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Two unique opportunities – both missed

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06-22-2008, 12:36 PM
  #1
Vajakki
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Two unique opportunities – both missed

I’m personally pretty pissed off because of what happened, or to be precise, what didn’t happen in the draft. Gillis had two (!) great opportunities to give the Canucks exactly what they need, exactly what they’ve been lacking the last few years, and just simply didn’t do it. These both were that kind of opportunities which are very rare, very unique, opportunities which occur once in maybe five years. And, Friday, Gillis had two of them.

I’m of course talking about Jokinen and Beach. Last year the size, competitiveness, emotion, physical play and straightforwardness of our top 6 forward group were a non-existing factor. We were a lame perimeter team, very easy to defend against and anyone who knows anything about hockey noticed it. The lack of these attributes was, for example, the reason we got dominated by a team like San Jose. It was the biggest reason we ”weren’t close” to the Cup, and the single biggest area that needed some major upgrade during this summer.

I’m fine with the Sedins as long as they don’t cost us over 10 million in a year combined. They’ve done really good considering that most nights they’ve been playing as a duo, since the third member usually has been nothing special. What they need is a winger who fits them, and some additional firepower to the second line. They need another scoring line with different style of play to ease the pressure a bit, and Jokinen or Beach, or in a perfect world both of them, would’ve solved this problem and made us a real contender.

The Sedins cycle, that’s fine. They are PPG players during the regular season with that style of play and it’s enough. That’s the style of play they are build to play, and there’s absolutely no need in changing that, mostly because they suck when they try to change it. There are some question marks about their playoff performance or playing under big pressure, but I’m fairly confident that with some real secondary scoring that wouldn’t be as big problem. Other line plays the Canadian way, hard to the net and score and some ugly goals, other plays the Euro way like the Sedins do, try to make plays and go from there. To me, that combination would be a good one and a major upgrade to the current one (one Euro line and no second line), which is very easy to defend against.

Back to the missed opportunities, Jokinen and Beach. Jokinen would’ve been absolutely perfect fit for the Canucks. This is not your typical centre; this is a guy who doesn’t just pass the puck to feed linemates, this guy scores goals by himself. Jokinen has great size, plays physical, plays mean, defends his teammates if needed, has great skills and truly a wicked shot, and the most important thing: goes to the net and dirty areas with authority to actually make things happen. This guy was the Captain in Florida since forever, has great contract, and definitely would’ve upgraded our leadership and character issues, which both of them are at very, very weak base at this time. 100 times better option than Richards at the deadline; much cheaper, better fit to this Canucks team than a “normal” centre playmaker in Richards (because we have no one to feed the puck).

Beach has been discussed a lot here, and considering our midget like prospect pool, he would’ve been, IMO, a better fit than Hodgson. And I’m not saying Hodgson is not a good choice, I think he’s going to be a great player for the Canucks, but when Beach reaches his potential (I think he will), he would’ve been a perfect fit here and also a better player than Hodgson (huge upside difference between these two guys).

We had a great chance to get one of these players. Beach was already in our hands, and looking the offer that landed Olli to Phoenix, well, Bieksa and our second rounder would’ve been a better one for Florida. So Gillis had really a great opportunity to make the Canucks a much better team now and in future, but didn’t do anything. And yes, he picked Hodgson, but at the NHL level he’s not going to help our team when it comes to going hard to the net, or making room for other players (the size factor); the things that our current roster doesn’t have, and also the things that our major prospects don’t have.

The reason why I think this is alarming is the fact that these opportunities are very rare. I can almost guarantee there will be no players available to us like Jokinen, and definitely no players like Beach, in the next 5 years. Sure you can go and overpay a player like Malone who’s looking ridiculous contract, but he is nowhere near the duo what Gillis missed.

I’m just really concerned because I thought Gillis was here to address the needs of this team. Nonis was Nonuts, he was way too conservative and didn’t have the balls to make the necessary changes to improve the team, and I thought Gillis was hired to make a change in that area. Obviously, after the draft and looking what happened, that was not the case.

Sure Gillis has a lot of time left to make some additions and improve our hockey club. And I’m sure he will try to do that. However, that doesn’t change the fact he already lost the two best players that are going to be available to us in the next couple of years. To other Western Conference teams. It’s pretty clear that now he has to overpay tier 2 players to keep his job. I’m really disappointed so far.

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06-22-2008, 12:40 PM
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19nazzy
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I think it's pretty obvious why those 2 weren't brought in. Gillis values character over talent. And both of them have a lot of character issues. I'm not saying it's right or wrong but that's what happened here. I don't really mind that one with Beach, but it's a bit troubling with Jokinen. Although perhaps if Luongo didn't recommend Jokinen (which I'm sure Gillis would've talked with him about) that could've had a lot to do with it.

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06-22-2008, 12:48 PM
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Peter Griffin
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Originally Posted by Chip Whitley View Post
We had a great chance to get one of these players. Beach was already in our hands, and looking the offer that landed Olli to Phoenix, well, Bieksa and our second rounder would’ve been a better one for Florida.
I'd say that Ballard holds more value than Bieksa. Ballard is a really underrated defenseman IMO. That said, who's to say that Florida was even negotiating in good faith with the Canucks? According to Sutter Florida was asking Calgary for Phaneuf in return so I can only imagine what Martin would've asked for from Vancouver in order to ship another star player to BC.

I do question Gillis' comments that they had no interest in acquiring Jokinen citing "problems" he didn't wish to disclose. I would hope that Jokinen would have some serious character issues if it is true that Gillis didn't even pursue, as I agree that Jokinen's play would've been a great fit for this team.

As for taking Hodgson over Beach, I can't really fault Gillis on that one. Hodgson was a consensus top 10 pick while Beach was not. Hodgson also fills a HUGE void in this organization at center.

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06-22-2008, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 19nazzy View Post
I think it's pretty obvious why those 2 weren't brought in. Gillis values character over talent. And both of them have a lot of character issues. I'm not saying it's right or wrong but that's what happened here. I don't really mind that one with Beach, but it's a bit troubling with Jokinen. Although perhaps if Luongo didn't recommend Jokinen (which I'm sure Gillis would've talked with him about) that could've had a lot to do with it.
When you value character over talent, you have to draw the line somewhere. You are not going to win the Cup without talent, and the flip side, you are not going to win the Cup without character. You have to balance things out.

And that really doesn't change my opinion in this because I fail to see Jokinen's or Beach's character problems. Heck, Beach was all about character to me. He was like the mother of all characters. And Jokinen was the captain in Florida for many seasons, he carried the team with 90 points seasons while no one else stood up. Past season Jokinen had some issues, he has openly stated that couple times, but you know, the constant losing is not a easy thing to overcome.

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06-22-2008, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Chip Whitley View Post
And that really doesn't change my opinion in this because I fail to see Jokinen's or Beach's character problems. Heck, Beach was all about character to me. He was like the mother of all characters. And Jokinen was the captain in Florida for many seasons, he carried the team with 90 points seasons while no one else stood up. Past season Jokinen had some issues, he has openly stated that couple times, but you know, the constant losing is not a easy thing to overcome.
Beach is not all about "character". He's not the psycho headcase everyone makes him out to be, but he's definately not a leader.

And about Jokinen:
Quote:
We didn't think he was the player we wanted to fit in with our team," Gillis said. "The reports that we had were problematic for me and I don't really want to expand on it. We just didn't want to go in that direction."
There is something wrong with Jokinen. This is obviously an instance where we don't and probably never will know the full story, but there was something that scared the Canucks away. While he may have upgrade the skill departmed, he probably would have been detrimental to the character and leadership departmen (yes, he's the captain in Florida, but I think that's an instance where they just named their best player captain).

And Jokinen has become a bit overatted on this board. You would think he was a top-10 scorer. Both the Sedins had more points this season. As did 30 other players. Vaclav Prospal and Olli Jokinen had nearly identical numbers (Prospal played with Lecavalier). To say a chance to acquire a player of that talent will not come again for 5 years is ridiculous.

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Sure Gillis has a lot of time left to make some additions and improve our hockey club. And I’m sure he will try to do that. However, that doesn’t change the fact he already lost the two best players that are going to be available to us in the next couple of years. To other Western Conference teams. It’s pretty clear that now he has to overpay tier 2 players to keep his job. I’m really disappointed so far.
Do you know how many teams improved at the draft in the west? 3: Calgary, Columbus, and Phoenix. Free Agency has even began, not to mention there are still numerous trade possibilites out there.


Last edited by Hedberg: 06-22-2008 at 01:01 PM.
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06-22-2008, 12:55 PM
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Vajakki
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I'd say that Ballard holds more value than Bieksa. Ballard is a really underrated defenseman IMO. That said, who's to say that Florida was even negotiating in good faith with the Canucks? According to Sutter Florida was asking Calgary for Phaneuf in return so I can only imagine what Martin would've asked for from Vancouver in order to ship another star player to BC.
Trust me, I love Ballard. I think he is a great defenseman and definitely underrated. I just pictured the same situation with the Canucks, and thought "ok, there's Ballard and Boynton combined ~5.5mil and pick #49, or pick #41 and Bieksa at 3.75mil". Bieksa deal for me, as Canucks POV.

And yes Martin's traffic jams in his brains are a question mark. That was just pure speculation. For some reason I don't believe he asked Phaneuf at all. That's just some Sutter pranks.

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I do question Gillis' comments that they had no interest in acquiring Jokinen citing "problems" he didn't wish to disclose. I would hope that Jokinen would have some serious character issues if it is true that Gillis didn't even pursue, as I agree that Jokinen's play would've been a great fit for this team.
I find you as one of my favourite posters here at HF and I'm glad you agree here with me.

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06-22-2008, 01:04 PM
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1st point - Yes, Jokinen would have been a GREAT fit for this team - I don't know what MG was saying when he was talking about certain "problems" about Jokinen. Olli's everything Gillis wanted - size, grit, character, leadership, and, most importantly, skill. I think this was just a flimsy excuse for Gillis' inability to land Jokinen.

2nd point - Yes, Beach is big, mean, and skilled, but he also brings an over-inflated ego and concussion problems. AV and Beach would have been at each others' throats and drafting him would have been an unnecessary distraction.

I'd even say that Hodgson is more talented than Beach at this point, and his hockey-smarts and leadership is a lot more valuable than Beach's "bad-ass" attitude. I'd rather have a talented, future leader of our franchise over a loud-mouthed ass prancing around throwing cheap shots and mouthing-off at the refs (leading to more time on the PK) all game, wouldn't you?

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06-22-2008, 01:05 PM
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Vajakki
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Beach is not all about "character". He's not the psycho headcase everyone makes him out to be, but he's definately not a leader.
He's no Linden that's for sure, but he plays with emotion and passion and I have this gut feeling that over time he would've calmed himself down and emerged as one of the leaders. He does what the coach asks him to do and does it with passion.

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There is something wrong with Jokinen. This is obviously an instance where we don't and probably never will know the full story, but there was something that scared the Canucks away. While he may have upgrade the skill departmed, he probably would have been detrimental to the character and leadership departmen (yes, he's the captain in Florida, but I think that's an instance where they just named their best player captain).
Again, I just can't see it. I live in Finland and Jokinen is probably the most discussed and debated hockey player here. He had some issues when he was younger, but those have faded away as far as I'm concerned. He leads by example and is the team's best player and is the captain because of that, just like Näslund was here before the lockout (leading by example and being the best player). Again, the constant losing is not good for your motivation, and that is going to affect on your character, or at least to how other people see your character.

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06-22-2008, 01:19 PM
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And Jokinen has become a bit overatted on this board. You would think he was a top-10 scorer. Both the Sedins had more points this season. As did 30 other players. Vaclav Prospal and Olli Jokinen had nearly identical numbers (Prospal played with Lecavalier). To say a chance to acquire a player of that talent will not come again for 5 years is ridiculous.
I think he is underrated. At least in Canadian media Jokinen is definitely very underrated. That point comparison is just stupid. A) Jokinen doesn't have a twin Jokinen to play with B) Jokinen doesn't have Lecavalier or Briere to play with etc etc. Jokinen had two 90 point seasons before last season, which was disappointing to him and he has openly stated that. And I believe the constant losing and the management's BS affected a lot and were a big reason why Jokinen's play slipped a bit.

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Do you know how many teams improved at the draft in the west? 3: Calgary, Columbus, and Phoenix. Free Agency has even began, not to mention there are still numerous trade possibilites out there.
I know that, and I know there's possibilities left. A lot. But in my mind the best options for the Canucks are gone now, especially in Jokinen. That was the whole point. There's no centre available with similar skill set as Jokinen, probably won't be in couple of years. And it takes probably 5-10 years before another Beach comes along.

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06-22-2008, 01:22 PM
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WOW.

Hodgson is the best of both worlds in that he's a future 1st line center and you guys drafted him.

And yet you complain?

You won't be complaining for long, I can guarantee you that.

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06-22-2008, 01:26 PM
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Barney Gumble
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He's no Linden that's for sure, but he plays with emotion and passion and I have this gut feeling that over time he would've calmed himself down and emerged as one of the leaders. He does what the coach asks him to do and does it with passion.
PASS.

Been there before and just as soon avoid that potential problem *IF* an equally as good prospect is available (actually better as it fills a HUMUNGOUS void in our prospect system).

You know who I'm talking about.

#44.

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06-22-2008, 01:29 PM
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Vajakki
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I'd even say that Hodgson is more talented than Beach at this point, and his hockey-smarts and leadership is a lot more valuable than Beach's "bad-ass" attitude.
I think Hodgson is safer pick than Beach, but Beach's potential is way higher than Hodgson's. Which one is more talented right now? Tough to say. Hockey smarts? Tough to say. Everett coach said Kyle's hockey sense is too good for junior hockey right now. Beach is closer to NHL right now, that's for sure. He can play next season if needed.

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I'd rather have a talented, future leader of our franchise over a loud-mouthed ass prancing around throwing cheap shots and mouthing-off at the refs (leading to more time on the PK) all game, wouldn't you?
Well, Beach's Everett coach has stated Kyle's on the plus side what comes to PK and PP (his actions -> more PP than PK). Again, he will mature. Also again, my whole point was Beach is unique. Hodgsons come and go, Beachs are unique. And if you believe he'll reach his potential, you have to pick him.

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06-22-2008, 01:31 PM
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I think Hodgson is safer pick than Beach, but Beach's potential is way higher than Hodgson's. Which one is more talented right now? Tough to say. Hockey smarts? Tough to say. Everett coach said Kyle's hockey sense is too good for junior hockey right now. Beach is closer to NHL right now, that's for sure. He can play next season if needed.
Intangibles. Hodsgon is a leader. Beach is a "lone wolf". Canucks need leaders.

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06-22-2008, 01:40 PM
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Vajakki
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Intangibles. Hodsgon is a leader. Beach is a "lone wolf". Canucks need leaders.
You know what the Canucks also need? Size, grit and emotion. Somewhere else too than the bottom 6, defense or goaltending.

If the Canucks had got Jokinen, I'd have much less problems picking Hodgson over Beach. But they got neither.

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06-22-2008, 01:44 PM
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You know what the Canucks also need? Size, grit and emotion. Somewhere else too than the bottom 6, defense or goaltending.
Hodsgon isn't an emotionless robot. That's why he's good leader.

No sense harping on Jokinen. Panthers never made a realistic attempt at dealing with the Canucks IMHO (course, we'll never know for sure).

From *any* point of view (forget Canucks POV): 1st round pick+Bieksa > 2nd round pick + Ballard + $3 million dollar version of Rory Fitzpatrick (Jeebus, even our 2nd round pick was a better pick than the 2nd round pick that was given to the Panthers)

Course, you wouldn't have Beach either in that situation.


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06-22-2008, 01:51 PM
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looking at the nucks roster

I think maybe the panthers would have asked for Elder, Bieska and the first rounder or second rounder

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06-22-2008, 01:57 PM
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I'm pretty sure it was Scott Mellanby who told Gillis something about Jokinen which scared him off making an offer. Maybe even Louie or Krajicek said something. I've heard all the "best friends" comments regarding Louie and Ollie but who really knows?

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06-22-2008, 02:05 PM
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No sense harping on Jokinen. Panthers never made a realistic attempt at dealing with the Canucks IMHO (course, we'll never know for sure).
That's interesting because Gillis said Martin called him and asked if he's interested in Jokinen before the deal with Coyotes was completed. And obviously, like any good GM when asked if you're in need of number one centre with physical presence, Gillis said no thanks.

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06-22-2008, 02:28 PM
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Agreed completely.

Passing on Beach I don't necessarily agree with, but I understand it and it doesn't bother me too much.

The Jokinen thing is just bizarre. Gallagher claims it was because he has a reputation as a 'clubhouse lawyer'. Who cares? We have a pretty strong leadership structure here on a veteran team, and this is where you trust your leaders to ensure that sort of thing won't become a problem.

As for Mellanby, he played a half-season with Jokinen 8 years ago when Jokinen was 21. Don't know if he could have had too much to offer from a teammate perspective.

As you say, our biggest problem over the past few years has been our total lack of gritty skill in our top-6. And by the looks of it and what's available in the trade/UFA market, it will continue to be our biggest problem next year.

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06-22-2008, 02:32 PM
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I'm just going to say that when the Canucks were about to make there pick I was praying that they would pick anyone other than Beach. That guy is over rated, I've seen him play at least a dozen times and he is probably the dirtiest player out there constantly using his stick and taking dumb penelties and when someone finally has had enough and wants to fight him, if it's not someone alot smaller than him he will just go and hide behind a ref. basically he is only going to be a bigger dirtier version of Matt Cooke.

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06-22-2008, 02:35 PM
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As for Mellanby, he played a half-season with Jokinen 8 years ago when Jokinen was 21. Don't know if he could have had too much to offer from a teammate perspective.
But our star player played alongside him for many years, so who knows what Luongo had to say about him. I've heard rumours that Luongo and Jokinen were good friends, but who knows.

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06-22-2008, 03:03 PM
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Who knows WHO the Canucks talked to. Certainly Mellanby asked around and probably they spoke to Luongo. (They would be awfully stupid if they didn't.) Maybe Bryan Allen? Maybe Jovo? The NHL community is a small one and word gets around.

Also: let's face it, Florida didn't get a lot for Jokinen, considering that he racks up the points, is big and strong and plays physical hockey, is in the prime of his career and is going to make about 5.5 mill each of the next two years. So why did they only get Ballard and Boyton and a pick? Were other teams scared off?

As for Beach, there are four problems: i) the character stuff; ii) the sports hernia; iii) the concussions (remember Patrik Stefan? nobody wants to waste a chance to draft a Hodgson when a Beach is one punch away from being Adam Deadmarsh) and iv) the way his scoring tailed off drastically in the second half of the season. These might be insignificant on their own, but together they might make a scouting staff hesitant. ESPECIALLY with a guy like Hodgson -- ranked really high by everyone, from RLR to ISS to CSB -- available and without any baggage.

Hodgson captained Canada in a major tournament, and led the tourney in scoring. Beach wasn't even invite to camp.

I have to give Gillis credit for his guts. He was hired to be a broom for an obviously impatient new owner, not a patient rebuilder. He could easily have traded for Jokinen -- assuming Florida would even consent to deal with the Canucks -- and drafted Beach. These two could have been on a line next season. But he chose to do what he felt was the right thing for the franchise, longer term, probably aware that by the time Hodgson starts to excel, Gillis himself might be gone. (Like it or not, the vast majority of players needs at least 2-3 years of seasoning in the minors and then a couple of years to acclimatize. I hope Hodgson is exceptional in this regard but realistically...)

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06-22-2008, 03:27 PM
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Another thing about Beach: the Bourdon factor.

Luc Bourdon -- and I don't mean to speak ill of the deceased -- was not a trouble maker, but he was no Einstein. Only an immature and overconfident (reckless?) kid would spend a hundred grand on a 300 km capable motorcycle, and then race it without extensive experience* along a windy, winding road where there are oncoming tractor trailers.

* He'd owned it for about 3 weeks, and hadn't discussed it with his agent -- or the club -- even though players are encouraged in seminars to seek advice re: risky activities.

Bourdon was a good kid. Can you imagine the trouble a young multi-millionaire hockey player can get into (bad for him and bad and embarrassing for the hockey club)? I think Gillis, Delorme, Tambellini etc wanted no part of Beach. At least ten other teams also felt they had better options.

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06-22-2008, 03:32 PM
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Another thing about Beach: the Bourdon factor.

Luc Bourdon -- and I don't mean to speak ill of the deceased -- was not a trouble maker, but he was no Einstein. Only an immature and overconfident (reckless?) kid would spend a hundred grand on a 300 km capable motorcycle, and then race it without extensive experience* along a windy, winding road where there are oncoming tractor trailers.

* He'd owned it for about 3 weeks, and hadn't discussed it with his agent -- or the club -- even though players are encouraged in seminars to seek advice re: risky activities.

Bourdon was a good kid. Can you imagine the trouble a young multi-millionaire hockey player can get into (bad for him and bad and embarrassing for the hockey club)? I think Gillis, Delorme, Tambellini etc wanted no part of Beach. At least ten other teams also felt they had better options.
$100,000? haha um no bike you can buy from a store costs $100,000

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06-22-2008, 03:45 PM
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On Jokinen...

1) I think many underate Ballard. he has been quite a steady D-man the last couple of seasons. Say what you like about bieksa but "steady" is not a word you use.

2) as with what Sutter is saying and what Nonis said around deadline time I don't think Martin wanted to deal Jokinen to just any team. No idea why the Calgary thing but I can certainly understand why he wouldn't deal his other star player to the canucks so soon after Keenan dealt Luongo.

3) Gillis isn't the only person to make comments about Jokinen. I believe Milbury has hinted that there is a personality flaw but wouldn't go into any details on it.

ON Hodgson...no problem with the pick. When numerous people are saying he has Stamkos talent but doesn't have the breakaway speed yet isn't slow by any means that's a darn good thing. I think this kid is going to surprise and he'll be in the NHL sooner rather than later.

And really the last point and I would make it for Nonis if somehow he had held on to the job...one day does not make or break the off season. LAst time I checked it isn't September and camp isn't opening soon.

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