Reports are circulating that Luongo is about to sign a six year deal worth over $6.5 million per season. If this is true, it would make sense for them to announce it after the Olympic orientation camp (as to not upstage that event) and to do it while Luongo is in Western Canada, where he can fly to Vancouver after the orientation camp (I assume he has spent most of the offseason in Miami or Montreal).
If it’s a six year deal worth under $7 million per season, I think it’s a steal for the Canucks. Don’t believe the bandwagon douchebags that think you can’t win with a high priced goalie. They’re the same douchebags that were saying you can’t win the Cup with a Swedish captain (until Lidstrom did it in 2008) and that you had to be filled with a bunch of goons after Anaheim won the Cup in 2007 (Pittsburgh won without any last year). The fact of the matter is that there are many ways to win a Cup and you don’t have to play this ridiculous copy-cat game to do it.
In the 2nd installment of Canuckz.com’ s 2010 Olympic hockey tournament preview, we’re taking a look at the team that’s opening their orientation camp this week: Team Canada.
IIHF World Ranking: 2nd
Top players in 2010: Crosby, Iginla, Getzlaf, Niedermayer, Luongo, Brodeur
2006 Olympic Result: 7th
What’s in their trophy case? 1972 Summit Series, 1976/1984/1987/1991 Canada Cup, 2004 World Cup, 2002 Olympic gold medal
Canuckz.com’s predicted 2010 roster:
Clearly, Canada has the best depth of any of the teams in the competition. Lately it appears to be in vogue to predict Team Canada and leave out Joe Thornton and/or Dion Phaneuf. The truth is though, if not Thornton, then who? I know he was disappointing in the playoffs, but lets not get silly. He wasn’t the only player to have disappointing playoffs last season (if you can call 5 points in 6 games disappointing). Somehow he’s pegged as a playoff choker and someone like Marc-Andre Fleury is pegged as a playoff hero, despite the fact that he was 8th in GAA and 9th in SV% during the playoffs. Now Thornton wasn’t amazing in the playoffs, but what about Nash (3 points and his team was swept), Iginla (4 points in 6 games and yet another first round exit), or Lecavalier (only 67 points and his team was one of the worst in the league)? Not many out there have a team missing Iginla, Nash or Lecavalier. As for Dion Phaneuf, he had a brutal season last year, but he won’t be that bad again. Look for a bounce back season for him and a spot on Team Canada to go with it.
I also think that Martin Brodeur will be the starter on this team, unless he is drastically outplayed by Roberto Luongo in the first half of the season. Both should get starts in the preliminary round.
The other hot button issue this week will be the question of who will captain Team Canada. The main candidates are Crosby, Iginla, Niedermayer and Pronger. I don’t think Crosby will be named, he’s never played in an Olympics, and putting any extra pressure on him is unncessary. Iginla makes sense, he’s well respected and will be in his 3rd Olympics. Not to mention that most of his peers think of him as the best leader in the game today. Having him as captain with their top player (Crosby) and a veteran defenceman (Niedermayer/Pronger) would be best.
So how will they do in 2010? It won’t be easy, but they have to be considered favourites along with Russia. Playing on North American sized ice should help, as should home ice advantage (although it will also add pressure). You’d have to hope that they can do better than the 7th place finish in Torino and return to the form that won them gold in Salt Lake.
Dan Murphy of Sportsnet is reporting that the Canucks are about to sign Mathieu Schneider. That’s a pretty reliable source, which could mean that Gillis has finally found his puck moving defenceman. I know he’s old, but at the right price (about $2 million per season lets say?), he’s a perfect fit. Stay tuned…
Update: still nothing new to report, he’s probably coming to Vancouver, but nothing has been announced yet. While we wait for an announcement, how about a look back at one of the better moments in Schneider’s career, the 1993 Stanley Cup Final (Desjardins gets the goals, but Schneider’s on the other point!). Enjoy!
With Team USA beginning their orientation camp this week in Chicago and Team Canada starting theirs next week in Calgary, what better time to get an early preview on the 2010 Olympic Hockey tournament that is only 6 months away. For the next few weeks Canuckz.com will preview each of the contending nations. Today we preview Team USA.
IIHF World Ranking: 5th
Top players in 2010: Parise, Kane, Stastny, Thomas, Miller, Rafalski
2006 Olympic Result: 8th
What’s in their trophy case? World Cup in 1996, Olympic Gold Medal in 1980
Canuckz.com’s predicted 2010 roster:
The 2010 Olympics will mark the beginning of a new era of USA Hockey. Gone are most of their key members of their World Cup in 1996 such as Richter, Leetch, Roenick and Hull. The 2010 team will be a lot younger, with the likes of Parise, Stastny, Kane, Kessel and Ryan all playing key roles, despite all being 25 years of age or less. As Team USA general manager Brian Burke loves to mention, they ought to be considered underdogs behind the likes of Canada, Russia and Sweden.
But Team USA has a lot to look forwards to. To start with, for the first time since Mike Richter they are well positioned in goal, with either Ryan Miller or Vezina trophy winner Tim Thomas between the pipes. They are a bit thin on defense, but their forwards have a lot of speed and skill. Sound a bit like that young team in 1996 that won the World Cup? They begin play in pool A with Canada, Switzerland and Norway, so a top 2 finish in the round robin is almost a certainty. The IIHF may have them ranked #5 in the world at the moment, but I think on the small North American ice surface, they will at least make the semi finals in Vancouver.
Is Iceland in the competition this year?
