It’s Miller Time Canucks Fans

By Caleb Harder – CanucksCorner.com

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It’s the moment that all Canucks fans in Vancouver knew was bound to happen, the signing of all-star goaltender, Ryan Miller. The former Buffalo Sabres and brief St. Louis Blues netminder signed a 3-year $18 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks to solve the question of the unproven tandem of Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom. With Miller in place to run the crease, Lack (26) will be backing up for the veteran goalie.

People have been pondering what Eddie Lack is thinking since fans and analysts assumed he could be carrying out the starting role by the 2015-16 season. One could view the new goaltending line-up to be as if it were like a mentorship. Miller will be turning 34 on the 17th of July, and as he is still in his prime, he could show Lack a few tricks on how he became a successful goaltender. Miller was drafted late in the 1999 entry draft, usually indicating a limit on his future prospects. Through careful development under the mentorship of Martin Biron, that did not affect the career that he would have.

Lack will then eventually take up the slack for Miller after his contract expires, and take on what Miller did for him and in turn, mentor prospect Thatcher Demko, who is expected later on to become the next star goaltender of the Canucks. All of this of course, will not have the names of Markstrom and Joacim Eriksson in the future of the franchise and Joe Cannata, unfortunately, not going any further than the Utica Comets.

The next question is what is the relationship going to be like between Rollie Melanson, the Canucks goaltending coach, and Ryan Miller? Melanson likes his goaltenders to play a collapsing Butterfly style game, but it will be difficult in the fact that Miller plays a Hybrid style, a blend of Butterfly and Stand-up goaltending. At this point in Miller’s career it is highly unlikely that Melanson will convince the veteran to play a different game, but the two will have to come out to a respectable compromise. The recently signed goaltender was asked whether he would be willing to change his style under a new coach but responded reluctantly to the question.

Ryan Miller has been said to not be the greatest when it comes to dealing with the spotlight of the media, which some have considered an issue because that spotlight will be shining on him a lot in Vancouver. Though individuals would dismiss him as a bad person for attaining only a passable social relationship with media, it’s perfectly normal. Roberto Luongo was not the best with the media either until everything he crammed inside was passively brushed out on Twitter under the “Strombone1” handle. Miller appeared to be fine when answering media questions yesterday, and coming right off the ice, players are usually in a different head space when they are immediately bombarded with questions on their play. This could lead to why Miller could come off as trite in post-game interviews. Ryan Miller is not a bad person for not always being up for an interview, and in the end, he is still the Canucks new goalie even though the news might not get the same breaking headline stories that were provided through his predecessors.

This then leads us to addressing the inevitable “goalie controversy” chatter that is as old as remixing viral videos. Since Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo have been traded, the controversy is long gone and should not be expected to be carried on as a Vancouver tradition.  The signing of Ryan Miller should not be viewed as another problem for the Vancouver Canucks, but the beginning of a new chapter for the franchise.

It’s Miller time, Canucks fans.

 

Twitter @cjaharder

Top 10: The State of Florida

Back to back games starting on Sunday for the Vancouver Canucks in Florida and then to Tampa Bay on Monday. Sunday afternoon was a hard game for many of the Canucks fans to watch. It was the first time in eight years the Canucks had to face Roberto Luongo as an opponent. Strange times  in Canuckland indeed. Vancouver won the game in a shootout with a goal from Nik Jensen 4-3 . The next night the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Canucks by the identical score.  Some of the happenings were definitely memorable and a few moments would have been left better off forgotten. So from the “Sunshine State”, here is CanucksCorner’s

Top 10.

1. Luongo may not be a Canuck anymore, but it would be hard to tell he wasn’t, if not for that Panthers t-shirt.

Luongo in his Panthers gear chilling with old Canucks teammates.

2. Alex Burrows scored three goals and had three assists in the two games in Sunrise and Tampa. The winger became the ringer we have come to know and love over the years. After playing 30+ games without a goal, he is scoring in bunches. Now tied with David Booth with five goal on the season in about half the games. Here’s one on the power play:

3. Nik Jensen has brought some youth and enthusiasm to the Canucks line-up. Scoring the shootout winner against Roberto Luongo and reviving his line mates, Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows. The line looked good in both games. Jensen has good hockey sense and seems to just want to nothing more than score. Good. This team could use a little more scoring these days. Here’s his goal on Luongo and the Haida hat winner video:

4. Love him or hate him, John Tortorella was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup wining team in 2004. He and a few other members of that team were honoured in Tampa Bay last night, and the usually aloof Torts, was gracious and embraced the moment at the Tampa Bay Times Forum  from an appreciative crowd. The first 30 seconds of this reel sees Torts smiling and waving to the crowd.

5. Goat of the Tampa Bay game: Ryan Stanton doing his best Dan Hamhuis impersonation and scoring on his own goalie twice. Lack had no chance on those ricochets off Stanton’s body and the Lightning were up 3-0. Burrows scores two to battle the Canucks back and Hansen brings it within one with a shorthanded goal but still fell short 4-3.

6. Great Save!:Kevin Bieksa makes the best save of the night against the Panthers on Sunday afternoon. Really? Bieksa?

7. Tweet of the Night:I think Jason Botchford said it best:

This says it all down in Sunrise, FLA versus the Panthers, and all the goalie hoopla that went on over the last year and this past weekend.

8. .500 Hockey: It’s just not going to cut it with the Canucks playoff hopes dwindling. There are only 11 games left in the regular season. It would take a fall from the Dallas Stars, and an incredible and consistent resurgence from the Canucks to make the playoffs now. I don’t see it happening but with the way the team has spiralled since January, many of the bandwagon has now found  a new place to plant their behinds. Image courtesy of @CrownRoyal22
Look who's driving!

