Vancouver Canucks

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MLS team’s ticket promotion doesn’t go as planned, thanks to Canucks


The idea was simple enough: All the Vancouver Canucks had to do was score a single goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night and Major League Soccer side would give fans a chance to win a pair of tickets to their next home game against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

They didn’t have to beat the Kings, no, that would have been quite a task for a Canucks team that had won twice in their previous 10 games entering Monday night. Just one stinkin’ goal and a two happy fans would get to see Kei Kamara, Alphonso Davies and the 2-0 Whitecaps.

After a slow start peppering Jonathan Quick with just five shots in the first period, the Canucks really kept the Kings’ netminder busy over the final 40 minutes, firing 30 shots his way. The Whitecaps were keeping the faith:

But it was all for naught and LA ended up keeping Vancouver off the scoreboard entirely with a 3-0 victory.

So what was the MLS side to do in order to keep the promotion alive? They asked their Twitter followers to retweet a gif of some young Canucks fans and they would choose a winner.

Lesson learned, Whitecaps.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Vancouver Canucks to host 2019 NHL Draft

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While it remains to be seen if Rogers Arena will have hockey games played there in June 2019, the NHL will be setting up shop at the rink for next year’s entry draft on the 21st and 22nd of that month as the franchise celebrates its 50th season. Commissioner Gary Bettman was on hand in Vancouver on Wednesday to make the announcement official.

(If you want to feel old, the majority of players who will be selected that weekend were born in 2001.)

At the moment, the Canucks own all seven of their selections for the 2019 draft. That could change, of course, depending on how general manager Jim Benning decides to move forward with his rebuild.


The Canucks last hosted the draft in 2006, which saw Erik Johnson, Jordan Staal, Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom and Phil Kessel go in the top five and Mathieu Perreault (No. 177) and Leo Komarov (No. 180) go late in the sixth round. Defenseman Alex Biega, who the Canucks gave a two-year extension to on Wednesday, went No. 147 to the Buffalo Sabres.

That was also the weekend that the Canucks acquired Roberto Luongo from the Florida Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft.

Rogers Arena will also host the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, so fans can get a look at top prospects like Jack Hughes, Bowen Byram, Dylan Cozens, Kaapo Kakko and Cole Caulfield before they become property of NHL franchises.

The 2018 NHL draft will be held at American Airlines Center in Dallas June 22-23.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Canucks sign Erik Gudbranson to three-year extension

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The wondering can now stop as the Vancouver Canucks have extended defenseman Erik Gudbranson for three more years.

The extension is worth $12 million and Gudbranson’s deal will carry a $4 million cap hit through the end of the 2020-21 NHL season.

“Erik is an important part of our team and provides a physical element to our blueline,” said Canucks general manager Jim Benning in a statement. “His leadership qualities help us as we continue to integrate younger players in our lineup. He is a quality person, a great teammate, outstanding in the community and we are excited to have him as part of our team moving forward.”

It was two years ago that Benning, who inked an extension with the Canucks last week, traded Jared McCann and a pair of 2016 draft picks to the Florida Panthers for the defenseman. With the direction that the team is currently moving, and with the Boston Bruins coughing up a third-round pick for Nick Holden of the New York Rangers on Tuesday, couldn’t Benning have flipped Gudbranson for something similar before moving on to a Thomas Vanek trade before Monday’s trade deadline?

The Canucks are currently a weird mix of youth and veterans with big contracts, especially at forward — contracts that last beyond next season. They have all but one of their picks in the next three drafts at the moment, and should at least recoup one with a Vanek trade.

This extension is Benning digging his feet in and standing by a bad deal from two years ago. As Dimitri Filipovic of Sportsnet pointed out last week, flipping Gudbranson, whose minutes and possession numbers have dipped in Year 2 in Vancouver, would be the GM waiving the white towel and saying he lost the trade. Now he gets to stand by it and throw platitudes at the defenseman to convince himself that this was the correct way to go.

The one beneficial part of the Gudbranson deal for the Canucks? The lack of a no-trade clause, as per TSN’s Bob McKenzie. NHL GMs love themselves big defensemen and at 6-foot-6, 220 lbs., the 26-year-old checks that box. So there is a chance to pass this contract onto another team looking to add size to their blue line. But for now, that’s clearly not the plan for the Canucks.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Canucks, Panthers hold moment of silence after Florida school shooting Wednesday

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Be sure to visit and NBC Olympic Talk for full hockey coverage from PyeongChang.

The Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers, along with a full house at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, paid their respects to the victims of a school shooting in Florida on Wednesday.

At least 17 people died when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida around 3 p.m.

The Panthers, who play 10 miles south of Parkland at BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL, are in the midst of a five-game road trip.

The Panthers recorded messages of support prior to the game.

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad tweeted out: “Heavy hearts for the victims, families and first responders in Parkland today. #unthinkable”

Fellow defenseman Mike Matheson also took to Twitter: “Praying for everyone affected by the shooting back home in South Florida. Stay safe 🙏”

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Michael Del Zotto picks teeth up off the ice, is a good teammate

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Friends don’t let friends leave their teeth on the ice.

So Vancouver Canucks defenseman Michael Del Zotto did what needed to be done Saturday night in Toronto, picking up several of fellow defenseman Chris Tanev‘s chicklets off the ice after the latter got drilled in the mouth by a deflected puck.

It’s bad luck for Tanev, who only return to the lineup on Saturday after missing three weeks with a groin strain.

The video below shows the carnage, as point shot seems to take a deflection off the stick of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner‘s stick and up into Tanev’s grill.

Tanev, understandably, had to leave the game for repairs.

Mouth guards can only do so much, and it looks like Tanev will have a date with the dentist’s chair sometime in the future.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck