10:19 AM EDT, Mon September 16, 2019
Sep 14, 2019
9 goals that Jake Virtanen was supposed to meet this summer, but didn’t

9 goals that Jake Virtanen was supposed to meet this summer, but didn’t

An NHL training camp is prime time for overreacting. That overreacting can come in different flavours, both positive and negative. Fans can get over-excited about a prospect scoring a gorgeous goal in an intra-team scrimmage or a player on the edge of making the team throwing a big hit to make a statement. They can also overreact negatively when a player struggles during a drill or a skilled player is put on line rushes with fourth-liners.
Sep 13, 2019
How good and consistent wingers could have a big impact on Bo Horvat this season

How good and consistent wingers could have a big impact on Bo Horvat this season

Bo Horvat had a fantastic 2018-19 season. He set career highs in goals (27), assists (34), and, by deduction, points (61). That’s despite having to take on more defensive responsibility when Brandon Sutter and Jay Beagle were out with injuries. Most impressively, Horvat’s career year came while playing with a rotating cast of linemates.
Sep 13, 2019
With first-line experience, Micheal Ferland set to play with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser

With first-line experience, Micheal Ferland set to play with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser

When Vancouver was first introduced to Micheal Ferland, it was as a hard-forechecking pest in the 2015 playoffs. The rookie got under the skin and into the heads of the Canucks in their first-round matchup against the Calgary Flames. He caused Kevin Bieksa to lose his cool and capped off the series with two goals and an assist in the deciding game six. Since then, however, Ferland has evolved into more than just an agitator. For the last two seasons, Ferland has been a first-line forward for two different teams.
Sep 12, 2019
Travis Green wants offence throughout the Canucks lineup this season

Travis Green wants offence throughout the Canucks lineup this season

The classic construction of a hockey lineup is simple: you have your first line with your best offensive players, a secondary scoring line, a checking line to play sound defensive hockey, and a grinding fourth line that gets in on the forecheck, hits hard, and maybe drops the gloves every now and then to keep the other team honest. Often, this type of lineup construction is described as top-six forwards and bottom-six forwards. The top-six — the first and second line — is where you put your skilled, offensive-minded players, while your less-skilled, defensive-minded players play in the...
Sep 12, 2019
Who could be an unexpected breakout star for the Canucks in the preseason?

Who could be an unexpected breakout star for the Canucks in the preseason?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas — we’re not allowed to talk about Christmas until after Halloween, thank you very much — but the start of NHL training camps and preseason. This is the time of year when fans can have boundless optimism, unfettered by the reality of the regular season once it begins. Now is the time to have big dreams of 100 points for Elias Pettersson, 50 goals for Brock Boeser, a Calder Trophy for Quinn Hughes, and making the playoffs, if not more, for the Canucks. It’s also the time to believe that every prospect is bound for stardom at...
Sep 11, 2019
PITB Chats with Thomas Drance about returning to Vancouver and why he loves Artem Chubarov

PITB Chats with Thomas Drance about returning to Vancouver and why he loves Artem Chubarov

A few years ago, Thomas Drance was everywhere in the Vancouver Canucks media market. He was writing and editing CanucksArmy, eventually moving up to become Editor in Chief of the entire Nation Network. For a while he was an editor at The Score, then a columnist at Sportsnet, and even appeared on Canucks broadcasts at times during intermissions with Dan Murphy. His freelance work appeared in The Province, The Sporting News, Vice Canada, Canucks.com, and Yahoo! Sports, and he co-wrote a book with Mike Halford called “100 Things Canucks Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die.” He was even...
Sep 10, 2019
Zack MacEwen has done all the right things on his path to the NHL

Zack MacEwen has done all the right things on his path to the NHL

When the Canucks signed Zack MacEwen as a free agent out of the QMJHL, it was about as under-the-radar as a signing can get. MacEwen was a late-bloomer who had put up a decent, but not outstanding, 74 points in 66 games as a 20-year-old overager after middling numbers in his one previous QMJHL season. Generally speaking, such players don’t go on to much success in professional hockey. Canucks fans would be familiar with this from previous undrafted free agents out of junior hockey like Dane Fox, who had a whopping 64 goals and 107 points in 67 games in his over-age season in the OHL....
Sep 9, 2019
Kole Lind and Jonah Gadjovich struggled as first-year pros, but Canucks hope that made them stronger

Kole Lind and Jonah Gadjovich struggled as first-year pros, but Canucks hope that made them stronger

“Why isn’t anyone taking Kole Lind?” That was the question Jim Benning asked to the rest of the Canucks draft table late in the first round at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. While Lind wasn’t ranked in the first round by every draft ranking, a couple prominent ones had him in the top 25: International Scouting Services and Hockey Prospect.
Sep 6, 2019
After one season without a captain, will that change for the 2019-20 Canucks?

After one season without a captain, will that change for the 2019-20 Canucks?

The Canucks have had 13 captains in their history, starting with Orland Kurtenbach in their inaugural season. The veteran Kurtenbach led the Canucks in their first four seasons before retiring. After Kurtenbach retired, however, the Canucks chose to go captain-less for the 1974-5 season. Perhaps it was because they didn’t have a clear candidate: over the next seven years, the team would cycle through four captains before Stan Smyl took on the role. Prior to the 2018-19 season, that was the only time the Canucks had gone without a captain. What was different about last season is that the...
Sep 6, 2019
NHL marketing falls flat on its face heading into the 2019-20 season

NHL marketing falls flat on its face heading into the 2019-20 season

The NHL doesn’t know how to market itself. At this point it’s nearly a truism, to which the aging audience of the league attests. The problems are clear: hockey culture has a tendency to stunt individuality and squash its biggest personalities. There are even uglier sides to hockey culture, including racism, sexism, and homophobia. Those are all obstacles in the path of attracting a larger audience to the game, but not insurmountable ones. They just require a thoughtful, creative approach to the marketing of the game, particularly on social media channels inhabited by the younger...
Sep 5, 2019
There’s more pressure than ever on Nikolay Goldobin

There’s more pressure than ever on Nikolay Goldobin

There’s a side of Nikolay Goldobin that fans rarely get to see: a loose, fun-loving side. If you follow him on Instagram, you might catch some glimpses of that side, but it’s only shown up in bits and pieces here in Vancouver. For instance, before his media scrum at the end of the 2018-19 season, he ducked out of view as soon as he saw cameras, and re-emerged with his hair carefully re-arranged, smiling at the laughs that provoked. As soon as the cameras clicked off, with a cheeky grin he reached up a hand and messed up his hair again.
Sep 5, 2019
Sven Baertschi could be the Canucks’ biggest wild card this season

Sven Baertschi could be the Canucks’ biggest wild card this season

The Canucks have made a concerted effort to add top-six forwards heading into next season. Along with Tanner Pearson at last season’s trade deadline, Jim Benning acquired J.T. Miller in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Micheal Ferland in free agency. Along with those three wingers, the Canucks will be adding another top-six forward to the lineup: Sven Baertschi.
Sep 4, 2019
Canucks re-sign Nikolay Goldobin to perfectly reasonable one-year, $900,000 contract

Canucks re-sign Nikolay Goldobin to perfectly reasonable one-year, $900,000 contract

Jim Benning’s off-season work is almost done. Heading into this week, he had just two must-complete items on his checklist: sign the Canucks’ two remaining restricted free agents, Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin. Like me when I’m procrastinating, Benning did the easier task first, signing Goldobin to a one-year, $900,000 contract on Wednesday.
Sep 3, 2019
Quinn Hughes and 18 other prospects will report to Canucks camp this weekend

Quinn Hughes and 18 other prospects will report to Canucks camp this weekend

According to multiple rankings, the Canucks have one of the best prospect pools in the NHL. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman ranks their pool fifth in the league, while Elite Prospects has them a notch higher at fourth. The Canucks’ prospect pool boasts both top-end talent like Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko, Olli Juolevi, and Vasili Podkolzin, and also intriguing depth, like Jett Woo, Nils Höglander, Tyler Madden, Kole Lind, Jack Rathbone, and many others. A good chunk of that prospect pool will be showing up at Rogers Arena this weekend; unfortunately, Canucks fans won’t get a chance to...
Aug 30, 2019
Brandon Sutter is not a shutdown centre

Brandon Sutter is not a shutdown centre

The Canucks’ top two centres are set for years to come. Elias Pettersson has all the makings of a franchise forward, the type of elite, playmaking centre that every team dreams of having in their lineup. Bo Horvat, meanwhile, has developed into a two-way force, driving the puck up ice and to the net with ruthless efficiency. There’s a lingering question, however: who will play behind Pettersson and Horvat?