Toby Ward: Sub-par Canucks are a below average team

vigneault

The Canucks surrendered the Northwest Division league Sunday evening to the Minnesota Wild. The good news? There is still time to turn things around. The bad news: the Canucks are a below average team.

Disagree? A closer look at the numbers will change your mind:

  • Goals for: 17th (2.7)
  • Goals against: 20th (2.52)
  • Shots for: 18th (28.7)
  • Shots against: 21st (28.0
  • Power play: 20th (15.7%)
  • Penalty kill: 18th (80.7%)

The average ranking of the above six key categories: 19th (out of 30). Sub-par.

What is the reason behind the Canucks’ sub-par season? There is no one answer, but a combination of factors: injuries, questionable refereeing (if not biased), some unfortunate luck, and poor coaching.

Firstly, we miss Kesler and Bieksa – they noticeably improve the Canucks. Secondly, you need only look at the Calgary game and the bench minor assessed to Vigneault to understand the impact a ref can have on a game. Thirdly, in games the Canucks were clearly the better team and should have won, but managed to find a way to lose (Columbus, San Jose and Dallas).

Finally, coaching: look no further than special teams and the shots differential, and you get the drift. Additional clues: favourite pets getting preferential treatment: Lapierre (nearly 16 minutes last game) over Schroeder (9 minutes); Alberts over Ballard (arguably our best defensemen after the quarter-season mark, and then was benched after one bad game. If Edler was benched after each bad game, he’d be out of the line-up half the time); Raymond at center (it was bad enough that a prototypical winger, one of the fastest skaters in the NHL, was moved to center, but his dismal faceoff record completely undermines his misplacement – a disastrous 1 for 9 his first game, a pathetic 1 for 6 the next game. How did Vigneault respond? Raymond was back at center in Columbus.

Unfortunately, A.V., the team needs to come before egos.  And your team, unless you make changes, is sub-par.

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Toby Ward is a season ticket holder, former reporter and producer covering the Canucks turned consultant, and blogger. A lifelong Canucks fan who bleeds blue and green, Toby first saw the Canucks when they hosted Bobby Orr and the Bruins in 1974.


 

Introducing: Twitter Me This- #Hashtagging Weekly Canucks Topics From the twitterverse

As a social media junkie that has been addicted to twitter since 2008, I have been trying to figure out a way to implement twitter into some blog writing over the last little while. Marry the two loves of my social media life: Explaining thoughts in 140 characters or less and writing opinions on stupid NHL rule changes, Gary Bettman, the NHL lockout and of course, the reason I started blogging in the first place, the Vancouver Canucks.

So this is how it works. Every Monday before 7PM, Pacific standard time, I will put up a topic on twitter hash-tagged #TMT and the topic of choice, and in 140 characters or less, you tweet me a response. On Thursday before 7PM, Pacific standard time, I will put up an article containing and tying in some of the answers followers and readers have sent my way via twitter. It’s pretty simple and doesn’t cost you a thing.

New Feature wants your feedback with the hashtag #TMT

With this introduction of what we are trying to accomplish here on CC, why don’t we get it kicked off with something fun.

With the lockout happening, I was thinking about how we can all keep talking hockey and mainly the Vancouver Canucks without having to bitch and moan about the billionaires shutting out the millionaires and their PR campaigns to the fans. It a topic that has been hashed out and re-hashed from all angles.

As I was driving into my parking garage the other night, U2’s “Where the Streets Have no Name” starting blasting in my car. As I felt the steady ‘thud’ of Larry Mullin’s bass drum pelt against my back from the sub-woofer, I started to really miss my team. I started to think of the awesome “WWE-esque” entrance the Canucks had going on. Lots of blue and green lights, smoke machines, added sirens to the song and the cheering of us fans. It will be another while until we hear and see that again.

Hit the music! “Where the Streets Have No Name” intro.

