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It’s Vancouver Canucks Day at PHT

Aug 11, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Eddie Lack AP

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Vancouver Canucks.

After back-to-back first round exits under head coach Alain Vigneault, Canucks GM Mike Gillis fired Vigneault and replaced him with John Tortorella under the belief that the new bench boss would make Vancouver a better playoff team. Things obviously didn’t go as planned.

Vancouver ranked 28th in the league in goals scored per game and Tortorella’s system drew a lot of heat due to those offensive woes. Even the Sedin twins weren’t exempt as Henrik and Daniel finished the campaign with 50 and 47 points respectively.

Without much offensive support, the situation became dire in Vancouver. Although Tortorella initially led them to a 23-11-6 record, the Canucks went into a 13-24-5 free fall. Over the course of that collapse, they were subjected to a number of humbling events.

The Canucks suffered a 9-1 blowout loss to Anaheim on Jan. 15, which was so bad that Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau seemed to expressed some regret for the way his team humiliated Vancouver.

Mere days after that, Tortorella lost his cool due to a game-opening line brawl against Calgary and tried to enter the Flames’ dressing room. That earned him a 15-day suspension.

Vancouver arguably hit rock bottom when it collapsed against the Islanders on March 10. The Canucks had a 3-0 lead in that game before they conceded seven goals in the third period. Ryan Kesler, who is now with Anaheim after requesting a trade, called that collapse embarrassing.

What’s the good news for Vancouver? All of that is in the past now.

Offseason recap

The Canucks have been nothing if not active this summer. For starters Gills and Tortorella are out in Vancouver and have been replaced by new GM Jim Benning and head coach Willie Desjardins. The Canucks also named Trevor Linden as the team president in April.

As mentioned above, the Canucks accommodated Kesler by trading him and a 2015 third round pick to Anaheim in exchange for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, a 2014 first round pick (Jared McCann), and a third round selection. The Canucks then sent that third round pick to the Rangers to get Derek Dorsett while New York drafted Keegan Iverson.

On top of all that, the Canucks dealt Jason Garrison, Jeff Costello, and a 2015 seventh round selection to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a second round pick, which they then used to get 23-year-old forward Linden Vey from the Kings. Los Angeles drafted Roland McKeown with the pick.

They also signed goaltender Ryan Miller to a three-year, $18 million contract and forward Radim Vrbata to a two-year, $10 million deal.

  1. govtminion - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    I’ll be interested in seeing how Miller does in Vancouver- whether a good goalie coming off a bad year can turn around a team that had just as bad of a year. But to me the key is Vrbata- what a great pickup by the Canucks. With the Sedins on the slide in terms of stats (look over the past few seasons since that Cup finals trip), bringing in a proven scorer was a good move. Losing Kesler hurts them, but there was no option really to keep him- he’d made it clear he wanted out, after all.

    This is going to be a difficult team to gauge- they could be a playoff threat, they could be dead-last, and there’s no good way to find out yet. Very intriguing team this year.

    • patthehockeyfan - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      You’re right – this is going to be a difficult team to gauge. On the upside, and they can’t / won’t have as bad a season as the last one … the drama that is John Tortorella is gone.

      • govtminion - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:38 AM

        The very definition of ‘addition by subtraction’… good coach, but not a good fit for him there.

        Interesting to note that the team that had just fired him went to the Cup finals the year after, and the team he took over took a swan dive in the standings… Not really something to judge Torts on, but it’s a surprising thing to see.

      • patthehockeyfan - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:47 AM

        After the AV / Torts switch, I wondered on PHT which team would fare better with its new coach. Wasn’t quite expecting that wide a range of results. oof!

        Torts was a good coach, and definitely not a good fit in Vancouver. One has to wonder where he would be a good fit. I like Torts. It seems, though, that the sport is passing by him and his style.

      • imleftcoast - Aug 11, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        After the AV/Torts switch, I was wondering on PHT who in God’s name would give a guy with no job and no prospects a 5-year contract. Torts is a dinosaur. It was great to see AV get back to the Finals.

