10-10-14: Few will deny Toronto’s offensive acumen. The team possesses one of the league’s premiere scorers (Phil Kessel) and a slew of other gifted offensive players, like James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul. Despite that firepower up front, Toronto was a defensive disaster last year, ranking in the bottom five of the NHL in goals allowed. Making matters worse, the team lost one of its better defenders, Carl Gunnarsson, this past offseason. The Leafs plan to plug their defensive potholes with Roman Polak and Stephane Robidas, but many speculate whether both players can be more than temporary expedients.
2013-2014 was a season that Vancouver Canucks fans would rather forget. The Sedin brothers struggled and then missed large parts of the season due to injury, Roberto Luongo and Eddie Lack engaged in a net duel that neither goalie performed particularly well in and coach John Tortorella melted down following a brawl with Calgary. The end result was the Canucks missing the playoffs for the first time since 2014. After the season, the team cut loose Tortorella and general manager Jim Gillis. This year, the roster has changed with Ryan Miller takes the reins in net and the Sedins skating alongside free agent signee Radim Vrbata, who scored 35 goals for Phoenix three seasons ago.
The Canucks and Maple Leafs’ March skate is the second most expensive game this season. Maple Leafs vs Canucks tickets have an average price of $442.93 on the secondary market with a get-in price of $113. The average price for the game is 57% above the season average for home Canucks games at Rogers Arena this season.
4-14-14: The Canucks lost in Edmonton on the second to the last night of the season, during which the Oilers bid adieu to Ryan Smyth in an emotional night for the city of Edmonton. Vancouver did bounce back this past Sunday, closing out a disappointing campaign with a win over Calgary on a night where Pat Quinn was honored. GM Mike Gillis is gone. Trevor Linden is the new VP and the future of head coach John Tortorella remains in question.
4-7-14: Vancouver’s post trade deadline collapse has been well publicized, but the team did manage to put together seven points in eight games that was snapped with a loss to Anaheim this past Saturday. Unfortunately, their dreadful collapse could cost head coach John Tortorella his job, along with GM Mike Gillis. Canucks’ fans may want to say their final goodbyes to star center Ryan Kesler who could be dealt in the offseason.
3-31-14: The Canucks are barely holding onto to their dreams of making the playoffs. They currently trail the Coyotes by five points with six games to play. The Canucks are a desperate bunch that Kevin Bieksa is trying to play through a tough injury down the stretch. It’s been a nightmare season for John Tortorella, and do not be shocked if he’s fired at season’s end. This could be the last six games Ryan Kesler plays a member of the Canucks.
3-25-14: The Canucks took two out of three games this past week and are 4-2-0 in their past six games played. After all their trials and tribulations, they are somehow only three points out of a playoff spot in the West. Who would have thought that? However, Henrik Sedin left this past Sunday’s game against the Sabres with an apparent leg injury. The Canucks need Sedin to be healthy if they want a chance at making the postseason.
3-17-14: The Canucks gave up seven goals to the New York Islanders in the third period last week. Yes, you did read that right. Seven goals! Swedish goalie Eddie Lack is now the Canucks' top goalie, but that's not the main problem in Vancouver. The Canucks have lost 22 of their last 29 games and have been decimated by injuries. They did have a shootout win over Roberto Luongo and the Panthers this past Sunday. However, trouble has been brewing for months.
3-10-14: The dumpster fire that is the Vancouver Canucks. One year ago, Vancouver had both Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider as their goalies. Now, they have neither. The mistake, however, was not trading Luongo at the deadline to Florida, it was trading Schneider in the offseason to New Jersey with no clear plan for the future. The Canucks have lost four straight games and are an absolute mess. Don’t be surprised if John Tortorella gets the axe at season’s end. Ryan Kesler can’t wait to get out now.
'3-3-14: Vancouver is taking on water and they’re sinking fast. They had a 1-1-1 start to the post-Olympic break schedule with backup goaltender Eddie Lack starting all three games. The Canucks scored four goals in those three contests and ticked off Roberto Luongo in the process. Will GM Mike Gillis trade Ryan Kesler? Kesler publically denies he requested a trade out of Vancouver despite recent reports. Vancouver would need to get a huge package in return for Kesler. The Penguins, Flyers, Blackhawks, and Red Wings are all interested in the Ohio State product.
2-10-14: The free fall in Vancouver has finally taken the Canucks out of a playoff spot. The Canucks have lost seven in a row, all in regulation, and have scored 10 goals in those games. It doesn’t help that Henrik Sedin has been hurt with a rib injury. Still, this team just can’t score. GM Mike Gillis will be active come the trade deadline and Matt Moulson could be a guy the Canucks target to help with their scoring woes.
2-3-14: Vancouver has a lone regulation win in its last 10 games, and even that came by a single goal against the lowly Edmonton Oilers. The Canucks currently hang on to the final playoff position in the West by a single point, and the challenger Phoenix has a game in hand. Not the mention, the resurgent Winnipeg Jets sit only four points back as well. When push comes to shove, I believe the Canucks won’t make the playoffs. They have too many injuries and not enough consistent scoring.
1-27-14: Their 5-4 overtime win against Phoenix this past Sunday helped the Canucks improve to 3-1-0 in their past four games played. Vancouver appears to be finding themselves after losing eight of nine. The win created more distance between themselves and the Coyotes for a wild-card berth in the West. They are now only one point behind the Kings for third place in the Pacific. One has to think GM Mike Gillis will be active during the trade deadline.
1-20-14: Vancouver is in the middle of an ugly slump. In their last 10 games the team has gone 2-5-3 and has a lone nonshootout victory. The Canucks have seen their comfortable lead slip away and the team is in a dogfight with Minnesota and Phoenix for the two wild-card spots in the West. Henrik Sedin's streak of 678 consecutive games played nearly came to an end on Saturday against Calgary thanks to a rib injury. He was able to play and make it 679, but the Canucks center played a little over 12 minutes.
1-13-14: The Canucks snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 home victory against the Blues this past Friday. Before the mini slump, the Canucks had a 10-1-1 run. Vancouver is still nestled comfortably in a playoff spot and it would take a lot more losing for the Canucks to be in the danger zone for missing the postseason. Since Roberto Luongo went down with an injury in Dallas on Dec. 19 and another in his first game back in Los Angeles on Jan. 4, Eddie Lack is 4-1-3 in net.
1-7-14: Vancouver has lost four straight games. Losses to Anaheim and Los Angeles are somewhat understandable, but they were preceded by losses against a Steven Stamkos-less Tampa Bay and the Flyers. The Canucks are comfortably in the playoffs but not in a great position; if the postseason started today they would be looking at a first-round matchup against Chicago. Good luck with that one. Disappointing winger David Booth continues to slump as he has a single assist and has gone minus-two in his last eight contests.
12-30-13: The Canucks are 3-1-1 in their past five games and 10-1-1 in December. Even with their dominant play, the Canucks are still nothing more than a wild card team in the West. They have a lot of work to do if they want to win the Pacific Division. Eddie Lack has filled in quite well for the injured Roberto Luongo, going 3-0-0 while stopping 64 of 66 shots. Vancouver has the best penalty kill in the league clicking at 89.5 percent.
12-23-13: Vancouver has all of one regulation loss in 11 December games and have now won two in a row.
With 50 points, the Canucks reasonably secure in a playoff spot in the West. They have a six point lead on Phoenix, though the Coyotes do have four games in hand. Eddie Lack came in this past Sunday in relief of an injured Roberto Luongo and stopped 15 of 16 shots he faced. The Vancouver backup now has a 6-2-0 record and .928 save percentage.
12-16-13: The NHL’s hottest team is in Vancouver. The Canucks have seven straight by a combined score of 24-8. They defeated the Boston Bruins 6-2 this past Saturday to complete a five-game home stand at 5-0. What does a seven-game win streak in the Western Conference get you? It has Vancouver from a team fighting for the final wild-card spot to a team with a small lead for the first wild-card spot. Not only are the Canucks perfect in December, but so is their penalty kill which is 20-of-20 shorthanded this month.
12-9-13: The Canucks went 2-6-2 over their last 10 games in November, and started off December well wins over Nashville, Phoenix and Colorado. Vancouver currently sits in the final wild card spot in the West, with Colorado one point ahead and Phoenix two points behind. Why John Tortorella continues to have Tom Sestito in the lineup baffles me. The 6'5", 228-pound goon has just two points and a minus-seven rating in 32 games this season.
12-2-13: Entering this past week, the Canucks had all but two wins in the entire month of November, yet they managed to equal that total in all of four days. After a lousy home stand, Vancouver won two out of three away from Rogers Arena. Alex Burrows has been a good productive player for Vancouver over the past couple of seasons. Yet Burrows has just three points, all of them assists, in 17 games this season.
