Fan Profile: Dominador Martin- Canucks Fan in Land of the Blackhawks

As you all know, not all Canucks fans reside in Lotusland (Vancouver), but there are some fans in certain parts of the world you wouldn’t think could be Canucks fans. Dominador Martin is a Canucks  fan who lives in Illinois, Blackhawks territory. He has graciously allowed me to share his Canucks fandom story and we had a little Q&A on how someone who lives just outside of Chicago, and was born there, could rock the blue and Kelly green of the Vancouver Canucks in public and have love for them in his heart. 

Name: Dominador Erwin Martin V (yes, the fifth!)

Born: May 29, 1977, Chicago, IL

Dominador Martin V is an avid Canucks fan who lives just outside of Chicago. Surrounded by Blackhawk colours, he bleeds green and blue.

Dominador Martin V is an avid Canucks fan who lives just outside of Chicago. Surrounded by Blackhawk colours, he bleeds green and blue.

 

JG: How long have you been cheering on the Vancouver Canucks?

DEM: I have been cheering on the Vancouver Canucks since the beginning of the 2007-08 season. Before that season I have sporadically followed the Canucks since the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals.

JG: Who is currently your favourite player, and why?

DEM: This is really a tough one, because I don’t have just one favorite. All team members, in my opinion have shown that they can make a great impact for the team this season. But if I had to completely choose ONE favorite, it would have to be The Sedins because of their longevity with the team.

JG: Living just outside of Chicago, what is it like cheering on the Vancouver Canucks?

DEM: For me, it’s such an adrenaline rush, knowing that I represent a pure and proud Canuck fan, even while living in Illinois and being buried in a sea of red jerseys at the UC during Canucks-Hawks games.

JG: How do most of the Blackhawks fans treat you?

DEM: Most Blackhawks fans that I know have been really respectful towards me. However, there have been a few, though not many, instances where I was walking down the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois and I get heckled wearing my Canucks gear. For instance, once I was walking towards one of my Psychology classes wearing my Luongo jersey and I had one or two drunk hecklers, wearing their Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane jerseys, come up to me and tell me that the Canucks suck and wanted to fight me. So I just told them to get a breath mint. Campus security had to actually arrest them for being drunken and disorderly.But all in all, all of my Blackhawk-loving friends have been really cool and respectful to me.

JG: Do you go to United Center to watch any of the Canucks/Blackhawks games?

DEM: The last game I went to was on December 20th of last year, in which our beloved Canucks won in a shootout vs the Chicago Blackhawks at the UC. Eddie Lack was in between the pipes that night, and Ryan Kesler had the winning shootout goal. Prior to the December game of last year, I went to the game on March 21, 2012, Canucks overtime loss to Chicago at the UC. Roberto Luongo was in net that night.

JG: Being of Filipino background, the culture loves the sport of basketball, how did hockey turn your attention and win your love for the sport?

DEM: You also forgot to mention our love for the sport of boxing (Manny Pacquiao)…..lol.

JG: Haha! Of course, Manny Pacquiao, and he won again last night!

DEM: All sports aside, this is a little bit of a story that I love to tell because I have an older cousin who lives in Langley, British Columbia and several years ago, back in the fall of 2007 to be exact, my cousin came to visit my family and I for about two weeks and I fell in love with the sport from there.

JG: You’ve mentioned in previous conversations on twitter and Facebook you have relatives in Vancouver, and now I know they have influenced you to be a Canucks fan. How did that happen?

DEM: I believe it was a Saturday night, October 6th of 2007. I happen to be watching TV when my cousin walked in and asked if she could join me. So we were watching TV together and she asked if I could switch to the NHL Network. So as we were watching the Canucks play the Calgary Flames that night at the Saddledome. I asked my cousin if she was an NHL fan. She responded by saying that she loves the Canucks, and as a gift to me, I received an RBK Premier Canuck jersey (with no players name). As we were watching the game together, I had asked some questions about the players themselves since a lot of them were new to me. As the game went on, I wanted to keep watching the game to see what was going on. The puck movements, puck handling skills, speed, the strategy, the shootouts, are awesome to watch. That night, the Canucks won in OT vs. Calgary and I became a fan of the Canucks and then I fell in love with the game of hockey.

JG: Have you ever seen the Canucks play at Rogers Arena?

DEM: I have never attended a Rogers Arena game, which is something that I want to do and cross off my personal bucket list. From what I have seen on televised games, Rogers Arena always looked packed, and I want to be a part of it, the next time I visit British Columbia for a game.

JG: Have you visited our fair city ?

DEM: My cousin, who visited me,her husband and their three kids live out in Langley, BC. And yeah they are all Canucks fans.. I have visited the beautiful city of Vancouver back during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. Although I wish I could have seen the games live and in-person in Vancouver. I returned home the day before the 2011 Stanley Cup riots.

JG: Where you do see the team finishing in the standings this season and who are the key players to put them at your prediction point?

DEM: This is a great question. I see us also finishing in the top ten, if not, top five, in the league, with the group of guys we have now. With guys like Linden Vey, Zack Kassian, Ryan Miller, The Sedins, Nick Bonino, Alex Burrows, Alex Edler, Luca Sbisa and if they can add in one, who I think is a dark horse pick, if he is called up from Utica…it is Hunter Shinkaruk, And of course there is always ‘Juice’ Kevin Bieksa

JG: So far, what do you think of the young guys, Vey, Kassian, and Bo Horvat?

DEM: Linden Vey and Bo Horvat……untapped potential. They would look great on any line. Since the February 2012 trade that sent Cody Hodgson to Buffalo for Zack Kassian, Kass is starting to show he can be a proven commodity for the Canucks.

JG: What did you think of what happened last season? The Torts meltdown, the downward spiral of the Canucks season and the falling out between the Canucks and Ryan Kesler?

DEM: Torts who? ……haha…..Just kidding. As far as John Tortorella goes, I respect him as a Stanley Cup-winning coach, but in retrospect, his style didn’t mesh with the Canucks system, period.

To simply answer this whole question, one name: Mike Gillis……enough said.

JG: I understand that. Gillis created something good, but didn’t keep progressing on it. Moving on… If you could spend a day with one Canucks player, who would it be and why?

DEM: Excellent question. I think maybe I’d like to spend a day with either Daniel or Henrik Sedin, to see what their lives are like outside of the NHL and hockey. I’d like to see how much and what they do in and around the city of Vancouver. How their off-ice work that helps them be an integral part of the Canucks team successes.

JG: Besides the Canucks winning the Stanley Cup, what is a Canucks related bucket list you’d like to share with us?

DEM: They have accomplished everything that needs to be accomplished except bring home Lord Stanley. That’s all.

Canucks Fan For Life…..case closed.

JG: Thank you, Dominador. Hopefully, the Canucks can fulfill that bucket list item for you and for all the other Canucks fans around the world.

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Fun Facts about Dominador Martin: He is a 2013 graduate from Eastern Illinois University, with a Psychology degree and a focus on Clinical Psychology. Since 1998, he is  martial arts instructor in Champaign, IL in the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do, and is a 4th degree black belt. In his spare time, he is also a profesional part-time DJ. Pretty diverse isn’t he?

TKDDominador

“Don’t mess with me Blackhawks fans, I’m a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do!” Dominador Martin is a Canucks fan in Land of the Blackhawks.

After Ten: Canucks Pull Off Exciting Start To The Season

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The month of October has passed for the Vancouver Canucks who promised in the offseason that change was coming.

Willie Desjardins’ Canucks are off to a stunning 7-3-0 start to the regular season with exceptions for two of the games. The Canucks left the gates running as they dished out victories over the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames for a three win kickoff. The Celebration came to a standstill after two straight losses to the Lightning at home and the Dallas Stars who ran them out of town 6-3. The new team found the light at the end of the tunnel after a disappointing 2-1-0 road trip last week as they held the fort for three games.

They now find themselves at second place in the Pacific Division but what has led to this early success? Let’s break it down line by line and find out.

D. SEDIN (3-9-12) H. SEDIN (4-8-12) VRBATA (5-6-11)

The first line in the ten games they played have been a force to be reckoned with. The twins and Vrbata are combined for 35 points overall and prove to be one of the top lines in the league.

These veteran hockey players have been one of the most productive power play units on the ice scoring seven out of eight one man advantage goals from the ranks.

This line is always a thrill to watch what they will do next and are on pace for a great season.

HIGGINS (2-4-6) BONINO (4-4-8) BURROWS (2-4-6)

The second line looked a tad shaky at first glance when they debuted on the ice. Without any production from themselves and the bottom six they made the Sedin line look like the only strength the team had.

It turned out they only needed a couple match-ups to warm up when they suddenly cranked up the heat in the last five games scoring 14 points. The largest effort has been made by centre Nick Bonino who has proven to be the successor of Ryan Kesler who has on amounted a record of 3-4-7 in 11 games. Bonino now has eight points on the season and is on route for a 66 tally season.

Alex Burrows has shown that being demoted after a poor season will not bring him down as he has pulled a great effort. The 33 year old is back to his 2011 form especially in scrapping. Burrows has come across an amount of trouble after delivering a controversial hit to Alexei Emelin Thursday evening. The forward has now received a 3 game suspension from NHL Player Safety for his actions.

Chris Higgins has been getting Higgy with it in his first ten games. He is one of the most noticeable forwards on the ice. Higgins has not only proven that he can maintain a second role but has proven he is definitely worth the money that management pays.

MATTHIAS (0-2-2) RICHARDSON (3-3-6) KASSIAN (2-1-3)

The third line is a work in progress that has gained traction in the last couple games. Strong efforts have been provided by Brad Richardson who scored three goals in two games. Richardson has been one of the most impressive among the bottom six with his hard shot that simply gets the puck in the net.

Shawn Matthias has begun to show glimmers of hope in his offensive play after being moved from centre to wing last week. The recently acquired former Panther has charged the net on multiple occasions and has not failed to get the puck toward the net.

Zack Kassian on the other hand has been frustrating. The wild card first round pick is still streaky in his play. Not to mention all the obscene acts he has committed in “gooning it up” he really needs to smarten up. Desjardins commented on Kassian’s outrageous applause towards the refs in a game against the Oilers.

“The referees were really good in that situation,” said Desjardins. “We can’t do that. Our players know that. We talked about that.

“That’s one thing you can’t do. I thought the refs handled it real well.”

Kassian all in all is a defective version of Todd Bertuzzi.

DORSETT (0-2-2) VEY (3-2-5) HANSEN (3-0-3)

Linden Vey though a fourth line centre at the moment has been on the top power play unit alongside the
Sedins, Vrbata and Alex Edler. The young forward has shown that he can fit in with the big boys on the roster as is fully capable in being a professional offensive force.

Jannik Hansen was demoted all the way to the bottom of the line chart but he does not seem to mind it. Hansen has provided bottom six mite in scoring three goals this season.

Derek Dorsett is an intense player. He knows when to be the tough guy on the ice and scraps a lot. Dorsett can be compared to those like the late Bob Probert who played the nitty gritty style with integrity and honour. The new enforcer is a man who will light up his team mates when needed.

EDLER (1-3-4) TANEV (0-4-4)

This top pairing has been the heart and soul of the defensive core. When the other two thirds of the blue line fail to support, Tanev and Edler know how to crack the volume up on their play. They are yet to disappoint on a major comeback from the 2013-14 regular season.

Alex Edler has gone from the worst in the NHL last year in plus minus with a rating of -39 to now maintaining a +3 rating.

Chris Tanev is now in the spotlight where he must prove his place on the Canucks for management in order to lock up a multi-year deal with the team. If Tanev keeps up his to the standard they seen him perform, it will be no problem watching him here for years to come.

BIEKSA (0-1-1) HAMHUIS (0-3-3)

This veteran blue line that was expected to carry the team this year has given insight on early rust. Both Bieksa and Hamhuis have had plausible performances on the ice but are not in their peak. The two big names will have to work hard to prove that the old guys have a role too.

SBISA (1-1-2) WEBER (0-2-2)

The third pairing on the Canucks have been an utter embarrassment. Both Sbisa and Weber have been present on the ice for the majority of goals against their team.

Luca Sbisa appears lost whenever he is on the ice and is not the player fans expected in return for Ryan Kesler in last years trade. His play is outright sloppy and to make matters worse, he holds a hefty pay cheque of $2.175 million.

WHAT ABOUT THE GOALTENDING?

The goaltending has been absolutely brilliant with the stellar performances of Ryan Miller. He has been there every time his team needs him and is currently tied with Canadiens goaltender Carey Price for most wins.

Ryan Miller in the first ten games achieved his 30th career shutout and his 300th career win.

WHAT CAN BE TAKEN FROM THIS?

Last season, John Tortorella claimed that the Canucks were simply too old and too stale. In the reign of Willie Desjardins, those remarks have been proven wrong as the team has quickly retooled and are now on pace to be a playoff contender.

Desjardins’ Canucks are slowly beginning to click together in his four line ideology. There is still much work to be done for the Vancouver Canucks and that’s alright.

Change has indeed come to the city of Vancouver.

Follow me on Twitter @cjaharder

Hockey With Harder: Canucks Have Best Season Start Since 1999

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For the first time since 1999, the Vancouver Canucks have had their best start to the season. In a 2-0 shutout victory against the Edmonton Oilers, they hold a 3-0-0 record in the standings and are now one win away from tying for their all-time franchise best start set in 1992. The Vancouver club remains alongside the New York Islanders as the only undefeated teams in the league.

It was lights out tonight for Ryan Miller as he finally gained some traction in the Vancouver crease. Miller continued his unbeaten streak against the Oilers which has now climbed to an outstanding 9 game run. In tonight’s game he received his 30th career shutout.

Though the Canucks had players appearing in and out through the game, they still held their ground against the struggling young Oilers who desperately needed to win in order to avoid their worst start in franchise history. Towards the end of the first period, Ryan Stanton left the game with a suspected lower body injury. Dan Hamhuis briefly left the game in the second period after getting a nasty stick to the face from Mark Arcobello who should have received a major penalty but got off scot-free.

Tonight’s game was loaded up with penalties for the Canucks but it did not seem to imprint a dark mark on the play as the team locked the gates on the penalty kill.

The first line once again separated the boys from the men as they provided two goals in Rexall Place. Both Sedin twins and Radim Vrbata picked up two points each on the evening and now carry a combined 17 points to kick off the 2014-15 hockey season. The top line for the Canucks has been one of their best strengths in the first three games as they have successfully kept the puck in the offensive zone and provided many of the shots on the opposing team.

The Canucks played hard from start to finish coming out with the win they needed to continue on the high road. Tomorrow night they take on Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning at home in Rogers Arena. This is where the real challenge will begin. Time will tell if Willie Desjardins and his Vancouver Canucks can become a force to be reckoned with in the Pacific Division.

Follow me on Twitter @cjaharder

Comparing the 17’s: The Ryan Kesler / Radim Vrbata Story

By Caleb Harder – CanucksCorner.com

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On Wednesday, July 2th, the Vancouver Canucks inked a 2-year $10 million deal with former Arizona Coyotes right-shot winger, Radim Vrbata. The 33 year old veteran will provide substantial support for the roster and is expected to be playing on the first line alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin. This would be bumping Alexandre Burrows (33) to the second line to assist recently acquired centre, Nick Bonino (26) who came in a package deal with Luca Sbisa in exchange for former Canucks star, Ryan Kesler. In memory of Kesler, one thing that he and Vrbata have in common is the jersey number 17. With that in mind, let us take some time to compare the two great hockey players.

Kicking it off, let’s go back to the grassroots of how their NHL journey began in the prospect entry draft. Vrbata and Kesler were eligible for being drafted in separate years, Vrbata being the 1999 draft and Kesler the 2003 draft. Ryan Kesler was selected 23rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks and it was one of the best picks that they have made in franchise history as further down the road he became the face of the team and carried them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.

Radim Vrbata, on the other hand, was not a first round draft pick. The Czech Republic native was selected in the seventh round at 212th overall by the Colorado Avalanche and had not spent two seasons with the team when he was traded in March of 2003 to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for left wing forward, Bates Battaglia. Vrbata was then eventually traded to Chicago and then went to Phoenix where he spent six seasons between 2007 and 2014. Overall, Vrbata did not live up to expectations in the place he was drafted, but ended up playing remarkably higher than he was ever projected to.

So what makes Radim Vrbata better than he was projected to be? The veteran forward is a fantastic play making winger who knows where to put the puck and how to utilize his teammates when it is needed. Vrbata, through this favoured style of play, was able to post up a 20-31-51 point total in 80 games for the 2013-14 season. Ryan Kesler, on the other hand, is a great hard-hitting, two-way forward who can be physical and still provide the points that his team needs. Although Kesler is able to crash about on the ice and snipe pucks into the net, he does not use his wingers in this process. He prefers to keep the puck to himself and play his way or it’s the highway. This style of play has not always been effective for the centre because it increased his chance of injuries. Kesler has had more than his fair share and it has, at times, cut down his productivity on the ice when he was needed by the team to save the day.

In games where the Canucks are attempting to roll four effective lines, it would not be possible with Ryan Kesler in the ranks.  He put up a 25-18-43 scoring tally in 77 games this season. Though it looks like a reasonable record for the once struggling Canucks, he was not playing at the full potential to which he could perform. In career totals Vrbata has a playing record of 464 points in a 792 game span with a point average of 0.59 points per game and Kesler with a 392 point total in 654 career games with the Vancouver Canucks and having a 0.60 points per game average. Overall, their point averages are the same but Kesler’s wear and tear game will eventually bite him back whereas Vrbata’s game is safer and guarantees he’ll be dependable for years to come.

The shootout has always been something the Canucks have dreaded with their streaky statistics in the game deciding skills competition. Fans may have more faith in the team during shootouts with Radim Vrbata who is ranked fifth all-time scorer in the shootout throughout the NHL with 35 goals in 82 attempts with a 42.7 shootout percentage. Ryan Kesler is currently ranked third within the Anaheim Ducks team roster with 11 goals in 45 shootout attempts with an overall of 24.4 percent in his career. With Vrbata now in the Vancouver ranks, the team will have more skill under their belt than previously under the lead of Ryan Kesler.

In comparing the number 17’s, even though Ryan Kesler has been impressive, Radim Vrbata is a great team player and possesses a skill set the Vancouver Canucks desperately need. He has the potential to be a fresh change that the team has been searching for.

Change is good.

Twitter @cjaharder

https://twitter.com/cjaharder

 

No success without a dependable fourth line

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In my first article back in October I talked about the Canucks bottom 6 not being good enough. A month and a half into the season, I can say I am content with the part of the bottom 6. The third line has been dependable. The fourth line hasn’t.

John Tortorella doesn’t have faith in his fourth line and is reluctant to put them on the ice. I can’t blame him for that. For the better part of the season, it seems like whenever the fourth line is out on the ice they are getting scored on or can’t get out of their own zone. The Canucks best fourth liner is Dale Weise. He’s hurt. Darren Archibald showed more in his 8 games up with the big club than Tom Sestito, Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh have shown in their games, but the Canucks sent the big forward back down to Utica to room for David Booth.

Injuries have forced the Canucks hand all year. They had not, until Sunday, been able ice the line-up they had envisioned during training camp and arguably still haven’t considering Jordan Schroeder is out for the second time this season. Jannik Hansen’s return and Richardson’s move to the fourth line didn’t make a difference in how much the fourth liners played. Richardson has averaged 13 minutes throughout the season; he played under 8 Sunday night against Dallas. Tom Sestito has played an average of five and a half minutes so far this season, he played 30 seconds Sunday. Jeremy Welsh played just 2 shifts in the game, totalling 18 seconds. It’s not a recipe for success.

Like I mentioned in my previous article, teams that win the cup have dependable fourth lines that can at least go out there to give the top guys a little bit of a break. This year’s Canucks team doesn’t have the luxury. Last year’s team didn’t have that. Amongst forwards, the Sedins and Kesler are in the top 4 for average minutes played a game. It’s not sustainable. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but until the team upgrades the fourth line, it will be tough to make a deep run come April, May and June.