For quite some time now, U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” has been the Canucks entrance theme but it’s been up for debate over the last few years if the team needs a new entrance song. Some say that ‘Streets’ isn’t “in your face” enough and it’s too subdued. Others love it, and link the song to their beloved team and especially at the start of every season, they can’t wait to hear it belt through the speakers at Rogers Arena.  So I am asking you, to give us here at CC some thoughts to what you think of the Canucks introduction song of “Where the Streets Have no Name” . Do you like it? Do you hate it? Do you simply don’t care and just want NHL hockey back?

How do I feel about it? Well, what can say in 140 characters or less?

@Aviewfromabroad: One might want to rethink a team entrance song when the 1st lyrics sing “I want to run, I want to hide…” #TMT #CanucksThemeSong

Now “Twitter Me This” and let’s see how the rest of Canuckland feels about “Where the Streets Have no Name” as the Vancouver Canucks theme song.

Column hashtag: #TMT
Topic hashtag: #CanucksThemeSong

We’ll revisit this topic again on Thursday with your input and hopefully I can tie it all in neatly and timely. I’ve also noticed, this is the first time I have ever given myself a deadline to write a Canucks blog, or any blog for that matter. Another reason I am welcoming this new addition to the CC columns. So is it time to change the theme song? A little old for your liking or does it stay? Heck, even the name of the building has changed, is “Streets” next?
Justine Galo

@Aviewfromabroad

Caught in the CBA Crossfire

 

As I read and keep up on the “progress” of the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement talks, I can’t help but become upset, and at times, angry. Why? It’s because we have two sides that are “duking out” some sort of agreement that involves millions and millions of dollars. Figures many of the average NHL hockey fan cannot even begin to conjure up in his/her mind. Figures that many of us fans can only see if we ever won a lottery. It’s not because I am bitter about how much money the owners, the league and the players have in their pockets, or how they live their lifestyles. I’m upset and angry because, the two sides (NHL and NHLPA) aren’t the only ones that are affected by a possible lockout.

My concerns go to the people who have jobs in the arenas, the office of various NHL franchises and those that have ties with the NHL and/or franchises. People like you and I that work for a living to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. What happens to them during all this? As I dropped my 15 year old daughter off to work this morning, I got thinking about all those that will possibly be affected. My daughter works special events for various event companies and also for the catering company I own. It is very similar to many that work at Rogers Arena and many of the other arenas across the league, they make a living working the games and special events that happen.

CBA Talks between the NHL and the NHLPA hold up more than revenue sharing percentage quibbles.

The NHL has 41 regular season games a year, a handful of pre-season games and possibly some playoff games for the arena staff to work. An average salary in Vancouver would be around $14-16 an hour and about a six to eight hour  shift for such events. Let’s ballpark that to $105 a game per employee. Over a the course of the regular season of 41 games that’s $4,305 in wages per employee. Multiply that by about 150 people it becomes a cumulative approximate total of $645,750 of wages for the people to help run the NHL events of the arena.  The NHL league minimum is $525,000. The difference between one NHL player earning the league minimum and 150 NHL arena employees is $120,750. It is not a whole lot of difference is it? The $120,750 is also divided by 149 more people than what the low end of what a players makes in the NHL.

While the NHLPA may be losing wages throughout this whole ordeal, many of the players have hazard pay, strike pay, whatever you want to call it. What about the arena workers? Many are forced to seek other means employment in a day and age where having a job is harder to come by each and every passing day, no matter what education and work experience one may have. There are only so many jobs to go around.

So when the owners and the players decide to put the fate of the average people in their hands to bargain about billions and millions of dollars, “Joe” at the concession stand is going to go and look for a new job to cover the 41 games he will not be getting paid if there is an NHL lockout to cover the $4,305 he will shorted on his salary for the year. NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman makes a base salary of $5,529,490. I get it, he has a lot of responsibility, more so than a guy that runs a concession stand at your local NHL arena when it comes to the league, but “Joe” has responsibilities as well. “Joe” has bills to pay, put a roof over “Joe’s” head and mouths to feed. I know that $4,305 is just a suit in Gary Bettman’s closet, but that’s 1.5-2.0 months of wages to “Joe”.

NHL Commission Gary Bettman wants a deal done by September 15 or the league will lockout the players…and fans.

As a season ticket holder for the Vancouver Canucks, I’ve gotten to know some of the arena workers over the years, a few of them I consider friends. Although, the ones I do know are very capable of finding other employment in the hospitality and service industry, it bugs to me to think that they have to even do such a thing. It also bothers me to know that fans who have paid their hard-earned money to purchase ticket packages for the Vancouver Canucks and other teams year in and year out are again held hostage to negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA. That’s three times in Gary Bettman’s tenure as NHL Commissioner. That’s three times too many in this fan’s opinion.

As many fans all around the league hope for a better outcome of these negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA, many of those could possibly be affected by an impending lockout are now forced to find different avenues to make a living.

So my message to the league and the players’ union is: Keep quibbling over percentages of millions of dollars each side gets, but get it done soon. You are not the only ones affected by this dark cloud looming over the NHL’s upcoming season. Some of us (fans) are getting tired of the constant threat of a lockout or a strike. So while you drive your luxury cars to your meetings, some of us are just wanting to make sure we have money to put gas in our cars or to buy a transit pass to make our way to work…that is, if you allow us.
Justine Galo

twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

Define Tough? Answer: Henrik Sedin

I think I am not going to write about the 0-3 series lead the Los Angeles Kings have over the Vancouver Canucks so far in the first round of the NHL playoffs. In fact, I’m sure there are 500 other blogs about it from all over the blog-es-sphere. So I won’t rehash it. I do however want share a small experience and why I think the toughest guy in the NHL isn’t a prototypical NHL tough guy. He doesn’t fight, he doesn’t get in too many people’s faces and he sure isn’t what you call an ‘intimidating’ figure, but yes, I do sure feel that Henrik Sedin is one tough S.O.B.

This was all inspired after the Dustin Brown hit on Henrik early in the game. A tweeter put out there:

“Sedin currently day to day with a strained labia”

How ‘creative’ this person was! No one has ever heard the Sedins referred to as women before! Wow, I hate to break it to you, but I think that joke actually started in Vancouver in 1999 during Henrik and Daniel’s first training camp. You’re a little late to the party.

Another insinuation that Henrik Sedin is a wimp because he doesn’t ‘fight back’ or have any ‘testicular fortitude’.  Frankly I’m sick of it hearing how much of a ‘p*ssy’ Henrik is and the lack of respect he doesn’t get because in their eyes he’s not ‘tough’. I hate to break to you out of shape sports writers and ‘avid’ fans but he is damn tough. Why? Because he’s lasted over 560 games straight in the NHL without missing one.

It takes a tough man to take the abuse Henrik takes on the ice and do his job night in and night out. It takes a tough man to train rigorously in the off-season to make sure he takes the precautions to have a long career and a strong season. Wow, he’s smart also.  Most of all it takes strong man to go out there to do all this for over 560 games as many ignorant fans all around the NHL, call him a ‘p*ssy’, a ‘faggot’ and the one he and brother seem to always hear is that he is a woman.  My reaction tweet to that was:

@Aviewfromabroad: Hank takes his hits, keeps his mouth shut and keeps on playing. Leading by example. If that makes him a girl, he’s all woman. #Canucks

Another point that I need to address is what makes ‘demeaning’ Henrik or any other man on earth to refer to them as women, is a very misogynistic attitude towards the fairer sex and there is no real need for such insults in this day and age. As a woman, I certainly don’t appreciate having men referred to as women. Are you saying we are not equal enough in your eyes? Go back to the 1950’s please, we don’t need you in this modern world. Alright, back to Henrik.

There are different definitions of toughness in hockey. One is that of guys that can duke it out on the ice. Others have a mental toughness to keep their nerves calms in high pressure situations. One is to endure abuse day in and day out on the ice (and off) and continue to do your job, (well might I add) to the best of your abilities without games interrupted, season after season. The last one is what Henrik Sedin embodies and anyone with an ounce of intelligence of hockey will see what level toughness it takes to be the Ironman of the NHL, over 560 games tough.

Hey but according to that tweet and its writer that inspired all this, what do I know? I’m only a broad.

 

Justine Galo

Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad