|SUN MEDIA |
| The Puck Stops Here |
Now that training camp is over and the cuts have been made, we can turn our attention to what really matters. Ken Wiebe notes Luongo’s thirst to win the Stanley Cup is plenty strong, considering he took just his first sip last season.
“Now that we've been there, we've had a taste of it," Luongo said. "We want to take the next step, which would be obviously trying to win the Stanley Cup. We know there's a lot of hard work to be done. We're in a tough division. At the same time we know that we have the capability as far as talent in the locker room and character to do it.”
Wiebe recalls one of Luongo’s best playoff moments:
Among the highlights was a 72-save performance in a 5-4 quadruple overtime victory over the Dallas Stars during the first round of the playoffs.
“It was a great experience, that's for sure. Something that I'll never forget and look forward to having many more of," said Luongo. "I think what I've learned is more of something that involved the playoffs and not really something that involved the regular season. All I can bring to this season from last year is the excitement, the feeling you have when you're in the playoffs. It just gets you more revved up to have a good year and make sure that you're part of it again.”
|GLOBE AND MAIL |
| More Expect from Old Guard |
Grant Kerr reflects on one of the best trios in Canuck history: Naslund, Morrison, and Bertuzzi.
“There was a time, not so long ago, when Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison were the toast of the town, two-thirds of the high-scoring West Coast Express line alongside Todd Bertuzzi,” Kerr said.
“Now, they're struggling on the second and third lines of a Vancouver Canucks team that wants more balanced scoring as it tries to repeat as the Northwest Division champion.”
With several “balanced” lines on the team this season, these new match-ups are bringing hope to new sparks amongst the players.
Kerr said, “Coach Alain Vigneault has indicated he'll start the regular season Friday against the San Jose Sharks with Naslund playing left wing alongside Ryan Kesler and newcomer Ryan Shannon. Morrison will be the centre for wingers Matt Cooke and Taylor Pyatt.”
“The coveted right-wing spot with the Sedins goes to rookie Mason Raymond, 22, who was on scholarship last season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.”
Although these evened out lines appear to be steps down from the Naslund, Morrison, and Bertuzzi line, the players look forward to this new team feel.
“I feel this group, especially those that have been here for a while, are even more motivated this year because they want to show that they can win and make a difference. Obviously, Brendan and Markus should be high on that motivational ladder.” Vigneault said.
“I think it could be a good thing, if all lines are going," Morrison concluded. "If we're playing well offensively, it will get a great thing, kind of spreading things out a little bit.”
|THE PROVINCE |
| Goalie transcends physical dimension: Netminder adds poise and composure to his great athleticism |
Jason Botchford discusses the juggling of goalies as the Canucks want Cory Schneider to grow under their fin.
“He has size, he has athleticism, he has good mechanics, but there are a lot of goalies out there who have those traits,” Canucks goalie consultant Ian Clark said.
“You have to look beyond that and look inside at what he brings to the table mentally. He has the poise, the composure and in big games he has the ability to find ways to make that key game-turning save.”
Although there is plenty of room for growth, there is one small problem Botchford notices as goalies may bump heads in Manitoba.
“Schneider is starting his first pro season in Manitoba and it will be interesting to watch how much he plays, especially if Drew MacIntyre out-plays him early in the season. The Canucks said Schneider would be given the starting job in Manitoba but Moose head coach Scott Arniel said last week that Drew MacIntyre was his No. 1 guy.”
|THE PROVINCE |
| Raymond no ordinary cup of coffee: Single-minded focus sets rookie apart |
Ben Kuzma knows that speed is becoming an important factor in the NHL, and he points out that Mason Raymond has what it takes.
“Speed kills in today's game and Raymond might win that race in a Canucks skills competition. Doing everything at high speed -- from crisp passes to releasing a wicked wrist shot -- is another enviable trait. So is having the instinct and vision to complement elite players and a willingness to play in traffic,” Kuzma said.
“What I also like is Raymond's single-minded focus, on show even before prospects camp opened in Victoria. He spoke consistently and confidently of cracking the Canucks roster, instead of leaning on the convenient crutch of maybe needing more seasoning in Manitoba. He has high expectations and his resolve is obvious.”
With this talented player, there isn’t a lot to be concerned about.
Kuzma said, “Raymond's biggest struggle may be adjusting to the NHL schedule and travel. His performance did plateau in the preseason, but he then caught fire with the Sedin twins.”
“So, what should we expect? If you don't like my argument that Raymond will thrive, listen to those who should know.”
“You don't say it often, but this kid is a sure bet,” says Manitoba coach Scott Arniel. “He just does stuff that you wish everybody could do.”
|THE VANCOUVER SUN |
|Raise a Reader |
Darah Hansen was up early this morning taking a stroll downtown Vancouver as she tracks down some hockey players engaged in their volunteer work. Why the strolling and the tracking?
“In Vancouver and throughout the Lower Mainland, a special edition of The Vancouver Sun, dedicated to literacy, was published and several hundred volunteers, including Vancouver Canucks hockey players, police, firefighters, prominent politicians and other volunteers got up at 6 a.m. in order to hit downtown Vancouver streets early seeking donations,” Hansen said.
Players like Taylor Pyatt, Trevor Linden, and the Sedin Twins are out on the streets.
Hansen notes, “Vancouver Canucks Henrik Sedin was signing autographs at Burrard and Georgia in his new Canucks jersey.” “It's a great cause,” Sedin said. “I read a lot of books especially in summer when we get time off.”
|Morrison keeps his Streak Alive |
With high hopes for the Canucks this season, Elliot Pap, hasn’t taken his eyes off Morrison since he was first acquired in the year 2000.
“Vancouver Canucks centre Brendan Morrison may not be indestructible, but he's the next best thing,” Pap said.
“The NHL's current ironman survived a scary collision last Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks -- "I thought I had broken my wrist" -- and was back at practice Tuesday after four days in a splint.”
As a core player of the Canucks, his popularity only increases for every game he plays.
Pap mentions, “The game [this Friday against the San Jose Sharks] will be Morrison's 513th in succession. He has never missed a start since joining the Canucks on March 14, 2000.”
“The streak will end at some point,” said Morrison, 32. “Whenever it happens, it happens. Right now, to me, it's not a big deal. When you look back on it, it might be a neat thing but, like I've said all along, it's amazing what not going into corners can do.”
This season is the end of Morrison’s contract, but all fans can agree that he is one player that should remain a Canuck.