Kick the tires and light the fires big daddy

OK, took a bit of screaming at my machine to get everything lined up, but the new site is open.

From here on in, please check out the new one and correct your links if your blog/site was (ever so kindly) linking over to this one -


Nude underneath my clothes

So, yeah, I've been bad. Hockey season is just getting churned up and I disappear. Sorry about that; the result of being stretched in a million different directions at once.

I've not stopping blogging though. Seriously. I'm more focusing on getting the other site ready for opening night so I'm going to go ahead and go dark on this site the rest of the way. The next post will link over to the new site and you good blogger individuals can change your links and we can have a grand old love in.

In the meantime, enjoy those preseason games, rampant groin pulls, pylons on tryouts and Vigneault chuckles for the next two weeks. I'll be back shortly.


Damn Yankee

My humble apologies...I've been doing that whole work thang the past few weeks which has involved a liberal amount of travel, leaving me to rely on the ball of chain of corporate America (the Canadian BlackBerry naturally) to follow the Canucks and the rest of the NHL through pre-pre-preseason.

I can say, however, in the next few weeks I will wrap up my NW preview ending with the Vancouver season preview of sorts before I switch this blog over to the new site (hint hint) and then we'll be full throttle for October 5th and the Sharks.

In the meantime, I'm going to ignore the fact that our vaunted defense is ALREADY injured and focus on that lovely clock in the top corner of the page. It's just clicking right on down isn't it...Oh Dave, you are one for drama aren't you? Here's hoping Raymond Mason is the second coming of Gretzky, Christ and the Rescue Rangers all rolled into one.



You call this a jersey? It doesn't even have your name on the front of it! Nice try asshats, it'll look great on you when Aucoin goes through his first groin injury, you spend most of the winter months losing on the road and Keenan pegs Tanguay with a cup full of ice in the face and then screams how he's going to skullfuck his mom's eyesocket's after he rips them out with a spoon...all because Alex looked at him. Yikes.

Also, the Sharks are officially out of their minds and I am 100% certain now they will not make the Cup finals. But, hey, he can do this. Clearly worth a cool $500,000.


The new Canucks logo!

So, after all the secrecy, stalling and what feels like a wait of over a year, it's finally here.

Yes..."it" is finally here.

What's "it"?

"It" is the amazing, astonishing, astounding, fabulous, fantastic, fantastical, incredible, marvelous, miraculous, phenomenal, prodigious, stupendous, unbelievable, wonderful, wondrous new Vancouver Canucks jersey:

(Image courtesy of the good people at canucks.com)

For comparison, here's your friend and mine Luongo in the old (is it still vintage? I'm lost already) vintage jersey:

What's that you ask? What's the big difference? Good enough fair web reader, let's put them side by side:

(click for enlargement por favor)

So, as you can see, the big difference is...it now says Vancouver. Scoff all you want, I see the genius of this: it's a gentle reminder to the opposition of who is about to kick their stupid asses from one end of the rink to the other. Sheer brilliance.

Also, the whale remains, though it may be slightly different. I mean, if you've seen a killer whale suddenly burst out of the letter "C" once and go for your throat, you've seen them all right? No no I must be wrong. Perhaps he has a new name; let's call him "Chuck". Chuck the alphabet-killing highly irritable whale. Yes, we're on to something now.

OK, on to the good old stick-in-rink logo that is now permanently on the shoulders, leaving precious little room to include Johnny Canuck on there. And no more black unis I guess either.

So...yeah...there you go. That's all it was about. It's not totally new nor totally awful. In fact, if you will, "it is what it is". HA! I kill me.

You can should now gleefully go back to wondering how the hell this team is going to score goals in about five weeks time when the Sharks (who, by the way, have no problem scoring) roll into town.

If you're hungry for more visuals, I'd recommend:

- Canucks.com for a Flash gallery (and the first picture includes a rather attractive young blond....alright web guys at canucks.com, good pick!).
- Tsn.ca has it on their homepage with Naslund in an oddly reminiscent "we choked" stance on the ice.
- The Province has a gallery of images for ya.
- Sportsnet.ca is kind enough to remind us how much the jerseys will friggin cost.
- Lucky lady
Miss604 was there for it.


Peering over the shoulder at the Flames

Only one other team is capable of mustering up the amount of sheer bile and zealous hatred down to the marrow of my being as much as the Calgary Flames can. And that was all before Keenan showed up. So this year will be a hoot.

More to the point though, gentle reader, is that the Flames didn't exactly get any weaker this summer. They didn't make a massive splash like the mullets did (and you're on crack if you think Owen Nolan is a savior of any sort), but when you line up against the likes of the punk Iginla, the goof Phaneuf and frumpy-looking Kiprusoff, you're just not allowed to take take many shifts lightly. So let's take a look down the red mile and see what the Flames got.

Forwards - Dustin Boyd, Craig Conroy, Carsen Germyn, Eric Godard, Kristian Huselius, Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow, Matthew Lombardi, David Moss, Marcus Nilson, Owen Nolan, Eric Nystrom, Wayne Primeau, Brandon Prust, Grant Stevenson, Alex Tanguay, Andrei Taratukhin and Stephane Yelle
Comments - Iginla, Tanguay and Langkow remain the constant threats and are supported by Lombardi, Conroy and Huselius. Sidenote - I find it hard to fathom that Keenan, even with his inherent ability to go where no coach has gone before, is going to tear Huselius, who lead the team in PP goals, a new one now that he's productive. Amonte is gone and presumably replaced in part by Nolan and that has car wreck written all over it. Despite that, guys like Moss, Kobasew and Nilson will provide even more energy for Calgary giving them four pretty decent lines. I'll admit the Flames have more firepower then the Canucks (I know, bold statement eh?) but they suffer from the same problem: if some of those core guys cannot find the back of the net on some nights, they will struggle mightily to win consistently.

Defensemen - Adrian Aucoin, Anders Eriksson, Mark Giordano, David Hale, Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regehr, Cory Sarich and Rhett Warrener
Comments - We know Phaneuf will be a force and Regehr is a good defensive defenseman, but it gets a bit questionable after that. Warrener is fine, but far from lights out and Sarich is, well, an interesting signing. And that brings us to Aucoin and his Jovo-esque groin. Glass half full = Aucoin will more then offset losing Hamrlik and add another layer of hell to a Flames powerplay. Glass half empty = he plays one game on bad ice (Hi Dallas!), his skate gets caught in a rut and he spends the three months questioning his chosen line of employment.

Goalies - Miikka Kiprusoff and Brent Krahn
Comments - I'm not going to bother with Krahn other then to say he's huge, apparently familiar with injuries and you won't see much of him unless the Flames decide to go the route of the 2006-07 Oilers. It's all about Kipper on this team and, though he wasn't lights out last year, he was still good enough to be top five in the league last year. Like Luongo, as long as he's in net he'll give the Flames every chance to win.

Conclusion - Soon you will see every pundit and their mother pick the Avs to run away with the Northwest and then likely followed by a logjam of the Flames, the Wild and the Canucks. I disagree and primarily on the point about the Flames. First, as last season showed, this team gets very streaky and I don't think the supporting staff behind Iginla/Tanguay is that strong to give Keenan constant offensive pressure (although he will have plenty of energy and hitting, I can't emphasize that enough). Additionally, I don't think Aucoin will stay healthy long enough to bolster the blueline which will put added pressure on Kipper to compensate for a weaker defense. Obviously, if this team is as streaky as I think they are, they could easily go on a long winning streak and keep things interesting, but I'm of the mind there's a reason this team just snuck into the playoffs last year and they've done little to improve on that this offseason.


Bottom six bonanza!

He's no Isbister, Shannon or Ritchie...nope, he's only Mr. Canuck who had to deal with a bit of lost love from his own coach before inking a brand spanking new $600,000 one year deal which is most likely his swan song contract.

If you're familiar with how many times Brett Favre teases retirement, then you'll be used to the following, recycled media phrases: "...likely last preseason game", "...could be his last trip to Edmonton" and the ever nauseating "...in what could be his last game at GM Place".

So, yeah, I would end this with asking, yet again, about the other forward lines but that hasn't worked all summer so I'm going to ignore the huge elephant languishing in the corner of the smoking room in the mansion of my mind. Nope, I don't see him.

I'm too busy being bottom six batshit happy that Linden gets one more chance to give us
moments like this.



I could have sworn I've heard this before. Oh RIGHT, it was after the lockout when these two were allegedly being shopped together only for one of them to eventually sign in Vancouver and then try and sweet talk the other to follow him, which meant naturally they ended up as far apart geographically as the continent of North America and its tectonic plate permit.

He's not coming here, give it up. If he does, I'll eat a puck. Or an entire rabbit. I don't care, you choose.


Peering over the shoulder at the Avalanche

As the summer inches ever closer to some NHL preseason, I thought I'd take a little time to review those other filthy, rotten pillow-biters in our league who want to challenge the Canucks for the Northwest title this year.

(note: I say pillow-biters with the utmost respect.)

So let's start with a team every Vancouver fan simply loves to hate down to the fiber of their being: the Colorado Avalanche.

Tyler Arnason, Andrew Brunette, Ben Guite, Milan Hejduk, Jaroslav Hlinka, Matt Hussey, Ian Laperriere, Cody McCormick, Scott Parker, Brad Richardson, Mark Rycroft, Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Paul Stastny, Chris Stewart, Marek Svatos, Wojtek Wolski
Well.....shit. For a guy who's had a ticker in the corner of his blog all summer waiting patiently for his team to get a valid, legitimate scorer, putting the Avs forwards together in one sentence is infuriating. Sakic, Brunette, Stastny, Hejduk, Wolski and Svatos will do plenty of damage for this team. And that's before I even bring up Ryan "fuck the Island" Smyth. Arnason found a pulse last year, Laperriere is effective in his punishing ways and Richardson and Guite are decent plug and play guys. This team has no reason not to put in two to three goals most nights. Ugh. Excuse me while I punch myself in the face.

Johnny Boychuk, Brett Clark, Kyle Cumiskey, Jeff Finger, Scott Hannan, Jordan Leopold, John-Michael Liles, Kurt Sauer, Karlis Skrastins.
Thankfully, the Colorado defense is not as deep as the front. Hannan is certainly a rock and will be a fan favorite in Denver in about four seconds, but Leopold and Liles had a host of injuries last year. Clark was solid, but question marks remain with Sauer and Skrastins. If the injury bugs sweeps through their defense again this year, the forwards will need to score two-three a night.

Peter Budaj, Jose Theodore
2002 must feel like an eon ago for poor Jose. I'm not sure what the locals feel about Theodore, but maybe it's a bit like Vancouver felt about Bertuzzi a few years ago: something like "Ahhh, come on, so he's a shell of his former self, he can still bounce back!". Good luck with that. Budaj was their horse last year, but if he stumbles, then those forwards will need to score four-five a night.

First, be sure and click here to get your laugh on.

OK, with that out of the way, the Avs arguably upgraded this summer far better then almost any team (including the revolting Rangers who we'll be ignoring). Smyth and Sakic and pick any other winger and you really, really don't want to go a man down on this team too often, I don't care who's in net. The defense is decent, but the true weakness is in obviously in net. If Budaj can carry the water most of the year, this team has no right not making the playoffs again and challenging for the division title. As a Canucks fan, I can only hope the defense crumbles and the goalies resort to sucking...otherwise the Avs will be a force no matter which way you view it.


Getting legless and chucking a sickie

Alanah has started a very bad thing: forcing everyone to confess they are closet boozehounds. No sweat for some of us. And I'm no different.

In fact, let's get nuts. Since I think NHL players are a step above the rest of professional athletes, I'm just going to go leaguewide and find some
wingmen...those who would pick up the tab...drinking partners.

- Jose Theodore, but honestly I just want to grab his cell phone and drunk dial some celebs.
- Jim Vandermeer, but that's because he's related to an ex-GF of mine and I want some updated stories.
Blue Jackets
- David Vyborny is one of the most underrated guys out there; hence he's an underrated drinker. Long Island Ice Teas until dawn Davey.
- Has to be Ville Nieminen. You wouldn't want to drink with the joker? Yes you would, stop lying you lushes!
- Andre the Giant did 119 bottles of beer in one night. I'll grab a table Chara, you have a long night ahead of ya.
- Niinimaa. Sure, he's awful, but I would think that would make him humble. And, better still, have a mental breakdown after round six.
- Matt Cooke. Every player hates him, every opposing fan wants him dead and yet he's constantly smirking. I want to know the joke.
- Just edging out Ovechkin (you know he's got to be funny after some ice block shots)...the one, the only...Donald Brashear.
- OK Jovocop, a shot per every groin injury you've had in your professional career. We'll be home by 7:00 PM, in bed by 7:05.
- John Madden because he looks like a funny fuck who'd play jokes on other people in the pub.
- I know he's new, but Todd Bertuzzi. I'm not explaining this if you don't get it. Hate him all you want, you know he'd be a funny drunk.
Flames - Darren McCarty. We're going to a biker bar too. Toothless ladies, some hogs and McCarty pounding a cowboy over an argument between the virtues of Memphis versus Branson? Sounds like a delightful romp!
- Jason Smith because I want the real deal on the aslyum that is the Oilers.
- I would say Staal but the lad can barely have a good bachelor party. So it's Mike Commodore, but only if he gets the fro back in style.
- Aaron Asham because he looks like he would go straight for shots. No chasers.
- Dan Cloutier. He may end up killing me, but it's worth it. I have some fucking questions for the guy.
- Martin St. Louis purely because he's my height and thus my ego gets a small boost. Hell, I may even pay for a round.
Maple Leafs
- Wade Belak. Hey, if you're going to grab a few with an NHL player, why not a massive, overly tattooed goon?
- Ales Hemsky. He's about the only Oiler I can stomach watching. And the poor guy isn't leaving Edmonton for a long, long time. In fact, we may need to bypass the bar and drive headlong into some kerosene.
- Salei. It's a stretch here, but he's got the Soviet-block origins going for him. Plus I want the Mike Modano face plant story from 1999 in person.
- Malkin is close, but Ruutu? I'm laughing right now just thinking about drinks with him and I'm sober!
- All 5'8'' of Jordin Tootoo. Sure, it's the height thing again, but oh yeah, the dude's batshit insane too (make sure you get to the 2:18 mark to watch Iginla get his ass handed to him).
- Fedor Tyutin because he looks like a wise ass and he's Russian so he'll be up for drinking anytime. Like Salei, it's in his DNA (that rhymes sucka).
Red Wings
- Tomas Holstrom primarily because he and Zetterberg are the only players I don't want to strap a stick of dynamite to and light the match with a cigarette (completed by a snazzy one liner like "you just earned your wings kid").
- I can't deny a few with Campbell. I'll get him to crack and admit that hit on Umberger made him snicker a bit.
- No contest, it has to be Ray Emery. He just seems like he would have funny stories. Plus he's probably suave with the ladies.
- Christian Ehrhoff so I can explain to him the finer points of power play points and their importance to those who pick him in fantasy hockey.
- Mike Modano. I am told I should like him but I don't. Maybe if I hang out with him that'll change my mind? I'll certainly warm up to the idea if he drags Willa Ford into the roadhouse.
- Hedberg. I've been a fan of this guy for years and he strikes me as a hysterical drunk.
- Brian Rolston. I'm sorry Canuck fans, but this goal was sick. You can almost hear Luongo curse Rolston's mother.

Honorable mention
- Ed Belfour (obviously) and Cale Hulse but, really, it's for his award-winning wife.


I'm not stopping until a Cup is won

A year ago this blog concept started with, well, no real point other then to stop leaving my inane rants on other people's blogs. 169 posts later and no one has shot me. Meaning you all have terrible aim.

A short recap in the life of TYC:

- a spot on look at a Vancouver team everyone thought would suck
- the first of what would become likely way too many drunk blogs
- had too much fun mocking other players including fellow Canuckers
- being eternally linked to Taylor Pyatt no matter what I do
- having 15 seconds of fame
- being charitable enough to care and vocal enough when the hate was appropriate
- getting a massive spike in traffic from the delay in the new Canuck logo

My first rant recapped the terrible trade acquisitions from the previous year (Mika Noronen is still dead to me) so, in sticking with tradition, let's punch the heifer again shall we?

Bryan Smolinski signs a one year deal with the Montreal Canadians
Smoke, we hardly knew yee. He did serve briefly as a second line pivot for Naslund, but then dropped back a bit and eventually got 7 points in 20 games. He did provide some key offense for the Canucks in the ever-painful first round series against the Stars, but then managed to disappear in the second round (as did much of the squad) against the Ducks. I never really minded Smolinski; he wasn't lights out for the Canucks but certainly wasn't terrible, so he's a good definition of what happens with most rental players.

Brent Sopel is at home picking his ass
I'm sure someone like the Wings, Isles or even Tampa will throw money at Brent and his high hair care needs. I don't care; if you've read this blog at all during the playoffs, you'll know I don't like Sopel. People can claim he's a top four defenseman all they want, but his production is .25% off from his best season in 2003-04 and, when our team was floundering on offensive in two playoff rounds, Sopes notched precisely 0 points in 11 games (he missed one game because he can't hold a cracker). He brought very little to the team in his second tour and I hope the new rule is he can only return to the franchise after he retires for some back office job.

