Come For The Banter - Stay For The Disappointment
Nucks Fan Rebuild & Retool Center - Come For The Banter - Stay For The Disappointment

Well here we are...the postseason...the second season...the promised land

And to all of our surprise....here come your Vancouver Canucks! There were 4 of us at the start of the year who did not believe this team was playoff capable and questioned how long this team could stay competitive. Hell, I wondered if Petey would even be around by the tradeline. Instead, now we are talking about how far we think this team can go.

Before we start dreaming about the Canucks playing in what Francesco calls "The Money Round!", let's look at the other series that are there to watch on off nights.

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals

Game 1: Capitals at Rangers -- Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN, TVAS, MSG, MNMT)
Game 2: Capitals at Rangers -- April 23, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, TVAS, SNE, SNO, SNW)
Game 3: Rangers at Capitals -- April 26, 7 p.m. ET (TNT, truTV, MAX, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Rangers at Capitals -- April 28, 8 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN360, TVAS, SNE, SNO, SNP)
Game 5: Capitals at Rangers -- May 1, TBD
Game 6: Rangers at Capitals -- May 3, TBD
Game 7: Capitals at Rangers -- May 5, TBD

Westy: Start spreading the news...Messier sucks...nevermind. The Caps snuck into the playoffs in their last game and get the pleasure of playing the best team in the East. This might be a bad thing for Ovie, as the teams split the season 2-2, with the home team winning every game. Playoff hockey is all about the special teams, which the Rangers have. You could also go with the theory that the hot team has the advantage going into the playoffs....Rangers again. Or you could just go with the better team.....Rangers in 5.

jimmi: In all the excitement, drama and inflated expectations of the West being the Best, I may haven forgotten the Best of the West still has to play the leftovers from the east. It's not fair! Actually, I'd be just fine if the NHL was actually two distinct leagues - the WnHL and the EnHL. And met once every 4 to 10 years for some sort of hockey summit thingie. But, again, the NHL doesn't care about my preferences. So... Caps aren't last year's Panthers, no upset prediction. Rags in 5.

Kent- At first glance, you'd think that the Capitals would be hard-pressed to even win a game in this one. Of the 16 teams that qualified for the dance this year, the Caps are by and large the worst of the bunch, and it would be reasonable to expect the team in first to have no problem here. The thing is, the Rangers are giving off real 2023 Boston Bruins vibes. That's not to suggest that the Caps are this year's Florida Panthers, but a) this is not going to be the cake walk everyone thinks it is, and b) the Rangers won't get much further. Rangers in 7.

Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Game 1: Lightning at Panthers -- Sunday - Panters Win 3-2
Game 2: Lightning at Panthers -- April 23, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN360, TVAS)
Game 3: Panthers at Lightning -- April 25, 7 p.m. ET (TBS, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Panthers at Lightning -- April 27, 5 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, TVAS, SNE, SNW, SNP)
Game 5: Lightning at Panthers -- April 29, TBD
Game 6: Panthers at Lightning -- May 1, TBD
Game 7: Lightning at Panthers -- May 4, TBD

Westy - The Battle of Florida should be entertaining. Unlike last year, the Panthers didn't slink their way into the playoffs, while the aging Lightning played just good enough to get into the dance again. The Panthers had the 2-1 advantage in the season series and while the Lightning won the last meeting, I don't think the Lightning have a real chance against the Cats. The Tkachuk-Hubradeau trade looks more lopsided every day. I predict lots of goals and Panthers in 6.

jimmi: Again, I'm just not interested in Floridian hockey - and neither will our great grandchildren. One upside to global warming at least. Despise both teams equally. The Covid-Cuppers and Lu's SoBeach team of pastel flipflop wearing sun-stained hockey players. Ugh. With that distaste fresh in my thoughts, picking the Bolts in 7.

Kent- Pay no mind to Jimmi, as we've learned over the years he cares not a squirt for fun things. This series is going to be an absolute war. Both teams are loaded with offensive talent, strong defence, excellent goaltending and most of all, some thoroughly unlikable players on both sides. While we're going to get treated to some amazing playoff hockey, the team that emerges from this one isn't going to have much left for the second round and beyond. I do believe that Tampa's window is continuing to close, though, and it could be an interesting summer. Panthers in 7.

Boston Boouurrns vs Toronto Maple Laughs

Game 1: Maple Leafs at Bruins -- Saturday 8 p.m. 5-1 Boourns Win
Game 2: Maple Leafs at Bruins -- April 22, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN, CBC, TVAS)
Game 3: Bruins at Maple Leafs -- April 24, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN, TVAS, CBC)
Game 4: Bruins at Maple Leafs -- April 27, 8 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, TVAS, CBC)
Game 5: Maple Leafs at Bruins -- April 30, TBD
Game 6: Bruins at Maple Leafs -- May 2, TBD
Game 7: Maple Leafs at Bruins -- May 4, TBD

Westy - This yearly event must brings night sweats to Leaf fans. The Bruins had their own nightmare last year after winning the President's Trophy and getting knocked out in the first round. This should be a "good" series between two teams that I hope lose. Like always, if the Bruins can stop Matthews, they can win the series...sounds simple. Boston swept the season series, and I think the have the system to get rid of the COTU. Bruins in 6

jimmi: It just keeps getting more disgusting. I predict I won't loathe Porn-Stache's team any less if they win, nor detest the Ratchand's last swipe at the CoTU, but the later team is more likely to 'advance' only to be eliminated in the 2nd round. So... Boooins in 7... despite the Laffs leading 6-0 in the 3rd period of that fateful game.

Kent- Remember back to the last time we were actually excited about this team, and the Canucks had to go up against the Chicago Blackhawks for a third time? The dragon was slain, and we got to witness a pretty amazing playoff run. I'm not saying that the Leafs are destined for greatness, as they're still in need of better goaltending and have bottom of the roster gaps that need to be filled. They are however, playing against a Boston team that isn't quite the same as the one that has haunted them three times previous. It won't be easy, but much like the Canucks in 2011, they'll finally slay their dragon and move forward. Leafs in 7.

Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders

Game 1: Islanders at Hurricanes -- Saturday - Canes Win 3-1
Game 2: Islanders at Hurricanes -- April 22, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN360, TVAS)
Game 3: Hurricanes at Islanders -- April 25, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Hurricanes at Islanders -- April 27, 2 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 5: Islanders at Hurricanes -- April 30, TBD
Game 6: Hurricanes at Islanders -- May 2, TBD
Game 7: Islanders at Hurricanes -- May 4, TBD

Westy - Bo is 2 for 2 when it comes to getting into the playoffs. Unfortunately, his team will also get knocked out early for the 2nd year in a row. The Islanders were 2-2 against the Canes, but Freddy Andersen is back and Brind Amour will have that neutral zone trap ready to bore the fans to death and beat down Barzal and Bo. Canes in 5

jimmi: Another pair of teams in the east that I neither care about or follow. Sure, have some sentimental Bo feelings and some unfulfilled Guentzelling to deal with - really PA? Did you even try? Sure does look like the Canes in 6 from the disgruntled outside.

Kent- Carolina's the team to beat in the East, and while they're not without their weaknesses, Rod Brind'Amour's squad are built for the post-season. They're up against an Islanders squad that had to grind to get into the playoffs, and while they're not going to be swept, they're no match for the Bunch of Jerks. Canes in 5.

Winnipeg Jets vs Colorado Avalanche

Game 1: Avalanche at Jets -- Sunday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN, TVAS)
Game 2: Avalanche at Jets -- April 23, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, CBC, TVAS)
Game 3: Jets at Avalanche -- April 26, 10 p.m. ET (TNT, truTV, MAX, CBC, TVAS)
Game 4: Jets at Avalanche -- April 28, 2:30 p.m. ET (TNT, truTV, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 5: Avalanche at Jets -- April 30, TBD
Game 6: Jets at Avalanche -- May 2, TBD
Game 7: Avalanche at Jets -- May 4, TBD

Westy - On paper, this might be a great series....of course on paper the Avs might also be overmatched. The Jets dominated the Avs this year, going 3-0 with a combined score of 17-4. Both teams are fast, but Winnipeg is a team that will finish all their checks and may even start some before they finish the first one. What I like about this series is one great team is going home. Having the best goalie in the league (sorry Canuck fans) gives Winnipeg a distinct advantage. Jets in 6

jimmi: Well... finally we make it to the interesting part of the playoffs. Agree with Westy, whoever wins means one less good team to worry about. I no longer have any affiliation with the Avs - didn't before, but pretending to sound like it makes internet rumours so much fun. Besides, the Avs already got their 21st century Cup. Bastards! Have to go with Chicky's 2nd fav team, Jets in 7.

Kent- After the Canucks, the Jets were one of the surprises in the NHL this season. They're pretty similar, apart from a stingier defence, and have a goaltender in Connor Hellebuyck who seems like he was born for a long Stanley Cup run. It's a shame that they're going to have to go up against the Colorado Avalanche, just two years past their Cup win and still very much a threat. As good as the Jets are on defence, I can see Nathan MacKinnon feasting on them. Avalanche in 6.

Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings

Game 1: Kings at Oilers -- April 22, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN, CBC, TVAS)
Game 2: Kings at Oilers -- April 24, 10 p.m. ET (TBS, MAX, SN, TVAS, CBC)
Game 3: Oilers at Kings -- April 26, 10:30 p.m. ET (TBS, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Oilers at Kings -- April 28, 10:30 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, SN1, TVAS)
Game 5: Kings at Oilers -- May 1, TBD
Game 6: Oilers at Kings -- May 3, TBD
Game 7: Kings at Oilers -- May 5, TBD

Westy - I approve of this series. If there is a team that can play a stifling type of playoff defense that could frustrate McDavid, it's LA. Now having said that, the Oilers have a lot of weapons at their disposal besides McDavid. The Oilers have a top 5 PP and the Kings have the #2 PK. I believe the goaltending edge goes to the Kings. I usually don't watch other teams, but this series might make me go back after the Nucks game and take a peek. I am wishing for a Kings victory, but cold hard stats point at the Oilers moving on. Oilers in 6

jimmi: Finally. I get to disagree with Westy. Again. There's no fun in watching either of these teams play. Not the LA 'no hockey' form of hockey, nor the cyber-McD-legs darting here are there around/through the stifling one-three-one. I'm not wishing for a victory for either team. Just a tough series that wears down the winning team. Which is the Oil in 7.

Kent- Forget what the regular season told us about Los Angeles: they might be the biggest frauds of the sweet 16 this year. And while I'm not entirely sold on the Oilers turn-around with new Head Coach Chris Knoblauch, the Kings don't have what it takes to stop McDavid, Draisaitl and company. Oilers in 5.

Dallas Stars vs Lost Vegas Gollum Knights

Game 1: Golden Knights at Stars -- April 22, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN360, TVAS, FX)
Game 2: Golden Knights at Stars -- April 24, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 3: Stars at Golden Knights -- April 27, 10:30 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Stars at Golden Knights -- April 29, TBD
Game 5: Golden Knights at Stars -- May 1, TBD
Game 6: Stars at Golden Knights -- May 3, TBD
Game 7: Golden Knights at Stars -- May 5, TBD

Westy - Does anyone else feel that Vegas has done something dirty and wanted this matchup? Will anyone be surprised when Mark Stone strolls out of the dressing room for game 1? The Stars did a lot of good things to get #1 overall in the Western conference only to face a Vegas team that beat them 3 times this year. While I pointed to stats to predict a winner in the Edm/LA series, I am going the opposite with this series. The stats lie. Vegas always finds a way into the playoffs, even when they play mediocre like this year, and then they are able to hit playoff mode and win. And when Vegas beats Dallas, they will face a team in Col or Winn, who they also have a winning record against. Cheaters. Vegas in 5

jimmi: Sorry, Westy, it's not cheating when you're the house. The house that bribed its way past the cost accountants in Gary's employ and bent the 'rules' for a new franchise. Iron Spleen Stone will return in game 2, to portray a semi-miraculous recovery narrative - one as true and tall as the Eiffel Tower - of Vegas. Doesn't matter. I predict that hockey karma - which is like a Hindu Hockey Gawd story - will see the Nighties getting beaten by not just the Stars, but their own sleazy hubris. Stars in 6.

Kent- It can take a while, but bastards always get what's coming to them. And Uncle Gary's Little Darlings and the NHL's most obnoxious fan base are going to know what actual playoff misery is like this year as they get exposed by a very good Dallas squad. It's gonna be tough to knock off the Stars as they start their quest for a second Cup, but they won't have to worry much about the defending champs. Stars in 6.

Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators

Game 1: Predators at Canucks -- Sunday, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN, SN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 2: Predators at Canucks -- April 23, 10 p.m. ET ( ESPN2, SN, TVAS)
Game 3: Canucks at Predators -- April 26, 7:30 p.m. ET (TBS, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Canucks at Predators -- April 28, 5 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, TVAS)
Game 5: Predators at Canucks -- April 30, TBD
Game 6: Canucks at Predators -- May 3, TBD
Game 7: Predators at Canucks -- May 5, TBD

Westy - I asked for this series. I liked Vancouver's chances against a Preds team that they beat every time this year. i like playing against a team that has worse special teams numbers than the Nucks. I like playing against a team that went 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. And I like the fact that there is no shootout in playoff. I don't like playing against a Preds team that hits anything and everything on the ice, especially if the refs lose their whistles. I don't like playing against guys Forsberg, Josi and O'Reilly in the playoffs. I don't like playing in Nashville. I don't like whatever refs they assign to this series. Since I asked for this series, I guess I better be optimistic about our chances. Canucks in 6

jimmi: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Also WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The outcome of this series is uncertain, but WOOOOOOOOOOO! We're in a playoff series!!! Sure, I would have preferred Nucks meet and beat the Yotes in the Mullet. In a SCP series. Just to rub a little sand in Gary's 28 year money-losing desert fever dream. However, I'm happy to watch the Nucks play in any SCP game in the ROG. It's been so long, I don't even recall what SCP stands for, except something something about owner profits. And it's about time our poor down-trodden billionaire owner recoups some of his lost ego-strokes. With that vital priority in mind, Nucks in 7 with an extra home game to feed the NHL greed machine's furthest outpost. And to give NM Playoff gamethreaders the anxiety boost they have longed for since 2012... 2011.

(Disclaimer: Prefer the Nucks sweep the Preds, but that denies extra profit - and Franny has to cover that extra $92M on the books)

Kent- As fun as it was to have that little jaunt in the bubble back in 2020, I don't feel like that counted. It's been 9 years since the Canucks hosted a playoff game in Rogers Arena, and it's a fine reward for a team that is the biggest surprise in the NHL this season, as well as a fan base that was patient through years of utterly inept management and coaching. They're up against a team that looked like they were destined for lottery pick a couple months ago: the Nashville Predators. And while it's hard not to be impressed with the run Nashville had, they did it against mostly teams who aren't in the playoffs, struggling against true contenders. It's not that they're bad, but they're more like their overall record than the way they played in the final two months of the regular season. After getting a taste in 2020, JT, Brock, Demko, Petey and Huggy Bear get to show this management team that keeping the core together and giving them a better supporting cast was the right thing to do. This team plays much like their Head Coach Rick Tocchet did back in his prime, and while it's a legit surprise they're here, it's time to show the doubters this team is actually good. Canucks in 5.

Let us know what you think about these series! Don't you dare pick the fucking Preds to win.

It's the return of the 11th most popular Canucks panel discussion! Our first round table of 2024 discusses what to do about Andrei Kuzmenko, the Lotto Line, what the Canucks need to do to prepare for this thing called 'playoff hockey', and some around the NHL nonsense. As a reminder, the opinions shared are of the individuals and not the blog itself, and those of Westy and Jimmi should be taken with a grain of salt, followed by a shot of tequila and some lime. Let's go!

1- Andrei Kuzmenko has a rotating door on the ol' doghouse right now. What should the Canucks do about the struggling Russian?

Kent- There's a number of people who think that they should be exploring a trade to try and get something for Kuzmenko right away, but I'm not sure that now is the time. We're hearing both he and his agent are committed to sticking with the Canucks and trying to work through this. And it may well be that he can do that. As far as trading him, he definitely makes an attractive piece of trade bait at the deadline, and with teams already asking about him, they could use him to solidify any deficiencies as they look at a post-season appearance.

jimmi - Just last year some wanted to trade Brock as well. Goal scorers can be streaky. And when the streak is not streak we seek... trade 'em! With his 8 goals and $5.5M contract, uncertain his trade value is worth the deal versus letting him spinoff the sophomore funk, marinate in the Taco teachings and come out the other side with 50 goals and +15 next season. Or this season. That would be good as well.

Westy - Kuz was not coached last year by Boudreau. He was allowed to float around and shoot and then not come back on defense. The last games of the year were spent with Taco, trying to learn a new system and this year Kuz is struggling to realize that both sides of the system are being looked at. He will last the year in Van, just do to his contract and lack of production this year. He is also needed in case the injury....sorry, when the injury faeries show up.

2- To try and kickstart the top 6, Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet reunited the Lotto Line, and to say it worked is a mild understatement. Do they keep Petey, Boes & Millsy together, or do they have to split them out of necessity because of the need for a legitimate 2nd line centre?

Kent- Obviously the way the Lotto Line clicked on Saturday in New Jersey was encouraging, and we'll have to see how they continue to play to see if this pans out, but if they can get Pius Suter, Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev rolling there won't be a need for it. Suter's been fantastic since his return, and if there's any chemistry with them, they ought to explore it for as long as possible.

jimmi - Hope Taco keeps the Lotto Line together - despite Pete disliking the label. It sure seems like Kuz will thrive being with Suter. As Kuz took the most shots (6) of any Nucks forward last game. With increased shooting percentage, increased confidence and goals will not be far behind.

Westy - Keep'em going this month, get as many points as you can against non-divisional opponents and then split them up again after Feb 21. The Canucks don't see another Pacific team until then. Save the Lotto Line for the first round of the playoffs.

3- So get this: After the season ends, there's this whole new season, right? And like, only some of the teams get to be in it, and you play the same team until one of them wins four games, then you play someone else. And there's this big trophy and everything. Anyway, it looks like the Canucks are gonna do this thing. What should they do to like, you know, be better for this thing?

Kent- Heading into this season, just to have this team compete for a wild card slot would be considered success given the way the last decade has gone. We knew, and were prepared for time and the accompanying frustration of trying to undo the damage of the previous regime. So for them to still be legit contenders not just for the top spot in the Pacific Division, and not just the Western Conference, but their first Presidents Trophy since they won it back to back in 2010-11 and 2011-12? There wasn't anyone who was saying this that wasn't taking the piss.

