Wednesday, September 30, 2015

That Game Stung Like A Puck To The Face

(Brendan Gaunce after taking a puck to the face vs Sharks)

Once more a preseason game where only the young guys contributed. Save for Ryan Miller who looked fairly sharp (2GA, one deflected off his own defenceman), the veterans disappear once again. Its preseason, but why is it every team they've faced so far has veterans contributing? When they were in Calgary, Hudler was making plays and getting points. Last night Brent Burns scores. Meanwhile we have Edler getting schooled by Wingels in front of his own net. I will say it was hilarious to see Edler attempt to play defence after Wingels had already made a play on the puck. If these guys are this lackadaisical now, I shutter to think what the season will be like.

Gaunce continues to impress. This time taking a clearing attempt from Hutton off his face and finishing the shift on the PK, which lasted about another minute. Then you have McCann making a great play by getting into the passing lane to intercept a puck right in front of Martin Jones, which was impressive enough. But then he turns around and rips one before any defender knew what happened? That was awesome. His release was absurd. At this rate Gaunce and McCann should be on the opening night roster. Trade Vey for a bag of pucks or outright release him. The guy is playing like he has nothing to prove, when he has everything to prove.

I have been through some frustrating seasons with this team, so I am not going to get too worked up. However, what really gets me is how the on-ice leadership is so nonchalant and act as if they are a perennial contender or something. Here is an interview with the Sedins from July where all they talk about is wanting to stay, and if they win it'd be ok. That's what I want to hear from my Captain, Assistant, and highest paid players on the team "I want to stay here so I can say I played for the same team my whole career. If we win a Cup, that'd be cool." Why not say it? Cash the big checks and never have to worry about delivering. Perfect scenario for them!  

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Kids Are Alright

(Brendan Gaunce, Courtesy of The Province)

I know its preseason, and I know we have a lot of young guys in the lineup, but so does everyone else. The first game against the Flames was without a lot of our top line guys, and I get that. However, the tables were turned and we still came out on the losing end (love those opening shots of downtown, they never get old). And on top of everything else, the only ones who looked like they were even trying are the young players.

Once again defensive lapses killed any chance at winning. Hamhuis made a poor attempt at a clear up the boards then skated back to the net and covered no one, which led to a Flames goal. At another point in the third period, all 5 Canucks were below the circles on defense, and in OT Jooris was free to skate right between the circles and receive a pass.

Again, preseason and I don't expect these guys to be in midseason form, but making lazy passes and leaving the opposition wide open isn't exactly something one should be forgetting in the offseason. I would hope this team that greatly underachieved last season once the playoffs started, would show a little bit more passion, even in the preseason, to make up for it. But then again this is a team with the same on-ice leadership which won a Presidents Trophy then proceeded to drop a first round series against the Kings 4-1. I won't get into my usual rant, but I am getting frustrated of the Sedins entering every game and every situation with the same demeanor and attitude. They seem to have the same mindset for a preseason game as they do for a Stanley Cup game.

One shining light for this game was the way the younger players did perform. Brendan Gaunce, Bo Horvat, Alex Friesen, Jared McCann and Ben Hutton all looked great. I include Horvat in that group even though his spot on the roster is set, he still remains a cornerstone of this rebuild. Horvat, Gaunce and Friesen all had goals, with McCann notching two assists and Hutton an impressive three helpers.

The Hutton to McCann to Horvat goal was a thing of beauty thats for sure. All three had great awareness for the most part. Gaunce's goal was a nice finish on a rebound from Vrbata. Not nice in the terms of pretty, but he wasn't afraid to crash the net, and it paid off. Alex Friesen's goal was also nice, with Jared McCann cutting toward the net and creating some confusion for Ramo. A lot of promise ahead.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Here We Go Again...Again...

(Richard Bachman)

Let me start by saying I have not had as much time this offseason to look into all the changes the Canucks have made. However, Twitter has kept me up to date. While that sounds ridiculous, its actually a fairly decent barometer for this type of stuff. Its a good way to understand the sentiment and then you have to do some extra work to find out why, and see the outrage is, as it always is on Twitter, a bit overboard.  This offseason doesn't seem to be a popular one though, and after last night its looking like the outrage is a bit justified.

I know the Flames had most of their NHL squad out there, and the Canucks rolled out mostly young guys, but the play was the real thing. I know everything moves faster at the NHL level, but did the squad they have on the ice hate Richard Bachman or something? They hung that poor bastard out to dry about a hundred times last night! How many times were they going to just watch rebounds instead of, oh I don't know, trying to clear them away from net?! Or maybe not continue to give up odd man rushes?!

This probably wouldn't have looked so bad if it wasn't coming off of being shutout at the hands of the Sharks, and an offseason that has been heavily criticized by the Canucks faithful. Fan favorites, and top performers, from last year were sent out of town for what appeared to be a fraction of their worth, leading to some harsh words and reactions from fans. Although, now they appear to be looking more accurate than just bad reactions. Zack Kassian (24) was shipped out of town for Brandon Prust (31) who produces less points and makes more money. Then statistically your best goalie from last year, Eddie Lack, gets dealt for a 3rd and 7th round pick, and a mega fan favorite, Kevin Bieksa goes to Anaheim for what will most likely be a late 2nd round pick. 

The oddest thing appears to be the Front Office's complete faith in the unproven, while dealing away proven pieces for little return. They admit to being in a rebuild/retool era, yet bring in bigger deals (Prust, Miller, Sbisa, Sutter) and get rid of guys making less, but producing. Nick Bonino gets dealt for Brandon Sutter, who gets a new contract before even playing one game. This would not be so absurd if they haven't been talking about Bo Horvat for second line Center duties. Ok then why did you trade a guy making $1.9M for a guy who you paid over double that to play Center on the second line? Bonino had a very good season for someone making under $2M (75GP, 15G, 24A), and you bring in a guy who had a similar offensive season (80GP, 21G, 12A) and is not even a full year younger. Oh and he makes more money. 

Same goes for the goalie situation. Lack is a UFA next summer, and Markstrom has two more years on his deal. Lack was great for a team which finished with 101 points and makes $300,000 less than Markstrom, who looked iffy at best in his few starts in the NHL last season. So according to the front office, a 3rd and 7th round pick are more valuable than a higher performing backup goalie in a contract year looking to prove himself? Deal Markstrom for a 5th round pick or higher even and play out Lack's deal, or if he is on fire, and you aren't going to pay him, trade him at the deadline for a bigger or similar return. If he is having a down year, then keep him and let him walk for nothing in return. How many teams looking to make a push trade for a goalie at the deadline?

I am finding it extremely hard to believe there was any logic behind these moves other than "We have to bring our own guys in," because breaking down most of these deals reveals very little logic if any. "Tanbir from Surrey" grilled Benning and Linden at the Summer Summit back in July, and said a lot of what Canucks fans were, and still are, thinking. I go into every season with hope of improving last season's finish, and after all this ranting, I will leave it up to the professionals and trust in their decisions. However, when they do things like this they leave very little room for error. If this team does not get off to a great start, its going to get real ugly by Spring.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Kevin Bieksa Comments

A couple days ago, Kevin Bieksa made some comments about being an asset and the business side of the game and how "There were a lot of false promises out there." @BigNasty604 tweeted out the full quote here. In my opinion it was an emotional quote from an emotional player, but for me it also showed an odd lack of perspective on his part.

I am not going to bash the guy, he was good on the ice and loved in the community, almost more than anyone I can think of, especially in recent years. The one thing I don't get is how he thought he would be at one team his entire career. As sad as it is, that's a tough thing to do these days, no matter how beloved a guy is in the community. With front office and coaching turnover and a strict salary cap to work with, roster turnover is common places these days.

There has been speculation on what or who he was specifically referring to, whether he meant the Canucks, the San Jose Sharks (who he was reportedly going to), the media, or the fans is anyone's guess. However, for someone so involved in the community and beloved, he left with barely a goodbye, going so far as even blocking Clay Imoo when Clay tweeted him an awesome tribute song he put together for him (side note, if you don't follow Clay, you're missing out big time, very talented). These aren't really the responses long time fans were looking for.

Also there is the matter of his performance (see below; source). It wasn't that he was playing poorly, but you have to take into account the direction of the team. Sure his stats looked good on back-to-back Presidents Trophy winning teams. However, the last couple years were not banner years, on teams whose expectations were not that high. Management, especially new management are always searching where they can cut salary, especially when a rebuild is happening.

