the Canucks' 31st season under way, we've decided to start a fresh page
for regular season news. We've archived the pre-season
and are all set for the regular season!
- Waiver draft sends Holden packing
The NHL waiver draft took place today. The Canucks chose to expose Josh Holden, Johan Davidsson, Brian Helmer and Leif Rohlin, with Holden the only one picked up. Holden, picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes, was the Canucks first round pick, 12th overall in the 1996 entry draft. He suffered some serious injuries shortly after, and has struggled to fit into the Canucks' plans ever since. We wish Josh all the best in Carolina. The Canucks were also active in the waiver draft, as they were looking for a goalie to back-up Dan Cloutier. Although proven goalies Jamie McLennan and Stephane Fiset were available, Burke chose to go with Martin Brochu from the Minnesota system. Brochu, who's played a total of 2 NHL games in 10 years, back-stopped the Saint John Flames of the AHL to a Calder Cup last season. I really hope Burke knows what he's doing here...
In other Canuck news, the team reduced it's roster down to 24 the other day, sending Steve Kariya, Brad Leeb, Artem Chubarov and Zenith Komarnisky down the the farm team in Winnipeg. Today they also sent defenseman Brent Sopel down for a conditioning stint. Also not joining the team in their mini-camp in California is Bryan Allen who hurt his leg while blocking a shot in a pre-season game Tuesday. The Canucks finish up the pre-season tomorrow vs San Jose, and open up the regular season at home on Thursday where they will unveil their new 3rd jerseys.
- Sopel re-signs, Schaefer still holding
Brent Sopel re-signed with the Canucks today, agreeing to a three-year contract with a 4th year option. Sopel, who played in 52 games with the team last season, missed all of training camp but expects to be ready when the season opens October 4th. Sopel's signing leaves Peter Schaefer as the only player not re-signed with the team. He's got 2 weeks until the regular season begins. Come on Peter, sign already!
In other Canuck news, the team held an intra-squad game on Sunday at GM Place with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund. Tickets were $10 a piece, and over 13,000 fans attended the game. So far, the total amount has been calculated at approximately $130,000, but with parking revenue and other donations added in, it should increase. The players alone donated close to $5,000. A moment of silence was held before the game, and both national anthems were sung, with the American anthem getting a huge round of applause.
Finally, pre-season officially began last night, with the Canucks losing at home to the San Jose Sharks. The Canucks lead the game 3-2 with 1 minute remaining, but 2 goals in 9 seconds with the goalie pulled gave the Sharks the win. The Canucks host the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow night at GM Place.
- Countdown to training camp begins!
Can you believe it's already September? Rookie Training camp starts this Saturday, running from Setpt.8-10 followed by "veterans" training camp which runs Sept.11-14. Pre-season games start right after that, with their first game vs the Phoenix Coyotes set for Sept.15th in Phoenix. The first home game is Sept.17 vs San Jose. Regular Season starts a month tomorrow, October 4th at GM Place against the Chicago Blackhawks. We'll be there cheering to cheer the boys on, and will give a full game report afterwards :)
Not much has happened over the last few months involving free agent signings. We did however, just re-sign Matt Cooke to a 4 year deal! Burke has not found a goalie to back-up Dan Cloutier, as Bob Essensa signed with Buffalo, but they did re-sign minor league goalie Alfie Michaud. At this point it looks like either Michaud or Corey Schwab will be playing back-up. Since Michaud has only 2 NHL games of experience, look for Schwab to take the spot. Who knows what will happen during training camp though!! Alex Auld is considered one of the best goaltending prospects in the league and has been training with Cloutier this summer, so he could make things interesting!
Murray Baron was unable to find a better offer, so he re-signed with the Canucks. It's nice to know what Murray will be back there helping those young goalies make some saves! Finally, the Canucks have just re-signed "TV Boy" Zenith Komarniski and Justin Morrison. Komarniski played with the Kansas City Blades last season, and Morrison played with Colorado College. Look for both players to play with our new minor league team, the Manitoba Moose. I think that's about it. We'll try and keep you as up to date as we can once training camp and pre-season begin!
- New contract for Naslund!
Hoping to keep their core of young players, the Canucks made their first big move signing captain Markus Naslund to a 3 year contract extension. Naslund had one year remaining on his old contract, but with Markus coming off such a great season, Burke rewarded him with a new contract. The deal will see him make approximately the same next season as he was supposed to get with his old contract (2.75 million), but will jump to a reported $5 million per season for the following three years. The new contract will keep Naslund with the club through the 2004-2005 season, one year after the NHL collective bargaining agreement is up. Naslund said his goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and he feels the team is moving in the right direction, a big reason he signed on for 4 more years. We really hope Markus can help bring that Cup where it belongs! In Vancouver!!!
In other news, the Canucks decided NOT to pick up the option on goalie Bob Essensa, as they feel he cannot play the 40 games they need him to play next season. So, the Canucks are in the market to sign a free agent goalie or make a trade. Goaltenders available for free agency that are in our price range include Garth Snow and Kirk McLean. Maybe we shouldn't have gotten rid of them in the first place!! It looks as though Burke will get a goaltender through a trade, however. Sunday, July 1st is free agent day, so we'll keep you posted on any signings by the Canucks, or any players leaving the team. Murray Baron is one player expected to test the market as the Canucks are not willing to sign him for the $2 million he made the last couple of seasons.
- Muckalt Returns to Home Turf
Former Canuck Bill Muckalt isn't coming back home, but with his trade Saturday to the Ottawa Senators, he's made his way back to his home country. The good news for Canucks fans is that we will now be playing Billy three times a season, as opposed to once or twice, and we'll be seeing a lot more of him on Hockey Night in Canada. Muckalt was part of a draft day trade that sent disgruntled star Alexei Yashin to the New York Islanders. In other former Canuck news, D-man Adrian Aucoin, who was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the end of last season, is going to Billy's old team, joining Dave Scatchard, another former Canuck.
Draft Day also brought the Canucks another centre, R.J (Richard Junior) Umbridge, who went 16th overall. Check back soon for a complete list of Canucks draft picks, round by round.
- Off Season Blues...
It's only May, and we can't wait for next season to start!!! It's been just over a month since the Canucks were knocked out of the playoffs in 4 straight games by the Colorado Avalanche. Boy did our boys put up a fight though. The first 3 games saw the Canucks with the lead throughout most of the game, just coming up short in the end. With Naslund and Cassels in the line-up, I have no doubt in my mind that the Canucks could be the team heading into the Stanley Cup finals against New Jersey tomorrow night. However, it was not to be. The Avalanche are getting ready to face the Devils, and the Canucks are all at their summer homes polishing up their golf clubs. Throughout the last 5 minutes of the final playoff game, everyone at GM Place stood cheering and waving their white towels. This continued while the time ran out, the players shook hands and the teams went to the dressing rooms. Then a thank you note came accross the screen "Look how far these kids have come. Think about how far they can go."
In other Canuck news, rookie Daniel Sedin underwent back surgery last week to relieve pressure caused by a herniated disk. Sedin suffered the injury while playing for team Sweden at the World Championships. Doctors say he'll be fine by the time training camp comes around, but the injury will no doubt hamper any hopes of building up strength over the summer. Speaking of Sweden, Brian Burke travelled there last week to check on Markus Naslund's rehabilitation and to try and extend his current contract. Naslund has a year left on his current contract, but Burke would like to sign him to 3-4 year extension. Finally, congratulations goes out to Ed Jovanovski and wife Kirstin who just had a baby girl named Kyra, and also to Matt Cooke and his girlfriend who also welcomed a baby girl this past month. Cookie's baby was a big one, weighing 8 lbs 13 oz.