As far as making changes, I can't see anything drastic happening, but a better option down the middle for the second line could be worth exploring, as well as one more solid top 3 defenceman. Are they a legit threat to win it all as is? No. So they'd need to upgrade if they're gonna go for it. The question is: How much of the future are they willing to wager to do this? I might be in the minority, but I'm going to be happy with playoff hockey regardless of what happens. Lose in the first round? I'm good, because it's a step forward instead of the constant falling back down the stairs we had gotten used to with the Benning regime.

jimmi - Playoff hockey?! Such a foreign concept. And yet here we are staring deep into that free revenue hockey season played without rules. Will the Nucks make it through the 1st round? I'm with Kent on this. It's all icing on the bonus hockey season. If and it's that Nucking big IF... if the Nucks can keep playing the straight ahead Taco game - play every shift like it's their last of the season... then... who knows.

Westy - First off, I would like to say that Kent is a filthy liar. The moment the Canucks make the playoffs and then when we know who they play in the 1st round, Kent will be telling you how the Canucks can win that series. He will take his heart and hold it out for the Canucks to crush again. "Happy with playoff hockey..." Bullshit.

The question the I have, and Taco has for sure is, "Can this team really buy into a 200 foot system for 60 minutes a night?" There is a big difference in good team when it comes to the playoffs. There top scorers look to make defensive plays and special teams become even more special. The Canucks seem capable to be able to score their way into the playoffs, but it may take another appearance of "Playoff Demko" to get them past the 1st round.

4- Anyone else think Thatcher Demko's kinda not spectacular at the moment? I mean, he's winning games, but he's been giving up some stinkers over the last month. Just a hiccup, or should we be concerned?

Kent- Demko's been great this season, though his numbers have taken a noticeable dip since the start of December. Part of that could be tied to injuries on the back end that saw the defence's play struggle in front of him. But I do worry about his ability to get rest given how intense their schedule has been. And with the way Casey DeSmith's performed in his appearances this season, why not give him a couple more here and there? Yes, you want your number one starter in goal for big games, but DeSmith's earned the chance to get more than the other half of back to backs. A well rested Demko is key to success the rest of the way and beyond. Naturally, after I write this he turns in what was likely his best performance of the season in the win over the Rangers, even though he let in 3 goals. I just want him healthy and rested, and as we saw in the win over the Islanders, the Canucks can lean on DeSmith to help with this. They have the best goal tandem since Luongo/Schneider back in you know when...

jimmi - Demmers has had some meh games in the past few weeks... but if he can win a game in Jersey with a measly .840, it doesn't matter, does it? Agree that he needs his rest and DeSmith could grab a few extra wins while Demmers prepares to be Bubble Demko in that mythical 2nd season. But still... maybe Demmers needs to have his blocker re-calibrated by a goalie whisperer.

Westy - Stats first. So far Demko has the best save %, lowest GAA and highest quality start % of his career.

Demko was struggling before Christmas and the wonky schedule was beneficial for him. The last game was not his best and yet he made some monster saves against the Devils to get the win. I think Taco has stated he always has a number of games he wants Demko to play and the rest of the season lends itself to having DeSmith playing probably every third game.

5- In case you missed it, it appears that Connor Bedard is going to still be out of the lineup when the Chicago Blackhawks make their only visit to Vancouver this season on Jan 22. Should we feel bad for the kid, or is this some kind of punishment for not going full Lindros and refusing to report to the garbage organization he plays for?

Kent- I know that sounds mean, but let's face it: I am the last person who's going to feel any sympathy for the Hawks after the shit they've pulled. And with the catastrophic injuries they've had this season (along with having to jettison Corey Perry early on in the campaign), they're destined for the basement again. And that means they're sure to, like the Edmonton Oilers a decade ago, have top odds to win the draft lottery again, and be given another legit superstar that will lead them to glory down the road. There's no team as undeserving of this than Chicago, and it's because of this that the rest of the hockey world can't even enjoy a little schadenfreude over their current situation. I suppose it's sad for him that he can't play at home in front of friends and family. There was a way out, to go full Lindros and refuse to sign with this vile band of scumbags, but they chose not to take it. All we can hope for now is they lose the lottery. Also, I love that in the first game they played post-injury for Bedard, they beat Calgary in regulation. Brilliant.

jimmi - Feel horrible for Bedard. Not just for his injury, but for signing with the Fawks. That lottery win for the most shamed team in hockey still smacks of old boy slimy manipulation. But, it's the NHL, pretty much invented slimy old boys. Agree with Kent, the little Fawkers losing this year's lotto would be the best thing for hockey. Next to Bedard walking - running - away from that douche-built franchise.

Westy - I refuse to speak about that organization.

6- We're almost at the halfway mark of the season. We'll discuss the Canucks and how they've done in the first 41 later this week, but let's have your hot takes on what we've seen thus far. Who's for real? Which team is fraudulent? Possible award winners?

Kent- I am sure no one will catch Auston Matthews for the Richard trophy, but this year's MVP is likely to be Nathan MacKinnon, though Quinn Hughes deserves some serious consideration. Which teams are for real? In the East, Boston, Carolina and the Rangers are the teams to beat, while Florida and the Leafs are destined to fall flat. In the West, Winnipeg really appear to be the real deal, and as much as it pains me to say this, but in spite of their goaltending woes, the Oilers appear to have things sorted out, but they'll need to stay healthy. Vegas and LA aren't as good as their records suggest, and I'm still not convinced Colorado can go the distance.

jimmi - Awards are for losers. Or the media. Or both. Don't care about individual awards. There's only one team award that counts - the Prez Trophy. And that other free revenue one. The real teams? Winni does seem to be on track - but as we know - being #1 in the league before June is just another statistic. The Oilers are on an astonishing atonement streak. It's fun to watch a one-player team rise back up the standings, only to be swatted away in the early rounds. I don't watch eastern hockey - their nets are smaller and the hits are harder. Maybe they should form their own league. Oh wait... they already have.

