Welcome to 2014-2015: A Season to Sit Back and Enjoy!

The Vancouver Canucks kick off the 2014-2015 NHL season tonight in Calgary and for the first time in a long time, there is a different vibe among the fans in Canucks Nation.

Gone are the questions of whether this will be the year, replaced by the hope and excitement of a new regime. A sense of calm has blanketed the organization after a circus-like couple of seasons that saw the Canucks fall out of contention in the NHL West.

The often brash and arrogant management of Mike Gillis is gone, replaced by the classy Trevor Linden and a GM in Jim Benning that treats people with respect, while sporting a reputation of a guy having a keen eye for talent. You also get the feeling that the respect both of these men have earned will be an asset in improving the club, as their relationship with their peers will be better than their predecessors.

Willie DesjardinsWillie Desjardins is getting good early reviews as coach, and it will be exciting to see how he motivates and works with this club this season, his first as a head coach. He’s known to have the ability to motivate young and veteran players alike. If your players like and respect you and want to work for you, it can have amazing results.

For the first time in many years, there are new faces on the ice. Players that have youth and that can grow with the club. There are prospects on the farm that aren’t far away from making a contribution.

As fans we get watch the birth of a new regime, and watch how it unfolds. Often times with fresh guidance from the top a team can flourish, because they are all on the same page, working as one. Will the Sedins rebound and find their magic with new linemate Radim Vrbata? Will Alex Burrows rebound and provide the Canucks with that second line that has been missing the last few seasons? Can Zack Kassian take the next step in his development and become the power forward his skillset suggest he can be?

Ryan Miller will split the goaltending duties with the popular Eddie Lack, and somehow you get the feeling there could be a year without the soap opera that has been the Canucks goaltending situation, unless you’re not convinced the media in this town just can’t resist trying to create a new one.

Seasons like the one we are about to embark on are refreshing. There are no real expectations; no one is considering the Canucks a contender for the cup. If the Canucks make the playoffs this season it will be considered a huge accomplishment in a very tough Western Conference.

A lot of things have changed for the Canucks, but in the end there is a new confidence and direction in the organization, and after years of stressful seasons and expectations not met, feel free to sit back and watch this team evolve under the Linden, Benning and Desjardins, all of it without the stress and expectations of seasons past.

Welcome to the 2014-2015 season, everyone. Go Canucks Go!

Skate with the Canucks via @VanCanucks Sunlife Financial and @CanucksCorner

skate

How would you like to spend you first BC Family Day Holiday skating at Rogers Arena with members of your Vancouver Canucks?

On Monday, February 11, 2013, Sun Life Financial is sponsoring “Skate with the Canucks“, a chance for you to take the ice with current Canucks players and Canucks alumni. The Vancouver Canucks have generously offered readers of our blog two tickets to this event.

You can enter in three, very easy ways:

  • Leave a comment below and tell us which Canucks player you would most like to take to the ice with.
  • Tweet the following: “I entered for a chance to Skate with the Canucks via @CanucksCorner @VanCanucks & @BrighterLifeCA: http://ow.ly/huDGs #CCSkate”
  • Leave a comment on our Facebook page under the post about this contest.

If you do all three, you have three chances to win!

The deadline to enter is Friday, February 8, 2013 at 6:00 PM. We will randomly choose a winner from the total number of entries using Random.org

Important Information: The skate session starts at 6:00 PM on Monday, February 11. Skate and helmet rentals are not available so you will have to bring your own. You will also be required to sign a waiver before you step on the ice. At least one current member of your 2013 Vancouver Canucks will be on the ice during the event.

Good luck everyone!

Congrats to Samantha Law, her comment on the blog was selected as our random lucky winner that will get two spots to Skate with the Canucks at Rogers arena. Thanks to everyone that entered!


 

Home Opener Canucks tickets! And the winner is…

scrimmage

Last night I was among some invited guests of the Canucks social media team to watch the first of two season scrimmages. It was great to finally back in the rink again, as an estimated 8,000 Canucks fans showed up to watch the team prepare for the season opener on Saturday. The scrimmage itself certainly wasn’t the hockey we all expect to see starting Saturday, but it was great to see fellow bloggers and other social media members at last night’s event.

At the end of the night the Canucks graciously gave us two tickets to Saturday’s home opener and since I already had tickets, I decided to give them away in a contest on Facebook and twitter. We asked our Twitter followers and Facebook page members how long Canucks Corner has been on the internet, and we had a ton of entries as evidenced by the fact that @Canuckscorner was the top trend in Vancouver last night.

The answer is, that we have been online in one form or another since 1996, and we are entering our 17th season of following and covering Canucks hockey. Since the answer could be interpreted many ways, I accepted any answer from “Since 1996″ to “16 years” or “17 years”.

Through a random draw of all correct entries, we used the number generator from random.org and the winner of our contest is…

Brynn Prince (@brynnprince on Twitter)

Congratulations to Brynn, and thanks to all of you who entered. We hope you’ll continue to follow along as this season unfolds, and stay with us for another 17 years!


 

 

What’s the proper way to say sorry to the fans?

bwagon

The lockout is over, training camps are open, but there is a debate among hockey fans on what the league and it’s teams should do for the fans to make up for them missing half a season of their beloved sport.

Gary Bettman has said he’s sorry, but what was he supposed to say? And does anyone care? The Pittsburgh Penguins are offering 50% off all merchandise and free concession items, while the Tampa Bay Lightning offered 200 season-ticket packages for their 24 home games for $200 on a first come, first served basis.

For their part the Canucks have opened up Rogers Arena this week for their abbreviated training camp. They will also hold a “Jersey’s off our backs” night for Saturday’s season opener against Anaheim. The team says there will be other giveaways and random prizes given out during the season.

But that’s not good enough for some fans, who feel the team should be a little more generous if they hope to maintain their loyalty. The reality is however, at least in Canada, they don’t have to. There is a waiting list for season tickets that spans years, so the Canucks have that in their back pocket, and know that soon hockey fans will forget. Probably after the first big save by Cory Schneider, or the first tic-tac-toe play by the twins. Canucks fever will be back, it’s already back so if you’re expecting that half price jersey, don’t hold your breath because if you don’t buy a full priced one, ten other people will.

In Winnipeg the MTS centre was sold out for the Jets first practice of the year. The buzz in Edmonton isn’t “what can you do for me”, but is instead one of getting to watch their exciting young team possibly contend for a playoff spot. In Toronto the rink will be packed as they hope for the arrival of a goaltender from the west coast that could help them get to the playoffs in a post Brian Burke era.

Talk of boycotts of this and boycotts of that are noble and understandable stances, and everyone is entitled to their own way of dealing with the return of hockey, but they likely won’t last long with the true hockey fan.

In the end, I would have been happy with the league making their Centre Ice package free for the duration of the season. A quick look at the Shaw Cable website shows the package is mentioned, but not available to order at the moment. Could it be a discount or free offering is in the works? We’ll have to wait and see, but there would be no better way to get fans interested again than to give them maximum exposure to what promises to be some intense hockey once we get going.

What individual teams do is obviously going to depend on the market they are in. Teams in the U.S. will no doubt have to make more of an effort and Canadian fans will  point south and say, “What about us?” In a way it’s a shame that the game’s most passionate fans will likely get the fewest perks when it comes to post-lockout apologies, but let’s face it…Canadian fans already have the biggest prize they could hope for; their game is back.