Sports

What can we expect? 0

24 HOURS

24 hours' puck experts had a look at the Vancouver Canucks this year and offered their thoughts on the team for the new season. Their responses are highlighted below. For the full package, visit vancouver.24hrs.ca/canucks.

BARRY MACDONALD

Team 1040 commentator

HOSEA CHEUNG

24 hours puck scribe

GUTS MCTAVISH

24 hours puck mascot

BOB MACKIN

24 hours puck pundit

1Captain Luongo: How will he do?

HOSEA: "Luongo could be even better than two years ago. He is already setting the tone with his tremendous work ethic."

GUTS: "Luongo will have a better relationship with the referees. Players may think twice before running him."

BOB: "Luongo will look good with sick kids on public service announcements. Otherwise, the honeymoon ends with the first snappy answer to a question on the team's first slump."

2Sedins: Who will be the new triplet?

B-MAC: "Steve Bernier, as long as he proves he can complement the subtletly of the Sedins' game. Should be the best triplet yet."

BOB: "Steve Bernier is still no replacement for Anson Carter."

3Kyle Wellwood: Fan fave or flop?

B-MAC: "Leaning more toward the flop side. Anybody who doesn't take their conditioning seriously concerns me."

HOSEA: "The former Leaf is too skilled to flop, yet too irresponsible to thrill."

4Vigneault's new offence-first policy: Will it work?

HOSEA: "The addition of speed, grit and finesse will most likely improve on last year's stats, and maybe even bring back flashes of the early West Coast Express days."

GUTS: "Was he really brought in to light it up? The coach will no doubt be the first casualty of an inept offence."

BOB: "In Vigneault's world, offence is the first thing that comes after defence. It'll be worse in 2008-2009 without a frontline leader."

5Spend/trade now or wait until deadline?

B-MAC: "See what you have, but don't wait until the deadline."

HOSEA: "Look for the new management to be patient before spending money."

GUTS: "Spend to the cap ASAP. Give the club a chance to succeed early."

BOB: "Go for a high spot in the draft lottery. Bank the savings and spend it all next summer when it's a buyer's market."

6Advice for general manager Mike Gillis?

B-MAC: "Don't worry about the media. Don't monitor what is said. Don't challenge the inquiring minds. Building the hockey team is what should consume your time."

HOSEA: "Make the trade for that missing offensive player capable of taking Vancouver over the top."

7Most likely pleasant surprise?

HOSEA: "Fans have yet to see what speedster Mason Raymond is actually capable of. Look out for No. 21 this season."

GUTS: "I look for Mason Raymond to stick with Pavol Demitra and give Daniel Sedin a run for the team goal scoring title."

8Most likely going to the press box?

HOSEA: "If Matt Pettinger doesn't get waived or traded, he'll find himself in the doghouse for most of the season."

GUTS: "Kyle Wellwood when or if he stops producing. He doesn't bring much else."

9Excitement: Score fest or snore fest?

B-MAC: "Close to a score fest. But even if it's low scoring, it should be more exciting."

HOSEA: "It shouldn't matter as long as Vancouver wins. They have enough speed to produce an entertaining run-and-gun game, but they can also grind the opponents down to win those low-scoring contests."

BOB: "Snore fest. This team isn't built with conference conquest as its objective."

10New fan favourite?

HOSEA: "The shot-blocking Ryan Johnson is a perfect fan favourite candidate. All the fourth-line checker needs now is a nickname and a Facebook fan group."

GUTS: "Darcy Hordichuk! He will have the entire team's back making everyone else a bit more brave to go to those tough areas."

BOB: "Luongo. What other Canuck can be counted on to do something spectacular at least once in every game he plays?"

11Team muscle: Is it enough?

HOSEA: "This year, the additions of Darcy Hordichuk, Rob Davison, Steve Bernier, a newly added Shane O'Brien and a healthy Rick Rypien, will make opponents think twice before pushing this team around."

12Top scorer after the Sedins?

B-MAC: "Pavol Demitra."

GUTS: "Pavol Demitra will get all the power play time he can handle. As long as he has regular linemates there is no reason he shouldn't get 60+ points."

13Overall prediction?

B-MAC: "8th, 93 points."

HOSEA: "8th. The one thing that'll make the difference this season will be one-goal games."

GUTS: "An outstanding pre-season won't make me forget how much better the Oilers and Blackhawks are. 10th, 89 points."

BOB: "10th place, 87 points. Vigneault deserves coach of the year again if he can get this crew into the playoffs."


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