Westy - I know this will come as a surprise, but I disagree with Kent when it comes to MVP. It amazes me that he lives in the Eastern Time Zone and and doesn't see the easy choice for MVP....no, not that moustached duffus in the CotU. I am speaking of David Pasternak. Top 3 in scoring with no one else on his team in that list...unlike MacKinnon who has Mikko and Makar, and he is on a team in the top 4 of the league. I won't mention the team as I would have to shower after doing so. That team being near the top is a surprise after Bergeron retired and the 1st round tanking last year. The Rangers look good as a team and it wouldn't surprise me to see them go the final. I look forward to the dismantling of Tampa if they can't get into the playoffs. As for the West...Fucking Vegas has a lot of weapons and if Colorado can stay healthy, watch out. I would love to see Edmonton bomb, but they will probably find 97 ways to get into the playoffs.

It's time for another Nucks Misconduct Round Table. We gather up the NM scribes, ask a few burning questions, you know the deal. As always, we must remind you that the views of Jimmi and Westy are not necessarily those of NM, nor any other sane human being. This week, we look at the Canucks' performance in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, and discuss the free agency additions they've made since Canada Day.

1- First up, let's talk about the draft. While dispensing with the notion that anyone can say with certainty how any of these draft picks will do, let's hear how you feel about the picks, starting with the one they chose at #11: Tom Willander.

Westy - Reinbacher was the best defenseman available but he had a large strike against him for Vancouver, he was not Swedish. So when Willander's name and threw a "23" jersey on him, I had two main thoughts. First, Vancouver getting a Swedish player just feels right. Secondly, the fact they put Edler's "23" on him is just bad ju-ju. Sticks will be breaking all over the place. Unfortunately, after years of Canucks fandom Stockholm syndrome, this pick was logical to me. Which means it probably won't work out.

jimmi - Coulda been worse... there were pre-draft rumours the Nucks would trade down to 15th - swap with Smashville, send a bad contract south... and still have picked Willander. Ok, fine. Not that much worse. I'm not worried about Westy's Fedling curse. Nucks have so many - could be years and years before the stick breaks out of the queue.

Kent- While I agree that it could have been worse there, this was a frustrating pick in my view. Sure, Willander could turn out to be a solid Dman down the road, the Canucks surely would have been better served by taking the best player available at this stage of their post-Benning recovery, and that was Zach Benson. The irony of Buffalo snagging him could be glaring as time goes on. That being said, building a stockpile of prospects, especially on the back end is something this team needs, so let's hope the stubbornness shown by the Canucks scouting staff pays off here.

Markus - I'm not gonna pretend to know anything about these guys. I don't know anything about them beyond what I've learned over the past few days. But on a macro strategy level, I appreciate them finally picking up some defenders. It was so frustrating watching them go skater heavy the past few years, so that was a nice change of pace.

Beggsy - I like Tom Willander as a prospect from the tape I've watched. If he hits on his potential, he'll be exactly what the Canucks need - a defensively responsible, smooth skating, top-four defenceman who can take on tough matchups. I do think Zach Benson was the best player available so I'm in the same boat as Kent. He'll be a guy worth watching (for masochistic purposes) as time goes on.

I also liked the Hunter Brussel Sprouts pick, but I didn't feel great about their final four selections.

2- The Canucks did some rather tidy work of shoring up some depth, and addressing organizational needs through the newly-opened free agency market. Thanks to the cap space cleared up from the Oliver Ekman-Larsson buyout, they had money to spend and they did. First on the list was C Teddy Blueger.

Westy - Who? Seriously. I had to Google him to see he is probably going to be glued to the 4th line. I'm not sure if he is supposed to be on the PK as well. A consistent 20 point guy is not really exciting.

jimmi - You know what could be exciting? Not setting another Nucking record. The record for the worst of the worst of all time NHL PKs. Also... he's gotta Cup ring. So does Ben Hutton. Anyways... if Blueger can bring some of that hard-checking, puck-hounding Strip Glitz to our PK, it would be great.

Kent- The key to a successful team is not just having star players, but guys who excel in the support roles, and I think Blueger could be that guy. First, while he's known as Teddy, his given name is Teodors (he's Latvian by birth) and I am all about those Latvian names. With Arturs Silovs ready to make the move to the backup role behind Thatcher Demko after his solid AHL season and coming out party at the 2023 IIHF Worlds, leading Latvia to a bronze medal, having a fellow countryman in the lineup will be huge. He's a solid faceoff man, and a penalty kill specialist, both things that the Canucks need to be better at this season. A one year deal to prove himself at a team-friendly rate for a guy with a Cup ring? Not sure there's a bad side here.

Markus - Seems like a solid enough bottom-six centerman. I'm not totally sold on him as a 3C -- which I think remains maybe the most glaring hole on the roster -- but he'll probably serviceable there, and ideally, he's a top notch 4C. Good pick up.

Beggsy - The Canucks aren't going to turn into a Stanley Cup contender next season, so with that in mind, I really liked the one-year bet on Blueger. He always stood out to me in Pittsburgh as a penalty killer. Hopefully putting a player like Garland or Hoglander on his line will help boost his offence. But as my NM family has done, you need to temper expectations because in reality he's a 4LC.

3- Next up was the first of a couple new faces on the back end: Ian Cole.

Westy - Old Man Cole logged close to 20 minutes a night for the Lightning. I don't think he will be asked to do that in Vancouver, but what do I know. An injury here or there and he could ask to center the 1st line. Not an offensive threat, Cole will be ask to be that big body on the 2nd or third pairing. The 1 year contract is kind of nice, as each side gets to see how things go before making a drastic choice.

jimmi - Cole harbour connection to JR and the Pens? Not surprising. One year. We can take that.

Kent- Last year, the Canucks were embarrassingly bad on defence. As a result, much of their work in free agency has been devoted to bringing in some new faces on the back end. First up is journeyman Ian Cole. Another player that Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin are very familiar with, Cole won back to back Cups with the Penguins, and while he's bounced around a lot, he's the kind of stay at home D needed for the Canucks middle six. Another one year deal, and a very affordable one at that. He literally can't do worse than what we got from Oliver Ekman-Larsson last season, so this is another nice deal for the Canucks.

Markus - Seems like a sturdy addition to the top four. I don't expect him to be groundbreaking, but he seems like a low-maintenance, reliable second pair guy that I won't have to think about too much. And after years of Myers and OEL's nonsense, and people claiming that Luke Schenn is so good that he should have his number retired, I'm looking forward to it.

Beggsy - As long as father time doesn't hit Cole like a Tyler Myers-sized truck next season, he'll boost the Canucks defence. If he can play in a top-four shutdown and top penalty-killing role for the Lightning, then surely he'll help the Canucks.

