cory schneider

Bo Horvat: The Anti-Cody Hodgson

2013 was a pretty rough ride for Canucks fans: Roberto Luongo had a sucky contract, former head coach Alain Vigneault was fired, Derek Roy became a Canuck for a bit and Cory Schneider became the Canucks undisputed #1 goalie. But then he was traded at the Draft and Bo Horvat became a Vancouver Canuck.

It was a lot to take in in a short amount of time, with the lockout and all, and it was tough to tell if trading one of the top goalies in the league for a power forward who would still be in Major Junior when the season started was a good idea. How the heck do you part ways with the younger, cheaper option in net when a less than glamorous trade for Roberto Luongo would have made so much more sense?

Drafting Horvat was a great choice but the Canucks had gone down this road before and not too far back either. Cody Hodgson looked like he was going to be Vancouver’s future captain and had dominated the OHL prior to making the pros. A handful of injuries with questionable diagnoses, explanations and of course, Hodgson’s dad and agent, created distrust on both sides which no doubt affected Cody’s play.

Hodgson would eventually be traded for another work in progress, Zack Kassian and now, he is basically retired. A weird ride indeed.

Enter Bo Horvat – a beast for the London Knights and when it was time, a no brainer to make the Canucks after his 9 game stint in 2014. Bo wasn’t exactly used in the best situations aside from faceoff duty but you can blame a good chunk of that on new head coach Willie Desjardins. He wasn’t exactly keen on letting a rookie be a difference maker, even though he was making a difference.

Mr. Horvat finished his first year, sorry, BO (Mr. Horvat is his dad) with 13 goals and 12 assists, good for 10th on the team in scoring. Even though the Canucks were dominated by the Sharks that year in the first round, Bo had a goal and 3 assists in 6 games, not bad for a tucked away rookie! Willie Desjardins knew he had more than just a young kid who worked hard, he had a future star.

SPOILER: Willie does use Horvat more the following season.

I’m not going to include his fancy stats, his amazing faceoff % or what his secret goal song is but just know Bo Horvat is a gift from the future and we should cherish him.

His game escalated last year after he was taken away from the defensive center role with Derek Dorsett on his line and rewarded with Sven Baertschi. It took a bit but when the spark ignited, the Canucks changed. It looked like the two synced immediately after that first goal together and the good times kept on rolling.

This season, Alex Burrows has filled out wing with Baertschi and it’s a line that has impressed night after night. There’s speed, there’s scoring and there’s 3 B’s.

Trading away Cory Schneider seemed like a bogus move and that it was the first piece of many to put the Canucks in what we all thought at the time was a rebuild. They were simpler times back then. We also thought Roberto Luongo was hanging around but former head coach John Tortorella clearly botched even the simplest decision when he started twitter savvy Eddie Lack in the Heritage Classic indoor/outdoor game.

Luongo was traded shortly after.

The big question is always “Who won the trade?” Well, it’s still quite early to decide that but if you’re the Canucks, you have to think you have won. The Canucks have never sat on #1 goalie for too long and even though Luongo was here for 8 years, it felt like he could have been here for so much longer… maybe even his whole sucky contract?

It’s anyone’s guess¬†about how the Canucks have seemed to transition rather smoothly from goalie to goalie in the last 12 years but there has always been an answer. There were some iffy choices in that time but looking back, Roberto Luongo carried things for so long and when it all came to a head, Cory Schneider was more than ready to be a #1, which followed with Eddie Lack becoming a #1, Jacob Markstrom holding the mantle potentially and Ryan Miller filling a gap until super goalie Thatcher Demko was ready.

As crazy as well all though the Canucks were, that position was never truly in jeopardy and trading up to get Bo Horvat was kinda genius. When Bo becomes Captain in the next few years it won’t be a surprise to anyone; his natural progression will have earned the right. Henrik Sedin will eventually become the #2 center and then probably retire and Bo will hopefully have Sven Baertschi by his side when that happens.

There hasn’t been any kind of drama from the Horvat camp aside from the fans and media alike proclaiming him the 2C/3C all of last season, OK and his rookie season too! When Cody Hodgson was here, it wasn’t just about his play but how his whole camp (dad/agent, etc.) questioning the Canucks’ handling of him.

The trade was a bit out of left field when we all thought trade deadline day was over, but to be honest, I never was really a fan of Cody… as a Canuck anyway. The “feeling” was never there. I feel the same way about Jake Virtanen to a lesser degree as I think his drama will play himself out of town and quite frankly sometimes the GM is just wrong on a guy.

So, as we see Horvat climb up the scoring charts and most likely become the team’s top scorer by season’s end, think about what the Canucks would look like without him. Secondly, think about Brock Boeser not having a solid center to get him the puck when he wins Rookie of the Year.

Bo Horvat is the anti-Cody Hodgson and we couldn’t be more happy.

OK, having a competitive team would be a good time but I’ll settle for this.

 

photo – thehockeywriters.com

Canucks Leaky Tire Goaltending About To Be Fixed

By now you’ve figured out I love comparisons! Most of them fall by the wayside and a handful of people get them but are half impressed to say the least. However, with the recent contract extension of Jacob Markstrom it’s safe to say I have a gooder here. Ever since the dual departures, nay, triple departures of Cory Schneider, Roberto Luongo and Eddie Lack, the Canucks have been searching for a fix to their goaltending problem. Some may say it’s been a slowly leaking tire.

I too am experiencing a leaky tire situation and until its ultimately fixed/replaced, it will nag away on the message center of my vehicle. I can go to the gas station and fill it up back to normal pressure, I can buy the spray in repair kit but unless its truly fixed, the problem will remain. When Vancouver re-signed Markstrom to a new 3 year deal, they took their leaky tire and replaced it with a name brand snow tire that can handle the challenges of winter.

Ryan Miller has one more season left on his own 3 year deal and as the team came down the stretch both he and Markstrom split the duties almost 50/50. It was evident the Canucks played well for both tenders and with a cheaper, younger option in place until soon to be superstar Thatcher Demko completes his training in Utica, Markstrom can start the 2016/17 season with aspirations of being the #1.

Knowing that the Canucks will soon have a high performance all weather tire in Demko makes the next few seasons quite bearable. It should be known that Ryan Miller on many nights last year was a big reason the Canucks even hung around; I guess we could blame him for not dropping another two standings spots.

A far from stellar statistical year for Marky, sporting a 2.73 GAA and .915 SA%, his starts increased confidence in the Canucks fan base knowing we had a solution on the back end. It may only be July but once training camp begins, Miller, Markstrom and Demko will all have played and grown with the developing defensive corps sprouting on the blue line.

Alex Edler is now the wise teacher with Dan Hamhuis’ departure, so guiding Ben Hutton, Erik Gudbranson, Chris Tanev, Nikita Tryamkin, Luca Sbisa and 2016 first round pick Olli Juolevi may be a challenge for the goaltending standing tall. It’s expected M&M (see how I did that?) will have to shoulder a fair amount of defensive blunders but thankfully without Matt Bartkowski, they’ll just be Sbizzas.

When Schneider and Luongo were sent to far away lands there wasn’t much air left in the goaltending tires and just when we all thought Eddie Lack had repaired the problem, the Nucks sent him away too!

We all saw this roulette wheel of goaltenders before Luongo came to town and we knew until it was ultimately solved the fixes were all temporary. The vehicle is almost fixed in Vancouver, we’re so close to having those high performance treads installed. Jacob Markstrom gives the Canucks time to let Demko mature at the pro level with more games than a college season delivers and the pro game will help him adjust and prepare for his eventual succession.

Maybe it’s the Swedish connection that keeps us calm? The Sedins made us believe too; I guess there’s something to be said for the Tre Kronor? Jim Benning did a smart thing, yes Pet Bugs, a smart thing by signing Markstrom and if the tandem of Marky and Demks can be better than Lu and Schneids, we’re in for some good times once more.

And that’s just the back end.

Once a goalie graveyard, Vancouver is again becoming the place to be for the masked man. The tires are taken care of and I can’t wait for that new engine to be ready. The Canucks will be ready for Race Wars sooner than we think.

Raymond, Ballard and a 3rd; The Trade That Never Was

We’re 10 days away from the 2016 NHL trade deadline and unless Jim Benning and Co. go on a month long bender and forget they still have a job to do, the Canucks will be sellers at the deadline. In previous years, the Canucks have sold off what we believed to be important parts of the team (Hodgson, draft picks) but found out those would have just held us back.

So seeing that the playoffs are not an option for Vancouver this season and plenty of contending teams are looking for valuable rentals, what can the Canucks get for the future of the franchise? That same question was asked back in 2011 and 2012 but the Canucks were the ones doing the buying. What did we all think they should offer; how bout Mason Raymond, Keith Ballard and a 3rd round pick?

This was the package that was theoretically put together by anyone that thought they could run the Canucks back then. Of course, we never wanted to get rid of anyone of true value because the Canucks still needed to win the Cup; but we didn’t need Keith Ballard who Alain Vigneault basically cast off of the team and Mason Raymond was just good enough to fetch value on the open market, but we could have cared less about him.

As for the 3rd round pick, whether you play fantasy sports or you are actually the real life GM of a sports franchise, this was the very most you were willing to give away without going into the hot zone of future prospects or being shoo’d away for being to frugal. Giving up a 1st or a 2nd was usually out of the question unless you were getting back a premier player or a hot prospect.

The 3rd was the top pick in the 2nd tier of value so everyone was cool with that. But why did that trade never materialize?

Was it because in reality, it was awful? Was it not enough to fetch the likes of Shea Weber, Corey Perry or jeez, I don’t even remember the amount of players I thought could come back in that trade. It’s funny to think that the Canucks still had Cody Hodgson at the time and was so highly sought after by Canucks brass but would later become the scar just above your chin that you no longer can grow facial hair on.

That vacancy just annoys now and the embarrassing story that is the reason for it has just been told too many times. Imagine if they traded Hodgson at the height of his perceived value: Hodgson, Raymond, Ballard and a 3rd for Shea Weber; that totally would have sealed the deal.

Everyone wanted the Canucks to get better and we’re going through that same cycle all over again except THIS TIME, we suck.

Getting back to the pieces of yesteryear, Keith Ballard was a perfect fit for literally any other team because well, he’d get playing time. AV did not like Mr. Ballard and it was frustrating to see a top 4 defender benched or stapled to the bench on so many nights. Frankie Corrado must know the feeling.

Ballard wasn’t huge factor in the 2011 run but most felt he could have offered more had he actually played, same could have been said for Cory Schneider in the Final. Speaking of Schneider, Pass it to Bulis ran a story on this “package” back in 2012 and I forgot Cory was also a chip in the so called deal.

Thinking back, if that deal happened, we’ d have Corey Perry instead of Bo Horvat. Ryan Kesler may never have wanted out and….you know what, it’s fine. We’re better for it and I’ve moved on.

Mason Raymond was what Jannik Hansen is basically this season. Speed, skill, finish and back checking all described Raymond and he was valuable, in our eyes anyways, because it didn’t disrupt the core and we figured we could add some star power. I think a good chunk of the GMs around the league passed on our deal when they started seeing Raymond tripping over the blue line night in and night out.

That would be a deal breaker for anyone.

This trade may have been destined to fail from the beginning or maybe it never was offered but you have to wonder, would any team have taken that deal? There will never be again a package of that nature that would allow the Canucks to keep all the good and get rid of the suck.

Radim Vrbata and Dan Hamhuis, heck Ryan Miller and even Alex Burrows are now all guys we mention regularly as trade bait. Matt Bartkowski wouldn’t fetch a ball so I can’t imagine there’s a use for him even at a dog park. The Canucks are in a rare situation where a few draft picks, B prospects or even one B level star is attainable through trade this season.

They also have the off chance of being able to draft “generational talent” Auston Matthews in June if they suck just bad enough to beat out both the Leafs and Oilers, ya those guys.

I don’t know if any of you have forgotten that the whole Milan Lucic and Cody Franson thing still may happen so a few extra picks, a kid from Zurich and some hometown boys might just make the Canucks worth watching again.

Anything is better than seeing them lose 5-2 for the 4th consecutive game.

Ryan Miller And Chill

I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I still don’t know what that means. I don’t even have Netflix so the reference is lost on me. That being said I DO know one thing for sure: I may be wrong about Ryan Miller and its safe to say most of you are too! After 3 games this year he has posted an impressive 3-0-1 and 1 shutout (LA) along with a chipper 1.21 GAA and .955 SA%

This just in: Ryan Miller is very good at the puck stopping.

Miller seemed like a decent signing a year ago as the Canucks were looking for a new #1 goalie to mentor Eddie Lack and win the big games. Well, last season didn’t exactly go Miller’s way and late in the season it was questioned if he should even BE a Canuck. Pretty harsh criticism but quite typical in a market that can turn on their goalies after a bad pumpkin spice latte.

When Miller was bowled over by Jannik Hansen in a game against the Islanders last year, it gave then back up Eddie Lack the keys to a very touchy sports car which he did not want to relinquish after a phenomenal spring. As Ryan Miller neared return, the question was does he deserve the net back?

All in all, he came back but the Canucks were far from ready for anyone to be the goalie as they couldn’t even hold their own up front with the Calgary Flames completely outplaying the Canucks in round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So what is so different from last year’s start that gives us hope this season? As of now, not a whole lot. Miller posted a solid 16-4 record to start his season, with 3 shutouts and 3 one goal games. It seems that even in Canuck nation if we aren’t awarded a Stanley Cup (which they’ve never won) after every win, the team fell short.

Kinda ridiculous but that’s how we roll.

In comparison, Roberto Luongo’s first season in Vancouver wasn’t exactly the best season ever in his first 20. OK, we all know he played lights out almost the whole season, finished a win shy of the NHL record and was robbed of both a Vezina and a Hart trophy, but I digress.
Luongo posted a 10-9-1 record in the 2006/07 season after his first 20 games but considering the team had to be almost all defense, his performances took on a life of its own.

Like Luongo, Miller came from the Eastern Conference and had to learn a whole new travel system, a whole new coaching system and a conference that is Fast and Furious 8, seven days a week. Miller did have a stop over in St. Louis for 19 games and then was easily knocked out of the playoffs in 6. He, like Justin Trudeau “just wasn’t ready” for the West quite yet. But he figured it out.

Ryan Miller isn’t exactly that type of cat though; he’s very chill, possibly even….Miller Chill? I would guess lime because its the best of the chill drinks one would assume. He is a gamer like any other top goalie, he puts his jock strap on one loop at a time and after playing in Buffalo for so long, a bit of angst is allowed. He’s played in some pretty big games, most notably in 2010 in the Gold Medal Game at the Vancouver Olympics in which he gave up the winning goal to Sidney Crosby on Canadian ice. He continued to impress that same year taking home the Vezina as the top goaltender in the NHL.

But back to him being awesome in Vancouver.

Miller time has once again made an appearance and this time around, Canucks fans seem to be warming up to the guy. He isn’t any more approachable, he still clings to the “team game” mentality when conducting interviews and even WITH the injury to Jacob Markstrom and having Richard Bachman as his backup, he still plays like it’s his job to lose.

Good on you Miller!

Millsy as his team mates probably call him is building confidence with a very fragile fan base and the defenders in front of him are making his job quite easy. But in case they do screw up, he’s been every bit an all star as rookie dman Ben Hutton. Roberto did it with more swagger but maybe we need a guy that just plays net for a living? I’m not sure if that actually was a question but imma roll with it.

Miller Chill is just that; he doesn’t seem to panic when the puck frenzy is in front of him. He just goes about his business and he focuses on just stopping the puck. Seems like an obvious deal there but making the save that stops the play is just as important as keeping the first few out of the net. Its rebound control 101.

It is kinda weird that even with Eddie Lack, Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider all gone from Vancouver, we actually are at the point of embracing a goalie because he just plays for his team and goes home. Better late than never to have a revived career and it looks like he might even get better, wouldn’t that be nice?

We welcome your chillness Ryan Miller, we welcome it with two arms and an approval looking nod. You signed on for 3 years in a city that you knew could possibly hate you after 1 month, but there was enough money on the table that you figured “Hey, hate doesn’t hurt if I don’t acknowledge it”. Bad theory to go on but he has stepped his game up and the team in front of him seems to have done the same thing.

Miller doesn’t need fancy stats, zone entry data, corsis or even tacos to be successful. For that you should go on over to Canucks Army. ¬†Come to think of it, I don’t either but here I am writing about these things (actually I’m only writing about the words fancy stats, zone entry data and corsis) and I don’t need to be flashy or swaggered out.

After only 3 games, a handful of media and fans have anointed Ryan Miller the MVP of the season and what could be better? The answer is the Stanley Cup but maybe lets not jump the shark quite yet. I can’t believe I’m saying this but even Luca Sbisa is playing better this year and that can only mean great things for Ryan Miller…and rookie sensation Ben Hutton. But this isn’t about them, its about the guy with the bulldog on the back of his mask.

So lets all Miller Chill with Ryan Miller and let him do his thing. Let’s let this season materialize organically and see how everything pans out. What do we have to lose? Not much. What I know is all this guy wants is for Miller to stay chill and maybe a tweet back:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Follow me and my hilarious taeks (sp?) on twitter: @always90four

When Are We Done With These Goalie Controversies?

I’ll admit, I like drama. No, not the Entourage character; he’s alright but I wouldn’t say I like him. I enjoy talking, debating, even yelling to people that are flat out wrong about the Canucks goaltending situation. The thing is, do they really have to keep up this charade EVERY year? When are we done with these goalie controversies?

Eddie Lack, Jacob Markstrom and Ryan Miller have all found themselves in the latest controversy in the Canucks net. There are plenty of ways this could go but the fact that Vancouver runs into this problem so frequently is a cause for concern. 

There really wasn’t a thing when Cloutier and Auld were in the mix, it was just “when are we going to get a better goalie that doesn’t let in beach balls?” That was fun. Those were simpler times. We just accepted that we had to wait.

Hey and then we drafted Cory Schneider. It was finally going to happen, our FRAN-CHISE goalie was here! College would be over in a few years and our knight in shining armour would arrive. The plan was set.

Oh right, then Dave Nonis went and pulled the ol’ We got a Todd Bertuzzi and he just totally tanked any stock he had when he punched Steve Moore so LETS TRADE HIM TO FLORIDA move. God bless the Panthers. Apparently, two problems create an answer.

Bertuzzi had seen his time pass in Vancouver and disgruntled superstar goalie Roberto Luongo wasn’t happy with his treatment in Florida so the trade was put in motion. Vancouver had its hero.

There’s no way anyone could have seen it end the way it did.

For the first few years it was ALL Roberto all the time and it didn’t seem to matter. Finishing one win off the NHL record in his first season, being nominated for everything under the sun and bringing the Canucks back into the conversation; Luongo hit the reset button hard and cemented himself as the Canucks best goaltender ever…and for a time, it’s best player.

It wasn’t all birthday cakes and unicorns though; Luongo had his critics and because he couldn’t do it all himself, he saw the storm coming and it was going to get messy. By the time Cory Schneider was ready, Luongo had hit the big time and an uber athlete like Roberto wasn’t giving that net up.

Schneider and Lu went neck and neck from the 2010-2012 seasons. Luongo starting as the alpha and finishing as the beta. Trainwrecks are better looking. The rumours of trades for both Cory and Roberto loomed large for such a long time and it became its own beast.

Even the hardcore Canucks fan was getting a little annoyed about how everything was playing out. Whatever you are going to do, DO IT!! We just all want to move on already. The rumours of where Cory could be dealt were intriguing and a player like Jordan Eberle coming back for Schneider would have been ok by me.

Playing a team six games a season isn’t that big of a deal. It may become that way now, but it surely wouldn’t have been back then and having a goalie as the guy you play against isn’t the worst, well unless he has a wrist shot.

So Schneider gets dealt to New Jersey for what would become Bo Horvat and that was it. We aren’t talking about it anymore, we moved on right?

WRONG.

All seemed right as Roberto Luongo was given back his team and new coach John Tortorella was going to push him to be his old self. He pushed him alright, right out of Vancouver. Luongo’s mismanagement was basically what sent him to the Canucks in the first place and now it had him going back to Florida for the same reasons minus the contract.

Lost in all of this was Eddie Lack. He never asked to be a part of the mess that is Vancouver’s goalie graveyard but here he is. Luongo was now gone and everything pointed to Lack and Jacob Markstrom (the goalie that came back in the Lu trade) as the new tandem. New GM Jim Benning had other plans it seemed.

Was Lack ready to handle the load? It didn’t exactly seem like it after Luongo was let go but how many backups really take a stranglehold on the starter job in a hockey nuts market? Im guessing not too many. Benning went out at free agency and threw 18 mil/3 years at aging tender Ryan Miller and he got his man.

Here we go again.

It turned out that yes indeed, we were right back in the muck. Ryan Miller would suffer an injury that forced Eddie Lack back into the spotlight and this time, he didn’t disappoint. This never ending roulette wheel kept spinning. Markstrom’s AHL fame gave him a chance to make his mark and with one loss, it all went away.

Markstrom’s run in the Calder Cup playoffs has given him another shot at the bigs and even if the Utica Comets, Vancouver’s AHL affiliate, loses the Final, there will be heavy chatter at the NHL Draft in Florida (go figure) about what the Canucks are going to do in net.

