Canucks Draft Weekend Resembles Dumb and Dumber To

As many of you know, I was quite excited for this year’s NHL Entry Draft. The Canucks had a chance to draft WHL superstar Nick Merkley from the Kelowna Rockets and all would be right…in my eyes anyways. That didn’t happen. Everyone had somewhat high hopes as well that GM Jim Benning could potentially right the ship with trades involving Bieksa and Lack and a solid first round choice. What we all expected was what we hoped Dumb and Dumber To to be; we all forgot that sequels rarely deliver and in true Canucks fashion, Vancouver followed suit with that theory; It might be a long summer.


Jimbo didn’t have many picks to work with this year after trading away rounds 2 and 3 for Sven Baertschi and the pick that went with Ryan Kesler. One could assume a decent trade would be made for goalie Eddie Lack and a 2nd seemed feasible. Early Saturday morning the hammer dropped and Lack was sent to Carolina for their 3rd and 7th round picks.

The Bieksa trade hit a snag with San Jose over what is to be believed an extension after the move would occur as well as what year the 2nd rounder coming back would be (2016 apparently, not this year’s). A pick that may have done some damage, who knows.

Benning had 8 teams that were putting in offers for Lack but Carolina had the firmest. Harry and Lloyd are even losing interest here.

So why move him at all? I understand the market dictated the price and that is fine, maybe not fair but fine. If the buying price is too low, walk away. Every deal that you get low balled you should walk away. Pretty sure Lack’s value only increases here on out and quite frankly what if Markstrom is a bust?
We all know Lack basically had the most value but once again they make the move for the guy they probably should have kept. If Ryan Miller somehow is traded, unlikely, this fan base will implode. As far as the 2nd we moved to get Baertschi, that can still end up being a good play and I don’t mind waiting there.

Again, why make this move. If he could have been signed long term to a team friendly deal, it just doesn’t make sense.

Even with new blood at the top, it seems the same decisions continue to be made; you all know the ones. What irks me is that they fail to value the WHL which is right in their backyard. In a loaded first round, a guy like Nick Merkley seemed like an easy choice for a team many of us see boat loads of highlights from and know his immediate value.
Benning picked Brock Boesner as our latest star  and although I do not know a ton on him, it sounds like he could be OK. Personal feeling: disappointed, People that know’s feeling: we’ll be alright.

Still not excited yet and after last season’s tortoise like climb I don’t think I will be for awhile.

The Oilers and Flames have clearly gotten better over the last year with the draft culminating what Edmonton and Connor McDavid are about to do and what once was a prime destination for players to come to is now only prime if the money is right. How Vancouver has changed. 

The Canucks can’t rest on their laurels of yesteryear and assume the best is yet to come. They have zero Cups to show for their efforts and at some point this rabid fan base will want to see the return.

Everyone wants the new out of the box thinking GM that has analytics and fancy words, sleep doctors and the like; to me out of the box means refurbished. I don’t want a refurbished GM. I want an ACTUAL GM. We are starting to see Benning was left out of the big boy meetings when it came to final say on players in Boston.

Alright, alright. That’s a bit harsh. His scouting is great and I love that he cares so passionately about seeing guys first hand, but he’s missing out on the important stuff like I dunno locking up the RIGHT guys and not fringe contributors. Looking back, we really like our gently used, not actually GM’s yet…GMs.

Dave Nonis was the first, Gillis was the second and now Benning is number three. The slippery slope may very well continue and its only a matter of time before we are calling for his head. And at that time, it better be for a current or former GM, no more nonsense.

The Canucks are basically treading water and even though 2011 is a far distant memory….i’ll wait, the current situation is nowhere near the team they used to be. Not sure how this is OK with the Aquillinis as an investment. How long is acceptable to wait for the REAL Vancouver Canucks (whatever that is) to be assembled?

I get the feeling that the Canucks are headed towards the excitement of the NEXT generational player like McDavid when they will have a pick inside the top 3 overall Hate to say it, but prove me wrong.

Sorry for the redundant comments but just read what’s there: the Canucks are in serious trouble! My boy Thomas Drance says it best here.

Free agency is next week, so unless Jimbo can get that briefcase to Aspen (aka deliver the goods), it’s Mary Sw, Swammy, Swan, SAMSONITE all over again. The Canucks have really been Dumb and Dumber lately and after seeing the sequel, I really hope they don’t plan on following that path as well.

The ratings are in at the box office and they don’t look good.

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Canucks Need To Hit That

By now its quite evident the Canucks aren’t just losing the series, they’re losing the physical game too! We have no idea what injuries are affecting the guys that are playing but there is no urgency to hit the Flames off their pedastal. Michael Ferland, Ferkland, Ferby, Fernie..WHO CARES, has been allowed to run rampant around the rink and has gone unpunished for his consistent charging. With two games left in the series (YEP) the Canucks have to push back.

Calgary has been allowed to hit whatever and however they want and its given them an edge; not a skilled edge but an intensity edge. Can I say edge one more time? Vancouver isn’t a physical team and they have managed to get by on four productive lines all year. The Flames seem to like the rough stuff and that has forced the Canucks to be reactive. The unfortunate thing is that they have been reacting all series and haven’t been the ones setting the pace. The Canucks have registered 103 hits compared to the Flames 131; doesn’t exactly seem correct but thats what the site says. Ferland leads the whole series with 33, surprise surprise.

Every opportunity to make a hit has pretty much been downgraded to a fly by on the Canucks roster and it puts a few questions to mind: Where is the intensity, where is the emotion and what is it going to take to hit someone? It isn’t the Canucks game to thrash their opponents physically, they’re skilled players and they do the talking with their sticks. Brad Richardson does it a bit differently.

After having time to digest the big win to force the series back to Calgary, I noticed that Ferland wasn’t a real factor once the Canucks took the possesion game over. Michael Ferland isn’t that great of a player and if the Canucks don’t allow him to keep getting his charging bull hits in, he’s almost, as Kevin Bieksa says “irrelevant”. Once you let the physical Flames start dictating things, they become the focus.

There were too many times last night where one extra step or a follow through hit could have forced the Flames to start reacting instead of setting the pace. I realize that stepping up to make a personal play could take you out of position and possibly turn the game in Calgary’s favour; but the first two periods had plenty of chances to take a bit of a risk.

Game 6 will be a different animal and the biggest test all season: can the Canucks match the effort they put out against the Kings just over a month ago in LA? Calgary has been a loud, intense building through Games 3 and 4 and with a chance to close out the series against the Canucks, they won’t quit. The biggest test is doing your thing away from home and the Canucks had the 5th best road record in the league this year. But that means nothing if they can’t do it tomorrow night.

If the opportunity presents itself, hit those arrogant jerks. Calgary shouldn’t even be here in the first place.

You’ve come this far Vancouver, two more games should be nothing.

photo credit – sportsnet.ca

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JARKKO POLO:  Rescindments, Fertlands and Dumb Dumbs

The Stanley Cup Playoffs have begun! Actually, they’re very much going and kind of in the middle right now. Your Vancouver Canucks were lucky enough to host the Calgary Flames in Round 1. Every Canucks fan got what they asked for; the best matchup for the Canucks to prevail. Ask and ye shall receive.

These things are a recap for the people that may have been on vacation in the U.S and A where NBA and Nascar hilites are the only thing that make headlines. For those in the know, this might not be as fun for you. But fear not, I will save your sad face emojis! The Canucks opened up with the noise but through 3 games, they sure have quieted down.


GAME 1 – CANUCKS VS. FLAMES – LOSS 2-1 (Reverse Shades of Game 1 against Boston)

RECAP: The towels were waving, the fans were….cheering? Rogers Arena was buzzing heading into Game 1 and the Canucks were ready to show they were going to own this series. Bo Horvat scored his first ever Stanley Cup Playoff goal off a ricochet and put the Canucks up 1-0 in the 2nd period. The Flames would tie it in the 3rd on a David Jones shot. In what has become standard in these playoffs, the Flames would go ahead with under 40 seconds left in the game off a Kris Russell blue line rope. Flames go ahead in the series 1-0.

FOOTNOTE: Eddie Lack was beyond good and looked like he was ready to silence the critics in his first ever playoff start. We also were introduced to Michael Ferland.

Photo - Calgary Herald

Photo – Calgary Herald


RECAP: Again Eddie Lack put up quite the game and held a shutout until the bitter end of the game, before giving up one. The Canucks absolutely owned the Flames in pretty much every category. Ronalds Kenins scored, so did Daniel Sedin. Radim Vrbata emptied a net with his first and good ol’ Higgins got one of the hockey goals too. Derek Dorsett ended the night with Deryk Engelland and some fisticuffs which were oh so dandy! Brad Richardson mamed Matt Stajan in their tilt and again, we saw the antics of Michael Ferland. Canucks were in the driver’s seat all game, they never looked back.

FOOTNOTE: Engelland was sure energetic this game. He got 42 minutes in penalties and THREE game misconducts however one was rescinded. Lucky duck!

GAME 3 – CANUCKS @ FLAMES – LOSS – 4-2 (The shoe finally dropped)

RECAP: If you would have told me the Flames would score the first goal in this game, I wouldn’t would totally have believed you. Corning the Canucks at every turn, there was nowhere to hide. Shawn Matthias would tie it but it really didn’t matter. Michael Ferland hit everything that moved and had the Canucks anticipating his hits all night which…is not good. The electric 18 year old Sam Bennett took a beating all night as well and kept ticking until he scored in the 3rd. 18 years old folks, he’s so resilient.

FOOTNOTE: Alex Burrows took his turn getting ejected for his hit on Johnny Hockey and the fight that followed. It too was rescinded. See a trend here?

