The Vancouver Canucks lost their first two games of the season. In part, it was because they opened on the road with tough games in Edmonton and Calgary. In addition, the scoring the team expected hasn’t been up-to-snuff. Frankly, Canucks’ fans expected more.
That’s especially true about the power play. The Canucks power play has gone 0-for-10 in the first two games of the season – even failing to score on a 5-on-3 advantage.
Head coach Travis Green admitted as much, noting, “We had some good looks and missed some really good chances.” He’s right. The power play generated plenty of shots (seven in Edmonton on Wednesday and 10 in Calgary on Saturday), but to no avail.
Head coach Travis Green is still experimenting with the power-play units. Sometimes Quinn Hughes is on the first unit; sometimes it’s Alex Edler.
The team simply needs more scoring – they were shut out in Calgary and scored only twice in Edmonton. I’m convinced they’ll have a better night tonight at their home opener when they face a Los Angeles Kings squad that’s averaged 4.50 goals each game in its first two games of the season. The Kings are coming off a back-to-back – they won in overtime in Calgary last night.
Item One: The Canucks Will Name a Captain for Their Home Opener
The Canucks will name their captain on Wednesday night at the team’s home opener. Coach Green announced last week that “a player” would debut with the “C.”
He assured fans that, “We’ve put a lot of thought into it. We don’t take it (the position of captain) lightly.” He added, “We think it’s the right time for our organization and the right time for the person we are going to name, but we think it’s a special moment and something that our fans should be able to witness firsthand.”
Rumors suggest that the favorite is Bo Horvat. He’s already one of four alternate captains named to start the season: the others are Chris Tanev, Alex Edler, and Brandon Sutter.
The 24-year-old Horvat scored a career-high 27 goals, 34 assists, and 61 points in 82 games last season. It was his fifth NHL season. Since the retirement of Henrik Sedin, the Canucks haven’t had a captain (Sedin was captain for eight seasons).
The new captain will be the Canucks’ 14th captain in the team’s 50-year history. Other captains have included Roberto Luongo (one of the only goalies in NHL history to wear a “C”), Markus Naslund, Mark Messier, Trevor Linden, and Stan Smyl.
Item Two: Nicknames for Canucks’ Players
On October 8, Brent Butt (the Canadian actor, comedian, and writer) was a guest speaker at a recent Canucks team dinner. During the dinner, he delivered a stand-up routine where he gave the Canucks’ players nicknames. You can see a video of that routine, which the Canucks official website posted yesterday.
Although the stand-up comedy was not universally liked, as Canucks’ fans noted by their comments on Facebook, I liked it lots. Brent Butt is best known for his role as Brent Leroy on the CTV sitcom Corner Gas, which he created. To watch the video, follow the link above.
Item Three: Canucks Trade Defenseman Alex Biega for Detroit Red Wings David Pope
This week Canucks general manager Jim Benning traded long-serving and hard-working defenseman Alex Biega to the Detroit Red Wings for left-winger David Pope. Basically, Benning was doing a favor for a player with whom he had a long history. The move will allow the 31-year old Biaga a better chance to crack another NHL line-up. In return, the Canucks get a depth winger.
Because the Canucks have three set defensive pairings (with Oscar Fantenberg the extra defenseman), Benning placed Biega on waivers last week with Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin. Biega had scored 36 points (four goals, and 32 assists) in 179 games over five seasons with the Canucks.
When Benning spoke to the media about Biaga, he lauded his work for the team. He noted, “I drafted Alex when I was with Buffalo, so I go way back with him and told him that he’s had such a great attitude for us and even when he wasn’t playing, he would work his ass off.”
Benning added, “And he was good for our younger players to do the work every day and I gave him my word that we were moving on from him, but if I could find a spot in the league for him, I would try to work that out.” (from “Canucks: Biaga gets his wish traded to Red Wings for winger Pope”, Ben Kuzma, The Province, 10/6/19).
Good luck Alex Biaga finding a new home where you can play more.
The 23-year-old, Edmonton native Pope played in both the AHL (Grand Rapids) and ECHL (Toledo) last season. He isn’t much of a scorer, with only three points in 28 games in the AHL and four points in seven games with Toledo.
Item Five: Loui Eriksson Will Be a Healthy Scratch For the Second-Straight Game
Loui Eriksson was in the press box for Saturday’s game against Calgary and it looks as if he’ll be there again for the Canucks’ home opener tonight.
What’s Next for the Vancouver Canucks?
As I have noted above, the Canucks play their season’s first home game tonight – Wednesday, October 9th against the Kings. I’m looking for the team to get their first win and score their first power-play goal. My prediction is 6-3 Canucks.
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