Every Tuesday, Canuckz.com will profile a Canadian sportscaster. This week is Vic Rauter.
Over the course of his career, Vic Rauter has done it all. Recently, I saw him on Sportscentre doing the highlight packages. I, for one, think he is quite possibly the most underrated Canadian sports broadcaster of all-time! His style is unique to himself and he is very articulate. Oh, and of course, his signature line “MAKE THE FINAL.” Brilliant. In recent years, he has taken a limited role with TSN, who instead have replaced him in favour of cookie-cutter Fox News type personalilties. Give me guys like Vic Rauter over them any day. Here are a couple samples of his best work:
“MAKE THE FINAL!”
Good article in the Province this weekend about about Markus Naslund. For the first time since his retirement, Naslund spoke candidly to Province reporter Jim Jamieson about life after hockey. This of course means that the debate of whether or not to hang his #19 from the rafters of GM Place has heated up. When asked about it, Naslund said “It’s very flattering. If you ask any athlete, to have your number retired is one of the most flattering things you can have happen. It would be a great honour”. Typical response from a guy who has been a class act throughout his whole career.
So should Naslund’s number be retired? It will surely serve as great debate for Canucks fans. I think it should (and will), but I don’t think it will be retired this season. The memory and bitterness of Canucks fans is still too great about Naslund’s final 2-3 seasons in Vancouver. People have forgotten about the amazing seasons he had for the franchise. If people can forget that Pavel Bure demanded a trade and sat out most of the 1998-99 season while still under contract and want his number retired, surely a lot of people will want Naslund’s number retired in a couple of years from now.
For those of you against having Naslund’s number retired, consider this: he is the all-time franchise leader in goals and points (while playing fewer games in a more defensive era than Smyl or Linden). At the top of his game, few in the league compared to Naslund. His best two seasons in 2001-02 and 2002-03, he scored 40 and 48 goals, doing so in a very defensive era of the league. In 01-02 and 02-03, only Jarome Iginla (52 goals in 01-02) and Milan Hejduk (50 goals in 02-03) scored 50 goals in a season. When you compare that to Bure’s best two seasons in a Canucks jersey (back to back 60 goal seasons in 92-93 and 93-94), you can see just how impressive Naslund’s achievements were. Bure’s first 60 goal season was a time when Mogilny (76 goals), Selanne (76 goals), Lemieux (69 goals) and Robitaille (63 goals) all scored more than him. Bure lead the league in goals in 1993-94, but not by much. Hull, Fedorov, Andreychuk, Shanahan, Graves, Sheppard, Modano and Neely all scored 50 or more goals (Neely actually scored 50 goals in 49 games that year). My point here is that Naslund’s best years were comparable to that of Bure’s (who would have his jersey retired had he not demanded to leave town), and his all-time numbers eclipse that of Linden’s and Smyl’s (who both have their jerseys retired).
Now I know what all of you are probably saying, “Naslund didn’t have any success in the playoffs.” While it is true that Naslund never reached the 3rd round with the Canucks, his playoffs could hardly be called failures. In his prime (2001-02 to 2003-04), Naslund scored 25 points in 27 playoff games. His best playoff came in 2003-04 when he was playing hurt (courtesy of Steve Moore) and was without Todd Bertuzzi. He got 9 points in 7 games that year, playing with Brendan Morrison and Matt Cooke. The Canucks playoff failures were more due to the team not having any kind of above average goal-tending (Cloutier’s goal from centre ice in 2002, Cloutier’s .868 SV% in 2003, and the Cloutier-Hedberg-Auld combo in 2004). Ask yourself this, would Bure and Linden be looked at the same if Kirk McLean hadn’t made “the save” in 1994 to keep their season alive? Of course not. Naslund never got a chance to do the things that Linden and Bure did in the playoffs because he simply wasn’t given the opportunity. Maybe that’s just bad luck for him, but I think he did enough in the playoffs to warrant his jersey hanging in the rafters.
So should the Canucks retire his jersey? Give your opinion in the comments section.
No, not what is he doing here with Charles Wang, but this time the former goaltender has gone goalie shopping crazy! Three weeks ago, Snow signed former Oilers #1 goalie Dwayne Roloson to a two-year deal. Yesterday he signed former Flyers #1 goalie Martin Biron to a one-year deal. All fine and dandy, until you consider that they already have Rick DiPietro and his 15 year contract (he has 12 years left on that by the way). Surely they’re not getting ready to trade DiPietro… are they? Who knows on Long Island, where this doesn’t even crack the top 10 weird things they’ve done in the last few years.
Top 10 “weird” things the Islanders have done in the last 15 years:
- Traded the best young goalies in the league (Roberto Luongo) along with former #3 overall draft pick (Olli Jokinen) for Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish. Why did he do this? See #2.
- Drafted Rick DiPietro #1 overall, passing over Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik.
- Traded Zdeno Chara, the #2 overall pick (Jason Spezza) and Bill Muckalt for Alexei Yashin. Chara for Yashin one-for-one would have been a steal, same with Spezza. Heck, Muckalt one-for-one would have been better than having Yashin’s crippling contract.
- Signing Alexei Yashin to a 10 year, $87.5 million contract. Ten year contracts are all fine and dandy, for young guys who are consistent. Not exactly something Yashin has ever been accused of.
- Hiring Neil Smith on June 8, 2006 and then FIRING him one month eight days later! Really did their due dilligence in that hiring. And who did they replace him with? See #6…
- Hiring your backup goalie (Garth Snow) as your new general manager. No need to pay your dues or anything, here’s the most important job in the organization, Garth.
- Signing Rick DiPietro to a 15 year contract. The move could have been a good one if he stays consistent for 15 years and stays healthy. Whoops.
- Trading for rental Ryan Smyth in exchange for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O’Marra and a first round pick. I’ve got nothing against trading for a rental player, but trading 3 good young players for a good (not great) player just to help you squeak into the playoffs and get beat in the first round? Not smart.
- Trading Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe and a 3rd round pick (Jarkko Ruutu) for Trevor Linden. Linden was on the down side of his career while Bertuzzi and McCabe were both highly touted prospects who went on to having some very productive years.
- Allowing Mike Milbury to keep his job for so long. Milbury was the GM in Long Island for over 10 years! When you consider that #1, 2, 3, 4 and 9 on this list are courtesy of Milbury, you can really see how crazy this was.
(Any mention of Mike Milbury on this blog shall be followed by a video of him beating a man with his own shoe)
David Pratt and Don Taylor are off the air! Well, for one day at least. The co-hosts of the popular radio show on the TEAM 1040 got into an argument on Monday that lead to David Pratt throwing down his microphone which was followed by 12 minutes of commercials and then a previously taped interview. Afterwards, Pratt returned, without Taylor. On Tuesday, both were given the day off in order to “cool off”. Both, apparently, are to return to the air today at 3:00pm. If you ask me, both are acting a bit like radio divas, as the argument was centred around the comparison of Tom Watson’s accomplishments at the British Open, to 75 year old poker champion Doyle Brunson. My two cents: interesting comparison, poker requires mental strength, golf requires mental AND physical strength.
***UPDATE*** Pratt and Taylor went to air on Wednesday and all appeared to be forgiven. They did not make mention of the pissing contest that happened on Monday until a caller made mention of it. They downplayed the incident and the show went on as normal.
Kyle Wellwood’s arbitration case is around the corner and I believe there is a high chance that the Canucks will walk away from the deal if he is awarded too much. The Canucks will probably walk away from anything nearing $2 million but if I had to guess, I think he’ll get in the neighbourhood of $1.5 million.
That’s right! It’s time for another Canuckz.com TWITTER TRACKER! Today’s edition looks at the best tweets from the FAKE Twitter account of Kyle Wellwood:
- Eagles + Moosehead = good off season. true story.
- It took me 14 tries to type proportional on T9 in that last update.
- The size of your stick is not proportional to anything else. althoug maybe inversely to how awesome i am.
- salary arbitration fun fact number one: I deserve more money. true story.
- god damn the canucks sure Love us ex leafs players, ugh. i mean, hey Raycroft My old fwend!
- I think Don Cherry has a crush on me.
- Does anyone know the special Seasoning for KFC chicken? Paying 200$ for it.
When you look at the Canucks payroll right now, one thing is clear: something has to give. If Michael Grabner and Cody Hodgson are ready for the NHL this season, then Mike Gillis currently has 15 potential NHL forwards. When you consider that most teams carry 14 or fewer forwards, then yes, something has to give. Here’s a list of where they’re at:
Top 9 forwards under contract (one-way contract):
- Daniel Sedin
- Henrik Sedin
- Pavol Demitra
- Ryan Kesler
- Alex Burrows
- Mikael Samuelsson
- Mason Raymond
- Steve Bernier
Top 9 forwards under contract (two-way contract):
- Cody Hodgson
- Michael Grabner
Top 9 forwards not under contract (restricted free agent)
- Kyle Wellwood
- Jannik Hansen
Fourth liners under contract:
- Ryan Johnson
- Darcy Hordichuk
- Rick Rypien
Assuming they play with 14 forwards, then someone is on the trade block if both Grabner (he is not a certainty) and Hodgson (he is) make the team. Now assuming that the 4th liners stay in the line-up on a regular basis and that they re-sign their restricted free agents, they will have some players in the press box that they don’t want there. If Hodgson and Grabner make the team, they will want them playing often, most likely on their top 3 lines. That means that Wellwood, Raymond and Hansen will be in the press box (or traded) unless Gillis makes a move. With Ohlund gone, their need is clear on defence.
So who is on the move? I think that Wellwood and/or Demitra will be on the move. Wellwood’s probably in line for a raise and is also probably penciled in to be in the press box with Hodgson and Samuelsson on their way. Demitra makes $4 million, and is the most expensive of their forwards not named Daniel or Henrik. Look for them to find a defenceman from a team without depth up front and good depth on defence.
A team like Toronto would make some sense, if not for the grudge that Brian Burke has with the Aquilinis/Canucks. A team like Philadelphia might work. They’ve just acquired Chris Pronger, and probably no longer need a guy like Matt Carle, who would surely help the Canucks power play. He’s young and only has a cap hit of $3.438, which fits him into the Canucks payroll structure nicely. Philly has just lost Mike Knuble to free agency and Joffrey Lupul via trade. They’re deep at centre, but could use wingers like Demitra or Hansen. They could also use a goaltender of the future like Kevin Weekes Cory Schneider.
Will the real Andrew Raycroft please stand-up? Andrew Raycroft, pictured above with the Calder Trophy, was named rookie of the year with the Bruins in 2003-04. Since then, he has had one sub-par year with the Bruins, two with the Leafs, and backed-up the immortal Petr Budaj last year in Colorado. I don’t think anyone thinks the Canucks are getting the Raycroft of 2003-04, but I think he can be an effective back-up for a good team. He signed a one year deal for $500,000, so the risk is minimal.
With a body like that, how could you NOT have him back!? O’Brien signed a 1 year, $1.6 million deal with the Canucks on Monday. This likely cements himself as the team’s #5 defenceman, and I think they may have paid a little much for him. Maybe that’s just the going rate for young defencemen. I guess when you compare his contract to the player he was acquired for, Lukas Krajicek (1 year at $1.475 million), maybe it’s a fair deal after all.
Kyle Wellwood will be going to salary arbitration if he can’t reach a deal with the Canucks soon. He’s an interesting case, as he was so up and down all season. He ended up with 18 goals, but only 27 points in total. He also put up 6 points in 10 playoff games. If I had to guess, I think an arbitrator would award him $1.5 million, which would be reasonable for the Canucks to take.
On Friday, the Canucks signed right winger Mikael Samuelsson to a 3 year contract paying him $2.5 million a season. This brings a few different things to the team. For one, it brings probably the last big name free agent to the Canucks this offseason because they have almost used up all of their cap space. It also means that the Canucks will have a Stanley Cup winner, a rarity on any Canucks team in the last 10 years. Consider this, since the Sedins entered the NHL in 2000, the Canucks have only had 3 Stanley Cup winners play for them: Mike Keane, Jiri Slegr, and Ryan Shannon. Of those three, only Keane had true Cup experience, as Slegr and Shannon rarely played.
Mikael Samuelsson is an interesting player. He was essentially a third liner on a very good Red Wings team the last four years, was among the NHL leaders in shots on goal, and played the point on the Wings’ power play. He was also a player who didn’t hit his prime until age 29 (his first season with the Wings). Before he joined the Wings, his best NHL season was a 22 point season with the Rangers in 2002-03. Since joining the Wings, he has averaged about 40 points per season. The question Canucks fans might be asking is: can Samuelsson thrive in any system or is he simply a product of the big red machine in Detroit? Clearly he learnt how to play in Detroit, but I also think he’ll bring that same 40 point total to the Canucks.
