The first round of the playoffs is officially completed, and there are a few surprises. Who would have thought that in both the Eastern and Western conferences the #7 and #8 seeds would advance to Round 2? The Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, and Dallas Stars remain in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
In this set of news and
Item One: Wayne Gretzky Really Likes Elias Pettersson
In the translated version, Gretzky noted that he and Pettersson shared similarities. First, neither was the fastest skater, had the hardest shot, or were big players. But Gretzky commends Pettersson for seeing the ice well and understanding the game. Gretzky also raved about Pettersson’s work ethic, noting that if he loses the puck, he immediately tries to win it back.
Gretzky also noted that Pettersson was similar to NBA great Michael Jordan. Jordan wasn’t the first person chosen in the NBA Draft, but he was obviously the class of that draft – or of any other. Jordan became a franchise player with the Chicago Bulls in much the same way Pettersson might become the Canucks’ franchise player.
Gretzky said that he loves watching Pettersson play because he’s “so selfless.” He hopes the young Swede “will score that fourth, fifth or six point in the game.”
Item Two: Don Cherry Doesn’t Think Elias Pettersson Should Be Rookie of the Year
Speaking of Pettersson, in a Coaches Corner segment Cherry called Jordan Binnington amazing and stated the Binnington should be the Rookie of the Year instead of Pettersson.
When Ron MacLean interjected that Binnington had not played enough games and that “Elias Pettersson’s going to win the Rookie of the Year.” Cherry retorted, “I don’t care! He (Binnington) should be Rookie of the Year… You know he should be Rookie of the Year.”
Item Three: Thatcher Demko Re-Signs with the Canucks
The NHL reported that the Canucks had re-signed goaltender Thatcher Demko to a two-year contract extension worth $1.05 million annually. General manager Jim Benning noted that the team was “pleased with the progression Thatcher took in his game last season and the way he held his own against NHL competition down the stretch.”
Benning added, “Playing in the World Championships will be another important part of his development and we’re excited to see where he takes his game next.”
The 23-year-old Demko played in nine games for the Canucks during the 2018-19 season, with a 4-3-1 record, a .913 save percentage (SV%), and a 2.81 goals-against average. During March, Demko had a .924 SV% in six starts. In his best game, he made 37 saves against the Los Angeles Kings. Interestingly, Demko was the only goaltender in Canucks history to win his first two NHL games.
Demko, who is from San Diego, California, was the 36th-overall pick by the Canucks in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Item Three: Alex Edler Named Canucks’ Nominee for King Clancy Award
Last week, the NHL announced its team nominees for the 2018-19 King Clancy Memorial Trophy. Alex Edler was named the Canucks’ nominee for the award, which is given “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”
Edler was not the first Canucks player to be
Edler has worked with Canuck Place and has visited children at Children’s Hospital. His Eagle’s Nest Program has hosted children and their families who deal with illness or injury at Canucks games.
The three finalists for the 2018-19 King Clancy Memorial Trophy were named on April 23: they were the New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and the Minnesota Wild left-winger Jason Zucker.
For what’s it’s worth, I personally wish to thank all those NHL players who use their money, time, and influence to help others within their communities – regardless of whatever team they might play with. On this count, I am not a homer.
Item Four: Soderstrom, Caufield or Harley Possible No. 10 Draft Pick
There’s been a lot of
However, Craig Button of TSN, who matches different team’s needs with the available talent in the draft, projects that Caufield – who has been described as the best goal scorer in this year’s draft – will be chosen by the Edmonton Oilers at No. 8.
With the Canucks as the other Canadian team picking in the top-10, Button sees Mississauga Steelheads defenseman Thomas Harley as a good fit at No. 10. The 6-foot-3, 188-pound defenseman scored 11 goals, 47 assists and 58 points in 68 OHL games this season. Harley is currently representing Canada at the World U-18 tournament in Sweden.
As Button noted, “I could see Thomas Harley and (2018 draft pick) Quinn Hughes being dominant defensemen for a long time in Vancouver.”
There are Stanley Cup Playoff games to watch, and lots of fan discussion about the NHL Draft. In the meantime, Canuck fans will be as engaged as ever speculating to see what names pop up as possible No. 10 picks this week.
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act).
If you wonder why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who’s also Jim Parsons – wrote for The Hockey Writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “old,” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher.” The literal translation of lǎoshī is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Today, other than writing for The Hockey Writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf