Pat Quinn: Hockey’s St. Patrick

When I headed towards Rogers Arena last night, my husband sent me a text cautioning me of what I might see when I entered the gate:

Keep your eyes peeled when you come in Gate 16. It was quite the rogues gallery when I came

As I was walking down Abbot Street  (now Pat Quinn Way) to my regular gate, Orland Kurtenbach and his wife walked by for the unveiling of the street sign on Abbot St. and Pacific Boulevard. As I came inside, I saw Kirk McLean talking with a few others. Usually, I don’t get phased by seeing McLean, he’s in and around the arena quite a bit during the regular season, but yesterday, it felt different. There was an energy the minute I set foot through the doors. As I waited for the elevator to take me to Level 5, I started recognizing more faces, and then I thought I saw Markus Naslund which made me do a double take and I wasn’t sure, but I was… Anyway, everyone was in great anticipation of the pre-game ceremony.

When I met up with my husband in our section, he told me of some of the people he saw gathered at Gate 16. He said, in a cluster, there was Brian Burke, George McPhee, Jim Robson and Bob Nicholson. Rogues, maybe, but hockey’s upper echelon, definitely. As we were having our pre-game dinner, I believe we both felt at a loss for words. All  we could do was smile just think of how much Pat Quinn meant to hockey and we in Vancouver were so fortunate to have felt his impact so profoundly.

Canucks President, Trevor Linden, bookends the new commemorative sign of Pat Quinn Way" with Vancouver mayor, Gregor Robertson during the unveiling, renaming ceremony. Photo Credit: NHL.com

Canucks President, Trevor Linden, bookends the new commemorative sign of Pat Quinn Way” with Vancouver mayor, Gregor Robertson during the unveiling, renaming ceremony. Photo Credit: NHL.com

The unveiled "Pat Quinn Way". Quinn meant so much to the Canucks and to the city of Vancouver, it was truly a fitting tribute.

The unveiled “Pat Quinn Way”. Quinn meant so much to the Canucks and to the city of Vancouver, it was truly a fitting tribute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 When the actual ceremony began, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and legendary broadcaster, Jim Robson hosted the evening. It was respectful, memorable without being too long winded. It was perfect. Rick Ley, Bobby Clarke, Cliff Fletcher, Ron Toigo, Markus Naslund, Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, Kirk McLean, Bob Nicholson and Orland Kurtebach all joined in for the on-ice ceremony. But it was the amazing entourage of people who weren’t shown publicly that astounded many. Washington Capitals GM, George McPhee, singer Michael Buble, Flames President- Brian Burke were amongst the many who gathered at Rogers Arena on that very special night.

Seeing people in the hockey world pay their respects to a man that meant so much to this game, to this city and especially to this team. Pat Quinn had an impact everywhere he want into hockey, but nowhere to the extent of Vancouver. I was still a young girl (11 or 12) when Pat Quinn took charge of the Vancouver Canucks, but I do remember the less than half full Pacific Coliseum before his arrival and how things changed when he put his stamp on the team. There was a culture, there was a vibe, there was respectability associated with the Canucks that lacked in previous regimes.

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Highlights of the Pat Quinn Ceremony

  • Seeing the array of team jerseys that was associated with Pat Quinn in the world of hockey. Even more so the people who wore them out as they were introduced to Rogers Arena.
  • The appropriateness of the St. Patrick’s Day to remember The Big Irishman.
  • Bagpipes and Mark Donnelly singing his rendition of “Irish Eyes Are Smiling” paid a wonderful musical tribute.
  • The combatants of the night, were the two NHL teams Quinn had the most success with as a head coach.
  • All the dignitaries throughout the night that went on-air with kind words to say about Pat.
  • Seeing his daughters and granddaughter with the ceremonial puck drop was a perfect way to end the ceremony.
  • The one that impacted me the most during the ceremony was seeing Bure, Linden and McLean together in their old “Skate Logo” jersey brought the crowd to a rousing cheer. Memories of a team from yesteryear brought many smiles and tears of joy to some present at the arena. Most significant part of that trio together was, as they were leaving the ice after the ceremony, Linden patted Bure on the back and shared what seemed like kinds words with the Russian Rocket. Two men, who have not always seen eye to eye, as teammates and people, put their differences aside for the night to remember Pat Quinn. That’s speaks volumes of how much Pat Quinn meant to people.

For those that missed the ceremony last night, or those who just want to see it again, here is the ceremony in its entirety.

