Murphy’s Mailbag: Was the J.T. Miller trade worth it?

David Amber spoke with members of the Vancouver Canucks about J.T Miller. Bo Horvat and Jordie Benn were full of praise for their new teammate.

Let’s begin the mailbag with a question via Chris from Vancouver, who wanted to know about the night that Jason Strudwick fought Gino Odjick — about eight hours after they had been traded for each other.

Q: When did you find out about the trade?

Jason Strudwick: We had just literally gotten to the hotel. I got a call from Mike Milbury and he says, “We just traded you to Vancouver. Thanks a lot.” Everyone had been pranking each other so I thought it was a joke. And then two minutes later Mike Keenan calls and says, “Be downstairs in 15 minutes. One of our guys will pick you up and take you to the press conference.” It seemed very anti-climatic for the teams but it was a big deal for me.

Q: When you found out who you had been traded for, what did you think?

JS: As soon as I found out I was like, ‘oh my god, this guy is an icon in Vancouver.’ Those are huge shoes to fill, especially for a guy who had like 10 games of NHL experience.

Q: Was Gino asking you to fight as soon as you got on the ice?

JS: No. I initiated it. I was mad. Odjick’s press conference was before mine and he said something like, ‘I don’t mind being traded. I just don’t like being traded for nobody.’ And that pissed me off. I’m a proud guy and I knew I was a nobody compared to Odjick, but my ego didn’t know that so I was like ‘I’m going to fight this guy.’

I kept chasing him saying ‘let’s fight’ and then he finally said ‘OK let’s go!’ I knew I was going to lose, too. I didn’t go in with any illusions I was going to win the fight. I thought I was doing OK, but I was wondering why he wasn’t throwing any punches. Obviously he was tiring me out and then he hit me with a couple and down I went.

But I was so mad, and after the game I said I wanted to introduce myself so he knew who I was. I saw Gino a few months later and he told me he didn’t mean it like that, but I get why you wanted to fight. You have to understand in that time if you didn’t fight you were getting your show run so I wanted to stand up for myself.

Q: Toughest teammate while you were a member of the Canucks?

JS: Oh man. How about Brad May and Donald Brashear. Pure fighting it’s Brash. I loved being with him because at the start of every game he would say, “if there is a problem in the game I’ll deal with this guy and you take the next in line.” So if we were playing, like, Washington, he would make sure he took care of Chris Simon and then I’d have to fight like Brandon Witt or Craig Berube.

But May was such a gamer and would just get in there and scrap anyone and I loved him as a teammate.

Q: Do you get enough credit for your role in the shootout that made Marek Malik famous? (Strudwick shot in Round 14, right before Malik, and needed to score to keep the shootout going)

JS: It’s one of my favourite memories on an individual basis. I don’t know if I was more relieved or happy I scored. Because I didn’t want to let my teammates down and man did it feel like a lot of pressure. There was me left, Malik, Darius Kasparaitis, who we know has terrible hands, and Fedor Tyutin who had a broken finger. So the Capitals score and Tom Renney looks down and says, ‘Struddy you’re up,’ and I’m ignoring this guy. I’m not even going to look over.

But when I do he gives me this little shoulder shrug and I’m like, ‘oh (expletive).’ I jump over the boards and I’m swinging my stick around, like looping it, and I’m thinking to myself, you’re such an idiot because I didn’t know what I was doing. I did know that I was going to shoot. There was no way I was going to deke. I wanted to fire it over Kolzig’s shoulder and yet he’s like 7-foot-2 so obviously I’m not thinking like a goal scorer. And I kind of missed it and it went in the net.

Just to be able to contribute like that was pretty awesome. I got so many texts, people were ripping me over my celebration.

Okay, I admit, it is a little hard to tell what that “pink fleshy thing” is on Markstrom’s mask. Markstrom says the design concept is that of a Splash Monster. So the pink fleshy thing is the tongue of the Monster.

What makes it difficult to discern is the fact the cage covers up where the mouth is supposed to be. Markstrom said he got a text from his mom shortly after he wore the mask for the first time and she wanted to know “why he had two women’s bare legs” on it. I believe he’ll be coming out with a new mask soon.

Can I pick Hughes, Pettersson and Boeser? Because that wins! But if I have to answer let’s go with the West Coast Express. Morrison, Naslund and Bertuzzi could all skate, distribute and finish, and even though that trio never got to experience 3-on-3 OT, I like that combo.

I know Daniel is the franchise leader in OT goals (Daniel has 15 of them, just ahead of Morrison I believe) but in my mind the twins were always looking to pass it into the net. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. That said, Daniel’s last goal was in OT (albeit 4-on-3) and provided one of the greatest memories of my career.

No. But I’ll let you argue yes if it’s a thin crust pizza and has toppings you might find in a taco.

Let’s preface this by saying that J.T. Miller has been absolutely dynamite the first month of this season. He’s been a perfect fit on the top line alongside Pettersson and Boeser and quite frankly that line has been one of the league’s best by a number of different metrics.

If Miller can keep up this torrid pace and help lead the Canucks into the playoffs, then there is a strong case for those who believe the trade was worth it. I’m not ready to concede that yet, though, as I’m not sure if this club can afford to give away a first-round pick just yet.

If you’re a “draftist” then best case for you is hoping the Canucks miss the playoffs this season as the 2020 NHL Draft looks like a monster, and the Canucks would keep that pick. Then ideally Vancouver makes the post-season in 2021, because Tampa Bay would acquire that pick, unprotected from the lottery. I will say this though: Miller is doing his best to make the deal look good for Jim Benning and Co.

Peach loves being outside, period. She has a blast in the sun, snow or rain. However, she told me that her preference is summer as nothing beats going for a swim in the crisp, cool pools of mosquito creek.

In no particular order: Connor McDavid, Mathew Barzal, Elias Pettersson, Nathan MacKinnon and Alex Ovechkin.

Honorable mention to Quinn Hughes, Cale Makar, Auston Matthews, Brendan Gallagher and David Pastrnak.

Shorty and Cheech buy 50/50 every game and have never won. I’ll go in with them for the first game of every season when the cash total is crazy, but we haven’t even come close. Shorthouse did win once with Tom Larscheid during a radio broadcast though, and the audio is amazing.

Vancouver Canucks Radio
Canucks play-by-play crew wins 50-50 pot
November 06 2005

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