Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Kesler’

Last season: 54-19-9 117 pts, 1st Northwest, 1st Western Conference

Additions: Niklas Jensen (1st round pick), Andrew Ebbett, Marco Sturm, Mark Mancari, Niclas Bergfors, Byron Bitz,

Losses: Christian Ehrhoff, Alexandre Bolduc, Jeff Tambellini, Lee Sweatt, Nathan Paetsch, Rick Rypien, Raffi Torres, Tanner Glass,

Offense: While as deep offensively as the Canucks are, they are going to get a bit of a challenge early on with injuries to Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond. Still though there are plenty of horses in this stable with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows, growing Jannik Hansen, and potentially a healthy dose of Cody Hodgson this season as well.

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In 2006, Ryan Kesler signed a 1 year, $1.9 million offer from the Flyers.  Then-GM Bob Clarke was crushed by the hockey world for violating a “gentleman’s agreement”, in which teams wouldn’t sign other team’s restricted free agents.  Fans were calling for their team to try and poach a young player from the Flyers.  People were wondering if the Canucks would match $1.9 million for a kid who only had 23 points in 82 games in a new, unknown, salary cap era.  (Hindsight would show it was a good move by Vancouver.)  It was the first offer sheet to an RFA in almost eight years (Carolina’s offer to Sergei Fedorov in 1998).  In 1997, Clarke also signed Tampa’s Chris Gratton to a 5 year, $16.5 million offer, with a $9 million signing bonus, fully knowing that Tampa did not have the finances to match that type of offer.

As years passed, more players have been tendered offer sheets.   There have been six players to sign offer sheets since the lockout, with only one (Dustin Penner) changing teams.  Yet, people still believe signing Restricted Free Agents is an unwritten no-no.  The rule has been in place for over 25 years (with changing compensation), and if it is so unpopular, it would have been repealed by now.

So why is this relevant today?   (more…)

After the regular season, we took it upon ourselves to vote for five major NHL awards (Hart, Vezina, Norris, Calder and Adams).  With the awards show tomorrow night, let’s take a quick look back on how we did voting wise and who the frontrunner for those awards are.

Hart Memorial Trophy
This year, the three finalists are: Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin and Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis. Our voting had Perry, Sedin and Tim Thomas. With no disrespect to St. Louis, this is a two horse race. Corey Perry had 50 goals and dominated down the stretch. Sedin scored a career-high 41 goals, and 104 points, winning the Art Ross. Both guys are deserving but there can only be one winner. This season Perry’s been the most valuable to his team and should pick up the Hart. However, Sedin should win the Ted Lindsay (Most Outstanding Player) award.

Vezina Trophy
The Canucks’ Roberto Luongo, Predators’ Pekka Rinne and Bruins’ Tim Thomas are the finalists for the Vezina trophy. All three made were our finalists also. Thomas should dominate the voting and easily pick up the hardware this year, which would be his second Vezina (2009).

James Norris Trophy
Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber are the 2010-11 finalists. Our voting was close, with those three defenseman along with Lubomir Visnovsky finishing as our top vote getters. (Yes, I know that is four, but we had a 3-way tie for 2nd). Even though he’s not as well known as his co-finalists, Weber had a fantastic season and should win his first NHL trophy.

Calder Memorial Trophy
This year, the Sharks’ Logan Couture, Islanders’ Michael Grabner and Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner are the NHL’s finalists. Once again, our top 3 voted finalists match the NHL’s. All three topped 30 goals and 50 points. Couture and Skinner will likely go 1-2 (in some order) but Couture is the pick here.

Jack Adams Award
The NHL’s finalist for the Adams Award are: Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma, Nashville’s Barry Trotz and Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault. Unfortunately, of those three only Bylsma made our finalists. The other two were Tampa’s Guy Boucher and New Jersey’s Jacques Lemaire. The frontrunner should be Bylsma, who almost won the Atlantic Division, despite his two best players (Crosby and Malkin) being injured.

Our voting produced 12 of the 15 NHL’s finalists. So who will win some of the other awards?

Ryan Kesler seems like the heavy favorite to unseat 3-time defending winner Pavel Datsyuk (a co-finalist) for the Selke Trophy. Datsyuk isn’t even going to Las Vegas for the awards show, and could be a sign of a new winner. The Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews is the other candidate.

The Lady Byng was another Datsyuk specialty, winning four times since the lockout. However, he was in a fight this season which prompted the internet to joke that he “blew his Byng chances.” Last year’s winner Martin St. Louis is in the running once again, along with Lidstrom and Dallas’ Loui Eriksson. St. Louis will probably win the award again this year.

The Masterton trophy is given to a player that shows perseverance and this year’s field has gone through a lot. Ray Emery (degenerative hip condition), Daymond Langkow (neck injury) and Ian Laperriere (brain injury) all are deserving, but this year’s winner has to be Emery. Thought to possibly have trouble walking in the future (let alone playing hockey), Emery rehabbed most of this season, and signed with the Ducks in February, playing in 16 games (including playoffs) for Anaheim.

One other award up for grabs is the Messier Leadership award. Chara, Lidstrom and Phoenix’s Shane Doan are this year’s finalists. The Coyotes battled relocation rumors all season and still managed to finish fifth. Doan’s been Phoenix’s captain since 2003. He was also Canada’s captain in the 2007 World Championships. He should be recognized for his leadership.

Many young hockey players across the globe have dreams of scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal in game 7.  Game 7s are nerve-racking for both players and fans.  One win away from ultimate glory, but one goal away from bitter defeat.

Mark Messier. Jari Kurri. Henri Richard. Jean Beliveau. Andy Bathgate.  Gordie Howe. Hall of Famers; also players scoring the game winning goal in a Stanley Cup game 7.  But, the list isn’t limited to stars.  Max Talbot, Frantisek Kaberle, Ruslan Fedotenko and Mike Rupp are also on that list.  But Hall of Famer or not, the player who scores the Cup clinching goal is etched into the minds of their fans forever.  He’s a hero, regardless if he is a first liner or fourth liner.

Some kids carried their dream further and dreamed about scoring a game 7 winner in overtime, but that does not happen in the NHL too often.  The last time the Stanley Cup was won in overtime in a game 7 was 1954 by Detroit’s Tony Leswick.  Leswick dumped the puck into the Canadiens’ zone, where it deflected off a defenseman and into the net.  He did not even realize he had scored until he saw his teammates celebrating.

So who scores the Cup clincher tonight?  Twitterers threw in their opinions.

The popular choice was Ryan Kesler, who @Mfreys, @DurtyPuckhead, @lyssaaaah and @TheNatch_ picked despite not having a goal in this series. @MattyTets picked Alex Burrows based on the fact that he’s been “clutch all postseason.”  Burrows has 9 playoff goals, 2 of them winners, including Vancouver’s game 2 win.   @Shmermel and @AngrytownsMayor chose unsung heroes, going with Jannik Hansen and Tanner Glass respectively.  @Pucktacular went with the man who eliminated the Sharks, Kevin Bieska.  @Mtrible and @JoeyHurricane chose game 1’s hero, Raffi Torres.

The Bruins got some love, though.  @PhillyReign_MD said Johnny Boychuk “burns one in the twine” in the second overtime.  @ActiveStick_44 picked Mark Recchi because “experience is nothing to undervalue. Recchi has it and he has all the determination in the world to come out and play like it’s his last shot at ever hoisting the Stanley Cup again. He has been in a game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final before [2006 with Carolina]. In games like these it’s not the star players that create a great story. Recchi is not one of the superstars in this series, but you can expect him to come up huge tonight.” @RobDickinsonAB went along with the non-star theory and chose Brad Marchand.  @Puremetal33 picked playoff scoring leader, David Krejci (12 goals, 23 points).

Who do I pick?  Torn between my head (Daniel Sedin) and my heart (Manny Malhotra).  I think it would be a great story if Malhotra ended up scoring the Cup clincher after the rocky season he’s had.  But I’m going with my head and picking Daniel Sedin.

After last night’s game four, I’m convinced that anyone outside of Boston and Vancouver can’t stand both teams.

In game three, Aaron Rome knocked out Nathan Horton. Rome was ejected and suspended and you thought it would just end there. That was far from the truth. With the Bruins leading, the game degenerated into scrumfest. Daniel Sedin, Andrew Ference (twice), Shawn Thornton, Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Milan Lucic, Kevin Bieska and Dennis Seidenberg were all given ten minute major misconducts in the third period. Kesler and Seidenberg even dropped the gloves.

Throughout the series the two teams have traded alleged bites, taunts, slashes, elbows, sucker punches, anything you can think of. Point is both teams have made this a dirty, dirty series. Some have defended it, calling it “Old Time Hockey.” No, no, incorrect. Old timers would be embarrassed that this is the Stanley Cup Final.  Think Bobby Orr would approve of finger taunting? No way.

Last night the bad blood kept going late in the third period.

It all started (restarted?) when Brad Marchand and Christian Ehrhoff were racing for a puck in the Canucks’ zone. Marchand tried to go around Ehrhoff and with his free hand, semi-clotheslined the defenseman.  Daniel Sedin skated in and Marchand ducked under him and dumped him.  The only positive thing Keith Ballard did all night was grab Marchand.  (Sidenote: Wow, was Ballard brutal last night.)  That put the Nucks on the powerplay.  Of course, it didn’t last long, as Alex Burrows slashed Tim Thomas’ stick out of his hands, resulting in a Thomas chop across Burrows’ calves.  Burrows had enough and round two began.  Kesler and Zdeno Chara picked up misconducts, and their nights were done.

Rooting for a team in this series is almost like picking the lesser of two evils.  One can root for a team because they hate one team more, but feel dirty for doing so.

Last year’s Cup Finalists, the Blackhawks and Flyers, are pretty well unliked throughout the league, and they didn’t even garner this much negative attention.

My plea for both teams for the remaining games is play for the Stanley Cup.  The trophy that’s awarded to the best team in hockey.  Not the team who can dive or scrum best.  Play hockey, guys.

(note: Andy chooses not to pick series his team is involved in.)