        But who cares about any of that with Torts and Gillis fired? I’m not sure what to expect. Hopefully, the Sedins are going and Vrbata is good. Second, third and fourth lines? Maybe they’ll find some chemistry and compete. It’s going to be tough with LA, Anaheim and San Jose.

        Best case: playoffs.

        Worst case: should have played for McDavid

  2. boltman23 - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    Well can the sedin sisters bounce back?

    • 33to22 - Aug 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Please explain why you call them sisters. Are you really a fan of the game? Thx .

  3. phtjoey - Aug 11, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    the rebuild won’t happen in one summer. the changes they made were to rid themselves of old blood, and replaced with miller? vrbata? safe changes that will allow them to perhaps make the playoffs. the moves were made to maintain existing season ticket holders and appease the whole fan base. the trade with ana was a good one, but their best moves were the firing of Torts and GM Gillis.

  4. luz56 - Aug 11, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    Their team name is an insult to all Canadians! After the NFL is done with the REDSKINS the NHL can go after the Canucks… Ok now on the real news……

    • govtminion - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      Forgive my… well, American-ness… but I’ve heard this before and I’m not familiar with it being an insult. What’s the origin of the term, and why is it insulting?

      Honest question, I’m curious to learn what the issue is.

      • patthehockeyfan - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        Well, it is and it isn’t insulting. Too much to copy; Wikipedia link below:

      • govtminion - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        Hmmm. So it’s sort of like ‘yankee’ for an American, then? Or am I missing something?

        (Again, no trolling or any of that intended, I’m honestly curious about this.)

      • bigtganks - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        I’ve heard it’s a mix between a Canadian and the Chinooks, so there were those called “Canooks” or Canucks.

        That said, Knicks (or Knickerbockers) is an insult to the Dutch. Look it up… What about Yankees? I’ve always wondered about that one…

      • patthehockeyfan - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        I read another 4 or 5 websites, and the conclusion is: inconclusive.

        I saw no relation of the word Canuck to anything offensive. Canadians (according to these websites) refer to themselves as Canucks. Except that French-speaking Canadians don’t care for it when Americans use the word. And, of course, it all depends on HOW the word is spoken – pretty much like any other word.

        I was raised thinking that the term was offensive, and use it only when writing or talking about the Vancouver Canucks. Now that I’ve read about the word, I still can’t answer your question. But, yes, you’re right. It’s sort of like ‘Yankee’ for an American.

        To be on the safe side, I’ll use the word only when referring to the Vancouver Canucks. Don’t want to offend our northern friends / neighbors.

      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 11, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        Luz56 is a bitter leafs fan. The fact is the maple leaf on the front of Toronto’s team Jersey could be considered an affront to Canadians if we apply luz’s logic… Maybe we should considering all the losing…

  5. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Someone said they’d likely make the platoffs. I’m not so sure. The strongest division in the NHL placed 5 teams in the WC playoffs last year, and it is a good chance they will again.

    Nucks would likely make the playoffs if they were in the EC;)

  6. pigpen1013 - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    I’ve never felt insulted by the term Canuck. I think you’d have to have a pretty thin skin to let something like that bother you.

    I’m really excited to see how the Canucks do this season. I’m by no means expecting a deep Cup run, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make the playoffs.

    The Sedin “sisters” take more cheap shots from opponents than just about anyone, and yet they rarely miss a game (last season was an anomaly in that department). On top of being strong team players, they are amazing for the community and the kind of guys that anyone would love to have on their team.

    I think Desjardins is the anti-Torts and with the new coaching system and some new faces, this team had a chance to redeem themselves after a horrible decline last season.

  7. luz56 - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    It was actually meant as a joke….. I think the political correctness has gone way too far and I am sure he might post offended some people

  8. deezenucks - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    I’m assuming that dude was joking, no Canadian I know would take any offense to being called a Canuck whatsoever

  9. ronniethec - Aug 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    I find nothing insulting about the name Canucks. However the team Canucks is a total insult. They are the most disliked team in the league. And the 2 sisters are not at the top of any popularity poll. For me, my dislike for the nucks falls right behind the Snarks and Quacks. Obviously you know who I root for.

  10. jason9696 - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    The Canucks can’t be any worse than they were last season. But I think it’ll be tough for them to make the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see how Ryan Miller does.

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