Canucks For Kids Telethon Goes This Sunday

Canucks For Kids FundThis Sunday the Canucks take on the Calgary Flames at General Motors place, and the organization will be taking on issues that effect our children on a daily basis. The annual Canucks For Kids Telethon will also take place, and the Canucks organization needs your help to help the the kids.

Earlier this week Henrik and Daniel Sedin announced a generous donation $1.5 Million dollars to BC Children’s Hospital. Through the telethon, the organization hopes to be able to help so many other children who are struck with illness and who are in need.

During Sunday’s game which will be aired on Sportsnet, you’ll be able  to learn more about the money is utilized and the impact it has on these kids.

There are three ways you can help:

1. Donate using the secure online server, or
2. Call 604-899-4646, or
3. Make a cheque to the Canucks for Kids Fund and mail to:

Canucks for Kids Fund
800 Griffiths Way
General Motors Place
Vancouver, B.C.
V6B 6G1

Pavol Demitra/KidsSince it was first created 25 years ago, the Canucks for Kids Fund has granted over $28 million dollars to charities in British Columbia serving children and their families. There is no greater reward than making British Columbia a better place for families and children in need. If you can help, please make a donation, and help the kids!

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Olympic Impact Could Help Canucks

As we all nurse our Olympic hangovers and search for other ways to fill the void by the end of the games, it’s time to get ready for the final push of the NHL season. The Canucks had seven players in the games, and they had varying degrees of success. Three players in particular had great games, and they will bring into the dressing room a complete set of Vancouver 2010 medals. Let’s take a look at how the Olympic tournament may just help the Canucks as they aim to take another Northwest Division crown and go on a lengthy playoff run.

Pavol Demitra – Slovakia

Pavol Demitra - Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF ImagesMany Canuck fans may had forgotten who Pavol Demitra was, and you could hardly blame them for doing so. Demitra, 35, who missed 47 games for the Canucks with annoying shoulder problem that required two operations and many opinions on treatment. He returned to the Canucks on January 16th, but had struggled to find his game notching just a goal and three assists in 11 appearances since his return. Of course people were willing to cut him slack after missing so many games, but just before the Olympics Demitra was starting to get some heat from fans and media to start producing and he was seeing time on the teams fourth line.

Playing for his country seemed to be the tonic that Demitra needed and the veteran Slovak led his team to a best-ever fourth-place finish, while earning a spot on the tournaments all-star team. He also nearly ruined the hopes of the Canadian public with a last second goal in the semi-final but was thwarted by teammate Roberto Luongo. Demitra’s continued success would be a huge bonus for the Canucks heading down the stretch, but he won’t be playing with Marion Gaborik and Michael Handzus when play resumes. Early reports say he’ll start the post Olympic session on a line with Ryan Kesler.

Roberto Luongo

Roberto Luongo - Photo: John MahoneyThere is no doubt that most had resigned themselves to the fact that Roberto Luongo would be the backup to Martin Brodeur heading into the games, and that was the plan when they began. But when the future hall of famer had a sub par game versus the USA, Luongo got his chance and the pressure to win was no doubt immense. Playing in front of his fans in Vancouver, in his rink and with the hopes of a nation riding on his shoulders, Luongo got the job done and won gold.

Luongo has had his critics, and their biggest beef has been the fact that he hadn’t won the big one. A couple of playoff series wins are the only thing on his resume and he needed to take that step. Well on the biggest stage in the world, he got the monkey off his back. No more can critics say Luongo can’t win the big game and with that label out of the way, who knows how it will translate to his role with the Canucks. He’ll get a brief rest and give way to Andrew Raycroft versus Columbus but he should return to the net with confidence of knowing he can win the big games. That in itself could be the key to a long playoff run for the Canucks.

Ryan Kesler

Ryan Kesler - Canucks.comKesler had an outstanding tournament for the USA. He was a leader all over the ice. He killed penalties, won huge face offs and did what Kesler does best…pissed a lot of people off. The same reasons you love him as a Canuck were the ones you hated him as a Canadian. He took shots at his teammate Roberto Luongo in the media, and on the ice. Some felt there was friction between the two but I tend to believe all will be fine in Canuckville, and it was part of the quest for the gold.

The experience for Kesler had to be a valuable one. He led a great hockey team to within a sudden death goal of a gold medal, and the Canucks should reap the benefit of that experience. He’s truly becoming one of the best two way players in the game, and he can contribute in many ways. It sounds like Alain Vigneault will pair Kesler with Demitra to start when play resumes. If both can keep up their inspired play, the Canucks will be a tough team to handle going forward.

The disappointment of losing the gold should feed Kesler’s thirst for a cup and we should see the best Ryan Kesler we’ve seen yet down the stretch. I can’t wait.

The Rest

The other Canucks, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Christian Erhoff and Sami Salo should all be better for the experience. The early exit for the Sedin’s at the hands of the Slovaks was unfortunate for them, but they should pick up where they left off. Salo will bring home a bronze medal for his efforts, but Canucks fans are just happy he came out of the games healthy. Erhoff, playing for the Germans had little expectation of hardware, but got to compete at a high level in a great tournament.

So in the end the results of the tournament set up pretty good for these players to turn their experience into good things for themselves and their teammates. I’m sure a cup  and a ring to along with the gold, silver and bronze in the room would suit the Canucks and their fans just fine.