4- Then we got to the biggest (and least surprising) signing of the day: former Seattle Kraken D Carson Soucy.

Westy - Soucy should be forced to play with Myers for the first shift of the year so we can all see the height. And then separate them as quick as possible so Myers doesn't infect him. Soucy should bring a more physical presence to the back end and hopefully can move the puck out of the defensive zone quicker. I am happy with the contract (except maybe the NTC) and happy that he can be the tall guy next year when Myers is gone.

jimmi - Soucy was saucy versus the Avs in the Western something somethings. Possibly the best Defensive D on the Kracks. If that was because of the Team-D concept executed very well by a newbie team and not some innate D-manding skill, could we tell? No, we could not. Doesn't matter. He looks meaner and tougher than OEL, so he might even be able to keep Myers from a lot some a little freelancing at the wrong time.

Kent- One of the biggest issues with the Canucks from a defensive standpoint over the past few years is that they were absolutely not hard to play against. Apart from Tyler Myers and the now-departed Kyle Burroughs, there just wasn't a lot on the back end that made guys fear going to the net. Soucy, all 6'5" and 210 pounds of him was solid paired with Justin Schultz last season for the Seattle Kraken. He definitely replaces the sandpaper that Burroughs brought, and doesn't appear to have a lot of glaring defensive deficiencies. The contract seems a little pricey, but if he can build on a couple solid years with the Kraken and bring some stability in front of Demko, it'l be money well spent.

Markus - Don't know much about this guy, but by all accounts, another rock solid, reliable add to the D core. No issues with the profile. I guess he's not a slam dunk, no-doubt-about-it top four guy, but I like the odds based on everything I've read. Looking forward to seeing what the ceiling is.

Beggsy - I think I'm more skeptical on what Soucy can be than most pundits in this market. The fact that he saw his role diminished with the Kraken last season was cause for concern. Even though he played well in the playoffs, he only played 15 minutes per night.

That being said, there are things to like about his game. I think pairing him with Quinn Hughes is the way to go (after pairing him with Myers for a game to appease Westy).

5- They followed that up with a couple two way deals: One for veteran Dman and Brentwood Bay, BC native Matt Irwin, and G Zach Sawchenko.

Westy - In a perfect world, neither one of these two would touch the ice next year...or ever. But the Fairies love taking defensemen down so Irwin can log some 3rd pairing minutes this year if guys like Juulsen or Hirose or Rathbone can't play. Sawchenko will have to fight for time on the farm team with Martin.

jimmi - In a perfect world, the Nucks woulda won the Cup in '82, '94, 2011 and 2020. And we'd all be living the high bragging life from our rocking chairs in the South of Frannie's blueberry patch.

As Westy notes, the world isn't perfect and the Faeries will see Irwin logging tough minutes from February until the Nucks are eliminated from playoffs.... again.

Kent- Matt Irwin isn't gonna give you a ton of minutes, and it's likely he's playing a bigger role in Abbotsford than in Vancouver, but another hard working rearguard with experience is a bonus. The former BCHL Nanaimo Clipper will be looked at for a leadership role in either location. With Collin Delia heading out to Winnipeg, earning a one year deal as Connor Hellebuyck's backup following a solid season in the AHL and some decent work with a handful of games for the Canucks, that opened a spot that Sawchenko hopes to fill. It's been an long road to the NHL for Zach, who played seven games for the San Jose Sharks in 2021-22. He spent a ton of time in the ECHL for the Sharks, and he is being looked at as a project, one that the Canucks goaltending gurus can develop into another solid piece of the puzzle. I would think a lot would have to go wrong to see Sawchenko see NHL time this season, but the organization's depth in the crease is encouraging.

Markus - Irwin is a textbook bottom-pair guy. I think something like an Irwin-Myers pair, when sheltered, could be pretty decent. He could even maybe be a 7/8 if a Wolanin or Hirose shines in camp. Good add. Don't know much about the goalie, but I just hope he's competent.

Beggsy - The Canucks signed Victoria-native Matt Irwin so that Markus had an Island boy to cheer for on the Canucks. Congrats Markus!

In terms of Sawchenko, in a perfect world, he's in the ECHL next year because all of Nikita Tolopio, Spencer Martin and Arturs Silovs look stellar from the get-go.

6- One of the things the Canucks need to improve on is developing talent in their system, and one of the bright spots from last season was rewarded with a two year deal as the Canucks signed Tristen Nielsen to a two year ELC.

Westy - Nielsen put up good numbers in his second year on the farm. It would great to get a another center that can move up in a couple years...if the Nucks can trade Miller

jimmi - Be a wonderful story if a northern BC boy makes good in the big leagues. Even better if it happens while playing for the Nucks.

Kent- A huge factor in the Canucks' lack of success in the Jim Benning era was their inability to develop talent at the AHL level. In order for this team to become competitive again, draft picks have to turn into guys that go on to play a role with the team, and the Canucks see something in Tristen Nielsen that suggests this could be the start of this process. Nielsen was a solid two-way performer in Abbotsford, and he's been rewarded with an ELC that's going to give him a shot at challenging Nils Aman for that 4th line C position. He's a BC kid, and no stranger to the area, having played for the WHL Vancouver Giants. This is another sign the team is recovering from the Benningpocalypse, and one we should hope to see repeated with some of the other farmhands.

Markus - Nielsen seems cool. in the bigger picture, I'm glad the farm system seems to be doing its job and producing respectable tweener (and better) talent. After the weirdo situation in Utica, it's nice to see the AHL actually be useful.

Beggsy - Alex Burrows 2.0 LETS GOOOOOOO.

7- And on Sunday, the Canucks locked in another piece on defence, re-signing Akito Hirose to a 2 year deal.

Westy - I hope this guy can make quick strides to play on the 3rd pairing. He looked good in the small amount of games he played. I wonder the philosophy of this coaching staff when it comes to playing youngsters at the start of the year.

jimmi - Hirose has already been described as fleet-footed, which could result in quick strides. I'm just happy to see the Nucks focusing on the D-corps. So we don't have to.

