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3 Kelowna Rockets That Should Be Vancouver Canucks

You’ve already decided this was worth reading because of two things: A) You’re a Kelowna Rockets fan or B) You hate how the Canucks have passed on great players just down the road and you’re ready to see the REBUILD. There’s a third option which I guess is both.  It’s no surprise that I’m making a case for a few former Kelowna Rockets to become Canucks, being a homer and all, but here we are and if Jim Benning (or whoever is in his chair by the end of the year) decides that it’s time to rebuild, then here are three players the Canucks should look at:

Madison Bowey (Washington Capitals/Hershey Bears), Damon Severson (New Jersey Devils) and Tyrell Goulbourne (Philadelphia Flyers/Phantoms)

The first question would be why are you picking two defensemen when the Canucks are pretty set at that position. No, no they’re not. Luca Sbisa can’t possibly be a long term solution so at some point he’ll be traded or if they happen to see it through, he’ll become a UFA. The Erik Gudbranson experiment feels like it won’t last very long and re-signing him would be a bad move. But then again, we still have Benning.

I guess the other question would be: do you really think the Devils would trade their number one defenceman?

But let’s get back to where the Canucks are sitting.

Philip Larsen probably won’t play another game unless injuries keep taking defenders down. Alex Biega is just kind of sitting there and he’s been given a chance but just isn’t IT. Jordan Subban down in Utica feels permanent with this management group and with the list of guys ahead of him growing by the month, it seems harder and harder for Jordan to be a Canuck.

Then we have the big group: Alex Edler, Ben Hutton, Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher. This is your core for now. Nikita Tryamkin could be #5 with some time and finesse. He’s actually having a decent year now that he has adjusted a bit more to the North American game. His strength and sheer physical dominance will eventually make him a threat on the back end for the Canucks.

Adding a player like Damon Severson right away gives the Canucks a solid, young top 6. It’s entirely possible Edler or Tanev is moved if enough is going the other way or there is a big enough package that one has to go. If it’s me, I move Alex Edler in this case.

Madison Bowey is intriguing because of the leadership, grit and passion for the game. He’s tied for 9th best in the AHL for defensemen points and is 5th on the Hershey Bears in scoring. He holds the line well, has a booming shot from the blue line and he isn’t afraid to dust it up. Bowey is still raw but putting him on a pair with Hutton or Stecher would be pretty fun to watch.

If you like goals, you’d get that from Bowey. Tough to say what Washington sees in him at this point so he may still be a cheap enough chip to acquire. If the Canucks feel they have botched the Jake Virtanen situation as a whole (which they basically have thus far) and want to move on like they did with Cody Hodgson and Zack Kassian, Jake could be a good fit in DC. Obviously, it isn’t a 1:1 deal so Vancouver would be saying goodbye to a higher pick or possibly another top prospect.

Bowey was taken in the 2nd round of the 2013 NHL Draft, the Canucks albeit did not have a pick that round and they would take Cole Cassels in round 3 but for a rock on the blue line which the Canucks are still trying to find, he’s going to be a sure thing. Coming within an OT goal in the 2015 Memorial Cup as Captain of the Rockets, he knows how to win… oh and he was pretty decent at the World Juniors too!

Over to Damon Severson, it’s unlikely the Devils have any plans of getting rid of this guy. At 6’2, 205lbs, Severson is a mobile monster on the blue line. First of all, he plays for the Devils, second, he already has 3G and 9A this year; which I don’t want to remind you but that’s the same point total as Henrik Sedin who happens to be second in Canucks scoring. Taylor Hall is his only equal in points in the swamp.

Adding to those 12 points is the 5 power play assists he has as well. The Canucks took Alexandre Mallet in the 2nd round of the 2012 NHL Draft where Severson went 3 picks later to almost end the round. Yes, there were decidedly better prospects and current NHLers after those guys (Gostisbehere, Vesey) but again, how do you not entertain taking a defenseman out of a program that churns all-star players at that position? Ridiculous.

You know all the big names that have come out of the Kelowna Rockets system and believe you me, Damon Severson is quietly becoming the next big name. He was a steal in the 2nd round as far as I’m concerned and just like Shea Weber fell to the very, very lucky Nashville Predators, the Devils had to be excited they were able to get such a stud.