On Tuesday the Detroit Red Wings signed Todd Bertuzzi to a one year, $1.5 million deal. This is an interesting deal on a few fronts. First, anytime a team decides to roll the dice on big Bert, it’s interesting. Second, it’s Bertuzzi’s second tour of duty with the Wings, he was a late season addition with Detroit in 2007. And third, Bertuzzi, at least on paper, it’s a bargain. He actually put up respectible numbers with Calgary last season, notching 44 points in only 66 games. Of course it’s the defensive liabilities and attitude problem that scares away most teams.
If there’s one team that has the leadership base to deal with Bertuzzi, it may be Detroit. And if there’s one coach to harness Bertuzzi, it may be Mike Babcock. Detroit is the only team in the league in which signing Todd Bertuzzi makes sense. Detroit is a team where he can play on the 2nd or 3rd line, and fade into the background a little bit.
Call me crazy, but I’m still a bit of a Bertuzzi fan. During his best years in Vancouver (2001-02 and 2002-03), he was arguably the most dominant player in team history. Just think about it. Pearson Trophy winner Markus Naslund played for Vancouver at the time and teams spent all their time coming up with game plans to stop big number 44.
In case you needed a refresher…
Every Tuesday, Canuckz.com profiles a Canadian sportscaster. Sometimes they’re sportscasters we like, sometimes they’re ones we don’t. This week it’s one of the best in the business, Ray Ferraro. Ray Ferraro is almost like the Troy McClure of the broadcasting business. He could start every broadcast with “Hi I’m Ray Ferraro, you may remember me from TSN, Sportsnet, Team 1040, NBC, Canucks TV PPV…”. What I like about him is he’s not afraid to tell it like it is and offer REAL insider information. Too many ex-players are unwilling to really tell you what happens behind the scenes and criticize players. Ferraro has no trouble doing either (remember when he ripped into Patrik Stefan after this?).
I think Ferraro is at his best when on with Pratt and Taylor on the Team 1040. He has great chemistry with them, and I think the open format of talk radio allows him to really let loose. The format also allows them to play “Brass Bonanza” every time he’s introduced.
Not since Pavel Bure has a Canucks sixth round draft pick generated so much interest before ever playing an NHL game. The Canucks signed their 2006 draft pick Sergei Shirokov on Monday. This begs the question: so who is this guy exactly? Well, Shirokov looks like he has the potential to be a steal of a draft pick. Last season, he lead CSKA Moscow of the KHL in points with 41 points in 57 games. Not too shabby considering his age (22) and the age of the other players he’s playing against. Of course, there are many examples of players who dominate in Europe and fall flat on their face in the NHL (hello Pavel Brendl, hello Jiri Dopita) so this should be taken with a grain of salt. Regardless, the Canucks might have an unexpected blue chip prospect on their hands here. He’s probably a long shot to make the team this year, but could be in their plans by next season.
And now for the best news of the Canucks signing a Russian player, Ra-ra-rasputin! Enjoy…
Cool story from this week. Mason Raymond worked a shift at Dairy Queen yesterday, to help out with Miracle Treat Day. Proceeds of all Blizzards sold on Miracle Treat Day go to help the Children’s Hospital. Apparently this wasn’t a planned event, Raymond just happened to visit the DQ in Yaletown to get Kyle Wellwood a Peanut Buster Parfait, and was asked if he could help out this week. Raymond obliged, and gave a few fans a pleasant surprise on Thursday. I’ve had the chance to meet Raymond briefly once, and he seemed like a real down to earth guy. Lets hope he can take the next step this season, a very important one for his career.
I checked out icethics.info for a sneak peak at the Team Canada jerseys to be unveiled on Monday. Not a huge difference (you’ll notice the logo is different as they were forced by the IOC to remove the Hockey Canada logo. I’m not really a fan of the design (I liked the Salt Lake 2002 design the best), but I think I like the logo better. It’s simpler and I think it works. Below is a sneak peak at the leaked jerseys:
Every Tuesday, Canuckz.com profiles a Canadian sportscaster. Sometimes they’re sportscasters we like, sometimes they’re ones we don’t. This week we profile a sportscaster that we like to look at but don’t like to listen to! This week’s Sportscaster of the Week: Hazel Mae.
You probably remember Hazel Mae from her days at Rogers Sportsnet, accompanied by a glass desk and little leather skirt, cheerfully providing the day’s sports highlights. After Sportsnet, she moved on to NESN in Boston, working Red Sox games as a sideline reporter. She was probably the most obvious example of a sports network in Canada trying to sell sex in their sports reporting. I’m not sure she ever got the network high ratings, and I’m not sure she was ever taken seriously, given her attire. It’s not like she’s the only good looking female sports reporter to come out of Canada (Jennifer Hedger, Martine Gaillard, Evanka Osmak are other examples), it’s just that she’s like the Anna Kournikova of Canadian sportscasting. Marginal talent, above average looks, and most importantly… a willingness to flaunt it!
But the real legacy of Hazel Mae in Canadian sportscasting is her little leather skirt and its ability to accurately judge hockey fights during Don Taylor’s sportscasts! Well, that, and a reference in the best Canucks rap video ever made: “Trapper’s Delight.”
New site design is up (well just general layout). In the next few weeks, I’ll be slowly tweaking it to handle some of the new features we’ll be introducing , refining / adding details to the layout, as well as fixing any stupid bugs (so post a comment if you find any! I’m already aware of a bunch).
Tonyz Tanti, all you get is a pint for this. Still made it in before the deadline after all!