So how does Samuelsson fit-in with the Canucks? The team sees him as a top 6 forward, which is a need with Sundin still contemplating his future. He is also a right-handed shot (despite what many internet sites may tell you), and has prior experience playing on a line with the Sedins in the 2006 Olympics. Count on him getting a look with the Sedins this upcoming season, especially if they can’t regain the magic they found with Alex Burrows.
The Samuelsson signing now brings the total of forwards committed to for next year to 11. Consider that they should re-sign Kyle Wellwood and Jannik Hansen, plus Cody Hodgson should be a lock to make the team, bringing the total to 14 forwards (the maximum that they would likely carry). So does this mean that Mats Sundin will not return? Some media types in Vancouver would have you believe this, but hearing Mike Gillis’ recent comments lead me to think that he would make room for the big Swede, should he decide to return. Regardless, look for a forward to be moved for some help on the blueline, especially if Michael Grabner is ready for prime time. Stay tuned…
Did we mention he’s clutch?
Just a few thoughts about some of the rumours we’ve heard in the last few days about free agency. With rumour blogs such as Eklund / countless twitter accounts, Canuckz.com asks: what stories have they really broken? Here’s a few snippets of rumours from Eklund on the day before free agency began:
- Ohlund to LA, NJ, or Anaheim (or maybe a real surprise)
- Knuble will re-sign with Philly
- Hossa will be a domino after Heatley decides if he wants to go to Edmonton or NY
- Cammalleri will sign with Buffalo, Nashville or Toronto
- The Sedins will sign in Montreal
- Komisarek will sign in NJ or the New York Islanders, but don’t rule out a return to the Habs
- The Hawks will attempt to move Huet and bring back Bulin
- Havlat will not be signed today, but will likely end up back in Chicago
- The Wild will get in on Hossa and make another play for Heatley (and possibly Vinny)
- The Islanders will make a play for a major player as well. if not Komisarek, maybe Ohlund
- Kaberle to Boston for Kessel will be revisited
So yeah, not right on a SINGLE rumour! The only things he kind of predicted correctly were vaguely predicting that the Rangers would spend their money (duh!), and that the Thrashers would sign some players unexpectedly (what exactly does that mean?). You’d think if he was just making up stuff that he’d be able to guess better than that!
And what about the Twitter accounts? Darren Dreger’s Twitter has been popular, but is he telling us anything that TSN.ca isn’t already? Same goes with Daren Millard’s “tweeting” from Sportsnet. Even Eklund is on Twitter (apparently Kaberle is on his way to Vancouver, but don’t hold your breath). Jason Botchford’s tweets told us about Gaborik buying a home in West Vancouver, who knows how true that is now that he will be living in New York. But my favourite “tweets” are the fake accounts such as Tony Gallagher and Bob McKenzie. Here are the best of the fake tweets:
Fake Tony Gallagher
- Deal is definetly done; Will be on the Province website within the hour
- Going on the TEAM to announce the deal
and then after Tony Gallagher went on the TEAM to say that he’s not on Twitter even though someone has an account pretending to be him…
- A Tony Gallagher impersonator has been on the Team claiming that this is not my account. As a newspaper man I would never fall for such lies
“Newspaper man”?! That’s classic!
Fake Bob McKenzie
- Come tmrw, expect Komisarek to go to the Capitals, Koivu to join Selanne in Anaheim and Dave Hodge to come to work drunk. Ha, I kid
- While I love Babcock, I’m worried that he’ll forget how to coach a CDN player after being in Detroit so long. Ha.
- The Williams sisters advance to the Wimbledon final again!!! Am I the only one who finds Serena irresistibly sexy?
- Has anyone tried Taco Bell’s new Volcano Taco? I had 3 or 4 for lunch. They’re delicious, but the TSN bathroom resembles Pompei, Italy now
I love the way fake Bob McKenzie laughs.. Ha! Now, if that didn’t satisfy your daily Twitter fix, check this out (it’s one sweet tweet):
That’s right! The twins are back, this time making $6.1 million a season. That can only mean one thing. Now Sedin bashers will be adding “overpaid” to the list of things they don’t like about the Sedins (also on the list? They’re Swedish, soft, too polite, boring, don’t produce in the playoffs, too slow, etc.). All the Sedins have done is disprove each one of those allegations one by one, which is why they are indeed worth $6.1 million. They didn’t come at a bargain basement price, but when you see the Montreal Canadiens trading for Scott Gomez, he of the $7.357 cap hit (for the next next five seasons!) and 58 points last season, it’s certainly a good deal for the Canucks.
