Jim Sandlak

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by skunt, Sep 30, 2018.

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  1. skunt

    skunt Registered User

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    Hey guys,

    Curious about your recollections of this player. He was before my time but I've been fascinated with his career for a few years.

    He came to my attention back when the Canucks traded for Zack Kassian. Someone wrote an article about Kassian being the latest chapter in the Canucks' long search for a power winger along the lines of Cam Neely. Of course, they HAD Neely - and my understanding is that they traded him, in part, to make room for Jim Sandlak...

    The narrative that I've read:
    -Sandlak is touted as a future 50 goal scorer after a dominant WJC showing in 1986. He captains Team Canada, ties for the tournament lead in goals, and throws some spectacular hits. In the wake of this performance, Canucks management deems Cam Neely expendable and infamously trades him to Boston.

    -Spends the early part of his NHL career perceived as inconsistent and, despite his size, intimidated. Canucks fans hold out hope because Neely took his time too.

    -Has his best season in 91-92 on the "Twin Towers" line with Sergio Momesso and Cliff Ronning. Has a playoff run reminiscent of his WJC performance.

    -Career winds down quickly after that. Retires at 28 due to back problems.

    Anyway, I'd love to read some scouting reports. Did he have the talent to be a scorer in the NHL? Was he rushed or mismanaged? How big was the hype in Vancouver? Was there hope that he'd catch up to Neely? When did that die? Was there hope that he was going to carry his 92 playoff performance forward?
     
  2. ehhedler

    ehhedler Registered User

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    vadim should have some info/opinions on Sandlak, if you're lucky.
     
  3. Dingo

    Dingo Registered User

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    I was pretty young, but I remember the hype on him. I thought he was slow, didn’t do anything particularly well, and not very much of a power forward... just big.
    Kinda reminded me of a Tim Kerr without the net presence, shot and toughness.
     
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  4. GlitchMarner

    GlitchMarner Formerly 29GoalHoglund

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    I don't remember watching him, but he seems like a Chad Kilger type.
     
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  5. Buzzguy

    Buzzguy Registered User

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    He was the subject of a fan generated million trade rumours. Sandlak, Momesso, and a pick for superstar player.
     
  6. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Name I haven't heard in a while. Was a good depth guy with the Canucks.
     
  7. puckpilot

    puckpilot Registered User

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    I was a bit young during this time, but from what I remember, he had confidence issues. The Canucks paid for him to take I think it twas karate or some martial arts to build up his assertiveness. Because, despite being quite big and having the nickname of 'House', he didn't use his size to its potential. Part of the reason for that may be because he wasn't the most fleet of foot.

    He had a powerful shot, but could never hit the net. What's the phrase? Loudest shot I've ever seen.

    IMHO, because the Canucks were so desperate for a superstar at that time, they rushed him into the league and probably destroyed his confidence.

    As for Neely, I remember hearing part of the reason he got traded was the coach for whatever reason didn't like him and used him like a goon and only wanted him to fight. Not sure how accurate that is, but it's one of the stories I heard growing up in Vancouver.

    Oh, also when Sandlak was struggling, Boston express interest in acquiring him. Yeah, I think at that point, Vancouver was willing to let him rot rather than have that blow up in their faces like Neely did.
     
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  8. Normand Lacombe

    Normand Lacombe Registered User

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    To my surprise, Sandlak was named to the 1987 All Rookie Team. From what I remember about Sandlak, he was a big player who seemed to be skating in cement. With Sandlak's size and lack of skating, did Bob McCammon or Pat Quinn ever put Sandlak in front of the net on the power play? I'm not a coach, but that would seem to be the best way to have utilized Sandlak. The defense would have a hard time moving Sandlak and he could've scored some goals on rebounds and deflections, ala Kerr.
     
  9. Tarantula

    Tarantula Hanging around the web

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    He was pretty rugged and was scoring the tough goals in Junior A at London so it was projected to follow at the NHL. Hit, fight somewhat and score, but his skating never got any better. Interestingly his team mate and captain in London, Dave Lowry was much less regarded and also started with the Canucks during the same season and actually carved out a 20 yr career as contrasted with Sandlak, 10 yrs.

    Thin draft that year if I remember correctly as well. Man, that name brings back some memories of the old London Gardens...............
     
  10. Tarantula

    Tarantula Hanging around the web

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    And the 1976 460 cubic inch Mercury Grand Marquis with the white leather seats I used to drive to the games back then!:cool:
     
  11. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    don't mind if i do.

    sandlak was my least favourite canuck of that era. he played a lot with nedved and when you watched them it was like a contest of which toolsy player looked more unprepared to be an NHL player.

    reading this thread, i wonder if i was mistaking sandlak being slow as molasses (and, in my recollection, a very slow thinker of the game too) for him being a big lazy suck.

    either way, i was ecstatic when we got momesso. big serge was inconsistent, streaky, took stupid penalties, but the guy came to work, used his size, had a lot of snarl, and had a passable set of mitts for a third line winger. you couldn't play sandlak in front of the net on the PP because his hands were sculpted from granite and his brain was always two seconds behind everyone else. you would never put momesso on the first powerplay unit either but you could count on momesso to get his hands on 15 or so rebounds in tight a year and take care of the trash. as an occasional ringer on the second unit when nothing else was working, he was good for five garbage goals a year.

    to me, sandlak was emblematic of the crappy '80s canucks and even though he overlapped with the '90s core for three years he just felt obsolete and just waiting to be replaced, which he eventually was when he was thrown in when we swapped robert kron for murray craven.
     
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  12. blood gin

    blood gin Registered User

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    Couldn't skate. Didn't always appear to be giving his best and not physical but seemed to have good hands for a guy his size and decent enough hockey sense that he was given chance after chance to break out. But never truly did

    Kind of reminded me of Brian Boyle or Steve Bernier
     
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