Today hundreds of volunteers took to the streets to sell copies of the Vancouver Sun, raising money for Raise-a-Reader, an annual event which raises awareness and money for literacy programs in British Columbia. Last year, over $500,000 was raised, which helped support local schools, libraries and other non-governmental agencies.
The Vancouver Canucks organization sent out over two dozen volunteers to sell newspapers around Vancouver this morning. Among them were Alex Burrows, Rick Rypien and Sami Salo, who will not travel on the upcoming trip.
"Anything we can do to help raise money for literacy is great,” Rypien told the Vancouver Sun. “The support today has been tremendous and there's people out on every corner. I think this is so important and whether you know someone or not it touches everyone."
The players signed newspapers and hockey paraphernalia for fans who came out to donate to the cause.
Gordon Campbell spoke to volunteers before they headed out to their assigned corners, pledging $500,000 in Provincial funds to the cause.
"This is a very important cause," Campbell said. "Today in B.C. about 20-per-cent of kids in Grade 4 don't read at the appropriate level."
Other Canuck alumni taking to the streets included Orland Kurtenbach, Darcy Rota, Dennis Kearns and John Grisdale.
Donations can be made by calling 1-866-637-READ (7323).
TAMBELLINI SHOWS VERSATILITY
24-year-old Jeff Tambellini played in his third preseason game last night.
Tambellini relished the opportunity to play a different role for the team last night after playing in the top six in his last game. The left winger showed some promise on Saturday when he played on the first line with the Sedins against the Anaheim Ducks, but failed to record any points with the twins. He scored his first goal of the preseason in the second period of last night’s game.
"It's a chance to show some versatility and show that I can play anywhere in the lineup," said Tambellini to Vancouver Sun reporter, Ian Walker. "There's so much change throughout the season that I don't want to be stuck as a guy that can only play on the top two lines."
Head coach Alain Vigneault liked the adaptability Tambellini showed last night.
"He's an individual who might be able to play with our top, more skilled players,” he said. “But at the same time I want to see what he can do in more of a third-or fourth-line role, where you have to be dependable and make the right play with the puck."
There are two preseason games left before final roster cuts are made. This gives Tambellini, who recorded 14 points in 36 games last season with the New York Islanders, two more chances to prove to Coach V that he deserves spot on the opening night roster.
PREPARATION OVER DEVELOPMENT
The Canucks go into their preseason rematch against the San Jose Sharks tomorrow with a 2-4-0 record, far less impressive than last seasons 7-0-2 preseason record, but perhaps all the talk of preseason’s past is really just comparing apples to oranges. After all the Canucks opened last season with a 0-3 record and still failed to make it past the second round of playoffs, despite dominating the preseason.
In fact, looking back though their preseason records, they have very little to do with how the team performs later on. The 1993-94 preseason ended with a 3-4-2 record, and we all know how far into June that team played.
This year, coach Vigneault treated the preseason as a training ground to develop new prospects. The team started training camp with 50 players on the roster, and although most were not deemed ready for NHL ice time, getting some NHL shifts under their belts before they return to their teams is beneficial for growth.
“We’re getting an individual evaluation on our players, where they are, what they need to do to play at this level,” said coach V in Tuesday’s pregame interview. “I think that every time we put a younger player on the ice at a National League Hockey game that guy is benefiting from it, he’s learning, even though he might be making some mistakes, and it’s challenging, but he’s learning, he’s growing, and it gives him an opportunity to one day possibly play at this level.”
This approach doesn’t mean that preparing the players who are going to make the roster is not also a crucial part of the preseason. That preparation is starting now, the remaining team is now small enough to practice in one session, and the remaining preseason games give the team enough time to work out any final adjustments.
The Canucks endured a hectic preseason schedule but they are now given an advantage with a week long break between Friday’s last preseason game in Anaheim and the home opener on Saturday, October 9th.
"We did a split-squad schedule so we'd have time at the end of camp to get our team together and practice," general manager Mike Gillis said to Vancouver Sun reporter Iain Macintyre. "We have a group that is familiar with one another. Over these three games [this week] you'll see our team start to formulate."