CCC – Clay’s Canucks Commentary for October 5: Changes in Rogers Arena

We’re only one day away from the start of the 2011-2012 NHL season, with the Vancouver Canucks set to host the Pittsburgh Penguins as one of three games on the opening night slate.

In this CCC, instead of taking a look at what we can expect on the ice, I take a look at what we can expect off of it – in particular some of the numerous changes at Rogers Arena. While BC Place has received a major facelift, Canucks fans will notice some changes at Rogers Arena – some subtle and some not-so-subtle.

Watch this video and see what you can look forward to on your next visit to the rink!

Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Looking Ahead to the New Season

After a remarkably short hockey summer, we’re already just a few sleeps away from the start of the 2011-12 NHL season and the Vancouver Canucks’ home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins sans Sidney Crosby.  As the pre-season comes to an end, here are some Things That Make You Go Hmmm:

1.  The first power play unit.  I was at the Canucks’ final exhibition game, a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers this past Saturday night.  While I was impressed with many things, I was very unimpressed with our first power play unit.  Granted, the full unit only played a couple of games together but on Saturday night their execution was quite sloppy.  Alex Edler and Mikael Samuelsson had trouble at the point: they were both unable to get shots off and had trouble keeping the puck inside the zone on numerous occasions.  With Samuelsson’s defensive shortcomings (mostly because he’s not a defenceman), I think it’s quite risky that he’s manning the point.  I would much rather see Sami Salo and his wicked slap shot at the point, although I’m not sure who would want to stand in front of the net to screen the goalie and look for deflections.  Speaking of which, it’s obvious that the Canucks are going to miss Ryan Kesler’s effective net presence on the power play… it’s simply not a strength of Alex Burrows’ game.

 2.  Getting off to a good start.  October has traditionally been quite unfriendly to the Canucks.  Over the past five seasons, the Canucks have a 29-27-3 record in October, amassing only 61 of a possible 118 points.  Part and parcel to the club’s performance is the play of goaltender Roberto Luongo, who is traditionally a slow-starter.  Luongo, like all of the veterans, only played in a few pre-season games but he looked extremely sharp on Saturday night.  As mentioned above, the Canucks employed a strategy of playing the veterans in only a couple pre-season games after last year’s long playoff run.  The purpose was two-fold:  to give the players a bit more rest and to make them hungrier coming out of the gate.  We’ll see if it translates into a strong October performance.  And we’ll see if other teams follow suit if the Canucks do well right off the bat.

 3.  Lamenting my hockey pool choice.  On Sunday, I hosted an annual hockey pool for my buddies and wound up picking 4th overall.  Not surprisingly, Steve Stamkos went first, Daniel Sedin went second, and Alex Ovechkin went third.  I spent my 90 seconds agonizing between picking Henrik Sedin (and his guaranteed 90-100 points) and the ultimate wild-card Sidney Crosby.  You’d think it would be an easy choice for an avid Canucks blogger, a no-brainer.  But, for whatever reason, I decided to take a chance on the guy who will NOT be playing at Rogers Arena this Thursday night.  As the rest of the guys in the room started to murmur, I immediately regretted my decision, especially after the next poolster took Hank within 0.7 seconds of me taking Crosby.  Oh well… I hope the winner of the pool will do something nice with my 35 bucks!

 Will the Canucks be able to leave their slow October starts in their rear-view mirror?  We’ll get our first indication this Thursday night.

1st BC Lions Touchdown at the new BC Place (Just as I Predicted)

Witness the first-ever BC Lions touchdown at the new and improved BC Place (a 22 yard pass from Travis Lulay to Andrew Harris) just seconds after I predict it to happen. It was part of a spectacular 33-24 BC Lions victory over the Edmonton Eskimos on September 30, 2011.

And no…I didn’t record every single offensive play for the BC Lions until I was correct…this was this only play I filmed the entire game!

See the entire unedited cut from my prediction all the way through to the extra point.