Pass it to Bulis

Pass it to Bulis is Harrison Mooney and Daniel Wagner. The official Canucks blog of the Vancouver Courier, PITB is also the only blog that knows who needs the puck.
  • With Thatcher Demko on the shelf, will Michael DiPietro get his second career start?

    Michael DiPietro’s first career NHL start was a disaster, but it wasn’t really his fault. He was unexpectedly thrown into action because the Canucks ran out of goaltenders. DiPietro’s second start should be under more controlled circumstances. There’s no reason for him to be forced into a game before he’s ready. Even if Markstrom were to get injured, the Canucks have more goaltenders under contract. They called up DiPietro because he’s been the Utica Comets’ best goaltender this season, not because they had no other option.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 13, 2019

  • IWTG: Magnificent Markstrom battens down the hatches against the Hurricanes with 43-save shutout

    That was legitimately one of the greatest goaltending performances in Canucks history. Jacob Markstrom was a rock in net, but was unfortunately also an island, as the rest of the team couldn’t muster much against the relentless Carolina Hurricanes attack. As a result, Markstrom had to win this game almost single-handedly.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 13, 2019

  • Canucks are playing injuries extremely close to the vest this season

    Micheal Ferland doesn’t have a concussion. That’s about all the Canucks would reveal about Ferland over the last couple days after he left Tuesday’s game with a vague “upper body injury” in his first game back after suffering a concussion earlier in the season. Travis Green was a little more forthcoming about Ferland’s status at Thursday’s game day skate, saying that Ferland was seeing specialists as he’s experiencing “symptoms,” but is not in the concussion protocol.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 12, 2019

  • The Canucks are mediocre, but mediocre teams make the playoffs

    This looks like the best Canucks team in five years. The only problem is that doesn’t mean much. Over the past four seasons, the Canucks were the lowest-scoring team in the NHL and had the second-worst record in the league, just one point ahead of their expansion cousins, the Buffalo Sabres. This year, the Canucks look significantly better: they’re averaging nearly a goal more per game than over the past four seasons, have a power play that’s scoring on 27.2% of their opportunities as opposed to 17.2%, and boast one of the best lines in the NHL in J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 12, 2019

  • When Elias Pettersson misses the net, he hits more posts than anyone else

    Elias Pettersson hits a lot of posts and crossbars. Just look at the Canucks’ last game against the Toronto Maple Leafs: looking for a comeback in the third period, Pettersson nailed the crossbar with two hard wrist shots. Pettersson looked skyward after his shots beat Frederik Andersen, but not the bar, lamenting the missed opportunity.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 11, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks fall afoul of Frederik Andersen and can't stop John Tavares, lose to Leafs 4-1

    The Toronto Maple Leafs were in Vancouver, so you know what that means: pointless arguments between Leafs and Canucks fans. These arguments always seem odd, as they always come down to which fanbase is sadder. Is it the Canucks for never winning a Cup since they came into the league in 1970? Is it the Leafs for not winning a Cup since three years prior to that? Do Leafs fans get to be more sad because they were robbed of going to the Stanley Cup Final by an uncalled high stick or Canucks fans for losing a Stanley Cup because everyone got injured and a journeyman goaltender turned into Dominik Hasek for a season? This season, the argument has turned to who’s doing a better job rebuilding and I have to admit I’m confused. When did Canucks fans decide it was time to start dunking on the Leafs when it comes to rebuilding the right way?

    Daniel WagnerDecember 11, 2019

  • Vasili Podkolzin and Nils Höglander among four Canucks prospects named to World Junior rosters

    Toni Utunen and Karel Plášek report to their respective camps, while Jett Woo is snubbed again by Team Canada.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 10, 2019

  • Quinn Hughes and Tyler Myers have more similarities than differences

    The differences between Quinn Hughes and Tyler Myers are immediately apparent. There’s the obvious: Myers is the tallest player in Canucks history at a towering 6’8”. Myers' stick, at 66 inches long, is actually taller than the shortest player in Canucks history, the 5’5” Bobby Lalonde. Meanwhile, Hughes is generously listed at 5’10”, meaning the two defencemen are nearly a foot apart in height, something quite clear when you see them standing together on the ice.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 9, 2019

  • IWTG: Two goals from Roussel, Leivo lead to magnificent Miller OT winner as Canucks cap the Sabres

    I may not be old enough to have watched the Canucks play in the Flying V jerseys, but I still have a nostalgic connection the most maligned sweater in franchise history, which is saying a lot when it comes to the Canucks. The first Canucks jersey I ever owned was a black Flying V jersey, a hand-me-down from my older brother. I wore it to school proudly during the 1994 playoff run when I was nine years old and I was definitely the only kid at school wearing the V.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 7, 2019

  • As injured players return, Canucks send down Nikolay Goldobin

    Antoine Roussel’s return to the Canucks lineup from ACL surgery couldn’t have gone better. His return coincided with his idol, Alex Burrows, going up into the Ring of Honour. On top of that, he scored the game’s opening goal on his very first shift: it almost seemed scripted. Roussel isn’t the only injured Canuck making his way back into the lineup, however. Jay Beagle, Micheal Ferland, and Brandon Sutter were all back at practice on Friday, taking part in line rushes with the other forwards.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 6, 2019

  • You should watch this breakdown of Quinn Hughes’ defensive play [VIDEO]

    Quinn Hughes has been a beast on the power play for the Vancouver Canucks. Despite being a rookie, Hughes leads all NHL defencemen in power play points and has been a big part of why the Canucks’ power play is fourth in the NHL, converting on 26.8% of their chances. Hughes has also been effective in transition, moving the puck up ice with his skating and passing to create offensive opportunities at even strength. There is one question that dogs offensive defencemen, particularly rookie offensive defencemen, and particularly particularly undersized rookie offensive defencemen: how do they play defensively?

    Daniel WagnerDecember 5, 2019

  • Jake Virtanen has all the tools, but his frustrating defensive play is holding him back

    Jake Virtanen has every tool a hockey player could want. Virtanen has elite speed on his skates, great hands developed with skills coach Pavel Barber, a strong and solid frame for delivering body checks, a heavy wrist shot that is particularly deadly on the rush, and has even shown in recent games that he can deliver a nice pass. His backhand saucer pass to set up Elias Pettersson for a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins last week was as neat and tidy as you could ask for. When Virtanen is on his game, he’s a boon to the Canucks, creating opportunities out of seemingly innocuous rushes with his speed alone. The trouble is that Virtanen isn’t always on his game.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 5, 2019

  • Canucks will wear their skate jersey for one extra game this season: Saturday against the Sabres

    A few weeks back, the Canucks lost a Saturday game to the Colorado Avalanche, but they looked good doing it. It wasn’t just the thrilling last-minute comeback to force overtime; the Canucks looked sharp because of their jerseys. That game was the debut of the Canucks’ retro 50th anniversary jersey, a throwback to the flying skate jersey they wore for much of the 90’s. The jersey won a fan vote over a year ago to be the team’s special retro jersey this season and fans were delighted to see it back on the ice. The Canucks had to get special permission from the NHL to have a fourth jersey in their 50th anniversary season and only got approval to wear the black skate jersey on three nights: November 16th versus the Colorado Avalanche, January 4th versus the New York Rangers, and February 10th versus the Nashville Predators.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 4, 2019

  • Canucks prospect Tyler Madden keeps racking up goals in his sophomore season with Northeastern

    When it comes to drafting out of the USHL, Canucks fans have learned to have faith in Judd Brackett. Brock Boeser was a steal at 23rd overall; the only player with more goals per game than Boeser from the 2015 draft is Connor McDavid. Likewise, Adam Gaudette wouldn’t make it to the fifth round, where the Canucks picked him, in a 2015 redraft. Then there are the prospects that have yet to reach the NHL, but have potential, with Tyler Madden a prime example. Madden has had an unreal start to his sophomore season with Northeastern University, scoring 12 goals and 22 points in 16 games.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 4, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks take inspiration from Alex Burrows to send the Senators packing

    It’s only fitting that on the night the Canucks honoured the most famous Frenchman in franchise history that another Frenchman returned to the lineup. It was even more fitting that said Frenchman also opened the scoring. The team’s most famous Frenchman, no offence to “King” Richard Brodeur and Andre Boudrias, is Alex Burrows, whose smiling visage, name, and number were added to the Canucks’ Ring of Honour on Tuesday night. It was a truly touching ceremony, as Burrows spoke extemporaneously at length, thanking all the people that contributed to his fantastic career.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 4, 2019

  • If you're not a Canucks fan, you'll never understand Alex Burrows

    “Burrows? Do We Really Need Him?” Thus began the most legendary thread in the history of the Canucks.com forums. Fans that were on those forums when it was posted back in 2008 will be well familiar with the thread, but even if you weren’t, you might have seen references to it in the decade since it was posted.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 3, 2019

  • IWTG: Oilers spoil Canucks homecoming, tallying two key goals on Eriksson penalties

    With the advent of December, the Canucks’ November nightmare is finally over. It remains to be seen whether the Canucks can pick up the pieces and put them back together in the months to come. Before the month from hell began, I suggested that surviving November would convince me the Canucks were a playoff team. Did they survive? Well, sort of.

    Daniel WagnerDecember 2, 2019

  • IWTG: Eriksson scores, Horvat line powers Canucks past Oilers

    Sometimes with hockey you get a weird one. Sometimes you get a hard work one, or a high scoring one. And sometimes you get a little bit of everything and some extra stuff you didn’t expect, like a . . .

    Will GrahamDecember 1, 2019

  • Elias Pettersson has the most effective slap shot in the NHL: shooting percentages by shot type

    Certain NHL players are described as having an elite shot, but one of the issues with that statement is that it’s a little too vague. There are multiple techniques to shooting the puck in hockey, and even some of the best snipers in the game are far better at certain types of shots than they are at others. Take Brock Boeser for example. Boeser has a wicked wrist shot, arguably one of the best in the NHL. It’s how he destroyed all comers in the accuracy competition at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game and a big reason why he has 69 goals through his first 166 games in the NHL. If he had been able to stay healthy, he would surely have two 30-goal seasons already under his belt at the age of 22.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 29, 2019

  • Quinn Hughes already looks like an elite power play quarterback

    The Paper Feature is a weekly column and sidebars that appears in the print edition of the Vancouver Courier newspaper. Track it down! The Canucks’ power play has a tendency towards . . .

    Daniel WagnerNovember 28, 2019

  • IWTG: Penguins score five-straight third period goals in Canucks' colossal collapse

    If you try to look up “coach’s nightmare” in the dictionary, you won’t see a picture of this game for several reasons. One is that most people no longer own a dictionary and rely on their phones and the internet to provide definitions of words. So, for many of you, your search for a dictionary in which to look up the phrase “coach’s nightmare” will prove fruitless, and your sleep will be fitful and restless for the next week.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 28, 2019

  • Canucks call up Nikolay Goldobin, send down Sven Baertschi, because you apparently can’t have both

    Travis Green had a simple message for Nikolay Goldobin when he got waived prior to the start of the season: “Keep going.” He kept going. Goldobin could have taken his demotion to the AHL with bitterness. Instead, he’s become a leader for the Utica Comets, committed himself to developing his two-way game, and outright dominated offensively.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 26, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks waste a fantastic performance from Thatcher Demko, fall to the Flyers

    It’s easy to forget, sometimes, that the Canucks don’t have just one hotshot rookie, but two. Quinn Hughes is averaging over 20 minutes per game, is second among rookies in scoring, and is in the top-5 in power play points in the entire NHL, but he’s not the only rookie that has played a key role for the Canucks this season. Thatcher Demko currently leads all rookie goaltenders in save percentage and goals against average. Among the 51 goaltenders with at least five starts this season, Demko is 15th in save percentage, ahead of the likes of Andrei Vasilevskiy, John Gibson, Braden Holtby, Matt Murray, and Carey Price.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 25, 2019

  • The Canucks shouldn’t have any retired numbers and other unpopular Canucks opinions

    Twitter was abuzz last week with controversial food opinions. A trending topic kicked off rather innocently by a baseball blogger and analyst, thousands of people jumped into the conversation to declare their hate or love for certain foods. In my opinion, controversial hockey opinions are far more fun than controversial food opinions, so I went on Twitter to ask for unpopular Canucks opinions. Here are the best and most controversial.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 25, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks lower the Capitals’ case in the shootout

    On Saturday, the Washington Capitals held Hockey Fights Cancer Night and declared an “honourary starting lineup,” bringing out six young kids, who have battled or are currently battling cancer, with the Capitals’ actual starting lineup. It was an emotional sight and even re-watching the video brought tears to my eyes.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 23, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks win 6-3 as Dan Murphy celebrates 20 years on TV and Preds celebrate 20 years on PK

    Sometimes, either by choice or extenuating circumstances, you may not be able to show up for something you otherwise would. Former Canuck Artem Chubarov never showed up to collect his car from the underground parking at GM place because he was in such a hurry to return to his home country of Russia. Marlon Brando did not show up to accept his Oscar for The Godfather at the 1973 Academy Awards because he wanted to protest the treatment of Native Americans in Hollywood. And for whatever reason, the Nashville Predators failed to show up whenever they were forced to kill off a penalty tonight.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 22, 2019

  • Canucks shake up their defence pairings for the first time this season

    Through all of the Canucks’ roster changes and line juggling this season, there’s been one constant: the defence. Apart from one game where Quinn Hughes was injured, the Canucks have used the same defence pairings all season: a top pairing of Alex Edler and Tyler Myers, a second pairing of Hughes and Chris Tanev, and a third pairing of Jordie Benn and Troy Stecher. At Thursday’s game day skate in Nashville, however, the Canucks made a change on their defence. They’ll go into their game against the Predators with two completely different defence pairings.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 21, 2019

  • The Canucks may be struggling, but there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic

    When you’re following a sports team, it’s easy to get caught up in the game-to-game results, riding a rollercoaster of emotion through an entire season. A win fills you with elation and optimism; a loss, crushing disappointment. This doesn’t just apply to fans. When Canucks head coach Travis Green was asked to assess the Canucks’ season after a loss to the Dallas Stars last week, he had to catch himself before he spoke. “I think you’re catching me on a night when we lose a hockey game,” he said. “If you asked me after the Nashville game, I’d probably be a little more optimistic.”

    Daniel WagnerNovember 21, 2019

  • Canucks haven’t scored a one-timer goal on the power play this season (and other PP investigations)

    The power play has been one of the most frustrating and baffling elements of the Canucks season so far. At times, the power play has looked unstoppable, seemingly scoring at will, and their overall power play percentage is in the top 10 in the NHL at 23.3%. Other times, the power play has looked disastrous, unable to either gain the offensive zone or too slow to move the puck and create scoring chances when they do.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 20, 2019

  • IWTG: Stars go supernova on the Canucks in Dallas

    That was rough. Rougher than a 40-grit sandpaper massage. Rougher than taking a commuter bike down a double black diamond mountain bike trail. Rougher than riding Bushwacker the bull in your birthday suit. The Canucks have struggled in November and won just one of their last seven games heading into Tuesday’s matchup with the Dallas Stars, but they haven’t actually been playing that poorly. You could argue that they deserved better in several of those losses. Against the Stars, however, they deserved exactly what they got.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 20, 2019

  • The Prospector: Jack Rathbone is racking up points for Harvard without Adam Fox

    Harvard University is wrecking the ECAC conference to start the 2019-20 season and at the heart of their dominance sits Canucks prospect Jack Rathbone. Through five games, the Crimson are undefeated, outscoring their opponents 27-7. That includes big wins over tough competition like Dartmouth and Quinnipiac. While they have yet to face their century-long rivals, the also undefeated Cornell, Harvard has quickly established themselves as one of the top teams in the conference.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 19, 2019

  • Antoine Roussel returns to full contact practice, which is good news for Bo Horvat

    The Canucks could use some reinforcements. Brandon Sutter has a groin strain and it’s unclear when he might return. Micheal Ferland has been out since the end of October with a concussion and there’s still no timetable for his return to the lineup. Then there’s Tyler Motte, who has been out since October 25th with a broken foot. Injuries haven’t entirely been the cause of the Canucks’ slide in November, but they haven’t helped. The Canucks could really use some good news on the injury front, and they got some on Monday. Not only did Jay Beagle return to practice after missing three games with an undisclosed injury, but also Antoine Roussel skated with the team in a regular jersey for the first time this season.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 18, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks can't stop Nathan MacKinnon after forcing overtime in thrilling comeback

    I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but the Canucks have lost more games than they’ve won this season. With Saturday’s overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the Canucks are now 10-7-4, which means they’ve won 10 games and lost 11. It’s certainly some consolation that they’ve been able to squeeze a point out of four of those losses, but it’s certainly disconcerting. The Canucks have now lost six of their last seven games and, while it’s not time to hit the panic button, it might be worth moving towards it while trying to act casual, then lightly rest your hand on the molly-guard encasing the panic button, ready to lift the guard and press the button at a moment's notice, just in case.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 17, 2019

  • IWTG: Stars frustrate the Canucks to continue November's woes

    “October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron.” That was J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but she may as well have been writing about the 2019-20 Canucks season. October was going so well, then November showed up and extinguished the good times like a candle in a Jack O’Lantern at the end of Halloween. The Canucks have won just two of eight games in November, with a 2-4-2 record. November has taken its toll in injuries, taking two centres out of the lineup in Brandon Sutter and Jay Beagle, and taken its toll in fatigue, as players have had to play big minutes against tough opponents.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 15, 2019

  • Brock Boeser is still sniping goals, but his well-rounded game is leading the way

    Brock Boeser took the pass from Elias Pettersson down the left wing. The Winnipeg Jets defenceman, Neal Pionk, closed quickly, knowing that if Boeser got room to shoot, he could pick a corner and give the Vancouver Canucks the lead. Then Boeser did something unexpected: he lowered his shoulder into Pionk, knocking the defenceman off stride. Boeser spun off the contact with the puck, then cut back, sending Pionk flailing wildly past him. That opened up a passing lane to Troy Stecher, who was trailing the play. A moment later, Stecher sent a back door pass to J.T. Miller for a tap-in goal. Brock Boeser is known primarily for his deadly wrist shot, but as the 2019-20 season has progressed, he’s proven that he’s more than just a one-trick pony.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 14, 2019

  • Canucks call up Zack MacEwen and Tyler Graovac in wake of injuries to bottom-six

    Injuries are unavoidable in an NHL season, even if it seems the Canucks have had more than their fair share over the years. November is around when those injuries start to crop up, as the wear and tear of the season begins to set in. That’s likely part of the reason the Canucks have had such a lousy record in the month of November in recent years, as injuries have exposed their lack of depth. The Canucks have to hope that their improved depth this season will be enough, as the injuries are beginning. The first significant injury of the season appears to be to Brandon Sutter.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 13, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks get back to winning ways with powerplay-fueled win over Predators

    Happy Birthday, Elias Pettersson. The Canucks superstar centre turned 21 on Tuesday, which boggles the mind. Prior to reaching his 21st birthday, Pettersson had already become one of the best players in the NHL, tied for 10th in NHL scoring with none other than Alex Ovechkin. It’s wild to think that Pettersson isn’t even in his prime yet. This is the pre-prime Pettersson. He’s the beta test that is already one of the best video games you’ve ever played. He’s the leaked demo that immediately goes on all your playlists. He’s the movie trailer that gets nominated for an Oscar.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 13, 2019

  • Canucks continue to rotate Bo Horvat’s linemates, hoping to find 5-on-5 scoring

    From one perspective, Bo Horvat is having an excellent season. He’s fourth on the team in scoring with six goals and 14 points in 18 games, putting him on-pace for 27 goals and 64 points, which would match or best his career highs from last season. Even if you look at his underlying numbers at 5-on-5, Horvat is excelling. His corsi percentage is the highest its ever been at 54.7%, which is right behind the top line of J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser among Canucks forwards. There’s just one problem: Horvat isn’t scoring at even-strength.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 12, 2019

  • Millennials killed Coach’s Corner

    When I was a kid, I thought Don Cherry knew everything about hockey. My family didn’t have cable, so my hockey fandom was reliant on three sources: hockey cards, Hockey Night in Canada, and Don Cherry’s Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em. Hockey Night in Canada was the only time I was able to watch NHL hockey and Don Cherry was a central figure. The refrains of the Coach’s Corner theme song during the intermissions let me know that the titular coach was about to dispense some wisdom. He would always take the time to talk to “you kids out there” and I felt like he was talking directly to me.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 11, 2019

  • IWTG: Brock Boeser snipes one, but Mackenzie Blackwood stops the rest as Devils quash the Canucks

    The first meeting between Quinn and Jack Hughes was a little underwhelming. While it did boast a big moment for the Hughes’ brothers — Jack’s first career NHL goal — it lacked a little in the entertainment department. Jack’s was the only goal of the game and the two teams combined for just 49 shots, the fewest shots in a Canucks game this season. Heck, the Canucks had 49 shots by themselves a few games later against the Los Angeles Kings. So, would the sequel offer a little more entertainment value? Would it land among the all-time great sequels — Hughes Trek II: The Wrath of Quinn — or would it be among the worst — Hughes Bigalow: European Gigolo.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 10, 2019

  • IWTG: Connor Hellebuyck steals goals and the show in Jets win over Canucks

    November was always going to be a tough month for the Canucks. It always is. Over the last four seasons, the Canucks’ record in November is 19-29-9, a pace of just 68 points over 82 games. In other words, they’ve performed like a last-place team in the month of November. This season’s edition of November is particularly tough, featuring 15 games in 30 days, giving the team little time to res, as well as tougher opponents compared to October’s easier schedule. But this season’s edition of the Canucks is also a lot tougher, with a high-powered offence, improved defence, and a one-two punch of solid goaltending. If any Canucks team could disrupt the November narrative, this one could.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 8, 2019

  • IWTG: Blackhawks cancel Canucks' point streak, Chris Tanev is hurt again

    I believe Han Solo said it best: “Don’t get cocky.” The Canucks’ point streak had to end sometime. They went into Chicago with points in eight-straight games and the best goal differential in the Western Conference. They left with their fourth loss in regulation of the season and, well, still the best goal differential in the Western Conference, because man, they really built up a lead in that department. Perhaps the Canucks were taking the challenge presented by the Chicago Blackhawks a little lightly. The Blackhawks came into the game with a 4-7-3 record, with two of their four wins coming in overtime. They’re one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 8, 2019

  • Canucks have been at their most dangerous off the rush

    Over the last four seasons, the Canucks have been the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, leading to the perennial question: “Who’s going to score goals?” The Canucks’ 2.44 goals per game over the last four seasons was dead last, just a bit below the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, and New Jersey Devils. Even in the best of those four seasons — the 2018-19 seasons — the Canucks only averaged 2.67 goals per game, which still ranked them 26th in the NHL. This season, however, the Canucks’ offence has been like Will Smith’s life: flipped, turned upside down.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 7, 2019

  • Alex Edler and Tyler Myers are one of the best defence pairings in the NHL

    Take one aging veteran defenceman, whose injuries have taken a toll on him in recent years. Even as he’s continued to put up points, his play has quietly been on the decline. Add a big-name free agent defenceman, whose signing was excoriated by the hockey analytics world, as he’s consistently given up far more defensively than he ever contributes offensively. Put them together and what do you get? One of the best defence pairings in the NHL.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 7, 2019

  • IWTG: Bizarro overtime 3-on-0 provides weird finish to hard-fought Canucks loss to the Blues

    There has just been one nagging question about the Canucks’ hot start: their schedule. Through their first 14 games of the season, the Canucks faced just four teams that made the playoffs last season. While they’ve dominated some of the lesser lights in the NHL this season, there has been that one issue just hanging around annoyingly like Navi in Zelda: Ocarina of Time. How will the Canucks handle the tougher parts of the schedule? Will the game that’s been so effective against the likes of the Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings still work against the teams that are true Stanley Cup contenders? Despite the loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, the answer appears to be unequivocally yes.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 6, 2019

  • Sutter and Leivo might be the winning combination for secondary scoring for the Canucks

    The Canucks’ first line of Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and J.T. Miller is one of the best lines in hockey. Together, they have utterly dominated their opponents. Pettersson is now sixth in the NHL in scoring and was named the NHL’s first star of the week after racking up 9 points in 4 games. Boeser and Miller are not far behind, at 15th and 19th in NHL scoring, respectively. A few other players, however, have been big contributors to the Canucks’ offensive surge to start the season. At 5-on-5, the three forwards right behind Pettersson, Boeser, and Miller in scoring are Brandon Sutter, Josh Leivo, and Jake Virtanen.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 5, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks beach the Sharks with two goals from Elias Pettersson

    The San Jose Sharks are falling apart. They lost four-straight games to start the season and had lost another four in a row heading into Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. That includes a 5-2 loss to the awful Ottawa Senators, who have won just three games all season. The Sharks are now dead last in the Western Conference, with the second-worst goal differential in the NHL at minus-20. Sharks blog Fear the Fin is full of articles with titles like Everything is bad, What’s wrong with the Sharks?, and Rock bottom. Morale is low.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 3, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks can't crack John Gibson, succumb to Ducks in overtime

    Never mind the game, is Quinn Hughes okay? With five minutes remaining in the first period, Hughes went down to the ice on what looked like a pretty routine play. He wasn’t tripped or hit by . . .

    Daniel WagnerNovember 2, 2019

  • Canucks call up Sven Baertschi, but weather delays could keep him out of the lineup

    It looks like Micheal Ferland could be out for a little while. The gritty winger suffered an upper-body injury and didn’t play another shift after dropping the gloves with Kyle Clifford in Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Fortunately, the Canucks have some good depth that they can call on with the Utica Comets — legitimate, NHL-caliber depth that, quite frankly, shouldn’t be in the AHL. Sven Baertschi has been called up from the Comets and is making his way to California to join the team.

    Daniel WagnerNovember 1, 2019

  • If the Canucks can survive November, they might just be a playoff team

    The Canucks rolled through October like kids on Halloween through the neighbourhood that gives out full-size chocolate bars: they were racking up big wins at pretty much every stop. Their 8-3-1 record has them second in the Western Conference and sixth in the NHL in points percentage. They currently sit second in the Pacific Division, with two games in hand on the first place Edmonton Oilers, who have started to show some warts after their hot start, losing to Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings teams that the Canucks blew out of the water. October has been good to the Canucks in recent years. In fact, in each of the last four seasons, the Canucks were in playoff position at the end of October. In 2015-16 and 2018-19, they were even first in the Pacific Division after the first month of the season.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 31, 2019

  • Elias Pettersson is building a more sustainable foundation for future success

    One of the little-discussed secrets of Elias Pettersson’s rookie season is that he was extremely unlikely to repeat his incredible performance. The Canucks’ phenom came roaring out of the gate, scoring a highlight-reel goal on the first shot of his career. He had 10 goals in his first 10 games, leading to comparisons to some of the all-time greats in NHL history. Even though he slowed down in the back half of the season, he broke franchise records and led all rookies in scoring by six goals and 21 points. There was just one issue: the rate at which he scored goals just wasn’t sustainable.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 31, 2019

  • IWTG: Pettersson's passing and Boeser's hat trick lead Canucks over the Kings

    At one point in the recent past, the California road trip was one to be feared by the Canucks, an appropriate trip to begin on the eve of Halloween. The trio of California teams were a dominant force in the Pacific Division, each of them a heavy, physical team that also possessed an abundance of skill. The California road trip was like running a gauntlet: you hoped to survive as much or more than win. Now, however, the California teams are a shadow of their former selves.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 31, 2019

  • The Canucks are one of the best faceoff teams in the league (with help from a winger)

    You would expect a team with Manny Malhotra as an assistant coach would be good in the faceoff circle. The former enabler was a beast in the faceoff circle in his NHL career, with multiple seasons above a 60% success rate and finishing with a 56.4% faceoff for his career, which is good for 16th-best all-time since the NHL started tracking faceoff statistics. It’s fitting, then, that the Canucks are one of the best faceoff teams in the NHL, with a 54.9% faceoff percentage, second behind only the Philadelphia Flyers. It helps that they have Jay Beagle, one of just a few active NHLers with a career faceoff percentage better than Malhotra’s.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 30, 2019

  • Catching up with the Canucks’ former defencemen from last season

    The biggest overhaul of the offseason for the Canucks came on defence. Half of their starting six are new to the team this season, apart from Quinn Hughes’ five-game stint at the end of last season. Even their seventh defenceman, Oscar Fantenberg, is new to the team. That means they’ve moved on from a number of other defencemen from last season, some of which were with the team for years, while others for just a couple months.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 29, 2019

  • Canucks prospect Nils Höglander scored an absolutely insane “lacrosse” goal in the SHL

    Nils Höglander just scored the goal of the year. The competition is over, we’re calling it now, no other goals need apply. Heck, he just scored the goal of several years. For the next few seasons, every list of the year’s top goals has to have Höglander’s goal at number one.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 29, 2019

  • IWTG: Everybody gets involved as Canucks rout the Panthers

    After Friday’s debacle against the Washington Capitals, you’d think the last thing the Canucks would want to do is take a 5-1 lead. Really, that’s just tempting fate: you already gave up a 5-1 lead a few days ago and now you want to risk doing so again? That’s just foolhardy. And yet, there the Canucks were in the first period, tempting fate in every way possible. With a minute left in the first period, they were up 4-1, a nice, safe lead. A respectable lead that you can take home and introduce to your parents.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 29, 2019

  • Little lineup change for the Canucks on Monday: Loui Eriksson is back in

    The Canucks have started the season with a solid 6-3-1 record, putting them right in the thick of things in the Pacific Division. Most impressively, they’ve gotten off to this start without their highest-paid forward. Okay, maybe impressive isn’t the word. The Canucks’ highest-paid forward is Loui Eriksson, whose time in Vancouver has been marked by disappointment and a gradually-diminishing role on the team.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 28, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks lose four-goal lead late, fall in shootout to the Capitals

    Everything that was going right, went wrong. The power play gave up a shorthanded goal. Bounces went straight onto Capitals sticks and into the back of the net. Markstrom turned into a pumpkin, giving up three goals on six shots. And the refs swallowed their whistles, letting a couple clear calls against the Capitals go. It was a car crash. And, like a car crash, I couldn’t look away when I watched this game.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 26, 2019

  • Canucks send Adam Gaudette down to the AHL, because they wouldn’t stop winning

    Adam Gaudette gave the Canucks little choice with his play in the preseason: how could they cut Gaudette after he led the Canucks in goals with four in six games? The one obstacle to keeping him up in the NHL was his waiver status: as one of the few forwards exempt from waivers, it would have been easy to send him down and keep up a waiver eligible forward instead. Instead, the Canucks cleared that obstacle by waiving Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin, and Alex Biega to keep Gaudette on the roster. Sending Gaudette to the Utica Comets would have been a hard sell heading into the season. Now, however, as the Canucks have won four of their last five games without Gaudette in the lineup, it’s a lot easier: the Canucks sent Gaudette to the AHL on Thursday.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 24, 2019

  • Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko have been the biggest reason for the Canucks’ strong start

    A lot has to go right for the Canucks to make the 2020 playoffs. Elias Pettersson has to be even better in his sophomore season than he was as a rookie. The team’s overhauled defence has to quickly gel together in their all-new pairings. High-priced trade acquisition J.T. Miller has to perform in a top-six role. Early in the season, most of those things have gone right. Pettersson has struggled to get his goalscoring going, but is still a better-than point-per-game player, the defence looks much-improved from last season, and Miller has quickly exceeded expectations, tied for the team lead in points. As of result, the Canucks have won six of their last seven games and are sitting fourth in the Western Conference, with a plus-11 goal differential that ranks third in the NHL. They wouldn’t be anywhere near that spot in the standings, however, without the goaltending of Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 24, 2019

  • The Prospector: Kole Lind’s playmaking and agitation has him off to a hot start in Utica

    It’s hard to understate just how dominant the Utica Comets have been to start the AHL season. Through five games, the Comets are undefeated. They lead the league in both goal scoring and goals against, out-scoring their opponents 29-to-11. One of their most dominant wins was an 8-2 drubbing of the defending Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers. This dominance shouldn’t be entirely surprising, given their offensive attack is led by a couple players that arguably shouldn’t be in the AHL — Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin — as well as one of the top goalscorers in the AHL last season, Reid Boucher. Those three forwards are first, second, and third in points per game, while Boucher leads the AHL with 8 goals in 5 games. Beyond those three, however, it’s the performance of Kole Lind that is the most encouraging. Lind is currently fourth in scoring on the Comets behind Boucher, Goldobin, and Baertschi, with 7 points in 5 games.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 23, 2019

  • IWTG: Bo Horvat's hattrick caps off come-from-behind Canucks win over Red Wings

    This road trip couldn’t have gone much better for the Canucks. Any time you can take three out of four games on the road, you have to be satisfied. There were some bumps along the way — some wrinkles to iron out, rough edges to sand smooth, and snags to...well, unsnag — you can’t argue with the results. The team was looking forward to playing more games after a soft start to the schedule and they made the most of the opportunity.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 22, 2019

  • Why would the Canucks consider trading Troy Stecher?

    The word of the day is “rumblings.” On an appearance on the Halford and Brough show on TSN 1040, Bob McKenzie confirmed that he too has heard “rumblings” that the Canucks were exploring a Troy Stecher trade in the offseason. “We’ve heard rumblings that Stecher’s not all that happy, we’ve heard rumblings that Stecher was a name that was in trade rumours this off season,” said Jason Brough.”Have you heard his name at all in trade rumours?” “The same low rumble that you’ve heard,” replied McKenzie.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 22, 2019

  • Elias Pettersson hasn’t started a single shift in the defensive zone at 5-on-5 this season

    One of the most impressive elements of Elias Pettersson’s fantastic rookie season was that it wasn’t one-dimensional. He did more than just break Canucks rookie records for scoring; he also showed an aptitude for defending that eludes most 20-year-old rookies. That’s what makes it surprising that in his sophomore season, he’s being sheltered defensively to a very unusual degree. Not a single one of his 141 shifts at 5-on-5 has started in the defensive zone.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 21, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks dominate Rangers early and cling to one-goal lead late

    The Canucks have had a fairly easy schedule to start the season, with long breaks between games to ensure they’ve been well-rested every single game. That changed on this road trip, with one of the toughest turnarounds for a Western Conference team: back-to-back afternoon games on the east coast. If the Canucks were feeling the fatigue of jetlag, travel, and the odd start time, they didn’t show it to start the game. They dominated the first two periods, out-shooting the Rangers 37-to-23. For 40 minutes, the Rangers looked like they didn’t even belong in the same league as the Canucks, who poured on the pressure like syrup on the waffles they’d normally be eating for brunch at that time on the west coast. Then, when the Rangers turned the tables in the third and dominated the Canucks just as thoroughly, Jacob Markstrom was magnificent.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 20, 2019

  • IWTG: Jack Hughes scores first NHL goal as his Devils hold off Quinn's Canucks

    The much-ballyhooed Hughes-a-palooza didn’t exactly live up to the hype. Sure, in one sense, it literally did, as Jack Hughes scored his first NHL goal and it stood up as the game-winner. He fired the first shot in what is sure to be a career-long battle between the two Hughes brothers, with youngest brother Luke making it a three-way war in a few years, like Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 19, 2019

  • Hughes vs Hughes: The tale of the tape for Jack and Quinn

    A little ditty ‘bout Jack and Quinn Hughes: two American kids growing up in the Centre of the U. For the first time in the NHL, the two oldest Hughes brothers will be facing off against each other as the Vancouver Canucks are in New Jersey to take on the Devils on Saturday morning.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 18, 2019

  • IWTG: Josh Leivo's shootout winner completes Canucks comeback over Blues

    The Canucks couldn’t win four games in a row to save their lives last season. Fortunately, they were never put in that situation. At no point did a supervillain challenge the Canucks to win four-straight games or their lives would be forfeit. An alien race did not threaten to blow up the earth unless the Canucks won four consecutive games. Last season was not a dystopian future where the Canucks were thrown into a only-one-can-survive scenario, where the first team to four consecutive wins could leave the arena and win their city a year’s worth of drinking water, while every other team was gruesomely killed.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 18, 2019

  • Jumping to conclusions five games into the 2019-20 Canucks season

    The start of an NHL season is a wild time. Teams that were expected to take a big step forward sometimes stumble out of the gate. For example, the New Jersey Devils have gone 0-4-2 with a minus-16 goal differential, despite adding PK Subban, Nikita Gusev, Wayne Simmonds, and Jack Hughes in the offseason.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 17, 2019

  • The Canucks' schedule means they have yet to be truly tested this season

    The 2019-20 Canucks have gotten off to a slow start. That’s not a slow start in the sense of wins and losses, or in the sense that stars like Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser have yet to hit their stride. It’s a slow start in the sense that they’ve barely played any games.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 17, 2019

  • IWTG: J.T. Miller scores twice as power play lifts Canucks over the Red Wings

    The Canucks wrapped up their first homestand of the season by getting a little testy, pesty, and zesty. I’m not sure exactly when the Detroit Red Wings became the type of team to provoke a rivalry by testing the boundaries of dirtiness, but I’m guessing it was around the time they became bad at hockey. Much like Catherine Banning’s investigation into Thomas Crown, it was a surprisingly physical affair, with both sides getting their licks in. Just how surprisingly physical was it? Two of the primary combatants on the Canucks’ side of things were Elias Pettersson and Troy Stecher.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 16, 2019

  • Fans want “Holiday” back as the Canucks’ goal song, but here’s what it should be

    This is what happens when the Canucks score eight goals in their home opener: their goal song becomes news. A certain segment of the Canucks fanbase isn’t happy with the new goal song selected for the 2019-20 season, and apparently being forced to hear it eight times in one night was just too much for them to handle. Instead of just complaining about it on social media, they’ve turned to the Internet’s favourite form of action: an online petition.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 15, 2019

  • Canucks call up Zane McIntyre and Ashton Sautner from the Utica Comets

    The Canucks have made their first call-ups from the AHL of the 2019-20 season. As is often the case, the call-ups from the AHL are not expected to get in the lineup. Goaltender Zane McIntyre was called up on Monday, while defenceman Ashton Sautner got the call on Tuesday, prior to the Canucks game against the Detroit Red Wings.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 15, 2019

  • IWTG: Jacob Markstrom carries Canucks to shootout win over Flyers

    With no captain, the Canucks lost their first two games of the season. With Bo Horvat as captain, the Canucks have won two straight. I believe the facts are clear: as long as Horvat is captain, the Canucks will be undefeated. He’s like Moses holding up his hands over Israel’s battle with the Amalekites: when Moses held his hands up, Israel prevailed in the battle, but whenever his arms faltered, the Amalekites started winning.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 13, 2019

  • Quinn Hughes is playing big minutes against tough competition for the Canucks

    Quinn Hughes captivated Canucks fans at the home opener on Wednesday, scoring the first goal of his NHL career with a rocket of a slap shot. It wasn’t his only standout moment on offence: he gifted his defence partner Chris Tanev with a goal when the two of them jumped up in a 3-on-2 rush with Brock Boeser. Tanev went to the net with his stick on the ice and Hughes banked the puck off Tanev’s stick into the net with a perfectly-placed pass.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 11, 2019

  • Canucks defenceman Troy Stecher is starting from the bottom once again

    Every single season, it seems Troy Stecher needs to prove himself again as an NHL defenceman. It started in his rookie season, when he was a standout in the 2016 preseason, clearly demonstrating that he belonged in the NHL, but still got cut and sent to the Utica Comets in the AHL. He didn’t stay long: Stecher played just four games with the Comets before a Chris Tanev injury necessitated a call-up. Once back in the Canucks’ lineup, Stecher quickly proved that he belonged there.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 10, 2019