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Sundin Announces Retirement

Mats Sundin will decide before Christmas who he'll play with.

Mats Sundin officially announced his retirement from the NHL Wednesday.

Mats Sundin held a press conference in Sweden today to announce his offical retirement from the National Hockey League.

Sundin who recently married, explained it was simply time.

”It was just time, I think. Obviously, it’s not an easy decision but I feel with body and soul right now, it’s time to quit my professional career as a hockey player,” said Sundin. ”I’m very glad that I played last season with the Vancouver Canucks and I think I needed that. But now with the season getting started again, it actually feels nice not having to practice every day and play games every other day so I think this is the right time for me.”

Sundin leaves the game at the age of 38, having amassed 1,349 points (564 goals, 785 assists over 1,346), ranking him 25th on the all-time list. He thanked the organizations he played for, and called the city of Toronto his second home.

I’m obviously very grateful for having a chance to play in the National Hockey League and represent the Quebec Nordiques, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks,” said Sundin. “It has been a dream come true for me.”

“I spent 13 years with the Toronto Maple Leafs and I had the honour to be the captain for the most historic and greatest franchise in hockey history and it’s also my second home,” added Sundin.

Sundin spent part of last season with the Vancouver Canucks, and the reviews were mixed on the tenure. Some felt Sundin had clearly lost a step, and some were angry how long it took him to get into shape. The club maintained he was a valuable addition, and in the playoffs, Sundin played his best hockey for the team.

Calm, Cool & Collected – Gillis leads by example

As training camp gets set to open officially tomorrow morning at UBC when players report for their physicals, we’re starting another year of Canucks hockey here at Canucks Corner. 13 years have gone by and we’re still kicking, entering our14th year of Canucks hockey on the internet. I’m pretty excited about the coming year not only for the site, but the team on the ice. There is a real buzz in Vancouver, and it’s a little different than it has been in the past.

Fans are starting to buy into the Canucks regime that is lead by the calm cool and patient Mike Gillis. With a summer full of big hurdles to overcome, Gillis handled them all with the quiet confidence that has become his trademark as the leader of the organization. Signing the Sedin’s and getting Roberto Luongo signed long term were no easy tasks for any GM to face going into the off-season. Then he goes out and dips into the thre free agent market adding Andrew Raycroft for depth in goal, Mikael Samuelsson up front and adding Mathieu Schneider, Christian Erhoff and Brad Lukowich to an already deep blue line corp.

He has youngsters Sergei Shirokov, Michael Grabner and of course Cody Hodgson among others vying to crack the roster, and a young blue chip goaltender in Cory Schneider to use anyway he sees fit and then there is the continued maturation of players like Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows.

And if that weren’t enough Gillis is about to extend the contract of coach Alain Vigneault to add even more stability to the club.Vigneault has his fans and his detractors but he and Gillis seem to be on the same page when it comes to building this hockey club, and that’s half the battle.

Yes, heading into camp the Canucks and their fans have a lot of reasons to be excited about. But that’s not to say there still isn’t work to be done. The Canucks will need to whittle their salary structure down by October 1st to get under the salar cap, something Gillis says will be done through competition at camp. Gillis feels this camp is different than the last due to the fact he was new last year and no one knew what to expect from him. Now with his retooling and stabilizing project nearing completion, all players should be entering camp ready to be at the top of their game, or they may not make the team.

With the Northwest division taking a drop off in quality according to many, the Canucks should be in a position to contend for the division and perhaps even the conference. So sit back and get ready for another wild ride. Just try and take it day by day…like our calm cool and collected GM.

Quick Hits:

  • This from Hosea Cheung on Twitter: (@hosea24hours) The Canucks have cut Matthew Ford, Mitch McColm, Bobby Nadeau, and Joe Plekaitis, James Reid, Justin Taylor, and Michael Ward following prospects camp. prior to the start of the main camp.
  • TSN says no Sundin is not negotiating, Sportsnet claims he’ and the Canucks are talking. Here we go again? God I hope not. Either Mats shows up for his physical tomorrow or move on.
  • As I said in the intro I am really excited about the direction this site could be heading this year and the things we have in store working with the Canucks on the Fan Zone at Canucks.com. We have a great group of creative people who are really going to try and do some cool things this season. You’ll have to stay tuned for more, but safe to say if you follow these folks on Twitter you’ll never be out of the loop: @CanucksHockey @mozy19, @Hgiraffe, @vancanucks, @miss604
    @canucksoutsider
    , @johnbollwitt, @crazycanucks and of course follow us at @CanucksCorner.

Playoff schedule confirmed

The Canucks first round playoff schedule has been confirmed:

Game 1: Wednesday, April 15 at Vancouver, 7:00 p.m. CBC, VERSUS, RDS
Game 2: Friday, April 17 at Vancouver, 7:00 p.m. CBC, VERSUS, RDS
Game 3: Sunday, April 19 at St. Louis, 4:00 p.m. CBC, VERSUS
Game 4: Tuesday, April 21 at St. Louis, 5:00 p.m. CBC, VERSUS
Game 5: *Friday, April 24 at Vancouver, 7:00 p.m. CBC, VERSUS, RDS
Game 6: *Sunday, April 26 at St. Louis, 5:00 p.m. CBC, VERSUS, RDS
Game 7: *Tuesday, April 28 at Vancouver, 7:00p.m. CBC, VERSUS, RDS

* If necessary