Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bobby Lou.....It's You!!

You should have heard the sound of the jaws hitting the floor of the Norm Jewison Media Room at GM Place this morning when Roberto Luongo and Alain Vigneault sat down at the head table for the announcement that the Canucks #1 was named the 12th captain in franchise history.

Willie Mitchell, Mattias Ohlund, and Ryan Kesler were named Alternate Captains and were informed of their new roles on the team about an hour before the press conference took place.

Luongo was first asked of the idea of being captain in early September. According to the coach and GM Mike Gillis, he wasted no time in saying he wanted the role. However unlike other captains in hockey, he won't be permitted to wear the 'C' on his jersey.

There is indeed a rule in the NHL rule book that mentions this topic. It reads:

(end of Rule 6.1)
The Referee and Official Scorer shall be advised, prior to the start of each game, the name of the Captain and the Alternate Captains of both teams. No playing Coach or playing Manager or goalkeeper shall be permitted to act as Captain or Alternate Captain.

It's been a long time since a goalie in the NHL was a captain of his team. You have to go all the way back to the 1948-49 season when Bill Durnan of the Montreal Canadiens had the 'C' bestowed up his Habs jersey. However he was known as a fiery guy who used to complain to the referee a lot, as a result wasting time and allowing his teammates a chance to get rest. For those reasons, the NHL decided goalies should no longer be allowed to be captain of a team.

It should be noted that goalies at lower levels have been captains of their team and have been allowed to wear the 'C' on their jersey. Vancouver native and former BCHL netminder Jordan Sigalet, was captain of his NCAA team at Bowling Green University in 2004. This season, Jeff Lerg, who is the #1 goalie for Michigan State University, will wear the 'C' on his jersey for the Spartans.

Some people think having a goalie as a team captain is bizarre. From where I sit, it makes a lot of sense. He's the most important player on their line-up, he's considered one of the best in his position on the planet, he leads by example, and he as much as anyone in the organization wants to win. Aren't those the qualities you want from a leader of a team?

It should also be noted that the Canucks should be given full marks for not allowing this news to be leaked out to the public before the announcement was made. In a hockey city like Vancouver, news of this magnitude usually gets tipped off to somebody. Trust me, NOBODY outside of the organization knew this was coming. To me, that's a bit refreshing to see.

New Captain To Be Named?

The Canucks have called a press conference for 11:30am to make what's only being refered to as a "special announcement".

Speculation around the media room at GM Place right now is that the club will be announcing a new Captain. I'll be surprised if the player who gets the 'C' is not a defenceman. The leading candidates to get the nod to replace Markus Naslund are Willie Mitchell, Mattias Ohlund, or Kevin Bieksa.

Should be interesting to see who the management and coaching staff go with.

What makes this announcement that much more interesting is the timing of yet. Yesterday at his post-practice media conference, I asked coach Alain Vigneault if the team was anywhere closer to naming a captain.

His response:

"There are some definite people stepping to the forefront for Mike (Gillis) and I have not talked about this yet so I can't really share my thoughts until I talk to him."

And now here we are, less than 24 hours later, likely being introduced to the next leader of the team.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Canucks Knock Off Ducks In Shoot Out

In what started out as a snoozer turned into a pretty entertaining night of pre-season hockey at the Honda Center Sunday evening. Despite playing nearly a third of the game short-handed, the Canucks did well against a very deep Ducks line-up to skate away with a 5-4 win in a shoot-out in Anaheim.

Allowing the opposition ten power plays is unacceptable at any time, whether it’s pre-season or not. However, give credit to Vancouver’s penalty killers and goalie Curtis Sanford. Holding a power play unit with the likes of Pronger and Niedermeyer at the point and Getzlaf, Perry, and Selanne up front to just two goals is pretty good at any stage of the year.

