Conference Call Wednesday: Vancouver Canucks

Apr 22, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis (2) is defended by Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews (19) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks

Record-26-15-7 (1st Place Northwest Division)

Home-15-6-3

Road-11-9-4

Total Goals-127

Total Goals Against-122

Goals- Daniel Sedin-12

Assists-Henrik Sedin-34

Penalty Minutes-Alexandre Burrows-54

Goals Against Average-Cory Schneider-2.11

Save Percentage-Cory Schneider .927

Summary- The Canucks did what the Canucks do,  They won the Northwest Division securing the third seed against the San Jose Sharks, and were swept right out of the playoffs in the first round.  The Canucks are a very good regular season team, but with the exception of the 2011 playoffs are routinely an  early exit from the playoffs.

The Canucks with another early exit also lost their coach in the offseason when Alain Vigneault was let go and in the end basically was traded for the New York Rangers coach John Tortorella.  Vigneault was a great regular season coach, but it could be the perfect time for a new voice for the Canucks especially with the realiagned divisions with much stiffer competition.  Tortorella should be sensational with the Vancouver press and fanbase!

The Canucks made a huge draft day trade that shocked most hockey experts when Cory Schneider was sent to the New Jersey Devils leaving Roberto Luongo as the gate keeper for Vancouver. This had to be a shock to the Canuck faithful and experts alike.

To get a view from the British Columbia we caught up with Allen Tung from the Fansided Vancouver Canuck site The Canuck Way with a 10 pack of questions with a bonus 11th,  for the upcoming 2013-2014 season.  Here is how the Q & A went with Allen.

BU-1. Is Eddie Lack ready for his chance in the NHL or does he still need more time to develop?
TCW-Eddie Lack for all intents and purposes missed an entire season of hockey last season. He started the season with a hip flexor injury and tried to play through it before being sidelined in November and undergoing surgery in January. It wouldn’t surprise me if Lack spends the first month or two of the season getting back into game shape before settling into the backup role.
BU-2. Will Torts have a positive impact on the canucks?
TCW-I definitely believe John Tortorella will have a positive impact with the Canucks. Alain Vigneault had been with the core group for seven seasons. After awhile–like with any job–the players (workers) get too comfortable and the coach (boss) is afraid to crank the whip because they are all friends.
BU-3. What does the team lose most with Vigneault’s departure?
TCW-Regular season success. Alain Vigneault was a decorated regular season coach for the Canucks. His teams would struggle and play .500 hockey in the month of October, but you knew from November onwards, they would be on the upswing and play consistent hockey until the end of the regular season.
BU-4. Does it mean anything that you are in a division with the last two teams that eliminated you from the playoffs? 
TCW-It definitely adds to intrigue and the Canucks should be extra motivated. The Canucks should not be overly concerned who they are playing, but how they are playing. Take it one game at a time and only four teams in each division will be making the playoffs.
BU-5. How important is it that you have playoff success after losing in the first round two years in a row? 
TCW-Personally, I would be happy if the Canucks made it through to the second round after two straight first round exits. The Canucks showed no fight, urgency, or desperation the last two seasons in their first round matchups. I think all Canucks fans ask for is more “heart” this upcoming season and playoffs. 
BU-6. Can Roberto Luongo be a consistent long term goaltender for your team? 
TCW-I don’t see why not. He has shown time and time again he can be a big-game goaltender if he can get some timely scoring and defence from the team in front of him. He played well in the two playoff games he started last season, but his team only mustered one goal for him in Game 1. Ryan Kesler had to put his team on his back in Game 2.

BU-7. Anything behind the Sedin’s trade rumor?
TCW-There’s zero chance the Sedins get traded. There was a threat of them leaving in the summer of 2006 as unrestricted free agents, but they are now in the twilight of their careers. Both players have a deep connection with the local Vancouver community and they donated $1.5 million to the BC Children’s Hospital. Both players will have their jerseys retire by the organization when they retire and leaving would tarnish their legacy in Vancouver. The only way I could see them leaving or the Canucks trading them is if the Canucks rebuild. A rebuild doesn’t appear to be on the horizon since the Canucks remain a solid team. They also have a number of young forward prospects in the system who aren’t household names around the NHL, but have top-six potential.

BU-8. The Blackhawks and Canucks have a great recent rivalry. Is there anyone in the new division you see as a long term rival?
TCW-I see the three California teams (the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks) as the long-term division rivals because they are the top dogs in the new Pacific Division. The Edmonton Oilers as well if all of their young talent emerge just like the 2008-09 Blackhawks.

BU-9. What are Canucks fans thoughts on a Seattle expansion franchise?
TCW-The Canucks are one of the most-travelled teams and an expansion team in Seattle will lower the amount they travel they endure each season. It is well-known the New York area teams sleep in their own beds at night when they play each other on the road because they are located so close to each other. It will also give Canucks fans the opportunity to travel down to Seattle to watch the Canucks for a much cheaper ticket price than in Vancouver. Might even slightly drive down the prices at Rogers Arena.

BU-10. Who will be this season’s Canucks breakout star that we aren’t familiar with?
TCW-It will be Zack Kassian. Many armchair coaches have pegged Kassian to skate on the top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. He started last season with five goals in seven games playing with the Sedins before tailing off and taken off the top line. Kassian never got a chance to return to the top line. The Sedins like to cycle the puck down low and send it into the soft area in front of the net for a shot on goal. Kassian has the size and strength to find and create space in front of the net. He should be a great fit if he is able to shed his bouts with inconsistency that has plagued him in his first two seasons as a NHL player.

BU-11. What is your prediction on the upcoming season, and is a Stanley Cup Championship the only expectation?
TCW-I don’t really have a prediction. During Alain Vigneault’s seven-year tenure as the Canucks coach, the fans in Vancouver have been conditioned to take it one game at a time. Win the first game. Win the next one and the ones after that. Make the playoffs. Win Game 1. Win Game 2 and so on.
Thanks again to Allen Tung for his time and if for some reason you’re looking for come Canuck coverage check out The Canuck Way.
What is your prediction for the Canucks for the 2013-2014 season?
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Topics: Chicago Blackhawks, The Canuck Way, Vancouver Canucks

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