Honestly, thanks to all of you who read this from time to time and enjoy (or hate) what you see. I do this with no other goal other then to have some fun and it's made all the better by you good people. I think some hockey bloggers and fans out there are some of the nicest, intelligent and dedicated fans I've ever seen and it's nice to be a part of all of this. So thank you all again and let's get ready for another year of the best damn sport there is.


Another Fitzy in the fray

If nothing else, here's hoping that Zack can pull a Rory and mess up the "All Star Game". Also, as the link indicates, the ghost is officially in the fold.

You may recall that Vancouver got Balej when they found a kind soul in my backyard named Sather to take the idiot Fedor Fedorov off our hands.

You may recall it was Fedorov who got his over hyped ass handed to him by Bieksa who would later turn out to be anything but over hyped.

You may recall it was Bieksa who was drafted 151st in the 2001 draft, the same draft that the Canucks took R. J. Umberger with their first pick.

You may recall that it was Umberger who was moved to Philly after playing hardball with the Canucks for a few years and promptly got p'wned by Brian Campbell in the 2005-06 playoffs.

You may recall it was Campbell's team, the Buffalo Sabres, who went on to p'wn the Flyers and it was one Rory Fitzpatrick who got an assist on the Vanek goal in his only game played during that series.

And, finally, you may recall it was sir Rory who I started this post out with as he has now been replaced by another Fitzy in the Vancouver system. The circle is complete.

Now...about that new logo?


New Canucks logo

Just about one day and counting before the new Vancouver Canucks logo gets released. If you've been following all the new jerseys being slowly released over the summer, you can tell that there really isn't that much changing. If the rumors are true, then there will be no vintage logo revival either. So sad.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I know it may be late, but I'd like to submit the following for review in the final hour:

The Inspiration

Bring me Messier's severed head or the kitten gets it

We're not using this anymore for hockey so take it

There is no Dana, only Zoul

Appreciating Lemaire

Tools can fly

The tear-drenched laughter

The best face in hockey

The Fourth Jersey
(could be vintage after a few years)


Fun in proofreading!

Spot the problem on the Yahoo! NHL Page?

Maybe they're just piggy backing off of the LA Times?


News from the front

Checking around the intraweb today and we have some comical news which, honestly, is about the best it'll get in the dead of summer.

1. Just when you thought that the NHL would stay out of the muddy waters of Bonds and his muscle creams, NBA gambling fixes and, well, anything the Cincinnati Bengals do, the Staal brothers go and make a no-no. Leave it to a few guys with a last name of STALL to forget that trait and go over the limit. No mention of strippers though....not yet anyway. C'mon, a bachelor party without strippers? There's your story.

2. JJ has a deep throat connection out there somewhere as it seems he got his hands on what may be the new Canuck logo. I guess my hopes that it would be the vintage logo - despite what the Orca Bay execs have been saying - isn't going to happen. Oh well, it still beats Johnny Canuck being on there. I'm not speaking ill of the history behind that character, it just looks so...so...what's the word...oh yeah....awful on the front of a professional jersey.

3. You realize the title of this post is a Bad Religion song right? No you didn't? Wait, who's Bad Religion? OK, all of you people hang your heads in shame. Or, better yet, go buy their new album.

4. Sounds like no one loves Cujo that much anymore (save for Blue Jays' fans).

5. The always ethical NY Post has a hockey blog (who knew?!) about contracting the league and includes of those to have their heads chopped off...wait for it...the last three Cup champs. There were obvious targets in Nashville, Atlanta and Phoenix and the best is killing Dallas and moving them back to Minnsota which is possible only after you kill off the current Minny team (I'm no fan of the Wild, but I love the idea that the Wild fans would have no problem with this). And yet no mention of killing off, oh I don't know, the Islanders? Or even the Sabres? Why the fuck is the criteria for contraction exactly? This is why the NY Post exists: to give those who can't think outside the box a venue in which to think comfortably inside the box.

6. Alanah got a tip that the Canucks, who have been waiting all summer to fill that massive gaping hole next to Morrison on the second line, likely inked one Jozef Balej today. Not sure if the guy - with the whitest hair of any living human mortal - will be fighting for a spot on the third and fourth lines along with many others (Isbister, Shannon, Ritchie, Cowan, Burrows, Linden, Kesler, Jaffray, Grabner, Hansen, Rypien, Simek, Fin...) or be Moose bound. Stay tuned.


Gone fishing…w/Brendan Morrison

Remember when the Canucks could score at will with that West Coast Express thing? This guy struck gold and made his name as the center for the best line in the NHL at the time. He’s the hometown boy made good who also just so happens to be the reigning Ironman not just for Vancouver (508 games) but the entire league (512 games). However, what good is that streak if you’re not actually scoring? With the final year of his contract being up this season it begs the obvious: will this 31 year old get locked up and likely finish his career at home or be a carrot on a stick to dangle at the deadline?

Welcome to the world of Brendan Morrison.

A look back
The Devils snagged Brendan in the second round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft (the same draft class that mind-numbingly saw both Daigle and Gratton go in the top five) and would remain at the University of Michigan from 1993 to 1997. While at school, Brendan played like a man possessed with the Wolverines and, alongside guys like John Madden, Mike Knuble and some clown named Marty Turco, put up some fantastic numbers and helped his school win the NCAA Championship in 1996. During his final year at school, Brendan was awarded the Hobey Baker Award for the best NCAA player of that year and his future looked oh so very bright.

Bright enough that, after a year playing mostly with the Albany River Rats, he got a full time gig playing in front of Marty Brodeur (a good precursor for things to come in Canuck land). The Devils would go on to win the Cup in 1999-2000, but not with Brendan around as he was packaged with Denis Pederson and traded to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for the last Russian headache the franchise had in Alexander Mogilny.

Pederson would stay with the team for a bit before bouncing around some other NHL teams and eventually ending up Eisbaren Berlin (again, awesome logo). Morrison, conversely, would be a welcome addition to the new squad.

In his first full season with the club, Brendan finished fourth in points (54) and played the first of what would be six straight NHL seasons in which he missed no regular season games. The following season is when the WCE kicked into high gear and Brendan helped reap the rewards of playing along side one of the best snipers (Naslund) and power forwards (Bertuzzi) in the league: in 2001-02, Brendan notched a career-high 67 points and improved on that total in the following year with 71 points (in addition to adding 11 points in 14 playoff games). His totals would dip to 60 during the 2003-04 season, but that was still good enough for second best on the team and, although the Flames dispatched the Canucks in seven games in the opening round of the playoffs, Brendan scored quite possibly the most memorable goal of his career during a triple OT game six.

Things Get Ugly
Following the lockout - during which he played with college buddy Knuble again in the Linköpings HC of the Swedish Elitserien - Brendan would return to Vancouver and signed a new three year deal with the club. During the dark 2005-06 season,
Brendan's production dipped down to 56 points as the final year of the WCE/Crawford era came to an end. In the offseason leading up to the 2006-07 season, it was revealed Morrison played much of the season with a hip injury that required surgery. Despite the injury, he once again did not miss a regular season game.

The same old Brendan didn't fare as well on the new-defensive minded Canucks the following season, getting only 51 points which was his worst statistical season yet with the club.

2007-08 and B-mo



Brendan will enter this year as he left last year: the center piece of the second line alongside WCE-chum Naslund and (insert player name here). Much of the reason both Naslund and Morrison's numbers dipped last year was due in part to both Vigneault's style and the lack of a consistent third linemate (at different times Brendan was alongside Pyatt, Bulis, Kesler and Cooke). Not surprinsingly, Brendan will be under likely the same exact scrutiny that Naslund will be: both players have been replaced as the go-to guys by the Sedins and arguably by Luongo as the team's primary identity (in lieu of the now dead WCE). As more teams get grittier and Nonis is sitting on quite a few prospects waiting in the wings, Brendan will need to justify not only his icetime by having a far better season and but the $3-$4 million price tag that he comes with.

I argued last time that Naslund should be retained if possible because I think, if given the proper support, he is still a top six guy. I do not think the same about Morrison; the main knock against him for some time has been his style of play and size do not make him a #1 center. The WCE years allowed him to skirt that and the Canucks lack of offensive depth since then allow him to be ranked much higher then usual. I can see where, on other teams, Morrison would drop to the third line. If nothing else, he's much more a second or third line center rather then a first or second. Put another way: if Kesler had a breakout year at center, guess who's moving down a peg?

If Brendan's production comes up a bit and can be resigned before becoming a UFA next summer to a comparable $3 million deal (or less, it's his hometown after all) then I don't see a problem. But, if not, then I don't think another poor season statistically that allows him to continue his Ironman streak warrants the ice time, especially if those behind him on the depth chart have good seasons.

I don't mean to downplay his good seasons because he had one or two bad ones; I mean to draw attention to the reality of Vancouver's cap and how this team will go to the next level in the forseeable future. If this summer is any indication, Morrison will not be back if he's allowed to see the numbers a 32 year old UFA with his past production will warrant from other teams. So if he's sticking around with the other Orcas, I don't see how committing too much of the cap to a 40-50 point center benefits this team unless he rebounds this season in a substantial way (and, ideally, helps bring Naslund along in the process or vice versa).


Juraj Simek

I'll admit, I know next to nothing about Juraj Simek. Which may explain why I missed this entirely, but Simek - picked 167th overall during last year's draft - has signed with the Vancouver Canucks after having a great first year with the Wheat Kings of the WHL (28G, 29A).

Nonis has done a good job of locking up as many of the
club's top prospects as he can, so the Moose and their fans must be happy if nothing else.

If you want some more Simek info, look no further:


C'mon on in kids!

I saw that the BoA and BoO guys were rating their blogs, so I gave it a whirl hoping I wouldn't get the G rating staring me in the face...well, good news:

Imagine that! And I didn't even need to slam Colorado fans by describing this in extremely graphic detail (I'll wait until the season starts for that).

In hockey news, the Canucks signed Drew MacIntyre to backstop the Moose again or, if need be, the ultra mega super doper Luongo insurance policy.


So we'll have one guy with Cup experience

Barring any stellar preseason play by a try out or younger guy, the bottom six are closer to be set now that Shannon appears to have inked a one year deal. C'mon Linden, where are ya?

I know Ritchie and Shannon can both play center and you may also be asking why Burrows and his biblical nine points from last season are on the third line. Don't ask such questions, just let it be friends. You can mix up those bottom six all you want and - Isbister notwithstanding - you have some grit there. And I'm not even including Vigneault-favorite Rypien in there.

Remember when we faced the now Cup-holding Ducks and, with no Kesler or Cooke around, had only Cowan to show some spine? Sweet memories...

An aside - it's simply amazing the news Canuck fans get excited about isn't it? A fourth liner signing? Maybe there will be a new crotch trainer hired later in the week to allow us to get just excited enough to coast through to next Monday.
(Crotch training is all the rage in 2007 baby).


Gone Fishing...w/Markus Naslund

Note: The summer sucks, so this "Gone Fishing" series will look at all the upcoming contract year players for the Canucks.

He’s why you bother learning to pronounce Örnsköldsvik (Earn'sholds'veek). He’s a mere 21 points shy of toping Trevor Linden as the all time Canuck point producer. And this could be the last offseason where the Canucks can plan on having him stick around.

Welcome to the world of Markus Naslund.

A look back
Markus was drafted by Pittsburgh 16th overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft (a class that featured such talent as Eric Lindros, Scott Niedermayer, Peter Forsberg, Brian Rolston, Alexei Kovolov and even your friend and mine Pat Falloon). He would play three seasons with MODO and then some up and down with the Cleveland Lumberjacks (who have a bitchin’ beaver logo) before becoming a NHL mainstay.

The same cosmic forces that pummeled Vancouver for their Neely debacle returned the favor when Pat Quinn managed to trade for Naslund even up in exchange for the fire fighting Alex Stojanov, a guy who was actually picked ahead of Naslund in the same draft.

It took some “issues” with Mike Keenan giving Naslund the Marc Chouinard treatment before he finally began to show his magic. Starting in 1998, Naslund would have his first of six straight 60+ point seasons; he was named captain of the team by Brian Burke in 2000-01, a year in which he helped the Canucks finally make a return to the post season and shake off their collective Keenan/Messier hangover. Over the next two seasons he would put up his best career numbers playing alongside Bertuzzi and Morrison and snag a Lester B. Pearson Award in 2002-03 and was a runner up to the Hart in the same year. What’s not to love?

Things get ugly
Things would take a turn beginning in 2003-04 when, although the team was primed for a shot at some post season destruction, the Naslund/Bertuzzi/Moore incident would cast a cloud over the remainder of the year following Bert’s suspension for Naslund, the Canucks and even the entire league. The lockout didn’t help matters and there was a chance that, following the lockout, Naslund could have signed elsewhere. He eventually returned, inking a three year deal with the Canucks but couldn’t rekindle the offensive magic with Bertuzzi during a shitty 2005-06 campaign.

Bringing in Luongo meant a different approach for the team and for Naslund entirely. For this first time this decade, this team was molded from the backend and not the front. For the Canuck’s captain, it meant new linemates and new expectations for how he could run this team. Although he played in all 82 games in 2006-07, he managed only 60 points, his worst output since 1997-98.

2007-08 and Nazzy
So what is there to expect of Naslund as a Canuck in the final year of his contract? There will be plenty of people who are going to look at the Canucks and, for good reason, see that this team belongs to the twins and Luongo now. For every game in which Naslund doesn’t score or add some assists, there will calls for moving him and his $6 million at the trade deadline to anyone willing to take it. This is a business blah blah blah…and Lowe showed with Smyth last year that, face or no face of the franchise, you’re going to be moved if the numbers don’t work. Period.

This is Naslund’s reality. He may never return to his earlier production levels due in part to the line he played on and how both the game and team have changed. But he is still young enough at 33 and possesses a wrist shot we all know and love (when he actually uses it that is) that would indicate that he could still be a big part of any team’s top six. The question is does he have that drive still and can he do it with the cast of characters that Canucks will likely have come the drop of the puck in October?

The best case scenario for long starving Canuck fans would be to see Linden return, get another guy or two up front and have the core come together under Vigneault like they did last year. With the twins supported by a young core and Luongo playing behind a stacked defense, this team finds some magic in the post season with both Linden and Naslund playing character roles. A Cup is finally won and both Linden and Naslund leave the team on top. Picture perfect.

The worst case scenario is actually one where the Canucks don’t live up to expectations and have to move Naslund to a team that does win it all with him in tow. Or, similarly, Naslund leaves as a free agent so the team gets nothing. Or he simply retires back to Sweden with a trunk full of memories and no Cup to speak of.

Naslund is in the unenviable position this year (that is depending on if you are a glass half full/half empty person) of having to make his stick do the talking moreso then his price tag. He can play himself right into a new contract/extension or he can become part of a numbers game. Face of the franchise or not, the reality of the cap era doesn’t discriminate regardless if you’re Anson Carter, Brent Sopel or the Canucks franchise regular season goals leader.

Like Linden, Naslund's done a lot for this franchise from admitting the team has choked (he was honest, they did choke) to helping restore them to some iota of credibility over the past near decade.
I, for one, want him to stick around and get the job done; seeing him in another uniform is unpleasant. Something tells me, however, that I'm in the minority on this.


Good times are close

The NHL brains released the 2007-08 schedule today and your Vancouver Canucks have some particularities you should be aware of:

Oct 5 – Home opener against the Toskala-less Sharks
Oct 6 – First view of Mike Keenan having a coronary as leader of the Flames
Oct 10 – The “seriously-we-still-have-Hatcher?” Flyers come to GM Place
Oct 13 – First of many victories of whatever the Oilers eventually look like
Oct 19 – Unless he gets injured that quickly, perhaps the Canucks finally get a crack at King Cloutier (which means, yes, he will be injured)
Nov 9 – The mulleted militia in Denver invites the Canucks in for a fireside chat
Nov 16 – The “Wild” make a brief appearance in GM Place and then promptly leave winless
Nov 27 – Ducks come to Vancouver. Bert comes to Vancouver. Pronger comes to Vancouver. Pick your poison.
Dec 8Sidney comes to town with the baby Pens in tow. Don’t bother trying to get tickets, it was sold out while you read this.
Dec 18 – Canucks host the Devils. Yes, it’s going to a shootout. Plan you evening accordingly.
Dec 31 – NYE game on the road against the Flames
Jan 3 – The no good filthy rotten Rangers will lose to the Canucks in GM Place. Oh yes.
Jan 8 – The Islanders make a showing in B.C. See the above prediction.
Feb 1 – Luongo returns to Florida to embarrass his old team

Some other highlights?

Oh, you again?
Best month for home games – November (8 in total)

Who are you guys?
Most away games in a month – December and March (10 games each)

Why you son of a bitch…
Final 9 games against NW opponents – EDM (2), CAL (3), MIN (2), COL (2)


It looks a defense, it smells like a defense...

...son of a bitch, it IS a defense. So much for the premature warnings that getting Beeska to stick around would be tough.

With Bieksa signed through 2010-11, that means the current top five Vancouver defensemen are all under contract through at least 2009-10 when Ohlund will be a UFA and Krajicek will be a RFA. Bourdon is also signed through
2010-11. With Luongo signed through 2010-11 as well, the defensive core and rockstar goalie is set in stone for the next few seasons.

Good to see Nonis be proactive instead of risking losing him completely next July when he was slated to be a UFA.

Now...about that offense?

6:11 PM ET Update: OK, the defense really smells now.

Take a look at that defense; that's a hell of a strong, tight top six in front of Lui. Miller is huge and definitely adds more stability to that group. Don't look for him much on the scoresheet though.

If you consider
guys like Bourdon and Edler though, something doesn't pass the smell test here. If Nonis is still looking for a top six offensive guy and wants to stay$ 2 million under the cap, he's got about $5 million left to play with excluding signing the RFAs and, if need be, Linden. Is he going to take a run at Foppa? Fiddle around with signing someone like Carter? Or try the trade route and bring in someone more high-caliber?

My two cents? I wouldn't go out and buy a Mattias Ohlund jersey anytime soon. If Nonis has one D man to spare that would get a sniper in return, it would be him.


Step aside Bobby Clarke

It’s been an interesting week for Kevin Lowe. First he all but admits he messed up the Smyth trade last season and then, just the next day, he tenders an offer that makes the Kesler RFA offer last year from Clarke look like a gentle pat on the ass. Give a glove tap to Spector who basically called this some time ago.

Good on Lowe’s intestinal fortitude to welcome the wrath of all other GM’s for now pegging the value of 23-year-old, 84 point getters in the league at a mind-numbing 7 years, $50 million dollars (Vanek must be single, huh?). The Sabres amazingly shitty summer continues and free agency has only been open for six days!

If he becomes an Oiler, sir Vanek will get $5 million in the first two seasons and $6.4 million in the remaining five (fuck am I in the wrong profession). He ALSO receives a $5-million signing bonus in each of the first two years. Edmonton would have to pony up the next four first-round draft picks as compensation.

Since the Canucks continue to do nothing nearly as fun, let’s see what Regier has to do: keep a franchise guy at this bloated cost and hope his production stays at that level or risk losing three huge guys in less then two weeks. For you Buffalo fans, the good news is happy hour starts in about 4 hours from now.

12:40 ET Update: Regier will match it. The fun lasted about 30 minutes. We return you now to your regularly scheduled programming.

We are all...part of the machine

In case you missed it, the NHL seized the canucks.com property (yesterday maybe) and squeezed it into its league mandated all too sexy web template to remove any iota of creativity and expression at the team level. Then again, from a seizure-inducing standpoint, it could always be worse...


Nonis jumps in the pool (updated)

A mere two days of bemoaning others and Nonis gets in the swing of things by doing almost exactly what we knew he would: take the frugal road to some projects and keep this team lean and “mean”.

In no specific order:

>> Blue chipper Schneider gives the finger to beantown and comes West
>> Welcome new project players Byron Ritchie and Brad Isbister
>> In Manitoba news, Brad Moran is going no where anytime soon
>> Manitoba leading scorer Jason Jaffray is sticking around
>> Nonis goes German in Tremblay-esque fashion and finds Greg Classen quite fetching

Ritchie is an interesting pick and yours truly prematurely scratched Isbister off the list. Ritchie is going to do his damndest to crack the opening roster; at best he was a reserve forward for the Flames so while I put him on the list, it certainly doesn’t mean he’s nailed the spot down. If nothing else, his colorful slang will be welcome on the Canuck’s rather gentlemanly squad.

Isbister I have seen multiple times masquerading as an Islander, an Oiler and most recently as a filthy Ranger (getting some prime postseason minutes at the expense of Shanny). His downside (in case his flipping between teams isn’t telling you) is that he is yet another large guy who hasn’t found the mini-Bertuzzi within us all. Naturally, the hope is that - like Pyatt - Vigneault can tap into this confusion and spring forth a guy who can crash and bang and…(deep inhale)…score? If you fancy charted assets of players, look no further.

Arguably, the biggest news here is that Schneider went from possible trade asset to possible back up goalie. While it’s incredibly unlikely that he’s not Manitoba bound (at the ripe old age of 21), he is flatly right up there with Bourdon as the few solid farm guys this franchise has. I’ll go ahead and suggest the obvious that it’s extremely odd that after years of Cloutier-dom, this team has more then one solid option in net.

Jaffray had a stellar year in Manitoba and I’m sure will give it his all to make the team in the preseason. As for Classen, he has three years NHL experience, all with the team from Nashville/Hamilton/Kansas City/whatever-the-hell-they-end-up. He spent all of last year playing for the Hamburg Freezers (a team that has a psychotic mascot) and I would guess he’s coming in to help stock up the Manitoba cupboard. It would take a bevy of injuries for this guy to line up at GM Place I would guess.

So…yeah, the making of the Canucks into a Bad News Bears clone is taking place. At the end of the day (as I keep telling myself), this team is built around Lui and guys like Ritchie, Isbister and Jaffray are all useful, financially astute offensive pieces to the 2007-08 puzzle. I’m curious where Bulis/any other UFA winger falls into play now, but good to see Nonis sticking to his guns.

Of course, if the Canucks are 10-30 by the time January rolls around, I will take all of this back. Naturally.

Update 6:49 PM ET: Ugh, ok, now Nonis won't stop as I see Curtis Sanford is now the official potential Luongo groin injury/bathroom situation insurance policy for the Canucks. On the plus side, this guy actually has some NHL experience under his belt that Sabourin never did. On the negative side, don't expect to see him too much. And if we do see him too much, then something has gone horribly wrong in Canuckville. Here's a positive take on his play with a terrible team in front of him; also here's Matt Cooke hitting him and Sanford making a nice save against an evil team.

So for the fourth time today, let's update the roster:

Krajicek inked for two

As the rest of the NHL GM’s trip over themselves to sign free agent vagabonds, Nonis keeps trucking along down the frugality freeway. If you’re like me, you may have done a double take when the Canucks popped up on the wires yesterday, but it was just to announce that Lukas Krajicek signed a 2 year deal worth $2.2 million. If we add in the return of the brabarian, here’s how sexy the team looks on paper (heavy emphasis on ‘sexy’):

You can also scratch off a return tour for Smolinski, who signed a one year deal with the Habs yesterday. At the same time, the Canucks cut both Tyler Bouck and Prestin Ryan loose at the minor league level so don’t look for them in training camp. I have no idea what to make of this either.


