Canucks News and Notes

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Island Nucklehead
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

Post by Island Nucklehead »

Thanks for that HW. Great summary, as always.

It's always tough to read through the media talking points to see where the Canucks actually think these guys are at. As expected, a lot of "really like his game". Although it is encouraging to see guys like Gaunce get singled out for praise, it seems like there was a lot of worry that he might not be progressing as a 1st round pick should. Odds are he'll never be a big point-producer at the NHL level, but if he can turn into a solid, grinding, 3rd line winger that's obviously good moving forward.

Really hoping that this is the year we finally see some call ups that have a longer-term future with the club, instead of the days of Archibald, Sweat, Pinnizotto, Zalewski, Oreskovich etc. etc.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

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Thanks, Wids. A good read. Most appreciated.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

Post by Hockey Widow »

Benning on Bob McKenzie today:

Was asked if he felt the Canucks or still a 100 point team. He said yes, he feels the changes they have made over the summer makes the team faster, harder to play against and a better transitional team. He feels the mixture of veterans and younger players will allow the Canucks to compete in the Western Conference.

He was asked if he felt the twins could reach the 70 point mark again this season. He said yes, he is confident that they will continue to perform at a consistent level. He said they are amazingly focused, highly prepared, and highly conditioned athletes. Last year they tried to monitor their minutes in order to keep them fresh. He felt their playoff performance showed that they were fresh. They will continue to try to roll 4 effective lines and if they are able to do that he is convinced that the twins will have another good year.

He was asked if Alex Burrows would be there winger this year. He said in the final analysis that will be up to the coaching staff. They would like to try three different players with them to see what constitutes the best overall fit for the team. They know what Burrows brings to that line. During the season last year they moved Vrbata to the second line to get that line going. He did what was asked of him and was able to help that line provide secondary scoring. So it isn't just a matter of who is the best fit with the twins, but the best overall fit for the team so that the team can roll 4 lines. Brandon Prust will likely get an opportunity during the exhibition season to play with them. What starts the season may not end up being the same at the end of the season.

He was asked what motivated him to trade for Sutter. He indicated that our team is made up of older veterans and younger prospects. He had the opportunity to add a player in his mid-20s that can help bridge the age groups. He believes the skill set Sutter brings improves the team. He improves the team speed. He brings his strong forechecking ability. He takes the puck to the net hard. And He is superb on the PK. He believes he has a very strong two way game and has more offense of upside he has been given credit for. He believes Sutter brings that maturity that younger players can learn from while at the same time adding a veteran presence that the team needs.

He was asked if Linden Vey will replace what Matthias brought to the team. He said no, more like Baertschi he will replace with Matthias brought. I think he was speaking of goalscoring. Remember Matthias played wing most of the season where as Vey will fit in as a center. So he may just of been speaking about positional replacement as opposed to skill set replacement.

He was asked why he felt Baertschi did not develop in Calgary as many expected he would. McKenzie reminded him that when Baertschi was drafted he was considered a steal for the Calgary Flames. He answered by saying that all players develop along different paths. Some players take longer to develop than others. Some players just have some aspects of their game they need to develop over other aspects. With Baertschi the question was always his strength. He has worked very hard since the Canucks acquired him and will report to camp much stronger then in the past. He brings speed and top six scoring ability to the Canucks. He is excited to see how he performs this year.

He was asked to comment on the Kassian/ Prust trade. He said the primary reason the trade was made was that they needed to acquire a player that they knew game in game out what they were getting. They needed to be able to rely upon a player to show up every game and play consistently the same way night in night out. He knows Prust well from his days playing with both NYR and Montreal. He believes Prust is a very strong skater, is excellent on the PK, is a strong team player and will stick up for his teammates. Prust will play the same way every game, every shift. He also added that the days of having a player that can play three minutes a game are over. With Prust you get somebody who can take a regular shift and play 12 to 15 minutes a night. Prust also has some offense to his game.

He was asked to comment on what aspects of the team have improved over last year. He indicated that he believes they have brought strong cultural change to the organization. This includes doing the things on and off the ice to get better. It includes the willingness to stick up for your teammates on the ice. He believes the off-season changes have made us faster, tougher to play against, allow us to have a better transitional game, and allow us to role for lines. I think this whole sticking up for your teammates thing goes all the way back to watching how the Canucks did not stick up for each other in their finals against Boston. I think Benning remembers this because he mentions it with almost every acquisition.

He was asked who would be on the second line and who would be on the third line. He said it is too early to predict that. They have a number of scenarios they will be going to camp and preseason with and will make the determination at that time. There are different combinations of players they want to try together to see what the chemistry is like. He said it is more important to him to have the ability to roll 4 lines then it is to label lines 2-3. He went through a rollcall of all the wingers and talked about different scenarios. He emphasized that it is about four lines and what combinations allow them to do that. He again talked about wanting to keep everyone fresh for the postseason while at the same time maximizing every one's potential during the regular season.

