Friday, August 01, 2008

Is it the rain? Why won't NHL players choose Vancouver?

Am I being crazy, or is the Pavol Demitra signing the biggest acquisition via free agency for the Canucks since Mark Messier? No clue, so I am going to do the research for you, year-by-year, on what free agents Vancouver has nailed down since Messier signed here on July 28, 1997.

Aug. 5, 1997- Arturs Irbe (yay! midget goalie!)
July 14, 1998- Murray Baron
June 17, 1999- Alfie Michaud (yay! another midget!)
July 13, 1999- Andrew Cassells (decent signing)
Aug. 4, 1999- Doug Bodger and Martin Gendron
July 26, 2000- Bob Essensa (short-lived goalie hero in a time when Vancouver was a goalie graveyard)
Aug.14, 2000- Scott Lachance
Aug. 21, 2000- Bryan Helmer
Aug. 2, 2001- Andre Savage
Nov. 7, 2001- Petr Skudra (white pads!)
July 5, 2002- Tyler Moss
July 10, 2002- Jaroslav Osbut
July 11, 2002- Nolan Baumgartner
September 4, 2003- Jiri Slegr (I think)
July 2004- Jonathan Aitken, Joe DiPenta, Lee Goren, Wade Flaherty, Jeff Heerema
July 1, 2006- Willie Mitchell (now we're talking!)
July 20, 2006- Marc Chouinard = bust
July 25, 2006- Jan Bulis (and the hate begins)
Aug. 18, 2006- Rory Fitzpatrick (vote for dumbass! I kid. Rory was good.)
July 3, 2007- Brad Isbister, Lord Byron Ritchie, Curtis Sanford
July 9, 2007- Aaron Miller
July 1, 2008- Darcy Hordichuk
July 1, 2008- Kyle Wellwood
July 2, 2008- Ryan Johnson
July 10, 2008- Rob Davison
July 10, 2008- Pavol Demitra

There you have it. Demitra is the best UFA signing since Messier. Proof is in the pudding. Vancouver cannot lure superstars here unless their GM is a former agent of the player. Do you think Demitra would have come here if Nonis was the GM? Tough to say. Given the Canucks' track record at luring UFA's here over the past 11 years, I'd have to say "no."
Just looking at those names......depressing.

So what's the deal with Vancouver?
Puck Daddy had a post up about his picks for Top 10 Deadbeat NHL cities and Vancouver never made the list.

-Vancouver was voted the most liveable city in 2005. CNN confirmed that story.

- Vancouver was voted the best Canadian City in 2007.

- The Canucks though, have a brutal travel schedule again this season.

- The Canucks have not had a bunch of success in recent years as far as being a Cup contender goes. The last chance we had, with the West Coast Express running on all cylinders, the Wild came back from a 3-1 deficit against us in Round 2, making history.

-The Canucks are not an original 6 team.

But really though, what other reasons are there that hinder Canuck GM's from getting UFA's to sign here? Somebody help me out! Are we too far away from New York, or what?
Is the water too cold to swim in Megan Fox's facial expression seems to confirm that.

The City kicks ass. BC is the best province in Canada, period. It's just too bad that doesn't translate into UFA success.

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At August 1, 2008 at 4:39 p.m. , Blogger Temujin said...

Bryan Helmer was never given an opportunity to shine.

At August 1, 2008 at 4:43 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's gotta be management. When you apply for jobs and look for a new place to live, all of the things you mentioned have a top spot in your heart...but if the company and management doesn't seem to fit the recipe, then you'll back out of it.

The fact that the Nucks haven't signed too many UFA's in the recent past isn't really a decent indicator...take a look at the players they traded or drafted that stuck around for a lot of years (West Coast Express), because they liked it.

You could go either way...

At August 2, 2008 at 3:14 a.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Jin: Actually, I was a big fan of Helmer. But his career was short-lived after he left Van.

GZ: Sure, some players like it here. You have to think Luongo is gonzo after his contract expires though. Why did Naslund stick around so long? Captaincy and money, right?
Vancouver isn't as grandiose as New York is either. You hear about players telling their buddies about how they "have to play in New York". Atmosphere? Cool city? Statue of Liberty? Decent management? All of the above?


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