Photo - Steve Belski USA TODAY Sports

Photo – Steve Belski USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver has been playing catchup in 2 of the 3 games and it doesn’t bode well for them if they keep it up. We’ve seen how they spot teams leads in the regular season and that doesn’t even seem to be the problem, they just aren’t matching Calgary’s intensity level! The talent is there but the goals aren’t.

Having Kevin Bieksa and Luca Sbisa baking turnovers is really hurting the bottom line as well. Coach Willie should mimic his use of that pairing like he uses the Sedins, not a lot. I still believe in these Canucks but they have to show life or so help me, the Flames will beat them quickly.



This series is not over yet and the Canucks just need to tap into that “skill” thing. Calgary has upped the ante and Flames Nation will be out in full force. Still saying

Canucks in 6

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In an effort to do something to establish Always90four as a more consistent and relevant piece, I have added two new feature posts, one today called “Jarkko Polo“. This feature will focus on the past week of Canucks hockey in a quick, fun and almost ridiculous fashion. If anything, I am dumbing down my own dumb downness, if that’s possible. So hopefully you enjoy what I have to offer and please continue to read the other stuff.

I don’t get paid to do this, so kind words are valuable currency.

Well, last week the Canucks only played 3 games, THANK GOODNESS!!! They didn’t exactly fair well and I bet they are happy last week is done. Vancouver had what looked like a nice little homestand against the Islanders, Panthers (LU ALERT) and the once lowly Calgary Flames.

The Islanders were first up and Eddie Machete got the start. We all remember last year when the fishermen exploded for 7 taters in the 3rd period to wax the Canucks. The result was different this time. Vancouver would prevail 3-2 with goals from the obvious Nick Bonino….yup he got one again, It’s been awhile hey bones? Ryan Stanton got his first goal since basically the last episode of The Sopranos aired and the man of a million puns, Linden Vey, scored a beauty of a breakaVEY goal.

On to the game of the week, the one many had circled on their calendars across British Columbia and well….Roberto Luongo’s house in Florida. The Panthers came back to show off their up and coming star goalie.The Panthers hadn’t won in Vancouver since the FIRST riot so it was kind of a big deal if they did. In typical Luongo fashion, he stole the show with a 3-1 win. A touching tribute to Lu for his time in Vancouver and on the ice he was nothing short of LUdacris. Still stings when we see him tearing it up in a non hockey market. Welcome home Lu, you are missed. He showed us why we missed him too, he’s on his way to the Vez.

The last game of the week was supposed to be a typical waxing of the Calgary Flames at home on HNIC. Not only did the Canucks NOT score ANY goals, they let a guy who just finished his shift at Denny’s post a shutout on them for the 1-0 decision. Don’t get me wrong, Vancouver was the better team as far as “moral” victories go, but they couldn’t have crowd funded a goal on Saturday night. It’s time for this team to decide who they want to be.

This week has the Canucks in Nashville, Philly and Carolina. If there are more than 3 goals this week, progress has been made. Oh and Dan Hamhuis is coming back.


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Catchy Slogans Win Stanley Cups

It seems like every year, some team has a witty or inspirational slogan painted on their dressing room wall or made into a t shirt for the whole team to wear in solidarity. Should these catch phrases or slogans drive a team any more than battling through 82 games to get there? Apparently, catchy slogans win Stanley Cups.

“Climb the mountain”, “one win at a time”, “play for each other”, “you’re a minus, you sit next game”…ok that wasn’t one. There always seems to be one or more teams that adopt this approach and somehow they think it gives them a better chance to win. Lets look at a few examples:

2004 Calgary Flames – a green hardhat is given to the hardworking player of the game. Great, you have hard workers and a guy gets the hard hat until he showers and then could care less until the next win. Worked until the last game of the year, no one got it after that, Tampa won.

2006 Edmonton Oilers – awful homeless looking leather jacket. Again, hardworking player type award that wasn’t given away on the last game of the year, Carolina won.

2007 Dallas Stars – GIT R DONE hats in camoflage. I could not WAIT until the Canucks beat those clowns to shove that stupid idea in their face. It took 7 games but it happened.

Maybe teams paint the Stanley Cup on a wall in their dressing room with the numbers 1-16 or 16-1 and cross off the games as they win. Its not original anymore fellas, everyone does it now. This year’s New York Rangers have a neat Stanley Cup puzzley deal that adds a ring for each win, or some part of the cup. Kinda cool, its different, cheezy but different.

I commend the Columbus Blue Jackets for even bothering with their effort this post season. Look at the puck display they created. Good for them, good for themmmm. You’re cute Columbus, don’t ever change. Sure they had 2 pucks on that board but did they really think they were going to get 16? Cute.

I think the inspirational stuff needs to end. The new motivation is on social media. The Montreal Canadiens and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon had a friendly wager that didn’t quite go the Habs way….take a look.

These are so depressing and yet so great! Look online for all 10 photos.

And finally, to get the Cup started right, the Rangers own LA before the opening faceoff:

Winning is an attitude….ok I stole that one from somewhere. Enjoy the Final folks!

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I also do birthday parties.