The Sunday Crease: Preseason, Sedins and Arenas

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As I put the final touches on this second edition of the Sunday Crease, the Canucks were being dismantled by the Vegas Golden Knights, a team playing its first ever NHL exhibition game. Granted, Vancouver’s lineup was made up of mostly prospects and perennial AHLer’s, but the Knights’ quite similar lineup took Vancouver’s kids to school.

It wasn’t all bad, though. Brock Boeser scored two goals and an assist this afternoon, just a day after notching the overtime winner in the Canucks’ first preseason game against the Kings. Jake Virtanen played well and was rewarded with an assist on Philip Holm’s power play blast in the third period.

A 9-4 blowout at the hands of an expansion team was definitely not what the Canucks had in mind today, but that’s what these games are for. There were mistakes galore tonight, particularly on defense, but we’d all prefer to see these issues come up now rather than later.

There’s no doubt that this young group has their work cut out for them. But with the Canucks’ veterans on a flight to China, there are going to be plenty of chances to improve their game when they face the Flames and the Oilers later this week.

Oh, and why have I never heard of this superstar named Tyler Wong until today?

Mr. Brightside

After watching an ugly game like today’s, it’s especially important to acknowledge what’s gone right for the Canucks in these two preseason games. And what better place to start than with Boeser’s highlight reel snipe over the shoulder of Darcy Kuemper yesterday.

Boeser already has four points in two preseason games, and it’s already making me second guess my belief that he’ll start the season in the AHL. Right now Boeser is playing at a level high enough that Jim Benning could feasibly risk putting a one-way contract on waivers to make room for him on the opening night roster. In fact, if he keeps playing games like he has this weekend, not keeping Boeser in Vancouver to start the year would be a colossal mistake.

The Canucks’ 4-3 overtime win over Los Angeles yesterday was a roller coaster within itself, but there were plenty of positives to take away from it. The clear star of the game was newly anointed starter Jacob Markstrom, who shutout the Kings in the first half of the game with 19 saves.

A bunch of the Canucks’ brightest stars made it onto the scoresheet, with Troy Stecher getting two assists, Markus Granlund and Sven Baertschi each scoring a goal and Alex Biega creating a beautiful set-up for a Jake Virtanen one timer.

The Sedins are Staying

The Sedins wrote about their future with Vancouver for The Players Tribune this week, and it’s a wonderful read. The twins discuss just how much they’ve loved playing here, the most important people to their careers, and the highs and lows of their time in the blue and green. Some people will argue that if the Sedins really care about the Canucks and this city, then they’d accept a trade if management came to them to ask.

While I might agree with you in most cases, every team has a few select stars that have been so important to their franchise’s success that they transcend the needs of the team. The Sedins have been the best representatives of the Canucks in the club’s history, and the team is doing the right thing by letting them stay if they so choose.

An Arena Sized Issue

One of the biggest stories in the NHL last week was that of the Flames’ announcement that they were no longer planning to push for a new arena in Calgary. It raised a lot of eyebrows due to the fact that a Calgary mayoral election is coming up, along with the fact that the City of Seattle announced a major plan to completely renovate the old KeyArena on the same day. Coincidence? I think not.

Alright, I’m not saying that we should expect the Seattle Flames to drop the puck in a couple years. But I do think that the Flames will use Seattle’s arena redevelopment plan as a possibility to try and get Calgary to build them their new barn. All I know for sure is that Calgarians are in for a rough year.

This Week in Vancouver Sports

  • The Vancouver Canadians Single-A baseball team won the Northwest League Championship on Tuesday with a 2-1 victory, taking the series three games to one over the Eugene Generals. Congratulations to everybody in the Canadians’ organization!
  • The Vancouver Whitecaps have been rolling through the MLS lately. They drew with the Columbus Crew 2-2 yesterday, but it was enough to keep a six-game unbeaten streak intact. Seeing the Whitecaps at the top of the Western Conference and knocking on the door of a playoff spot is a beautiful sight, and hopefully it’s a solid look at of what’s ahead for the franchise.
  • BC Lions legend Geroy Simon was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on Thursday. I grew up watching “Superman” play and was even there for his Lions Ring of Honour induction a few years ago. It’s great to see one of the CFL’s greatest players getting his due, especially after the passing of his wife in April. Congrats, Geroy.
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