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July 19, 2009

The Dog Days of Summer

It's the middle of July. The sun is shining. It's warm, even in Vancouver (though you people in the Midwest would find it "cool" or something). Lots of events are going on around us.

But for the red-blooded hockey fan? It's a deadly dull period. Free Agency opened on July 1, and that day plus the next couple of days was intensely exciting, wondering where all the big name free agents were going to end up. The Canucks re-signed the core of their offense, the Sedin twins, so they didn't make any major splashes. They signed Moose-meat and other fringe players, but no Marion Gaborik or Marian Hossa or anybody like that. Don't get me wrong, I'm satisfied with that, but it wasn't very exciting. The draft took place the weekend before that, and it was interesting to see who the Canucks would choose.

But now? Nothing. The schedule came out on Wednesday, and that was worth a few minutes of examination to see where the Canucks would be playing and when, but that didn't last long. They don't play a home game in February because GM Place is getting ready for the Olympics and their aftermath. We go from the end of January to the beginning of March (a span of 14 games plus the Olympics) without a home game to go to. We do have tickets to 5 Olympic games, but no Canada games (two with Russia, though, so we'll get to see Ovechkin).

But now? Nothing. Training camp opens at the beginning of September, and there's still the drama of "Will they sign Luongo to an extension?" or the same question about Kesler, but without the drama (he seems to be flying under the radar a bit, which I hope doesn't come back to bite the team in the ass). But it's all low-key and it's more "potential" than actual excitement.

It's bored times like these that make hockey fans start to think a bit too much about the game. You get weird questions like "Should the Canucks strip Luongo of the captaincy?" or they get into arguments about how valuable a 3rd line fringe player is to the team. We examine to the finest detail any scouting report of even our 7th round draft pick from this year's draft, looking to see whether or not he might fulfill his potential, even though the kid's only 17.

Damn it, can't September 14th (the first pre-season game) be tomorrow?


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