- Cup Crazy Canucks aim to conquer Colorado
In less than 24 hours, the puck will drop on the Vancouver Canucks first playoff game in five years. The bad news? The opponents are the same team that knocked us out in 1996, our last playoff game, and we're trying to battle them without the teams leading scorers. While Captain and leading scorer Markus Naslund is out for the season, Andrew Cassels is expected to miss at least the first two games. While the chances of an upset look grim even to the most dedicated fans, this, ladies and gents, is the playoffs, and when that puck drops, anything can happen. So get out your towels, and hope that the magic of the post-season can carry our boys into the next round.
clinging to life as the end of the season draws near
Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Canucks are barely clinging to 7th spot in the West. With a heartbreaking loss in the final minute of the game tonight in Anaheim, the Canucks head into L.A. tomorrow with 88 points, tied with San Jose for 7th. The Coyotes are right on their heals with 87 points, and the Kings sit in 9th, out of the playoffs, with 86 points and one game at hand. The Canucks play L.A. twice in their final 3 games, and desperately need those wins. With Naslund and Cassels gone for the rest of the regular season, the young players on the team have to step up to guarantee the team a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 5 years. We're with ya boys!! Our playoff tickets have been purchased, and our white towels cleaned!!! Just a couple more wins, and Stanley Cup playoffs here we come!!!
- GONE FOR SEASON
Markus Naslund is gone for the season. The captain and leading scorer is out for the remaining ten games of the regular season, and the playoffs with a broken leg, suffered in the 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Naslund, who was taken into the boards in the third period, spent the night in a Buffalo area hospital with a broken right tibia. With 75 points in 71 games, Naslund contributed to one-third of the teams 221 goals. The loss of Naslund's 40 goal offense could be devestating to the Canucks, who are still trying to lock up a playoff spot for the first time in five years. So, everyone raise a green beers in a toast to Markus Naslund, and start praying for the playoffs.
Brian Burke made a minor deal today, acquiring defenceman Drake Berehowsky from the Nashville Predators for a 2nd round pick in this year's entry draft, previously acquired from Atlanta. In 66 games this season, the 29 year-old Toronto native has 6 goals and 18 assists. He's a rugged defensive defenseman who will help stabilize the team's penalty killing. We need a LOT of help in that area right now. We're WAY at the bottom of the NHL in penalty killing. Hopefully Berehowsky can give us a little experience heading into the playoffs. I think he has SOME experience, which is a lot more than most of the guys on our team. Although that's the fun part! They're all going through it together :) The trade deadline is on Tuesday, March 13th, but don't expect anything drastic to happen. Burke has said he doesn't want to break up the chemistry the boys have. They've gone through a lot this past year, and he wants to reward them by keeping them all together. Rumors have been flying that we're going to make a big deal to get Mike Peca, but don't expect that to happen unless Burke can make the deal of a lifetime. Who knows... We'll see!
- Cat heads to California
Just days after agreeing to go down to the minors for conditioning, Felix Potvin was traded to L.A. for future considerations on Thursday. If Potvin plays, the Canucks MAY get a draft pick. If he plays WELL, we might get something like a 3rd or 4th rounder. So, to sum it all up, the Canucks traded Billy Muckalt, Dave Scatchard AND Kevin Weekes to New York last year, and in return go.... nothing. There was a draft pick in that trade somewhere, and we may get another one in the future from L.A., but what kind of deal is that? Sorry, we're still a little bitter. Good Luck to Felix in L.A, I hope he plays well. But not TOO well, cause if they make the playoffs we might end up facing them!
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- Yo Adrian! Thanks for the Memories...
