Pat Quinn: Hockey’s St. Patrick

When I headed towards Rogers Arena last night, my husband sent me a text cautioning me of what I might see when I entered the gate:

Keep your eyes peeled when you come in Gate 16. It was quite the rogues gallery when I came

As I was walking down Abbot Street  (now Pat Quinn Way) to my regular gate, Orland Kurtenbach and his wife walked by for the unveiling of the street sign on Abbot St. and Pacific Boulevard. As I came inside, I saw Kirk McLean talking with a few others. Usually, I don’t get phased by seeing McLean, he’s in and around the arena quite a bit during the regular season, but yesterday, it felt different. There was an energy the minute I set foot through the doors. As I waited for the elevator to take me to Level 5, I started recognizing more faces, and then I thought I saw Markus Naslund which made me do a double take and I wasn’t sure, but I was… Anyway, everyone was in great anticipation of the pre-game ceremony.

When I met up with my husband in our section, he told me of some of the people he saw gathered at Gate 16. He said, in a cluster, there was Brian Burke, George McPhee, Jim Robson and Bob Nicholson. Rogues, maybe, but hockey’s upper echelon, definitely. As we were having our pre-game dinner, I believe we both felt at a loss for words. All  we could do was smile just think of how much Pat Quinn meant to hockey and we in Vancouver were so fortunate to have felt his impact so profoundly.

Canucks President, Trevor Linden, bookends the new commemorative sign of Pat Quinn Way" with Vancouver mayor, Gregor Robertson during the unveiling, renaming ceremony. Photo Credit: NHL.com

Canucks President, Trevor Linden, bookends the new commemorative sign of Pat Quinn Way” with Vancouver mayor, Gregor Robertson during the unveiling, renaming ceremony. Photo Credit: NHL.com

The unveiled "Pat Quinn Way". Quinn meant so much to the Canucks and to the city of Vancouver, it was truly a fitting tribute.

The unveiled “Pat Quinn Way”. Quinn meant so much to the Canucks and to the city of Vancouver, it was truly a fitting tribute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 When the actual ceremony began, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and legendary broadcaster, Jim Robson hosted the evening. It was respectful, memorable without being too long winded. It was perfect. Rick Ley, Bobby Clarke, Cliff Fletcher, Ron Toigo, Markus Naslund, Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, Kirk McLean, Bob Nicholson and Orland Kurtebach all joined in for the on-ice ceremony. But it was the amazing entourage of people who weren’t shown publicly that astounded many. Washington Capitals GM, George McPhee, singer Michael Buble, Flames President- Brian Burke were amongst the many who gathered at Rogers Arena on that very special night.

Seeing people in the hockey world pay their respects to a man that meant so much to this game, to this city and especially to this team. Pat Quinn had an impact everywhere he want into hockey, but nowhere to the extent of Vancouver. I was still a young girl (11 or 12) when Pat Quinn took charge of the Vancouver Canucks, but I do remember the less than half full Pacific Coliseum before his arrival and how things changed when he put his stamp on the team. There was a culture, there was a vibe, there was respectability associated with the Canucks that lacked in previous regimes.

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Highlights of the Pat Quinn Ceremony

  • Seeing the array of team jerseys that was associated with Pat Quinn in the world of hockey. Even more so the people who wore them out as they were introduced to Rogers Arena.
  • The appropriateness of the St. Patrick’s Day to remember The Big Irishman.
  • Bagpipes and Mark Donnelly singing his rendition of “Irish Eyes Are Smiling” paid a wonderful musical tribute.
  • The combatants of the night, were the two NHL teams Quinn had the most success with as a head coach.
  • All the dignitaries throughout the night that went on-air with kind words to say about Pat.
  • Seeing his daughters and granddaughter with the ceremonial puck drop was a perfect way to end the ceremony.
  • The one that impacted me the most during the ceremony was seeing Bure, Linden and McLean together in their old “Skate Logo” jersey brought the crowd to a rousing cheer. Memories of a team from yesteryear brought many smiles and tears of joy to some present at the arena. Most significant part of that trio together was, as they were leaving the ice after the ceremony, Linden patted Bure on the back and shared what seemed like kinds words with the Russian Rocket. Two men, who have not always seen eye to eye, as teammates and people, put their differences aside for the night to remember Pat Quinn. That’s speaks volumes of how much Pat Quinn meant to people.

For those that missed the ceremony last night, or those who just want to see it again, here is the ceremony in its entirety.

 

@Aviewfromabroad

#TBT: Canucks’ 5 Prodigal Sons

There are some guys in the NHL that find certain teams, cities or whatever their ‘homes’. With the recent homecoming of sorts for Geroy Simon with the BC Lions front office, I thought of some Canucks players who have done double duty with Vancouver in their careers. One even came back to the team three times.

5. Bobby Schmautz: Played four seasons with the Canucks (1970-1974) scoring 38 goals one season. Between 1974-1980, Schmautz has played for Boston, Colorado (Rockies) and Edmonton until returning to the Canucks for the 80-81 season scoring 27 goals  and 61 points in 73 games before calling it a career.

Schmautz came back to Vancouver in 1980 before retiring.

Schmautz came back to Vancouver in 1980 before retiring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Nolan Baumgartner: First played for Vancouver in the 2002-2003 season. The Canucks lost him in the Waiver Draft and the re-acquired him a month later. Baumgartner played back and forth for the various Canucks AHL affliates and of course for the Canucks as the 7th defenceman. Baumer loved being in the organization so much he came back for thirds. In the 2009-2010 season, he came to play 12 games towards the end. Nolan is now an assistant coach with the Canucks AHL team, The Utica Comets.

aumer still is a Canuck via being an assistant coach with the AHL Utica Comets. Photo Credit: Vancouver Canucks

Baumer still is a Canuck via being an assistant coach with the AHL Utica Comets. Photo Credit: Vancouver Canucks

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Brad May: May Day first came to the Canucks in the 97/98 season before heading off for the Pheonix Coyotes for a few seasons and making another run with the Canucks from 2003-2007.  Brad May was known to be a tough competitor and didn’t mind dropping the gloves with the biggest and the baddest to be considered one of the best middleweight fighters during his time in the NHL. May Day is now a broadcaster/analyst for Rogers Sportsnet.

May Day came back twice. Once wearing No. 9 and the other wearing the now retired No.10. Photo credit: Windsorstar.com

May Day came back twice. Once wearing No. 9 and the other wearing the now retired No.10. Photo credit: Windsorstar.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Harold Snepsts:  Snepts is probably one of Vancouver’s all time favourites. Played for the Canucks from 1974-1984. He then spent some time  with the North Stars and then the Detroit Red Wings organizations. He came back to the Canucks in 1988 and was traded to the St. Louis Blues in 1990 before calling it a career. Many of us won’t ever forget the “HAAAARRRROOOOLLLLDDDD!!!” chants throughout the old Pacific Coliseum. He is also an inductee of the Canucks Ring of Honour at Rogers Arena and debated, along with Dave Babych, to have the best ‘stache ever to be worn by a Canucks player

Snepsts in his hey-day rocking the no helmet and one of the best staches in Canucks history.

Snepsts in his hey-day rocking the no helmet and one of the best staches in Canucks history. Photo credit: Legendsofhockey.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Trevor Linden: Last and definitely not least is No. 16. The guy many did not want traded away in the first place. He is probably this city’s favourite son, transplanted or not, he became one of  “us” during his tenure as a player here with the Vancouver Canucks. Drafted in 1988, he became Vancouver’s new Canucks darling from the get-go. Runner up for the Calder trophy to Brian Leetch and of course, 1994 and his performance in Game 7 vs the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals. Mike Keenan traded him in the most unpopular trade of all time on February 6, 1998 with the New York Islanders .However, Linden garnered Betuzzi, McCabe and a 3rd round pick that became Jarkko Ruutu. Brian Burke brought back Canucks’ favourite son in November 2001 for a 1st round and 3rd round pick. Trevor was home and still is home. He is now the President of the Vancouver Canucks and his jersey number is forever retired up in the rafters of Rogers Arena.

At his retirement ceremony, Trevor Linden is forever a Canuck. Photo credit: nhlsnipers.com

At his retirement ceremony, Trevor Linden is forever a Canuck. Photo credit: nhlsnipers.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are my favourite Canucks to do a second tour with the team, but there were quite a few who came out this way more than once. Any one I missed that you would have liked included? I think it’s a pretty good list on this #ThrowbackThursday.

@Aviewfromabroad

#TICH: The Infamous Third Jersey in Salmon

January 27, 1996, The Vancouver Canucks introduced the infamous “Salmon Jerseys” as their third jersey. It debuted at then called, General Motors Place, to mixed reviews. Some really liked them and some considered them one of the most hideous jersey the team has put out since their “Flying V” one.

Captain Trevor Linden, still fresh faced sports the Salmon Jersey today in 1996.

Captain Trevor Linden, still fresh faced sports the Salmon Jersey today in 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It definitely wasn’t one of my favourites but I do find it amusing that Canucks fans to this day still talk about it. It’s even more amazing the every now and then you will see one or two of these on a rack at sports retailers all around Metro Vancouver. Admittedly, I almost bought myself one of these back in the day…

I was a huge fan of Alexander Mogilny, too bad he couldn't play every year like it was a contract year.

I was a huge fan of Alexander Mogilny, too bad he couldn’t play every year like it was a contract year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Today in Canucks’ History, the “Salmon Jerseys” were shown for the first time. Luckily, in my personal opinion, we never have to see them ever again.

 

@Aviewfromabroad

 

PS, here is a rare picture of Markus Naslund wearing No.22, and most fortunate for this #TICH, it’s in this third jersey of the Canucks.

Number 19 first wore 22 when he became a Canuck. Here is one in this infamous third jersey.

Number 19 first wore 22 when he became a Canuck. Here is one in this infamous third jersey.

#TICH: Iron Mike Makes a Deal

January 3rd, 1998: Iron Mike Keenan started his dismantling of the Vancouver Canucks. After 10 years in a Canucks uniform, the longest serving goalie in franchise history, Kirk McLean, gets dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes, along with Martin Gelinas for Geoff Sanderson, Enrico Ciccone and goaltender, Sean Burke. Those three players played a total of 38 games for the Vancouver Canucks before they, themselves, were sent away from by Keenan.

 

Kirk McLean spent 10 & half years backstopping for the Canucks. He was traded to Carolina January 3, 1998.

Kirk McLean spent 10 & half years backstopping for the Canucks. He was traded to Carolina January 3, 1998.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McLean’s play suffered partly because of a reoccurring knee injury but in all honesty, many people believed Mike Keenan didn’t want the core there anymore and McLean was the first piece, with Gelinas, to be dealt out. McLean and Gelinas were the first but they were not the last. Change came, some of it ended up being blessing in disguise eventually, but this was a deal that Carolina got themselves a starting goaltender and Vezina finalist in Kirk McLean and “Notre Coeur” (Our Heart) Martin Gelinas. The Canucks got back, temporary workers.

It was the beginning of the end of an era that Pat Quinn had built previously. Keenan knocked it down with a wrecking ball and in doing so, set the organization back by a decade. He didn’t care, he wanted to make sure the stamp had “Iron Mike” all over it on the Canucks organization. It did, but it was years before we as fans, saw any of the fruition of it.

This is what happened on January 3, 1998, Today in Canucks History.

 

twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

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Notable players traded by Mike Keenan out of the Canucks organization:

TO BUFFALO: Geoff Sanderson

TO VANCOUVER: Brad May

TO NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Trevor Linden

TO VANCOUVER: Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe, 3rd Round Pick(Jarkko Ruutu)

TO PHILADELPHIA:Dave Babych, 5th Round Pick(Garrett Prosofsky)

TO VANCOUVER:3rd Round Pick(Justin Morrison)

TO NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Gino Odjick

TO VANCOUVER CANUCKS: Jason Strudwick

TO PHILADELPHIA:Sean Burke

TO VANCOUVER:Garth Snow

TO NEW YORK RANGERS:Russ Courtnall, Esa Tikkanen

TO VANCOUVER:Sergei Nemchinov, Brian Noonan

TO VANCOUVER: Trent Klatt

TO PHILADELPHIA: 6TH Round Pick

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