  • IWTG: Canucks embarrass Jonathan Quick and the Kings in home opener

    When the Canucks named Bo Horvat their new captain, it was a relatively understated moment. It wasn’t a grand ceremony: the team just brought out their first and most recent captains, Orland Kurtenbach and Henrik Sedin. The jersey was delivered by Ron Schute, who has been a stick boy/locker room attendant with the team since the 1960-61 season when he was 13 years old and the Canucks were in the WHL. Then Al Murdoch announced Horvat’s name and the arena erupted.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 10, 2019

  • Vancouver Canucks name Bo Horvat the 14th captain in franchise history

    Before the Canucks announced their new captain at their home opener on Wednesday, a very good source informed me that it would be Elias Pettersson. This flew in the face of all other available information, insinuations from the team, and logic, all of which suggested it would be Bo Horvat. I chose not to write an article based on the information from this source, even though it was credible. I just couldn’t reconcile the information I was given with everything else I was hearing. That turned out to be a very good idea when, as expected, the Canucks named Horvat captain in a pre-game ceremony prior to facing the Los Angeles Kings.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 9, 2019

  • Canucks took as many too many men penalties in two games as they took all of last season

    The Canucks need fewer men on the ice. Hold on, let me explain! In 82 games last season, the Canucks were caught with too many men on the ice just three times; no other NHL team took fewer too many men penalties. Whatever else you could say about the 2018-19 Vancouver Canucks, they knew how many players were supposed to be on the ice at any one time. This season, however, the Canucks have already matched that total in just two games. On opening night against the Edmonton Oilers, they were called for one too many men penalty; on Saturday against the Calgary Flames, they were dinged for two more.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 9, 2019

  • How long will it take for the Canucks to put Quinn Hughes on the first power play unit?

    Canucks coaches Newell Brown and Travis Green were in no rush to put Quinn Hughes on the first power play unit in his five-game audition last season. Even though the Canucks were well out of the playoff picture and fans were clamoring to see Hughes with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser with the man advantage, the Canucks resisted. Green gave a couple reasons for waiting. They didn’t want to put undue pressure on Hughes in his already highly-hyped debut. They also didn’t want to disrespect the longest-tenured Canuck, Alex Edler, who had yet to sign a new deal, so could conceivably have been playing his final games in a Canucks jersey.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 9, 2019

  • Canucks did both Detroit and Alex Biega a favour in trade for David Pope

    For the past four seasons, Alex Biega has been a solid seventh defenceman for the Vancouver Canucks. Even when he was spending weeks in the press box, he never complained and his work ethic never faltered. When he was inserted into the lineup, the Canucks coaching staff knew exactly what they would get: an honest effort, along with the occasional surprising offensive rush that made him surprisingly more impactful than your typical press box fodder. Last season, Biega set new career highs in points and time on ice per game, and his scoring rate of 1.33 points per hour at 5-on-5 led all Canucks defencemen. Between all the injuries and trades, Biega even played on the top pairing with Alex Edler for stretches and acquitted himself well in the role.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 7, 2019

  • IWTG: Turnovers cost sloppy Canucks in shutout loss to Flames

    It’s far too early to draw any conclusions about the 2019-20 Vancouver Canucks. Two games isn’t anywhere near enough time to accurately assess a team and pass judgement on whether they’re good or bad, a playoff team or battling for the first-overall pick. There’s no need to panic after two losses on the road to kick off the season. Plenty of teams start the season on a negative note and go on to success and the Canucks have a lot of new players and new line combinations that might take a bit of time to gel.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 6, 2019

  • Losing the 2019-20 season opener might have been the best thing to happen to the Canucks

    In a sense, opening night in the NHL is just another game. It’s worth two points in the standings, just like the other 81 games in the season. After all the foofaraw before puck drop — the pre-gameintroduction of the players, coaches, training staff, ushers, concession workers, and parking attendants — the game is seemingly the same as any other. At the same time, opening night is special: it’s what the players have been working towards for the days of practice, weeks of preseason, and months of offseason beforehand. It’s the first true test of your team’s lineup and systems. It arguably sets a tone for the rest of the season, as teams try to quickly establish their identity. But does it bear any more importance than that?

    Daniel WagnerOctober 4, 2019

  • The 2019-20 Canucks Headshot Awards, featuring a maniacally-grinning Adam Gaudette

    There are many reasons to be excited about the start of the Canucks season. First off, it’s just nice to have real, meaningful hockey back. More than that, however, the Canucks themselves are exciting. The team seems on the verge of finally turning the corner on the rebuild and competing for the playoffs. Elias Pettersson alone is worth the hype, but fans also get the rookie season of Quinn Hughes, a hopefully fully-healthy season from Brock Boeser, and the continued two-way progression of Bo Horvat. That’s not to mention seeing how new arrivals J.T. Miller, Micheal Ferland, Tyler Myers, and Jordie Benn settle into their new environs and improve the team. Most exciting of all: picture day.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 3, 2019

  • For the Canucks, penalty killing is exclusively the domain of bottom-six forwards

    It’s hard to carve out a roster spot in the NHL. There are thousands upon thousands of hockey players that dream of reaching those heights. You can be the best player on your team in youth hockey and one of the best in the league in junior hockey, and still struggle to stay in the NHL. Players that don’t become point producers need to find another niche to justify their spot in the lineup. Those at the bottom of the lineup normally don’t get a lot of ice time at even strength, so they have to provide value in other ways.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 3, 2019

  • IWTG: Hughes racks up minutes, Pearson racks up shots, but Canucks rack up a loss in season opener

    Everything over the last few months has been leading to this. All the time spent in the gym over the summer, the bag skates in training camp, the many practices, and all the preseason games that make no difference in the standings, all of it has finally paid off. Finally, after such a long wait, hockey players can once again say, “Big two points tonight.”

    Daniel WagnerOctober 3, 2019

  • Canucks fans are largely optimistic about the 2019-20 season; analysts and pundits disagree

    The 2019-20 Canucks season kicks off tonight in Edmonton. All of the possible futures facing the Canucks will slam into one inescapable reality game-by-game over the next several months. Before that happens, let’s take one final look at what the experts, analysts, and numbers predict for the Canucks.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 2, 2019

  • Elias Pettersson literally doesn’t want to talk about a sophomore slump

    The Canucks’ opening night roster for the 2019-20 season has changed significantly from the one that took the ice a year ago. Ten players on this year’s team — just short of half the roster — weren’t on the team to start last season. Despite all these roster changes, the Canucks hopes of making the playoffs primarily rest on the shoulders of one young man: Elias Pettersson.

    Daniel WagnerOctober 2, 2019

  • The Canucks will name a captain at their home opener, but will it be Bo Horvat?

    Yes. Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Head coach Travis Green made an official announcement on Tuesday, making it clear that the Canucks will have a captain for their 50th Anniversary season after foregoing a captain last year. “The announcement I have today is that we are going to name Captain this season,” said Green on Tuesday. “We put a lot of thought into it. We don't take it lightly. We think that it's the right time for our organization, and the right time for the person we're going to name.”

    Daniel WagnerOctober 1, 2019

  • Jim Benning believes Canucks have enough skill on their 23-man roster without Sven Baertschi

    Sven Baertschi was one of Jim Benning’s biggest success stories. Of all the moves Benning made in his first year as general manager of the Canucks, the Baertschi trade paid off the most. After struggling to stick in the NHL with the Calgary Flames, Baertschi found his stride in Vancouver, developing into a legitimate second-line winger and power play threat. For a team that has struggled to score over the last few seasons, Baertschi has consistently scored at a 20-goal, 40-point pace for the Canucks, with just one caveat: he hasn’t been able to stay healthy over the course of a full season.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 30, 2019

  • Canucks Camp Cuts: Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin, and Alex Biega put on waivers

    The Canucks had to place several players on waivers on Monday in anticipation of naming their 23-man roster on Tuesday. It was inevitable given the makeup of the Canucks current roster: they have a surprisingly veteran-laden team, with just three waiver-exempt forwards — Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Adam Gaudette — remaining on the roster heading into Monday. What’s surprising is who is getting waived. According to these reports, the Canucks will be waiving Nikolay Goldobin, Alex Biega, and Sven Baertschi.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 30, 2019

  • Canucks Camp Cuts: Zack MacEwen, Jalen Chatfield, Tyler Graovac, and Richard Bachman

    Opening night is just five days away, but the Canucks need to have their roster finalized a little bit sooner than that. The deadline for submitting a cap-compliant 23-man roster is Tuesday, October 2nd, at 2:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. The Canucks could be pretty busy that day maneuvering players around. In order to make best use of the Long-Term Injured Reserve list, they want to have any players going on the LTIR to be on the roster on Tuesday. That could mean papering down a player or two, which means assigning them to the AHL on paper, but never actually sending them to the Utica Comets. Once a player or players are added to the LTIR, the papered-down players can be added back onto the NHL roster.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 27, 2019

  • I Watched This (Preseason) Game: Canucks fall to Coyotes to end the preseason

    The final game of the preseason represents one last chance for bubble players to present their case to be on the opening night roster. There’s no easy way out for the Canucks as they pare down their roster. Whatever decisions they make, players are going to have to go on waivers, where they could be lost to another team in need of a creative playmaker like Nikolay Goldobin, a savvy defensive forward like Tim Schaller, or a hard-working forechecker like Tyler Motte.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 27, 2019

  • Quinn Hughes thinks Canucks fans have yet to see how good Chris Tanev can truly be

    When Quinn Hughes has the puck, you can’t help but sit up and take notice. Every rush up the ice has the potential to turn into something special, as he speeds away from forecheckers, evades opponents through the neutral zone, and looks to create scoring chances in the offensive zone. It’s thrilling. Chris Tanev, on the other hand, doesn’t evoke the same excitement. It’s not just that Tanev is a known quantity in Vancouver compared to the new hotness that is Hughes, but also that he doesn’t play a particularly exciting brand of hockey.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 26, 2019

  • 4 reasons to be optimistic about the 2019-20 Canucks season…

    The Canucks have a lot riding on the 2019-20 season. This is particularly true for Jim Benning, who is entering his sixth season as general manager. With the Canucks missing the playoffs in four-straight seasons, Benning is on the hot seat. The truth is, general managers tend not to last long in the NHL. Just eight of the league’s 31 GMs have been on the job longer than Benning: the NHL tends to go through GMs like paper napkins, discarding them as soon as they’ve served their purpose. And then, when a new GM job opens up, recycling those old GMs and reusing them, citing “previous experience.”

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 26, 2019

  • I Watched This (Preseason) Game: Adam Gaudette argues for a roster spot in Canucks loss

    Last week, Canucks head coach Travis Green fired some shots across the bow of some of the players on the fringes of the roster when he was asked about Adam Gaudette. “What I like about Adam is he’s trying to make the team,” said Green. “Other guys should take notice...There’s a lot of competition for spots and time’s running out, so guys need to make sure they play well next week.” On Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators, Gaudette once again tried to make the team.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 25, 2019

  • The sorry state of the Pacific Division should help the Canucks’ playoff chances

    With the development of their young stars and their off-season acquisitions, the Canucks seem intent on turning the corner on their rebuild and competing for the playoffs. Despite their improvements, the Canucks will still be hard-pressed to make the playoffs and will need a lot to go right in the coming season. The safe bet is for them to finish near 90 points, keeping them in the playoff hunt right to the end, but finishing just short. There’s a chance, however, that the Canucks could out-perform those expectations. There are plenty of reasons for optimism, from the rookie season of blue-chip prospect Quinn Hughes, to the addition of talented wingers like J.T. Miller and Micheal Ferland to help the young forward core of Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat. There’s one other big reason for optimism: the Canucks play in the Pacific Division.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 25, 2019

  • Why did Brock Boeser stay in Monday’s preseason game after going head-first into the boards?

    The Canucks got halfway through the preseason without any significant injuries, just Micheal Ferland’s unknown illness keeping him out of action. On Monday night in Abbotsford, however, they had two. According to the Canucks, both Brock Boeser and Oscar Fantenberg are in concussion protocol and were kept out of Wednesday’s practice. Hopefully both will be okay and will be able to take the time they need to fully recover.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 24, 2019

  • I Watched This (Preseason) Game: Elias Pettersson entertains Abbotsford with 4-point night

    The Canucks’ preseason game on Monday night took place in Abbotsford in the former home of the Abbotsford Heat, reigniting debate over whether the Canucks should bring their AHL farm team across the continent to British Columbia. There are several good reasons to move the Utica Comets to Abbotsford and one insurmountable obstacle that will likely prevent it from ever happening.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 24, 2019

  • Canucks Camp Cuts: Four key members of the Utica Comets head across the continent

    The Canucks’ first game of the 2019-20 season is just over a week away. That means they don’t have much time to pare down their roster to 23 players. Pretty soon, the Canucks will have to make some difficult decisions about who stays with the team and who gets sent across the continent to play for the Utica Comets in the AHL. Before those difficult decisions, however, the Canucks were able to make a few more easy ones, putting four players through waivers on the weekend: Reid Boucher, Francis Perron, Ashton Sautner, and Zane McIntyre.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 23, 2019