On the other side of the special teams coin, the Canucks power play looked sharp, not only tonight, but through the first four games of the exhibition campaign. Seeing Daniel and Henrik Sedin work together again was a welcome site to Canucks fans I’m sure.

Some of the players that stood out for me on this night included:

Sami Salo (1g,2a): After causing a turnover that led to the first Anaheim goal, he redeemed himself big-time! He’ll be a big reason for any success this team has on the power play this year with his shot from the point.

Curtis Sanford (34 saves): The Canucks don’t remain undefeated in the pre-season if it wasn’t for his efforts in this one. Stood tall facing some of the best shooters in the league from close quarters. A big save on Selanne just before the 2nd period ended was definitely a turning point that kept the team in the game going into the 3rd period.

Kyle Wellwood (1g,SOWG): Didn’t jump out at you ever shift, but he was a big factor in the win. His goal to make it a 1-1 tie was a real goal-scorers goal, as was his finish in the shoot-out. Certainly doing his part to earn a spot on this team.

The Sedin’s (Daniel 1g,1a/Henrik 2a): Just a treat to watch these guys at work together. Daniel’s goal was a bullet that netminder J.P. Lavesseur never saw. And the pass Henrik made on that goal was a thing of beauty. Steve Bernier (1g,1a) must have felt like he’d hit the jackpot skating with those two in this game.

Rob Davison: Strong physical presence as we’ll likely come to expect this year. Logged more than 21 minutes of ice time. I’m thinking he probably hasn’t been used to that much in the past, but he certainly did not look out of place against a pretty offensive-minded home-team in this game.

A series of roster moves are expected to be made on Monday by team management. To be honest, being 4-0 in the pre-season is nothing but a bonus for this club. But make no mistake about it…they’ve earned what they’ve received so far. All three goalies (Luongo, Sanford, and Schneider) have done their part to help the team win. Both sides of the special teams coin have been really strong, especially the PK. It’s hard to imagine that the club has not worked on the penalty kill at all in practice the past week. When taking on some of the premier power play specialists in the league from Edmonton, San Jose, and Anaheim, you have to admire the fact the Canucks have allowed just five goals against in 32 short-handed situations!!

On a personal note, this was a night I’ll never forget. As I said off the top, this game was dull in the early going. I was actually wondering if I was going to get a chance to call a goal in my first NHL broadcast! But boy did it turn into a decent game to broadcast and watch. Tommy was great to work with and we had a lot of fun. The compliments and thanks I received before and after the game from colleagues and friends was really overwhelming. It might have seemed like nothing more than a pre-season game to most, but it certainly meant a whole lot more to me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday's Line-up In The Pond

On paper, this might be a total mis-match in favour of Anaheim. Seven returnees for Vancouver are scheduled to dress, which includes netminder Curtis Sanford. See what the lines and defensive pairings are like and then compare them to the roster the home team will ice at the Honda Center:


22 D. Sedin - 33 H. Sedin - 18 Bernier
25 Pettinger - 42 Wellwood - 40 Grabner
24 Hordichuk - 59 Bolduc - 27 Krog
20 Cowan - 37 Rypien - 39 Hodgson

32 Nycolet - 3 Bieksa
8 Mitchell - 55 Sharrow
4 Davison - 6 Salo

41 Sanford
35 Schneider

Anaheim (numerical) will have to scratch three of the following:

8 Teemu Selanne
10 Corey Perry
14 Chris Kunitz
15 Ryan Getzlaf
17 Brian Sutherby
18 Drew Miller
20 Ryan Carter
21 Sean O'Donnell
22 Todd Marchant
24 Brad May
25 Chris Pronger
26 Samuel Paulsson
27 Scott Niedermeyer
39 Joakim Lindstrom
40 Kent Huskins
42 Eric Boguniecki
44 Rob Neidermeyer
50 Troy Bodie
53 Brett Festerling
60 Brendan Mikkelson
62 John De Gray

30 J.P. Lavesseur
35 J.S. Giguere

Staying at the same hotel as the Canucks this trip are the young Ducks prospects who are attempting to crack the roster and start the season in Anaheim. I ran into former Vancouver Giants Festerling and Mikkelson in the restaurant along with former Kelowna Rockets forward Bodie. All three former Memorial Cup winners have been getting plenty of ice time so far in the pre-season. It will be neat to see them play the Canucks tonight, assuming they dress.

