Maple Leafs, Browns, Cubs, Canucks On List Of Sport’s Longest Active Title Droughts 

PHOTO: The Sharks and Bulldogs celebrate during their preliminary final victories. (AAP/Getty)

By Jon Healy

September 26, 2016

This year’s AFL and NRL grand finals could play host to two drought-breaking victories.

The Western Bulldogs and Cronulla Sharkswill contest the last match of the year in their respective codes on the weekend with the chance to end decades of heartache for their fans.

The Bulldogs, or Footscray Football Club, have not only gone decades without winning a flag, but have only reached one other season decider since taking out the title in 1954.

In that 1961 fixture, Footscray jumped out to an early lead, but kicked just 2.4 (16) in the second half while Hawthorn booted 67 points to hammer them by 43.

They had one shot, one opportunity, one moment, to seize everything they ever wanted … and they let it slip.

Cronulla, meanwhile, has been in the top flight rugby league competition since 1967 and never won it all, missing out in the 1973, 1978 (via a replay) and 1997 (Super League) grand finals.

So, can one or both of these teams shake the monkey off their backs and get off this list of some of sport’s most title-hungry teams?

Chicago Cubs — No World Series win since 1908

Cubs fans look on during the 2008 MLB playoffs

Long-suffering fans … The Cubs faithful look on during another loss during the 2008 playoffs.(Getty Images: Jamie Squire)

Baseball might do superstition better than any other sport, and the Curse of the Billy Goat is one of its best.

The last time the Cubs reached the World Series, in 1945, Billy Sianis tried to get into game four to watch his team go around against Detroit at Wrigley Field.

Unfortunately, Sianis had with him a goat — he was the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern — and security refused to let the animal in because you cannot bring random animals to sporting events, especially those that have a reputation for eating everything in sight.

The story goes, Sianis appealed Cubs owner PK Wrigley, who also denied the goat entry, prompting Sianis to exclaim: “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more.” And win they have not.

But, with the Cubs currently boasting the most wins in the MLB, and the Sharks and Bulldogs heading to deciders, 2016 could be the year for a hard rain to fall on some sporting droughts.

Toronto Maple Leafs — No Stanley Cup win since 1967

Toronto Maple Leafs dejected against Buffalo

PHOTO: Toronto has not returned to the finals since its last title. (Getty Images: Bruce Bennett)

Think about Toronto as the NHL’s South Sydney Rabbitohs.

This hockey-mad city saw its Maple Leafs lift the Stanley Cup 13 times, but not once since 1967.

Once again, they have not even stumbled into the finals once in the interim.

Although, maybe that is for the best considering when the Vancouver Canucks, who have never won the title, lost their third finals in 2011 the city was almost burned to the ground.

Cleveland Browns — No title since 1964

Robert Griffin III's injury troubles sum up the luck of the Browns in the NFL

PHOTO: Robert Griffin III’s injury troubles sum up the luck of the Browns in the NFL (Getty Images: Jason Miller)

Mercifully, LeBron James and the Cavaliers quenched the city of Cleveland’s thirst for a trophy by winning the 2016 NBA title, but football (and any other sporting) success still alludes ‘The Land’.

The Browns won an NFL title in 1964 but have not won or even reached the last game of the season in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).

With a miserable name like the Browns, voted by fans as an homage to former heavyweight boxing champion and Cleveland native Joe ‘The Brown Bomber’ Louis, making fun of this sorry lot is almost too easy.

Unfortunately, while some other teams on this list seem to have some upside and hope in the not too distant future, the Browns appear destined to be terrible for a while yet, having recently signed injury-prone quarter-back Robert Griffin III, who instantly got injured.

Liverpool — No League title since 1990

Gerrard skulks off after woeful Liverpool farewell

PHOTO: The Reds have won other trophies in the interim, but are still looking for another Premier League title.(Getty Images: Dave Thompson)

Some context is required to justify Liverpool’s spot on this list.

The streak is nowhere near as long as the others, but the Premier League is so top heavy that there really is no excuse for one of England’s most storied clubs to miss out for as long as the Reds have.

Of the 26 titles available since Liverpool’s last league win, which was its 11th in 18 seasons, 21 have gone to the other members of the ‘Big Four’ – Manchester United (13), Chelsea (4) and Arsenal (4).

Sure, Liverpool has been usurped by Manchester City in the awesome foursome but that only happened relatively recently and as the drought extends it is becoming increasingly difficult for Reds fans to keep saying their team is a major player in the league.

Source: Cronulla, Western Bulldogs looking to get off list of sport’s longest active title droughts – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

How good is the Vancouver Canucks’ prospect depth? | National Post

“I’ve developed well and have had some success and I’m a guy who has always stepped up to the next level when the challenge is calling,” Thatcher Demko said.

Patrick Johnston, Postmedia Network | August 30, 2016

It all depends on how you look at it.

At the top end, it’s strong.

But the list just isn’t that long.

That’s the conclusion reached by ESPN prospect guru Corey Pronman, who has the Canucks 13th overall in the latest edition of his prospect pool ranking.

There’s plenty of reason to be excited about the golden trio of Olli Juolevi, Thatcher Demko and Brock Boeser. One could be a top-end defenceman, another an elite starter in net and the third looks to have elite sniper written all over him. The 2018-19 Canucks could be a real hotshot team.

Juolevi’s hockey brain is his most notable asset, Iain Macintyre wrote in early July.

“I think it’s the same thing for your whole life: whether it’s on the ice or off the ice, you have to be confident,” Juolevi, 18, explained. “Be yourself. Don’t be fake or anything. If you know your strengths, you can use those. If you’re good at something, you can say that. But you also have to know you have to improve other things.”

Demko’s set to spend a season in Utica, working with goalie guru Rollie Melanson.

After he signed on with the Canucks, leaving behind a stellar record at Boston College, he told Ben Kuzma he’s ready to take on the challenge.

“I’ve developed well and have had some success and I’m a guy who has always stepped up to the next level when the challenge is calling,” added Demko. “I did get the opportunity to play at the world juniors against (Connor) McDavid, (Max) Domi and (Anthony) Duclair and that’s the closest I’ve been to the pro game. I expect faster guys and the pucks is going to be moving quicker.

“It’s just an adjustment period from a physical sense and just learning the grind of a pro schedule.”

And Boeser did everything you could imagine a college freshman could do, and then probably more.

He could have turned pro, especially with his father dealing with Parkinson’s and his mom working two jobs to support the family, but Boeser said he wanted to do another year of education. The Canucks’ cap planning benefits too. They save another entry-level contract year and you’d think they’d want to slot him right into the NHL. Boeser at 20 will surely be even better dynamite than he will be at 19. Muscle does matter.

“There’s definitely a thought about helping support them and getting some money,” Brock said. “But they also wanted me to go back to school and get another year under my belt, closer to a degree.

“It wasn’t that hard a decision. I think Vancouver and I were on the same page. Another year would really help me develop. I think I took a big step this year and I think I can take another step next year. (The Canucks) agreeing with me really helped. They didn’t push on me.

“I think it helps me build a relationship with them. It made it easier for me to make the decision to stay.”

The depth, though, isn’t much. The list has names like Gaunce, Pedan, Subban, Cassels, Sautner, Stecher, Brisebois and Zhukenov on it. Those are all interesting names — the first two have already played NHL games of course — but none of them screams possible star like Juolevi, Boeser and Demko do.

Source: How good is the Vancouver Canucks’ prospect depth? | National Post


Vancouver, B.C. – The Vancouver Canucks, in partnership with Sportsnet and Rogers, announced their 2016.17 regular season broadcast schedule today with the complete 82-game schedule set to air on Sportsnet.

Coverage kicks off with a national broadcast of the season opener versus the Calgary Flames on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, October 15th at 7:00 pm PST.

Canucks games will air nationally 24 times. Highlights from the national broadcast schedule include 17 Hockey Night in Canada matchups, one appearance on Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey and six Rogers Hometown Hockey Sunday matchups.

Sportsnet Pacific will broadcast 46 regional games with seven games airing on the Sportsnet ONE companion channel, Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey.

All regional broadcasts will feature play-by-play commentator John Shorthouse, former NHL goaltender and analyst John Garrett and rinkside reporter Dan Murphy. During Canucks home games, Murphy will host the broadcast panel live from Rogers Arena, while reporter Irfaan Gaffar will be at ice level delivering exclusive player interviews.