11-25-13: The Canucks have been sputtering of late going 3-4-3 over their last 10 games played. Vancouver’s only win this week was a 6-2 thumping of the Blue Jackets. The Sedins have played well this season combining for 56 points thus far. The problem with Vancouver lies in their secondary scoring. After the Sedins and Kesler, there is not much help. The Canucks have a big game against the Rangers this week as John Tortorella and Alain Vigneault square off for the first time in New York.
11-18-13: The Canucks dropped both games they played this week to Dallas and San Jose. They ran into a hot Kari Lehtonen who stopped 42 shots, and then Antti Niemi made 34 saves to beat Vancouver. The Canucks powerplay currently sits at 27th overall in the NHL clicking at 11.6 percent. Vancouver has an NHL worst 5.8 percent shooting percentage with the man advantage. As of today, the Canucks would be out of the playoffs in the highly-competitive Western Conference.
11-12-13: The Canucks have dropped three of their last four games, but have close in all four games. Mike Santorelli has 12 points through 20 games while Brad Richardson has 10 points in 20 games. Santorelli is averaging over 20:00 minutes of ice time per night. The crazy thing about the success of Santorelli and Richardson is both were depth acquisitions at the start of the season. The Canucks have a better record on the road than they do at home.
11-5-13: On Pavel Bure jersey retirement night last Satuday, the Canucks defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0. Vancouver is 7-2-1 in their past 10 games and is still fourth in the Pacific Division. Ryan Kesler, Henrik Sedin, and Daniel Sedin are three of the league’s top four forwards in ice time. Love him or hate him, John Tortorella is getting the Canucks to play his style of hockey. You have to admit the Canucks are much more discipline and better team with Torts at the helm.
10-29-13: Vancouver went 5-1-1 on their seven-game road trip, including a 3-2 overtime win against the Blues. The Canucks power play has struggled this year. Their 11.8% is good for 24th overall in the NHL. The Canucks have been terrible this year with the five-on-four shooting percentage. Vancouver is shooting 5.3%, which is far behind the team’s rate from last season. The much maligned John Tortorella has been getting the best out of his players so far this season in Vancouver.
10-21-13: Who would have thought former Florida Panther Mike Santorelli would be the Canucks leading goal scorer? Santorelli has four goals and two assists on the year and is receiving a career high 18:32 per game in ice time. The Canucks played an epic game against the Pens last Saturday in which they lost in the shootout. Their powerplay is ranked 27th overall in the league which should have head coach John Tortorella concerned. Super pest Alex Burrows is sidelined with an ankle injury.
10-14-13: Part of the Canucks struggles early on is their unsuccessful powerplay. They ranked in the bottom half of the league in powerplay percentage. The slow starts of Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins should have Canucks fans worried. Kesler, who has been injury prone over the last three seasons, is crucial if Vancouver wants to win that elusive first Stanley Cup. Chris Higgins has never found his groove since coming to the Canucks from Florida in 2011.
10-7-13: John Tortorella got his first win in Vancouver against the Oilers after a disappointing opening-night loss to San Jose. They came back from 3-0 down to beat Calgary in overtime. Much maligned goaltender Roberto Luongo has been okay in his two starts.
9-4-13: and with new coach, John Tortorella at the helm, this 2013-14 NHL Season will be an interesting one. Only one player on the current Vancouver roster is familiar with John Torts’ rough coaching style, and, gathered from the quotes from players, anticipation of training camp stems from apprehension and mystery about their new bench boss. New additions to the line-up include acquiring UFA forwards Brad Richardson, Ben Ferriero and Yannick Weber solidifies the insurance that youth is tantamount in the pursuit of success.
The Canucks are a talent-laden team that is highly competitive in a tight Pacific Division. The tough coaching style of John Tortorella could transform the soft, scorned skin of last years Canucks in to the rough, riot on the ice team that were one victory away from Lord Stanley two years ago. The only problem is they have they Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Phoenix Coyotes, whose players know their coaches and perennially contend for Pacific Division’s number one spot.
7-25-13: Veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo will be back with the Canucks next season.
Canucks 2013 NHL Draft Summary:
Pick #9 (via Devils): Bo Horvat, C
Pick #24: Hunter Shinkaruk, C/LW
Pick #85: Cole Cassels, C
Pick #115: Jordan Subban, D
Pick #145: Anton Cederholm, D
Pick #175: Mike Williamson, D
Pick #205: Miles Liberati, D