There is another college kid who should be ready around 2018 or so and by then if Lack and Markstrom are still here, we will have all found a way to hate one of them. Staying the course is the hardest thing to do with goaltending but with no real threat up front, the Canucks would be wise to let this all play out.

That or get back some picks, a player in return and even some hope that GM Jim Benning knows what to do with those things. At some point this nonsense has to end.

The Minnesota Wild made Devan Dubnyk a star, it doesn’t have to be this hard.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Cover photo – theprovince.com

Playoffs Loom Large; Eddie Lack is NOT Roberto Luongo

As Ryan Miller went down after Jannik Hansen collided into him, there was a silent fist pump by many that felt Eddie Lack was ready to take the lead in net. I still believe he is the more consistent choice to go with down the stretch and into the playoffs, but as good as Lack has been he hasn’t had a break. He’s the #1 right now but I’m not sure he is built to be literally an every game player; he’s not Roberto Luongo.

I should probably clarify and maybe I’m contradicting myself here so I’ll just get it out; Eddie Lack is a solid starting goaltender and his ability to stand in for Ryan Miller since the injury has been hero like. He has basically played every game since, aside from Jacob Markstrom’s coffee cup appearances. He is on a collision course to burn out though. Here’s where I compare him to Luongo.

Roberto played 18 of the final 26 games of the regular season in 2010/11 and he also had a stellar partner in Cory Schneider. Luongo won 11 of those 18 games and even though he had a heavy work load, he was fresh when he needed to be and had a reliable replacement. We all know how that spring went and it’s not a surprise why Vancouver’s goaltending was as amazing as it was even against Boston.

Eddie doesn’t have the same team in front of him that Roberto had and he also doesn’t have a goalie equally as talented as Cory Schneider, at least not yet. We’ve seen goalies burn out from playing too many consecutive games (Kiprusoff, Luongo in 07) and its a recipe for disaster. 

Lack has played 17 of the last 18 games since Miller went down, winning 10. He was yanked twice and you can tell he has been fatigued. His resiliant play has redeemed his shaky early starts though. A few starts on games against the bum teams (Sabres, Oilers, Arizona, Etc.) may have made things a bit easier.

The Canucks are on the brink of a berth in this year’s post season and Lack will no doubt be the man they turn to. Even when Ryan Miller is 100% healthy he won’t be even close to playoff ready and aside from a series swing where a goalie change is needed, he won’t see the ice as a participant. Will Lack be able to stay fresh? Possibly.

With 5 games left, Eddie will probably play 4 of them, potentially less if they clinch early or clinch and have a guaranteed opponent. That being said, it won’t get any easier after that. Games played every second night will be gruesome dogfights and he will be relied upon more than ever and giving up the usual 2-0 deficit won’t fly.

Luongo had his faults as well and wasn’t perfect the entire playoffs, he had some off nights. But what Luongo had learned in previous years was how to win and lose on the big stage. It took some time but he came into his own and was almost unbeatable when it mattered. Again, he had rest and was fresh almost every night.

Willie D has been very loyal to Lack and what he has done for the Canucks, but could it be a big mistake if they crash and burn in the first round? Tough to say but one thing is for sure; without Lack, that wouldn’t even be an option.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Photo credit – vansunsportsblogs.com

Canucks Keeping Fashion Between The Pipes

Anyone that knows anything about the Canucks and their goalies, knows two things: All good goalies will go to die eventually in the goalie graveyard and the fashion sense of the guy between the pipes is top notch. I love goalies; always have always will. Something about the mystery of a guy with a mask just soothes me.

Over the years in Vancouver, we have been treated to some amazing looks, to go along with some amazing saves. Kirk McLean had a pretty fierce look and anyone that remembers him, remembers that kick save in 1994.

IMG_1027.JPG
Courtesy: canucks.nhl.com

Most of the look we see from goalies is the mask. It’s the one thing everyone sees, the thing TV cameras focus on at the start of the game and really the one thing that can really show off the type of character that makes up the look.

IMG_1033.JPG
Curt Ridley’s look has inspired both Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider to do spin offs in recent years.
goaliesarchive.com

IMG_1034.PNG
ilovegoalies.blogspot.com

IMG_1035.JPG
In Goal Magazine

Now, the Canucks goalie brethren hasn’t been the best at showing off the gear but they inherited guys that had it going on, at least until they showed up here. Remember Felix Potvin? I do. He is my reason for loving goalies so much. His fashion sense on the ice was second to none and I really believe he was a game changer.