Puck drop is at 5:00pm.

Canucks Hang On For Win In San Jose

Penalties nearly cost the Canucks a road victory in San Jose Saturday night. However solid penalty killing and very strong goaltending helped Vancouver stay undefeated in the pre-season and preserve a 3-2 win over the hometown Sharks.

Moments after Mike Brown and Ryan Kesler were denied on close range scoring opportunities by Sharks netminderBrian Boucher in the 1st period, Pavol Demitra wound up netting his first as a Canuck. And it couldn't have come any easier afterfinishing off a beautiful give-and-go with Alexander Edler on the power play. Mason Raymond picks up the other helper at 12:15.

Early on in the middle period, Rick Rypien went at it with Ryan Clowe. Pretty decent scrap between the two combatants, although Rypien had to leave the game after being cut under the eye. Shortly afterwards, the Canucks were able to build on their lead and it came while the Sharks worked a power play. Jannik Hansen stripped the puckaway from the San Jose defence at the blue line and broke free on a breakaway. His chance was denied by Boucher butfollowing up was Jason Krog who made no mistake tapping it in at 5:31 for Vancouver's first short-haneded tally of the pre-season.

Hansen would eventually score his first of the exhibition campaign on a Vancouver power play. Matt Pettinger's chancefrom in close was stopped by Boucher but the rebound was gobbled up by the Danish-born forward who had littletrouble sliding it home. Kyle Wellwood picks up the other assist with four minutes remaining and the Canucks were ina comfy three-goal lead going into the final frame.

Roberto Luongo would watch the final 20 minutes from the sidelines after stopping all 14 shots he faced.Cory Schneider came in for the rest of the game and was certainly not the reason the score ended up the way it did.

After making a series of good saves through traffic to keep the Sharks off the scoreboard, Schneider eventually saw the home team capitalize. While on the man advantage, Patrick Marleau's point shot would be deflected off of Mike Morris and then off the skate of Clowe. No chance for Schneider as the Sharks fans finally had something to cheer about.

San Jose was able to pour on the pressue, thanks in part to four consecutive Canucks power plays. However Schneiderand the penalty killers in front of him did a superb job to keep the home team in the lead.

Eventually with Boucher to the bench for the extra attacker, the Sharks were able to get to within one. Marleau tooka nice feed from behind the net from Joe Thorton and snapped a one-timer home. However the goal came with just eight seconds left on the clock and the Canucks were able to hang on for the win.

Vancouver was out-shot 37-21 by San Jose, including by a margin of 23-4 in the third period alone! The Canucks finished the night going 2-for-7 on the power play while the Sharks finished the game 1-for-8.

Next up for the Canucks (3-0) are the Ducks in Anaheim. This will be the first chance for the Canucks to see SteveBernier work alongside the Sedins. Game time is 5:00pm PST.

I'll admit, I'm a tad anxious to broadcast my first Canucks game. Although it's a pre-season game, it's still somethingthat I'm sure I won't forget. Here's hoping everything goes well, on the ice and in the broadcast booth!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Late Line-up Changes

The Canucks are going to bring in a bit more size and experience to their roster tonight in San Jose.

Matt Pettinger will be in the line-up to play along side Rick Rypien and Mike Brown. Pettinger replaces P.C. Labrie as the LW on that line.

Both Shaun Heshka and Daniel Rahimi will get the night off as Zack FitzGerald enters the roster. FitzGerald makes his pre-season debut tonight and don't surprised to see him drop the gloves. He compiled 158 PIM in 48 games with the Manitoba Moose last season.