It appears that the Cat has lost another life. His role on the team is in serious question today, after the Canucks picked up 24 year old goalie Dan Cloutier from the Tampa Bay Lightening. In return, the Canucks lost defenceman Adrian Aucoin and a second round draft pick. With Aucoin watching the last few games from the press box, the move was not unexpected, but the loss of Aucoin, who had been the longest serving Canucks player on the current team, will result in the loss of a booming shot from the blue line. The real question now facing the team surrounds the THREE goalies currently on the roster. Bob Essensa has quickly become a fan favourite, while Potvin has been at the receiving end (sometimes unfairly), of increasing fan and media pressure. With injuries, the team currently has enough room on the roster to carry three goalies, but Potvin is not being paid $2.7 M to sit in the press box. In other news, Naslund showed his skill at the All Star game with a goal and an assist, while Jovanovski added an assist (we'll just ignore his +/- rating!). Lastly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Alexandre Daigle. So... maybe he's not playing this year, and was never a Canuck, but he's funny, and cute!
- Eddie the All-Star
Ed Jovanovksi was added to the North American All-Star team today, replacing St.Louis Blues captain Chris Prongerwho underwent knee surgery earlier today. Jovanovski joins Canuck captain Markus Naslund who will be playing for the World team. Jovanovki, who was planning on visiting with pregnant wife, Kirstin, during the all-star break said it was a "great honour". He also joked that he may hear some boos coming from the Colorado fans, as the game is being held in Denver. Jovanovski knocked Adam Deadmarsh out for 5 weeks earlier this year in a fight, and the rivalry between the Avalanche and Canucks had gotten greater this season. It should be an exciting time for both Jovanovski and Naslund. In other Canucks news, Brent Sopel was sent down to Syracuse for about a day before being called back up. Andrew Cassels broke his toe blocking an Al MacInnis slapshot (click here for a view of his toe courtesy of canucks.com), so the Canucks played 11 forwards and 7 defencemen last night. Speaking of the actual games, the team has not faired very well this past week... They're on a 4 game losing streak! Let's just hope they can put in a good effort tomorrow vs Phoenix, whom they're tied with for 6th place in the standings.
- Holden and Ruutu called up
Josh Holden and Jarkko Ruutu were called up late last week to replace Harold Druken who left the team to be with his family in Newfoundland after the death of his grandmother. Holden and Ruutu have played great in their first 2 games since being called up, both Canuck wins. Mike Stapleton has been sitting out to make room for both young players to make their debuts. With Druken expected to re-join the team today, it's expected that one, or both players will be heading back to Kansas City. In other news, the official Canucks site is FINALLY finished! Check it out at www.canucks.com. And congratulations to Markus Naslund who had a hatrick last night in the team's 5-1 win over Calgary.
- Happy New Year!
What an awesome date!! January 1st, 2001. 01/01/01!!! Never had that before! Not in our lifetime anyways... The Canucks made a minor trade the day after the end of the Christmas deadline. They received Mike Stapleton from the New York Islanders in exchange for a 9th round pick in the 2001 entry draft. This deal was basically done to add a little experience and some help on the penalty killing. Pretty much, to please Marc Crawford so he doesn't complain about getting a good penalty killer :) Also, if Stapleton is a big flop, the Canucks only lose out on a 9th rounder, who most likely would never play in the NHL anyways. On another bright note, the Canucks have won 2 straight (after a HORRIBLE break-down in Calgary) and congratulations to Todd Bertuzzi on getting his first career hatrick Saturday night!
- Odds and Ends....
Ok, it's been a while since our last update.... But now that exam's are over, let's just catch up on what's happened the last month. Harold Druken was called up at the end of November and has been lighting it up ever since. He scored his first career hatrick in a 6-1 win over San Jose on December 8th. With Druken playing so well, and all our defencemen healthy again with the return of Mattias Ohlund, the Canucks sent forward Steve Kariya and defenceman Greg Hawgood down to Kansas City.
Also at the start of the month, the Canucks signed young Slovakian defenceman Rene Vydareny to a contract. Vydareny had been stuck here in Vancouver unable to play any hockey the whole season while his home team in Slovakia waged a war with the Canucks over who owned his rights. They two finally came to a deal, and Vydareny will play for Kansas City after he returns from Russia where he'll play for Slovakia in the World Junior Championships.
