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Nucks Misconduct Roundtable: Bumps, Bruises, Old Games & the Judd Brackett Situation

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Thoughts on the possibility of the restart, rewatching games and more in this edition of the roundtable.

New York Islanders v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Every week, we gather up the Nucks Misconduct scribes under threat of a tersely worded DM and get them to weigh in on a handful of topics relating to the Canucks. Some are well thought-out answers to these questions, and some are from Jimmi and Westy. Anyway, here’s this week’s Round Table, and as always we invite you to weigh in with your opinions in the comments!

1- The big news from the past few days was the Nils Hoglander signing. With the knowledge that he will return to Sweden if he does not make the team, do you feel the Canucks will make every effort to find a spot for him, or not try to rush his progress and allow him to get more experience in the Swedish Elite League?

westy - Does Nils provide the 30 goal scoring punch we all dream about? No? Let’s not rush him then. I would also tell him to bulk up and work on his skating. The skill he has can’t be taught, but the fundamentals can certainly improve with another year in Sweden.

Rob - Rick Dhaliwal says his SHL out clause kicks in after 10 games played in Utica. If he is correct then I think he’ll perform as one of the Canucks’ best 12 forwards at camp but will still spend at least those 10 games in Utica before either being called up to the NHL or heading back to Sweden. I don’t think the out clause has to be enforced by either party which means he could still head back to Rogle without a stop in Utica if the Canucks’ brass is fine with it. Alternately, he could choose to play the entire season in Utica if he changes his mind and decides not to enforce it and has Rogle’s GM’s blessing.

That said, I think he will be given a fair chance to make the NHL roster at training camp. I think he has a decent shot at following in the footsteps of Boeser, Pettersson and Hughes and could make the team simply because he is deemed ready to play in the NHL and management decides to make room for him on the NHL roster.

jimmi - Agree with the above - he’ll join the Nucks right out of training camp. In 2023.

Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) - I think the Canucks have learned a valuable lesson from the development of their most recent prospects, especially Jake Virtanen.

Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, and Elias Pettersson were not rushed. In fact, had they not been ready to contribute at the NHL level when they joined the Canucks, they likely would have spent additional time developing in Utica. The organization’s experience with Virtanen was very poorly received, and he ultimately spent time the following year developing in the AHL anyway.

If Nils Hoglander is not ready for the NHL, it would be wise to be patient. He still has room to improve as a contributor at the SHL level, thus that is where he should play if he requires additional development.

One only has to look at some of the top prospects from the 2019 NHL Draft class to see that rushing a player in to the NHL is never beneficial and can only cause setbacks as they struggle to adapt amidst the overwhelming expectations and unfamiliar challenges.

Beggsy - There’s zero rush for Hoglander, and I think he ends up back in SHL next season. He had a solid year in the SHL but he didn’t blow the doors off. I’m okay with him going back to the SHL for another season anyways. Prospects tend to get flack for “not adjusting to North America,” which holds some merit, but the SHL is widely-considered a tougher league than the AHL anyways.

Strang (@Noahstrang_) - The Canucks are not desperate for forwards and therefore have no reason to rush Hoglander into a situation that he is not ready for. If he was dominant in the SHL then there may be some merit to opening a spot for him but he still has plenty of room to improve in his game.

Markus - I think there’s almost zero chance he makes the club out of camp, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As for if the AHL or SHL is better for him, I tend to think it would be better to go to the AHL just to get familiar with the organization, but I don’t have a strong take either way.

Kent Basky- I think they’ll continue with the program for most of their prospects: no rushing, and quite likely keep him in Sweden next season.

2- What’s more surprising: Micheal Ferland looking to return to the lineup should the restart happen, or Josh Leivo being nowhere close to a return at the moment despite the timeline for his return already having passed?

westy - Why, Ferland, why? I am not a doctor. I don’t recall ever having a concussion. What I do know is that repetitive concussions and their effects have long term effects that are not fully understood, and are not positive in anyway. He should retire. Leivo is not a surprise, just a disappointment that his body is not healing as fast as he wants it to.

These two examples, plus all the confusion with the pandemic should make people realize that doctors do their best to help people recover, but they don’t have all the answers. Don’t put that pressure on them. If medicine was so easy, you would have been a doctor.

Rob - I remember Mike Gillis writing Willie Mitchell off because of serious concussion issues and replacing him with Keith Ballard. If the Canucks had Mitchell instead of Ballard in the line up in the 2011 playoffs would the series against the Bruins turned out differently? Maybe. Mitchell then went on to win two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings.

So let us leave the decision whether or not to play again to Ferland, his loved ones, his agent and his doctors. If he essentially retires and goes on LTIR for the remainder of his contract then I am fine with it. If he wants to still play and is given medical clearance, a healthy Ferland is a playoffs difference-maker I think.

I think Leivo will be healthy and back for training camp in June if it opens then as currently projected.

jimmi - I’m not a doctor, but will jump at the chance to play one on the internet. Ferlie is cleared to come back when regular hockey returns. In 2023.

Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) - If Micheal Ferland feels no ill effects from his concussion, is deemed healthy enough to play, and can continue to perform at a high level, then he is welcome to make a comeback attempt if that is his wish. Only Ferland and his closest advisors — his family, doctors and friends — can gauge with any degree of certainty what might be best for him. One must be aware of the long-term effects of concussions, so I hope he takes every precaution.

Patrice Bergeron’s concussion in October 2007 ended his season, and at the time it was considered to be career-threatening. He returned, but he has experienced subsequent concussions throughout his career, including in 2013 and 2018. He has also been quite successful. When one looks at the long-term effects of concussions, the first hockey icon who comes to mind is Chicago Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita. When he passed away, it was revealed that he suffered from CTE, due partly to head trauma inflicted during his career as a player. He spent the last few years of his life with Lewy body dementia, which is comparable to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Every hockey player’s goal is to play in the best league in the world and experience a fruitful, fulfilling career. Micheal Ferland’s task is to determine if the path ahead of him in hockey is worth potentially sacrificing his health. If he feels that a comeback is worthwhile, then I wish him luck.

There is no need to rush Josh Leivo’s recovery, so I am not concerned about any reports about his preparedness at the moment. If he is still not ready to return when the Canucks resume action — whenever that may be —, at that point I might wonder more about the injury.

Beggsy - I was more surprised about Leivo...marginally. I’m not the wisest of armchair doctors, but a fractured kneecap sounds effing brutal. I dislocated a kneecap, but at least you can just pop that bad boy back in. I winced when I heard it was a fracture.

Ferland saying he’ll return isn’t surprising, the dude is clearly a competitor. Let’s just hope he’s taking every damn precaution before returning this time. You only get one brain.

Strang (@Noahstrang_) - I was more surprised about Leivo just because I feel like it’s very hard to end your career at a point when you are not ready. To myself, it looks like Ferland feels like he can still compete and so it’s not too surprising that he wants to return. Concussions are scary and everyone wishes that Ferland will make the right decision for his health but in the end it’s up to him and if he feels good and ready to go, he’ll go.

Markus - I mean I’m more surprised about Leivo, but only because we’ve seen this a few times with Ferland already. He clearly wants so bad to play, but I really don’t think it’s the right call. That said, I’m no doctor. Maybe Ferland is good to go, and if so, that’s great for the team, but I am skeptical.

Kent- I genuinely feel bad for all that Ferland’s gone through. As someone who’s suffered multiple concussions, it’s a hard thing to deal with, and you’re never fully “better” it seems. That being said, the Canucks and Ferland have to come up with some kind of plan that’s going to a) allow Ferland to be an effective player with the tools he has and b) not put him in a situation where he has to go through this again. Your guess is as good as mine if this is actually possible.

3- Sportsnet has been replaying all seven games of the 2011 first round series vs Chicago over the last few days. Have you been watching any of these, and are there some other series or games you’d like them to show?

westy - I don’t have Sportsnet where I live. Actually, I haven’t watched any sports or replays in the seven weeks I have been at home. It’s been a weird mental break for me. For the past few years, the Canucks would have been golfing by now. I’m not in a hurry to see any sports come back if it risks others who have to make sure the sport functions.

Rob - No I haven’t watched it. What I did watch yesterday was a one hour YouTube compilation of every goal the Canucks scored this season. It was very enjoyable. We have a lethal offence when our team is fully healthy. If Marky stands on his head, the playoffs, if they happen, could be a lot of fun. I prefer YouTube to Sportsnet for replays of past sporting events.

jimmi - Do these re-runs have a different outcome? If so, then I might watch. Thing is... I’ve joined Westy. Stop. Only metaphorically. We’re still separated by a vast social and geographical distance. However, I no longer have access to Sportynet or other cable TV sports. Have cut the cable. Saving lots of money and getting more yard work done than ever before. Which makes married life more harmonious. See below.

Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) - I’ve been watching a lot of game footage in my spare time. While Sportsnet’s rebroadcasts of certain games are neat and much-appreciated in the absence of live events, I would prefer to see a wider variety of matches on-air. I would like Sportsnet to be more creative with its choices.

Beggsy - When I have gone back to watch old hockey clips, I’ve preferred to go back to watch games from the eras where I either didn’t exist, or where I was busy pooping myself. Really enjoyed watching the Good Friday Massacre in 1984 (don’t call me a freak, I’m still talking about hockey) The 1999 Stanley Cup Final (the most recent one that I didn’t recall watching...I was five), and Kevin’s most recent clip on Pavel Bure.

Strang (@Noahstrang_) - I’ve watched a few of these game and it’s been nice re-living these moments and noticing some things I forgot. At the point they’ve shown a lot of 2011 and I hope that they show some more historical games that they have good footage for. I always am interested just watching the differences between the game today and what it was before.

Markus - Can’t lie, I really do not care about watching old games. The best thing about these replays was when Canucks Twitter lost their minds on Sportsnet for screwing up the game 7 against the Hawks.

Kent- I haven’t watched them all, but I have been enjoying them for a number of reasons. Fresh eyes on some players from the past to give you a different perspective on how they played. The differences in the game from then and now (especially the 80’s and 90’s games). The way the games were televised was a lot different, too. It’s never going to replace the real thing, but it’s been a fun trip down memory lane.

4- On a scale of 1-10, how concerned are you about Judd Brackett not being re-signed by the Canucks?

westy - As long as Ron Delorme is not signed again, my concern is 4. if there is only one guy who can scout for the Canucks, then the Canucks are in big trouble.

Rob - I’d say a 7. I think he deserves a lot of the credit he is given for our drafting, however, it is a collaborative effort of many people and it is Jim Benning who sets the parameters of the type of player he wants the scouting department to pick.

Overall, I’d say Brackett gets more credit than he deserves for successful drafting but I’d much prefer to keep him than let him go. He has done a very good job since he was promoted to the top spot for amateur scouting.

jimmi - I’m at a 3+. Not really worried, because the Nucks can just hire Rob now. See below.

Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) - I’ve been quite impressed with the team’s draft outcomes over the past few years, so I feel that it is important that they re-sign him.

I doubt he will stop tracking prospects once his contract expires, as his line of work requires him to remain knowledgeable about potential draftees, no matter who his employer may be. If the Canucks re-sign him, then his information and analysis skills remain theirs to utilize.

During the current sporting stoppage, I think there may be less pressure to negotiate quickly. No events are taking place during the summer, or possibly even the fall that require live scouting. Video scouting is the only option for now. I expect them to reach an agreement at some point. He has been too important to the Canucks in recent years.

