#TICH: Thomas Gradin 500th Point Milestone

Thomas Gradin is a huge reason I became a Canucks fan. I was six years old and when I saw him skate for the first time on that very rare TV appearance, I knew I was hooked. My family wasn’t all that big into hockey at the time, I  grew up watching a lot more football up to that point. Also, I was six, I just learned to write my name and here I am trying to figure out which hockey team I was going to cheer? It was 1981 and Gradin was the first player to ever possess such a high level of natural skill. He was a far cry from his linemates, Curt Fraser, and much more refined than Stan Smyl, with his hockey gifts. However, that rookie line worked out quite well together.

fred-lee-dec-20-2013

Daniel Sedin (left) and Henrik Sedin (Right) were scouted by Thomas Gradin (centre) and convinced then GM, Brian Burke, to draft the twins second and third in the 1999 NHL entry draft.

Gradin was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1978 in the 3rd round, 45th overall. He came to play for the Canucks via a trading of his contract rights. Oddly enough, Gradin also was drafted into the WHA by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1st round, 9th overall.  He became one of the first Europeans to join the Canucks organization along with his fellow Swedes, Lars Zetterstrom and Lars Lindgren.  In his rookie year, Gradin scored 20 goals, 31 assists for 51 points. He shared the Cyclone Taylor award for Canucks MVP with goaltender, Glen Hanlon.

 On March 8th, 1985, Thomas Gradin scored his 500th NHL career point, becoming the first Canuck to reach that Milestone. The Canucks defeated the LA Kings that night, 4-3.

No. 23, Thomas Gradin, became the first Canuck to reach the 500 point plateau on March 8, 1985.

No. 23, Thomas Gradin, became the first Canuck to reach the 500 point plateau on March 8, 1985.

Gradin spent eight seasons with the Vancouver Canucks and one with the Boston Bruins before calling it a career in the NHL. He returned to Sweden to play in the SEL for another three years before retiring as a player. In 1994, Gradin came back to the Canucks organization as an amateur scout. Presently he is the Associated Head Scout, a role he has held since 2007.

Notable names Thomas Gradin has helped bring to the Canucks organization:

  • Matthias Ohlund
  • Daniel Sedin
  • Henrik Sedin
  • Alex Edler

On January 24, 2011, Gradin was inducted into the Canucks Ring of Honour. He ended his NHL careeer with 209 goals, 384 assists and 593 points. Fittingly enough, Gradin averaged just above 23 goals/year in his NHL career. Thanks Thomas, for validating my reason to become a Canucks fan way back when. You’ve helped mould that six year old’s sports passion and especially for the Canucks. 

That’s #TICH today, March 8, 1985.

@Aviewfromabroad

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Gradin seen here being inducted into the Canucks Ring of Honour in 2011

Three Up, Three Down: Slump Buster Tuesday

The Islanders came to town last night and for many of the Canucks, their visit last year was one they would all love to forget, especially Eddie Lack. Last night, the team had a chance to redeem themselves from that horrible 7-4 loss last March after being up 3-0 going into the third period.Also we saw some things that we haven’t seen in a while. Guys who haven’t tallied a goal in a good amount of time were rippling the mesh and Eddie got a win for a belated birthday gift but this was probably the best gift for Eddie the Canucks have shared with everyone.

 

THREE UP

1. Ryan Stanton scored his first goal in 83 games. Stanton gets his first of the year on this beauty! A perfect time to pinch and a perfect get on the rebound. His second career goal ties the game up.  It is nice to see your “stay at homes” show some offensive initiative from time to time and this was on point.

2. Nick Bonino was on the “Three Down” side of this column last post, but either he’s read every article about his invisibility lately or he wasn’t going to let Ryan Stanton be the only one breaking a slump tonight. Bieksa is the king of giveth away but here he taketh away and shot the puck and Bonino buried the rebound. Not only did Nick bump his goal scoring slump, he and his line were creating some really good chances and making aggressive plays all night.

 

3. Linden Vey gets in on the action too. So yes, all three goal scorers get the “Three Up” from me tonight. Since it’s Slump-buster Tuesday, why not do it on a beautiful breakaway with a pass from Dorsett to put the Canucks up 3-1. Cue the cheesy puns because they were plentiful.

Honourable Mention: Zack Kassian. Although Kassian didn’t hit the score sheet two of his plays lead to goals last night. He’s hands are just incredibly soft and yet he can hit as hard as anyone. Still a young player, I can see Kassian be the next Bertuzzi on this team, if he gets some chances to play with some quality linemates and maybe see some time on the PP.