 

@Aviewfromabroad

Vancouver General Hospital, So it Seems

Miller gets looked at by Mike Bernstein as he went down awkwardly versus the New York Islanders. Photo credit: Toronto Sun

Miller gets looked at by Mike Bernstein as he went down awkwardly versus the New York Islanders. Photo credit: Toronto Sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Sunday night, Hansen inadvertently bowled Miller down and now it seems Miller has a leg injury and he had to leave the game.  In the next couple of days, the Canucks will know if Miller will be out on the IR or just be day-to-day. Jakob Markstrom has been called up from the AHL in the meantime and perhaps he might even see some NHL playing time before the Canucks are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention (thanks Torts). There has been no time-table set for Miller’s return, or if he returns this season. Regardless, what a blow for the Canucks. Losing forwards and even defencemen are one thing, but goaltenders don’t grow on trees and one at the calibre of Miller’s have all been signed elsewhere.

Miller now joins:

C-Brad Richardson – Out with a foot injury and has missed 15 games.

D- Kevin Bieksa –   Broken hand has Juice miss 14 games.

D- Frank Corrado- Illness is what has kept Frankie out of the lineup and Biega was called up to replace him. He’s now missed 11 games.

C- Nick Bonino- Has now missed seven games due to a lower body injury. However, it looks like Bonino could come back to the lineup this road trip.

D- Alex Edler- has an upper body injury. He has now missed four games and is dearly missed on the first pairing of the blue line.

D- Chris Tanev- Edler’s partner is also out four games now with an upper body injury.

RW- Alex Burrows- sustained a lower body injury on this road trip vs the New York Rangers. He is listed as day to day but there is also promise of him coming back to the line up this road trip.

 

The already depleted squad now has an  injury in every position on the team. Luckily for the Canucks a couple of their wingers know how to play centre and have covered for both Bonino and Richardson while they are still hurt. Everyone who is injured, with the exception of Frank Corrado, are players on the roster sheet for opening night in October. That’s a third of the team. Since January 16, when Richardson went down, the Canucks have lost 58 man-games to the injury bug. At this point, Linden might have the come out of retirement and the pressbox to join the team if no one comes back soon. 

This is going to be a tough test for the remaining core players and the young guys. If Sunday versus the Islanders was an indication of how they are going to play, it looks promising. Until then, I’m hoping a speedy recovery to all the Canucks in the infirmary. Let’s get better sooner than later, and ensure a playoff spot.

 

@Aviewfromabroad

Canucks 1 Panthers 3: Canucks Fall Apart on Luongo’s Return

Kevin Bieksa gets toppled by first overall draft pick Aaron Ekblad

Kevin Bieksa gets toppled by first overall draft pick Aaron Ekblad

AUTHOR’S NOTE: It has been over a month since I have published my last article “The Goaltending Controversy Del Två”. Due to personal obligations, I have not been able to pen my “After Ten” or other analysis articles where I discuss the current state of the Vancouver Canucks.

 

 

Last night Roberto Luongo returned to the city of Vancouver, the place he called home for eight years. The fans cheered him on throughout the game and it brought what looked like tears to his eyes. His old pals from the Canucks gave him one of the greatest presents of all, a victory in Vancouver allowing him to officially claim he has truly defeated every team in the NHL.

Five minutes into the game the Canucks looked like they had this game marked to be locked up with a win. Fans would have to guess again after the emotion took over the home bench but not the returning goalie.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored three points (2G, 1A) and rattled the Canucks to their core. The home team looked out of place and spent the majority of the time in their own defensive zone. The Canucks attempted to look like the almighty ones by sending out Dorsett to scrap almost every player on the Panthers line-up but he was eventually taken out by Luongo’s blocker.

The only players to show any consistency were Alex Burrows and Bo Horvat. Burrows lit up the highlight reel with his countless opportunities to score and Bo Horvat was, as usual, a face-off god.

It appeared the home team was dull in the second period when two goals were scored. The Panthers went in charging and did not let up on the ailing Canucks.

“When we came out our energy level wasn’t great,” Desjardins said in a post-game interview, “it seemed like we weren’t working hard enough.”

Bo Horvat looked to be in complete agreement with the words his coach spoke.

“We have to start capitalizing on our opportunities,” Horvat said, “We’ve got to play more aggressive and play with more energy.”

The Canucks are aware of their actions on the ice and how it is unacceptable, but will they be able to correct their mistakes as of late?

Ryan Miller made key saves to keep the team within reachable distance in the third period but was let down by his teammates who gave Luongo easy shots to block.

