The Sunday Crease: Young Stars, Upshall, and New Beginnings

Running your own website is great. You get to pick the stories you cover, improve your writing style, give your honest opinions, and if you’re dedicated (and somewhat lucky), it might even lead you on to greater things.

Now there’s only so many stories you can cover each week while also juggling the other responsibilities of life, like working at your job or going to school. But today, I’m introducing a brand new weekly column to cover all the stories I can find in hockey and sports, as well any other weird thoughts that pop into my head.

Welcome to The Sunday Crease.

Early thoughts on the Young Stars

We’ve already hit the halfway mark of the unofficial start to hockey season, the 2017 Young Stars tournament in Penticton, and while the Canucks have only played one game there are a lot of things to discuss from their dominant 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets prospects.

2017 33rd overall pick Kole Lind had a fantastic game, putting up two assists and scoring an empty netter for a three point night. Defensemen Jalen Chatfield scored Vancouver’s second goal on a rocket of a shot before leaving the game on a very questionable hit from the Jets’ Kody McDonald.

 

The Canucks made the odd choice to let Chatfield return later in the game, so it must’ve not been as serious as it looked on YouTube. Chatfield continued his solid evening and was a force on the blueline all game.

The Canucks even went 2/2 on the power play in the first period. I know it’s the prospects tournament, but that’s a nice change of pace.

“Sign me up” Scottie

Bo Horvat’s big contract wasn’t the Canucks’ only announcement on Friday. The team also signed journeyman left winger Scottie Upshall to a pro tryout contract. A former 6th overall draft pick, Upshall played 73 games last season with the St. Louis Blues, scoring 10 goals and 8 assists for 18 points.

Much like the PTO Vancouver gave to tough guy Ryan White a couple weeks ago, the Canucks’ addition of the 34 year-old Upshall seems to be partially in preparation for their upcoming exhibition games in China. The Canucks will be bringing one group of players to face the LA Kings in the NHL China Games, while another group will stay behind to play preseason matchups against the Flames and the Oilers.

Upshall will have a pretty tough time trying to crack the Canucks lineup and win a full contract. But then again, we said the same thing about Jack Skille last year, and we know how that turned out.

Battle of the Mics

Sportsnet 650, Vancouver’s new 24 hour sports radio station, launched on Monday after 16 years of Team/TSN 1040 having a city wide monopoly.

SN 650 has the advantage of owning the Canucks radio broadcast rights for the next five seasons, but the real challenge will be getting listeners to stay for the morning and afternoon shows.

So far, I’ve liked Sportsnet’s lineup a lot and I think the new Canucks radio duo of Brendan Batchelor and fellow netminder Corey Hirsch will do a great job calling the games for SN 650. But TSN 1040 has made some pretty great changes to their lineup too, like giving the former “Kurtenbloggers”, Jason Brough and Mike Halford, the mid-morning slot.

Of course, the biggest question of all is whether or not Vancouver can sustain two 24 hour sports radio stations. I certainly think so, but only time will tell. The Daily Hive did a great matchup story on the new rivalry last week, I encourage you to go check it out.

Other Hockey Thoughts

  • The Canadian Women’s Hockey League will begin paying their players starting this season. The money isn’t a huge amount (numbers) but it still signals such a huge step forward for professional women’s hockey. The CWHL (as well as the National Women’s Hockey League in the US) might not ever build as big a fanbase that the NHL has, but I believe that someday women’s hockey will become just as important a sports institution as any of the major leagues in North America. Best of luck to everyone involved.
  • The Athletic made its way to Vancouver and the rest of Canada last week with their massive NHL coverage expansion. I’ve had a subscription for a while now, and I’m pretty excited with the direction that The Athletic is taking sports journalism in. If you do end up getting a subscription, just don’t forget about your friendly neighbourhood writer man.
  • One notable absence from the Canucks’ Young Stars lineup is that of Jonathan Dahlen, who was diagnosed with mononucleosis earlier in the week. It’s too bad that we won’t get a chance to see him this weekend, but once he’s cleared for action, it’s believed that he’ll start the season in the AHL with Utica. Let’s hope AHL Live comes to their senses and lowers the price of their online streaming service, because the Comets are shaping up to be a pretty exciting team in 2017-18.
  • The NHL is changing the offside challenge rule this season. Now instead of losing a timeout, an incorrect challenge will result in a delay of game penalty. This is how the rule should’ve worked from the very beginning, and the league seems to have listened to what the fans wanted by making the change. There’s a first for everything, right?
  • Jim Benning sat down for an extensive interview with TSN’s Bob McKenzie yesterday, and it’s definitely worth a listen if you have 30 minutes to spare.

LITC Update: A New Space

With Sunday Crease taking over as my official weekly column, I’ve decided to move the general LITC Updates here. When I have a major blog announcement, I’ll make them on a separate post, but basic blog changes, ideas and personal stuff will be found here from now on.

On that note, watermarked Getty Images are going to be a thing of the past going forward. When I first launched the site I used embedded photos from Getty on my posts, but for some unknown reason all the codes started breaking, leaving me with pictureless articles. So I had to use watermarked photos, which has always bugged me since it’s basically stealing and looks really unprofessional.

But apparently Getty has fixed whatever on the embed codes wasn’t agreeing with my site, so I’ll be bringing them back and also replacing all of the watermarked photos on old articles in the coming weeks.

I’m always looking for ways to make the site more engaging, such as streamlining the comment process or adding a Home Opener Countdown to the sidebar. If there’s something you’d like to see on the blog that would help make it one of your go-to hockey sites, put your idea in the comment section below or shoot me an email.


That’s all for today. Thank you all so much for continuing to support myself and the blog as we head into another exciting hockey season. If you haven’t done so already, feel free to like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter to get updated on all my newest content. Thanks again, and I’ll see you next week! – Lach

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