Well Known Canuck Critic Tony Gallagher Approves of Brandon Sutter Trade

Sports

You know it’s an odd day when sports columnist Tony Gallagher of the Province (newspaper based out of Vancouver) is saluting general manager Jim Benning of the Vancouver Canucks for a trade that sent Nick Bonino, Adam Clendening, and a second rounder to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Brandon Sutter…and a third round pick.

Don’t believe me? Enjoy, Vancouverites and fellow Canuck fans:

http://www.theprovince.com/sports/hockey/canucks-hockey/Gallagher+Sutter+deal+best+recent+Canucks/11255655/story.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

I have had a few days to settle down after this trade. It shocked me at first. If it was honestly just Nick Bonino for Brandon Sutter straight up, I may have taken the time to take a more in depth look at things. Instead, in typical Vancouver fashion, I was a bit upset at the trade.

Adam Clendening did not seem that bad at all of a prospect to me. He has a ways to go in terms of skating but when he was called up to play for the Canucks, he did his job. He had flashes of decency. This is my honest opinion. I was bummed when I heard he was gone. The Canucks back end does not look great outside of Tanev, Edler, and Sbisa (if he actually plays consistently well for an entire season which is doubtful). Hamhuis is most likely gone by the end of next year which is why I refused to mention him. Seriously, who do we have outside of those three then after the season ends? Bartkowski may turn out to be alright. Yannick Weber sucked in the playoffs. Hence my disappointment in losing Clendening.

Nick Bonino meanwhile started off hot and looked promising but then went cold. In the postseason he was cold. We simply can’t have a guy like that in Vancouver playing on the second line. If he was a third liner, okay. Which is why the trade is great on the Pittsburgh side of things.

Enter in Brandon Sutter. I have done research on this kid, “flat Stanley” as they call him in Pittsburgh:

The first thing people have said about flat Stanley is:

He’s a great penalty killer. One of the best in the league.

That was probably the only thing Nick Bonino was good at when he was cold and the Canucks have great penalty killing as is. It was near the top of the league last year.

We need goals, offense, and speed that Bonino failed to provide when he went cold. Sutter looks like he does bring the speed.

Twenty goals last year on the third line in Pittsburgh is also a positive sign. Flat Stanley is entering the prime of his career at age 27 or so next year. I hope he can become maybe a 50 point or so guy that can play a great two way game.

He’s also said to be a good leader and that’s one of Benning’s main focuses right now for the Canucks hockey team.

I really don’t know about this move as of now as well as the talks about Benning extending Flat Stanley to 4 years at close to 18 or so million (4.4 million a year).

Jim Benning scares the hell out of me. I still contend that his trade of plug Zack Kassian and a fifth round pick to Brandon Prust was a good move. It’s just he didn’t have to add in the fifth round pick. No one in the league wanted Kassian which is why he had to do it.

The Eddie Lack trade looks like his most ill-advised as of yet. But he is gambling on Jakob Markstrom being a better goalie than Lack. I support him one hundred percent there. I am a believer in Markstrom if he keeps excelling under goalkeeping coach of the Canucks, Melanson.

Jim Benning is either ahead of the curve, or he’s the worst general manager in the league like everyone is claiming.

Hey, I don’t think he deserves that honour yet. What worst general manager took the sixth worst team in the league and turned them into a playoff team in a year? I’ll reserve my judgement.

Tim Murray of the Buffalo Sabres is the worst general manager in the league after his move for Ryan O’ Reilly and whining on television about missing on the first overall pick in the NHL draft.

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At the Breaking Point With Canucks GM Jim Benning

Ramblings

Today the Canucks announced they have traded Adam Clendening, Nick Bonino, AND a second rounder to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Brandon Sutter and a third round pick.

How does this trade make any sense? What the hell? Did Bonino not want to be here?

The Kesler trade does look like a disaster now considering he was that guy who came the other way.

I do not know much about Brandon Sutter, but looking at his stats, he doesn’t look much better or maybe even slightly better than Bonino.

Throw in Clendening who is a decent prospect and played well when called up here as well as the second round pick when we have the possibility of finishing low?

Canucks fans, this guy may be reaching the Mactavish point. I don’t get this move at all and will say it time and time again.

If Brandon Sutter becomes a godsend on the third or second line while Bonino and Clendening do nothing, okay. But the chances of those scenarios all happening are extremely low.

What an odd move and I’m starting to lose faith in Benning.

Bold Predictions for the 2014-2015 NHL Season

Sports

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The NHL season starts around the beginning of October and since the free agent frenzy has pretty much ended I have a few bold predictions for next season that go against “the norm”. In other words, predictions that are bold and go against the public. Here are a few I have:

1. The Vancouver Canucks make the playoffs.

Albeit I’m very biased towards them, I am willing to bet this happens. Everywhere I go people are counting them out saying how they are a tenth seed, etc. I have followed this off season. I followed last season. They sucked ass last season and a large portion of it was due to the goons known as John Tortorella and Mike Gillis. There is no way this team should have been playing a defensive dump and chase style. It doesn’t fit the team. Coach Tortorella is a goof who will never land a job in the NHL again (a not so bold prediction or opinion there either). Jim Benning has made some shrewd moves that I think will pay off. The jury is still out on his draft picks Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann. But signing Ryan Miller for a few years, good move. The pay is a bit steep but that’s the price you must pay for a decent goaltender. Miller looked bad in St. Louis especially in the postseason but that’s his only dark moment of his career so far. I’m willing to see if he has more to offer. Dealing Ryan Kesler was the best move they made. Nick Bonino is a great kid and plays the game hard. Outside of all these moves Jim Benning made in terms of player personnel, the biggest and the one I think will pay off was not made just by him but also president Trevor Linden: hiring Willie Desjardins. The guy has won at every level besides the NHL. He made the Texas Stars in the AHL a great team. He made the Dallas Stars have serious depth alone due to the way he coached the young kids on the Texas Stars. He also won multiple times in the WHL before. I have not heard a single bad word about him. Just great things. Look for him to turn the Vancouver Canucks around, be a well liked coach by the players, and have them become a winning franchise. No, I don’t think they will be Stanley Cup contenders or fighting for the presidents trophy. I also don’t think they will win the Pacific Division, that’s crazy. They will make the playoffs as a sixth-eighth seed. I am putting my mouth on the line here.

2. Pekka Rinne gets exposed as an over rated goaltender

I’m sorry Preds fans. I always hear people talk about him as if he is a top goaltender in the league, top three, etc. I’ve never seen it. He was a huge body in front of the net behind Ryan Suter and Shea Weber all those years. That’s why he looked really good. Take out coach Barry Trotz and his boring ass defensive system and replace him with offensive minded Peter Laviolette, look at people to start doubting Pekka Rinne as among the league’s best in net. This is a little bold and the term “over rated” seems to imply I think he sucks. I think he will still be good, just not in the top three as people typically have him in in their lists of best goaltenders in the NHL.

3. The Boston Bruins don’t repeat as regular season powerhouses this year

The Bruins have been a very successful franchise for years now in the NHL but I think they won’t repeat as president trophy champions or as a top team in the regular season. Just a weird feeling I have. Chara is getting old, he has been slowing down season after season. It is only a matter of time before he retires or fades away. He is a huge driving force behind the team. Without him, I don’t know. They got rid of top scorer Jarome Iginla and replaced him with…well…nothing really? I think this team should have kept him for another year, he fit well in the system. I say they are still a playoff team but finish no higher than third in the eastern conference. And then come playoff time, Tukkaa Rask gets exposed as a choker once again. The Flyers and Canadiens completely lit this guy up when his team had both series in a stranglehold. Definitely not worth the money they are paying him. Roberto Luongo got hated on as a Canuck, why is this guy excused?

4. The Montreal Canadiens don’t go on a huge playoff run again

Not sure if this is bold. I don’t think they have the same success as they did last year. Carey Price is a monster in net no doubt and they still look like a playoff team, but I think they got by last year in the playoffs playing a really gritty style that many teams typically don’t repeat. They had guys such as Dale Weise scoring clutch goals or Daniel Briere (who they got rid of). Leader Josh Gorges was dealt to the leagues worst Buffalo Sabres for scraps. I don’t see this team going as far in the playoffs as they did last year. I rooted them on, it was a great run, but let’s be realistic here.

5. The Anaheim Ducks do not make it far in the playoffs

Of course they make the season with Boudreau being head coach. That’s his bread and butter. I have no shame in admitting they may be a fifth to first rank team in the western conference. But come playoff time, they will lose, again, like Boudreau coach teams do. No way am I betting on this team to win the cup. I also would like to make the bold prediction that Ducks fans become disappointed with Ryan Kesler’s production and wish for Nick Bonino back. Seriously. He has not been good at all since Vancouver’s cup run and I am glad to get Sbisa and Bonino for him. Not joking or trolling. Gibson is young and a question mark. He’s said to be a phenom but this will be his first full year. I don’t know about giving him such a heavy task. Andersen is also a question mark as a 1B/backup goaltender. Look for the Ducks to be golfing by the semi finals and their fans complaining about Boudreau and Kesler.

6. The Kings, Blackhawks, or Penguins become Stanley Cup champions (again)

Okay, this is not very bold at all. This is with the norm. I think the Kings or Blackhawks are easily in line to take home another cup along with maybe the Penguins in the east. Mike Johnston as newly hired head coach of the Penguins should take them into the playoffs. The last time the Pens hired a head coach they destroyed the rest of the league. They were something like 18-3 before going into the playoffs with Bylsma. Mike Johnston may have the same success or it may backfire. The Kings and Blackhawks are still the premium teams of the west. The Blues, Sharks, and Ducks are all teams capable of doing well in the regular season but then shitting the bed in the playoffs. I don’t see either team passing the torch in the west this season unless they have injuries to key players.

Thoughts On Ryan Kesler Leaving Vancouver

Sports

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So “the trade” happened not to long ago where Ryan Kesler was sent packing from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa essentially. Probably the biggest trade so far this off season in the NHL.

I posted a few weeks back how new general manager of the Vancouver Canucks Jim Benning was not doing a bad job. I still echo those same sentiments.

Kesler was crucial during the Canucks 2011 cup run. Do not get me wrong. Without him who knows how that Nashville Predators semi finals series would have gone.

But since then he has not done anything of note in Vancouver except get injured and seemingly complain behind closed doors. Yeah he said to the media how he wanted to stay here. I never bought it. He wanted out for sure.

I don’t hold any grudges if the man wanted out. Just handcuffing Jim Benning into only accepting a trade to two possible teams (one of them being a team he was rivals with for many years the Chicago Blackhawks) was a bit annoying. Props to Benning for getting a solid return under those circumstances.

Ever since the cup run Kesler has lacked playmaking ability and looked bad on the ice. I’m not upset one bit that he is gone.

Let’s not forget there are all these crazy, outlandish rumours about his personal life and how he is a pig or jerk of a man.

The Vancouver Sun quoted him as saying in his exit interview with Vancouver Media:

I hate losing and that season was painful, to be honest. The fact (the Canucks) are in a rebuild and are looking to get younger and are years away from being a contender, I think it was just time for me to move on and, you know, win and hopefully take home a championship.

— Ryan Kesler

Then they followed up by saying “there is plenty of time to practice your booing”.

Son, I ain’t even mad. I wouldn’t boo him. I don’t hate him. If he wanted out after the franchise was going downhill so be it. At least we got plenty of young prospects to look forward to and shift the ship in a different direction. His quote absolutely does make sense.

I still think Anaheim will regret this trade when he turns out to not be the slam dunk 2nd line centre they thought he would be. Nick Bonino will be great in a Canucks uniform, in fact he scored more points than Kesler did last year.

Let’s say Anaheim does well in the regular season (which is not uncommon for a Boudreau squad). Once again, they will lose in the postseason (which is also not uncommon for a Boudreau squad).

GM Jim Benning Has Done a “Good” Job

Sports

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The keyword is in the quotes, good.

Not great, not bad, good.

Every time I read hockey forums people are quick to bash general manager Jim Benning of the Vancouver Canucks for his moves. Such as how he gave away 2nd/3rd pairing Jason Garrison for scraps. And not to forget he essentially got rid of Ryan Kesler for Nick Bonino and Derek Dorsett.

First off, Kesler for Bonino in a few years will look like a solid trade. When I watched the Anaheim Ducks play over the last year Bonino was a solid second/third liner who played a hard game and racked up more points than Ryan Kesler did. Kesler has been hurt and horrible ever since the cup run in 2011.

Hearing how Kesler wanted to leave Vancouver for a cup and handcuffed them into only accepting a trade to either Anaheim or Chicago speaks volumes. The fact Benning got a decent return for him is incredible. He was a waste of money. Good riddance to him. He won’t win a cup in Anaheim either with Bruce Boudreau as the man in charge. That guy is the worst playoff coach in the league next to Dan Bylsma and Alain Vigneault. They should be called the three stooges come playoff time.

After ranting about Kesler, Benning made a solid hire for his vacant coaching position. Willie Desjardins has a solid track record and has won everywhere outside of the NHL. He also plays a high tempo game, unlike coach Tortorella. He also wants to be here and did not accept an offer from Pittsburgh, again, unlike Tortorella who lived in freaking Point Roberts, Washington and as a result constantly canceled practices.

Then we have the Ryan Miller pickup for 6 million a year and Radim Vrbata for five. Those are a bit steep, but decent acquisitions. Eddie Lack is not ready to be the man in charge. In a few years he may be. Ryan Miller only failed in St. Louis and apparently the goalie coach was horrible while he was there (he got fired after the season ended).

Radim Vrbata has a decent track record on the Coyotes and the contract length is not long at all. If he sucks after his first year, well, there’s only a year left. And if he turns out good after his first year, the contract is a success.

And I really liked the Canucks selection at 6th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft of Jake Virtanen from Abbotsford. Just a good BC boy who looks tough as nails, is big, and can skate. If he pans out we will have a very solid tandem in the future with him and Horvat. Two good Canadian kids who aren’t afraid to throw their bodies around. A change from Mike Gillis drafting 5 foot tall figure skaters.

I’m excited about this season as a loyal Canucks fan and think these moves have been solid. The key was to getting rid of John Tortorella (one of the worst coaches I’ve ever seen in the NHL, not just his Canucks season but also his time on the Rangers) and Ryan “never will win a ring” Kesler. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks are neck and neck with Anaheim next season. Yeah I wouldn’t put my hopes up with the Canucks competing against the tough LA Kings but don’t be surprised if Anaheim looks silly picking up Kesler and getting rid of Bonino. Again, Kesler has not looked good for years.

Exhale Canucks fans.