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.

A Mid-Summer Musing

Well, it’s been while my fellow hockey fans since I have hit the keyboard to stroke out a few words about our Vancouver Canucks and other hockey related issues. It’s mid-July and as I taken time off of writing due to this four letter word called work, I have to admit, my mind has shut off hockey the last few weeks since the Stanley Cup Finals as I watched Sidney Crosby captain his Pittsburgh Penguins to a Game 7 victory. Congratulations and well done.

During this off-season, I have heard and read a good amount of ridiculous rumours of which free agents were going where and what trades were going to be put in place. As usual, only about quarter of those actually came true,and even then, the deal that went down wasn’t always the one that was predicted in the weeks prior to July 1st. 

Double Our Pleasure

There were many rumours circulating that the services of Daniel and Henrik Sedin were no longer going to belong to the Vancouver Canucks. In fact, there were rumours of the Wonder Twins heading to my current home of Toronto and were contemplating offers from the man who drafted them, Brian Burke, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Hearing and reading people publicly saying, ” The Sedins are Leafs, book it.”  and “Vancouver is going to have to do a rebuild without their first line.”  “No one wants to play in Vancouver, Canucks on the rebuild.” It sounded like Dan and Hank were already waving the blue maple leaf and were starting to plan out their float for the parade route down Yonge Street in Toronto.  I guess all the ‘expert’  rumour aficionados were on the mark there.

So, after some good deliberation with agent, JP Barry, the Sedin brothers decided that Vancouver was the best option for their interests.  I for one am glad to see the Sedins back in Canuck uniforms and will be on the first line with workhorse, Alex Burrows. Regardless of what some so-called ‘experts’ say about the Sedin twins, they are very good players who have now shown they can shoulder the responsibility of carrying their good play into the post season.  Mike Gillis did well in ensuring their future with the franchise.

Parting is Bittersweet

The departure of long time serving Canuck defenceman, Mattias Ohlund, was bittersweet for this long time fan. Mattias Ohlund lived up to his billing of his draft year. A steady, smooth-skating defenceman who hit hard and positioned himself well to counter an offensive attack. Ohlund was nominated for the Calder Trophy in 1998, on March 15th of this past season, Ohlund also became the franchise leading scoring defenceman. His 12 year tenure with the Canucks has placed Mattias Ohlund not only as a leader in the record books but a fan favourite and will be missed.

Thank you Mattias and good luck in Tampa Bay.

Extended Invitation

Roberto Luongo’s anticipated contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks is a hot topic not only amongst Canucks fans but the hockey world in general.  I will not even sugar coat this, the Vancouver Canucks are a much better team with Roberto Luongo between the pipes than without. Anyone who says the Canucks are fine without the services of Captain Canuck are sadly mistaken.Remember the 20 some odd games without Luongo? Remember what happened when he came back? Yeah, enough said.  I’m not saying the Canucks aren’t a competative team and don’t have some of the puzzles pieces in place, it’s just that, well, Roberto is the center piece.   He is the man, in my opinion, that keeps the team wanting to strive for more and brings that spirit into the dressing room. 

Luongo is a workhorse and shows that he will do what it takes to find success not just personally, but also for his team. I am sure many fans would agree the Vancouver  Canucks need Roberto Luongo.  So in the famous words of Larry the Cable Guy, “Mike Gillis…GET’ER DONE!”

So, as we are now at the half way mark into my other favourite sport, baseball, I also mark it as a signal that hockey season is not that far away. I’m starting to get back in gear with all the hockey rumours, talks, and write ups. I look forward to a new season and of course the upcoming Olympics in my hometown of Vancouver, BC. So until next time…

This has been some Musings from the Mud

Justine Galo: Toronto,ON

The day after the world ended…for some

Breaking News: Roberto Luongo is human.

The day after the Canucks were eliminated from the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs by the Chicago Blackhawks, the knives of Canucks fans have come out and most of them are looking to slash the throat of their goaltender, who apparently isn’t allowed to be human. It’s all his fault and it’s inexcusable that in the biggest game of the year he fell short of spectacular. Never mind a goal off a skate and some sick skills displayed by Patrick Kane. Never mind the defense who collapsed in front of him, or the player who took the bad penalty, or that turnover. Oh, and we’ll just forget how he held the Canucks in the game in the first half of the first period.

Nope, it’s all Roberto Luongos’ fault! Where is that tombstone? Cory Schneider, you’re up! [Read more…]

Sundin’s coming around, as are the Canucks

Hands up all of you who were running out of patience with Mats Sundin. Even of you started out cutting him some slack, the weight of the losing streak in January was testing your patience, admit it. I know I was guilty of a few sarcastic remarks.

Tuesday night in St.Louis, Sundin chipped in another two goals, while his line produced seven points on the night, in a come from behind 6-4 Canucks victory to open their road trip. Sundin is starting to get it all back and just in the nick of time. A three game winning streak has instilled new life in the team, and calls to fire the coach and put Sundin out to the same pasture as Mark Messier have subsided.

Of course, it hasn’t been all Sundin.

The emergence of two scoring lines has been huge and so has the team finally getting healthy. I thought Don Taylor at the TEAM 1040 made an excellent point the other day when he pointed out that with a healthy team again, ice time is going to be at a premium, and that should motivate all of the Canucks to pick up their game a little, in particular Kyle Wellwood, who with the team winning hasn’t been able to get back in the lineup. [Read more…]