Kent- Hirose played 7 games for the Canucks at the end of the season after signing as a free agent following the end of his NCAA career with Minnesota State, and it was striking how mature and NHL-ready he appeared out of the gate. It reminds me of the way Chris Tanev stepped in and became a huge part of the Canucks D back in the day, and while they may not play the same style, if the Canucks have another Tanev-type win through the NCAA free agency pipeline, that would be a huge win for them. It's a good deal for both player and team, two way this season and one way the next, but if we see more of what we got a glimpse of in April from Hirose, expect to see him in Vancouver more than Abbotsford this season.

Markus - I really liked what I saw out of this guy last year. I like the skating and puck moving ability, and if they didn't sign so many defenders, I'd like his odds of being on the opening night roster. I think he has serious upside, so I'm looking forward to him either winning a spot, or being a foundational piece in Abbotsford.

Beggsy - Hirose vs. Wolanin vs. Rathbone vs. Brisebois vs. Irwin.

Lots of dudes fighting for the left side spot on the third pairing. An interesting battle for the hardcore fans of this team. I think Wolanin has the leg up but I could see Hirose making the team out of camp.

It's time for another Nucks Misconduct Round Table. We gather up the NM scribes, ask a few burning questions, you know the deal. As always, we must remind you that the views of Jimmi and Westy are not necessarily those of NM, nor any other a sane human being. This week, we look at the fallout from the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery, the Canucks hilariously getting in trouble with the NHL, the playoffs and more...

1- What's more surprising: The Chicago Blackhawks winning the Draft Lottery and Connor Bedard, or the Canucks yet again missing out on that first overall pick by one number in the lottery?

Westy - I disagree with the premise of the question. The Canucks didn't miss anything, they can still get the #1 overall pick. Of course, it would cost them 3 1st round picks.....and Petey. In reality, there is no way to please hockey fans and the system they have right now is mathematically sound. It has been pointed out that the drawing of the 14 balls should be done live so the conspiracy theorists will have less to talk about.

I think Chicago has a lot of work to do in free agency to try and have a team that Bedard wants to sign with. Some will point out that the Hawks have 7 more draft picks in the first three rounds of this years draft and 6 more in the first 3 rounds next year to help rebuild this team into a contender in three years. But it will come down to which free agents they can sign to try and build 3 good lines.

The Canucks missing the first pick by one number is the Frankie karma effect. Until he sells the team, the organization is fucked.

jimmi - First of all, what's a premise and am I to vacate it immediately? Neither are more surprising than the other. Both are equally depressing and predictable.

Agree with Westy - the 'lotto' system is mathematically sound and works as designed - delivers the desired results as required by the BoG. The BoG, the sleezebags that keep the NHL's sleazy 50s hockey ethos stinking fresh and fixed.

For the Nucks, guess we have to - as ever - build a contending team the hard way - a team that plays hard all season and harder still in the post season. Is spending another decade in the 20s so bad? Yes, it is. If the Nucks aren't scrambling for a wildcard spot next April and just missing out, we're gonna be pissed.

For the Fawks - the most dishonorable franchise in the National League of Dishonour - have obviously shortened the runway to their next run. Bedard centering Jason Dickinson and Tyler Johnson is the stuff of legend. Legendary groans and gasps.

Kent- I disagree with Westy's disagreement. Big surprise, I know. First of all, the curse is real.

That's the third time in the last decade that the Canucks were one number away from a franchise altering event, and I don't know how else to look at that other than being cursed.

And yes, neither of these things were surprising to me, though honestly, we should have seen the first part coming. When the NHL 'punished' the Chicago Blackhawks for their heinous cover up of the sexual assault of Kyle Beach by former Hawks assistant coach Brad Aldrich, they had an opportunity to show the hockey world that what the organization did was unacceptable. Instead, they gave them what amounts to a finger wag. How else can you view this, as they spent an entire year blatantly tanking, and then get rewarded by being gifted with a player who could quite literally help them rebuild and win a Stanley Cup a few years from now. Yeah, I'm sure they learned their lesson, though. It's so fucking wrong that the Arizona Coyotes were punished harder for a CBA violation (and I want to be clear, they got what they deserved in this case), than a team who at every level from ownership to low-level employees and on-ice talent, hid a crime, and helped the criminal find work with kids, so that he could continue to be a sex predator. If I'm Connor Bedard's parents, I would be losing sleep over any association with a franchise that has this as part of their history, and many of those involved still employed.

Beggsy - Surprising is a funny word to use here, but the roundtable question master is a funny guy.

I won't take the copout route here. The Chicago Blackhawks winning Bedard was more surprising.

I was believing in karma leading up to the lottery. Literally, anybody but Chicago or Arizona winning would have been easier to stomach. Karma, if real, certainly works in funny ways.

As for the Canucks missing out on Bedard by one lotto ball? That's just Canucks fandom, baby.

Markus - It's a trick question -- one was not possible without the other. Thus is being a Canucks fan.

I honestly never even let my mind wander to the Canucks getting Bedard. I knew what the end result was and I didn't need the extra heartbreak. Chicago was definitely the worst option out there, between the off-ice behaviour, them just finishing up a dynastic run, and the recent Canucks rivalry. But surprising? No, not especially. At least they're out of division?

2- The Canucks were fined $50k by the NHL for violating the CBA by having on ice sessions with the players after the season ended. Serious, or seriously funny?

Westy - What's funny to me is that the Club is being punished but not the players. The CBA is an agreement between owners and players and for both sides to break the rule but only one side has to pay the fine seems ....funny.

jimmi - The Club must be punished. Early, often and twice on the same day. Oh... no... that's the fans. Nucks fans must be punished early, often and even in the offseason. $50k fine is easily covered by 5 minutes of concession time next October during the longest home losing streak of the season. No worries.

Also... NHL Wheel of Wild Justice gives out a 1 game suspension to Nurse for an 'instigator' infraction. And only gives a 1 game suspension to Petroanglogize for trying to hack off Drysaddle's arm. That's make-up-call justice, I guess. Bush league league... why do we bother?

Kent- I have no problem with the fine, but wasn't Rick Tocchet the coach when Arizona got busted for running training sessions with potential prospects? You'd think he, of all people, might have some insight on why this might not be a good idea. Now, is this as serious as what the Coyotes did? Absolutely not, it's not even in the same realm. This was, at best, ill-advised and a head scratcher at best. Congrats on being so dedicated to getting better next year that you got in trouble with the NHL, I guess?

