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Old
10-07-2003, 08:32 AM
  #1
NFITO
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Nuckfan's Canuck Season Preview

Here we are, two days before the start of another regular season. With four straight improving seasons and coming off a franchise record 104 points, led by one of the NHL’s most explosive duos, the expectations are sky high for this club this season.

So what should we expect for the 2003-2004 campaign? Well, for many fans, anything less than an even better season, and more importantly the franchise’s best post season, will be disappointing.

So can the 2003 version of the Canucks deliver? On paper, we aren’t the best team in the league. Probably not the best team in the conference, and arguably not even the best in the division, but we’re probably the most complete team the Canucks have had.

The forward lines are better than last season. From the second leading offense in the league we’ve lost Klatt, Letowski and the 27 combined goals they brought to the team. In their spots we have Arvedson and Ruutu, who should get a chance finally to stick with the team fulltime. King has also turned heads at camp, and looks to have earned a starting spot on the roster – but at whose expense?

The replacements might not be able to replace the offense that Klatt and Letowski brought, and they certainly won’t replace all the intangibles, but both these should come from within again, like it has in every one of the four seasons past which has seen the club lose Cassels and Hlavac in 2002 (20 goals), Schaefer and Brashear after 2001 (25 goals), and Mogilny and Muckalt in 2000 (25 goals), most of these players relied on for their offense, only for the team to come out better each year thanks to the improved play of players they developed within the system.

As a group the offense for the Canucks is not a concern. They have managed to address concerns over the lack of secondary scoring, and the loss of a second line led by Cassels, by proving it where it counts – on the score sheet. This team has improved their offense the last four years in a row, from 227 goals for in 1999-2000, to 239 in 2001 (+12), 254 in 2002 (+15), and 264 last season (+10). Every year we hear that we can’t rely on one line to do the scoring, and every year, as a team, our offense has improved.

This year is no different. The expectation is still there that one of the league’s youngest teams will continue to improve, led by Henrik and Daniel entering their fourth seasons, along with Morrison (28 yrs old), Cooke (25), and the dynamic Naslund (30) and Bertuzzi (28).

The forwards as a group are still young, although now more experienced having developed individually, and as a team after their 14 game playoff year last year. Improvements from within is still not too much to expect from this group that has put up back to back seasons of having nine players hit career years.

The forward lines this year, at this point, is still a little uncertain. After the signing, Arvedson was almost guaranteed a spot on the 2nd unit with the Sedins. Soon after talk started that Cooke would be given his opportunity there, as well as more power play time, but as the preseason ends, it looks as though the guy at the front of the pack to fill that final spot in the top six might just be 22 year old rookie King. In any case, whoever wins the spot – and whoever is able to keep it long term – this season we have arguably a deeper, better lineup up front than we have had in the past few years.

The defense this year should also be better. Gone is veteran leader Baron, who despite the massive amounts of criticism he received, was still a solid guy in the locker room, a plus player on the ice, and someone who all the players had a great deal of respect for. His replacement on the roster will be Slegr, however Allen will be pushing hard to be his replacement this season in the top 6 rotation. Whether Allen or Slegr win the job, our top 7 overall should be better.

Like the forwards, the defense should also see more improvement from within. As a team they have managed to cut their goals against down the last three seasons straight – establishing a franchise record low (minus the strike shortened 95 season) 208 against last year. They ranked 10th in the league in this category last year.

This year, we should see at least a similar result, if not an improvement overall. With the changes they’ve made in goal (Hedberg) as well as the addition of Arvedson, the defense should have more support as well in their own zone. Besting their franchise record goals against is not only possible, but in my opinion probable.

The defense itself is still just hitting their prime. Jovanovski had his breakout as a defensive player last year hitting a career high +18, and getting away from many of the aggressive defensive errors he had been marked with in the past. Malik, Ohlund and Salo round out a solid foursome of reliable defenders. Sopel last season was the goat on our defense more often than not, and he will need to improve his decision making out there to support the rest of the blueline. Still he was the team’s second leading scorer on defense, and 8th overall, as a 26 year old. Last season was his first season in the NHL where he started from start to finish. He had only broken out into a NHL defenseman the year prior. The ceiling may not be high for this dman, but he has yet to reach it, and his offense, and still impressive career plus/minus show that he is still capable of greater things.

This defense overall – from the top 7, to the top prospects and first call-ups on the farm, should be the strength of our team overall.

The goaltending took a huge step forward this season with the acquisition of Hedberg, replacing a great team guy, although a questionable backup (at least in Crawford’s eyes) in Skudra. Hedberg isn’t here to take the #1 position away from Cloutier, and the team from the GM down, have made this clear. Cloutier will still be given every opportunity to lead this team in the postseason, the way he’s been able to lead this team in the regular season the past couple years. Hedberg however provides two things: 1) a capable starter with playoff experience and success, should Cloutier not be able to step up, and 2) a player that should be able to push Cloutier to greater heights.

With all the questions still left unanswered in goal, one thing is clear – we are better here than we were last season.

Going into past seasons, it was unclear whether this team, at least on paper, was better than they were the season prior. Last season we lost Cassels on offense, and Lachance on defense. It wasn’t until a month had passed into the regular season before Burke fully addressed this issue with his trade that brought in Malik to compliment Salo on the blueline. This season however, it seems clear that, at least on paper, we are going to ice a better team than the one that finished last season, even without considering that the core is still improving each year, and still not fully at their prime.

I have high hopes for this team this year. I fully expect them to at least duplicate the success that we witnessed the last regular season. More than that, I expect them to learn from some of their past experiences – both the good and bad – and be more prepared to deal with the pressures and adversity this year. This is the key for this team now. It’s not about how well they play in the regular season, how many goals they score, or how many they allow, but what they do after game 82 is really all that matters.

As fans, we know that they have the talent, the heart and character to go far in the post season. We just have to hope now that they have learned the lessons from the adversity they went through last season, and finally gained the maturity to take that much anticipated step forward this time around.

Going into our 34th season as a franchise, it’s about damn time they deliver what all us fans have been long waiting for. This team is ready – it has to be ready! No more excuses – it’s time to deliver!

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10-07-2003, 08:44 AM
  #2
Darth Vitale
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Wow. Thanks for taking the time to think all that through and put it down in words. My initial impression is that you are suffering from a very mild but cureable case of homerism, but generally the predictions are pretty fair.

I don't think the offensive output will improve to any meaningful degree; we [reached a point last season], where just staying in that same territory each year would be a great success.

I also don't think Hedberg is a "tremendous" improvement in goal, though his presence in the lineup can only be a good thing. Especially when compared to Skudra. I think he *can* be better than Cloutier, and will be if given the ice time, but there are still some question marks in goal for the Nucks.

I DO think the overall defensive performance will continue its upward trend, with Ohlund and Sopel continuing to develop in their own respective weak areas, and with Arvy being there to offer additional help in his own end. Barring bad injuries, this season will be the one that the average NHL fan is "put on notice" with respect to the fact that Vacouver now has a top-notch defensive corps.

I predict... 105 pts.


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10-07-2003, 08:49 AM
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zippy
I also don't think Hedberg is a "tremendous" improvement in goal, though his presence in the lineup can only be a good thing. Especially when compared to Skudra. I think he *can* be better than Cloutier, and will be if given the ice time, but there are still some question marks in goal for the Nucks.

He did say it's "tremendous improvement in goal"...not we're now great in goal...
Cloutier/Hedberg is tremendously better than Cloutier/Skudra...
Considering the best we've ever had were McLean and Brodeur...

If you've only ever had $100...and you went from having $10 to $80...that's tremendously better......but $80 is hardly great...

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10-07-2003, 08:54 AM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zippy
Wow. Thanks for taking the time to think all that through and put it down in words. My initial impression is that you are suffering from a very mild but cureable case of homerism, but generally the predictions are pretty fair.
thanks! always good be called a homer! :p

Quote:
I don't think the offensive output will improve to any meaningful degree; we [reached a point last season], where just staying in that same territory each year would be a great success.
I agree... I think that they should stay around the top 5 in the league overall (were #2 last year, #1 the year before).

Quote:
I also don't think Hedberg is a "tremendous" improvement in goal, though his presence in the lineup can only be a good thing. Especially when compared to Skudra. I think he *can* be better than Cloutier, and will be if given the ice time, but there are still some question marks in goal for the Nucks.
umm???

last season we had Cloutier-Skudra... this season we have Cloutier-Hedberg... to me that's an improvement and a rather significant one... when you factor in that the development of players that happens for skaters, doesn't usually bypass goalies, we should expect Cloutier to be better this season... add it all up, and having 2 #1 goalies, who should be at least as good in the regular season as they have in years past - and IMO should be even better (Cloutier's development, and Hedberg playing behind a good defense, rather than a really bad one).

as for the question marks.. I agree... that's why I mentioned unanswered questions still remain in the goaltending area..