On Friday, the Canucks held their annual skills competition. The winners included Adrian Aucoin for hardest shot (100.7 mph), Todd Bertuzzi, who went 4-4 in the accuracy shooting and Brendan Morrison who was the fastest skater. 9,000 fans attended the competiton, the best turnout ever. Now if only the Canucks had planned a carnival...
- Miracles DO happen!
It was a night for miracles in St.Louis tonight. The Canucks were facing the St.Louis Blues, a team they had not beat since December 15, 1996. Trevor Linden was captain, Tom Renney was coach and Corey Hirsch was in net for a 8-0 shutout. That had been Mike Keenan's last game as the coach of the Blues, and we all know where he ended up.... Well tonight the Canucks broke that 0-13-1 record since then with a 4-3 victory!!!!!! But that's only the beginning..... the win extending the Canucks winning streak to 4 games, their best since October 26-November 2, 1996! And to top off a perfect evening Todd Bertuzzi had 4 points, his last one an assist on JASON STRUDWICK'S SECOND CAREER GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As you may know, Jason doesn't score very often and we have to make a BIG deal about it when he does. :) Speaking of Jason, look for an upcoming feature on him on our site in the near future... In other Canuck news, Donald Brashear hurt his back in practice, so the Canucks called up Surrey-native and tough guy Mike Brown from the Kansas City Blades to replace him. Brown had one fight in his NHL debut.
- Vancouver legend: Always a Canuck
Find it odd that Montreal Canadien centre Trevor Linden is the subject of this update? Then you haven't paid very close attention to our site. And it seems like the rest of the league has finally caught up with us, and is recognizing the wonderfulness that is Trevor! The NHL has just announced that Trevor has been named the Air Force Reserve Above and Beyond Player of the Week for the period of Monday, Oct. 16 through Sunday, Oct. 22. With 3 goals and 5 assists during that period, Trevor beat out several other players with great performances to take home his first Player of the Week award. Trevor is among the league leaders in points, and , wonderful man that he is, deserves every reward he gets!!
Read the full story here... And forever praise the Trevor!!!
- Eye Spy with my little eye... Mattias
is having surgery again!
Mattias Ohlund is having surgery on his eye again, and will be lost to the team for 4-6 weeks. The vision in his eye has not decreased, but after a failed laser eye surgery last week, the pressure in Mattias' eye had increased so much, doctors felt it may make it worse in the end. Mattias was to go under the knife today so doctors can insert a small tube behind his eye to allow the fluid to drain out. If all goes well, he should be good for up to 5 years. Burke doesn't sound too worried, so let's hope all goes well!! In other news, the Canucks are off to another great start. They're 5-2-0 this season so far, and have pulled off 3 convincing victories in a row. Let's hope they can keep this up for the WHOLE season!!! Helping the team get off to a great start is Trent Klatt (known as "The Triplet), and he has been rewarded with a 2 year contract extension. In accepting the offer, Klatt will make $200,000 less than he is this season. Nice to see that a guy's willing to make less money, just to keep his family in the same city. Must like it here! Doesn't happen to often :) Way to go Trent!
Well the Canucks began their 31st season tonight, hoping to continue their winning ways from the pre-season and end of last season. Unfortunately things didn't go quite as planned... They got into A LOT of penalty trouble, allowing the Flyers to go 3 for 7 on the power play. The team did, however, manage to score 2 shorthanded goals! Matt Cooke scored a lovely goal after stripping Eric Desjardins of the puck, and Peter Schaefer popped a loose puck into an empty net after a Brendan Morrison out-hustled the Fylers to the puck, and went in on a near-breakaway. Markus Naslund scored the other Canuck goal, a lovely highlight real one on a near-breakaway late in the 2nd period. The back-breaker for the Canucks, though, was a power-play goal with 2 seconds left in the 2nd to put Philly up 4-3. Hopefully the boys can re-group, rest-up and play a little better tomorrow against Florida. Come on boys! Let kick some Panther butt! Especially Pavel's butt! But not Bret, we like him. :)