9. MIA: Ryan Kesler is rumoured to be missing action for about two weeks. This is not a good sign for the Canucks who are completely depleted down the middle. From the looks of it, Kesler won’t be back until the last week of the regular season.  The injury happened in Winnipeg and Kesler didn’t complete the rest of the trip. He went back to Vancouver to have the extent of his injury assessed. The infirmary is still full. Kesler joins, Richardson, Daniel and Andrew Alberts.

10.Good-bye Sweet Bromance: Probably the saddest thing about this whole weekend is not  realizing that Canucks aren’t probably going to make the playoffs, but the Bromance between Roberto Luongo and Eddie Lack  (at least as teammates) got some closure in that 4-3 shootout win over the Panthers. Thing 3 beats Thing 1 in a skills competition.

The road trip brought out some pretty good things and still glaringly bad things about the Canucks’ play. The good is, they are scoring more than just one goal again. The bad is, they are playing .500 hockey. This team should be winning but their defensive lapses keep coming back to haunt them. Three goals for, usually means a victory, but the Canucks just can’t seem to have a winning streak beyond one game. Let’s hope the last 11 games turn up some better fortune for Vancouver.

Justine Galo

@Aviewfromabroad 

PS: Since the luck of the Canucks haven’t been of the norm these days, I am going to do something out of the norm and attend the Canucks versus Predators game. For those curious as to why I don’t attend such games, here’s a little reminder to that very subject. [ The Curse of the Predators ]

Top Ten: Canucks make St. Louis Sing the Blues

After an amazing Olympic run by the Canadian men’s and women’s national hockey teams, it’s great to be back watching some NHL hockey. It’s great to be back watching our Vancouver Canucks.

Eddie Lack backstops the Canucks to 1-0 vs the Blues. Lack is also 3-0 vs the Blues this season. Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick NHL/via Getty Images

Eddie Lack backstops the Canucks to 1-0 vs the Blues. Lack is also 3-0 vs the Blues this season. Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick NHL/via Getty Images

Last night, the St. Louis Blues came to town and lost to the Canucks 1-0 in regulation. I wouldn’t consider it the most entertaining game, but it’s far from the most boring I’ve seen either. The most important part of last night was, it stopped the bleeding (momentarily). The seven game losing streak was snapped. Here are a few things I had go through my mind last night before, during and after the game with the Blues.

  1. Ryan Kesler Injury: When David Backes gave the injury report to the Vancouver media, it was a little upsetting to hear that Kesler is far more hurt than originally thought. Backes made it sound like Kesler might have suffered a broken hand from the Olympics.
  2. Ryan Kesler Trade Rumour: Still a big topic today, Kesler was rumoured (by Louis Jean @LouisJean_TVA) to have asked to be traded earlier on in the season. The rampant speculation as to why he wants to be traded range from personal family reasons, not liking playing for Tortorella, not wanting to be in Vancouver anymore due to team decline…the list goes on. The one constant for those said by Kesler, his agent were the reports are false and his agent even went as far to call it “BS”. GM Mike Gillis did not confirm or deny any sort of trade talks involving Kesler.
  3.  Kassian, Richardson, Booth: The most noticeable line out for the Canucks vs the Blues last night. Booth and Kassian both had their moments driving to the net, making some fancy plays and had a lot of jump in their game. All of that would not have been possible if not for the solid play along the boards and away from the puck to create space for them by Richardson.
  4. Olympians: So players from both teams were recognized pre-game for their Olympic participation and accomplishments. It was great to hear Bouwmeester and Pietrangelo great a rousing ovation for their contributions for team Canada before the Canucks, Luongo and Hamhuis got theirs. Swedish Canucks players, Edler and Daniel Sedin had solid games. Their Olympic play crept into their play for their club team.
  5. Eddie: Although spectacular when he had to be, Eddie Lack stopped 20 of 20 shots to get his third NHL shutout this season, the best save of the night had to go to another, Eddie, Alex Edler.
  6. One Was Enough, For Now: Jannik Hansen scored the only goal of the game. with a heads up pass from Sestito and a burst of speed from Hansen himself. Here is the GoPro view of it from Halak’s net. 
  7. Sedinery: Although it hasn’t come back to what Canucks fans have been accustomed to, I saw flashes of it last night with Burrows. I have full confidence, as does John Tortorella, this could be a spark to the last stretch of the team’s season. Daniel and Burrows need to score, regularly to get this on the right track.
  8. Diaz is the New Salo: Alex Edler has seemed to have calmed down again. I give a lot of that credit to the work and play of Raffi Diaz and his new found partner in Edler. Hopefully as this continues, we just might see All-Star Edler once again, instead of “All Star” Edler.
  9. Oh Captain, My Captain: Looks like Hank is back closer to 100%  in regards to his rib injury. He looked confident and rested out there. The Olympic break was just what he needed.
  10. Powerplay Tools: …and a Hammer isn’t one of them. I am not quite sure what the coaches are thinking when Dan Hamhuis on the PP with Garrison at the other point. Hamhuis does a lot of things a defenceman should do well, but QB’ing a PP isn’t one of them. I dare say even Bieksa would be a better choice in the matter. Perhaps rethinking the backend of the PP is something that needs to be revisited by the team and the coaching staff. Find something or someone that has more to offer from the blue line than Hammer…like a rifle like shot?
Hansen scores only goal in game on Halak.

Hansen scores only goal in game on Halak.

 

Not a bad way to get back into writing about our Canucks and a win after the Olympic break. Catch you on Friday in an all important game versus the Wild. Boy, when was that ever an issue in the last decade.

Justine Galo

@Aviewfromabroad