The Canucks won their last game at home before Monday’s trade deadline in emphatic fashion and maybe we’re about to see some bold moves?
Is Jim Benning really done? There’s a big opportunity in front of him. It’s not a multi-year window, that’s for sure, but with Pacific Division the way it is, it’s a little insane but it’s also not unthinkable that the Canucks could make a surprising run to the Western Conference final.
They need to avoid Vegas in the first round, that’s for sure. They also need to avoid finishing in the wild card so they don’t face one of Colorado, Dallas or St. Louis.
Match them up against the Flames or the Oilers and there’s a decent chance of winning a round.z
A second-round showdown with Vegas probably goes as you’d expect, given the challenges of playing at T-Mobile, but hey you never know.
There are serious cap-induced decisions to be made once the playoffs are done and it’s unlikely the lineup will be as strong next year as it is at the moment. That’s why there’s a good case to be made to just go hard after creating as deep a group as you can right now, upgrading as much as you can, looking at an elaborate collection of moves.
The Stecher thing
Troy Stecher likes talking hockey. He likes interacting with fans and media.
He doesn’t not like being the story, unless it’s about scoring a fun goal or perhaps to gently chide a teammate. That’s his nature.
So when he was a bit prickly on Friday when asked, as he knew would come, about being in trade rumours, you understood. He also handled the whole scenario professionally.
After Saturday’s game, he was thrilled to have opened the scoring. He was thrilled he didn’t get another bad-luck goal against go in off his chest.
And he made it clear that he really hope he gets to stay a Vancouver Canuck.
The guy always draws notice from the fans.
The VGK thing
It’s been quite the thing watching them, already good, chasing defencemen because they’ve smartly managed their cap and their roster.
They’ve now won five in a row. They face some pretty mediocre opponents in the next five games.
They could win ten in a row.
And they’re likely to only get better in terms of the depth of their squad.
The Florida thing
There are so many ridiculous things about the Panthers, who lost Saturday to VGK 5-3.
There’s endless ridiculous fact that Dale Tallon sent the Knights two-thirds of their current first line — Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault — in a fit of spite.
Or that they’re playing defencemen as forwards.
Or that the team that Sergei Bobrovsky *used* to play for is doing just fine with goalies making much, much less.
How can you go on with Tallon as you GM?
The elaborate thing
I do think there’s potential for something really elaborate to happen in Jim Benning’s world.
We’ve heard about the Leafs’ interest in Troy Stecher. Maybe that brings back Tyson Barrie, but as I and others have noted, he’s actually a really weird fit on the Canucks’ blue line now.
That said, it’s really unlikely Stecher gets re-signed this summer, so you might as well use him as a trade chip. But if you move him, you do need to find someone, a defenceman who makes your defensive game better in the aggregate
With that in mind, let’s kick out an idea. This is pure speculation here. I have no notions here, have heard nothing — unlike the noise that is actually out there about Adam Gaudette or Troy Stecher.
So: how about Jonas Brodin? Supposedly the Wild are willing to move either Brodin or Matt Dumba. Brodin would look good in blue and green.
But how do you get him? Might Bill Guerin still have Jake Virtanen’s fight 2.5 weeks ago still ringing in his head? (No one tell him that was only Virtanen’s third career fight, his first since his rookie season.)
Virtanen alone doesn’t get you Brodin, but with Devan Dubnyk past his expiry date, the Wild sure could use a goalie. How about Thatcher Demko?
But of course, the Canucks have a pile of games in March. Even if they’d like to ride Jacob Markstrom hard, they’re going to need some starts from a backup goalie, so Alex Stalock, the Wild’s low-salary, serviceable veteran backup will do. (He’s also under contract through 2021-22 so you can expose him in the expansion draft.)
So Virtanen + Demko for Brodin + Stalock.
Now, you need to find a home for Stecher and if it isn’t going to be the Leafs, who else could do with? The Jets are on the lookout for D, so surely there’s a fit there.
The Jets have Jansen Harkins, who’s from North Van and whose dad Todd long ago played a handful of games for the Canucks. He’s feisty, scored in the WHL. He projects as a solid third-line player He’s just the kind of forward prospect Jim Benning and John Weisbrod love.
Plus, he’s rather cheap and with the cap challenges ahead, you need as many solid, cheap, young players as you can find.
The Madden thing
If there was a clear delineation in how Benning and his right-hand man John Weisbrod view their prospect pool, it was in trading Tyler Madden.
Most people I spoke with, scouts and otherwise, rated Madden as one of the Canucks’ top five prospects. Some even said there was a case for top three. His development since being drafted in the third round now has most calling him a first-round quality prospect.
He’s going to play, they say and he’s going to be good.
My impression is that this is how the Canucks’ scouting staff felt too.
But it’s clear that Benning felt otherwise. His judgment about what the kid should be was made clear in his comments
“I see him as more of a winger,” he said on Tuesday. That caught more than a few people off guard, not just those sitting on the media side of the table.
Benning did see Madden play live once this year. That was three weeks ago during the Beanpot semifinals.
Madden was not good. It was, by all accounts, possibly his worst game of the season.
The war room thing
If there’s final writing on the wall to be observed about the direction going forward of amateur scouting, it’s that while the Canucks’ pro scouts are here in Vancouver this weekend to work with Benning and John Weisbrod in the trade deadline war room, director of amateur scouting Judd Brackett is not. He’s been here every other season he’s been in the role.
That just about says it all.
The owner thing
On the other hand, on top of the big win, apparently part of the reason that Francesco Aquilini took a seat in the stands for a while was because his usual box had actually been sold for the evening.
Business is ramping up.
The Leafs thing
It was astounding to watch the Leafs float around in their own end, to watch them try to make a zone entry on the power play.
They looked like a bunch of guys playing shinny during a weekly casual ice time, less a team in an organized league.
The conflict of interest thing
Just imagine the Leafs hadn’t stunk up the joint, that they’d turned things around and taken the game over and then beaten the Canes.
First, we wouldn’t be talking about the cute story of a guy getting a win in a game he really had no business being in. A CIS goalie, like the guys who the Canucks keep on hand as their emergency backups, would do better. This guy may take shots for the Marlies and sometimes the Leafs, but he hasn’t played a real game in a long time and that performance was terrible.
The bigger issue is he’s *employed by an NHL club*. That he’s the on-call emergency goalie, under a league rule, puts him in an inherent conflict of interest.
He’s supposed to play well for whomever. If the Leafs had lit him up, which you’d expect, you still might wonder if he’d given his best. If I were the Florida Panthers or the Hurricanes themselves, two teams in a playoff hunt alongside the Leafs, I’d have been furious.
It’s not quite the same as the league’s top disciplinarian having a clothing brand that glorifies hockey violence being in partnership with a number of the league’s players, but it’s still a bush-league look.
The Eddie thing
Eddie Lack won hockey twitter today.
The Canes Thing
Let’s get the first absurdity out of the way: in a week where we were reminded that the NHL’s head of discipline runs a clothing line that has players *in the league* doing endorsements for and one of them this week got off without any discipline for a reckless hit from behind, it was pretty fitting on its biggest stage, there was another case of absurd conflict of interest.
David Ayres, the emergency backup who played for the Hurricanes on Saturday and got the win, *works* for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Imagine if the score had gone otherwise. If the Leafs had won. I mean, the chances were good if they’d been able to generate any shots.
They didn’t because the Hurricanes have an incredible defence. You just never have the puck.
And so much about how they run things is because they have some of the smartest people in the room helping make decisions. Eric Tulsky isn’t the general manager. He isn’t the guy making the final calls. But he’s a trusted voice.
And the Canes are winning because they’re being smart in their front office.
The kid thing
We should all take heed of this kid. The game can wait. The chance to watch cool things only happens every so often.
See you Monday.
Finding Your Perfect Match: The Best Ways to Choose an Online Sportsbook
In the ever-expanding world of online sports betting, selecting the right sportsbook is crucial. This is to ensure an enjoyable and secure gambling experience. With numerous options available, it can be challenging to find the perfect fit. For instance, you can be looking into sites like BestOdds to find a sportsbook to go with but do not know what exactly to check.