Beggsy - What a soft league, fining organizations for an agreed upon on-ice session. Gary must have been looking for a cash grab in order to help out his beloved Arizona Coyotes. Or perhaps, his friends in Florida who can't seem to sell out a playoff game.

Markus - Extremely funny. Of course they got fined for practicing too much. If they didn't, they would have been fined for not practicing enough. How does the NHL even keep coming up with shit to punish the Canucks with? You have no choice but to laugh!

3- We're almost halfway through round two of the playoffs. Your thoughts?

Westy - The idea that Boston, Tampa and Toronto could all be out of the playoffs after 2 rounds seems

A Florida - Vegas Stanley Cup is everything Bettman could have dreamed of. A ratings nightmare it would be of course.

jimmi - Is it...

Well... it's fine the sure-thing eastern cabal teams get bounced... but what about the west? Avs getting pushed aside by $850M upstarts?! Hockey dynasties are harder to keep going than I thought.

Pretty sure Gary's dream SCF would be the Kraken (or whoever is the new billion dollar franchise) VS the Yotes. Also... pretty sure Gary is past his Best Before Date.

Kent- Y'all know I love me some playoff chaos, and that first round brought it. This has been an interesting second round, simply because there's not a clear front runner. Carolina might be as close as you can get to one, but I wouldn't count the Devils out just yet. And Florida, who took out the Bruins, missed their chance to sweep the Leafs, and could just as easily be just the 5th team in history to lose after holding a 3-0 series lead. Seattle/Dallas and Edmonton/Vegas will both go the distance. My hope is for an all Canadian final. You get the hilariousness of ESPN trying to get people in the US to give a shit about hockey, and another egg on Gary Bettman's smug face. You also get to see Canadians pick a side and get stupid yelling at each other about a stupid game. I'm stocking up on popcorn just in case. And I'll tell you straight out, I'd be rooting for the Leafs here, in a heartbeat. I lived through all those damn Oilers cups in the 80's and so many nights of getting embarrassed by that team. As if I would ever be happy seeing them raise the mug again.

Beggsy - My thoughts...

1) Between Sergei Bobrovsky and Philipp Grubauer suddenly turning into studs, goaltending is weird.

2) The combination of speed and structure wins. Look no further than the Carolina Hurricanes.

3) Having snarl and bite matters in the playoffs. Look no further than the Panthers, Oilers and Golden Knights.

Markus - It's honestly kind of fun not having the usual characters going on runs, with the Penguins, Bruins, Lightning, and Avs all being either eliminated or missing altogether. It's nice to have some fresh faces, whether that's the Panthers continuing their miraculous run, the Canes chugging along, or the Oilers finally capitalizing on McDavid and Draisaitl. As long as it's not the Leafs, it's kinda fun.

4- There has once again been discussion of bringing a guy like Milan Lucic in next season to add some toughness to the Canucks lineup. Are you for or against this (and what the hell is wrong with you if you say 'for')?

Westy - If Kyle Burroughs will fight anyone, do we need Lucic? Ignore the times he loses. Lucic is not the answer, to any question that involves winning. Forget about the fighting part....how about adding people who are defensively responsible.

jimmi - Sure... bring in a tough guy, obviously not Looch because he's old, slow, not that tough and a douche from that former-douchebag-rival team. But sure... bring in a young fast tough guy - only if he can play 59 minutes, deliver 5 pts and a knockout every game.

The horrible, horrible lesson I'm learning - all over again - is playoff hockey is a team game. I know, some say, hockey is always a team game. But often in the regular season, we are enthralled by the McFancy players and fancier stats.

It really does seem that one either builds a team for regular season glory or for relentless, mistake-free, puck-hounding gritty ugly winning Cup hockey.

At least the Nucks have opted for neither of these paths. We can be grateful the Nucks have devoted their hundreds of millions on management and players towards mastering the middle path. Neither too good or too bad. Buddha hockey at its most middling.

Kent- I said it before and I will say it again: This is a deal-breaker for me. I don't care how effective he can be as a fourth liner, and would like sign a very team-friendly deal. Some things cannot be forgiven, and considering his comments just a few months ago re: Chara's insane allegations about the Canucks 'practicing' raising the Cup in 2011, he can fuck all the way off. And if this organization has so little self-respect and integrity that they can give him a pass, and not see that this is Messier 2.0, they can fuck off too. I will not cheer for a Canucks team that has Milan Lucic in the lineup. End of story.

Beggsy - I could get over the 2011 bit if Lucic could still play, but he can't. If there was an award for slowest NHL skater this season, he probably would have won.

Markus - I am pro bringing in sandpaper that can play. Play being the key word there, as Milan Lucic cannot. Just get some cheap tweeter like they did with Dakota Joshua, or bring in an actual star in the Tkachuk vein. None of this Benning-style $4 million, mid-tier grit, please and thank you.

5- With the IIHF Men's World Championships about to get underway in Latvia and Finland: Do you watch events like this? Do they matter to you as a hockey fan?

Westy - No and No. But I am a fickle Canucks fan and I get frustrated watching Myers play for Canada as well. I would be happy just watching pros in the Olympics or the World Cup of hockey.

jimmi - Thanks for the heads up, Kent. Will check it out. I like leftovers, cold pizza especially. Leftover hockey might be tasty as well. [--- long pause ---] It's on TSN. That's a little too leftover for me.

At least I can definitely predict that the Russians won't get gold. Or silver. Or bronze. At least I'll get that prediction correct.

Kent- Full disclosure: I put this question in just because I knew it would annoy Westy. Me? I've always liked watching the Worlds. Maybe it's because the Canucks have been so consistently awful that there's always guys on the squad they send over. Maybe it's a throwback to 1972, and there's just something about watching Team Canada, any Team Canada, going for gold. And yes, I know Milan Lucic is on this year's squad, but I can cheer for them in spite of that because it's not the same situation. Tyler Myers and Ethan Bear are representing the Canucks, and say what you want about Myers, but I have respect for anyone who answers the call to rep this country on the world stage. I do notice that a certain former captain isn't there. And I refuse to believe they didn't reach out to him after the Isles got turfed. So yes, I will be watching. Go Canada Go.

Beggsy - I'll be sure to tune into the 40-minute mark of Sportscentre to catch the highlights, right after highlights of the World Lawn Bowling Championships.

Markus - The world championships have started? Huh. Ok.

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