Before we get to the mailbag, I would just like to write a few words about what happened in our market this week. I, like many, was absolutely shocked at the news Bell pulled the plug on TSN 1040. But more so, I was absolutely gutted for all the fine people that worked so hard at that station to put a good product on the air.
As a competitor, I always wanted to beat TSN 1040, but I never, ever, rooted against the people over there. I would listen daily to SNET 650 and TSN 1040. If you’re not paying attention to your competition, you’re not doing your job.
While yes, those at 1040 were competitors, they were more importantly friends and colleagues. To this day, Don Taylor and Barry MacDonald are the two most influential people in my broadcasting career. True mentors when I broke into the business. I worked with Blake Price more than 20 years ago at Sportspage.
Halford and Brough are friends. How many times have I seen Jeff Paterson at the rink (home and away) over the past two decades? I’m not sure anyone worked harder. John Abbott is a class act. Tomlinson, who travelled with the Canucks for a number of years. Rick Dhaliwal, who always reached out to see how I was doing. Producers like Henderson and McLetch, who I would joke with via text. Sekeres, who forced you to be at your best, but was always complimentary if you did something he enjoyed. Heck, Moj hired me as a writer in the mid '90s to start a little golf publication. Mike Whittingham, Trevor Martins, Tom Mayenecht, and Rob Fai -- the list goes on and on. And let’s not forget the fresh new voices like JD Burke, Wadden, Heatherington and Chand who were given a much needed and much deserved platform.
I remember when the team first hit the airwaves. It was a big deal for this market. To see it go out this way is incredibly disappointing.
It’s a very sad week for sports fans in Vancouver and the province of B.C. To lose a voice that large is unsettling. There is no celebrating on this side of the isle right now, I can promise you that.
Now let’s move on to something a little less depressing. The Canucks and this edition of the mailbag.
When does ownership step into this situation and make a move? Also why has Nate Schmidt looked so bad? Is he over the hill or will this be an anomaly year?
— Arpan Parhar (@arpan_on_BC) February 9, 2021
I believe this upcoming four-game series with the Flames might provide an answer to this question. If things continue to go pear shaped for the Canucks, say they go 1-3 versus Calgary and look bad in the process, I wouldn’t be surprised to see ownership step in and do something.
I don’t know if that’s the GM or the coach or both, but you can bet the Aquilinis are pretty frustrated with the way things have gone so far. The fact that former Canucks like Jacob Markstrom and Tyler Toffoli have shovelled dirt on them in the process has only added to the embarrassment of some of the blowout losses.
If this was a regular season with regular streams of revenue, something might have been done already. Could you imagine the reaction to some of these games if there were 18,000-plus in Rogers Arena? It would be downright messy. But given the financial landscape you can bet the owners don’t feel like paying anyone to not work. Remember, there are reports that a buyout was off the table in the off-season because ownership didn’t want more dead money on the books.
As for Nate Schmidt? I don’t think he’s been as bad as some people have made out. No, he hasn’t been involved in the offence as much as the fans and probably even Schmidt himself would have liked, but he’s still likely trying to feel comfortable in the system and with new partners. Last week the fine folks at Canucks Army did a nice analysis of his time with the Canucks so far.
How much of an impact do you think the schedule has had in how badly the Canucks have played so far this season?
— CanucksLadies #3 (@HeHughes376) February 9, 2021
I don’t think there is any question that the schedule has played a part in the Canucks' tough start. How big of a factor is debatable. But it is a fact that the Canucks have played more games than any other team and more road games than any other team. Vancouver has already played 35 per cent of its road schedule.
Listen, they’ve been bad so far, no question. And there's a lot more to that than just a tough schedule for the first month. However, when a club is struggling, its coaches love to get practices in to work out the kinks. And since the Canucks haven’t really had much time to practice at all, it’s been tough for Travis Green and company to work on some things on the ice.
Which line will Luke Hughes best fit on next season?
— Easybreezy (@Easybreezy0722) February 9, 2021
That’s the spirit! Trying to make something positive out of what the Canucks have looked like so far. I like it. He is the tallest of the three Hughes brothers. And Jack and Quinn both say he has the ability to be the best of the three. It will be interesting to see where the young defenceman will get drafted this summer.
If journalism didn’t work out what was plan b?
— ron paterson (@sxyron) February 9, 2021
That’s a good question, because I’m not really sure what would have happened. I always wanted to have a job that had something to do with sports. So, if broadcast journalism wouldn’t have worked out I probably would have tried to sneak down another avenue in the sports world.
In the late '90s I actually accepted a job with the Golf Channel in Orlando to produce Golf Central (I was working as a producer/writer at Sportspage at the time), but during the time I was dealing with my immigration papers, Sportsnet offered me a reporting job. Since my goal at that time was to be in front of the camera and not behind it, I stayed in Vancouver with Sportsnet. But who knows what would have happened if I had moved down south.
If you could golf anywhere right now and with anyone who would you golf with
Alive or dead
— Karl Gregg (@karlgregg55) February 9, 2021
I’ll stick with people who are alive for this one. My dad, Tiger Woods (I’m not the biggest Woods fan in the world, however to say you played with him would be a great story) and Rory McIlroy at Augusta. Enough said.
This one is for Peach - what’s your favourite current toy?
— myra (@myra_mc) February 9, 2021
For the longest time it was a pink unicorn stuffed animal. Peach has moved on from that though. More often than not she goes for this squeaky duck. The duck is on its last legs, though.
The avocado toast is another fave stuffie she likes to grab out of her toy box.