The good people of Vancouver may have championed some questionable heroes in the past (Todd Bertuzzi, Swollen Members, etc.), but you can’t knock their love for the Sedin twins. With Henrik Sedin notching career point No. 900 and beyond Tuesday night in a loss to San Jose, it is once again time to ponder when the rest of the hockey world will catch up.
Though a lot of draft choices were moved at the NHL trade deadline, not a lot of prospects changed addresses. Dallas got a couple mid-table guys from Detroit in the Erik Cole deal, but the big prize was Maxim Letunov. The smart and skilled Russian went from St. Louis to Arizona, though he’ll hit up Boston University first. Here’s a look at some of the other players making noise in the prospect world.
The Anaheim Ducks may be running away with the division title, but it’s the recent surge by the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings that is the story right now. Following eight straight wins, Los Angeles has gone from the outside looking in to nipping at the heels of the Vancouver Canucks for second place in the Pacific.
And if the wild-card race wasn’t tight enough in the Western Conference with the play of the Minnesota and Winnipeg in the Central, San Jose and Calgary only a breath back of the Wild for the final wild-card berth.
At the bottom of the table sits Edmonton, set for yet another year of building for the future, and Arizona, shedding weight in favor of a youth movement in hopes the team can become a consistent contender in the near future. Both squads have players that are ready to move, and it could end up being they are dealt within the division. Read more
There is no doubt that the Western Conference playoff race is going to be a dogfight down the stretch, particularly since a couple of elite teams are still vying for a foothold. The Vancouver Canucks are in a good place right now, holding down second place in the Pacific, but with starter Ryan Miller out weeks with a lower body injury, the crease is now property of Eddie Lack.
Two days into the New Year, the Vancouver Canucks put Tom Sestito on waivers. He was then demoted to the Utica Comets on Jan. 3. Now, less than two months after being sent to the AHL, the Canucks organization and Sestito are going their separate ways.
The Canucks announced yesterday that Sestito, 27, has been removed from the Comets roster and, “will not play for either club for the remainder of this season.” In the release, the Canucks announced Sestito will continue receiving his $750,000 salary. Read more
The NHL schedule makers were at their most poetic when they slotted Vancouver in for a Feb. 26 visit to Buffalo. Doing so would’ve put Canucks goalie Ryan Miller in town, and most likely slated to start, against his former team almost one year to the day after the Sabres traded him. He went to St. Louis in a pre-deadline blockbuster last Feb. 28.
Sadly, a leg injury sustained Sunday night against the New York Islanders cut Miller’s road trip short. He had to fly back to Vancouver for an MRI and is expected to be out four to six weeks. That means missing the Buffalo return altogether.
Sure, the “emotional return” to face a former team is sometimes a narrative constructed by journalists, but that is absolutely not so in Miller’s case. He and the Canucks practised in New York last Wednesday on an off day before facing the Rangers, and he was open and reflective about his time in Buffalo. Miller had plans to meet up with important people in his life he had left behind last year after the trade. He said he wanted his new teammates to tag along and meet some of his favorite people. He relished the chance to drag some Canucks out of their hotel and show them a different side of Buffalo. Miller speaks with pride about his former home. He clearly wants to dispel the myth perpetuated by, for example, Joffrey Lupul’s 2011 tweet from Buffalo in which he asked if there were any “windowless rooms” in his hotel.
The Canucks are in a dogfight for a playoff berth, and are battling division rivals Calgary, San Jose and Los Angeles – as well as Winnipeg and the hard-charging Minnesota Wild – to make it back to the post-season after missing out in 2013-14. And although they beat the New York Islanders Sunday night, they lost star goalie Ryan Miller to an injury that may seriously impact the rest of his season – and the odds of Vancouver making the playoffs.
Bo Horvat strolled off the ice after the Vancouver Canucks’ Wednesday practice in New York as the quintessential rookie and anything but, all at once.
Horvat wore a turquoise, old-fashioned Jofa helmet emblazoned with teammate Henrik Sedin’s No. 33. The lid perched itself like a toupee, high on Horvat’s head, and looked like something any team would force a rookie to wear. But there was no hazing involved whatsoever. And here’s where Horvat’s contradictory nature comes into play.
“I saw it and wanted to try it on,” Horvat said with a smile. “It doesn’t even fit me, but it’s a cool helmet.”
He saw something he liked and he grabbed it. He wore it with the confident swagger of a seasoned veteran, looking very little like a 19-year-old that played in the OHL nine months ago and more like a filled out 25-year-old at six-foot and 206 pounds.
It’s been abundantly clear since the Canucks withheld Horvat from playing for Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship that they believe he’s arrived. He’s been as hot as any Vancouver forward of late, amassing eight points in his past 10 games, delivering on the promise that made him the ninth overall pick at the 2013 draft.
He’s come along way considering coach Willie Desjardins didn’t think Horvat had a snowball’s chance in hell of making the team while conferring with GM Jim Benning just a few months ago.