Visit to add the complete schedule to your desktop or mobile.

Every game will also be broadcast live on TSN 1040, the Canucks official radio broadcast partner.

Click here to see the complete game and broadcast schedule.

Source: CANUCKS & SPORTSNET ANNOUNCE 2016.17 BROADCAST SCHEDULE – Vancouver Canucks – News

Gas & petroleum rights sale, Aug/16 — In-Sights

The Crown Petroleum and Natural Gas Rights Public Tender brought in $950,121 this week, raising the 2016 eight month total to $5.8 million. 2015 and 2016 are the two worst years among the last 20. It’s another bad result for a Premier who ran the last election on a claim that large natural gas revenues would result in a debt-free, sales tax free BC.

via Gas & petroleum rights sale, Aug/16 — In-Sights

Canucks Sign Defenceman Olli Juolevi to Three-Year Entry Level Contract


Olli Juolevi

VancouverCanucksCANUCKS BANTER   By Andrew Chernoff   August 6, 2016

Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced Friday by press release, that the club signed defenceman Olli Juolevi to a three-year entry level contract.


“Olli is a talented all-around defenceman with high hockey sense who will be a big part of our organization’s future,” said Jim Benning.

“He’s had an outstanding year, winning the Memorial Cup and World Junior gold. We look forward to seeing him continue his development and compete at the NHL level during training camp in September.”

Juolevi a well-rounded blueliner:

A competitive spark-plug, Olli Juolevi is a complete, all-around defenceman who can hem the opposition in their own end or make things difficult for the opposition at home; either way, he puts the pressure on and lays it on thick. A strong and balanced skater, he can rush the puck through the neutral zone with ease or backcheck with haste. Uses his size to his advantage, but knows his physical limits and plays within them. Instead of playing overly physical, he makes his presence felt by exhibiting his high-end playmaking ability and puck possession play. All-in-all, a well-rounded blueliner who thrives under pressure and can be trusted in all situations. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)


Juolevi, 18, finished third among Ontario Hockey League rookie defencemen in scoring in 2015.16, registering 42 points (9-33-42) in 57 games for the London Knights.

Skating in his first full season in North America, the 6-2, 182-pound defenceman also earned OHL Second All-Rookie Team and OHL Third All-Star Team honours.

During the 2016 playoffs, Juolevi registered 14 points in 18 games to help the Knights capture the OHL Championship. Named to the tournament All-Star Team, he then added seven points in four games to help the Knights capture their second Memorial Cup.

Prior to joining London, Juolevi appeared in 44 games in 2014.15 with Jokerit’s junior squad in Finland, registering 32 points (6-26-32). He was also named the league’s Best Defenceman, Rookie of the Year and selected to the First All-Star Team.

On the international stage, the Helsinki, Finland, native helped his country capture gold at the 2016 World Junior Championship where he led all defencemen with nine assists (0-9-9) and was named to the tournament All-Star Team.

Canucks president doesn’t rule out acquiring a player with Evander Kane’s type of history

Jason Botchford: Why Olli Juolevi still hasn’t signed with the Canucks

Vancouver Canucks draft choice Olli Juolevi is the only remaining 2016 top-10 pick waiting on a contract. Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

Jason Botchford   July 26, 2016

At some point, the Canucks will sign their prized first-round draft pick, Olli Juolevi. It just might not be anytime soon.

Juolevi is the last signable player taken in the top 10 of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft without an entry-level contract. There are, of course, two players in that top 10 who have committed to college and won’t be signing contracts this year.

So, what gives with Juolevi? Those with connections to the talks say it’s not hard to figure out. Just look at the numbers. There are a couple of million of them in play here.

In signing entry-level deals, player agents can negotiate two types of bonuses, Schedule A and Schedule B. The maximum is US$850,000 per year for Schedule-A bonuses and every player in the top 10 signed for the max. That’s a lock for Juolevi.

The Schedule B maximum is $2 million in bonuses per year and only one player, Auston Matthews, got that. But every player in the top four had significant Schedule-B bonuses worked into their contracts.

Drafted at No. 4, Jesse Puljujarvi’s contract includes $1.65 million per year in potential Schedule-B bonuses. Interestingly, Matthew Tkachuk, who was taken by Calgary at No. 6, got none in his. That’s a significant drop-off in potential money. Guess who was sandwiched in the middle of those two on draft day?