Quote:
I DO think the overall defensive performance will continue its upward trend, with Ohlund and Sopel continuing to develop in their own respective weak areas, and with Arvy being there to offer additional help in his own end. Barring bad injuries, this season will be the one that the average NHL fan is put "on notice" with respect to the fact that Vacouver now has a top-notch defensive corps.

I predict... 105 pts.
I think that the average fan should have realized this last season, with a 10th best overall defensive record on a fairly young team... but it might have been ignored?

I don't think we will improve however in our point totals from last year... I hope we're a better overall team, and especially so in the postseason, but I don't see us improving our points in the regular season.

Mainly due to the fact that teams around us have also improved, and our division should be a tougher with Colorado and Edmonton improving, and Minnesota getting a taste of success, still with the Lemaire system (and Gaborik won't be out forever!).

my prediction - 98 pts, 5th place... (also think there might be a serious injury or two)...

but it doesn't matter... as long as we are in the top 8!

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10-07-2003, 08:54 AM
  #5
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I had a feeling that this would be a long post when I read the topic :p

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10-07-2003, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by incawg
I had a feeling that this would be a long post when I read the topic :p
this isn't long... I've had much longer posts here!

besides, all you need to do is read who the poster is to know that it will be a long post

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10-07-2003, 08:58 AM
  #7
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Originally Posted by nuckfan in TO
this isn't long... I've had much longer posts here!

besides, all you need to do is read who the poster is to know that it will be a long post

!!! This must be your shortest post ever!!!

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10-07-2003, 09:34 AM
  #8
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Nice write-up... I agree with almost all of your points and share your optimism about the upcoming season.....

Offense -- I agree, I think Arvedson, Ruuttu & May should be able to replace Klatt & Letowski's goals. And the internal growth is a nice point .. hopefully there's be an opening through which King, Reid or another young guy can show his stuff. The wildcard is the Sedins, and in my homeric way I'm hoping that one or both are ready for a breakout season, which could make the huge difference in overall scoring from adequate to exceptional.

Defense -- Also agree with all your points, top 4 are steady; Sopel and Allen are the wildcards -- should either or both play to potential we could challenge Detroit/Devils for the strongest D in the league.

Goal -- Again, no arguement, this is possibly the best tandem in Canuck history (I know, not exactly a world record.) Unlike many I'm still a Clouts fan -- I think he has Hextall-like potential (remember he was damn good before turning into a headcase...hopefully Clout's potential isn't for that part..) Hedberg is the perfect compliment -- not good enough to outright steal the job, but good enough to maybe steal the job.

Coaching -- I'm a big Crow fan; despite the odd story of his high-pitched wailing driving guys batty, he gets the results, and there's no denying that his approach lends itself to the most exciting brand of hockey. I wouldn't be surprised to see a more defensive dimension to the Canucks game this year though -- not just due to the improvements you point out in the D corps -- but given the overal way the league is going with the success of tedious teams like Minny & Anaheim. I expect to see a more Detroit-like game -- with all out attacking when needed (and most of the time, in fact), BUT a sound defensive game if & when they need to call on it. I'm still a little leery of the assistant coaches ... do we need a better D & sp. teams coach? Is McIlhargy good? Dunno. Should also mention Burke here; and I think he's the best GM the Canucks have ever had -- the right mix of shrewd & stubborn (but not too stubborn like Quinn...)

Intangibles -- this is the one area you touched on, but I think needs elaborating on....esp. team maturity. Arguably the #1 reason the Canucks let Minny get the better of them in that horriffic 3 games in 4 days is lack of maturity and poise -- they got thrown off their game. One could also argue that in losing Baron & Klatt we lost a big chunk of our veteran presence. Whatever else he brings, Arvedson is not known for playoff maturity/intangibles/whatever, and Slegr, depsite his ring from Detroit, is hardly Scott Stevens in the room either. Keane should help here (if they can sign him), but you could make a case that the Canucks did not really improve in this one crucial aspect of the game. The big question mark here is how much developed maturity will the core players show this season? Particularly Bertuzzi (big question mark here), Naslund (great quiet leader & all, but playoffs?), Jovo (I think he's in the best shape here...last year was a breakout for him), and then secondarily all the other 20-something core guys.

Like you I'm optimistic that it'll be an onward & upward year -- anything less than 100+ points and winning 2 rounds in the post-season will be a disappointment. Got my Center Ice package ordered & am ready to go....here's to a great season....

go Canucks go!

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10-07-2003, 09:47 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYVanfan
Coaching -- I'm a big Crow fan; despite the odd story of his high-pitched wailing driving guys batty, he gets the results, and there's no denying that his approach lends itself to the most exciting brand of hockey. I wouldn't be surprised to see a more defensive dimension to the Canucks game this year though -- not just due to the improvements you point out in the D corps -- but given the overal way the league is going with the success of tedious teams like Minny & Anaheim. I expect to see a more Detroit-like game -- with all out attacking when needed (and most of the time, in fact), BUT a sound defensive game if & when they need to call on it. I'm still a little leery of the assistant coaches ... do we need a better D & sp. teams coach? Is McIlhargy good? Dunno. Should also mention Burke here; and I think he's the best GM the Canucks have ever had -- the right mix of shrewd & stubborn (but not too stubborn like Quinn...)

Intangibles -- this is the one area you touched on, but I think needs elaborating on....esp. team maturity. Arguably the #1 reason the Canucks let Minny get the better of them in that horriffic 3 games in 4 days is lack of maturity and poise -- they got thrown off their game. One could also argue that in losing Baron & Klatt we lost a big chunk of our veteran presence. Whatever else he brings, Arvedson is not known for playoff maturity/intangibles/whatever, and Slegr, depsite his ring from Detroit, is hardly Scott Stevens in the room either. Keane should help here (if they can sign him), but you could make a case that the Canucks did not really improve in this one crucial aspect of the game. The big question mark here is how much developed maturity will the core players show this season? Particularly Bertuzzi (big question mark here), Naslund (great quiet leader & all, but playoffs?), Jovo (I think he's in the best shape here...last year was a breakout for him), and then secondarily all the other 20-something core guys.
yea... I didn't touch much at all on coaching or intangibles, but they are key parts of our success... perhaps the biggest key - especially the intangibles!

with coaching, I am a little disappointed that Burke hasn't added a defensive specialist assistant coach... I think Crow is great as the head coach, and despite his rants, he has not lost the room, nor has shown any signs of losing it - which many fans have been worried about for over a year now! He's got alot of respect as the coach, and is an important part of our stability.

But I still think we need to add a premier assistant who can help the defensive side of things... a guy like Robinson or Carbonneau (don't know if either is available and/or willing??)... but someone who knows how to teach the defensive side of the game to our young team.

with the intangibles - fully agree with your comments.... I think that the one guy who has been largely ignored on the leadership side of things will take a huge step forward in this area next year - Matt Cooke!... IMO he's just itching to breakout into that guy that is not only depended on on the ice, but also off of it too... for the last few years we've been talking about how he has future captaincy written all over him - well it's time to show more of it!

With him, Linden, May and Keane, we have some pretty solid leadership in our support group... I'm not expecting Bertuzzi to carry much of that load - he really doesn't strike me as a leader at all, just been thrown that label because of his skills - but to me he's too immature to be a captain - and the guy is already 28!! I hope he continues to shine offensively, and improves his game defensively, but I wouldn't expect a lot of leadership from him.

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10-07-2003, 10:19 AM
  #10
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Good analysis nuckfan! Although I expected at least a page...shameful.

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10-07-2003, 11:15 AM
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I have a bad feeling about this year (don't know why). The following is what I see transpiring for the Canucks. The Canucks seem disorganized coming out of the preseason, and I see this as a bad omen.

1) Canucks start the season slowly (8-10-2) in the first 20 games. The Canucks are plagued by inconsistent goal tending by Cloutier. The fast, skilled, Canucks are slowed by opponents physical style and trapping schemes. The forwards are not responsible for defense, and team chemistry is questioned.

2) Hedburg gets the nod and goal tending improves. The Canucks however, are still getting mugged in their own division games (Parker, Worrell, Johnson, and Laraque) and are in desperate need of a full time enforcer (why has Grenier not been called up). Injuries that have escaped this team for the past few years catch up. The struggling Canucks go (7-8-5) through this stretch.

3) The team goes on a good run after Xmas and reels off 7 straight victories. More injuries to key players cool them off. The secondary scoring that has been expected from the Sedin's and Arvedson never materializes. The pressure is on Burke to give this team a major shake up as the trading deadline approaches. The Canucks play this stretch at (10-8-2) and sit in 9th place.

4) In the last twenty two games the Canucks continue to be plagued by injuries. Team chemistry is unravelling and fingers are pointing. The Canucks finish the last quarter at (8-12-2). Burke is critized for not changing the team make up at the deadline and there are calls for his and Crow's firing. One bright spot is that Cloutier has a strong quarter, and actually steals some points.

We end up the year (33-38-11) with 77 points and finish in 10th spot in the division. We are the San Jose Sharks of last year and are relegated to the lottery section of the draft.

"Why didn't we do anything last year to address secondary scoring and team toughness," will be the refrain. Do we make major changes to the team, will be Burkes decision for the lockout year. Cloutier remains inconsistent, and the question of trading him becomes a hot topic. The curse of the Canucks not being able to field a perennial Stanley cup contender continues.

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10-07-2003, 11:22 AM
  #12
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Originally Posted by membleypeg
I have a bad feeling about this year (don't know why). The following is what I see transpiring for the Canucks. The Canucks seem disorganized coming out of the preseason, and I see this as a bad omen.

1) Canucks start the season slowly (8-10-2) in the first 20 games. The Canucks are plagued by inconsistent goal tending by Cloutier. The fast, skilled, Canucks are slowed by opponents physical style and trapping schemes. The forwards are not responsible for defense, and team chemistry is questioned.

2) Hedburg gets the nod and goal tending improves. The Canucks however, are still getting mugged in their own division games (Parker, Worrell, Johnson, and Laraque) and are in desperate need of a full time enforcer (why has Grenier not been called up). Injuries that have escaped this team for the past few years catch up. The struggling Canucks go (7-8-5) through this stretch.

3) The team goes on a good run after Xmas and reels off 7 straight victories. More injuries to key players cool them off. The secondary scoring that has been expected from the Sedin's and Arvedson never materializes. The pressure is on Burke to give this team a major shake up as the trading deadline approaches. The Canucks play this stretch at (10-8-2) and sit in 9th place.

4) In the last twenty two games the Canucks continue to be plagued by injuries. Team chemistry is unravelling and fingers are pointing. The Canucks finish the last quarter at (8-12-2). Burke is critized for not changing the team make up at the deadline and there are calls for his and Crow's firing. One bright spot is that Cloutier has a strong quarter, and actually steals some points.

We end up the year (33-38-11) with 77 points and finish in 10th spot in the division. We are the San Jose Sharks of last year and are relegated to the lottery section of the draft.

"Why didn't we do anything last year to address secondary scoring and team toughness," will be the refrain. Do we make major changes to the team, will be Burkes decision for the lockout year. Cloutier remains inconsistent, and the question of trading him becomes a hot topic. The curse of the Canucks not being able to field a perennial Stanley cup contender continues.
Did we take a double-dose of our pessimistic pills today?

 
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10-07-2003, 11:34 AM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by membleypeg
I have a bad feeling about this year (don't know why). The following is what I see transpiring for the Canucks. The Canucks seem disorganized coming out of the preseason, and I see this as a bad omen.

1) Canucks start the season slowly (8-10-2) in the first 20 games. The Canucks are plagued by inconsistent goal tending by Cloutier. The fast, skilled, Canucks are slowed by opponents physical style and trapping schemes. The forwards are not responsible for defense, and team chemistry is questioned.

2) Hedburg gets the nod and goal tending improves. The Canucks however, are still getting mugged in their own division games (Parker, Worrell, Johnson, and Laraque) and are in desperate need of a full time enforcer (why has Grenier not been called up). Injuries that have escaped this team for the past few years catch up. The struggling Canucks go (7-8-5) through this stretch.

3) The team goes on a good run after Xmas and reels off 7 straight victories. More injuries to key players cool them off. The secondary scoring that has been expected from the Sedin's and Arvedson never materializes. The pressure is on Burke to give this team a major shake up as the trading deadline approaches. The Canucks play this stretch at (10-8-2) and sit in 9th place.

4) In the last twenty two games the Canucks continue to be plagued by injuries. Team chemistry is unravelling and fingers are pointing. The Canucks finish the last quarter at (8-12-2). Burke is critized for not changing the team make up at the deadline and there are calls for his and Crow's firing. One bright spot is that Cloutier has a strong quarter, and actually steals some points.

We end up the year (33-38-11) with 77 points and finish in 10th spot in the division. We are the San Jose Sharks of last year and are relegated to the lottery section of the draft.

"Why didn't we do anything last year to address secondary scoring and team toughness," will be the refrain. Do we make major changes to the team, will be Burkes decision for the lockout year. Cloutier remains inconsistent, and the question of trading him becomes a hot topic. The curse of the Canucks not being able to field a perennial Stanley cup contender continues.
Grenier would definitley have been called up before any of the "toughness" issue will become a factor. Also, if Grenier can't handle it, look for Burke to sign someone like Ray and waive keane.

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10-07-2003, 11:53 AM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by membleypeg
We end up the year (33-38-11) with 77 points and finish in 10th spot in the division. We are the San Jose Sharks of last year and are relegated to the lottery section of the draft.
now that was a pessimistic prediction... especially falling to 10th place in a 5 team division!

I just can't see the Canucks playing that bad ... even if they get their average dose of injuries, they should still be a playoff team.

I do think they will start of slowly this year... not unlike last year, when they were below 500 at the start, and Naslund couldn't score... but they will come around sooner than later.

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10-07-2003, 11:59 AM
  #15
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Originally Posted by nuckfan in TO
now that was a pessimistic prediction... especially falling to 10th place in a 5 team division!

I just can't see the Canucks playing that bad ... even if they get their average dose of injuries, they should still be a playoff team.

I do think they will start of slowly this year... not unlike last year, when they were below 500 at the start, and Naslund couldn't score... but they will come around sooner than later.
Thank you for pointing out that division should have read as conference. I think that you knew what I meant, however.

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10-07-2003, 12:13 PM
  #16
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Originally Posted by membleypeg
Thank you for pointing out that division should have read as conference. I think that you knew what I meant, however.
yes... hence the smiley face

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10-07-2003, 12:26 PM
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Nice preview let the games begin!


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10-07-2003, 12:35 PM
  #18
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The losses of Klatt, Langdon and even Baron hurt in the maturity and calmness department, but on the other hand between them and the twins you had five players in your lineup with either slow feet or lead hands when you needed more offensive spark to help out the top line.

The twins have shown up in the best shape of their lives - don't you think they can be expected to improve this year?

Cooke, Morrison, Ruutu all come with more experience and the chance for improved years. Arvedsson and Keane are "mature" and can contribute offensively and will be a help in breakdown situations clearing our zone.

Jury is out on King because he's untested - could be a bonus but I don't expect too much. Trevor Linden will have a better year if there is more scoring off the rush - he can still come through the neutral zone with speed but needs playmaking linemates with footspeed.

Cloutier and Hedberg (most important offseason addition IMO) will look alot better if Sopel and Jovo don't suffer as many brain freezes this year when pinned deep in our end.

Nazzy and Bert don't need to improve - if they can be close to last year's play we should all be happy - but we can hope for career years.

We have depth on the farm everywhere but centre and a legitimate second goaltender. Umberger signed and with the Moose after a banner training camp would have been a lift. What gives with that guy?

Depth at centre is a concern. Imagine Mo getting injured. If Chubby and Hendrick both mature this year it will be a huge boost.

Third in the West. Bring it on !!!!

 
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10-07-2003, 03:18 PM
  #19
Hi-wayman
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Originally Posted by Hobo
We have depth on the farm everywhere but centre and a legitimate second goaltender. Umberger signed and with the Moose after a banner training camp would have been a lift. What gives with that guy?

Depth at centre is a concern. Imagine Mo getting injured. If Chubby and Hendrick both mature this year it will be a huge boost.

Third in the West. Bring it on !!!!
though I disagree with your assessment of a lack of centres, I do think your point about the talent on our farm is very important & is a major intangible that Nuckfan & NYFan missed and one that addresses part of the concern about injury that Membleypeg mentioned. Our farm has never been deeper and there are a number of prospects on the Moose that could atleast fill in temporarilly for any player on the parent team. They might not be as good or be totally ready, but they likely would not embarase the team & cause the team to tank should we run into injuries. That includes forwards, defense & goal & that is a definate improvement over what we had on the farm to start last season.

At centre, we not only have Henrik, Chubarov & Linden who could play the top line if they had to. We also have Reid, Kesler & maybe even Umberger who have shown promise at centre. Auld has indicated he is very capable to handle the pressure of the NHL for a short period.

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10-07-2003, 03:50 PM
  #20
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Originally Posted by Hi-wayman
At centre, we not only have Henrik, Chubarov & Linden who could play the top line if they had to. We also have Reid, Kesler & maybe even Umberger who have shown promise at centre. Auld has indicated he is very capable to handle the pressure of the NHL for a short period.
Don't you think Reid's size is an issue for the long run? I agree Umberger may be the guy in the future - but he's only playing Nintendo hockey right now. I know it is bogus to expect the perfect guy at every slot, but centre worries me if we see injuries.

Mike Recci was the player I prayed Burke might rent at the deadline last year and still think his type of hard-nosed centre is what we need. More good Canadian boys if we can afford them!

 
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10-07-2003, 03:53 PM
  #21
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Originally Posted by Hi-wayman
Auld has indicated he is very capable to handle the pressure of the NHL for a short period.
Sorry Hi-wayman - when I wrote goaltender in my first post I didn't mean it to sound like we are weak there - I meant that was the part we are fine with. I feel great about goaltending and agree with you Auld is fine in the third spot.

 
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10-07-2003, 09:58 PM
  #22
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Originally Posted by Hobo
Don't you think Reid's size is an issue for the long run? I agree Umberger may be the guy in the future - but he's only playing Nintendo hockey right now. I know it is bogus to expect the perfect guy at every slot, but centre worries me if we see injuries.

Mike Recci was the player I prayed Burke might rent at the deadline last year and still think his type of hard-nosed centre is what we need. More good Canadian boys if we can afford them!
Though I prefer to see Linden on RW, I am still confident when he plays centre. In a pinch he can play first line, but is better on the 2nd or 3rd centre position. On the 4th line, where he may play occationally this year, he is over kill.

Henrik has already shown he can be moved up occationally to the 1st line.

Chubarov is a favourite of mine & I think many will be surprized at just how talented he is if allowed to be. Mogilny thought he would become a super star centre.

Lindgren is the only centre that likely would not be good on the 1st or 2nd line for even a shoirt time.

No I don't think Reid's size would be a problem to be a short term substitute on either the 2nd or 3rd line, but I don't think he's physically strong enough to play 4th line & he's still too immature to play 1st line in the NHL (Okay for the AHL though)

Kavanagh eventually could be a good 2nd line centre or winger & I would think he may be okay to be called up to play 2nd or 3rd centre due to injury.

Kesler surprized all of us and was a late camp cut. He'd make some rookie mistakes occationally, but I think he could handle the 2nd or 3rd line on an emergency call up.

Umberger obviously is still a question mark.

A player like Oates or Recci might be nice insurance for the playoffs, but for now I think it's again time to give the prospects hope & a chance to prove themselves if we did have a centre injury. After all, every NHL player had to start off as a rookie in which the team & the fans had doubts he would ever make it. Right now we have vets who will play, but this year I'm not afraid to call up a player from the Moose if we have to.

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10-08-2003, 06:16 AM
  #23
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Hi-wayman, I agree with a lot of your posts, but I think you are over-rating Chubarov quite a bit here...

don't get me wrong... I love the kid, but he's a 3rd line player, and a pretty good one at that.

He's not 1st line material... doesn't have the hands or hockey sense for that role... what Mogilny said (and I remember him saying that too) was years ago, when Chubarov was just starting off... now two three years later, he hasn't yet proved that he has that ability... not even shown that he has that offensive creativity that underachieving guys like Connelly or Stefan have shown glimpses of... his goals, and his best plays are always from hard work, grit and determination, not from offensive creativity by reading the ice well...

if Chubarov is a guy that we could put on the 1st line and not worry, then there aren't many teams in the league that don't have players they could put in that position... hell you could argue that in Calgary, they have not only Conroy, but Reinprecht, Saprykin, Yelle, Betts and Lombardi who can all play the #1 role if need be.... this is just not the case.

Chubarov is a fine 3rd line center... a big part of our team... he's been what we need because he plays a shutdown role on this team... expect him to play as a playmaker on the top line, and our team will suffer...

the same can be said for just about everyone else... Reid is not ready (although I could see him in a top line role a lot easier than Chubby... he has more potential to be in an offensive role IMO)... neither is Kesler... Linden (and I probably Linden's biggest fan) is not a top line center... he's better on the right wing than he is at center, and even there, he's best suited for the 3rd line role, although can play well enough on the 2nd line if we need him there, and can, if in a pinch, play some shifts on the top line... but move him to center, and he's not as good... his defense suffers there, and he can't provide the playmaking skills we need from our top line center.... he's great on the faceoffs, but his instincts are better on the boards.

Henrik is the only other one that I'd be comfortable with for anything more than a few games at center on the top line... unlike the others, except for Morrison, he's the only other player that has that playmaking ability and offensive vision to be a good player on the top line.

but I don't see this as a problem, unlike Hobo... most teams are in the same situation... the exceptions are few - like Colorado - but most teams have only 1 legit #1 center, and 1 other guy (usually their #2) that can step into the top center spot for an extended time...

however unlike some of these teams, we are strong and deep in other positions - it's a trade off.

I think if we target one position on our team that I'd be worried about, it's the right wing... even when healthy, we have question marks there, that players playing out of their natural position need to be able to address... but if Bertuzzi goes down, we're left with a right side of Linden, King and Ruutu, with one of Arvedson, Sedin or Cooke having to move... at least if Morrison goes down, we still have Henrik that can come in without much of a drop off.

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10-08-2003, 09:54 AM
  #24
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Maybe I wasn't clear. I was speaking only of our other centres filling in on a short term emergency basis due to injury & saying they could handle the job. I would only move Henrik or Linden up to the 1st line, not Reid, Kesler or Chubarov. Reid, Kesler or Chubarov I'd use one the 2nd or 3rd line if Henrik moved to the 1st & Chubarov to the 2nd. Again, only a temporary fix & not long term. If Bertuzzi ever went down, I'd either use Linden in his place or change the whole character of the 1st line by shifting Naslund to RW & moving Cooke or Arvedson to LW in order to replace Bertuzzi's size with speed & grit. Again, this would obviously only be a temporary fix and any long term need would require a trade.

My original point is that we do have players on the team and in the minors that can be asked to take on a more responsible role if needed which the team didn't have in previous years. It is better if we don't need to push the younger players, but previously we didn't have the choice. The team had to go out & make a trade if there was an injury.

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10-08-2003, 10:00 AM
  #25
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Originally Posted by Hi-wayman
Maybe I wasn't clear. I was speaking only of our other centres filling in on a short term emergency basis due to injury & saying they could handle the job. I would only move Henrik or Linden up to the 1st line, not Reid, Kesler or Chubarov. Reid, Kesler or Chubarov I'd use one the 2nd or 3rd line if Henrik moved to the 1st & Chubarov to the 2nd. Again, only a temporary fix & not long term. If Bertuzzi ever went down, I'd either use Linden in his place or change the whole character of the 1st line by shifting Naslund to RW & moving Cooke or Arvedson to LW in order to replace Bertuzzi's size with speed & grit. Again, this would obviously only be a temporary fix and any long term need would require a trade.

My original point is that we do have players on the team and in the minors that can be asked to take on a more responsible role if needed which the team didn't have in previous years. It is better if we don't need to push the younger players, but previously we didn't have the choice. The team had to go out & make a trade if there was an injury.
okay... I can agree with that... must have misunderstood your original post... it seemed that you would be okay with Chubarov on the top unit, even if only for a short time, because you believe he has the talent in him to play there (as per Mogilny's quote from a few years ago)...

I also understand you're pretty high on Chubby, as am I, but don't agree at all with Mogilny's assessment... personally I think Mogilny was out to lunch if he thought that Chubarov has star (or superstar) talent... he'll be a poor man's Mike Ricci IMO (maybe more realistically, a poor man's Dave Scatchard - with less scoring potential then him or Ricci), which isn't a bad thing at all, but no where near 1st line material (Ricci himself isn't really 1st line material).

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