Regular Season:


Again, not bashing the guy, just trying to point at why he was a good trade chip and place to cut out salary, although I would have hoped for a better return. I do find this whole situation to be a bit odd. To be a professional athlete in 2015 and be shocked he is treated like an asset is a bit odd, and then to leave a place you loved for so long and were so involved in, with barely a goodbye and even blocking people who wish you well, is even more odd. I am not sure who Bieksa is focusing on with those quotes, but his actions seem like they point further north than San Jose.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Not Really Canucks Related

I seem like I do this every few years. Neglect this blog and then write a post about how I am going to get back into it and then don't. Well I am not going to promise anything this time, but I do want to start this up again, only because it used to be a great outlet for me to unwind from day-to-day life. You can skip the next few paragraphs if you wish, it will be part venting (any of my Twitter followers won't be shocked by that bit of news) and part introspective.

So I started this blog when I was working in Ohio. It was a great way for me to stay up on the Canucks and connect with other fans. While my time in Ohio was not the best, this became a great distraction for me from my long work hours, and kept me from wasting my days on video games and TV. Now I will clarify that statement by saying I enjoy both, but sometimes an 18 hour day of both is a bit much.

Well my work paid off and instead of getting a transfer to Seattle, which had been promised to me, I went to Minnesota instead. Long work days became even longer and I while I was making a lot more money I was miserable. I drove all over Minnesota and Iowa for work, which honestly wasn't all that bad. I also didn't mind the job that much. I knew the industry and generally get along with most people, as I try to be as diplomatic as possible. Trust me, I ran into some real pieces of work, everything from customers dropping racial slurs, to drinking 7 beers at a lunch meeting. It soon went south though.

They kept toying with my commission structure, and I began to make less money, but worked the same amount of hours. Not to mention my boss decided he wanted to micro-manage me from 800 miles away. I soon left for another company, but quickly recognized my error as they were woefully behind the times in technology and modern business practices. It was time for a fresh start, so I found a job within the industry, but not on the road, and headed west.

I have loved my time in Portland, and am at another crossroads, and not sure if I will be staying or going. Like many people my own age and younger, I have been looking for work that is fulfilling, and pays the bills. This job fit the category for a bit, but this entire year has been a mess, and while the bills are getting paid (barely) its time to move on.

No matter where I will end up I have realized I can't count on my job for fulfillment, not even a little bit. This is not to say those types of jobs don't exist, they definitely do, but the old guard in this country still has a firm grasp, and would rather hire their friends rather than a qualified person. I see the change coming as more and more people create companies they want to work for instead of falling in line, and I love it. Its an amazing trend, but I have yet to find an idea worth backing. The mercenary life works for me right now, and I have no problem going to the highest bidder, but I need to refocus my outlook.

I need to work on the fulfillment side myself through maximizing my time outside of work, hence my European trip this winter. I also need to practice that on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis. Whether its engaging with my wonderful Twitter followers (genuine compliment), going for a hike or weekend camping trip, or blogging about the greatest hockey team in the world, its on me for that.

I am not going to try and post daily on here, but I might have a higher frequency just because this feels like therapy for me. Instead of dwelling on work, I can turn that energy to this. Kill my disappointment and frustration by burying it in a topic that makes me happy. Ok, enough rambling. Its good to be back and I am really looking forward to another season. See ya soon!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Have I Got A Deal For You!

First off, I know it has been about 3 months since I last posted, and before that it was spotty at best. I have heard about it from all three of my readers, so I do apologize. The move to Seattle fell through, and now I am in Minneapolis, so a new city, and a new job have taken up a lot of time. I feel as though I am getting more organized and will have more time to write. This brings me to this great opportunity I have for you all!

I have this entertainment product that people love, and will go absolutely nuts for. Its not for everyone though, but the people that do like it are rabid and will pour attention, and more importantly money into it. With it being a niche product though I will be only focusing on the core markets where it works, Canada, and in America, but only the northern Midwest and Northeast. I will be controlling the product and business side, but will be franchising out to anyone who wants in, pending my approval of course. I will also control all labor decisions.

Once the business grows, and it will, as I said these markets are rabid for it, I will look into expansion. I will only look to expand to the biggest markets though since the product will not be popular there. However, I predict with all the transplants from the core markets and the high populations, enough people are bound to get hooked!

I just had a phenomenal idea! We will tell these new markets about how great our product is, and tell them if they build shiny new stores for the franchises, they will attract so many customers it will be ridiculous. I mean even if the people in these new markets don't like our product and have no history with it, people cannot resist a shiny new store! Also, to ensure some of these newer markets will embrace our product we can move some of the more popular and successful franchises from Canada, the Midwest and the Northeast.

There are so many franchises in the Northeast, the one in Hartford can move to North Carolina. I mean sure it will be the fourth product at best down there, but there are SO many franchises in that area as it is, jut so greedy to keep it there. Also Winnipeg doesn't need a franchise, they have a bunch of smaller ones in the area, and enough franchises remain in Canada for those Manitobans to support. Also, Phoenix is one of the fastest growing markets in the U.S.! It can't miss!

The franchise in Minnesota really doesn't need one of our franchises, they have enough amateurs to support their markets need for our product. The good people of Dallas, Texas need a franchise. The Province of Quebec is being greedy as well. Two teams???? Please, Colorado needs one. They had one previously and it didn't work out so well, but lets send them a franchise on the cusp of really taking off, that will instill long term support.

You know who does need two franchises though? Florida! And Hell, lets put two more in California as well. The one in Los Angeles has done alright. There are so many people in those two markets, we are bound to make tons of money. We will need dump trucks to haul it to the bank! At this rate we can also put new franchises in some bigger markets such as Atlanta, Nashville, and Columbus, Ohio. Atlanta had a franchise that failed, but no way will it happen again!

Uh-oh. I just thought of something. With all this expansion and growth, our employees are going to want their fair share of it, after all they are what makes this whole thing work. We will have to start charging our customers more. This will not be a problem in our sore markets though. Those saps will pay anything to get our product, no matter how bad the quality gets, especially the ones in Toronto!

Although...this might create another problem. This will be a long shot though, the longest of long shots, but lets just say hypothetically our franchises in these new markets who barely know about our product, don't fall for like shiny new stores, and won't buy our product, especially if we raise prices. Perhaps we could take all the profits we are making from the franchises in our core markets, and prop up the not so successful ones. This might affect how much we are able to pay our employees and I for one am not going to let my poor decisions affect my income!

Oh my God! How could I be so stupid?! The correct answer is right there in front of me! We will just lockout our employees until they agree to take less money for working! Its a win-win for us, we keep making money and we can keep the franchises in the newer markets that might not be so profitable, afloat until they really take off and make piles of cash!

Oh geez, one more potential issue: our customers? If they aren't able to get our product, especially the ones in our core markets, they might get angry and fewer will come back once we open our doors again. What to do, what to do? Meh, F**k em, they will come back...right?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Not Hating Gillis Anymore (As Much Anyway)

I am not a huge fan of Mike Gillis, as can be seen by my dozens of tweets and posts about his "stupidity," and overall ignorance when signing Free Agents (see "Marco Sturm signs one year $2.5 million deal with Canucks), and his hatred of my all-time favorite Canuck, Pavel Bure. However, this summer I have realized maybe I don't hate him, as much as I thought anyway.

After the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter deals, I realized something: Other than the Roberto Luongo contract, Ryan Kesler (four years left) and the newly signed Jason Garrison (six years), have the longest contracts on the Canucks. Gillis has not fallen into the trap almost every other General Manager has, signing players to obscenely long term deals.

Now this isn't always a bad thing. Henrik Zetterberg has nine years left on a 12 year deal, with a cap hit of $6 million per season, and I think anyone can say that was a good move. However, there are always the Rick DiPietro and Brian Campbell contracts to show it can be something that can handcuff a team.

Gillis, to my amazement, has been able to put together a perennial top tier team without a few of those. Could you imagine having Kesler on a deal with eight more years instead of four coming off two off-season injuries? How about Mason Raymond on an eight year $4 million plus deal?

Maybe Gillis was scared straight by the Luongo deal, or maybe he has yet to find that player he feels is worth a decade plus contract. Either way he has avoided handcuffing this team for the long-term, and that has caused me to gain a bit more patience with the man.