Tag: Dan Cloutier

Jacob Markstrom

From waiver wire to All-Star, Canucks’ Markstrom reviving career in AHL


It has been an interesting seven months for goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

In July he reportedly asked for a trade out of Vancouver following the signing of Ryan Miller. The Canucks agreed they would explore that option.

Markstrom was placed on waivers and cleared in September eventually joining the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets in October. Canucks’ goaltending consultant Dan Cloutier admitted on Saturday that he wasn’t sure what state of mind the goaltender would be in joining the AHL club.

“I didn’t know what to expect when he first came down. It’s always hard for a guy to come down. A guy that got traded (to Vancouver) last year and it was kind of in the plans, but that’s the game of hockey,” Cloutier told PHT. “New management came in and all of a sudden he’s waking up in Utica. I have to give him a lot of credit. He’s been working extremely hard, he’s been a good teammate and he’s done everything I could’ve asked.

“I’ve been there before so I know what he’s going through. It’s not easy, but he’s definitely been a very positive influence on the guys.

Markstrom registered career numbers through the first half of the AHL season, was named the AHL All-Star Game’s co-MVP and according to reports last week is no longer a piece Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning is looking to deal.

Markstrom is 12-5-2 with a 1.98 G.A.A. and a .930 save percentage in 19 games this season.

“It started good and then it’s like the whole team for a goalie. If the team is doing good, the goalie is doing good too,” Markstrom said of his season. “These guys have been making life easy for me. The All-Star Game was an unreal experience especially being in Utica too the fans were great. It was fun.”

A lot of his success this season has to do with the help he received from Canucks’ goaltending coach, Roland Melanson.

“He was a guy that was a little bit out of control,” said Cloutier. “(Working with Melanson) settled him down and now that I get a chance to work with him, now that he’s got that technical base, I just want to make sure he doesn’t lose his athleticism.

“He was playing, sometimes, a little bit out of the blue. I think for a big guy like him, we wanted him to utilize his size more because he does have athleticism and he does have power.”

Markstrom admitted the adjustment took some getting used to.

“It was weird in the beginning, but right now I don’t even think about it. If you do enough reps in practice, it’s going to feel comfortable,” he said. “Different angles, everything is going to be at a different angle. Obviously you give yourself a chance on every rebound if you’re a little deeper in the net.

“My game right now, I like it and I feel comfortable with it.”

The 25-year-old is scheduled to become a restricted free agent following this season. As of right now, it appears Markstrom’s play has kept him in the Canucks’ future plans.

Welcome home: Dan Cloutier joins Canucks as goaltending consultant

Dan Cloutier - AP

You can go home again even if you’re the butt of jokes. Former Canucks goalie Dan Cloutier was hired by the team to be their new goaltending consultant.

The former first-round pick of the New York Rangers spent 11 seasons in the NHL and while he never quite lived up to the billing of a top pick, his career never lacked for highlights.

Whether it came from fighting other goalies (Tommy Salo still has nightmares) or giving up crushing center ice goals in the playoffs (Red Wings fans are still thankful), Cloutier had a memorable career. His time in Vancouver as a player was perhaps the high point of his time as a player, leading the Canucks to the playoffs three years in a row and reaching the second round in 2002-03.

Now he’s back in Vancouver to work with the organizations goalies in Chicago of the AHL. There he’ll spend a lot of time with prospect Eddie Lack. Maybe there he can teach him a mean right cross while helping him avoid heartbreaking goals like this one:

Kyle Wellwood can only laugh at fat jokes as ‘one of the lightest people in hockey’


The beauty of Internet-based mockery is that no one can know (with absolute certainty) if the author is being hypocritical when he or she makes fun of someone or something.

That’s the inherent sub-humor that comes with the near-seasonal wave of Kyle Wellwood fat jokes. Whenever the semi-decent center finds himself in transaction news, a new (or re-heated) batch of fat jokes is unleashed on Twitter and blogs like a warm tray of brownies. These jokes flow from all corners, even if the odds are pretty high that Wellwood is in far better shape than the people dropping those one-liners.

As with many jokes, the Wellwood fat barbs are rooted in some bits of truth, even if the situation was exaggerated. The forward went into the 2008-09 season admittedly out of shape, explaining that three groin surgeries and a broken leg fouled up his off-season routine that summer.

Wellwood explains that those weight issues are behind him, as he clocks in at a respectable 180 lbs now.

“When I came to Vancouver, I came off waivers from Toronto and I had three groin surgeries and I had a broken leg over the summer,” he said. “When I got to camp, I wasn’t in good enough shape or like the rest of the guys.

“That was something I fixed and now I’ve been in great shape,” Wellwood continued. “I’ve been under 180 pounds so it’s kind of a running joke — you still get the fat jokes when you’re one of the lightest people in hockey. You just laugh and shake your head.”

It’s a good thing that Wellwood can laugh about the jokes because much like jokes regarding Chris Chelios’s age or Dan Cloutier being “beaten” by PhotoShop beach balls, fat jokes are likely to follow Wellwood for the rest of his career.

Unless, of course, he makes a blunder that shifts the comedy to something else.