Cap­tain­less Canucks?

Vancouver may not name re­place­ment for Hen­rik Sedin this sea­son

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports -

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks could be with­out a cap­tain this sea­son and they may not be the only Cana­dian team to forgo a des­ig­nated leader.

The Canucks have said there’s no rush to re­place Hen­rik Sedin, who wore the “C” be­fore re­tir­ing with his twin brother, Daniel Sedin, at the end of last sea­son.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors and Mon­treal Cana­di­ens are also cur­rently with­out cap­tains.

The role comes with a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity, es­pe­cially in a Cana­dian mar­ket, said Vancouver coach Travis Green.

“We had a great one here for a long time. We’ve had some great cap­tains in Vancouver,” he said.

“I don’t think there has to be a rush to name a cap­tain. I think if you do, I think you’re mak­ing a mis­take. You gotta make sure who­ever’s named the next cap­tain is the right choice and is ready for the re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Coaches and man­age­ment will con­sider their op­tions at train­ing camp this week­end, but the role could go un­filled this year, said GM Jim Ben­ning.

“We’re go­ing to see the group and see who steps up. We don’t nec­es­sar­ily need to name a cap­tain this year, if that’s what’s best for our team,” he said.

Bo Hor­vat is one name that has cir­cu­lated in talks of lead­ing the team into a new era. The cen­tre is en­ter­ing his fifth NHL sea­son – all with the Canucks – and posted 22 goals and 22 as­sists last year.

The 23-year-old isn’t putting too much stock in the cap­tain con­ver­sa­tion, say­ing Thurs­day that the Canucks have “so many great lead­ers.”

“Any­body can wear a let­ter. Just be­cause you have a let­ter on your jersey doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean a whole lot,” he said.

“Ob­vi­ously, it’s a great hon­our and it would be a dream come true, but at the same time I’m not go­ing to change my game, I’m not go­ing to change who I am. I’m just go­ing to go out there and help this team win.”

If the Canucks choose not to hand out the “C” this sea­son, they may not be alone.

Toronto has gone cap­tain­less since 20152016, choos­ing in­stead to name three al­ter­nates. This year, the al­ter­nates were handed to Pa­trick Mar­leau, Mor­gan Rielly and John Tavares, who signed a seven-year, US$77 mil­lion deal with the team on July 1.

Ot­tawa and Mon­treal both traded away their cap­tains in re­cent days. The Sen­a­tors sent de­fence­man Erik Karls­son to the San Jose Sharks on Thurs­day, while the Cana­di­ens dealt left winger Max Pa­cioretty to the Las Ve­gas Golden Knights on Mon­day.

Mean­while, the Ari­zona Coy­otes named 27-year-old Oliver Ek­man-Lars­son as their new cap­tain on Thurs­day and the Carolina Hur­ri­canes gave the role to 36-year-old right winger Justin Wil­liams.

Seguin signs new deal

FRISCO, Texas (AP) – The Dal­las Stars have avoided any lin­ger­ing ques­tions about the fu­ture of Tyler Seguin, sign­ing the five-time All-Star cen­tre to a $78.8 mil­lion, eight-year con­tract ex­ten­sion that goes through the 2026-27 sea­son.

Gen­eral man­ager Jim Nill an­nounced the deal Thurs­day be­fore the Stars de­parted Texas to start train­ing camp in Boise, Idaho. The team posted a Mario-in­spired video on its Twitter ac­count cel­e­brat­ing the news.

“Emo­tional. It was a process, a learn­ing process this sum­mer. Learn­ing the whole busi­ness side of ne­go­ti­a­tions,” the 26-yearold Seguin said. “At the end of the day, I knew where I wanted to be. I knew where home was. That was here in Dal­las.”

VANCOUVER — The head coach of the Vancouver Canucks has a sim­ple mes­sage for his play­ers.

“Ev­ery­one should feel pres­sure,” Travis Green said Thurs­day as play­ers re­ported for med­i­cals and phys­i­cal test­ing. “Our team got 73 points last year. There’s pres­sure to get bet­ter for ev­ery­one.”

Vancouver fin­ished last sea­son sec­ond­last in the Pa­cific Di­vi­sion with a 31-40-11 record, and has lost stal­warts Daniel and Hen­rik Sedin, who re­tired af­ter 17 sea­sons in Canucks jer­seys.

The dis­ap­point­ing fin­ish and the loss of the twins means there are jobs up for grabs as the squad heads to Whistler for train­ing camp this week­end.

Green said he has lots of op­tions to fill the ros­ter, be­tween re­turn­ing veter­ans and up-and-com­ing young­sters like Swedes Elias Pet­ters­son and Jonathan Dahlen.

“I think we have a team right now that, well, there’s a lot to be de­ter­mined,” the coach said. “You look at our for­ward group and, man, there’s a lot of guys vy­ing for jobs. I’m not go­ing to pen­cil in guys to play in a cer­tain spot yet. I want to see where ev­ery­one’s at.”

Re­turn­ing play­ers who fail to meet ex­pec­ta­tions could be sent down on waivers, said Canucks gen­eral man­ager Jim Ben­ning.

“That’s what train­ing camp is go­ing to be for. We have ex­tra play­ers. The play­ers know that. And it’s go­ing to be how they show at camp,” he said.

Young play­ers who’ve been bat­tling for a ros­ter spot need to take the next step, whether that’s of­fen­sively or oth­er­wise, Ben­ning said, adding that he’s spo­ken to many who seem to have put in a lot of hard work over the sum­mer.

“They know what’s at stake. And I’m ex­pect­ing them to come in and be bet­ter this year,” he said.

One Canuck who isn’t look­ing to make any big changes this sea­son is right winger Brock Boeser.

The 21-year-old played 62 games for Vancouver be­fore a bro­ken back cut his first NHL sea­son short. He still man­aged to put up 29 goals and 26 as­sists, and was a fi­nal­ist for the league’s rookie of the year award.

“I think I don’t need to change my game at all,” Boeser said. “I think if I play the way I did last year, come to the rink ev­ery day with that same mind­set, take it day by day, work hard and with these guys by my side, I think I can have the same sea­son I did last year and hope­fully build off of that.”

Still, Green wants to see his team pro­duce more of­fence, es­pe­cially with the Sedins out of the lineup. Com­bined, the twins tal­lied 105 points last year.

Their im­pact wasn’t only on the score sheet, but in the locker room, too, said cen­tre Bo Hor­vat.

“It’s tough to lose Hank and Danny be­cause they were such keys to our group, but at the same time... there’s a lot of young kids that are go­ing to come up, that are go­ing to step in and try to prove them­selves as ev­ery-day NHLers,” he said.

Hor­vat is one of the play­ers ex­pected to take on a larger role this sea­son. Last sea­son, he played 64 games, notch­ing 22 goals and 22 as­sists. Hor­vat things he can in­crease that point to­tal.

“We want to keep get­ting bet­ter ev­ery year,” said the 23-year-old. “Scor­ing more goals and get­ting points is go­ing to win us hockey games. That’s the most im­por­tant part.”

Putting the puck in the back of the net has been a source of angst for the Canucks in re­cent years. The team scored 218 goals last sea­son and was 26th in the league in that depart­ment.

Staff have spent “count­less hours” this sum­mer try­ing to find ways to light the lamp, Green said.

“It’s hard to score in this league,” he said. “There’s good goalies, there’s good teams and we’ve got to find a way to do it if we want to have suc­cess.”

While the Canucks have a promis­ing group of young play­ers, in­clud­ing Boeser and Pet­ters­son, ev­ery­one will need to chip in when it comes to putting up points, the coach said.

“We’re go­ing to have to do it by com­mit­tee,” Green said. “I’m ex­pect­ing a lot of our play­ers to be bet­ter hockey play­ers than they were last year. We’re go­ing to need that.”


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