Beggsy - Solid five. I think Judd Brackett has done a wealth of good for the organization. However, as mentioned above, if you’re scouting department is completely relying on one guy, then you’re in trouble.

I suppose we can just rely on Thomas Gradin anyways to cherry pick Sweden’s best prospects. Problem solved.

Strang (@Noahstrang_) - A strong six. The Canucks have had great drafting in recent years but it’s hard to tell from the outside how much of that is Brackett and how much is a collective effort. If the Canucks feel like they can afford to let him go and succeed without him than I trust in them to make that call.

Markus - I’ll say a firm 7. Judd is incredibly important and it would be a shame were he to be let go, but I would hope the structures are in place that success could continue anyways, as others have said.

Kent- Gonna go with a 7 here, and it just adds fuel to the fire that the leadership group of this team often doesn’t understand what it has for assets sometimes, whether that be on or off the ice.

5- With the lack of sports due to the pandemic, what have you been filling the void with now that we’re heading into May (movies, TV, music, books, or whatever)?

westy - I still have a job, which is great. I spent more time with the family. I am polishing up a book I wrote over the past four months. I’m trying to think of another idea for a book. Throw in a few house improvement areas that my wife made me do and I don’t have a that much spare time.

Rob - I retired in 2018 and I have been preparing for social isolation since then.

I no longer have to get up in the middle of the night or very early morning to watch our overseas prospects so I am drinking less coffee and taking less naps.

I am a major movie buff and I watch everything including bad movies. Without hockey, I may now reach my bucket-list goal now of seeing every motion picture ever filmed.

jimmi - I still have my job - actually busier than ever. But I work from home - have been socially/mentally isolated for a decade. Only change has been going grocery shopping once a month - in my vintage NASA suit. Makes it awkward to sniff the produce. Oh well...

No fighting with my wife about watching hockey on the big screen. However, since she’s lost her business, probably forever, she’s stuck at home all day - with me. Life can be cruel. Oh well...

Since I don’t have time to start or finish a book, hope to get enough time to steal Westy’s book - get it published under my pen name ‘Ken Bassie’ and rake in the millions. Would solve Westy’s problem of another book idea: “Theft’s Just Another Word For Plagerism”. Win-Win.

Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) - I’m working on some new content for Nucks Misconduct and a few other publications. I’ve been watching a lot of historical hockey footage in the meantime, editing, and discovering new music. I look forward to sharing some of my latest work soon!

Beggsy - My wife and I have both been able to continue working from home, thankfully. We also found out that we’re expecting our first child in October, so we’ve been basking in that great news, getting ready for that moment.

I just finished a little weekend movie marathon with my wife and father in-law, since they hadn’t seen the first six Star Wars movies. On Netflix, I’ve been hooked on “Money Heist,” while I’ve been reading “The Real Frank Zappa Book.”

I gotta say that I’ve been lucky enough to spend some of this quarantine writing and editing for this great site while working with a bunch of diverse, talented writers. Kudos to the Nucks Misconduct team for continuing to find things to write about during this shut down. The end of hockey doesn’t mean we have to slow down, unless the NHL doesn’t resume until 2023...

Strang (@Noahstrang_) - I’ve been working on different items while watching a large amount of Netflix. Just finished “Ozark” which was great and have been watching the Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” whenever new episodes are released.

Markus - Music and Netflix mostly. Just finished ‘House of Cards’. Quality program. I look forward to this being over.

Kent- In a way, not a lot has changed for me. I work, and when I am not there I am at home spending time with the wife. The way I work has changed a lot, and I had to stop working one of the jobs (I’m a dietary aid in a long term care facility). The procedures are night and day different from when I started in January, and god January seems like years ago now. We’ve been trying to find entertainment that distracts from the madness that things have evolved into. Started watching October Faction on Netflix recently, and have been listening to a lot of Old comedy radio shows (especially British ones) as well as daily episodes of Bob’s Burgers.