Archive

Archive for July, 2009

One step forward, one step back for Canucks

The off-season for the Vancouver Canucks thus far has been, depending on who you ask, either highly successful or completely uneventful.  On the optimistic side of the coin, you could argue that in re-signing Henrik and Daniel Sedin at the last possible moment, that they were able to acquire not one but two top-line players who are both consistently in the top 25 in league scoring…and considerably under market value at that.  You could argue that Mathias Ohlund is long in the tooth, not as effective as he once was, and Tampa Bay’s offer was ridiculously over-priced.  The optimists will tell you that Mikael Samuelson and his Stanley Cup experience are the piece that is missing from the Canuck puzzle, and his 20 plus goal seasons of late on the third line in Detroit will translate to 30 plus goals if he gets a chance to play with the twins or gets even a bit of power-play time.

Then there is the glass half-empty set that will tell you that Mike Gillis has basically done nothing to improve this team that failed to get past the second round last year.  They will say “Congratulations on signing the twins, but didn’t we already have them before?”.  Matias Ohlund has been replaced by Aaron Rome….say what you want about Ohlund, but at least we’ve heard of him which is something we cannot say about his replacement.  Mikael Samuelson…nice pick up…but he just replaces Mats Sundin, Taylor Pyatt, Kyle Wellwood, or potentially all three…do we really have a net gain here?

It is easy to look at the glass either way with this team.  It just seems like one of those off-seasons so far where there are just as many questions in late July as there were when the season ended.  One can’t definitively say that this team is significantly better or, really, any worse.  It appears as thought the Vancouver Canucks will head into the 2009/2010 season with a team that is pretty much at the same level that last year’s edition was.  It will have a solid defense, adequate scoring and will depend on Roberto Luongo to take him as far as he is able.  One can say that not much has changed here….the problem is, much has changed around them.  The Calgary Flames, somehow, managed to stick it to the salary cap by signing all-star defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, while Edmonton addressed their main weakness by putting Nikolai Khabibulin between the pipes.  The Chicago Blackhawks, the team that eliminated the Canucks, went out and added Marian Hossa.  So, maybe the status quo isn’t really the status quo.  Canucks Nation better pray that Roberto Luongo can walk on water for them.

Advertisements

Q & A with Wally Buono?

So, Wally…what now?  The BC Lions 40 -22 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos Thursday at Commonwealth Stadium asked as many questions as it answered.

While it showed us that the offense is in fact capable of producing over four quarters instead of two, it asked us if this is only possible with Jarius Jackson behind centre.  It answered the question of wether or not rookie kicker Sean Whyte was capable of filling in for veteran Paul McCallum, but asked if the defense played well or Edmonton’s offense stubbed their toe.

The biggest question brought about by this game…if Buck Pierce is healthy enough to play next week against Saskatchewan does he get his starting job back?  Or does Wally go with Jarius Jackson’s hot hand?  So?  Wally?  This is a question that has been asked more than a few times not only this season but every season during Buono’s tenure here in BC.  Wally Buono’s embarassment of riches at quarterback over the years are a blessing and sometimes, it would seem, also a curse.  After both losses this year Wally Buono has had to field questions over and over about wether Buck Pierce should be pulled in favour of former starter Jarius Jackson.  Every time asked, Wally would shrug off the question suggesting there is no reason to question Buck Pierce’s performance and the media is just trying to stir up a quarterback controversy where there is none.

Tonight against the Eskimos, Buono’s hand was forced.  Buck Pierce taking a shot to the head and leaving the game with what appears to be a concussion.  Jarius Jackson stepped in and propelled the Lions offense to 38 of their 40 points…and he did it in impressive fashion.  He stretched the Eskimos defense by throwing the ball downfield while sprinkling in a few good runs by Martel Mallet.

So what do we do, Wally?  If Buck is good to go do you play the stubborn cagey old coach and put him back in claiming that he doesn;t lose his job to injury?  Or do you “give him ample time to recover” and see if Jarius Jackson can keep the petal to the metal of the Lions offense?  Either way, there will be a lot of questions this week for Wally to answer.  Right after he answered a whole bunch of them this week.  It never seems to end…does it?

BC Lions start 2009 season 0-2

I know the Lions started last season 0-2.  I know they ended up with quite a respectable record at the end of the year.  I know they won the Western Semi-Final and with a few breaks against Calgary might have gone  to the Grey Cup.  But this year seems different.   This year 0-2 looks like it could easily turn into 0-4…or worse.

Now, I am a HUGE Wally Buono fan, and I agree with 95% of his decisions.  He has clearly made this team a perennial threat to win it all since he has been here.  His penchant for finding talent, especially at quarterback is unrivalled.  I can’t argue with his coaching record either as he is about to pass his friend, colleague, and rival Don Matthews to become the winningest coach in CFL history provided he can win 5 games this season.  However, it looks like that is no longer a slam dunk.

With the departure of stars Cam Wake and Stefan Logan to the NFL, and Rob Murphy to the Toronto Argonauts, it can be argued that the BC Lions lost 3 of their 4 best players, Geroy Simon being the other.  That would cripple any team without question.  But to follow that up with the sending away of multiple-time CFL Outstanding Canadian Jason Clermont to the arch-rival Saskatchewan Roughriders, Otis Floyd who last week ended the Lions comeback attempt with a key interception for the Hamilton Tiger Cats, veteran Canadian lineman Kelly Bates, as well as stalwart defensive lineman Tyrone Williams many questions have been rised as to the direction Wally’s squad will be taking this year.

The above-mentioned names comprise half an all-star team.  They were replaced by….um, well…let’s see here…oh yeah, depth offensive lineman Walter Stith (now released), rookie lineman Dean Valli, previous year send-off and recent Calgary Stampeder cast-away Bobby Singh and a bunch of no-names and previous camp cuts.  The one pleasant surprise, in my opinion, has been import running back Martel Mallet, or as I like to call him “The Hammer”.   From what I have seen he has done a superb job filling in for the departed Stefan Logan.   I just wish they would give him the ball more often.

While it seems as though this article is full of criticism and laced with despair, I am very confident in Wally Buono’s abilities and the abilities of his staff.  I think the team will turn things around and make the playoffs and hopefully by then be firing on all cylinders and make a run at the Grey Cup again.  It is just not the near certainty it has been in recent years.

Welcome to Sporting Vancouver

Hello,

Welcome to the premiere edition of The Sporting Vancouver Web Log.  Here you will read about sports in Vancouver.  Wether professional, amateur, or recreational, all sports will be covered.  Vancouver sports teams and sporting events in the city will take center stage, but sports of interest taking place elsewhere will also be talked about.

We will venture to provide in-depth discussion and coverage of the most popular sports teams while also writing about lesser known local teams and events, thus providing a truly wide spectrum of sports coverage.

The latest Vancouver Canucks trade rumour, wether BC Lions head coach Wally Buono should start Buck Pierce or Jarius Jackson, will the Vancouver Whitecaps GM Bob Lenarduzzi ever convince city hall and the Port of Vancouver to give team owner Greg Kerfoot the go-ahead to build a soccer stadium with his own money?  These are examples of the types of professional team sporting interests that will be discussed in this space.

We welcome comments on any of the topics discussed, as well as suggestions for topics or local sporting events to be covered.

We hope to serve the growing Greater Vancouver sports market and create a social media alternative to the traditional sports coverage we have grown accustomed to here.