Severson’s final campaign as a Rocket was a beauty, 15G 46A, 5PPG, 15PPA, 18 points in 14 playoff games, etc. You get the idea, he’s good.

Moving what looks to be your top defenseman after only 3 seasons isn’t exactly smart but they have Cory Schneider and old Lou is long gone. Severson might be a long shot at best but for the sake of your reading pleasure, I put him in here. Is giving up on Jake Virtanen a good idea so early in his career? Is he the next Cam Neely? Who knows. I’m dreaming but Benning is crazy enough to make a trade like this work.

There are a handful of guys that make sense in a meaningful trade from the Canucks and when you take emotion out of it, Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen are decent pieces to move. Diving into the Comets for trade bait isn’t the smartest idea but on the back end, I think they can afford to move a few guys if necessary.

Wait, do we even have anyone good down there?

Up front, the spark plug that is Tyrell Goulbourne is worth kicking tires on. In his rookie season last year with Lehigh Valley, Goulbourne notched 7 goals and 10 assists, he combined that with a healthy 75 PIM. Not bad for a guy who had come off a lacerated calf in the spring during the WHL playoffs which ended his junior career.

Tyrell won’t be a top 6 winger but like Jannik Hansen he can move around throughout the bottom 6. He has the softest hands, surprising speed and when he adds a bit of intensity to his game, those fists have helped out a few teammates:

That fight is the one that stands out the most for me as I was at that game. The Rockets were getting beat early in that one and Goulbourne went for the biggest guy on the team, who also liked the rough stuff and absolutely dummied him. He was a fan favourite and always gave his team the edge when the game was close.

The skill guys do their stuff but it’s the energy guys that fill the hard minutes to give the stars their space. Goulbourne is a blast to watch and having him as a Derek Dorsett replacement a few years from now or a more talented Aaron Volpatti in the day just works. There are guys like Raffi Torres and Maxim Lapierre that you need in a long run (whenever that happens again) and Goulbourne can be that guy. Right now, super cheap.

I’m thinking Goulbourne could go for a Mike Zalewski, Jayson Megna or HEY! Joseph Labate.

My good buddy over at Canucks Army, Jeremy Davis, gave me some great data for you to ponder on these 3 guys, well 2 mostly. His pGPS system is pretty cool and I asked him to get data on all 3 guys but Severson is already a full-time NHLer so he kind of drops out of this. Madison Bowey had a pGPS of 47.5%, matching 28 of 59 players that became NHLers playing over 200 games.

Here’s the kicker: the matches averaging 32 points/82 games were Mike Green, Keith Yandle, Dennis Wideman and Christian Ehrhoff. Pretty decent company. If you can add a player like that for a low cost before they become that player, you should definitely be doing it.

Tyrell Goulbourne had a 9.4% rating matching only 24 of 256 players. The players that did make it averaged 21 points/82 games. Curtis Glencross, Antoine Roussel, Chris Kelly, Vern Fiddler were the most successful matches. Mostly 3/4th liners and replacement level NHLers. I’m holding out for a guy like Goulbourne because even Vern Fiddler didn’t have what Tyrell did in his fists.

Guys like these move around all the time before some GM finds his diamond. Jim Benning can actually do some good here by kicking tires on these players instead of the mess that is Evander Kane. I don’t expect the pinnacle of these 3, Damon Severson, to come cheap because you would basically be asking to have their top guy.

See what would happen if Benning traded Tanev or Hutton (I’M NOT SAYING HE SHOULD, I’M JUST PROVING A POINT!) Regardless, they are all interesting options for a Canucks team that needs to get serious.

Don’t forget, Brock Boeser will be a Canuck soon enough and that guy seems like the real deal.Plenty of goals will come off his stick. There are players that will instantly make the Canucks better that just need time. Thatcher Demko on the back end is earning his stripes and a few years from now he’ll be talked about all around the league. As Cole Cassels develops further, his opportunity will increase to make the team as well.

Looking at the former Kelowna Rocket players, it’s evident they can be valuable editions to Vancouver and I believe the Canucks have moveable pieces and with the rebuild in progress, they’re young enough to be around for awhile.

Remember when Edler was a rookie? Bieksa? HECK, Tanev? Time goes by pretty quickly so jumping on a hot prospect is a timely deal.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

 

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It Will Be Interesting To See: Canucks And Goalies

Canucks training camp started on Thursday and apparently it was already decided that Ryan Miller is the #1 goaltender this season for Vancouver because it says here, here and here. The last one was kind of overkill but you get the point. Jim Benning has declared the 36 year old veteran will lead the Canucks on the ice and defend the pipes as its top tender. In the next edition of IWBITS, I dive into the goalie issue and declare it will be interesting to see how this season pans out…heck how the first month goes.

When Ryan Miller signed with the Canucks back in 2014 it was tough to say if he was a consolation prize or if he really would help the Canucks while everything else was sorted out. There was the Eddie Lack saga, the Jacob Markstrom run and with Thatcher Demko signing his pro deal the clock will indeed be ticking until the heir apparent (Demko) takes the throne.

The funny thing is, Miller has actually been the least of the team’s worries since he signed. Sure, he’s had injury issues but what veteran goalie hasn’t? His actual stats aren’t very becoming but when you’re injured, splitting starts every second game and being relied on as the backbone of a team that scores less than the USA World Cup hockey team, you get a bit of a pass.

Millers GAA was a voluptuous 2.70 last year good for 34th overall, his SA% was 28th at .916 and because the offense and well the defense as well wasn’t all that effective, Miller finished 15th overall in saves with 1634. He was a workhorse and there were 31 games he didn’t even play.

It’s not a bad thing that Jacob Markstrom is the backup, in Vancouver you always seem to get your chance. We all LOVED Roberto Luongo and then Cory Schneider went and did his winning thing so then we were torn. We had Eddie Lack backing up Miller and we all thought THAT was the answer when he turned it on, but alas.

I say let’s enjoy Ryan Miller’s swan song, he’s pretty much done everything that has been asked of him and many of the games last season that were won with him between the pipes, were HIS wins. He definitely stole a few and our frustration was being pointed in many, many other directions.

How this all plays out this season will be interesting because Miller could easily get banged up and Markstrom would take the reigns. So being that Demko isn’t getting called up right away, Richard Bachman is basically the glorified door opener unless things get really dicey. The Nucks signed BTO this past offseason and he’ll be go figure, the door opener for Demko down in Utica.

All of this puts Jacob Markstrom in a position to prove his worth either as the tandem mate of Demko when Miller leaves after the season or trade bait if Thatcher is the Auston Matthews/Connor McDavid equivalent in net. We used to get bent out of shape when things got iffy in net, but now there’s a clear answer and losing our favourite son Roberto Luongo will hopefully be a fond memory and only that.

Don’t expect the Canucks to surprise anyone this year challenge for a top playoff spot, they aren’t built that way yet. What they do have is a team of veterans and guys willing to learn from them. This team is on the verge of very good things and goaltending is included, unless of course Jim Benning decides to trade away Demko (but I just don’t want to think he’s that bat ish crazy).

It will once again be a roller coaster season and if Willie/Jim/Trevor know what’s best for this team, we’ll see a healthy dose of Miller/Markstrom every 2nd or 3rd game. It keeps it “interesting”, it keeps each goalie fresh and maybe they can pinpoint matchups, hey strategy!

Watching the fall last year was tough and seeing the result of a 5th pick instead of the 3rd still stings but knowing there’s a elite prospect between the pipes getting ready for his takeover is exciting. With Twitter handing us info by the second, Demko’s progression will be all too documented and if things go as well as everyone thinks, it will be tough not hand him the keys to the car.

On the off chance something amazing DOES happen on the big club, the Canucks may push their relevance back into the NHL I don’t see that happening but there’s a lot I’m wrong on.

The Canucks are tied for 1st overall right now…it will be interesting to see for how long.

Check me out on twitter: @always90four

cover photo: thecanuckway.com

 

Is The Draft The Turning Point For The Canucks?

Sure, lead with a question. Click bait? Maybe. But let’s get real for a second. Its been a few months since the Canucks shamed out for the year and it’s already time to draft the next wave of players that our future GM can trade away for parts. The recent trade of Jared McCann for Erik Gudbranson (plus other stuff we could debate forever) was a move forward any way you look at it.

Either it’s McCann was expendable and they needed a core defenseman teams can be scared of and trading a piece they can upgrade at the draft was the easiest route or, Benning actually feels McCann is in the Cody Hodgson category and we will all praise him years from now. The Draft might be time where the sad sack Canucks take a turn for the better.

 

Jim Benning has done a pretty good job at the draft since he got here.  In 2 years he brought in Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann, Thatcher Demko, Nikita Tryamkin, Brock Boeser and (a really good player drafted here). These are the keepers, well except McCann; two of these guys are already everyday roster players and its only a year or so before Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko are regulars as well.

That’s impressive if you care to say it. Trusting that Bo Horvat was ready, taking a chance on Sven Baertschi as well as a few other decisions; Benning IS building this team up whether we want to believe it or not.

Yes, he’s also dismantling it at the grassroots level just as quick as he’s created it and there’s no amount of analysis that can figure him out in that regard.

This go around at the draft is special though. As of right now, the Canucks hold the 5th pick but that’s right now. Benning says he’s taking calls and listening to offers and over at Canucks Army, the roundtable discussed what real situations could arise that involved trading that pick. Depending on how close ownership/management feels the Canucks are to being competitive again, they might just go for it and heck, make an offer for Auston Matthews.

A combination of drafting and shrewd free agent signings can also go a long way in sculpting the next wave of the Canucks. Troy Brouwer, Steven Stamkos (if you believe he’s available), Milan Lucic, David Backes and Andrew Ladd are all character guys with talent..and a few Cups for some of them. Money can buy some of that talent but it’s the draft itself that gets you them for free.

The consensus players available are that of Matthew Tkachuk and Pierre-Luc Dubois. It could be mayhem by that point but Dubois sounds like the one they should get. Is it all about that high pick though? What about the remaining picks?

We’ve seen players like Tyler Benson fall from top 3 status early on to late first round/second round ranking. We’ve been told many times over the airwaves that when Benson gets back to 100%, that team gets a steal. This may very well be true and Benning would be wise to remember the kid playing in his back yard if he gets the chance.

I’ve championed the notion that the WHL players many of us see on the reg’ (slang for regular) are missed opportunities and when they blow up elsewhere it’s always “how come they didn’t draft THAT guy when he came around?”

Dante Fabbro and Lucas Johansen are a few players that fall in that category, ok Fabbro was BCHL, and the impact picks are really made when the lights dim. With no second round pick currently, he’ll have to get creative. I can see at least one trade being made to move up into the second round.

Looking at past Cup winners and really, just super successful teams, having home grown talent from draft day right through development up to the big club is how you create a true winner. Detroit did it, Chicago did it, Pittsburgh did it and may very well do it again and yes, so did LA. Trading away and giving up on players before they’ve given you a proper chance to make a rational decision only pushes that development of the team further back.

There’s a wave coming in Vancouver and its not the tsunami from the mega thrust earthquake that will sink the whole west coast (like on San Andreas with the Rock. Remember that movie? Love the Rock, he’s great…whoops, went on a tangent there.); Bo Horvat is so close to being what we all hope he’ll be. He’s the next “C” and if he takes it from Henrik, this team is ready.

Looking deeper, Ben Hutton and Chris Tanev and sure Big RusTryamkin have developed into reliable defenders. Gudbranson we hope will give Vancouver the grit and snarl that it has lacked since Bieksa left in 2012 (really anytime after the Cup Final). A healthy Brandon Sutter frees up Horvat and in turn gives whoever they’re drafting a quicker transition from pick to player.

The draft is an opportunity for Jim Benning to decide if HIS Canucks are turning the corner. He can make or break this team and despite many of our intentions to hate him, he holds all the keys to all the doors and this is the one time trusting Jimbo means going all in.

There isn’t much room for error and if this current go around tanks, we could look back at this draft as the breaking point.

But no pressure.

photo – vancouversun.com

Canucks Civil War – Advanced Stats Vs. Everyone?

If it’s one thing all Canucks fans unite together for, its uniting to analyze every move the team makes. Whether you’re an advanced stats guy, a regular stats guy or just the eye test “great move/terrible move” guy; you all have an opinion. The thing is, we beat this to death before these guys even play a single shift. I’m just as bad as the next and potentially under-educated on some of the 2nd and 3rd tier guys but I too will throw my hat in the ring.

Lately, it seems like the advanced stats crew is taking a lot of heat, more than normal somehow, for putting the available data out there to evaluate the newest and potential newest members of the Vancouver Canucks. Do the stats tell the WHOLE story, do we still need the eye test or are both still needed together?

 

Erik Gudbranson is now a Canuck and it took all of about 10 seconds to form a final decision on the Canucks twitters.

So, is Gudbranson actually that bad? The Hockey Writers had a nice little article about how Luca Sbisa and Guuby are very much the same player….that’s not good. Luca Sbisa isn’t a terrible hockey player but he is not a very good hockey player. Gudbranson is known for his defensiveness and not so much for his scoring touch.

He hits guys with a Virtanen-like aggression and forces players to maybe choose a different side to streak down. Those are both great things for this Canucks team that totally lacks that tough mentality. But, at the end of the day, is the trade worth it?

Straight up, Jared McCann for Gudbranson is an alright trade and both teams seem to benefit. We’ll never know if McCann was on his way out anyways or what the potential market could have been, you know, if any other team knew he was available?

But lets get back to the statistics, in this Canucks Army article by J.D. Burke, he points out that when Guuby is on the ice, there’s a sick ton of shots coming the Canucks way. Will this change? Unlikely, and Willie Mitchell isn’t here to bail him out. However, younger stud d-man Chris Tanev and Ben Hutton are. Heck, Nikita Tryamkin is too!

Maybe we’re all just mad because after we’ve digested the players in the move, the draft picks are the commodities that disappear. Thankfully we can only take so much data from an unused draft pick but at what point will we argue this part to death? Is anything after a 1st round pick truly valuable? (obviously yes)

The hockey media seem to take the “ive seen this guy play” approach a lot and will spout out the stats as needed. Where the advanced stats come in and what seems to piss off the regular stat people is when there is REAL evidence that the player in question is just not very good. Is it that people don’t like too much information?

Its a bit like bullying where the bully just says stuff because they don’t understand the situation and just use hurting words to cover up for their own insecurities. OK Dr. Phil! 

I’m still building my foundation with advanced stats so I’ll keep quiet and my opinion on who’s good and who isn’t is quite often ripped apart; I’m the middle guy.

I understand that playing the games and taking the “in the know” hockey media members advice that a player is good or bad will hold a lot of weight but at the same time, if the advanced stats say this guy is going to probably suck here too…it’s tough to argue that.

There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong camp when it comes to players because they prove us right and wrong all the time; case in point, Nick Bonino. He never panned out in Vancouver and it was quite visible he wouldn’t be a Canuck very long. We hated him because we felt we were burned on the Kesler deal…twice. Kes wanted out and we basically were throttled on the return.

Bonino is now excelling in his role on the Penguins and may very well win a Stanley Cup. The thing is, he has a few players the Canucks most definitely do not: Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin among others. Whenever someone gets moved or signs somewhere else and succeeds we always look and feel like that would have happened in Vancouver.

It doesn’t.

The same is said for players on other teams that come here. I don’t think there are CF% and PDO numbers to look at in the early 90’s but I’m guessing Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi didn’t thrive in those respective areas. Stats are stats until they aren’t.

The Gudbranson trade may anger Canucks nation but now that there is so much information available to us, why not consider it?

Here’s the thing everyone: WHO HONESTLY CARES WHO’S RIGHT??? You can agree or disagree, accept stats or not; you are entitled to that. What Benning has done in his short time here is divide the fans and has them pitted against each other.  Sadly, this isn’t a movie so the happy ending might not be coming any time soon.

Its frustrating to watch JB assemble and dismantle the team all at the same time and how he keeps everyone guessing is a thing to behold.

Stop bitching and complaining about how stats guys are clogging the arteries of your media feeds; if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

I used to think the advanced stats were irrelevant until I realized they play a valuable part in understanding the true workings of the game. Captain America and The Avengers made up after their “civil war” so why can’t Canucks nation?