This article will explain the basics of finding an excellent online sportsbook.
Licensing and Regulation
The first and most critical factor when choosing an online sportsbook is ensuring it operates in a legal and transparent manner. A reputable sportsbook should possess a valid license from a recognized regulatory authority. These licenses indicate that the sportsbook adheres to strict standards, including fair play, responsible gambling and financial security.
Before registering, check for the sportsbook’s licensing information. In most cases, you will find this in the footer of their website. Some of the most reputable regulatory bodies for online sports betting include the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.
Additionally, research the sportsbook’s track record for regulatory compliance and any previous non-payment or unethical practices incidents. User reviews and industry news sources can provide valuable insights into the sportsbook’s reputation.
Odds and Betting Markets
The quality of odds and the variety of betting markets offered are key factors in determining the suitability of an online sportsbook. Competitive odds provide better potential returns for your bets, while a wide range of markets allows you to explore different betting options.
Compare odds from multiple sportsbooks to ensure you get the best bet value. Some websites and apps even offer odds comparison tools to make this process more convenient.
Moreover, consider the breadth of sports and events covered by the sportsbook. Whether you’re into mainstream sports like football, basketball, or soccer or niche sports and events, the sportsbook should offer diverse markets to cater to your preferences.
Security and Payment Options
Security is paramount when sharing personal and financial information with an online sportsbook. Look for sportsbooks that employ the latest encryption technologies, such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer), to safeguard your data. Consider factors like two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance account security further.
Payment options are another critical aspect. Ensure the sportsbook offers convenient and secure methods for depositing and withdrawing funds. Common payment methods include credit/debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets (like PayPal or Skrill) and cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin). Choosing a sportsbook that supports your preferred payment method is essential to streamline your betting experience.
As LeBron James enters Year 21, the theme of Lakers media day was passing the torch and sharing the load
The budding relationship between fifth-year forward Rui Hachimura and four-time MVP LeBron James has been one of the stories of the offseason for the resurgent Los Angeles Lakers. Stories of the two working out together have become commonplace. “I call him my Daniel-san and I’m Mr. Miyagi,” James joked at Lakers’ media day Monday. It was an appropriate comparison not just between James and Hachimura, but the legend and his entire team.
Now that Udonis Haslem has called it a career and Andre Iguodala is seemingly headed in that direction, James is officially the NBA’s oldest active player. He proved that he is still a superstar on the court last season, but aside from Anthony Davis and Taurean Prince, all of his Laker teammates are at least a decade his junior. In a perfect world, the days of James pushing for 30-point triple-doubles on a nightly basis are now over. He has a group of young teammates eager to learn from his example and lift him up when he needs it.
“I think with this team we have the most depth,” new Lakers big man Christian Wood said Monday. “No team in the league has more depth than we have.” This was the goal of the Lakers’ offseason. Though they didn’t make any particularly splashy additions, six of the seven Lakers to play at least 200 postseason minutes are back this season. Joining them are Gabe Vincent, a starter on Miami’s finalist from a season ago, and Wood, one of the NBA’s most dynamic scoring big men. Rounding out the new-look bench are former first-round picks Taurean Prince (29), Cam Reddish (24) and Jaxson Hayes (23). That youth-oriented approach was no accident, as Lakers coach Darvin Ham explained Friday.
“Now that we have, top-to-bottom, what we feel is a highly balanced, skilled, athletic, younger team of guys that have logged a ton of NBA minutes, we can surround both he and AD with these players who are coming in eager to contribute, eager to show that they can impact winning,” Ham said. “That’s gonna allow us to be able to be more efficient with his game-to-game minutes.”
Managing James’ minutes was difficult last season. The Lakers lacked depth on a roster depleted by the Russell Westbrook trade, and when Davis was hurt, James needed to carry a remarkable burden just to keep the Lakers afloat. He averaged 24.1 shots and 34.6 points per game between Dec. 18 and Jan. 24, Davis’ longest extended absence of the season. Roughly one month later, he suffered the foot injury that hampered him for the rest of the season. It’s an outcome Davis is hoping to avoid this time around.
“It’s my goal every year to play 82,” Davis said. Though likely unobtainable, keeping Davis on the floor will be essential to the Lakers’ championship hopes this season. In fact, James might even argue that his co-star’s health is more important than his own. “He is the face [of the franchise],” James said at media day. For stretches last season, he was among the NBA’s best players. Between Nov. 13 and his own injury on Dec. 13, Davis averaged 32.4 points per game while doubling as the league’s best defensive player.
But for the Lakers to realize their considerable potential, he’ll have to sustain that dominance for longer stretches. The supporting players, who were so instrumental in lifting the Lakers from out of the top-10 in the West and into the Western Conference finals, will have to continue to benefit from James’ presence as Hachimura has. The Lakers went from cellar-dweller to contender last season when they morphed from an older, star-driven roster to a younger, balanced one, and whether that means Davis stepping into James’ role as the focal point of the team or the role players improving with another year in the system, the Lakers made it clear at media day that they plan to continue that transformation.
The Growing Popularity of Online Casino Apps in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide
Online casinos have surged in recent years, partly because the pandemic moved people from traditional brick-and-mortar establishments to playing from the safety of their homes and partly because technological leaps have made online gaming more engaging and immersive.
In response to the rise in online casinos, companies have invested in bringing the experience to mobile apps. Apps provide players with an accessible way to enjoy their favorite casino games—plus, there are usually more features and gameplay is more convenient.
This guide explores the benefits of online casino apps, the legal considerations surrounding gambling in Canada, the different types of casino games available on apps and future trends in the industry. If you’re an online casino enthusiast looking to sample the best apps, try this list first to see if your favorite casino already has an app. Chances are, they do.
Why an app?
Smartphones have brought a level of convenience to life that is not always appreciated, especially as users become increasingly accustomed to having a tiny computer in their pocket. Ease of access to everything from email to real-time maps to e-reading devices allows for an unprecedented level of flexibility.
Online casinos are no exception. You can access a wide range of casino games while you’re waiting for a bus, relaxing at home on the couch, or during a lunch break. Apps, in comparison to online casino websites, provide a user-friendly interface that is specifically designed for your phone.
Online casino and gambling regulations
It is important to understand the legal considerations and gambling regulations in Canada, or from whichever country you are partaking in online gambling. Engaging with licensed casinos is the best way to protect yourself from potential harm associated with cybercrime, scams, or other unethical practices. Reading reviews from online casino comparison sites or verifying casino licenses is recommended before playing, especially with real money.
In Canada, the legality of online gambling varies across provinces. Some provinces have their own online gambling platforms, while others rely on offshore operators. As a general rule of thumb, online gambling is legal in Canada. The legal gambling age varies by province, so it’s best to check laws and regulations depending on your specific location.
Which types of games are available?
Most casino games have been adapted for mobile apps. Slot games are particularly popular because developers have been able to introduce vibrant graphics and exciting themes to the app experience. Table games such as blackjack, roulette and poker are also popular for those seeking a more strategic, reflective experience.
A lot of online casino apps also offer live dealer games, where players can interact with actual dealers and other players in real time. By leveraging a smartphone’s unique features, such as vibration, these types of games played on an app can feel even more immersive and authentic.
Future trends and advanced gameplay
The online casino app industry is continuously developing, with cutting-edge innovations and trends shaping the industry’s future. One emerging trend is the integration of virtual reality (VR) technology. VR technology, while still not fully mimicking physical casinos, does create a more interactive gaming environment for players.
Another trend is the improvement of mobile payment options. By incorporating a variety of payment options, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, making deposits and withdrawals in mobile casino apps is increasingly more simple and secure. Additionally, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are being leveraged to enrich the gaming experience, with AI-powered chatbots providing personalized customer support.
In today’s age, apps are a normal part of our daily routine. Online casinos have successfully tapped into ever-evolving smartphone technology to create engaging and accessible entertainment options. It is as important as ever to choose reputable service providers and practice responsible gaming, but as the industry continues to innovate, more complex and engaging options are on the horizon.
Finding Your Perfect Match: The Best Ways to Choose an Online Sportsbook
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