Photo Credit: Pinclipart.com
*This was originally posted on February 24, 2022*
Normally I would be going over a number of sports topics and give my thoughts on them.
There is lots to talk about in sports. The Vancouver Canucks trade rumours continue to swirl and Elias Pettersson has started to retain to form. The Calgary Flames are the scorching hot right now, the Vancouver Whitecaps season is about to begin and so much more.
Could JT Miller go to the Leafs? Yes, a lot of Canucks fans would hate to see him go there but if the Canucks get a high pick, a young defenceman and/or prospects (Topi Niemelä should be in the trade package.)
Chelsea beat Crystal Palace and Lille in the Champions League. Romelu Lukaku continues to be frustrating as he had a Premier League record low seven (7!) touches against Palace. One of them was the kickoff and the other was a clearance, so that is technically five touches. Lukaku also cost 97.5 million Pounds and doesn’t want to be at Chelsea.
However, I decided to change things up a little bit with a mailbag edition. I should probably do these once a month so it can be called the Area 51 Sports Network’s Monthly Mailbag or Ask Josh Anything. Let me know what you think.
Without further ado, let’s get to your questions from Twitter.
From @CSWCAndy: Thoughts on MLB lockout?
I hope they come to a deal.
I’m not the biggest baseball fan and don’t watch it often but I do when I can especially in the summer months when there is no hockey, NFL, and European Football on. Plus, the playoffs can be quite exciting.
At this point, I’m not sure if the season will begin on time. From what I have been reading , there have been little progress in talks between the MLB and MLBPA for a new CBA. This gives me the same vibes of the NHL lockout that wiped out half of the 2012-13 season or if you are old enough to remember, you might be getting the same vibes from the NHL lockout that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.
Spring Training already has already been delayed and if they don’t come to a deal by Monday, games will be postponed.
If I had to make a prediction, I am predicting at least half of the MLB season will be wiped out though I’m not sure how half a season will work. Things don’t look good right now but here is hoping the two sides will come to a deal asap.
From @TPardy01: Ways the Canucks can improve defense this off season? FA or Trade.
The Canucks should do both.
In fact, they don’t even have to wait until the offseason to improve the defensive core. With the trade deadline less than a month away, a number of players (particularly Miller) can be shipped out for young defencemen or defensive prospects.
Depth is something the Canucks don’t really have. New General Manager Patrik Allvin talked about the importance of depth and surely that includes the back end.
Look at teams like the Carolina Hurricanes. They were down to five defencemen after Tony DeAngelo left the game against the Philadelphia Flyers this past week with an upper-body injuiry. DeAngelo has been a solid defenceman for the Canes this year. (If only he was a solid person off the ice.) However, the Hurricanes went on to win the game in overtime thanks to Brett Pesce’s OT winner and great goaltending from Frederik Andersen.
Sure, the Hurricanes weren’t great defensively in that game after DeAngelo went down but they got depth. If that were the Canucks, they would have to rely heavily on Demko and would have lost that game in regulation.
The point is, defensive depth is important and trades and free agency is the way to go. Allvin has also talked about the importance of signing free agents out of college and Europe so there is plenty of options to find defensive depth.
Hopefully this time, we won’t see anything like the contracts Tyler Myers and Tucker Poolman were given out.
From @JoshuaGriffith0: How will the Whitecaps do this season?
A question from the worst Joshua on Canucks Twitter and Area 51! What kind of person puts milk before the cereal? Also, having an air fryer is great.
But in all seriousness, I think the Whitecaps will be pushing for a playoff spot all season. I pretty much answered this in my Whitecaps article on optimism heading into the season but with a full year of Vanni Sartini as head coach, Brian White (Questionable for Saturday’s game.) and Ryan Gauld leading the attack and a new 3-1-4-2 formation that could provide offence, I expect Vancouver to be in the hunt all season.
I also expect guys like Cristian Dajome and Deiber Caicedo to also step up and I am hoping youngsters such as Sebastian Berhalter and Pedro Vite take the next step.
However there questions surrounding the team and one of them is in goal.
From @SeanWarren234: Will #VWFC do alright without Crépeau?
The Area 51 Boss’ question takes us right into the Whitecaps goalie situation.
With Maxime Crépeau being traded to LAFC, the Whitecaps have Thomas Hasal and Isaac Boehmer on the senior squad. Hasal will be the starter going forward.
The Whitecaps will do fine with the loss of Crépeau if Hasal performs well. This doesn’t mean he needs to be as good as Crépeau was last season. Hasal he just needs to prove he is capable of being a full-time MLS starter.
Hasal is only 22 and has potential to be what Crépeau was. He has shown flashes of being a starter particularly in the MLS is Back tournament in 2020. However, he needs to bring consistency in his game.
If Hasal does end up being a capable MLS starter, we will be saying “Crépeau who?” by the season ends. He just needs to prove it.
From @CSWCAndy: If you could add one player from world football to the Whitecaps, who do you add and why?
I’m going to approach this with some realism because most people would say the big names such as Messi and Ronaldo and I don’t think they want to go to the MLS. However, the player I will answer with is too expensive for the Whitecaps and probably won’t take a pay cut so the realism kind of goes out the window.
A year ago, I would have said Olivier Giroud because the Whitecaps lacked scoring and Giroud can do just that even at the age of 35. However, with White becoming a machine last season I decided to look at another area the Whitecaps need.
That is the back line. For the sake of realism, I am looking at guys over 30 and are nearing or at the end of their primes because that is usually when big names from Europe sign. (The MLS has a reputation of being a “retirement league.”) I think the Whitecaps need depth with the centre backs.
The player I would sign is Leonard Bonucci, (he’s 34) a centre back for Juventus and he was part of the Italian team that won the Euros last summer.
Bonucci is a tall and strong defender that can works well in a system with three CBs which Sartini uses. He reads the game well, makes smart tackles and also possesses good passing and playmaking abilities.
The Whitecaps could benefit with one of the best Italian defenders of all time. Plus, he’ll be given free meals in Vancouver’s Little Italy on Commercial Drive.
From CSWC Andy: Would you rather go on Kevin’s podcast (Shifts and Pucks) or Caps Space Wins Cups?
For those who don’t know, Area 51 welcomed the Shifts and Pucks Podcast to the network. Kevin Olenick, Tyler Noble, Chris Schneider, Sean (aka BeardyCanuck03) and Devin. (GordHowe09)
They talk about the Canucks, Flames and other NHL news multiple teams a week.
To answer the question, I would be happy to come on any podcast to talk hockey so Shifts and Pucks and Cap Space Wins Cups would be great. But if I had to pick one, it would be Cap Space Wins Cups because I’ll admit I haven’t listened much to Shifts and Pucks yet and I do listen to CSWC more often.
Plus, I like the name better. (no offence to Shifts and Pucks)
So should I do this once a month or make this separate column once a week? Let me know.