out of the Russian Rocket.

Verdict:

Tough one to call. If it comes down to the Canucks getting 7 years of Jovocop compared to Florida’s 4 years of Bure’s services, I’d have to call that one in favor of the Canucks. Despite Bure being a bigger star, the Panthers only made the playoffs one of the years Bure was in the lineup and they were swept in 4 games by eventual Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils. On the other hand, the Canucks with Jovo in the lineup would return to the postseason (4 times in Jovo’s 7 years with the team) after missing it for 4 consecutive seasons during the dark Messier/Keenan era. He recorded 18 points (8G-10A) in 31 playoff games.

While both teams made poor choices with the assets they acquired as a result of this trade, the Panthers basically threw away three high draft picks during this time including a 9th overall. However, at least they got draft picks to waste. The Canucks didn’t even get that with a very poor return for all the players they received for Bure, including letting Jovanovski walk at the end of his contract. As a result, I’d call this one a draw.

Dec 152010
 

Now that Markus Naslund’s jersey #19 has been raised to the Rogers Arena rafters, focus has shifted to whether or not Pavel Bure’s #10 belongs up there as well.

As a Canuck, Pavel recorded two 60-goal seasons plus a 50-goal one. He totaled 478 points – 254 goals and 224 assists – in 428 games. He added 66 points – 34 goals and 32 assists – in 60 playoff games. His 1.12 points per game in the regular season and 1.10 points per game in the playoffs are franchise highs.

Add the many highlight-reel plays and exuberant goal celebrations, and quite simply, Pavel is, in many Canucks fans’ eyes, the most exciting player to ever put on a Canucks jersey.

The $64,000 question is, are Pavel’s numbers and highlights enough to raise #10 next to #12, #16 and #19?

IMHO, they’re not.

As Mike Gillis often says, there are various criteria to warrant the highest honor a team can give a player. For the Canucks, a player’s off-ice contributions are just as important as his on-ice accomplishments. I like Pavel as a player – I started watching hockey during his prime years – but I think it’s safe to say his community work pales in comparison to that of Smyl’s, Linden’s and Naslund’s.

For whatever reason, I never connected emotionally with Pavel as I did with Trevor and Markus. Maybe it’s the abrupt way he left the Canucks. Maybe it’s because he demanded a trade out of Vancouver and held out until Brian Burke finally dealt him to the Florida Panthers. Maybe it’s because he has no connection to Vancouver anymore. While I’m sure there’s more to this story than what has been reported, as GMMG alluded to in a long interview yesterday, the optics alone make it hard to mention him in the same breath as Stan, Trevor and Markus. I actually mentioned to Richard and Chris recently that I don’t think it’s weird to see Brad May, Ryan Johnson and now Jeff Tambellini wear Pavel’s #10.

So if the Canucks don’t retire Pavel’s jersey, do they induct him in the Ring of Honour?

My initial answer was that they should. At least it was until Ben Kuzma (Vancouver Province) questioned whether Pavel would even want any part of any party in his name. And then Barry Macdonald (Team 1040) reminded us this afternoon of the “honour” part of the Ring of Honour; given the circumstances of Pavel’s departure, this is certainly a fair point.

I think it’s a given that Pavel will be honored by the Canucks in one form or another.

“He’s on our radar,” said Canucks general manager Mike Gillis. “Part of it is the person and it didn’t end the way people had hoped. But there are two sides to the story. He’s a private person and I don’t think it’s any deviation from the criteria.”

Chances are, they’ll do it by either retiring his jersey or inducting him in to the Ring of Honour. But if not with either, then how?

If I may go off the board, what about renaming their year-end Most Exciting Player Award to the Pavel Bure Trophy – awarded to the Canucks most exciting player as chosen by the fans?

Dec 112010
 
Pavel Bure

On December 2, Chuck Norris became an Honourary Texas Ranger. Raise your hand if that surprises you. Not the fact he just became a Texas Ranger, but the fact he WASN’T ALREADY a Texas Ranger? I know, eh? Want to know something else that still surprises me? The fact that Pavel Bure isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Recently, J.J. was listening to me wax on at the different reasons why the Canucks are properly retiring the number 19 and not the number 10. One of my reasons had to do with the fact that Pavel decided he no longer wanted to be in Vancouver and forced the teams hand in a trade. How do you retire the jersey of a player who found their way out of town by force? As the discussion went on, I moved away from the reasons as to why his jersey shouldn’t be retired and on to reasons why he should be the first Canuck to enter the hallowed hall.

I know statements such as these are not received well in town. Many of you are going to tell me right now that Pavel has no business entering the Hockey Hall of Fame unless Trevor Linden gets there first. And, if the world was perfect, I’d agree with you. Yet the imperfections of the world dictate that Trevor, as great of a guy as he is, doesn’t get in. Pavel was electric, while Trevor was simply powerful. Pavel had promise, while Trevor had presence. And it’s those tangible assets that Pavel had, plus his ability to score goals like no other, that should get him in the hall.

So what does this have to do with Chuck Norris again? Quite a bit. Chuck Norris was an award winning actor on an award winning show for ten seasons. Pavel Bure was an award winning player who played on what should have been an award winning team in 1994. Chuck Norris is the most exciting man on the planet, while Pavel Bure was considered the most exciting man on the ice. Chuck Norris scared people. Pavel Bure scared goaltenders. Chuck Norris scored with the home audience. Pavel Bure scored with.. well.. you know.

But more to the point, Bure was a point-a-game player (779 points in 702 games) who was quite arguably the most dynamic forward of his time. With many of his seasons (and in the end, his career) cut short due to injury, Pavel was still a force on the ice who was always cause for concern. And the goals he scored with the variety that the fans loved – once he had the puck, he was able to skate faster than anyone else on the ice while deftly being able to control the puck in ways not humanly possible.

Eligible since 2006, Pavel has seen players such as Mark Messier, Igor Larionov, Steve Yzerman and Luc Robitaille enter while he still remains outside. And compared to that group, rightfully so. But what about other comparable players?

  • Exhibit A – Cam Neely. Both Cam and Pavel had seasons and careers shortened due to injury, yet Pavel had more points in fewer games as well as five 50 goal seasons to Cam’s 3. Neither won a Stanley Cup. I’ll concede that Cam was a better leader and more responsible player on the ice, but responsibility doesn’t get you in the HHOF.
  • Exhibit B – Pat LaFontaine. Pat was an exciting player in his own right, accumulating 1013 points over 865 games (across 15 seasons). Another player whose career was cut short due to injury, he is by far the best comparison to where Pavel would have reached had he played both in the same era and for the number of seasons.

So when does Pavel get his due? I’m not sure. But just like Chuck, I think it’s only a matter of time.

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