Let’s all agree this team is screwed and go from there.

Breaking Down The Canucks Season With Bullet Points

Seems like everyone is ready to fire Willie Desjardins. They’re already sick of the “rebuild” and I don’t think anyone has any idea of what happens next. The Canucks are a mess to say it nicely; a train wreck if we’re being more specific and a raging tire fire if you want to be close. The papers…err, their blogs and such have the coach being fired , well maybe not (Vancity Buzz), Canucks TV ratings down (Canucks Army) and Jake Virtanen. I have no link here. I just feel bad for the guy.

So let’s take a look at how this season has gone down in BULLET POINTS; because that’s what has been shot into this season: BULLETS! But in no particular order OK, I really don’t want to put in too much work. You’re already reading this so just sit back and enjoy!

    • Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen make the Canucks. We’re all SUPER happy for them and think “Hey, maybe the Canucks have turned a new leaf and are doing this rebuilding thing we all talked about”. I…..don’t think we knew what was going to happen. But we were happy for a bit.
    • Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom were gonna be better this year. No Eddie Lack? No problem. Except that there IS a problem: our goal tending.
    • Goal scoring slumps. If you aren’t a Sedin or a Hansen or Hunter Shinkaruk in the AHL you probably haven’t done much this season. Figure that one out. Is it even possible to not have anyone score but the first line? I think even Edmonton has more than 3 guys that score goals. EDMONTON!!!!!
    • Dan Hamhuis took a freaking slap shot to the face. He broke his jaw and it pretty much capped his first half of the season in style; his on ice play has suffered dramatically and the giveaways, oh jeeeeez the giveaways. Dan Hamhuis is a great man, a great Canuck but seriously, his time is running out/has run out. He’s in Willie Mitchell territory; but minus the Cups.
    • Alex Edler gave up a pretty bad turnover against the Kings in overtime and the Canucks lost. I think we knew at that point, we knew where things were headed. Funny story, that was about a week or so ago.
    • Ben Hutton made the team and we all thought CHRIS TANEV WITH OFFENSE!!! He liked the rest of the team has lost his mojo. Oh and when Ben got injured the hashtag #HUTTONmania broke up. It wasn’t good.
    • Vancouver has already seen what seems like half the Comets called up with a combined, what, 4 games played for the Canucks? The problems aren’t just on the ice, its between the coaches ears too!
    • Frankie Corrado got waived because obviously? There were ways to get around it with Higgins starting the season on the IR:
  • Losing streaks; we’ve had a few
  • Hunter Shinkaruk did so well that the Canucks finally called him up….then sent him down. That was depressing.
  • But then they brought him back. But then they sent him down after one game. Sensing a pattern here.
  • Canucks snapped the Canadiens winning streak at 9 games. It felt pretty good. Since then the Canucks have won 7 times and lost 16 times (OT/SO) Ugh.
  • Jake Virtanen gets sent to the Canadian World Junior team, probably to the Hitmen after that.
  • Jared McCann isn’t far behind
  • Things are so bad you’ve now read 14 bullet points about how this season has gone in the tank. I haven’t mentioned Auston Matthews yet. Let’s not go there yet.

Follow me on twitter:@always90four

Sedins And Hansen: The New… West Coast Express – A Hot Taek

 

Its been a long time since someone has given a Canucks line a catchy name. We had the Mattress Line, Kid Line, Brothers line (but we won’t talk about that one because honestly, who came up with that one), KLM line, That 70’s line and American Express among others. Some of those aren’t even Canucks ones but after a few I realized Canucks fans aren’t that clever, they’ve also had a ton of unexciting players to name together. But there is one line that stands out above them all: The West Coast Express – Naslund, Morrison and Bertuzzi made up one of the greatest, most productive lines of all time even better than Gretzky, Kurri and Larionov. 

But that was a long time ago, over 10 years in fact, so isn’t it time to recharge that line with NEW members? Henrik and Daniel Sedin are very deserving of a new line name and with Jannik Hansen platooned on the other wing he has received a new lease on life and is producing as a true Sedin winger. Its been such a long time since the West Coast Express that many new fans don’t even remember the first one. What a great way to bring fans full circle.

Crazy idea? Probably. But think of the marketability. SEDINS NEW WEST COAST EXPRESS!!! Forget Naslund and Bertuzzi, these guys are as old as the train itself and still produce nightly. Just like the REAL West Coast Express, you’ll never lose your hat when the Sedins are rolling. Need a rest? Henrik and Daniel are there to carry the load while you get some much needed relaxation, sadly if you are playing on any line but theirs, that means you are stapled to the bench.

It’s not all about the Sedins though, Jannik Hansen brings his own trademark style to the rejuvenated line – like Naslund and Bertuzzi, Hansen is no stranger to breakaways; however Jannik is more like Skytrain than the WCE – frequent in-explainable power outages that result in long delays, in his case scoring. But fear not new West Coast Express followers, now that Hansen is on the top line, his production has never been better and at age 29 he’s well on his way to his best season ever!

This is nothing new to you though, you all have seen how well these three play together. In an article by Jason Botchford of The Province he echoes why the Sedins and Hansen just make sense. Or you could look at my last hurrah why they should be cemented together for the foreseeable future. Would it be smart to reboot the mid 2000’s “West Coast Express”? I say yes and if I’m wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

At 35, the Sedins are still a draw if you have any sense in you and if we get this thing trending on the twitter it can get legs. I mean, jeez #TweetDanielaHat trended. How vain are we? It was a great hashtag and the Bulis Boys know how to unknowingly create a trend.

The Canucks are not playing their greatest hockey right now and a welcome distraction is needed and renaming the Sedins/Hansen line is just that distraction. I’ve seen the hilites: we don’t throw hats, we start the wave when we’re losing and we DON’T THROW FREAKING HATS!!!! If we can’t muster up enough courage to do anything remotely productive, like a 16 year old in his parents basement blogging …….

…or on his latest 36 hour Fallout 4 bender, then lets bring back something that quite frankly we all used to love. Hank and Dank aren’t Nazzy and Bert but when it comes about excitement, real fans know how exciting these guys are and I would say they are definitely on par with that line in a slightly different shell.

So even though you are thinking this –

By Manny Mahal

You’re still seeing this pretty regularly –

By rapturjesuss

Henrik, Daniel and Jannik – your NEW West Coast Express.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four ……….if you still think I’m alive after this article.

 

When You Let Always90four Pick Your Goal Song (Canucks Edition)

Music. It drives sports, it sets the tone of what’s about to happen, what just happened or some cheesy synthesizer at a basketball game when the guys trot up the court. In hockey, the warmups welcome you to the arena with a mix of everything the team is listening to in the dressing room. It sets the tone. The intro song when the team officially skates on the ice is as important as how the team performs, or so it seems in Vancouver.

Now the goal song, that gets criticized as much as the intro. Apparently if its not the most fitting song ever, its wrong and why bother even showing up? The Canucks ran with U2’s “Where the streets have no name” for many years as the intro song but that got them nowhere. No Cups…not even one.

As for the goal tune? Holiday by Green Day, Gold on the Ceiling by the Black Keys and Clutch by Electric Worry. That last one was actually not too shabby.

In a recent article over on Vancity Buzz, they shed light on what the Canucks are doing this season: Having individual goal songs for each player. Im half skeptical about this and half excited. Maybe I’ll finally here Alex Burrows raise his hands to the latest Dem Levato or some throwback Hansen. Your guess is as good as mine.

So I thought, because I’m so amazingly good at unearthing a great song and spreading it to the masses, why not pick each goal song for every Canuck? What could possibly go wrong? Well for starters, this article is going to have a sick ton of music videos.

After you’re done laughing, ridiculing, applauding in amazement over my choices, go on over to Canucks Army and check out Sillig Ekim’s take on this hot subject. Most certainly it will be better than what I have picked but I’ll let you cast judgement when I’m done.

OK, lets do this……..

Henrik Sedin – He’s the older of the two Sedin twins. So his song should be better than Daniels. I have chosen Drowning Pool’s Tear Away. Kinda dark and twisted for Henrik but the chorus is key here: “I don’t care about anyone else but me” Maybe an ode to his 2010 season when he decided to keep the puck to himself and win the Art Ross?