San Jose is making one significant change up front as former 1st round draft pick Logan Couture will draw into the line-up for his 3rd game of the pre-season. The 19 year-old put up 21 goals and 37 assists last year in the OHL with the Ottawa 67's.

Canucks Off To The Tank

It will be a full flight down to southern California for the Canucks this afternoon as both squads embark on their two-day weekend trip to play the San Jose Sharks tonight and Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.

A bit of line juggling as has taken place in preparation for today's game in the Shark Tank. Here's who the Canucks will dress tonight.


9 Pyatt
13 Brown
17 Kesler
20 Cowan
21 Raymond
27 Krog
29 Jaffray
36 Hansen
37 Rypien
38 Demitra
42 Wellwood
63 Labrie


2 Ohlund
5 Krajcek
23 Edler
43 Heshka
44 Baumgartner
45 McIver
48 Rahimi


1 Luongo
35 Schneider

This will be the pre-season debut for both Rick Rypien and Daniel Rahimi, who are the only two players on the current roster who have yet to dress in the exhibition campaign. Luongo will likely play two of the three periods.

Here's who the Sharks are expected to dress at home against Vancouver:


11 Marcel Goc
12 Patrick Marleau
13 Jeff Friesen
19 Joe Thorton
25 Mike Grier
29 Ryan Clowe
39 Thomas Plihal
40 Riley Armstrong
47 Tom Cavanagh
48 Steve Zalewski
59 Brad Staubitz
64 Jamie McGinn


3 Douglas Murray
5 Rob Blake
44 Marc-Edouard Vlasic
55 Mike Moore
60 Jason Demers
65 Derek Joslin


1 Tomas Greiss
33 Brian Boucher

Should be a good test for the Canucks to keep their undefeated streak alive in the pre-season. The Sharks are going with a relatively completely different line-up as to what they put on the ice at home Friday night in a 5-2 win over Anaheim Ducks.

Will post an update after the game this evening.....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Look After Going 2-0

Despite some good looking line combonations in their opening two pre-season games against the Edmonton Oilers, the Canucks coaching staff switched things up for a pair of practice sessions at GM Place today.

Most notable was Steve Bernier having a chance to skate with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Despite a strong showing Tuesday skating with Pavol Demitra and Cody Hodgson, Bernier got his first chance to skate with the twins. That's a line many think will be together to start the season.

Other line combos, plus defence and goalie pairings on that team include:

Darcy Hordichuk-Ryan Johnson-Alex Burrows
Michael Grabner-Cody Hodgson-Matt Pettinger
Alex Bolduc-Mark Cullen-Dan Gendur/Juraj Simek

Willie Mitchell-Kevin Bieksa
Rob Davison-Sami Salo
Taylor Ellington-Zack FitzGerald
Lawrence Nycolet-Jim Sharrow

Curtis Sanford-Karl Goehring

This team will likely dress against the Ducks in Anaheim when the Canucks wrap their two-game road trip on Sunday. The squad that will likely dress Saturday against the Sharks in San Jose looked like this in practice this morning:

Mason Raymond-Pavol Demitra-Taylor Pyatt
Jeff Cowan-Kyle Wellwood-Jannik Hansen
Jason Jaffray-Ryan Kesler-Jason Krog
P.C. Labrie-Rick Rypien-Mike Brown

Mattias Ohlund-Alex Edler
Lukas Krajcek-Nolan Baumgartner
Nathan McIver-Daniel Rahimi/Shaun Heshka

Roberto Luongo-Cory Schneider

A little humour to the end of each on-ice session took place. Every player took part in a shoot-out scenario. Before each shooter stepped up to go one-on-one, Alain Vigneault asked the others if they thought their teammate would score or not. Those who thought he would score would go on one side of the ice while the others stood on the opposite boards. Plenty of verbal jabs went back and forth among teammates in a pretty entertaining way for the players to practice their shoot-out skills.

The entire group will have the day off tomorrow for the annual Jake Milford Canucks Alumni Golf Tournament, being held at Northview Golf Club. The two groups will be back on the ice Friday at GM Place.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Canucks Edge Out Oil At Garage

All the scoring was done in the first half of the game, but the Canucks didn't mind that at all as they skated away with a 2-1 win in their home pre-season debut against the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night.

Darcy Hordichuk and Michael Grabner capitalized for Vancouver after Kyle Brodziak opened the scoring for the Oilers. Roberto Luongo registered the win in net as he stopped 13 of 14 Oilers shots. He was replaced after 23+ minutes of work by Curtis Sanford. Dwayne Roloson stopped 29 shots going the distance between the pipes for the visitors.

Second time in as many nights Vancouver put up 30+ shots on net and also the second time in as many games where they played come-from-behind hockey to win. While that might not seem like a big deal in the exhibition season, both aspects have to be impressive to the coaching staff.

Some of the players who certainly deserved mentions on their play on this night included:

Jannik Hansen: Speed and skill were the name of his game and will have to be if he wants to start the season in Vancouver. Formed great chemistry with his linemates both 5-on-5 and on the power play.

Michael Grabner: Could get and paste the same as above. Got into good scoring positions and looks like he's ready to take the next step in his career.

Henrik Sedin: Looked like he had been playing with Hansen and Grabner for weeks. Seemed to be a very calming influence on his wingers who were probably feeling huge pressure going into the game. It may be a few games before he gets reunited with his brother.

Darcy Hordichuk: Not many players will get as excited as Hordichuk to get his first goal in the pre-season! Showed he wants to prove that he can be more than just a tough guy. Nursed a sore thumb picked up in practice and didn't feel the need to fight. Turns out there were a few others for the home team that answered the bell.

Ryan Johnson: Definitely came as advertised. Killer in the face off circle winning 11 of 13. Strong worker bee who's not afraid to lay down in the line of fire. Also showed good vision of the ice and awareness of where his linemates were (Hordichuk & Alex Burrows) when he had the puck in the offensive zone.

Cody Hodgson: Didn't seem to have lots of nervousness in his play, although the butterflies were probably working strong shift-to-shift. Didn't panic when receiving the puck and was even better at dishing it off to either of his wingers Pavol Demitra or Steve Bernier.

Kevin Bieksa: Good to see back on the ice. Without a doubt makes the Canucks tougher to play against in the Vancouver zone. Displayed a strong physical presence (which isn't out of the norm) and didn't show any ill-effects from his leg injury last season.

Yann Sauve: Much like Hodgson, he looked much more comfortable beyond his years. Was shown lots of confidence by the coaches to be thrown into both PP and PK scenarios. Will definitely use this game as a motivator moving forward in the pre-season.

With what's gone on in the last 48 hours, the Canucks brass have some interesting decisions to make on who will dress for their next two games in California on the weekend. There is some real healthy competition taking place for this team in two different areas. Firstly, which of the young guys, if any, will stay with the team to start the season? The likes of Grabner, Hansen, Hodgson and Mason Raymond have not taken any steps backwards since the start of training camp.

Secondly, the more veteran forwards battling to avoid starting the year in Manitoba have made things that much more intriguing. Mike Brown (2 fights), Jason Krog (1g,1a), Kyle Wellwood (1g,1a), and Jeff Cowan (1g) have all proved they earn a few more looks during the exhibition campaign.

Practice days for the players the next few days will be on the agenda before the team takes on the San Jose Sharks on Saturday and the Ducks in Anaheim on Sunday.

Line Combos For Canucks/Oilers Sept 23

Here's what tonight's line-ups should look like in Vancouver's first pre-season home game at General Motors Place.


38 Pavol Demitra - 39 Cody Hodgson - 18 Steve Bernier
40 Michael Grabner - 33 Henrik Sedin - 36 Jannik Hansen
24 Darcy Hordichuk - 10 Ryan Johnson - 14 Alex Burrows
59 Alex Bolduc - 51 Mark Cullen - 13 Mike Brown

45 Nathan McIver 6 Sami Salo
47 Yann Sauve 3 Kevin Bieksa
5 Lukas Krajcek 49 Zack FitzGerald or 32 Lawrence Nycolet

1 Roberto Luongo
41 Curtis Sanford


12 Robert Nilsson - 13 Andrew Cogliano - 58 Viacheslav Trukhno
61 Bryan Lerg - 51 Kyle Brodziak - 25 Jordan Eberle
21 Ryan Potulny - 67 Gilbert Brule - 57 Colin McDonald
62 Tim Sestito - 66 Tyler Spurgeon - 46 Zack Stortini

37 Denis Grebeshkov 77 Tom Gilbert
43 Jason Strudwick 36 Mathieu Roy
76 Bryan Young 81 Jake Taylor

35 Dwayne Roloson
38 Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers
A nice way to start the pre-season for the Canucks on the road Monday night, as Vancouver skated away with a 4-3 comeback win via the shoot-out against the Edmonton Oilers. This game looked like it might be a blow out early on with the Oilers pouring lots of pressure in the opening few minutes. Give credit to Vancouver though as they got better as the game moved forward and maybe were a bit unlucky not to have won the game in regulation or overtime.

You know who scored the goals and you know how the game was won. I'd like to point out who I felt were the players that stood out from the Canucks on this night, as well as hi-lite some of the moments that were key to a road win. In no particular order:

Cory Schneider: No way do the Canucks win, let alone stay in the game to the 3rd period, if it wasn't for his play. Struggled with rebound control early on but settled down after Oilers took the lead. Was strong in helping kill off a full two-minute two-man advantage for the Oilers in the middle frame and made a huge glove save late in the same period on Shawn Horcoff while Edmonton worked a power play. If that save doesn't occur and the Oilers score, chances are we're discussing a Canucks loss.

Jason Krog: Solid debut in a Canucks jersey. Had more shifts than any Canucks forward on the night (30) and was shown confidence by the coaches to play in 5-on-5, PP, and PK situations. And to get the winning goal in the shoot-out didn't hurt his cause to make the team either.

Willie Mitchell: Smart and steady with about as close to a mistake-free game as you can expect out of him. Was the best Vancouver penalty killer, playing nearly seven full minutes of time while his team was short-handed.

Mattias Ohlund: Was the busiest skater on the ice tonight for both teams (nearly 27 minutes in ice time). Strong in his own zone, confident in the attacking zone, and was what you come to expect from Ohlund out of training camp.

Kyle Wellwood: Showed good skill and poise with the puck. Made a great play to avoid two Oilers on the wall which resulted in the set-up to the tying goal by Ohlund on the power play. Knows he's got a lot to prove over the next few weeks and this was a good first step.

This was my first time at Rexall Place. Although it was an announced sell-out crowd of just over 16,800, it was far from it in reality. I doubt the same look will occur at GM Place tonight when the Oilers come to town for the rematch.

It's a building that reminds me a lot of the Pacific Coliseum, which I considered my home away from home for the last five years. It is a bigger version of the Rink on Renfrew, with a much different press box situation.

As you can well imagine, the Canucks will be icing a completing different team. The likes of Roberto Luongo, Sami Salo, Alex Burrows, Henrik Sedin, Pavol Demetria and Kevin Bieksa will all dress in front of the home crowd.

I think the same thing can be said for the Oilers, who iced three pretty solid lines Monday. They will definitely be a team built on speed and proved tonight that they'll never be afraid to create chances off the rush. Although I hate the phrase "run and gun", the Oilers might turn out to be a prime example of that style this coming season.

Before I shut this one down, I don't think I could have asked for a more memorable way to celebrate my birthday than by being with John and Tom in the broadcast booth. This really is a dream come true for me and although I didn't have a lot to do compared to nights when I'm doing play-by-play, it still was a night I won't soon forget.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Well....now I guess I can officially say...I am pumped!!

As I type this, it's the night before those who will be taking part in the Vancouver Canucks Training Camp report to General Motors Place for fitness and medical testing.

My plan is to meet a few of the players (many of whom I know but the majority I've never met) during their meet-and-greet sessions with the local media. Following that, I'll be making my way up to Whistler to prepare for the two-day camp.

What is there to expect when the players hit the ice? Your guess is as good as mine! With the team getting right into real game action next Monday and Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers, you'd have to anticiapte a lot of battle drills, special teams practice, etc.

It will be very interesting to see what approach the coaching staff take to the two days of on-ice sessions. I'll be shocked if the pace and tempo of the practices and/or scrimmages isn't at a high rate. The players are ready to get back on the ice. The coaches are ready to get back doing what they love. The pro and amateur scouts are anxiously awaiting to see the fruits of their labour over the summer.

I'll make further updates from Whistler as camp progresses, hi-liting anything that may be of interest to Canucks fans of any age. Of course, you can hear coverage of Canucks training camp on the Team 1040. Bob "The Moj" Marjanovich and Dave Tomlinson will have live coverage on Saturday from 12-4pm and on Sunday from 9am-1pm.

Enjoy the first real official weekend of Canucks hockey for the upcoming year!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Canucks Wrap Prospects Camp On Winning Note

Cody Hodgson came as advertised Tuesday night, showing why he was picked 10th overall by the Canucks at this past summer's NHL Entry Draft. A goal and two assists by the 18 year-old helped pace Vancouver to a 5-2 lead over the Edmonton Oilers in a battle between the two club's top prospects.

Hodgson, working on a line with Dan Gendur and Pierre-Cedric Labrie, was far and away the best player on the ice. Hodgson set up the opening Vancouver goal on a power play by feathering a beautiful cross zone pass to a wide open Patrick Coulombe. After Gendur converted on a penalty shot to put Vancouver in the lead, Hodgson scored what proved to be the game winner on the man advantage. After Scott Howes put the Canucks in a 4-1 lead, Hodgson was able to convert a great 2-on-1 rush with Labrie to cap off the scoring for the visitors.

Netminder Cory Schneider was very strong in goal for the Canucks, turning aside 26 of 28 Oilers shots. Vancouver went 2-for-5 on the power play and an even more impressive 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

The Canucks 2006 1st round pick Michael Grabner, who scored twice in Monday's 6-3 loss to the Calgary Flames, was a healthy scratch in the game against

Next up, the veterans report to Canucks Main Camp in Whistler. It won't be a long camp by any stretch as the players report to GM Place Sept. 19 before travelling to the resort community that evening. On ice sessions will take place in the morning both Sept. 20 and Sept. 21. The players will then return to Vancouver in preparation for the start of the pre-season which gets going Monday Sept. 22 in Edmonton against the Oilers (6:00pm PST).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My 1st Entry

Well, here it goes.....my first dabble in the world of blogging.

Just a few days away from preparing for the trek to Whistler for the 48-hour training camp. Not quite sure what to expect from the weekend ahead. In many ways, I'm looking more forward to the start of the pre-season, which happens to fall on my birthday.

With more than 50 players set to try and crack an opening night roster of no more than 25, the seven-game exhibition campaign should make for very intense and entertaining hockey. With a decent returning corps group of players from last season, mixed in with some new established veterans and some up-and-coming prospects, it's not hard to see why this will be a very intriguing start to the hockey season for Vancouver fans.

Will definitely keep you updated on how this new-look team evolves through September and how it likely will look come the start of the regular season the first week of October.

Looking forward to your thoughts as well.