Torts is seen here in his natural state screaming at the Canucks players. Photoshop by Joe Kremel of Blackhawkup.com

Blackhawks' Spy Report: The Vancouver Canucks


 

The Vancouver Canucks have been an interesting team to watch from a GM standpoint these past few seasons.  They’ve always had skill and a bit of an edge to their game, but despite their winning record, they were voted Most Overrated by the players in 2012.  Last season the Canucks struggled a bit, but still tied the Kings for fourth in points.  Some blamed their coach Alain Vigneault, but others put the blame squarely on GM Mike Gillis.  The brass decided to fire A.V. and keep Gillis around, which was questioned by the fan base and NHL experts alike.  Gillis has a little over 5 million to spend and still has 8 players that need to be signed/moved.  Most of those players are depth and role players, but regardless, he has decisions to make.

(Warning: some sarcasm and humor may be present.)

The Keepers – Luongo/Lack (5.33 mill/750k):  Roberto Luongo went from suffering nearly unanimous dislike to becoming an instant fan favorite within a year and a half.  His twitter feed @strombone1 was the main catalyst of the massive perception change.  Along with that shift came a different looking Luongo in net.  Between his feed and his newfound carefree attitude, he looked better between the pipes.  Some argue that his play helped push the Schneider trade and dissuaded the Canucks from using a compliance buyout on him.  Eddie Lack will most likely be the next backup for the Canucks.  I have watched him play for the Wolves a number of times, and he seems pretty decent.  It’s still too early to tell if he will be a Luongo/Schneider caliber goalie, but he has some promise.  I would expect to be seeing his name a lot next year.

The Twins – Daniel and Henrik Sedin (6.1 mill each):  The Sedins had a rough season by their usual standards, but they were still producing nearly a point per game.  The Olympic diving twins are very skilled players that still have a number of good years left.  They are younger than Hossa and were nearly on the same pace.  Hossa is still considered an extremely valuable piece of the Hawks core, so why all the hate for the Sedins?  Sure, those players have different styles of play, but they are comparable.  Something that wasn’t really brought up was their playoff performance.  They both had three points in four games; it’s hard to ask for more than that.  I know that they are the “leaders” of the team, but look at the Hawks.  The scoring came from all over the lineup.  You can’t expect 2-3 players to completely carry a team in the playoffs.

Bench Boss Or Bully? – John Tortorella:  Alain Vigneault was a dirty player, but as a coach he was on top of the stats revolution.  He really worked the faceoff dots, and he seemed to be the kind of coach the players liked for the most part.  That will all change with the hiring of Torts.  Torts can only go two ways with this team.  He can bring a strong defensive work ethic that builds off of solid goaltending leading the team to become an extremely strong contender.  Or, the forced defensive style and poorly handled player interactions will knock them out of the playoff hunt.  I don’t see them being on the playoff bubble next season; they’ll be either safely in or well out.  Bringing in Torts is a risky move, but he does bring one thing that is underrated.  He knows how to draw attention off of his players and onto himself.  That could be perfect for a team that is in an overly passionate city.

Prognosis:  Not confident.  They are now in the new Pacific division with tough competition which will only exacerbate the strain of introducing a new coach with a new style.  Expectations are always high in Vancouver, and while you may not like their fan base, there is no denying their passion.  This team will become more of a well-rounded team, but will that payoff right out of the gates?  I’m leaning towards no.  That doesn’t mean that this veteran core can’t do it.  Time will tell on this one.

Tags: Chicago Blackhawks Daniel Sedin Eddie Lack Henrik Sedin John Tortorella NHL Free Agency Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks

  • Pacific Vacuum

    “The Olympic diving twins….”

    Childish name calling, wow. Great journalism, pretty much what we expect from y’all. Seriously, grow up.

    • JMK-Hawks13

      Didn’t you read the warning of sarcasm? I defended the canucks more than made fun of them, so how mad can you really be?

      • Pacific Vacuum

        On top of the world with another cup win, and you just can’t resist dropping in some jackassery. But ya I get it, you have drooling CHI fans to appease, so it’s expected.

        Just so you’re up-to-date in the NHL, Kesler is well known as the biggest diver on the team, and not many of us want the diving American on our team. But we’re stuck with him and his girlish soccer dives that he learned in the good ‘ol USA.

        Yup you’re all golden over there:

        Cheers.

        • JMK-Hawks13

          Yes, all teams have their incidents that’s not a new concept. Serious question when you read stuff from pass it to bulis do you get mad at their sarcasm? That’s why it’s a blog and not a newspaper. It’s a post from a rival team, and you should sort of expect some sort joke thrown in there. If I made an outrageous claim like “the sedins should retire”, and I meant it, then I could understand why you would be upset.

  • disqus_8uTkp82LAz

    Interesting descriptors from a Hawks author. I guess it’s expected when your team has the likes of Captain Whiner, Dirty Keith and so on. Talk about classic pot calling the kettle black. Well done!

    • JMK-Hawks13

      Don’t be so mad over one little joke. I defended the canucks on most accounts.

      • Pacific Vacuum

        credibility whoooooosh in just one crack. That’s how it works dude. You were doing so well, then threw it all away when you jumped on the twin-bashing train…. 3 years now… it’s so freakin’ old. Give it up already. Stand out from the crowd, do the unexpected.

        Honestly, it reads like you wrote it originally without it, then after proofing it, you decided you were being too nice, so you threw in the childish quip. It reads strange and out of place, compared to everything else in the article, really. Very un-natural.

        • JMK-Hawks13

          Nah, I put the warning in just because I have to keep it light. Chicago is a very sarcastic city, and we usually crack some joke in a conversation. I was trying to just keep it to a quick remark since dousing the article in sarcasm would just be mean.

  • Vandoria

    Go back to picking dingleberries in the madhouse washrooms

    • JMK-Hawks13

      See, now this is what would have been too much to put in there. +1 for getting in the rivalry spirit.