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The Landlubber’s Guide to the Vancouver Canucks

Special behind-enemy-lines edition

NHL: SEP 23 Preseason - Senators v Canucks

Hey you. You’re swept up in all this Seattle Kraken hype. You want to know more about hockey but don’t know where to start. Well, we want to help make these games easy and fun for you to watch.

Throughout the season, we’ll release Landlubber’s Guides designed with the new fan in mind. This includes basic need-to-know info for you to absorb before you watch Kraken games and highlights.

This week we’re diving into the Vancouver Canucks, with a twist: we’ve got input from Nucks Misconduct editor Kent Basky!

Before we dive into the state of the Canucks, can you tell us a bit about how you ended up running NM?

KB: Attrition, I guess. It’s not like I had my rivals killed off or anything like that. I actually started out making fan posts back in 2008, I was doing a short podcast called ‘We Are All Canuckleheads’ and the two gents that were running NM at the time invited me to be a contributor in 2009. In 2011, I was fortunate enough to get accredited for the Finals against Boston. I was interim manager after the previous manager stepped down, and myself, along with my co-manager Trevor Beggs have been running things for about a year and a half now. As far as my Canucks fandom, it goes back to 1973, when I arrived in BC with my family, having moved from Saskatoon, SK to Kamloops (Home of the Blazers!). And as I didn’t really have a favorite team back then (I was 4, give me a break), I became a Canucks lifer. Sad story, but that’s it.

We all have our vices, I get it. Alright, tell us a bit about the Canucks this year.

Are they any good?

KB: I think that’s something we’re all trying to figure out still. We’ve seen this team Jekyll & Hyde its way through the first five games, and we’re no closer to figuring things out. Overall, I think they’re better than they were last season, but that’s a pretty low bar to clear. Offensively, the addition of Conor Garland should help, and the Canucks look more like a team with 3 offensive lines and checking line than the 2 and 2 they’ve gone with in the past. Goaltending, I think we’re in a good place. Thatcher Demko is everything we hoped he’d be, and if we can get a decent season from Jaroslav Halak backing him up, it could be great. It’s the defense that’s the worrisome part. They did a major overhaul on the back end from last season and somehow it’s not any better. I will say that Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Tucker Poolman have been pleasant surprises so far, but check back in a month and see how we all feel about these two. Also, we’re still giving Tyler Myers a pass for his hit on Duncan Keith.

Who should I look out for?

KB: With the Canucks, Elias Pettersson (Center, #40) remains the biggest threat on the ice. He may be off to a slow start, understandable because of the holdout in the offseason, but he is an elite level player with one of the best shots in the league. Paired with Brock Boeser (Right Wing, #6), they can do some serious damage. Boeser was the team’s leading scorer last season. Quinn Hughes (#43) leads the defense, and is a fun guy to watch when he gets the puck. Great skater, with an ability to make checkers look foolish trying to catch him. Nils Höglander (Left Wing, #21) is in his second season, and while he’s fluctuating between the 2nd and 3rd line, he’s a tenacious forechecker with great hands. Conor Garland (Right Wing, #8) came from Arizona in that big trade over the summer, and is quickly becoming a fan favorite. A bundle of energy that frustrates other teams, he’s really settling in nicely with the Canucks. And if he’s back in the lineup, Vasily Podkolzin (Right Wing, #92) is slowly learning the finer points of the NHL game after coming over from the KHL. He’s a big, strong kid with good offensive skills that could see him become the kind of power forward this team has been needing for years.

What’s the feeling in Vancouver on Kole Lind, Seattle’s expansion selection from the Canucks?

KB: It was kind of a mixed reaction, because we saw very little of him up with the parent club. If you weren’t following the Utica Comets closely, and that was an issue for some, with the three hour time difference, then you may not have been aware of what he’d been up to. It seemed like he was developing well in Utica, and was one of their better players. At the end of the day, maybe he’s one that got away, maybe not. That tends to be a sore issue at times in Vancouver, which is understandable when your team traded away Cam Neely for next to nothing. If he hadn’t been taken by the Kraken, he would have been battling for the 4th line spot that went to Alex Chiasson, but more likely found himself in Abbotsford with the new AHL squad that moved from Utica.

Thanks Kent! Looking forward to getting this I-Fivealry started. A couple more quick notes before we leave:

Any Seattle ties?

  • None on the NHL club, but former Everett Silvertip Noah Juulsen is currently on their AHL squad in Abbotsford. Juulsen was acquired by Vancouver earlier this month in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens. He appeared in 240 regular season games with the Silvertips and tallied 124 points—4th most all-time among Everett defensemen.

Odds & ends

  • This guy won the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year in 2018-19
  • Vancouver is one of 12 teams (including the Kraken) that have yet to win a Stanley Cup in their franchise history. Of those dozen teams, the Canucks and the Buffalo Sabres have been around the longest (1970-71)
  • Their home stadium is Rogers Arena—not to be confused with Rogers Place (home of the Oilers) or Rogers Centre (home of the Blue Jays)
  • Defenseman Tyler Myers is tied for the 2nd tallest player in the NHL at 6’8” behind (below?) only Zdeno Chara
Columbus Blue Jackets v Vancouver Canucks

Tonight’s game starts at 7pm and will be broadcast on ESPN+ and CBC. Find more details on how to watch here.