#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.


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.



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

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…]

Luongo Out! The Season is a wash! (Humour me)

Oh my God! What are we Canucks fans to do? We went from contending for the Northwest division to contesting for the rights in the lottery for Jonathan Tavares with a tweak of Roberto Luongo’s groin! Panic button I say! Panic button! The Vancouver Canucks should forfeit their season and get those extra lottery draws! There is nothing the Canucks can do to turn their season around!

…Ok, so I am playing around, but that’s what I am reading on fan forum boards all over the Northwest Division, particularly those fan forums of the Calgary Flames. I guess the Vancouver Canucks start and end with Bingo Bango Bongo, Captain Roberto Luongo. As a team they don’t have much to offer or do we? What do we do fans?


We wait till our Captain comes back and hope that our team of mediocrity can pick up a win here and there without him. That’s what we do.

Yes, it’s true, the Canucks are a better with Roberto Luongo between the pipes. There is absolutely no questioning that. I believe the word I am looking for is FACT! So why the panic? Are the Canucks that empty without Roberto? Let’s look at what the Canucks have with Roberto Luongo in the press box.

Replacing the irreplaceable, Curtis Sanford has the undaunted task of filling some pretty big blockers and goalie pads.  Sanford, is one of he better back-up goalies out there, he just had to sit on the bench a lot more because of the workhorse the Canucks have in Luongo.  He’s (Sanford) very steady, and should be alright to call upon as Bobby Lu rests his groin. Sanford is ready and will probably see more action in these next two weeks than he has seen all of last season.  Cory Schneider, Canucks #1 draft pick and goalie prospect will play back up to Sanford during the injury time. I believe we will see Schneider play at least once during this time due to a back to back in the early part of December.  This is Schneider’s time to shine and possibly steal the show. That alone is pretty exciting stuff.

Regardless of whether Sanford or Schneider being between the pipes, this is the time for the Canucks to test their character and mettle as a unit.  Can the defensive core pick up the slack and be more mindful to clear the puck and keep the puck out of the goaltenders’ way? Or will the buckle under the pressure. With their play as of late, I’d say the Canucks will answer the call. Added pressure is put on Salo, Ohlund and Mitchell to lead the way with Bieksa still out with a foot injury.  Can these three elevate their games and make sure the rest of their colleagues on the blue line follow suit? Recent play says yes, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Will the forwards on the Canucks take the pressure off Sanford and Schneider and put in some goals to help the team cause?  Sure why not?  Will Pavol Demitra continue to shine accumulating points from every game? Will Daniel continue to contribute to the score sheet now that he has that monkey off his back? Will Raymond find his swift feet leading him to a few goals here and there? Again with the recent indicating, yes, this is all possible.

The ONE question that dwells in my mind is…will AV go back to a more defensive minded strategy until the return of Lu? I believe he will tighten up the openness of the team’s game just to make sure they keep shots on goal to more of a minimum.  So yes, be prepared to watch a little more of what we saw last year from the Canucks, defensive styled hockey. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but at the moment, a necessity.

So will the Canucks falter and throw away their lead in the Northwest division, their team chemistry will be thrown out of whack while they lose their captain to a groin injury for two weeks? No, I don’t they will just completely stink up the joint so much they will be challenging the Islanders and company for the services of Jonathan Tavares, but it won’t be as ‘easy’ without the #1 guy backstopping them.

Only time will tell, but it’s not time to hit panic button yet? Is it?

Musings from the mud…