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Vancouver Canucks


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Vancouver Canucks

Post by jedi17 on Fri 19 May 2017, 8:05 pm

Vancouver Canucks Jordan Subban asked to take a page from Ryan Ellis' book
May 17, 2017, 1:01 PM ET [632 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT
As the Nashville Predators continue their storybook run through the Stanley Cup playoffs win a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, their strong defense corps is getting plenty of attention.

Nashville's top four is as good as any in the league, and the Predators have long-term security with the group:

• P.K. Subban - age 28 - five more seasons at cap hit of $9 million
• Roman Josi - age 26 - three more seasons at cap hit of $4 million
• Matthias Ekholm - age 26 - five more seasons at cap hit of $3.75 million
• Ryan Ellis - age 26 - two more seasons at cap hit of $2.5 million

You want to talk about balance? All four of these Nashville blueliners are among the top nine in playoff scoring by defensemen so far this year. Josi's five goals top all defensemen, and he has 10 points in total—behind only Erik Karlsson. Ellis also has 10 points, Subban has eight and Ekholm has seven.

One area where the Preds' defense group doesn't rank especially high is in ice time. Where Ottawa rides Karlsson for nearly 29 minutes a game, Josi is the top minute man for Nashville at 25:59 a game. Subban plays 25:34, Ekholm plays 25:05 and Ellis plays 23:59.

I bring this up because Ellis has been one of the players that has really caught the media's fancy in these playoffs—and undersized guy at 5'10" and 180 pounds who was still drafted high—11th overall in 2010—after winning back-to-back Memorial Cups with the Windsor Spitfires.

The Canucks connection is spelled out by Elliotte Friedman in this week's "30 Thoughts."

A few days ago, I mentioned that Jordan Subban was on his way to Nashville to watch his brother P.K. compete in the playoffs—and maybe learn a thing or two.

Friedman reports that both P.K. and Travis Green are also recommending that Jordan keep an eye on Ellis' game as a model for his own:

“In my exit interview [at AHL Utica], Travis Green told me, ‘That’s a guy you should be watching,'” Subban told Friedman. P.K.'s youngest brother checks in at 5'9" and 178 pounds—and while it has often been said that he's too small to play in the NHL, he and Ellis have similar builds.

"It’s different watching Ellis in certain positions than, say, Zdeno Chara," admitted Subban. "I never thought that way before. I always studied the best players, wanting to be like them."

Given the difference between Subban's size and Chara's, Ellis definitely makes a better on-ice role model.

"It’s the way that he defends. He’s always in great position, always great with the stick. He plays hard and smart, he knows how to use his brain a bit more to slow down the game. I’m always trying to push the pace, so that’s something I’m going to watch."

Subban also tells Friedman about his plans for the offseason, which should include more on-ice work than in previous years.

“You have to be physically strong, but hockey players are made on the ice. I’m also shooting pucks every day. This summer is a big one for me. I have one goal next year — to be in the NHL.”

Finally, Friedman reports what Jordan has to say about how he and P.K. spend their downtime during the offseason—breaking down video.

“We’re really blunt with each other. He’ll say, ‘What are you doing? That’s such a dumb play.’ In the game, you think it’s not that bad, then I’ll watch it and think, ‘What the hell was I doing... that was so awful.’ But it’s the only way to get better.”

Okay, what do you tell P.K. about his video? “Oh, I’ll just tell him, ‘You’ve got to block that shot' or 'Your gap is too big.’” I’m betting it’s more cutthroat than that.

Though Ellis did get his first NHL action in his 20-year-old season, in 2011-12, but went back and forth between Nashville and Milwaukee in his first two pro seasons before becoming a regular on the Predators blue line in 2013-14. Jordan, 22, is through two pro seasons without seeing any NHL action, so he's a bit behind this development curve, but Ellis' ascension should provide some home for Jordan, as well as a model for his game.

I was a little bit ahead of the curve on the Ryan Ellis lovefest, as he was the late blue-line addition for Team Canada on last year's gold medal-winning World Championship team. In five games, Ellis was an unspectacular 1-1-2, but he played big minutes and was one of the blue liners that Bill Peters leaned on extensively through the final stages of the preliminary round and the elimination games.

Speaking of World Championships, the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. Canada finished off its preliminary round with a solid 5-2 win over Finland, but all eyes were on the last game of Group A, where Germany and Latvia squared off for the final quarterfinal berth—with the winner earning a date against Canada.

After Germany took a 2-0 lead, the Latvians came back to tie. During our player interviews in the Mixed Zone after the game, we got word that Latvia had taken a 3-2 lead in the late stages of the third period.

By the time we finished speaking with the players, Hockey Canada's media relations administrator told us that Germany had come back to tie—on a 6-on-4 power play with 33 seconds left to play in the third period.

That set the stage for a five-minute 3-on-3 overtime period, then a five-round shootout, where Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Frederik Tiffels played hero with the only goal.

Germany's win meant that Team Canada—and the reporters that cover them—had to quickly make plans to travel to Cologne for Thursday's quarterfinal. Because the Germans are a host team, they get to play in their home arena, so Canada has to come to them.

For me, that meant a 4:30 a.m. wakeup call—just in time to see that Josi had scored the game winner for Nashville—and a 6 a.m. train ride.

It's sunny and warm here in Cologne—and that's about all I know so far. I've now had a much-needed nap and am getting ready to go out and do some exploring.

A couple of other Canucks-related notes about Team Germany:

• Our old pal Christan Ehrhoff is the team captain. He has only played in five games, but is 1-3-4 and is averaging 25:17 a game.

• And also on Team Germany's roster: Ralph Krueger's son, Justin.

I saw a Puck Daddy story yesterday talking about how Krueger had turned down two NHL coaching jobs this offseason, choosing to stay in his soccer gig with Southampton.

We heard Krueger's name tied to Vancouver's coaching position when it was vacant. I wonder if that was one of the offers he received?

In his playing days, Krueger spent the bulk of his career in Germany, which is why his son Justin was born in Dusseldorf 30 years ago, in 1986. A defenseman, he was drafted in the seventh round by Carolina in 2006 and spent two years in the AHL, but never played an NHL game and has been playing with Bern in the Swiss league for the last four years.

It looks like Justin has been playing a seventh defenseman role with Germany at this year's World Championship. He is pointless and a team-worst minus-four—averaging 11:10 of ice time per game. He played just 4:08 in Tuesday's game against Latvia.

    Current date/time is Wed 23 May 2018, 10:53 pm