Sep 102013
 

[The Vancouver Canucks enter this season facing more questions than they have in recent years. In this preseason series, we'll try and answer a few of them.]

Canucks GM Mike Gillis and new coach John TortorellaPhoto credit: PNG

It’s hard to believe that training camp is upon us, and the Canucks take to the ice in a preseason tilt against the San Jose Sharks only a week from now.

Much has happened since the Canucks got swept by those same Sharks a short four months ago. GM Mike Gillis fired coaches Alain Vigneault, Rick Bowness and Newell Brown. He hired John Tortorella, Mike Sullivan and former Stars head coach, Glen Gulutzan, to replace them. He didn’t trade Roberto Luongo. He traded Cory Schneider instead for a promising prospect in Bo Horvat. Maxim Lapierre wasn’t re-signed. Neither were Derek Roy, Manny Malhotra, Mason Raymond, Andrew Ebbett and Cam Barker. Keith Ballard was bought out. Brad Richardson and Mike Santorelli were brought in. At his year-end presser, Gillis promised a reset of this organization, and you can argue that he did.

The question is, did he do enough?

On the one hand, there was certainly a long list of casualties – hardly a surprise after a disappointing, second consecutive first round exit. But despite the number of roster changes, the core of this Canucks team largely remains the same. Look at the lineup again: the Sedins and Alex Burrows are most likely to remain the top line; Ryan Kesler will again anchor the second line, and have a combination of any of David Booth, Chris Higgins, Jordan Schroeder and Zack Kassian alongside him; whoever is left will join Jannik Hansen and newcomer Brad Richardson on the third line; Tom Sestito and Dale Weise will continue to provide some muscle a couple of minutes a game; and the entire back end will return, with the exception of Keith Ballard. Sure there’s room for a kid or two to make the team out of training camp, but by my count, there’s about 11 forwards and 5 defensemen returning. And Roberto Luongo.

Seemingly, the biggest change for the Canucks this off-season occurred behind the bench. Personnel-wise, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.

Some reset, huh?

Sep 282009
 
Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner celebrate a goal

Photo credit: canucks.com

Since Mike Gillis took over as Canucks GM, there has been a lot of talk about pouring more resources into scouting and player development. After two off-seasons now, it’s easy to see the positive impacts this has had in the system.

I don’t think it’s a secret that Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner disappointed this preseason, but looking at the bigger picture, we’ve now found out that the organization is deep enough that the team doesn’t have to rush them into the big leagues. They can afford to keep guys like Jordan Schroeder (NCAA), Anton Rodin (Sweden) and Kevin Connauton (WHL) where they can develop better. And while it’s disappointing to see that Hodgson and Grabner aren’t ready for regular NHL duty, it’s easier to digest because others like Sergei Shirokov, Mason Raymond and Kyle Wellwood seem ready to take on bigger roles.

The pro scouting has improved as well. It wasn’t long ago that the Canucks were signing players like Tommi Santala and Brad Isbister to round up the roster. This summer, Gillis signed college players Eric Walsky and Evan Oberg and under-the-radar players like Tanner Glass, Matt Pope, Aaron Rome and Michael Funk – all of these guys made good impressions on the Canucks brass, and Glass and Rome specifically may have moved right up to the top of the team’s depth chart.

IMHO, the Canucks just finished what was probably their most competitive training camp in their history. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it happened at a time when there are players on the bottom part of the system that are able to push the ones on top.

Sep 262009
 

Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner get another chance to impress the Canucks’ brass. Sergei Shirokov returns to the lineup. Which one of them will still be with the team come October 1st?

Sep 252009
 

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

Sep 232009
 

After a so-so performance on Monday night, Cody Hodgson will get another chance tonight to prove he belongs in the bigs. He’ll line up with Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows in what will, in effect, be the Canucks’ top line. Elliott Pap (Vancouver Sun) has the rest of the lineup here.

Sep 192009
 

Firstly, we received a few comments during the last couple of games that the livestream for the game wasn’t working properly. The Canucks have since advised us that the NHL has resolved the issues. If you want to watch the online stream of tonight’s game, you can go to:

http://canucks.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=616&id=46716.

Second, here is the Canucks’ anticipated lineup for tonight’s game (via Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun):

Mikael Samulesson – Cody Hodgson – Alex Bolduc
Darcy Hordichuk – Ryan Kesler – Jannik Hansen
Michael Grabner – Dave Scatchard – Mark Parrish
Tanner Glass – Ryan Johnson – Matt Pope

The following defensemen will suit up: Sami Salo, Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Brad Lukowich, Nathan McIver and Evan Oberg.

Roberto Luongo is scheduled to play the entire game and will be backed up by Daren Machesney.

THE LIVEBLOG: CANUCKS vs. DUCKS – SEPTEMBER 17, 2009

If you want to join in the conversation from Twitter, please add the hashtag #CanucksLive.

Sep 172009
 

Hat-tip to Nucks Misconduct for tonight’s lineup:

Vancouver Canucks

Mason Raymond – Ryan Kesler – Mikael Samuelsson
Tanner Glass – Kyle Wellwood – Steve Bernier
Darcy Hordichuck – Ryan Johnson – Matt Pope
(currently blank) – Alexandre Bolduc – Michael Grabner

Alexander Edler – Sami Salo
Nathan McIver – Kevin Bieksa
Brad Lukowich – Evan Oberg
Aaron Rome

Roberto Luongo – Cory Schneider

Anaheim Ducks

Josh Brittain – Saku Koivu – Corey Perry
Kyle Calder – Andrew Ebbett – Teemu Selanne
Ryan Donally -Todd Marchant – George Parros
Matt McCue – Logan McMillan – Shawn Weller

Scott Niedermayer – Matt Clark
Mark Mitera – James Wisniewski
Ryan Whitney – Stefan Ward

J.S. Giguere – Justin Pogge

THE LIVEBLOG: CANUCKS vs. DUCKS – SEPTEMBER 17, 2009

(If you’re on Twitter, tweets using the hashtags #Canucks will be pulled into the conversation.)

Sep 172009
 

Some of you know him from the VanCan Outta The Blue podcasts. In this part of the Canucks blogosphere, he’s simply Josh Hall. Josh is a current contributor to Canucks Corner. Here, he previews tonight’s preseason match-up against the Anaheim Ducks.

Sep 162009
 
Canucks Fan Zone

Photo credit: Canucks Fanzone

In partnership with the Vancouver Canucks, the members of the Canucks Fan Zone – that would Richard, Alix and I, and Brian, Rebecca, John, Dave, Sean and Mike and other Canucks bloggers – are hosting the first-ever Official Canucks Tweetup.

If you want to watch tomorrow night’s preseason game vs. the Anaheim Ducks with your fellow Canucks fans and debate Bure vs. Mogilny vs. Shirokov, Linden vs. Hodgson, or Raycroft vs. Schneider, come by The Hurricane Grill in Yaletown. The game starts at 7:00 PM but we’ll be there before that, hoping to meet some of you who regularly read this blog. If that’s not incentive enough, the Canucks and The Hurricane Grill have graciously arranged for prizes (i.e. swag, gift certificates, etc.) throughout the night.

Hope to see you there!

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