The power play was an utter nightmare, when a two-man advantage that should have allowed the boys to gain some traction did not produce a single shot on net. This is partly due to the fact they were out defended and could not match up to the Panthers strength. Luca Sbisa and Kevin Bieksa were two of the players who were erratic on their play.

The Vancouver Canucks showed a few glimmers of hope in last night’s game but it was not enough to give them the win they needed.

 

Caleb Harder

@cjaharder

2015

The Goaltending Controversy Del Två (Part Two)

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Since the arrival of Cory Schneider in the 2010-11 season, a significant era began. This period is what fans like to call “The Goaltending Controversy”. 

Schneider came waltzing in swooning the fans and management away from Roberto Luongo. The rookie eventually stole the spotlight from Luongo and became the new starting goalie. Schneider’s reign came to an abrupt end in 2013 when he was traded to New Jersey for a first round draft pick.

Luongo was the starter again and it was the end of the never-ending story. Then came along the 2014 Olympic break. When the break was over, former coach John Tortorella anointed Eddie Lack as the Canucks new starter.

The shafted Luongo was eventually traded to Florida and all was good again. The Canucks, under the new management of Jim Benning, signed Ryan Miller to become the new starting goalie. It was apparent the controversy was finally over and it was the start of a new chapter for the franchise.

Today after a pre-game practice on the Canucks seven game road trip, Jason Botchford went to Twitter with some “big news”.

“Miller will start,” Botchford tweeted, “Willie was leaning Lack but Miller made what the coach thought was a good point.”

One minute later Botchford continued to say, “Miller said it would be more difficult for Lack starting a day after a team day off. Easier to go with the guy who has been playing.”

After these tweets came out, social media erupted with debates and thus re-sparked “The Goaltending Controversy”.

It would be an absolute shame for this to become the highlight of the season. Vancouver has had enough of this recurring theme. It is unclear whether Miller was being selfless or selfish in stealing a game against the Washington Capitals from Lack. From how it has been interpreted by Botchford and other sports news personalities, it appears to be more selfish.

Eddie Lack has started in five games this season. Some may argue he will not be starting tonight because of his 1-3-1 record this season but Lack is not at fault for these losses. In his few starts, Lack has been thrown out to the wolves on the short end of back-to-back games.

Tonight Lack would have had a chance to prove himself to Canucks fans and his teammates as a reliable goaltender but has been given the shaft. It would make more sense to start Ryan Miller in the next game where they play the Pittsburgh Penguins and give Lack the start tonight. For all fans know, Lack may be in net on Thursday, but it will most likely be Miller taking both starts.

It would be a shame to give Lack only the short end of back-to-backs and it could be detrimental to his development. Miller has been given four straight starts as of Sunday afternoon.

It seems to be a no-brainer to start Lack in net after Millers disaster in Detroit on Sunday afternoon. If Miller blows up again tonight, it will be interesting to see what unfolds next.

Welcome back to the Goaltending Controversy.

Caleb Harder

@cjaharder

Has the Goaltending Controversy Reignited?

Dan Hamhuis Injury Crucial To Canucks

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On Thursday night, the Vancouver Canucks played the Anaheim Ducks. Within seconds, Dan Hamhuis tripped on the skate of Daniel Sedin and slid into the boards. 

He lay there motionless until the whistle blew the play dead. It was then that all fans knew something was wrong. 

Henrik Sedin came to help the crippled Hamhuis off the ice as the fans were at their quietest on that night. 

Since the incident, it has been reported by multiple sources that the veteran blue liner could be out “for months” with a lower body injury. 

The Vancouver Canucks now find themselves in a vulnerable position. If Dan Hamhuis were to be out until February, it would for a total of 27 games.

In wake of the injury, the Canucks have called up Frank Corrado from the Utica Comets. Though calling him up has been the first plan of action, it is highly unlikely the Canucks can brush off missing a Top-4 defenseman.

At some point it may become plausible to make a trade to tighten up the ranks. In order to maintain their position among the toughest division in the NHL, it may be in their best interest to make this decision.

It is difficult to make these calls when it is not known how many months a key player is out, but it has to be done. The Canucks already have found themselves in a difficult position with a thin defensive line.

It appears that Luca Sbisa is not ready to take on a top 4 role in the roster and may require another year of development. Placing Corrado in Hamhuis’ spot would not be the wisest in the long run either. He is not NHL caliber and needs more time to season his play.

All in all, it is up to management to decide how they will patch up this gaping hole in the blue line.

Until then, Canucks fans will be wishing Dan Hamhuis a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the ice soon.

Caleb Harder

@cjaharder