Recapping faults and successes of the past year
By Michael Sopow, Sports Reporter
By the conclusion of the 2013/14 season, a number of drastic changes had occurred for the Canucks. With new head coach Willie Desjardins taking over and former iconic player Trevor Linden becoming president of Hockey Operations and alternative governor, the Canucks were able to begin the next season with more positive progression.
Former general manager Mike Gillis was fired from the team after a series of poor trades throughout the season. One such notable trade was the heavily criticized trade of Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo back to the Florida Panthers.
Despite trading and losing other players like defenceman Jason Garrison or left-wing David Booth, the Canucks did not leave the table without potential benefits to their now-redefined team. Former Buffalo and United States National Team star goaltender Ryan Miller was acquired from free agency along with former Phoenix right-winger Radim Vrbata.
The beginning of the 2014/15 season saw pressure in the public eye on Desjardins to perform well as the team’s new head coach.
In a June 23 statement, general manager Jim Benning said, “Willie Desjardins has won at every level and we believe he’ll be an excellent fit as we strive to return to the playoffs and build with youth for long-term success.”
Vancouver started the 2014/15 season with three straight victories, which provided early confidence for newly acquired players Miller and Vrbata. Vrbata managed to score the winning goal of the November 19 game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Thus far this season, Vancouver talents such as Henrik and Daniel Sedin have delivered on the stats sheet. Some more surprising additions are Vrbata with 26 points in 33 games, and Bonino with 21 points in 35 games.
As of December 31, the Canucks are currently in 10th place in the NHL, with 46 points after a couple of big wins against the first place Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks.
While the 2014/15 season continues on, Canucks fans have already witnessed 19-year-old Bo Horvat’s first NHL goal, Henrik Sedin’s 1,000th game, and a team that has preformed respectably in the standings.
This week’s Canucks games will see the team playing against the New York Islanders on January 6, the Florida Panthers on January 8, and the Calgary Flames on January 10.