The Canucks aren’t playing come from behind hockey and they aren’t chasing the standings. What a luxury for Canucks fans in October.
The club will try to keep it going with a Tuesday tilt at home against the Predators, a team they beat a week earlier 3-2 in Nashville. The Canucks then head to San Jose for a Thursday match against the struggling Sharks.
Simmer’s Sunday 9:
1) The Canucks are off to a sterling start and find themselves trailing only the Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division standings. The Canucks moved to 5-2-and-1 on the young season with a 5-0 victory on Friday against the St. Louis Blues and a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers the very next night, both at Rogers Arena.
Center Elias Pettersson has 13 points in eight games played while his fellow center J.T. Miller has 12 and the goaltending has been solid.
The Canucks are getting depth scoring as well, a noticeable factor in the Seattle Kraken’s surprise run to a playoff spot last season.
2) Our sincere condolences to family, friends and hockey cohorts of former NHLer Adam Johnson, who died following an on-ice skate blade incident at a game in Britain on Saturday while playing for the Nottingham Panthers.
3) Based on my screwy schedule, there will be no “Simmer and Forslund” podcast with John Forslund this week and no “Simmer and Gabby” podcast with Bruce Boudreau as well. Sorry about that, my bad.
Lots of happy happy, joy joy and of course some hard core insider information returning next week.
4) The Seattle Kraken, the Canucks rivals due south, find themselves needing to dig out of an early season hole, one familiar to Canucks fans in recent years.
Nine games into the season after Saturday night’s loss in Florida, Seattle’s record is 2-5-and-2. The Kraken have blown two goal leads in three consecutive games. They managed to come back and win in overtime in Detroit after giving up a 3-1 lead in the 3rd period, but then lost in both Carolina and Florida after taking 2-0 leads.
The Kraken aren’t enjoying the aforementioned depth scoring they received last season.
5) The Battle of Alberta turns colder Sunday evening as the NHL holds the 7th edition of the Heritage Classic, a sporadic series of special event outdoor games featuring all Canadian teams plus one visit from the just-across-the-border Buffalo Sabres.
After missing two games due to an upper body injury, Oilers captain Connor McDavid is expected back in the line-up as his club takes on the Calgary Flames at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. It was the site of the first ever NHL regular season game to be played outdoors in modern times, featuring a 4-3 win for the Montreal Canadiens over the OIlers back in 2003. More than 51,000 fans were on hand to watch.
The success of the event spurred the creation of the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day in 2008, an annual tradition that continues south of the border.
The last Heritage classic saw the Sabres beat the Maple Leafs 5-2 in Hamilton, Ontario on March 13, 2022.
6) Trivia slot: Of their top-20 all-time leading scorers, which Vancouver Canucks player had the highest points-per-game rate with the team.
7) Willie O’Ree is getting his own postage stamp.
Canada Post unveiled a commemorative stamp this week honoring O’Ree, who became the first Black player to perform in the NHL when he debuted with the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens on January 18, 1958.
While that groundbreaking moment was of course monumental, O’Ree’s dedication to community, expanding the game, and his kind, friendly nature is what really stands out. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing him and just chatting with him on numerous occasions and there is no kinder, gentler soul.
8) The Boston Bruins, 7-0-and-1, and the Vegas Golden Knights, 8-0-and-1, remain undefeated in regulation this season. The Bruins host the Panthers and the VGK host the Canadiens on Monday night.
9) We always honour the legends who have donned number-9 in this slot, but how about the Canucks number-9?
We previously mentioned a few of the names who have worn the magic number in Vancouver, but it appears J.T. Miller is on pace to becoming the most prolific wearer in team history. Miller, at 311, is nine points behind teammate Brock Boeser all-time on the Vancouver scoring list and is a hundred or so behind former number-9’s Don Lever and Tony Tanti.
Barring anything unforeseen, it shouldn’t take too long to catch them. His last two seasons, Miller produced 99 and then 82 points.
— Trivia answer: Hockey Hall of Famer Pavel Bure holds the distinction of a 1.117 points per game clip with Vancouver. That’s 478 points in 428 games. Elias Pettersson is closing in fast at 1.009 points per game.
— Canucks Morning After; Homestand Begins in 2nd Place
An encore of last week’s very educational “Simmer and Gabby” insider podcast …