Bemoaning everyone else's fun

I'll admit, I'm a bad hockey blogger. I didn't make it my intention to even watch what happened yesterday because I was certain that (1) not much would actually happen and (2) Vancouver Canucks sure as shit wasn't getting involved with anything.

So...I was 50% right.

Dear god I was wrong on the first point; feels like just about every big UFA moved yesterday. By doing so, some people out there are going to do their damndest to make you think by signing so-and-so well they're now cup contenders. Blah blah blah.

Let's take a cynical, yet honest look at what the aftermath is:

>> Fuck The Rangers
I know Jes beat me to it last night noting that, once again, Sather and his cretins have made it incredibly easy to hate their team. For losing Nylander, they came up with Drury (5 years, $32.25mil) and Gomez (7 years, $51.5mil). Chuck in the prima donna Jagr, assclown Avery and a wonky headed Shanahan in there and you have all the makings of the old Messier days when names beat youth and what looks great on paper beats building from within. Now, that said, the Rangers DID build from within for two straight seasons so they do have guys like Tyutin, Hossa & Prucha in there, but the fact remains that after yesterday, its once again fashionable and damn appropriate to hate these assholes (here's hoping Lundqvist gets an RFA offer that is simply obscene).

>> The Flyers Apparently Do Not Want To Blow Again
There is something really funny about what the Flyers have done. First it was raping Nashville starting at last year's trade deadline and again two weeks ago. Then it was giving a solid middle finger to the Sabres by dropping an 8 year, $52 mil deal in the hands of the silliest looking UFA out there. Then, in another act of “who can we piss on” they turned towards the Northwest whipping boy Edmonton Oilers, getting both the Pronger throw-in Lupul and their captain in exchange for Joni Pitkanen and forward Geoff Sanderson. There’s still time for Holmgren to kick another pig before the offseason, but he’s certainly earned his money as GM so far in turning the Philly shitbox around.

>> Get the Sylvia Plath Poems Ready For Buffalo, New Jersey & Long Island
…when it rains shit, it REALLY does rain shit. I feel the worst for the Sabres fans who have watched their core guys who grew up on the team all leave in the span of two years (we like Pyatt though I won’t lie). NJ lost key guys on both offense and defense (Rafalski) and Garth Snow suddenly has nothing on his team other then a goalie with 14 years left on his contract. Some Devils fans seem to be taking it well. Feel free to buy these fans some beers if you see them, next year could be pretty rough.

>> The Oilers Will Own The NW Basement Again
So this and this is how Lowe is going to right the good ship HMS Oiltown? To top it all off, they missed their chance at Smyth but get to see him 8 times a year thanks to Bettman. Well, it’s a start. Enjoy your latest expensive mess.

>> And Challenging the Canucks for the NW Title Will Be…
No, not the Flames. It’ll be the perennial enemy Colorado Avalanche who I’d argue quietly may have had the best day yesterday, getting both Smyth for five years and Scott Hannan for four. Smyth joins an offense that already had Sakic, Hejduk, Wolski, Svatos and Stastny firing on all cylinders at the end of last season. Hannan, Liles and Leopold in the back? Christ. At least their goalies are still questionable/laughable.

>> Speaking Of Vancouver
…not a peep. Unless you count losing Sabourin from whence he came. It’s killer fun to watch all these names fly around while your team who, last I checked, still cannot score (23rd-ranked offense and a power play which went 4-for-64 in the postseason.)….come the morning after STILL cannot score and technically got weaker in the strongest position it has. OK Nonis, time to go fishing for the smaller trout now.

>> So Help Me God
…if Niedermayer doesn’t retire and the Ducks have three top defenders starting next year for them instead of a paltry two, I won’t have enough curse words to formulate a coherent enough sentence to actually convey a logical assessment of how much I am not happy with that.
Update: They have Bertuzzi now too. My original statement stands unedited yet with far more emphasis now.

>> Stupid Is As Stupid Does
Blake to Toronto? Not a bad move honestly, but if their view is he’ll be the next Mogilny for an aging Sundin, well then I want some of what they are smoking. But the biggest winner (re: loser) has to go to Kariya. I feel pretty confident in suggesting that the Blues aren’t primed for a blowout season so I’m not terribly sure why Kariya (who I understood went to Nashville because he thought they had a legit chance at the Cup) would opt for St. Louis. Some of my favorite quotes come straight from JD himself:

"Put it this way: When you looked at the Blues a week ago, and then you look now, we're a little better hockey club. This should send vibrations through the organization that, 'Man we're getting better.'"
The team had Al MacInnis, Doug Weight, Tkachuk and owner Dave Checketts speak with Kariya.

"I think he felt wanted," Davidson said. "Knowing Paul, he could have gone elsewhere for more (money). But I think he felt wanted by the club. In our discussions, he asked lot of questions about the city and the franchise. He's had experience with (Blues coach) Andy (Murray) at the World Championships. That plays into these things. We're lucky to have Andy."

WOW. You guys are in the wrong profession…someone out there has a bridge to no where that needs to be sold off.

>> The Atlantic Division Is Revoltingly Stacked
By adding Sykora and Sydor this morning, the Pens and revamped Flyer and Ranger teams make the Atlantic division amazingly stacked with talent. If you can’t sell out the Battle of Pennsylvania games or a Pens/Rangers game now, someone in their marketing division should be fired. Or all of them for that matter.

All of my wrath aside, sounded like a great day for hockey fans yesterday. Especially good for Ranger, Flyer & Avalanche fans. Not so hot for us Canuck fans as not only did all the big names fly around and some, like Smyth, back into the NW but middle tier guys like Kozlov (now with the Caps) and White (now with Atlanta) are off the table too. I guess we have to wait for our turn at the big table next year when presumably there’d be a shot at inking a guy like Heatley, Lidstrom or Iginla (ya right).