He gave the usual responses to questions about Virtanen, Jensen, Shinkaruk, Gaunce, and all the other young guns. He emphasized that any player that out performs a veteran player will be on the team. If you have to trade a player or waive them to play in Utica he will do that. With respect to the younger players he did emphasize that they would not be rushed, if they were physically or mentally or skills wise not ready to play in the NHL he would do what was best for their long-term career rather than rush them to the NHL. He used Virtanen as an example saying he has a long future with the Canucks and they are not in a hurry to get him on the team if rushing him will hinder his long-term development.

He was asked about the loss of Kevin Bieksa. He said there is no question they will miss him in the locker room, he has been a warrior for the organization for years. But he added, without blaming Bieksa, that he felt Calgary was able to get in on our defense too quickly and keep us penned in our own zone. He felt he needed to change the defensive mix in order to get faster players that were able to transition the puck quicker up ice. He talked about Corrado and Bartkowski as being two players who were very strong transitional players and felt that this will help us clear the zone and not have so many shifts where we are running around.

He was asked who the defence pairings would be and who the top pairing was/would be. He said it was too early to tell but nothing was carved in stone or has been set yet. They are going to try several different combinations throughout training camp and in preseason to see what the best balance will be. They have several options in mind that they will experiment with and in different situations it could obviously change.

McKenzie then asked him about the importance of signing his soon to be free agents to new contracts, focusing in on Dan Hamhuis. Benning talk about Dan Hamhuis, Radim Vrbata and Brandon Prust as being three critical free agents that they would be monitoring. He said they are key parts of our organization at this point and that they have had discussions with the players and their agents about the future. He was asked if any of those three would have new contracts before the season started. He answered no, there is no chance of that. He said they were taking a wait and see approach, how the season plays out, and the state of the Canadian dollar and how it would impact the marketplace moving forward. He said they need to keep all of their options open, that they do understand the importance of those three players, but they also have an eye to the future. He said all three players understand this and all three players understand that they have the full year for everyone to make a determination of how they want to move forward. It simply sounded like if these three players live up to his expectations and there is an absence in the organization of younger players who can fill their roles, and if the team is achieving his goal of 100+ points, then he will sit down and begin negotiating new contracts later in the year. It also sounded like, given the state of the Canadian dollar if younger players can step in to fill the role any of these players have that that is where the organization may have to move to moving forward. He was also aware of their trade value at or near the TDD. My take, regardless of where we are in the standings, if there is a younger player in the organization that he feels can step in and do their job as well as be cheaper given the state of the Canadian dollar, anyone of these three players could be moved.

He was asked about depth on defence and more so defensive prospects within the system. He said the organization is very aware of the lack of blue-chip prospects on the backend. He said their drafting philosophy has always been to select the best player available. He said perhaps they may need to alter that philosophy somewhat, in that all things being almost equal you select the defensive prospect. He said we are not at that 100% yet but it is a philosophy they will look at and they are certainly aware of their organizational deficits.

He was asked about Ryan Miller and what he expected from him this year. He said he is very familiar with Miller and he believes he is one of those players that can play until he is 40. He expects another strong year from him, and up until his injury last season was having a great campaign. He is fully healthy and recovered from his injury and ready to go.

He was asked once again to explain the Lack trade. He said two main factors played into the decision to trade Lack. First was the age and contract status of Lack versus Markstrom. The second was the fact that he got to see Markstrom play for a month and a half during Utica's playoff run. He said he is a big agile goaltender and he absolutely loves his compete level. He feels he is ready for the next step and has all the makings to be a number one. When you combine that with the age and the contract status of the players involved, it made the decision to move Lack easier.

He was asked how many games he wanted to see Miller play and how many games he want Markstrom to play. He said that obviously will be determined by the play of those players. In an ideal perfect scenario he would like to see his starter get around 55 games and the back up to get between 25 and 30 games. He went on to compare other teams he has been part of and how they always had two strong goaltenders that could both step in to play the role of a number one in the event of injuries or faltering play of another. So in this case he would like to see that type of a split in games played but it has to play itself out and the players have to earn those games.

He was asked if he felt we gave up scoring over the summer and he said no, 10 of our top 12 scores from last season are all returning. He said we lost one of our top 12 scorers in Bonio but we replaced him with Sutter. Baertschi will replace with Matthias brought with respect to scoring. He said overall he feels we have become faster, younger, and have improved our transition game. Of course you always want to improve. He feels our special teams were good last year but he would like us to be better five on five, he wants more 5-5 scoring. He said he knows other teams within our division have improved but he can only worry about our team.

He was asked what message he would give to the fans about this transition phase. He said he wants the fans to know that he has always favoured the Detroit model. Part of their model was always to have older veteran players mentoring the younger players. Younger players are not rushed in the Detroit system. They are allowed to develop and when they earn an opportunity to play on the big club they are surrounded by older veterans who know how the game is played. These older players serve as role models on how to conduct yourself on and off the ice, how to prepare, this includes things such as lifestyle, nutrition, physical fitness habits, work ethic and perhaps most importantly accountability to your teammates. He has tried to add the players to the organization that have strong character, have a commitment to improvement, have the work ethic and habits that are necessary to be a pro athlete, that have strong leadership skills and are willing to defend and stick up for their teammates. He believes strong character is key. This is not to say that the players that he has traded or has let go did not have these characteristics but says more so the players he acquired are stronger in this regard, there are other reasons why you need to move on from certain players. This could be financial reasons, cap concerns, the need to get younger, or the need to acquire different skill sets.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

Post by Cornuck »

thanks for the summary, HW!
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

Post by Todd Bersnoozi »

Nice article about former Canuck prospect Prab Rai.

http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2015/09/prab ... beginning/

He was a nice story, local kid drafted from Surrey and a kid from a different ethnic background from the typical white Canadian kid being South Asian. He was a bit of a long shot to be a regular NHLer, but he had the talent to become a strong minor leaguer who can step in and help an NHL club when it had some injury problems (kind of like a Jason Jaffrey/Brandon MacMillians type). Rai had a decent skill set (speed/scoring), a poor man's version of Evander Kane.

It's too bad, he kind of just disappeared on us. He tells his story first-hand on what happened to him and his new life after hockey.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

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Glad to see some reason come to the over hype of Virtanen and the stock phrases of "if they earn it" and "won't be rushed" to control some of the media and fan frenzy.

On your interp of his "stick up for team mates" lines, recall that the edict from above with a zero tollerance was play between the wistles. AV and MG had had enough with the whiners-divers-cheapshot label that arrived in towns around the league before the team's charter flights touched down.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

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Topper wrote:Glad to see some reason come to the over hype of Virtanen and the stock phrases of "if they earn it" and "won't be rushed" to control some of the media and fan frenzy.

On your interp of his "stick up for team mates" lines, recall that the edict from above with a zero tollerance was play between the wistles. AV and MG had had enough with the whiners-divers-cheapshot label that arrived in towns around the league before the team's charter flights touched down.

No doubt the philosophy at the time was play whistle to whistle. And when our PP was smoking it was a good philosophy. But when our PP got cold, thanks to a dislocated Ehrhoff shoulder and broken Edler fingers, the philosophy no longer worked. Couple that with the refs putting the whistles away in the playoffs and a recipe for being embarrassed.

The only point I make is I that the impression left by that series was that the Canucks could be bullied and intimidated and no one would do a damn thing about. No doubt Benning remembers that well. He had expectations for players like Kassian and to a lesser extent, Matthias, that they would do the intimidating. I think it is high on his priority list, this sticking up for teammates. He has already said that adding players like Prust creates a safe working environment for the youngsters.

I agreed with the AV philosophy at the time, we had a team that could carry that out. But I also agree that at this point in time we need to have players that will stand up. Much like Stewart did the other night when everyone wanted a piece of Jake. Do you think if Benning was our GM in 2011 a player like Marchand would have been allowed to punch bag Dank? Or do you think Benning developed this mindset after just one season? I think he had preconceived feelings on the matter.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

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Hockey Widow wrote:Do you think if Benning was our GM in 2011 a player like Marchand would have been allowed to punch bag Dank? Or do you think Benning developed this mindset after just one season? I think he had preconceived feelings on the matter.
I have always blamed AV and his "between the whistle" mantra, even when the ref's had pocketed their whistles, for the lack of action when Marchand speedbagged Daniel. I don't think many others draw that linkage and tend for the at the moment, "Canucks are soft" interpretation.

The change in the between the whistle philosophy was one of the major changes seen post AV.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

Post by damonberryman »

DonCherry4PM wrote:Thanks, Wids. A good read. Most appreciated.
Great post
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

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damonberryman wrote:
DonCherry4PM wrote:Thanks, Wids. A good read. Most appreciated.
Great post
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

Post by SKYO »

Hockey Widow wrote:
He was asked about depth on defence and more so defensive prospects within the system. He said the organization is very aware of the lack of blue-chip prospects on the backend. He said their drafting philosophy has always been to select the best player available. He said perhaps they may need to alter that philosophy somewhat, in that all things being almost equal you select the defensive prospect. He said he knows other teams within our division have improved but he can only worry about our team.

He was asked what message he would give to the fans about this transition phase. He said he wants the fans to know that he has always favoured the Detroit model. Part of their model was always to have older veteran players mentoring the younger players. Younger players are not rushed in the Detroit system. They are allowed to develop and when they earn an opportunity to play on the big club they are surrounded by older veterans who know how the game is played. These older players serve as role models on how to conduct yourself on and off the ice, how to prepare, this includes things such as lifestyle, nutrition, physical fitness habits, work ethic and perhaps most importantly accountability to your teammates. He has tried to add the players to the organization that have strong character, have a commitment to improvement, have the work ethic and habits that are necessary to be a pro athlete, that have strong leadership skills and are willing to defend and stick up for their teammates. He believes strong character is key. This is not to say that the players that he has traded or has let go did not have these characteristics but says more so the players he acquired are stronger in this regard, there are other reasons why you need to move on from certain players. This could be financial reasons, cap concerns, the need to get younger, or the need to acquire different skill sets.
Acknowledges our defensemen prospect weakness. :thumbs:

I like how he references the Detroit model of the veteran's mentoring the youth/prospects so they can learn quicker and adapt to the fast/aggressive NHL style in sheltered minutes.

We gave up all the potential in the Kass trade, but Prust will be a great addition to this squad, he's a true "pro" NHLer so to speak, he knows wtf he is doing and what is expected of him, doesn't have any 'background-drama', PK guy - reliable, he's the type to 100% rely on to go to war with.

More importantly Prust can teach Virtanen, Kenins, Grenier and Brendan Gaunce the ways of the force Image, the future gritty/hard working/true character yadayada type of guys who will be on the precious cheap cap hit contracts for some years.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

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With the season almost upon us it is time to predict, "Whipping Boy of the Year".

There have been some easy choices in years past, Booth, Cloutier, Booth, Raymond, Booth, Bert, Booth, Jovo, Booth, etc, etc, etc.

But one of our perennial favourites has been traded, Casual Kev has retired to warmer pastures. So who will become CC's favourite slag.

Front runner's have to be Lucas "Pizzaman" Sbisa and Linden Vey. But honourable mention must go to Edler who single handedly has rejuvenated the Special Ed moniker. Dorsett will draw the ire of some, perhaps Prust will be seen as an over paid goon. But usually the tough guys get a lot of love too. Sutter will draw a lot of criticism simply because so many hated the trade. Lots of choice.

When all is said and done though I think it has to be Lucas "Pizzaman" Sbisa. Every mistake will be magnified and vilified to death. Every mistake will bring rise to a contract comment. Overlooked will be his good plays, they will be simply dismissed as one offs or everyone gets lucky once in awhile philosophy.

As for Willie, his ire seemed mostly spent on Kassian last season. This year I think it will be Vey. He will rotate in and out of the line up faster than Dude does a 360 on hating, then loving, then hating, then loving the Canucks again. Kenins and Corrado are my other two picks for players that just can't catch a break from hipless Willie.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

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SKYO wrote: More importantly Prust can teach Virtanen, Kenins, Grenier and Brendan Gaunce the ways of the force Image, the future gritty/hard working/true character yadayada type of guys who will be on the precious cheap cap hit contracts for some years.
Hate this. Those guys know how to play gritty. We all saw Virtanen take the opportunity to put McDavid on his ass. What's wrong the Sedins/Higgins/Burrows showing the young guys how to play/prepare/train/work hard like professionals?

If they need advice on wrist-wrapping or face punching they've got Dorsett and Prust. And when they blow up a McDavid or Gaudreau then we'll see why Prust is around, he'll be the one getting his head caved in by Gazdic or Engelland. "Bleed all over 'em! Let 'em know you're there!"


Hockey Widow wrote:With the season almost upon us it is time to predict, "Whipping Boy of the Year".
Finalists could be Higgins, Vey, Sbisa, Miller. Sutter and Burrows if they doesn't start strong. Think Sbisa takes it.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

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Sbisa is already the whipping boy for a majority of the fanbase. He'll have to dig his way out and play above his head just to become neutral with fans. Sutter will be compared to Bonino as well so it'll depend on how they compare. If Vey is outplayed in camp by 1 or more of the prospect centres but retains his job he'll be a whipping boy as well.
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Re: Canucks News and Notes

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Benjo wrote:Sbisa is already the whipping boy for a majority of the fanbase. He'll have to dig his way out and play above his head just to become neutral with fans. Sutter will be compared to Bonino as well so it'll depend on how they compare. If Vey is outplayed in camp by 1 or more of the prospect centres but retains his job he'll be a whipping boy as well.
I bet anything Sutter has a great season, especially if he gets 2nd line minutes and has Baertschi/Vrbata as wingers.
Best bet for the darkhorse player of the year.<---Lets get some positive "awards" for these message boards ha.
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