Daniel Sedin – The obvious choice here is the Olsen Twins – Brother for Sale. There was never another option.

Alex Burrows – Does anyone know what he’s saying half the time? I don’t. I love Alex but this song is pretty fitting IMO. Weird Al – Word Crimes

Brandon Sutter – He’s relatively new to the Canucks still and his song choice is kinda weird but when he was moved from the 2nd line to the top group with the twins, this one just seemed fitting. Spice Girls – 2 Become 1

Sven Baertschi – I know, he’s not swedish but this just seems to work. Never put me in charge of this task again. Swedish Chef from the Muppets

Bo Horvat – Young Bo is a teen phenom and you tell me, is this not fitting for our young superstar? Nirvana – Smells like Teen Spirit

Radim Vrbata – His goal stares are legendary, his shot is quick and lethal. He wants line chemistry and he wants it now. But not too much chemistry that would cause one to be…Radioactive. Imagine Dragons

Derek Dorsett – I had a few options for this one but I’ll save the bad choice for Brandon Prust. Dorsy gets the ever fitting Fight music by D12. Its the clean version so its ok for work.

Brandon Prust – This guy has heart, I’ll give him that but his predictable boring fights are waning. Pruster gets the P Diddy – Bad Boys For Life track. He isn’t changing.

You know what, Prusty gets two!

Predictable? Obviously. Great song? Oh ya it is!

Jake Virtanen – Anyone that’s anyone knows big Jake aka Big Country loves him some big hits. What is the best song for hitting people…well Bodies by Drowning Pool is what you might say off the hop but BOOM by P.O.D is what I’m giving Jake. Classic song and it really brings me back to my late teens when I wanted to make big hits on the ice.

Adam Cracknell – Release the Kraken….I’m gonna be real with you right now. I couldn’t find a song and I got lazy for about 10 minutes so I found this hilarious compilation video of Liam Neeson saying Release the Kraken over and over with funny stuff in the middle. Its not even that good but honestly who cares?

Jannik Hansen – Who is by far the leader in failed breakaway attempts on the Canucks? Look no further than Jannik Hansen. If we ran a poll right now, Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson would dominate. So ya, thats what I picked.

Jared McCann – We really don’t know a whole lot about Jared yet but don’t you worry, we will. What we DO know about Jared is his undying love to celebrate goals. He loves em! So why not pick a song that “celebrates” his celebrating? Kool & The Gang – Celebrate Good Times.

Alex Edler – WARNING!!! This song should really be for a former Canuck but considering how many of these boomers he takes, Edler gets the hit track SHOTS by LMFAO and Lil Jon

Chris Tanev – He’s so cool, so smooth. The guy rarely makes a mistake and he bails you out when you’re the goof. The Tan Man gets the soft spoken tune Easy Silence by The Dixie Chicks.

Dan Hamhuis – Theres only one. Its MC Hammer, its U Can’t Touch This and you just need to appreciate it.

Matt Bartowski – Should we care about his song yet? Is he even going to score? What would make sense so far down the roster?

Ryan Miller – Hes the last line of defense. He has to save everything or the Canucks will be in trouble. I was wondering if I would find a way for this song to be chosen. I mean, he’s a goalie, he’s never gonna score. So I figure after every big save that goes to commericial, Big and Rich can play him out.

Ben Hutton – This guy is so popular right now. Everyone on press row craves his stats, he’s a monster on the ice and he forced Frankie Corrado all the way to Leaf land. This guy IS the definition of popular.

Now, who’s left? Oh, the main man himself. Luca Sbisa. For all the hate he gets, all the arm chair GM’s that wish he was gone, he’s a decent guy and this season he could really improve. You’ll like this one.

Luca Sbisa – If there was ever a better song written for Sbizza himself I couldn’t find it. Hanson – Where’s the love?

There it is! The Canucks goal song manifesto. OK, truth be told almost none of these would actually be a song they would play but spending 2 hours on youtube finding a song for each player was a lot of fun.

My personal choice for their goal song would be Whisper and a Clamour by Anberlin. Chorus rocks!

Hopefully my bud Sillig Ekim over at Canucks Army has a better list than this sad sack. Could he actually though?

No.

This is gold.

Follow me on twitter and all my antics too! @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