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Top 10 stories of 2008

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Over the past 12 months, 52 weeks and 365 days, a lot has gone on with the Vancouver Canucks. There were many highs and many lows for the team, so without further ado, here are the top 10 Canucks stories of 2008 - what a year it was.


When Mike Gillis was named General Manager on April 23, there were a lot of people who questioned how well the rookie would fair as the 10th GM in team history. The former player agent and NHL defenceman, who appeared in 246 games with the Colorado Rockies and Boston Bruins, has stepped up to the plate thus far with a plethora of moves that have the Canucks primed for a solid run at the playoffs in 2009. Making a good first impression is important and Gillis has done just that.

Mike Gillis meets the media


There are currently 10 former members of the Manitoba Moose sporting Canucks jerseys these days, proof that the evolution of the Moose has been a significant one. Many are no strangers to Vancouver, most notably Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa, but quite a few are just starting to emerge in the NHL. Mason Raymond, Mike Brown, Jannik Hansen, Lawrence Nycholat, Jason Jaffray and Cory Schneider have all elevated their games to a higher level this season and the Canucks are better for it. Whether it’s scoring, fighting, stifling or stoning, these Canucks no longer need their antlers.

Cory Schneider stones Scott Hartnell
Mason Raymond power play goal
Mike Brown throws down with Darren McCarty
Jannik Hansen scores against Edmonton
Jason Jaffray sneaks one past the Wild


Daniel and Henrik Sedin continued to impress on the West Coast this past year, the same way they have since arriving in Vancouver. Consistency is the name of their games and to start 2008, both Sedins put up 36 points in the remaining 42 games of the 2007-08 season. To start the 2008-09 campaign, Daniel has pulled ahead slightly with 38 points (18-20-38) so far, with Henrik close behind at 33 points (5-28-33). For their careers the twins are separated by only seven points, Henrik has 411 in 602 games, while Daniel has 418 in 598. All they do is produce and 2008 was no different.

Daniel Sedin razzles
Henrik Sedin dazzles


The changes that took place in the Canucks dressing room this off-season were not minor, there was a lot of turnover and it made a distinct impact on the team. Gone were fan favorites Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison, replaced by the likes of Pavol Demitra, Kyle Wellwood and Steve Bernier. Darcy Hordichuk, Ryan Johnson, Rob Davison and Shane O’Brien were also brought in and the impact these seven players have had is big. Demitra, Wellwood and Bernier have 55 points (31-24-55) between them, while Hordichuk, Johnson, Davison and O’Brien have added toughness and grit, the likes of which the Canucks have rarely seen.

Pavol Demitra snags his own rebound
Perfect poise by Kyle Wellwood
Quick shot by Steve Bernier
Darcy Hordichuk nets his first of the year
Loose puck goal for Ryan Johnson
Rob Davison punishes Scott Nichol
Shane O'Brien lands a hit of the month


When the Canucks selected Cody Hodgson in the first round, 10th overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, fans stood up and cheered. Expectations were high for the 18-year-old coming into rookie camp, but he exceeded even what he thought possible to make the jump to Vancouver’s main camp. Hodgson meant business there too; he impressed the Canucks brass enough to earn an entry-level contract. He returned to the OHL’s Brampton Battalion and even with the weight of being regarded as the future of the Canucks, Hodgson has been a one-man wrecking ball on offence with 42 points (20-22-42) in 23 games. All this and a superb showing so far with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship - is this guy Superman?

Cody Hodgson prospect profile


In late November 2007, Roberto Luongo pieced together a mind-boggling three-game shutout streak. He slammed the door and thwarted the scoring efforts of Chicago, Anaheim and Columbus before Minnesota beat him to snap the longest shutout streak in Canucks history at 210 minutes and 34 seconds. In 2008 he decided to give that record a run with another shutout streak that seemed much too good to be true. From November 4-12, Luongo stymied Nashville, Phoenix and Minnesota prior to Colorado tickling the twine. This steak set a new franchise record at 242 minutes and 36 seconds of shutout time; it’ll be interesting to see if he can better himself again come November 2009.


4 - A SALUTE TO #16

Trevor Linden didn’t expect the post-game reception he got following Vancouver’s final game of the 2007-08 season, it caught him completely off guard. Predicting that the 19-year NHL veteran would retire in the off-season, fans paid tribute to one of the greatest Canucks of all time with lengthy standing ovations; it was an emotional night for Linden. On December 17, Linden was in the spotlight once again, this time on Trevor Linden Night at GM Place. With former teammates, friends and family in attendance and all of British Columbia watching, Linden’s jersey was lifted to the rafters where it will forever hang as a constant reminder of a person, athlete and humanitarian that changed the Vancouver Canucks forever.

Trevor Linden retirement ceremony


On May 29, the hockey world lost an up and coming superstar. That’s the day Canucks prospect Luc Bourdon, Vancouver’s first choice, 10th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, passed away in a motor vehicle accident near his hometown of Shippagan, New Brunswick. The Canucks turned the tragic passing of this 21-year-old into a celebration of one of the most lively and well-respected draft picks the team has ever had. The Luc Bourdon Wall of Dreams (located at Gate 3 of GM Place) was unveiled before the Canucks paid homage to Bourdon during their season opener against the Edmonton Oilers. Emotions ran high during a tribute video that was set to Tom Cochrane’s song Big League and Cochrane himself was in the house to play it. The Canucks then proceeded to trounce the Flames 6-0.

Luc Bourdon tribute video


The critics said the move went against common sense and the Canucks were disrespecting the league by naming Roberto Luongo as team captain. Oh well! Vancouver bucked the trend of having a player captain with the September 30th announcement that Luongo would take over the reigns of wearing the ‘C’. In keeping with NHL rules Bobby Lu is unable to sport a ‘C’ on his jersey, but there is a prominent ‘C’ on the base of his helmet. In naming Luongo captain - the first goaltender to receive the honour since Bill Durnan of the Montreal Canadians in 1947 - the Canucks broke tradition and made it clear that Luongo embodies everything a captain should. Willie Mitchell, Ryan Kesler and Mattias Ohlund were named assistant captains.

Roberto Luongo: the right choice


In the biggest free agent signing for the Canucks since the team added Mark Messier in the late 90s, Vancouver was able to land the services of Mats Sundin on December 18. The 17-year veteran ended months of speculation by picking Vancouver over other interested parties; he believed the Canucks have the right nucleus of players to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup this season. The Sundin signing came as an early holiday gift for fans of the Canucks, they now can’t wait to see Maximus Mats in the line-up. The addition of Sundin ended 2008 on a high note and ensured that there will be much to cheer about in Vancouver in 2009.

Mats Sundin meets the media
Exclusive Canucks TV Sundin interview

37-34-9 - Vancouver Canucks
2008 record

83 - Points for the Canucks in 2008
218 - Total goals for Vancouver in 2008


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