Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

The West Gets Tougher: Heatley Traded to San Jose

heatley

The Western Conference just got a lot tougher for Luongo & Co. Dany Heatley has finally been traded, as rumoured, to the San Jose Sharks. San Jose gave up Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a 2nd round pick in the deal. They didn’t just acquire Heatley, they stole him. A perennial  50 goal scorer in return for two players who have highly inflated numbers playing with Joe Thornton. Even considering that, their numbers weren’t very good last year: 57 points for Michalek and 29 points for Cheechoo. Cheechoo has to be one of the most overrated players in the NHL, due to his fluke 50 goal campaign playing alongside Thornton. He’s been on the decline ever since and isn’t so young anymore (he’s 29). Despite questionable character, it’s hard to imagine that Ottawa couldn’t have gotten more in return.

So it looks like holding out for a better team worked for Heatley. The question for Sens fans is, what was the better deal: the one with the Oilers or the one with the Sharks? It’s certainly debatable. The deal with Edmonton would have landed Andrew Cogliano, Ladislav Smid and Dustin Penner. I think I might have preferred the Edmonton deal, mainly for the upside of Cogliano. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.

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Lets Get Some Love for Demitra

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That’s right, I said it. Pavol Demitra revealed on Tuesday that he will likely miss another six weeks with a shoulder injury and what ensued was what can be described as mild jubilation on sports talk radio and message boards. Demitra has been described as too soft and too streaky, and many are suggesting that the Canucks would be better off without him.

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While Demitra is soft and is streaky, that by no means is an indication that the Canucks are better off without him. Every teams needs grinders like Kesler and Burrows, but they also need skilled/versatile guys like Demitra. Lets review. Demitra started last year at centre in between Taylor Pyatt and Mason Raymond on the 2nd line. Amazing he kept that line afloat. He also played the point on the power play when needed. When he actually had players to play with at his natural position (on the wing with Kesler and Sundin), he put up 31 points in the last 32 games of the regular season. He only put up 3 points in 6 playoff games, but the Canucks were 5-1 with him in the lineup. And if you need further convincing for his value, consider that he scored an overtime goal to beat Calgary in October and had the best shootout percentage of any Canuck that took more than 2 attempts (including the only shootout goal against Calgary in February).

Yes, I’m aware he makes $4 million. Yes, being out for a bit of time may help their cap situation. But having a skilled, experienced, versatile, enigmatic European on your team has its value.

Kiprusoff still hasn’t moved on this one:

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Hodgson Injury, Vigneault's Contract, Cloutier's Comeback and More!

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Nice to see Cody Hodgson back on the ice this week at Canucks prospect camp. Hodgson injured his back from the 120+ games he played at the NHL exhibition/OHL regular season and playoffs/AHL playoffs and had surgery on it over the summer. Everyone is praying that this isn’t going to be a chronic problem that plagues him (that would be just the Canucks luck wouldn’t it?). He’s not participating in any contact drills, so it’s not 100% yet. Here’s hoping that the Canucks don’t rush him at all and allow him to get to 100%. You know a young guy like that with all sorts of expectations will probably want to rush it.

Speaking of prospects camp, anyone else notice that they’re practicing on the old UBC rink (Father Bauer Arena) and not the brand new Thunderbird Arena built for the Olympics? I’ve skated on both and the ice is a lot better in the old rink. Thunderbird Arena is just too warm. They might want to think about that before, say, the world comes to visit.

vigneault

Seems like Alain Vigneault is a lame duck coach… for now at least. That shouldn’t last long though, Mike Gillis has said that he wants to extend the entire coaching staff. The question is, when? Gillis said that he wanted to do that in May, so you’d wonder why it would take until September for it to happen. That said, that seems to be Gillis’ style, so expect Vigneault to get an extension soon.

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Nice to see Dan Cloutier is at least on the NHL radar again. Cloutier is trying out for the Detroit Red Wings. There’s no guaranteed money for him, but if he impresses, he could be Chris Osgood’s backup (which is interesting as they are both known for giving up goals from centre ice, but I digress). I hope Cloutier finds a way back to the NHL. He’s been criticized heavily, often warranted, but often unwarranted as well. Most of his poor play was injury-based. He was a middle of the road starting goalie when healthy.

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Keeping the theme of former Canucks going, nice to see Taylor Pyatt finally found a new team. Pyatt signed a one-year deal with the Hamilton Phoenix Coyotes last week. It would have been sad to see him lose his job/lifestyle in the NHL after all he has already had to deal with.

shirokov

How good has Sergei Shirokov looked so far at prospect’s camp? Well, he’s being compared to Austin Powers. Is that a good thing? I’m not sure, but video clips like the one below are nice to see:

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Sportscaster of the Week: Final Edition

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Ok, I’m sick of this weekly segment, and training camp is around the corner. So this will be the last edition of our weekly feature: sportscaster of the week. Lets go out with a bang, take it away Roger!

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It's Official, Luongo Signs a 12 Year Deal!

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The Vancouver Canucks have just announced that Roberto Luongo has re-signed, to the tune of a 12-year deal! No word yet on the official dollar amount, but it was rumoured to be a $64 million dollar deal (that’s $5.3 million per season). If that dollar figure is correct, it has the potential to do a lot of things.

This will make the Canucks more competitive in the short term, no question. Luongo is really a $7 million goalie. Having him on the hook for almost $2 million under market value will allow the Canucks to go out and sign a $6 million player instead of a $4 million player, which is significant. That’s the difference between signing a 1st liner or a 2nd liner.

Short term is clear, but long term isn’t as much. If Luongo plays out the balance of his contract, it will pay him $5.3 million per season until he is 42. I don’t know of any goalie in NHL history that was worth that much money in his 40s. Of course if the salary cap goes down, this will be magnified, and if it goes up, this will be minimized.

The scenario that Mike Gillis is probably banking on though, is the scenario where Luongo is a bargain for the next 5-6 years, and retires at the point where he is no longer an elite goaltender. Luongo strikes me as the type that would do that anyway (how many elite goaltenders become backups at the end of their career?).

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Sportscaster of the Week: Pierre McGuire

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Every Tuesday, Canuckz.com profiles a Canadian sportscaster. Sometimes they’re sportscasters we like, sometimes they’re ones we don’t. Today’s sportscaster is one that you either absolutely love or absolutely hate: Pierre McGuire. What do we think? Well, lets think about that for a minute…

Pierre McGuire has many different roles.  He works for TSN and NBC, and is also a regular guest on the Team 1040. He’s an in-studio analyst, a colour commentator in the booth, and an ice-level commentator. My biggest problem and his biggest attribute is his excitement level. Let me explain. As a colour commentator in-game, he gets WAY too excited about the fine details of the game. He can get more excited about a chip off the boards than some announcers get after a goal. He needs to pick and choose his moments and I think 2.5 hours of him in a game can get a bit much.

Now Pierre McGuire the in-studio analyst or on-air radio guest is a much different story. He’s obviously well tapped-in to many sources, so he’s well informed about the ins and outs of the league. He also gets a chance to calm down a little, and focus his thoughts in a smaller time frame. In that format, he’s great. Just don’t give me 2.5 hours of him.

BAD McGuire:

GOOD McGuire:

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Canucks Reportedly Re-Sign Luongo

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According to Sportsnet, the Canucks have re-signed franchise player and team captain Roberto Luongo. Apparently the term and salary have been agreed upon, so only minor details remain to be worked out. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to Canucks fans, but it’s definitely great news. Remember all those bandwagon douchebags calling for the Canucks to trade Luongo after the Canucks were bounced in the 2nd round by Chicago? Luckily Mike Gillis isn’t smoking the same thing they were, and realizes the value of a top goalie.

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D-men Bonanza! Schneider, Ehrhoff and Lukowich on Their Way to Vancouver

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Mike Gillis had a busy day on Friday, signing Mathieu Schneider and acquiring Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich in exchange for Daniel Rahimi and Canuckz.com favourite, Patrick White (that was sarcasm by the way). Lets take an in-depth look at everyone they acquired and everyone they let go:

Who did they let go?

Patrick White

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Drafted in the first round in 2007 by former GM Dave Nonis, White appears destined to be yet another first round bust. The Canucks went off the board a bit to take him (he was projected to go in the 2nd round), and it looks like a mistake. In two years with the University of Minnesota, White has 26 points in 81 games. Last season he finished 10th in scoring on his team. If White turns out to be an NHL player, it’ll be a shock, if he turns into a star, it’ll be a miracle.

Daniel Rahimi

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A third round pick from the 2006 draft, Rahimi hasn’t shown much promise. He hasn’t been exactly knocking on the door fighting for an NHL spot, and was probably let go because they don’t see him making much of an impact in his career.

Who did they acquire?

Christian Ehrhoff

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Ehrhoff was the key to the deal with the Sharks. The smooth skating 27 year old German has been a consistent point producer over the last four seasons. He’s a “puck moving defenceman”, and excels on the power play. The Sharks got rid of him to shed salary, even though he has a pretty fair deal, paying him $3.1 million per season for the next two years.

