We are approaching October and that means Vancouver Canucks hockey is back.
Fall is the best time for sports, mainly the month of October. NHL and NBA begin, NFL is underway, MLB and MLS playoffs and European soccer leagues and tournaments return from the international break. So sports fans get fed in October.
Let’s go over some of the big things that happened in the world of sports over the past week. In case you are new here, that is what Avid Thoughts is about.
Canucks preseason action
As mentioned, the Canucks are back! Unfortunately, the Canucks bad luck with the injuries is also back.
Ilya Mikheyev left the game against the Calgary Flames with an undisclosed injury. This is the hit that caused it.
At the time of this writing, Mikheyev is still being evaluated according to Thomas Drance of The Athletic. We’ll likely know more on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, the Canucks announced on Monday that Brock Boeser went through successful hand surgery and will be out three to four weeks. So he’ll miss the start of the regular season and If I’m correct, at least the first seven games of the regular season.
This just sucks. Boeser can’t catch a break.
Now the 30-goal season dream isn’t dead. It will be just harder to get to thanks to the injury.
Ok, so I did watch the Canucks preseason game against the Flames. But there was one game taking place at Rogers Arena and the other was played in Calgary, spit squad.
I watched like five to ten minutes of the game in Calgary and watched a good chunk of the game in Vancouver. So I’ll discuss that game here.
The Canucks were good at moving the puck but weren’t doing a lot with it. Dustin Wolf was also hard to beat. There were also some bad giveaways, especially on the zone entries and exits. Mikheyev’s turnover led to the Flames’ first goal. The amount of odd-man rushes the Canucks gave up gave me flashbacks to last season and many seasons before that.
Jack Rathbone looked comfortable out there. He was moving the puck well and doing good things with it.
Someone who also looked good was Andrey Kuzmenko. I’m really starting to warm up to the idea of him starting the season on Pettersson’s line. He looked good with the puck and played with energy.
Arturs Silovs looked good in the third period and made some big stops. Maybe this guy is going to be pretty good after all.
I really think we are going to have a solid season from Vasily Podkolzin. He was the best player on the ice. Podkolzin was all over the Flames in the battles and looked strong with and without the puck. There was some feisty stuff from him on Sunday night as well.
Oh yeah, we can’t forget about his goal. It was a thing of beauty.
Conor Garland got the game-tying goal but unfortunately, Michael Stone got the Flames the win in OT. I felt like this game summed up last season: a late push that resulted in them still coming up short.
Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford spoke to CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal on Monday morning about the game and had this to say:
The Canucks looked slow, especially with the puck. Again, it is still preseason but I did not see that aggressive forecheck from last season as much as I hoped.
There is still time to figure out who will be on the Canucks roster as eight have been cut on Monday.
Two Whitecaps games left and an early look ahead to the offseason
As the Canucks season is set to begin, the Vancouver Whitecaps season is drawing to a close.
There is one thing that the Whitecaps have more than the Canucks this season. That is a trophy. We all know the Whitecaps won the Voyageurs Cup in July.
The Whitecaps have also made more trades than the Canucks this past summer when they brought in Julian Gressel from DC United in exchange for $900,000 in General Allocation Money.
Unfortunately, the Whitecaps will miss the MLS Cup Playoffs for the seventh time in 12 MLS seasons. Vancouver has missed the playoffs for 58% of their existence in MLS and that is not good at all.
The Whitecaps have Austin FC next for their final home game of the season and will close out the year in Minnesota on MLS Decision Day. Both Austin and Minnesota are currently in playoff positions. In their second year in MLS play, Austin FC has already clinched a playoff spot. They sit second in the Western Conference with a 16-7-9 record.
The last time the Whitecaps played Austin, it was a 3-0 beat down in Texas in April. This time around, Austin is likely going to rest starters to prepare for the playoffs.
You already know I’m looking ahead to next season. I’ll have a deeper dive into what the Whitecaps need to improve on once the season ends. I want to touch on the fact that the Whitecaps have the least amount of goals in the Western Conference and the fourth least in the MLS with 38.
Lucas Cavallini leads Vancouver with eight goals but it seems he has gotten more cards than goals. Ryan Gauld is right behind with seven and behind them are Tosaint Ricketts and Brian White. Both of them have scored four goals each.
I already talked about the Whitecaps play in the final third. It’s not like they are missing a lot of sitters, they can’t seem to find the right area to shoot or mess it up in the box as the opportunity comes.
One of the reasons is because of the lack of service. That is why Julian Gressel and Alessandro Schöpf were brought in. Gressel of course is one of the best wingbacks and playmakers in MLS and Schöpf is a defensive midfielder that provides service.
However, both need time to settle. Gressel seems like he already has as he progressively is getting better. (See that volley goal against the Seattle Sounders) When Schöpf joined the Whitecaps in July, he did not play a game of soccer since May. He needs a full preseason and training camp and so does Gressel.
Both need to come as advertised next season and if they do, more goals will come. However, there needs to be more than them to make that happen.
Some NFL notes
- Good lord, that Sunday night game really sucked. I tuned out in the third quarter. It was so boring but not if you like defence. Seriously, Russell Wilson looked washed for the Denver Broncos. He wasn’t scrambling as well as he used to and his throws looked very off. On the San Francisco 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel and the offence couldn’t get anything going. The game ended 11-10 in favour of Denver but that game should be used as a cure for insomnia
- The Monday night game was better. The New York Giants got their first loss of the season thanks to a 23-16 loss to their rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. This game saw some dropped passes on both sides thanks to CeeDee Lamb on the Cowboys but Giants receiver Kenny Golladay’s looked even worse. I think the Giants’ O-line was a big part of why they lost too.
- The Seattle Seahawks lost a tight game to the Atlanta Falcons 27-23. Geno Smith and the offence looked fine until that late interception. But good lord, the defence was so poor. I miss the Legion of Boom Days. This defence was like turnstiles trying to stop the Falcons’ runs.
- The Buffalo Bills were beaten by the Miami Dolphins. Last week, the Fins got a comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens and this week they beat the Bills 21-19. Who Miami would be this good? It was a fun game to watch with constant back-and-forth action.
- Bills Offensive Coordinator lost it at the end of the game. He looked like me when I get blue-shelled on the final lap in Mario Kart.
Check back next week for more Avid Thoughts! Let me know what you want me to cover!
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