Hockey

Antoine Roussel: Honestly, we kind of miss having him out of the division. While the marriage of him and Vancouver is perfect, and even more so as they grossly overpaid him, now that he’s on the West Coast, never on our TV, and has got his money his antics don’t even really exist. And this dude tried so hard to be considered annoying. Like he tried harder than Springstreen tries to convince you just how hard it is to play his shit-ass songs. That’s so hard! Ah well, nothing lasts forever, especially the truly wonderful.

Alex Edler: The elbows still work.

Adam Gaudette: Isn’t it weird that given a chance, Dylan Sikura’s running buddy at Northeastern has carved himself out a role on a third line for a team basically running a 3+1 model? Isn’t that strange? Wonder where else that could happen?

Hockey

Tyler Myers – May we present…

Alex Edler – We seem to be the only ones who know this, but Edler even this deep into his career still hasn’t met a hit he can’t jump his elbows into. Luckily these days he’s not mobile enough to get to most of them. A bigger villain in that cold war at the beginning of the decade than he got credit for.

Antoine Roussel – Back from injury and stealing a shit ton of money. People will realize that much like Andrew Shaw, you don’t pay a pest a ton of money because A.) their shelf-life just isn’t that long given they style and B). they may decide performing all the silliness makes less sense once they’re secure. They don’t have to prove much now.

Hockey

Alex Edler – We’re really stretching here (not Troy Stetcher-ing…we’ll show ourselves out), but the Canucks just aren’t the grouping of fuckwits you used to know and…well, know. So we’ll go with Captain Elbows here, who never met a hit he couldn’t leap into like Quinn the Eskimo just got here. Edler has been getting away with this crap for years, and perhaps one day he’ll miss and turn into shards on the boards and we’ll finally be vindicated. Probably not, though.

Tyler Myers – At least the Canucks have kept up tradition in having a big, doofus defenseman on their roster whom they will massively overpay for years. Sure, Myers is playing well now. It started well in Buffalo and Winnipeg, too. Then he gets bored with his defensive responsibilities, convinces himself he’s the big blond dork version of Paul Coffey and goes cowboy-ing his way all over the ice while the opponents gleefully and perhaps disbelievingly gallop into the spaces he’s supposed to be in but is ignoring. You’ll see, garbage-throwers and shit-ass rioters. You’ll see.

Jordie Benn – If he ever shaves, he’ll be out of the league within seven minutes.

Everything Else

It may be hard to believe, but while the Hawks still sport Toews, Kane, Keith, and Seabrook from battles with Vancouver past, only Alex Edler stands for Vancouver from what used to be. They’ve all gone elsewhere or retreated to the garbage dumps from which they hatched. Kesler, Burrows, Luongo, The Children Of The Corn, Hansen, and more. Only Edler is left in the rubble where once stood…well, honestly, it was just bigger, uglier rubble. It never really amounted to much.

Edler contributed to the ire and bile of the fable, he wasn’t merely a bystander. There wasn’t any hit that Edler couldn’t leap into with his elbows floating up like water-wings, and then claim to be the aggrieved. There isn’t anything Duncan Keith has done to a Canuck that Edler didn’t attempt to a Hawk first. Keith was just better at it and more thorough. There was a reason we remarked, “When Eds The Swede gets here, his elbows are going to jump for joy!”

Edler’s career has gone kind of the way of the Canucks since then. It hasn’t helped that he’s made of stickum and snot, as he hasn’t played more than 75 games in a season in seven years. While there was a time, in the midst of all of the mishegas, that he looked like he might become a dynamic puck-mover, he stalled out with the rest of the organization and hasn’t bested 40 points since 2012.

And much like they did with pretty much everyone else from their “glory” days, they missed the window to trade Edler and get something tangible for him. He’s hurt again, on IR after trying to kiss the ice surface at high speed. He’s a free agent this summer, and any team that is interested in trading for two months of Alex Edler isn’t interested in giving up much to do it. He’s 32 now, and there was a time a year or two ago where he would have been worth far more.

He won’t play tonight, and hence for the first time in a long time, Hawks fans will look upon the squad in white and green and blue and not see any villains from battles past. There will be no reminder of what was, what hockey could be at its most passionate and dangerous. No one to make you remember, however faintly, what it was like to actually have your blood boil. Perhaps when they return in March we’ll get one more chance to recall the confrontations of yore. Perhaps we’re not really ready to say goodbye just yet. Not until the next rival identified.

 

Game #55 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

There’s little question that the Vancouver Canucks have been floating in a fowl, still body of water for a few years now. They may be heavily deluded by the playoff appearance of 2015 that they somehow spasmed out of nowhere, but the two seasons after that hasn’t seen them clear 75 points and they’re certainly going to get nowhere near that this season. Anyone with half-decent eyesight and at least five functioning neurons upstairs could see this team needs big changes. It has one player it can build around in Brock Boeser, and maybe a decent piece in Bo Horvat, Troy Stetcher, and Ben Hutton. Maybe. Clearly, there’s a long way to go.

The Canucks had some things that they might have been able to move along for at least additional draft picks, and the more spins at the draft wheel you get the better chance you have of landing something meaningful.

Erik Gudbranson, who uncategorically sucks and that’s not even a phrase, was heading into free agency this summer. Thomas Vanek was another. Alex Edler might be starting to have old man stink, but he’s only got one year after this left on his deal and if the Canucks ate just a touch of his money due, they might have been able to convince some idiot that he can be a puck-moving bum-slayer. Chris Tanev has two more years after this one, and would have been harder to move, but given that he’s 28 and can actually still play, that might have been worth kicking the tires on too. And kicking this season into the can as hard as possible raises the odds of Rasmus Dahlin landing in town, which is a real start. Hell, maybe even flogging Lisa Ann’s favorite defenseman Michael Del Zotto would have been worth inspection.

The Canucks did… none of this.

They only made two trades. One was of Philip Holm, a young d-man who couldn’t crack their lineup, to Vegas for reclamation project Brendan Leipsic. Like, ok, maybe the Canucks can get Leipsic to the heights of a third line player. So…fine. And they did move Thomas Vanek…

…for Jussi Jokinen and Tyler Motte.

HUH?!

The Canucks tried to claim that there was no picks available for Vanek. But he got a third round pick at the deadline just last year. Surely a lower pick could have been had. And what the fuck are the Canucks going to do with Jokinen and Motte other than have other jerseys to make? Jokinen will play for all 31 NHL teams by 2020 at this ace, and Fifth Feather called Tyler Motte an ECHL all-star upon one viewing of him in preseason. Are they really selling that a player on his third organization by 24 is going to be a piece?

Not only that, they re-signed Gudbranson for another four years. He’s a big, dumb d-man in a league that’s getting smaller and faster. This deal is going to look awful…well, now. They didn’t move Edler, who is only going to lose value now, and they didn’t move Tanev. Tanev still has use but will he at 31 or 32 when the Canucks are good again? Assuming they do everything right, which they won’t.

The Canucks will spend $23.2 million next year on Gudbranson, Brandon Sutter, Sam Gagner, Loui Eriksson, and Bo Horvat. Only Horvat isn’t a synonym for “millstone” at the moment, and only just barely away from that. And remember, they might not get to 65 points this year.

Sure, Adam Gaudette and Kole Lind are in the pipeline already. But look at how much more the Nucks need? This was a whiff.

 

Game #75 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

 at 

Game Time: 9:00PM CST
TV/Radio: WGN Channel 9, WGN-AM 720
Baby, I’m An Anarchist!: Nucks MisconductCanucks Army

Because no road trips make any sense anymore, the Hawks will head to Western Canada for a return engagement starting tonight in Vancouver with whatever the fuck the Canucks are these days, complete with NHL ALL STAR 3 ON 3 CHALLENGE MVP Brock Boeser.

Everything Else

These days, I have to concentrate to remember when the Canucks and Hawks was the NHL’s fiercest rivalry. You may have forgotten as well. They were the four regular season games we looked forward to most. Their playoff series, as ugly and nasty as they got at times, were basically all the reasons we watch hockey. It had villains and drama and heroes and moments.

And yet the last time anyone talked about the Canucks without a tone of pity, amazement (the wrong kind), or scorn was five years ago. And it’s not going to change for a while either. Which breaks my fucking heart, let me tell you.

Vancouver Canucks

’16-’17 Record: 30-43-9  69 points (dead ass last in the Pacific)

Team Stats 5v5: 47.9 CF% (26th)  46.6 SF% (29th)  46.2 SCF% (28th)  7.0 SH% (22nd)  .924 SV% (15th)

Special Teams: 14.1 PP% (29th)  76.6 PK% (28th)