Brad Lukowich

lukowich

Brad Lukowich will bring experience, dependability and two Stanley Cup Rings to the Canucks blue line. He has one year left on his deal with a cap hit of $1.567 million. Not bad for a guy with his experience who is still only 32 years old. He’s also a BC boy.

Mathieu Schneider

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Old man Schneider is now 40 years old, but he had a very productive season last year. Once re-acquired by Montreal, he kick-started their power play until getting injured. That’s the key with Schneider, how much gas does he have left in the tank, and can he stay healthy? Time will tell. Still a good signing, as it’s low risk (a one year deal worth reportedly $1.5 million) and potentially high reward. Schneider is a proven power play specialist, something the Canucks desperately needed. He also has a Stanley Cup ring, which now gives the Canucks three players on their roster that have won a Stanley Cup. I can’t remember the last time the Canucks were able to say that.

What now?

So what’s next? The Canucks now possess 8 NHL d-men making more than $1.5 million and 14 NHL calibre forwards. They’re also over the salary cap. This means that someone has to go, and probably a defenceman. You can’t have two defencemen sitting in the press box making more than $1.5 million a season. So who is on the way out? Some were speculating Bieksa on the radio Friday afternoon, but I can’t see Gillis getting rid of a guy like that. It remains to be seen who goes, but don’t count out Gillis asking Mitchell or Salo to waive their no-trade clauses.

Meet “THE GERMANATOR”!

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Blast From the Past… Scatchard Attempts Comeback with Canucks

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In the latest development in what can now be considered an unusual career, the pride of Salmon Arm, Dave Scatchard will be trying out with the Canucks in training camp. Scatchard began his career with Vancouver as a 21 year old in 1997. He was a 2nd round pick of Pat Quinn (makes sense, Pat Quinn LOVED picking big centres, regardless of skill sometimes), but only proved to be a serviceable checking centre with some bad Canucks teams of the late 90s.

Scatchard was part of the trade that was supposed to fix the Canucks goaltending woes (of course it didn’t) when he was shipped off with Bill Muckalt and Kevin Weekes for Felix Potvin. With the Islanders, Scatchard had 4+ productive seasons, notching 27 goals in 2002-03. Inexplicably, his career took a nose dive after the lockout. He signed a big four year contract with Boston, was traded to Phoenix after only 16 games, and then had two sub-par seasons with the Coyotes before getting his contract bought out. Injuries contributed to this, but he still had an amazingly quick exit from the league, playing his last NHL game at only age 31.

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Scatchard is only 33 years old at the moment, which should suggest that he may have something to give. That being said, I would be downright shocked if he made the team with players like Ryan Johnson and Rick Rypien already signed to contracts. Best case scenario for Scatchard: he signs a league minimum salary two-way deal and then gets called-up to play on the 4th line when Rick Rypien inevitably gets injured. If he gets that and shows what he can do, maybe he can get his NHL career back on track. It’d be great to see him make it back in the league, but I just don’t see it happening.

My best memory of Scatchard will ALWAYS be when he fought Joe Thornton…

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Sportscaster of the Week: Michael Landsberg

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Every Tuesday, Canuckz.com profiles a Canadian sportscaster. Sometimes they’re sportscasters we like, sometimes they’re ones we don’t. Today’s sportscaster is someone we love to hate: Michael Landsberg.

Landsberg first broke onto the national scene as a reporter for TSN’s Sportsdesk in the 80′s (I still think they should call it Sportsdesk, but that’s another story for another day). He was my favourite anchor when I watched Sportsdesk in the early 90′s when he got his current gig as host of Off the Record. That’s when my opinion of Landsberg changed.

landsberg_sportsdesk

Off the Record, for those that don’t know, is a sports talk show that combines celebrities, athletes and sportscasters, talking informally about the sports news of the day. The only problem for those that don’t live in the Greater Toronto Area is that guests are often Toronto sports personalities/athletes and/or talk about the Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays, Argos a ridiculous amount of time. TSN is never more the “Toronto Sports Network” as when this show airs.

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No doubt, Landsberg has a huge ego, he’s not very likable, but I have to admit, he’s entertaining. He was on the Blake Price Show on Team 1040 when he was in town for the Junos in March. He was so cocky, but totally entertaining. He had no problem talking about himself or how great he makes his show, but he didn’t give the standard run-of-the-mill answers.

So do we like Michael Landsberg? I’m still not too sure, but we keep watching him, and I guess that’s the point.

One of the best episodes I’ve seen of Off the Record (amazingly it had TWO Canucks and NO Leafs/Raptors/TSN anchors/Toronto Community Channel personalities/etc.). Find out how Kevin Bieksa “punted” Shane O’Brien…

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