bowness coverage

Bowness Coverage – The Canucks Hereafter

The Canucks/Lightning game surprisingly had a lot of interesting questions that needed to be asked after a randomly impressive victory. This team has some talent that is slowly being revealed to us as the opportunities come. One of which, is Jayson Megna.

Megna reminds me a bit of a young, raw Alex Burrows. His speed holds up and he has started to find his niche on the bottom six. After this season, Jack Skille will go and a spot will open. The expansion draft for the incoming Vegas (insert confirmed trademark team name here) will also take another player.

Who that is, has yet to be seen.

Jayson Megna is one of those guys that sneaks into your lineup and for whatever reason, he is impossible to take out. When Jannik Hansen comes back that may change things but maybe not. Jack Skille sits and Megna probably stays.

I like that Jim Benning has given some of these young guys opportunities and when we have thought otherwise, he has brought in valuable talent.

Markus Granlund wasn’t exactly a sexy addition after shipping out Hunter Shinkaruk, but he’s worked out and added depth where there isn’t much. Loui Eriksson is benefiting and who would have thought he could still put up points without the Sedins?

But what about the elephant in the room right now?

There is a certain awkwardness to the Canucks future that has us all pondering why they went from looking for a 20 goal scorer to not moving anyone. Telling us NTC would stay intact when former Canucks were spoken to to waive theirs.

It sure feels like there is more to this equation than Linden and Benning are letting on. Let’s not kid ourselves, the Canucks are looking to buy the NHL’s basement suite outright. Are the Aquilini’s involved more than we once thought?

Where does Trevor fit into all of this? When he arrived it was more of a ticket ploy, a marketing shtick at best. He doesn’t really want to be in charge, no way. When Linden retired, hockey was the furthest thing from his mind so it felt odd he would take such a prominent role at the top.

As we get deeper into the season, we’ll see one of the dominoes, if not all 3 fall; that being Benning, Linden and Desjardins.

Linden would make sense to step down whereas the other two will be a shift in direction. If this team is to make a change, someone needs to be at the helm that can do that without any bias or loyalty. Mike Gillis was that guy.

Getting back to the actual team in question, the injury bug is starting to fade subtly like bombs on your screen from the arcade game Lucky and Wilde. Albeit, Ryan Miller seems to have tweeked something again.

Jannik Hansen is set to come back as soon as Saturday against the Panthers, Chris Tanev might be next week. Alex Edler will be a 2017 returnee and unfortunately, Philip Larsen may not even get back in a Canucks jersey once he has his sorts again. We all know the Dorsett situation so his season is probably a write off.

Speaking of Dorsett, what does he bring to the Canucks as a fully healthy contributor? Imagine he HAD been healthy, how does he factor in to this team? The fourth line might actually have a banger look to it. Brendan Gaunce, Derek Dorsett and heck Megna, what’s not to like?

I’m serious. If Derek Dorsett is truly healthy, he might warrant sticking around. Willie might have known more than we gave him credit for. I’m fine with that fourth line for the next year. 

There’s much to think about with this group and as close as they are to a playoff spot, it’s December and adding more picks in the first few rounds makes more sense.

Plus, Benning will need more 2nds if he’s going to open up for business.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Bowness Coverage – Canucks Maybe Are Good

Last season ended as a somewhat predictable tire fire and the Canucks had some obvious problems to fix. Fast forward 5 months and they look surprisingly better. Benning and Co. went younger, faster and slightly more expensive but where brass has spent their money, they’ve saved in other areas. For the first time since 1999, the Canucks start the season with 3 rookies: Jared McCann, Ben Hutton and Jake Virtanen. Its not what was expected to happen but guess what, here we are!

Its a pretty different team than last year and roles have changed throughout the lineup. Bo Horvat has earned the #2C role and has a spiffy set of wingers in Sven Baertschi and Radim Vrbata. After one game, I thought they looked pretty impressive and I have a feeling they will only get better. I would have liked to see Horvat a bit more on the PP and maybe even with the Sedins on a loaded setup with Edler and Weber at some point. Its only a game in so its a bit much to ask right now.

Elliotte Friedman has his 30 thoughts but I lose focus after 10 so that’s what I offer. Without further ado, I bring you your Bowness Coverage.

  • Nothing new for the Sedins but man do they continue to impress year after year. Their uncanny ability to find each other and make plays that still make you shake your head has not diminished. This play that lead to Brandon Sutter’s bloop single to the back of the net just shows what the Sedins can make happen. Check this out:
  • You won’t find much in the way of the Corsi here, maybe I’ve listened to a bit too much Pucks on Net lately, but I would guess Alex Edler’s corsi is crazy good after one game. The man has a boomer of a shot and he got it off what looked to be a ton (3 shots actually with a +3 rating). When Edler is shooting the way he can and his sticks aren’t breaking, he has the ability to make the Canucks PP and blue line very effective. Plus I have his t-shirt.
  • Staged fighting will continue to make the NHL a bush league. Dorsett and Prust both had tilts in the first period and I do not care for them. If there is a genuine energy boost in a game and a fight organically happens, go for it. Fake emotion though? Lame. You would think the NHL would be better than this but they’re not. Probably won’t see this end anytime soon.
  • Speaking of things that need to stop, these are two prime examples of how bonehead plays can ruin players careers and for the guys committing these stupid plays, they’ll be sitting out and rightfully so. It’s pathetic when you see repeat offenders continually allowed to offend and offend again. To be fair though, the RCMP, Provincial and Federal justice systems don’t exactly set a great example. Not the same thing but you get the idea. See exhibits A and B:
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  • It seems the fines/suspensions just don’t make it clear enough that its wrong. 41 games for Torres hopefully is his last chance. I love the way Torres plays and truly miss him as a Canuck but he plays on such a thin line that he can cross it quite easily.
  • A great initiative has been started over at the Nation Network which hosts Canucks Army, Flames Nation, Oilers Nation, Daily Faceoff and NHL Numbers; they are helping raise money for a foundation spearheaded by the Canucks called Mindcheck.ca Check out @CanucksMOTB and pledge some money to a great cause.
  • Tim Hortons has become the new place to get your overpriced 3 pack of Upper Deck hockey cards after McDonalds got out of the game a few years ago. I took part in a purchase agreement but where they get you is surprising: with a drink purchase you can get a pack of cards for a buck and tax. Any additional packs are 1.99 by themselves which is ludacris but if you purchase another drink, its only a buck again. Bravo Timmies! You are taking our money and any hope at a healthy nation with your calorie rich ice capps. McDonalds basically said “ya you can buy fries and then we’ll cap your card packs at ummmmm 80, is that ok?” Im here to help you save your hard earned paper route money.
  • Ben Hutton is the latest edition to the Canucks back end and he looked super swell! 8th in ice time after game one, his first NHL assist/point and 2:29 in PP time? Willie loves him some Hutton. That feeling won’t go away and after Frankie Corrado was waived and claimed by the Leafs, Vancouver better stick to their guns on this guy. Not like they have to worry though. Ben can look at Alex Edler and Chris Tanev and know that he can produce without being on the scoresheet. Amazingly enough, he does that too! His name may pop up more and more as the season goes on.
  • The Canucks new slogan for this season is #playforthis. The commercials that accompany it are about as thought out as this latest blog post. In an effort to sell tickets, which will be tough until this team proves itself, marketing is trying to relate to the Canucks everyman. If you want to relate maybe start with something like this: We’ve GOUGED you for years, but you showed up. We’ve won NOTHING but yet you cheer. We locked you out but you came back. We hired TORTS and then fired him right away. This is a new Canucks era and its ready to play…for you… We are ALL Canucks. And then throw in a hashtag and get a sponsor for Club 16 or Sushi.
  • Play for the fan in the 3 ferry lineup? You can do better than that. You had the Bauer/Nike guy and all he gave us was a really nice throw rug with a big 7 on it. Cliff Ronning thought it was amazing though.
  • Not at all Canucks related, well unless you count Roberto Luongo’s campaign but Jagr is bringing back his mullet and that is a great thing.
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The NHL season is finally here and there will no doubt be many more stories and sub plots in the Canucks stratosphere. Might they make the playoffs again this year? Im saying yes.

Might they get past the first round, Im saying no.

Might Bo Horvat end up being the best bang for your buck NHLer this season, sure hope so.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Bowness Coverage – Post Draft, Pre Frenzy, Present Disappointment

This past week has really been a circus of emotions but that hasn’t stopped Canucks twitter and pretty much anything with a pulse from having a say. The NHL draft came and went with many storylines dictating the start to the summer, free agency begins July 1st and hopefully there is a shred of happiness that comes with that. Above all else, it seems Jim Benning may have some critics.

Early Saturday morning Eddie Lack was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 3rd round pick and a 7th next year. On Tuesday afternoon the move we all thought was coming before the draft finally happened, but to a team we never expected; Kevin Bieksa is a Mighty Duck in exchange for the Ducks 2nd round pick next year. 

That alone is a big pause for the cause. 

1) The outrage in Canucksland was heard when Lack was moved for a 3rd round pick, many believing he was worth more. Benning was approached with eight offers and Carolina had the best one. What makes me wonder is if that was the best he could do, why trade him at all? 

Going forward why not keep the combo of Lack and Miller? Big deal if Markstrom walks, at the very least they could have moved HIM for a pick. It hasn’t seemed to matter who is in charge of the Canucks when it comes to goaltending, no one has a clue how to approach it. 

By the time Thatcher Demko is ready, Eddie Lack would be finishing off his 3 or 4 year deal and no doubtedly we would have found someone to partner up with Eddie, quite possibly Joe Cannata or someone else in the system. Everyone knew Lack would be able to sign a very cap friendly, team friendly deal and give the Canucks quality goaltending. Miller is our stop gap and with that tandem they could have actually made it work.

The goalie problems will never end in Vancouver, but thats ok, we’re used to it.

2) Just when the summer was about to get real snarly for Kevin Bieksa, Jimbo made the move I guarantee he did not want to do. Canucks South gained another member on Tuesday when Bieksa was sent to Anaheim to join buddy Ryan Kesler.

Benning did secure the 2nd round pick he was asking for, sadly it was the same one San Jose was offering and you wait, it would have been A LOT better. Bieksa is now on one of the most dangerous teams in the league, one that will most likely destroy the Canucks 5+ times next year.

Jimbo did well to get value out of Bieksa before he entered free agency and with all Juice’s injuries its actually a pretty saavy move. Its a shame he didn’t get what he was offered last week, we could be talking about a good player instead of guy that was just there in round 2. But the draft isn’t a sure thing so I give you kudos Mr Benning.

3) Yannick Weber was not qualified by the Canucks this week which begs the question: WHY!!!!? He was one of the few bright spots the Canucks had last year, he actually made a few powerplays worth watching and we actually didn’t care his name wasn’t Shea. How Benning let this guy slip to not even have leverage to oh I dunno keep his rights at least is nuts. 

Am I wavering here? I can’t tell. Maybe Benning has bi polar disorder or schizophrenia? Make one bad move, then one good move then another bad one. By October, there might be nothing left to criticize: we’ll all be dead from sarcasm.

4) On the plus side, Alex Biega and Linden Vey signed, oh and so did Jacob Markstrom. All very cap friendly numbers and maybe all this hair pulling will end up being a good thing? We wanted a rebuild, we wanted the problems gone and in a roundabout way I think Benning might be doing it.

Im not having fun typing those words and by the time free agency is in full swing I could take back everything and call for his head. Being a Canucks fan isn’t easy, being a Canucks armchair GM is even harder.

5) Side bar – Mike Richards may have a very rough ride back to the NHL; and that’s if they even let him back. He was stopped at the border with oxycodone, a very strong pain killer, and with that, the Kings released him. Richards was given a second chance in LA and it looks like thats all he’s getting. How serious is this? We will probably find out in the coming weeks.

6) Kind of got away from the draft so lets get back into it. At pick 23 Nick Merkley, Kelowna Rockets star forward, was NOT picked by the Canucks. I cried for a short time and my wife pretty much wanted me to shut up but as life happens we ended up getting the better version of Mike Fisher aka Mr. Carrie Underwood. 

Brock Boeser is the newest Canucks forward and although I know jack squat about him, it sounds like he is all business, and his business is doing the hockeys. Getting through the hyped up first round was tough and from the looks of things we did better than Boston.

Mr. Minnesota is a 6 foot hulking winger who is a self professed “power forward” that goes to the net and gets dirty in the corners. Maybe we’ll be so busy hoping Zack Kassian turns into Milan Lucic that Boeser will be our diamond driller.

The past few years have been good to the Canucks in the draft and hopefully ol’ Eggs Benny gets lucky from this one. Years from now we may look back and see all of our fortunes started here; I’m wrong a lot so lets not dwell on this. 

7) Going into July 1 there are a few guys the Canucks could take a swing at and even though they aren’t winning a cup soon, they can take a chance on these fellas and maybe parlay them down the road:

Cody Franson – Vancouver is in the mix to bring the BC boy home but he may not come cheap. With Bieksa gone and not having to sign Lack, there may be a few bucks in the kitty to sign this dman. We don’t have what you would call a good defensive core so Franson would definitely help. WANT LEVEL – HIGH

Joel Ward – I’ve wanted this guy for probably 4 years now and even though he’s getting older he still has some skill a few of our boys could learn from. He’s beat us around the net when he played for Nashville so we know he gets dirty. Won’t cost tons so he’s potentially affordable. WANT LEVEL – MEDIUM

Mike Green – I guess Washington isn’t home for Mike Green anymore. He’s still a valuable defenseman in many peoples eyes and if he somehow came to Vancouver I’m pretty sure he bounces back. Losing Kevin Bieksa and gaining Mike Green? I like that trade off. WANT LEVEL – HIGH

Johnny Oduya – Something something Stanley Cups. He’s 33 but he’s been to the top of the mountain twice and that might be worth talking about in the dressing room. Is this the direction Benning wants to go though? Maybe a bit more than we need. WANT LEVEL – SEMI MEDIUM

Antoine Vermette/Justin Williams – Doubt either of these guys gets a contract but they are worth talking to. 

8) Is Jim Benning done surprising us? Are there any other guys tha have played their last game in a Canucks jersey? Burrows? Edler? Higgins? Sbisa? Don’t hold your breath, I don’t think we’re done.

9) Pass it to Bulis is done with the Vancouver Sun. Daniel Wagner and Harrison Mooney put me on the Stick in Link feature one Tuesday and the next thing I know I’m the GDT guy for Canucks Army. I owe tons to these two and I can only hope their podcast keeps going and they keep pumping out quality shenanigans. 

SALUTE!

10) I ended on a music feature last time and becaause its summer, this one is no different. Here’s one of my new favorites from an amazing band. I hope Canada Day puts a smile on my face for the hockey fan in me but honestly, spending the day drinking beer, swimming in the sun and painting an apple box with my two little girls is all I need.

Enjoy!