Asked specifically if the Canucks were taking a hard line on Schedule B bonuses, Juolevi’s agent, Markus Lehto, would say only: “There have been discussions, but I don’t negotiate through the media.”

Asked about Juolevi’s contract status on TSN 1040 on Tuesday, Canucks president Trevor Linden suggested a timeline of a few weeks for a deal. Linden did appear to brush off concern about Juolevi’s contract status as no big deal, and he’s probably right.

But it’s worth mentioning that Toronto general manager Lou Lamoriello was criticized harshly by some when the Matthews talks lagged a bit. It was suggested then that Lamoriello risked alienating Matthews, while delivering a negative message to the rest of the league on how the Leafs treat their stars. Of course, Matthews was soon signed and all that talk was made to look pretty foolish.

Maybe more interesting was Linden’s suggestion that the most likely landing spot for Juolevi this fall is playing back in the OHL. Vancouver, and Lehto, believe the prospect isn’t eligible for the AHL this season. But he could play in Europe and, for whatever the reasons, the Canucks haven’t yet openly said it’s an option, even though it’s something that is being considered strongly by the Juolevi camp. Lehto said teams in both the Swedish and Finnish elite leagues have contacted him inquiring about the possibility of Juolevi playing there.

“All of the European teams see themselves as having a great development program,” Lehto said. “There is interest when they see a Finnish guy get drafted where he did and one who played really well at the U20 tournament, maybe the best defenceman in the tournament.

“Wouldn’t you think that kind of guy is very attractive? But what I’ve said all along, (Juolevi’s) priority is to make the Vancouver Canucks.”

That remains remotely possible. But if he doesn’t, wouldn’t there be more for Juolevi to gain playing in Europe against men in a high-quality league, rather than going to the OHL, where he’s accomplished about all he can accomplish, to play against a lot of teenagers? It’s at least something that should be considered while the Canucks are killing time before they sign Juolevi.

2016 NHL DRAFT TOP 10  — Annual average value of their contract

1. Auston Matthews, US$3.775 million.
2. Patrick Laine, $3.575m.
3. Pierre-Luc Dubois, $3.425m.
4. Jesse Puljujarvi, $3.425m.
5. Olli Juolevi, unsigned.
6. Matthew Tkachuk, $1.775m.
7. Clayton Keller — committed to college.
8. Alexander Nylander $1.775m.
9. Mikhail Sergachev $1.775m.
10. Tyson Jost — committed to college.

Schedule-B bonuses the team and the player can negotiate (maximum total is US$2 million per year)
1. Finishing in the top five for Hart, Norris, Selke and Richard.
2. Finishing in the top three for Calder and Lady Byng.
3. Making the first- or second-team all-star group.
4. Winning the Conn Smythe.
5. Finishing in the top 10 among defencemen in goals, assists or points.
6. Finishing in the top 10 in points-per-game (must play 42 games).
7. Finishing in the top 10 in average time-on-ice (must play 42 games).

Source: Jason Botchford: Why Olli Juolevi still hasn’t signed with the Canucks | The Province

Canucks Sign Andrey Pedan & Alexandre Grenier To Two-Way Contract Extensions

VancouverCanucksCANUCKS BANTER     By Andrew Chernoff    July 19, 2016

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have signed defenceman Andrey Pedan and forward Alexandre Grenier each to a one-year, two-way contract extension.

Pedan, 23, appeared in 13 games for the Canucks in his debut NHL season in 2015.16. He recorded at least two hits in each game played and led the team with 3.1 hits per game. The 6-5, 217-pound defenceman also skated in 45 games for the AHL Utica Comets last season, registering career-highs in several categories including games played, goals (7), assists (14) and points (21). Appearing in 129 AHL regular season games over parts of four seasons, Pedan has collected 50 points (15-35-50) along with 258 penalty minutes.

Pedan will receive in 2016-17:

  • $700,000 at the NHL level and $100,000 at the AHL level, according to

A native of Moscow, Russia, Pedan was acquired from the New York Islanders in exchange for Alexandre Mallet and a 2016 third-round selection on November 25, 2014. He was originally selected by the New York Islanders, 63rd overall, at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Grenier, 24, appeared in six games for Vancouver in his first NHL season in 2015.16. He also appeared in 69 games with the AHL Utica Comets, leading the team in both points (48) and assists (32) and finishing tied for the third in goals (16). The 6-4, 211-pound forward then added a team-high two goals and three points in four Calder Cup Playoff games. In 208 career AHL regular season games over parts of four seasons, Grenier has registered 130 points (50-80-130) along with 172 penalty minutes.

Grenier will receive in 2016-17:

  • $600,000 at the NHL level and $125,000 at the AHL level, with a signing bonus of $25,000, according to

A native of Laval, Quebec, Grenier was originally selected by Vancouver in the third round, 90th overall, at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Both need to clear waivers to be sent down to the AHL Utica Comets as neither are wavier exempt.

Canucks Sign Forward Michael Carcone To A Three-Year Entry Level Contract

VancouverCanucksCANUCKS BANTER     By Andrew Chernoff    July 15, 2016


Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced July 15 that the club signed forward Michael Carcone to a three-year entry level contract, according to a press release.

Carone will receive:

  • a pay out in 2016-17 of $625,000 at the NHL level and $50,000 at the AHL level, with a $25,000 signing bonus
  • in 2017-18, he will receive $675,000 at the NHL level and $55,000 at the AHL level, with a $25,000 signing bonus
  • and in his final year in 2018-19, $725,000 at the NHL level and $60,000 at the AHL level, with a $25,000 signing bonus, according to

Carcone, 20, appeared in 66 games for the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL in 2015.16, where he ranked tied for the team lead in points (89) and finished first in goals (47) and second in assists (42).

His goal total on the year ranked tied for second among all QMJHL skaters while his 16 power play goals ranked third in the league and he was eighth in the QMJHL in total points.

The 5-10, 170-pound forward has appeared in 116 regular season games over two seasons for Drummondville, registering 130 points (59-71-130) and 112 penalty minutes.

Prior to joining the Voltigeurs, the Ajax, Ontario native spent the 2013.14 season with the OJHL Stouffville Spirit, where he led the club in scoring during the regular season notching 37 points (12-25-37) in 49 games.

Back on July 10, Daniel Wagner of the Vancouver Courier wrote that the Canucks may have signed Carone after Carcone stood out at the recent Canucks development camp. Wagner wrote:

One of the most intriguing names invited to the Canucks prospect development camp was Michael Carcone, who was one of the most dangerous goalscorers in the QMJHL last season. Carcone evidently made an impression at camp, as he has reportedly signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Canucks.

This is according to J.D. Burke of Canucks Army, who apparently has sources now, which makes sense when you consider how many former Canucks Army writers now work in the NHL.

Carcone made an impact in the public scrimmage at the end of camp, showcasing his silky hands and finish around the net, scoring one goal. You can see him in the highlights from the scrimmage the Canucks posted on YouTube:

Carcone makes his first appearance at 1:22, skating through the neutral zone, then burning Lukas Jasek on the outside before evading Troy Stecher’s pokecheck and tucking the puck around goaltender invitee Rylan Parenteau. It’s a lovely goal and it wasn’t his only standout moment

He shows up again at 1:53, skating in alone on Parenteau, neatly deking past the pokecheck and forcing a nice save. He then takes a pass from fellow invitee Kyle Maksimovich, deftly chips the puck over Brock Boeser’s stick in the high slot, and forces another great save from Parenteau, who snags it with his glove.

Canucks GM Benning Seeking Left Winger By Hockey Trade, Won’t Trade Hansen

VancouverCanucksCANUCKS BANTER     By Andrew Chernoff    July 14, 2016


In an article in the Province by Ben Kuzma today, Vancouver Canucks GM Jim confirmed he is seeking a second-line left winger

“We’ve been talking to some teams and it would be a hockey trade,” summed up Benning. “The first part of free agency was guys signing and the second layer is going to be teams wanting to move contracts or bodies. Teams know what we’re looking for and we’ll see how it goes.”

Benning also told Kuzma, that Jannik Hansen, who was not shopped at the trade deadline or the draft, is not available for trade.

“We’re not moving Jannik,” he stressed. “I thought he was excellent for us last year and with the way the game is going with speed and skill, he fits that description perfectly. And we have him under a good (cap) number the next couple of years, so we’re not looking to do anything.”