Sedin news means we get to post this video:
Also moving on Wednesday was Mattias Ohlund, signing a ridiculous 7 year deal at $3.75 million per season with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ohlund will be 39 by the time his contract runs out! Ohlund’s play has been declining steadily for the last few years. This deal has the potential to have him being overpaid grossly in the not too distant future.
So what about all of the other free agents moving on day 1 of the free agent madness? You can see the full list here. Often times you hear about “winners and losers” of trades or free agent signings, but it is more complex than that. Some deals like Mattias Ohlund’s contract with the Lightning will be beneficial to them in the short term, but will hurt them greatly long-term. Taking that into account, here are the biggest short and long term winners and losers in free agency so far:
Winners both long and short term. The Sedin twins were two of the most sought after free agents and Mike Gillis landed both of them. Their contracts are fair, so not a home run, but not a strikeout either. The length of contract (5 years) is vital as well. In 5 years they will still only be 33 years old, and shouldn’t have too much of a drop-off in their play. They lost Mattias Ohlund, but he was signed to ridiculous money in Tampa Bay and Gillis would have been crazy to match that. Jason Labarbera ended up in Phoenix, which will hurt, but when you have Luongo playing and making as much as he does, it’s hard to spend big money on a backup or promising significant playing time.
Big short term winners, long term losers. Chicago bolstered their lineup with the additions of Marian Hossa, John Madden and Tomas Kopecky. Hossa and Madden are upgrades over Havlat and Pahlsson, who each signed elsewhere, while Khabibulin signed with Edmonton and Matt Walker will be joining Matty-O in Tampa Bay. The reason they are long term losers is that Marian Hossa signed a 12 year deal! Combine this with the fact that Brian Campbell is locked up to ridiculous money until 2016, and they are going to have a terrible time trying to re-sign Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith when all three become free agents next summer! Clearly, someone will have to be moved for it to happen.
Just what is Bob Gainey doing? The Habs are losers in both the short and long term. They signed a bunch of good, but not great, players to huge money on Wednesday. Cammalleri is going to make $6 million and Gionta $5 million. Add that to Scott Gomez’s $7.357 contract that they acquired on Tuesday, and that’s over $18 million spent on an average first line! They also lost Komisarek, their version of Willie Mitchell, who signed for reasonable money in Toronto ($4.5 million per season).
New York Rangers
I guess Marian Gaborik will have to rent out his Vancouver home? Great signing by the Rangers. He signed a 5 year deal in New York, which will be a bad deal when he’s injured and a great deal when he’s healthy. He’s bound to be healthy for at least a portion of that deal, and when that happens, the Rangers will be tough to deal with.
Big winners. Jay Bouwmeester was the prized defenceman of this year’s free agency. Calgary’s defence now consists of probably the best top 3 in the league with J-Bo joining Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr.
With free agency beginning tomorrow, let’s look at players who should be at the top of the Canucks shopping list.
Bouwmeester is clearly the best defenceman available and the top young player (age 25) available on the free agent market. This means he will be likely be overpaid by someone. He also fits a need the Canucks have, being a great puck moving defenceman. The Canucks could probably fit him in at about $6 million, but that might not be enough to land him.
He has reportedly already purchased a home in Vancouver, so chances are good he’ll land in Vancouver. He’ll likely command over $6 million, a little risky considering he makes Sami Salo look like an iron man. But when healthy, he’s one of the most dynamic players in the league.
This year’s free agent crop is thin with centres which makes it curious that nobody is mentioning Saku Koivu’s name. He seems like a Mike Gillis kind of player, kind of like a younger and smaller Mats Sundin. He produces in the clutch and is a great leader. If the Sedins don’t return, Saku Koivu should be at the top of their list. Look for him to sign for less than $5 million.
The Canucks should have the inside track on the former Gillis client, but he will probably get more than $5 million on the open market. He can play centre and wing, but played more on the wing last season. I don’t believe last season was a flash in the pan, but he’s also not going to be a player who will lead you to a cup. He is a very nice complimentary player though, and would look good alongside Gaborik or the Sedins.
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