You are in for a treat today Sticks fans! We are so lucky to have the wonderful Lisa Pyatte, Vancouver Superfan, as our guest blogger. Saucer would have just posted the nekked Ryan Kessler photo about 20 times but Lisa wrote a kick ass post about her favorite Canuck - the always delicious Mason Raymond. Thanks Lisa for writing such a good, informative profile a million times better than anything Saucer could have pulled off.
# 21 Mason Raymond - Vancouver Canucks - Left Wing
2011 Stanley Cup Final - Mason Raymond claimed his place in my heart when he was shockingly injured and suffered a fractured vertebrae in Game 6. Mason had to be helped off the ice by his teammates and was later taken to the hospital. He was able to return to Rogers Arena during the final game of the series, even though he was wearing a back brace. Even though he couldn't play in the game he obviously wanted to be there to support his team and the Vancouver fans, and to show that even a horrific injury couldn't keep him away.
Mason Raymond, nicknamed MayRay by his teammates, and sometimes affectionately called "Bambi" for his beautiful blue eyes, grew up in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. Mason was a second round draft pick by the Canucks in 2005, 51st overall. In his junior hockey days with the Camrose Kodiaks, he was named league MVP in 2005. He later played for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, where he earned numerous accolades, including All-Rookie honors, first team all-star, and most valuable player. He played two seasons with the Canucks' AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose, before joining Vancouver full-time in the 2007-2008 season.
Mason is a fast skating, offensive minded player. He is definitely a polarizing player of late, you either love him or you hate him. Vancouver fans are notorious for expecting near perfection from their players, and even after his potentially career-ending injury Mason hasn't been cut much slack by the fan base. But he made his triumphant return to the team in early December, 2011. He scored 6 points in his first seven games back but fell in to a scoring slump after that streak. However, I believe with a full summer to get his body back to peak condition and participating in a complete training camp, he can return to the speedy skater he's been in the past and rediscover his scoring touch and ability to make plays, all the while dazzling his opponents with his skill (which includes one of my favorite moves, the Spin-o-Raymond). See below:
Much speculation was made over whether he would be traded by the trade deadline this past February, but the Canucks agreed to a one year contract extension for Mase. One of the many reasons I love Mason is because of his tenacity and his refusal to quit. After his injury, he was unsure if he would even walk again, much less play professional hockey. Mason is a quiet player, you don't hear too much about him in the press (minus all the trade talk). He definitely has a heart for hockey and even though he may have seemed tentative at times in the late part of the season, I believe the heart for hockey is still there and he just needs to rebuild his confidence.
And, I love his on and off the ice chemistry with Alex Burrows.
And, yes, they have their own "bromance" thing going on, according to Kevin Bieksa
("him and Burrows have their own little thing going on, like movies together, room service…they get one king bed for the room and they just sleep on different ends…")
Also, he's such a great roommate, that he even gets breakfast for Burr so he can sleep in. Considerate, yes?
I hate that Mason lost so much playing time due to his injury in the 2011 finals.
I hate that he was made a healthy scratch in 2012 for the first time in 3 years.
I hate that people complain that he falls down all the time. People may hate him because they say he's lost his offensive touch, he's not scoring goals, or willing to go to the net. That he always goes to the corners, and sometimes stays on the periphery of the play. The majority of press was screaming for him to be traded for a more useful player. It seemed like everything he did last season was put under the microscope and he could rarely do anything right. Some said his best days were behind him at 26.
I say, give the guy a break, and remind yourself that he had to recover from a serious injury, with no opportunity for any type of work-outs for basically two months. Not to mention a total of five and a half months out of the game, with little ability to work out like hockey players need in order to maintain their game.
Let's Get Scrappy
Raymond's not much of a fighter on the ice (only 1 fight at hockeyfights.com), but he has been hit in the face by a puck, and accidentally sticked by his own teammate, Kevin Bieksa. Luckily, not much damage to that pretty face. :)
And, he can throw a hit when he needs to:
Feed the Inner Fangirl / Fanboy
Mason is tenacious and a come-back kind of guy. But I think he's also one of the guys who his teammates like to tease a little and also take under their wing. His teammates give him parenting advice, too! He's a speedy winger who can skate fast and, when given the opportunity, can make some pretty dazzling moves on the ice.
And he can rock facial hair, and a cowboy hat, too:
I think his next season will be better, hopefully, one of his best yet. I'm glad the Canucks re-signed him for another year and gave him an opportunity to prove himself. He just fits so well with this team. He may not be flashy, or a tough guy, but he is, I think, one of the most dedicated players, and an integral part of the Canucks. When he's not there, you definitely miss him, and it's really hard not to root for the guy. You can't help but want to see what he'll be able to do this upcoming season. I hope there are a lot of goals and a lot of high fives for Raymond. He deserves them. He deserves the chance to prove himself again.
And, just a bonus, this one's for you, Saucer:
Again, a huge thanks to the wonderful @lisapy74 for writing this brilliant post! Give her a follow!