Here is his Canucks get up, which was a far cry from his Leafs days but all the same, a beaut.

IMG_1026.JPG
oocities.org

His A+ look though was in Toronto:

IMG_1036.JPG
dirtydangle.com

The awesome thing about being a goalie is that it’s the one position where you can be completely unique while still wearing at least the same jersey as the rest of your team. The mid 90’s really helped goalie fashion take off and there was always something cool right around the corner.

Fast forward to today, well, a year ago and there were some stellar looks that had everyone in Vancouver in awe. Too bad Roberto didn’t get to put his gear to use.

IMG_1029.JPG

Eddie Lack however….

IMG_1030.JPG
windsorstar.com

It seems whatever the popular goalie is wearing, everyone wants a piece of it. Whether its the baseball cap they wear in interviews, the leg pads that were custom made for him that junior rep goalies HAVE TO have or simply that mask, goalies are mysterious and cool at the same time. Vancouver has been home to many but we have cherished them all the same….most of them.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10
The Facebook: Always90four
Insty: @always90four

Cover shot – In Goal Magazine

Canucks Haven’t Won Anything Yet

Let’s do a little exercise in Canucks history shall we? Remember back in 2011 when everyone had the team pegged to be the Stanley Cup Champs in October? Well they didn’t win it in case you happened to forget, or you lived in a bat cave or something, but I guess in the batcave you’d have wifi. Vancouver and most of the hockey world believed it was time the Nucks won the Cup and they almost did.

A shootout loss to the Kings in the first game of the season with those sick awesome retro 40th jerseys and ok, the Kings had purdy neat ones too! Were they doomed? No. Still no 82-0 teams ever so it was fine. The team got it going early though and redeemed the prognosticators, so basically Twitter.

IMG_1018.JPG
Oh I miss those jerseys
Courtesy of windsorstar.com

The Canucks had a great goalie tandem that won them games they might have otherwise lost. The beauty of it was on any given night it was Cory Schneider or Roberto Luongo and it didn’t matter; we were excited to see both and a W usually resulted with the start. This season has been a bit of a learning experience and possibly a little hesitation on coach Willie Desjardins‘ part to cycle both goalies.

He certainly trusts everyone in front of Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack when he confidently rolls 4 lines nightly. They have earned it though. Pick a night, any night and aside from the few stinkers, it could be the Sedin line, the Bonino line, the BoHo line or the Vey line stepping up and leading the charge. Even in 2011, it didn’t quite feel this impressive. I do remember how great Manny Malhotra was (61.7 % Faceoff wins, 2011)so don’t think that team sucked or anything.

This 2014/15 has impressed so far and safe to say not many people thought this team would be where they are at this point. 6th in league standings, Miller putting up top 5 goalie stats and countless other achievements by the rest of the team but they are still missing something.

What I’m getting at is, as good as the 2011 team was, when they were pushed and forced to show what their compete level was, they answered the call. Again, a few stinkers to start the year, ahem Chicago game; but the realization games came when they battled Anaheim and Dallas late in 2010. When Cory Schneider stole the game against Dallas on New Year’s Eve, that was the a ha! moment. That’s when this team really turned it on.

When the Red Wings beat Vancouver over the weekend, that was the kind of game that could have helped the Canucks cause not only in the standings but in the makeup of what this team can be. It’s still early but those “test” games need to be statements that this year’s team actually CAN do some damage. If the LA Kings are still wiping the floor clean against all things Vancouver, there is still work to be done.

The win against the Ducks and Ryan Kesler was huge but one game does not a season make. Beating the Blackhawks convincingly wasn’t what it used to be and the hate level just isn’t there. Maybe that’s a good thing. If this team can put some emotion into their games going forward it might help swing a decision here or there.

So maybe the Canucks can start showing off just a bit in the next while against oh I don’t know, Pittsburgh? Maybe a thrashing of the Leafs, burying the Habs in Montreal and the California crew to end the calendar year can help silence this critic.

Sure, Vancouver is 17-7-1 and 1st in the Pacific, but they haven’t won anything yet.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10
Like A94 on Facebook: Always90four
Pics and such on Instagram: @always90four