One of my picks ended up being this CBJ game tonight. I was hoping that Jeff Carter had grown up and would be at least a player I was interested in watching. Obviously I was wrong because he figured out that if he played shittily enough all year (with a multi-goal game here and here), he would get traded. That makes my upcoming Kings game more awesome, but it makes this tonight's game not something you get excited for. It's gotten to the point where my ticket holder buddy for tonight's game keeps asking if we have to go.
And as if I could not think this team could be anymore of a mess, I read this article from the Columbus Dispatch on Friday about how Steve Mason was wearing undersized pads (relative to league limits) and just recently changed his equipment to go bigger and looser.
“There were times with the old stuff when I was getting hit in the ribs and was full of bruises,” Mason said. “You almost become scared of getting hit with the puck so you’re turning your body, and … that’s not the right way to play. With the new stuff you have confidence that pucks aren’t going to hurt you, and because it is larger, some pucks that might have squeaked through before are now hitting a piece of equipment.”
Why didn’t he make the switch sooner?
“I never knew I could,” Mason said. “If I knew, I would have done it three years ago. I guess I was a little out of the loop on that kind of stuff. But we’ll make it work now.”He never knew he could? How does that happen? So yeah...that organization is a mess.
But a bring spot for them has been their PR department of late. Just last week when the Kings visited Columbus for the first time since the trade, the Blue Jackets offered to change the nameplate on anyone with a Carter jersey to J. Johnson. It works out well since Jack Johnson ended up picking the same number as Carter when he got traded to Columbus, but let's not detract from how awesome of a story this was. I would have loved this if I was a Blue Jackets fan.
TONIGHT ONLY! Bring your Carter jersey to team store by end of 1st period, we’ll change nameplate to J.Johnson for FREE! Quantities limited.— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 8, 2012
Elliotte Friedman posted in his 30 Thoughts this week that the total number of fans that took advantage of the nameplate change promotion was 43. Are we surprised that it is only 43? Or more surprised that 43 fans bought a J Carter Blue Jackets jersey knowing his attitude coming into the season?
And lastly, a couple of weeks ago the CBJ twitter account had some hilarious answers to questions that were asked on twitter.
Over twitter today, I came across a ProHockeyTalk post on Bieksa calling out quiet Canucks fans.
The original quotes from Bieksa come from Ed Willies' article in The Province. Do read his article in full but here are the quotes:
“I love the Jets and their fan-base,” Kevin Bieksa said before last night’s meeting with the Phoenix Coyotes.
“To see them come in here and out-cheer our fans is great from their perspective. I’m really happy for them.”
“But from our perspective, it’s a little sad. At times, we get that on the road when we’re in Phoenix or L.A. It seems we have a louder crowd than the home team and I know it gets them down. When you’re at home and the road team has a louder crowd, it’s a little embarrassing. I don’t think we want that to happen to us.”
“A lot time when you’re down in the game or you’re going through a lull in the second period, the crowd can give the team a boost,” he said. “We’ve got to be working together here. We both want the same thing which is the Stanley Cup. So we’ll work for you if you work for us.”
I see what he was trying to get at, but let me respond to this is a more coherent way than I did on twitter earlier today:
I think that he is misjudging his fans and the not comprehending the way that the Canucks themselves sell their product to the city.
I can acknowledge that the travelling Canucks fan is very loud in road arenas but that is kind of the point when you are an opposition fan in a visiting arena. You come to the game, you wear your jersey, you cheer as loudly as you can to drown out the other fans. I've been there, I've done the opposing fan thing and I think that is part of the experience of being a road fan. If you haven't done it yourself, I highly recommend taking a sunny roadtrip to California or Arizona next season. That's what Habs/Leafs/Jets/Calgary fans do when their team players in Rogers arena and that's what makes those games some of the most entertaining ones of the season. How many times during the Leafs game would a chant start our 'Go Leafs Go' and morph into a Go Leanucks Go" as both fans try to drown out the other fanbase. All of those are all done without any prompting from the in-arena prompts.
I will acknowledge that this past Jets game, the Jets fans were loud. But I also know of plenty of people Jets fans who drove down from places like Kelowna (they were originally from outside Winnipeg) just for the game because they haven't seen a Jets (I'm overlooking the Thrashers thing right now) game in 16 years. So that game was a big f-cking deal to them.
I also know that Canucks fans were louder than the Jets fans there that night, there is no question about it. I'm not sure what he's talking about because the Jets fans had nothing to cheer about that night, since the Canucks outworked the Jets that night. At least that's the consensus from the people I spoke with who were at the game.
Before you start throwing your fanbase under the bus and saying that from your perspective "it's a little sad" that your home fans don't cheer so much, think about who is actually going to read what you say about the 'fans' when you critique them.
"We both want the same thing which is the Stanley Cup. So we’ll work for you if you work for us.”
I have bought my tickets from the Vancouver Canucks for many seasons and there is nowhere printed on my ticket that says that when I am there that I need to work for you. I will always cheer for goals or big hits but why do I need to work for you during a lull in the second period?
I am a fan of the Canucks but I also enjoy to watch hockey. The average regular season game I attend is usually after a full day at work, usually on a weeknight where I am going to be entertained by watching a sport I love to watch played. I may have a beer during the game but often I will not because I have to get up early the next morning for another day of work. So some nights I will cheer if a spontaneous chant breaks out in my section but some nights, I'm just not that into it. I think that's my right as a paying ticket holder. But again, I'll always cheer for goals and big hits, so if you entertain me, I'll cheer you for it.
I know I will have readers that say that real fans would cheer and the fans going to the game aren't real fans. Well to that I would say that the Vancouver Canucks will sell a ticket to a real fan or just a person wanting to go watch hockey equally. Hell maybe they don't want to watch hockey but the lower bowl during a game is a great place to discuss a business deal with a client so since they are paying customer, that's cool. At least you play in a market where there are paying customers to watch the team play.
If you can pay to watch the game, the Canucks will sell you a ticket if there is one available. The Canucks don't say to me at ticket renewal time "hey ticketholder, we need you to cheer spontaneously or the team won't perform", no they just sell me the tickets. So spare me the complaint that you are a little sad that you think that we didn't cheer as loudly as the Jets fans during a regular season game in March. This is the market you play for, this is the market that supports the team financially and if you think that fans need to cheer for you in order for you to work then maybe you need to have a talk with your superiors in getting a cheering clause put into the tickets sold.
You know what fans at Rogers Arena will cheer loudly during? THE PLAYOFFS
For weeks I've heard about former players or people 'in the know' in hockey suggesting that the NHL should put back the red line. Their intention for this madness is that they want to make the game safer by slowing the game down; that the speed of players today is too fast for their own well being.
Are you kidding me? YOU WANT TO BRING BACK THE RED LINE?
When I think red line, I think terribly slower hockey, and trap hockey. Sure the red line will slow the game down make players have to come up with more creative neutral zone passing instead of just keeping the game a north to south forwards moving game, but will it lower the injury rate? Because lowering the injury rate is the point of bringing it back, right? Unless you can show me data that having the red line back in the game lowers the injury to player rate significantly, then I don't want to entertain the thought of bringing it back.
Hockey players play this game with the knowing that there is a chance of an injury. It's a collision sport and I think they understand that. If the players can't help themselves from injuring each other at high speeds, then bring on more punishment. Bring on Shanahan suspending more players for a longer term until the players get it that those plays aren't acceptable anymore, but please don't bring the red line back. I am a lover of the fast paced game and goddamn a good two-line pass is just sexy.
This afternoon's Marek vs. Wyshynski had Steve Ott on as their guest today. One thing about his interview with them that surprised me is that I didn't know how great of an interview he is. He carried on the banter well, answered questions with thought and was really interesting to listen to. I didn't think he was stupid, but I was surprised by how well he came across in the interview.
Hodgson Twice Asked to be Traded (At least)
Maybe I missed this after the aftermath of the Hodgson-Kassian trade since I tried to abstain from reading the 300 stories about it, but in today's The Province, Ed Willies writes that Hodgson asked for be traded at least twice which one time being after Game 7 of the SCF. Curious. no comments
Next up in the blogger opinions on Zack Kassian, is Philip of Black & Blue & Gold for his thoughts on Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani. You can follow him on twitter at @PhilBBG
"First of all, it's pronounced "Kass-e-in".
Zack Kassian was the Sabres pick in the 2009 draft, taken 13th overall. At the time, he was the sometimes-scoring, often-punching captain of the Petersborough Petes. It was for this reason that the Sabres drafted the big winger. The spring after he was drafted, he was traded from the Petes to the Windsor Spitfires to boost their jam in the top six. His first game in Spits red, he laid out his infamous missile check to the head that earned him a 20 game suspension. Once he got back on the ice, he was a force along the boards and helped chip in offensively as Windsor won their second straight Memorial Cup. His final season in junior, Kassian was a scoring juggernaut and the undisputed heavyweight champ of the OHL before the WJC in Buffalo. In the tournament at then-HSBC Arena, he played the role of human wrecking ball alongside future Amerks teammate Marcus Foligno. Fans and media alike were impressed by his powerful hitting and offensive instincts.
His play petered off after the WJC tournament, both offensively and aggressively. Critics noticed, but a strong showing in the Traverse City prospect tournament brightened fans on his future. He certainly got his offensive game back in Rochester, but the toughness seldom showed up. He struggled to play consistently when called up by the Sabres as well.
Consistency has been the only real knock on the winger. Kassian is a big boy, capable of fending off multiple defenders with a single arm (it's really impressive how strong he is) and claiming territory on top of the crease. How often he does is another story. He doesn't have the best wheels but is hard to stop when he gets rolling. He doesn't have the best shot, but has shown off "silky mitts" more than once. He can own the ice but rarely challenges for it. e can punch, too. Holy jumpin', can he punch. Just look him up on Hockey Fights. NHL scouts and local pundits question his motivation and heart. If he finds the drive to go hard every game, he's a productive second liner who can score 20 goals, control play along the boards, and defend his linemates. If he doesn't, he could wind-up a 4th line goon with some offense to spare. Is he NHL ready this season? No - he's barely an AHL rookie, much less NHL rookie.
Marc-Andre Gragnani isn't so promising. An offensive defenseman, MAG (or Grags) is a guy whose defensive play was wretched enough that he didn't even dress every night and when he did, he was given bottom pair minutes and scant power play time. Alain Vigneault coached him in the QMJHL, which is why the Canucks might have wanted him, but otherwise he won't be an impact pick-up anytime soon unless something dramatic happens to him. With the depth in Vancouver, he might wind up on the Chicago Wolves' roster. "
So there we have it, though I feel like I've come out of this question feeling less sure of Kassian helping the team this post season than before I started asking questions about him. At least I know how to pronounce his name correctly.
Big thanks to Philip for answering my questions on our new acquisitions so quickly. Give his site Black & Blue & Gold a visit and follow him on twitter at @PhilBBG
I've enlisted the help of Joey Pinzone from Buffalo Wins for his thoughts on Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani
1. Describe Zach Kassian's style of play.
Joey: Kassian was suppose to be the Sabres version of Milan Lucic. He's a big power forward with a really nice shot. Now I want to make something clear, Zack Kassian wasn't even suppose to play in the NHL this year.
Last year, he'd played in the OHL and for the Canadian World Juniors. Normally, the Sabres would have their first round picks play for at least 1-2 years in the AHL before they get brought up. This was suppose to be the year that Kassian got his taste of The AHL and maybe within a year or two, he'd be up with the Sabres.
Unfortunately, the Sabres were hit heavily with injuries this past year and had recalled like 6 players at one point from the minor league. Kassian was one of those guys. At first, he played alright. He got a goal, an assist and a fight in his first three games. But like with most rookies who haven't played in the AHL, he started to play sloppy. At times he looked like he was coasting and wasn't physically involved like we had all hoped he would. Once the Sabres got healthy, they sent him back down. It didn't last long until as the Sabres recalled him a month later. Again, he's a young player. I don't think he will be a ready made NHL player until next year or at least 2014. So, I know TSN has been going crazy about him and how he will add toughness, but we didn't really see that this year.
2. Is he close to NHL ready? How big of a gamble is it going to play him in the NHL?
I think fans have to be patient with him. There were people in Buffalo who had been begging him to come up from the minor league system and become a tough guy for almost 15 months. If the Sabres were physically outmatched in a game, people would beg for Kassian to be called up. It was ridiculous. Again, he's a young guy and realistically, it takes 2-3 years to really become an NHL player.
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Hodgson was never the answer to our 3rd line center question but it still hurts to see him traded away.
I've been waffling on whether I like or dislike this trade. Sometimes it's easy to feel one way or the other, but with this one I just don't know. Obviously during the past two seasons I've come to love the little Liev Schreiber look-alike. I've adopted his nickname Coho and even when saying his last name, finally made myself say 'Hod-son'. And now he's gone.
Our prized little 3rd line center, is now a Buffalo Sabre? Like a slap in the face that trade was.
I was stunned by the trade. Stunned. I had prepared myself that it might be Hodgson for Ott, but not this Kassian fellow that is coming our way.
Who is Zack Kassian? I'm not even sure how to pronounce his last name yet.
He has been called the Sabres version of Milan Lucic. He's supposed to be a big, tough power forward that is supposed to give the Canucks the grit that we lacked during the SCF last year. From what I've read of him he might be what the Canucks are looking for in like a year, but is he NHL ready? I've asked a Sabres blogger that question and I'll post their take on it tomorrow, but right now that is the question I am asking of this trade.
What went wrong last year is due to not one factor but a culmination of many. The two factors to me that were our biggest issues were the lack of secondary scoring and our injured defence. Injuries on defence are hard to predict and so far, Sami Salo is still in one piece. But the move in trading away Hodgson seems so backwards to me right now. Hodgson has scored some goals in recent months when the top two lines haven't been able to do that. His play on the 2nd PP unit has made that unit much more effective than in previous months. And I've really just grown to like the little one.
But back to that issue of secondary scoring: What will happen when the Sedins and Kesler can't score? I just don't feel confident that trading him away was the right move now. I feel that this trade or a trade like it would have happened eventually since there are only so many 1st and 2nd line center positions to go around in Vancouver and Henrik or Kesler isn't going anywhere fast, but is Kassian the best option for the team now?
Here is what Gillis says about him:
”There’s not much not to like,” said Gillis. “He’s 6-4 and 225 and he just turned 21 a month ago. He put up almost a point a game numbers in the American League, so for a player who is that physical who can do that, it’s a rare opportunity that you get the chance to get a player like that.”
Let me emphasize that the point a game numbers is in the AHL.
Ok. I'll stop with the venting. There's a reason why I'm not a GM and only a blogger. What's done is done and there's no sense in bitching for the rest of the season about this trade. I haven't even seen Kassian play yet, so like the leeway we gave Hodgson, I'll try to do the same for Kassian. But right now, I'm still a little stunned from this trade. no comments
Let's not stop promoting the website that lives on in his legacy, visit mindcheck.ca if you haven't ever done so. no comments