We can thank our hockey-loving Prime Minister for that.
But while the NHL hockey potential at Rogers Arena could be a competitive advantage for the Vancouver Canucks, there is another reason why locals should feel optimistic about the team’s chances.
Thatcher Demko spoke to the media this week, stressing how difficult it will be to get back in shape. The San Diego native said it was the longest period he had been away from the ice since he was eight or nine, and that is probably true of many others.
We’ve all seen what pre-season hockey looks like, and it’s with players who skate for weeks and months before training camp. While players will likely have a chance to skate before the season restarts, the weather is not exactly on their side, so there will be pressure to start quickly.
“For me in particular, I find it takes a little time to get sharp again on the ice,” said Demko, who added that it will rust after a few weeks of normal rest. “It’s going to be difficult to get back in shape on the ice.”
Demko said it was “overwhelming” for him at times during free time, adding “you just don’t really feel like you are yourself.”
The situation is very different for players in Sweden right now, and that’s where the Canucks could benefit.
Throughout the pandemic, Sweden has taken a controversial approach to avoid freezing its economy. Restaurants and even nightclubs stayed open, for example.
It goes without saying that the opportunity to hit the ice in this country has been greater, and that should give the Canucks a head start.
No team in the league has more Swedes (5) than the Canucks (minimum 30 games played), with Elias Pettersson, Jacob Markstrom, Alex Edler, Loui Eriksson and Oscar Fantenberg on the list. With Edler choosing to quarantine locally, two of the Canucks’ most important players – Pettersson and Markstrom – will have the opportunity to skate in Sweden.
And that’s something that makes Demko very jealous.
“I would just be in a better mental state if I could get on the ice every now and then,” said Demko. “I was joking with [Markstrom] that I might have to fly over there (Sweden) and crash on his couch or something. It is what it is. They are in a much better position, as the country has not been as locked up as North America. This is how the cookie crumbles. “
By the way, the only other Swedish goalkeeper in the Western Conference is Robin Lehner (Vegas Golden Knights). Other teams in the playoff mix with a heavy reliance on the Swedes include Columbus (5 Swedes), Calgary (5) and Nashville (4).
Another advantage the Canucks could have is the age of most of their top players.
After a long layoff, it goes without saying that young players will be able to bounce more easily than older players. I imagine Pettersson (21), Quinn Hughes (20), Brock Boeser (23), Bo Horvat (25) and JT Miller (27) will be able to hit the ground by running better than most.
British Columbia interest in game hosting
It was interesting to see how interested Premier John Horgan was in the province that could host NHL games. After all, fans won’t be able to attend, so what difference does it make?
While there is certainly symbolic value – British Columbia’s ability to host games would be recognition of the province’s success in smoothing the curve – there are also some financial benefits.
If the downtown proposal is successful, seven teams, plus the Canucks, will inject money into the economy. All visiting teams will need, among other things, hotel rooms and food from local restaurants.
Return to Demko
Demko looked frustrated with the long layoff, in part because he had just found his rhythm when the league suspended play.
If you remember, Demko was thrown into the fire during part of the season under pressure with Markstrom lost to injuries. After experiencing difficulties at the start, the 24-year-old had a save percentage of .915 in his last four starts, including a 49-stop performance in the last Vancouver game against the New York Islanders on March 10 .
Demko, who had an SV of 0.905 over the season with a record of 13-10-2, agreed that his overall game was up and down. He said he relied on Markstrom and goalkeeper coach Ian Clark.
“My teammates have been great all year. I was super grateful for them, I was super grateful for the relationship I had with Marky. I was able to talk to him and bounce his ideas back if I needed to.
“Much of my relationship with the coaching staff has gone through Ian Clark. I talk to him every day, I work with him on and off the ice, I watch videos, that sort of thing. Everything that happens, he is frank with you, and he takes the opportunity to learn. It’s something that I really appreciate about him. “
“There were times when things looked a little more grim, so to speak. And then there were many times when I felt really good and I developed. Ian was an excellent manager on both sides. “
Recording on Trevor Linden
Finally, Trevor Linden appeared in a 25-minute interview with Uninterrupted this week.
Much of the conversation was business related, so you won’t hear anything about his tenure as president of the Canucks, although I thought it was interesting to hear about Linden when he retired from hockey professional in 2008.
“I have been so fortunate to have held this position (NHL player) for 20 years,” said Linden. “I am thinking of entering the league as an 18 year old kid in 1988 and leaving as a 38 year old guy who was done physically and mentally. But grateful for this time. “
“I was ready to continue. I was ready to start and build a second career. I wanted to be independent from the game. I was so addicted to the game all my life that I wanted to do something that didn’t depend on hockey. “
Here is the full video: