Questions abound for the Vancouver Canucks as they enter their 44th season in the NHL. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
The Vancouver Canucks imminent fortunes in 2013-2014 garners a lot of attention by bloggers and sports writers, and the same themes are often repeated. If you want that sort of impression of how the season is going to unfold, you can check out my predictions here. But have we considered the more important questions about the franchise’s 44th NHL season, the things fans really consider?
During the course of any season any number of players fall in and out of favour with fans and media. Bizarre encounters with fans and opposing players happen. Invariably, the sport is an organized event but players are regular people who work regular jobs in what happens to be a highly specialized and popularized environment.
Check out this season’s list of the absurd, yet, oddly plausible scenarios involving your Vancouver Canucks. Naturally, all of this is purely speculative, but that is the fun in it.
Reporter most likely to experience a John Tortorella invective:
1. Jason Botchford
2. Tony Gallagher
3. Dave Pratt
The popular choice seems to be Gallagher because of his notorious relationship with Brian Burke. I’d say Pratt but for the fact that no one seems to talk to him anymore. I’m going with Botch. As much as I appreciate his incessant digging for truth, I’m not sure Torts will.
Most likely to get into a verbal war of words with a fan:
1. Alex Burrows
2. Ryan Kesler
3. Roberto Luongo
Luongo has already interacted, in theory, with fans on “his” twitter feed but nothing nasty. Kesler seems to save it for his opponents, while Burrows could easily throw a burn or two over the boards. I’ll say Burr.
Most likely to get his Twitter account revoked by John Tortorella
1. Eddie Lack
2. David Booth
3. Mike Gillis
There is just no way that Tortorella will touch Kesler or Luongo’s accounts. Secretly he probably has a chuckle or two when he reads them. They are just too good at it to let anything out that could get them in trouble. I’m thinking young Lack might let something unprofessional slip out, Booth might quote too much scripture or Gillis might be too boring, even for Torts.
Most likely to break a light fixture while warming up with a soccer ball:
1. Tom Sestito
2. Mike Santorelli
3. Frankie Corrado
With the FIFA World Cup just around the corner in 2014, players with any link to the old country will want to partake in the pre-game kick-arounds. My money is on the hulking winger, Tom Sestito, getting too into it and booting a ball through a few fluorescents at the Saddledome.
Most likely ex-Canuck to haunt his former team:
1. Cody Hodgson
2. Cory Schneider
3. Maxim Lapierre
In different ways, these players will haunt the team. Lapierre is a player the Canucks have to contend with, physically, on a regular basis but Schneider and Hodgson are players who fans will link with current players on the roster. As Horvat has a 3 or even 4 year window to prove himself, it seems Zack Kassian’s time to prove himself is more immediate than the rookie’s. We knew what Schneider could do anyway, but Hodgson at the moment is Buffalo’s number one pivot while Kassian…. eek!
Most likely to be spotted doing body shots at the Roxy
1. Chris Higgins
2. Hunter Shinkaruk
3. Dale Weise
Boys will be boys and I have nothing against it. During appropriate breaks in the season it’s totally their business what they get up to. That said… Higgins has the best party pictures in the NHL… well… compared to Patrick Kane’s anyway. Circle October 13th on the calendar as well. Hunter turns 19, and Weise is taking him out. It’s on.
Most likely to hold up the lineup at a Starbucks with a special order
1. Kevin Bieksa
2. Roberto Luongo
3. Brad Richardson
Bieksa is never without a coffee it would seem, hence the name “Juice” perhaps? His juice is caffeine. Luongo would hold up the line not because he needs any special mixture, but rather because his espresso “lungo” isn’t done right. As for Richardson? Too much time in L.A. would surely make for a picky Starbucks order.
Most likely to end up on the cover of GQ
1. Ryan Kesler
2. Kevin Bieksa
3. Jason Garrison
Don’t say the Vancouver Canucks don’t try and appeal to a market based on aesthetics. Kesler is well known for being a camera hog . Bieksa is not quite Henrik Lundqvist, who knows a real life princess, and has a blog devoted to covering his every move, but his duds are pretty sweet. Garrison has great teeth (forever may they last).
Most likely to gain unexpected serious attention for an Olympic roster
1. Chris Higgins, USA
2. Dan Hamhuis, CAN
3. Eddie Lack, SWE
Higgins may be set to have one of the best two-way seasons of his career trying to prove to Tortorella that he made the wrong call during his time in New York. Higgy has turned himself into a solid pro and has gained the consistency and credibility of a regular member of the Canucks. Hamhuis is in tough to grab a spot at Sochi, but his pre-season has been solid and Torts loves him. Lack‘s competition isn’t of the most world-beating caliber after Lundqvist (Fasth, Enroth, Lehner) and Torts is sure to put Lack in positions to succeed. Also, the Swedish team captains, plus a key blueliner play for the ‘Nucks.
Most likely to hold the cup after captain, Henrik Sedin
1. Roberto Luongo
2. Daniel Sedin
3. Ryan Kesler
Hey, if you don’t put positive vibes into the air then it’ll never happen. This year’s version of the Canucks are not exactly going to roll over and die for everyone. They have pride, talent, and now youth, grit and speed. Goaltending rocks, while all the naysayers saying we can’t score are wrong. We can, and will. I think after all the negativity surrounding Luongo, it would be fitting if Henrik handed Lord Stanley’s grail to the soon to be two-time Olympic gold medalist and former team captain. Yeah. I said it.