Tragic Loss

Today should have been a where the attention of the hockey was on Game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs to be played on Saturday night.

Instead, it the hockey world turned its attention to a horrific tragedy, as Canucks defenceman Luc Bourdon was killed outside his home town in New Brunswick in a motorcycle crash.

Today, when our focus was supposed to be on a series just heating up in a business and that has started to gain interest again down in the U.S., we were reminded that hockey is, after all, just a game.

Hearing the news that Luc had passed away was a shock.  My dad phoned me while I was out of my office, leaving me a voicemail that told me the tragic news.  I didn’t believe him at first, but within five minutes of listening to that message, text messages and phone calls began to pour in and, in all honesty, I had to read about it four or five times on four or five different websites because I was in total disbelief.

From all accounts, Luc was a great kid.  Shy, perhaps even lost in a world that barely sleeps and moves so fast just like the game to which this lifestyle belongs to.

Through all the criticism he faced because of a slow development -keep in mind, he was only 21- the former two-time Team Canada World Junior Hockey Champion pressed on.  He re-developed his game and was poised to make a run at a starting position with the Canucks when training camp starts up again in September.

I remember his first NHL goal.  That booming slapshot we had all heard so much about.  That enthusiasm and raw emotion he displayed that only players with a true passion for hockey show when they score, especially on a beauty like that.

I think that goal demonstrated the passion he had for hockey and for life.  Enthusiastic and passionate.

Today’s news shook up the hockey world.  It was a tragic and unnecessary shake up.  Why did a kid, who loved life from all we’ve heard today, and who had such great potential as hockey player and a young man growing up in a city and a country that embraced him have to go like this?

Luc is my age.  When you’re young, you have a feeling of invincibility, and not to say that Luc thought that way and because I never even met him and it would unfair to say he thought that way, but things like this you never think can happen.

This tragedy puts things into perspective that hockey is just a game.  We rag on players, sometimes drive them to go crazy, and yet when something like this happens, we are reminded that hockey players are human too.  They have moms, dads, sisters, brothers. 

It is with great sadness that we will never see Luc progress to his full potential as a hockey player, but more importantly, to a young man.

The thoughts of The Sports Corner are with Luc’s family during this time.

Trade Rumour A Source of Hilarity

Sundin Sweden

As I was driving around Port Coquitlam, B.C. today, I found myself in absolute hysterics, laughing so hard that I am sure the people in the cars beside me thought I was crazy.

What made me laugh so hard? 

Are you ready for this?

The newest trade rumour has the Vancouver Canucks trading Ryan Kesler, Luc Bourdon, Cory Schneider and a first-round pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Mats Sundin.

I’ll pause until you finish laughing…

Okay time is up.

The most ridiculous thing is, according to the poll question on the Team 1040 this afternoon, is that 13 per cent of people out there believe the Canucks should actually throw away four prospects to the Leafs for a 36-year-old center. 

It looks good on paper but paper does not do reality any justice.  If we were to look at the difference between how good a team is on paper compared to reality, lets look at the 1997 Vancouver Canucks roster, which included the likes of Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, Mark Messier, Alex Mogilny and Kirk McLean, just to name a few.  That team fell apart half way through the season and the Canucks failed to make the playoffs. 

Difference between paper and reality.

Reality.  As much as Luc Bourdon has failed to impress those in Canuck land despite having played well for a kid in his position, you need him right now.  Why?  Well, incase you haven’t noticed, the Canucks defence corps can’t seem to stay healthy.  If and when the Canucks defence gets healthy is the grossly overused phrase in the city today.  Even if they did all (Kevin Bieksa, Willie Mitchell, Aaron Miller and Lukas Krajicek) come back, Sami Salo is almost a sure bet to go down, and that’s not a knock him, that’s just the reality of it.

Kesler

And why on earth would you want to rid yourself of Kesler?  Okay, so he doesn’t have the offensive numbers that everyone expects out of him, but he does a whole helluva lot for this hockey club.  Next to Daniel and Henrik Sedin, he is the most reliable forward on the Canucks. 

Now, Sundin is a good center for the Maple Leafs.  But this guy has never won anything in the Stanley Cup playoffs, in fact, since he came to Toronto, the Buds haven’t made it to the Stanley Cup finals.  He won gold with Sweden at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, but no team in the NHL could be as good as Team Sweden was.  That team could’ve run the show on the Anaheim Ducks from last year with the talent they had.  The Canucks, or any other team in the NHL, isn’t Team Sweden from 2006, so we can throw out the Olympics.  The Olympics aren’t the NHL, and you don’t need a maximum of 16 wins in a maximum 28 games to win in the Olympics, you need three wins in a maximum of eight games.

These big deals aren’t always the answer.

If the two big trades of last year (Peter Forsberg to Nashville and Keith Tkachuk to Atlanta, both for role players and draft picks) taught us anything, it is that the big, sexy trade isn’t all it is cracked up to be.  Nashville went out in six games, Atlanta in four.  Gamble the future away for a first-round exit.  Yep.

The future for the Canucks is now.  You can’t disagree with that.  But to throw away three good, young players for a 36-year-old unrestricted free agent who may not resign here in the summer … come on people, get with it.  There is no guarantee that Sundin would be able to make a difference for the Canucks, and if he is traded here, there is nothing that says he will come back or not.  And if he doesn’t come back?  Well, then you’ve lost a second-line center, two prospects and a first-round pick and all for nothing.

You may as well go to the casino and throw down roughly $2 million on the number 13 at the roulette table.  Good luck!