It’s really great to see these guys have a good game and I hope it continues and gets infectious (like the mumps) to get the rest of the team on the same page.

 

THREE DOWN

1. Henrik Sedin needs to learn that he doesn’t always have to pass. I know he’s not the scoring Sedin, but it would be considered an element of surprise if he just took some shots on goal once in a while. The Captain needs to find his trigger finger and put pucks towards the net. He has the fewest amount of shots out of the top six at 40. Only Linden Vey (33), Bo Horvat (17) and Zack Kassian (26) have less shots on goal than Henrik and Hank is on the ice far more than these guys and Zack has missed a month. Oh Captain, my Captain, Sedinery isn’t always to be saved for OT.

Wonder Twin powers, PLEASE activate!

Wonder Twin powers, PLEASE activate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Daniel Sedin, just like his brother needs to find his groove more and shoot. He is now too often passing and letting Vrbata do all the shooting. Daniel has great accuracy and when he gets those goals past the goalies, it’s usually a thing of beauty. Maybe he’s just trying to be too perfect, and not looking at the ‘ugly goal’ as an option. However, ugly, pretty, clean, highlight reel goal or not, they all count, so start tallying.

3. Luca Sbisa, what are we going to do with you? More often than not, Sbisa just looks so lost out there and he’s turned more into comic relief for Vancouver fans and media alike. There are genius moments when we all react dumbfounded and there are his dumb moments when we just react in a sad laughter.

I am not sure how much longer I can deal with Sbisa but I know the Sedins have enough talent in those old bones to find a groove, so be like Stella and get your groove back…and oh yeah, SHOOT THE PUCK!

Tweet of the Day:

@strombone1 strikes again with another beauty and drags a once Roxy regular into it.

@strombone1 strikes again with another beauty and drags a once Roxy regular into it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up on Thursday, January 8th, Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers. I expect a good crowd at Rogers Arena and some “Lu’ing” to be happening. 

 

@Aviewfromabroad

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.

====

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

#TBT: The Brothers Canucks

A new feature here on CanucksCorner.com, I thought I’d share some stories, interesting and quirky facts regarding the Vancouver Canucks. Some cool things from Canucks teams past to share with you each and every Thursday.  

daniel-sedin-henrik-sedin-2010-10-11-23-20-20

 

The most famous brothers to ever play for the Canucks without any question are Henrik and Daniel Sedin (above). It’s definitely safe to say they are probably the most successful in terms of their careers with the Canucks. Both have won the Art Ross Trophy. Henrik won the Hart Trophy and Daniel took home the Ted Lindsay trophy. When it’s probably all said and done, the Sedin twins will probably have a strangle hold on all club offensive records. However, they aren’t the first brother combination to ever play for the Canucks. Here is a look back on some brothers that both played for the Vancouver Canucks. 

johngould larrygould

 John and Larry Gould played for the Canucks from 1973-1974. John Gould played for Vancouver again in 1976-1977. John Gould has also played for the Atlanta Flames and the Buffalo Sabres. Larry played most of his pro career down in the minors with the only the one stint with the Vancouver Canucks. 

Jack-Capuano-2-e1289875018816-250x250Dave Capuano

NY Islanders bench boss, Jack Capuano and his brother, Dave Capuano played together from 1990-1991. Dave played here here a season prior as well and with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and ending his player career with the San Jose Sharks.  Meanwhile, older brother Jack, also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. 

Courtnall, Russ 001Geoff Courtnall

Russ and Geoff Courtnall are probably the second most famous out of the Canucks brothers tandems. The Canucks acquired Geoff from the St. Louis Blues in the 1990-1991 season. He was an integral part of th 1994 Cup run team. Russ Courtnall joined his older brother in 1995 and played in a Canucks uniform for another season after he initially was brought in. Russ is probably best known playing for the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens but has made stops with the Minnesota/Dallas Stars, the New York Rangers and the LA Kings. Geoff started his career with the Boston Bruins and also played with Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals and of course the St. Louis Blues. 

SweattBros

Last but not least, the Sweatt brothers, Lee and Billy. Although both their stints with the Canucks weren’t long, they have been memorable with the help of social media.  Lee Sweatt has been retired as a hockey player since 2011 while Billy is playing in Sweden with Brynas IF Galve.

There have been Canucks players who have had siblings play for other teams like Rich Sutter had all his brothers all over the league, but it’s pretty cool to see five sets of brothers who have all played for the Canucks either together or at different times. A little #ThrowbackThursday- Brotherly Love. 

 Follow me on Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad