Canucks and Beyond
These days, getting a tryout with a NHL team is nearly as exclusive a process as signing a contract itself. And if there are any modest surprises on the roster, they’re usually the result of formal tryout contracts, like those which Owen Nolan and Todd Fedoruk signed with the Canucks this year.
The process is highly systematic to achieve the best results, both in conditioning the players with guaranteed roster spots and possibly promoting other players for the team, depending on their performance in training camp. As Stan Smyl explained in the Vancouver Sun today, it’s all about development, and we can assume it’s probably a more efficient and effective means of readying the roster, as compared to the past.
But this story he tells about a training camp incident some years back is the kind of thing I’d like to imagine happened more often:
Roberto Luongo has taken a lot of punches in the last few months, but it’s a new year now so he’s decided to block out all the bad memories and move on. From Brad Ziemer in the Vancouver Sun:
Luongo would not say how long it took him to put the devastating seven-game loss to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup final behind him, but insisted it is now in the rear-view mirror and will remain there.
“It’s hockey, you know what I mean,” he said of the Canucks coughing up a 2-0 series lead to the Bruins. “That’s all I can say. Things happen. You want to keep things under your control as much as you can, but sometimes things happen.
“Unfortunately, we let it slip away, especially in the Boston games, and we never really recovered from that. At the end of the day I think we can all be proud of what we did last year from the beginning of the season all the way to the final. We did a lot as individuals and as a team and that is why we are so happy to be back and give it another try.”
Luongo isn’t the only one looking to forget the past and move on, although for different reasons.
Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks President & General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have signed Manny Legace and Steve Begin to professional tryout contracts.
Legace, 38, has played 365 career NHL games (187-125-18) and has a .912 career save percentage and a goals against average of 2.41. The 5’10”, 200-pound goaltender has played for four NHL teams and spent the 2010.11 season with the Iserlohn Roosters in the German League where he compiled a record of 17-22. A native of Toronto, Ontario, he was originally selected by the Hartford Whalers 188th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.
Begin, 33, has played 488 NHL games, recording 100 career points (52-48-100) and 539 penalty minutes. The 6’0”, 190-pound left winger has played for five NHL teams and split the 2010.11 season between the Nashville Predators, collecting four penalty minutes in two games, and the Richmond Admirals in the AHL, recording six points (3-3-6) and 30 penalty minutes in 36 games played. A native of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Begin was selected by the Calgary Flames 40th overall in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
—Canucks media release
With the KHL tragedy at the forefront of everbody’s minds today, numerous NHLers are sharing their thoughts on Twitter. And here are some of the more detailed tributes and remembrances appearing online. (Post will be updated as more comes in.)
Brad McCrimmon— “I know he wanted to try being a head coach, wanted to see what it was like being a head coach in Russia,” said Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “We all wished him well.” More at NHL.com.
Pavol Demitra—“People were drawn to Demo. He was a great friend and great teammate.” More at NHL.com
Josef Vasicek— “Vasicek, who died in the plane crash Wednesday that claimed his entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team only five days short of his 31st birthday, was unfailingly cheerful, a good guy by the standards of the game of hockey and the game of life.” More at the News Observer.
“It’s going good; small victories here and there,” Kesler told Canucks TV from his hometown of Livonia, Mich. “I just got off my crutches and I’ll start strengthening so everything is back to normal. I’ll start skating here in the next couple of weeks and hopefully be back by that first game.”
Kesler’s history with hip labrum surgery suggests he might just make the opening night lineup. He had a similar surgery in January 2007 and returned 10 weeks later—in time for the start of the playoffs. He was initially told he would be out anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks.
“I know what it takes. I know the rehab,” Kesler said. “It might even make me braver to try things I probably shouldn’t be trying, but it’s going to make me come back quicker and hopefully I can play in that first game.”
—Ryan Kesler, via Dan Rosen at NHL.com
NHL toughguy Rick Rypien returned to the arena where he played his minor hockey in Saturday just days after his sudden death in his southern Alberta home.
Close to 1,000 people turned out on a bright sunny day at Albert Stella Arena in this Crowsnest Pass community for the funeral for Rypien, 27, who was found in his home in nearby Coleman earlier this week.
There’s not much more I can say about Rick Rypien that I haven’t already said. But I do think a lot of people have been affected by his death, more than they might have expected, so perhaps something good can come out of this. Not to say there’s anything ‘good’ about this horrible situation in itself, but maybe we’ll all be a little more aware, in our own lives, when we see people we know are struggling.
Of course, none of us can ‘save’ people, but maybe there’s a lesson in knowing that it doesn’t matter how privileged someone else’s life looks like from the outside, they can still use our help and understanding. It’s certainly a lesson that’s resonated with me… and I didn’t even know the man. But his uncle did, and he had this to say:
I always liked Rick Rypien, and it wasn’t particularly because of his game or even because of his oft-celebrated fists. It was because of his struggles as a man, as an ordinary person facing very painful—and painfully ordinary—struggles, that he always held my attention during his tenure with Vancouver and Manitoba.
In a business that demands so much perfection, and where one is likely to endure so much condemnation for not achieving it, Rypien always struck me as a very courageous individual.
This series has been taking a look back at #1 draft picks since the draft’s inception in 1963, their careers on the ice and after they hung up their skates. Links to the previous decades are at the bottom of this post, but for now, let’s tackle the 1980s.
First off, 1980 was the year the NHL Amateur Draft actually became the NHL Entry Draft we refer to today. It’s also the first year the event was open to the public, and in 1984 was televised for the first time. In short, the NHL draft went from being a purely utilitarian exercise intended only for teams to select players, to becoming an actual ‘event.’
The draft process itself had changed at roughly the start of each decade, and 1980 was no different. Here’s some background from Wikipedia:
Beginning in 1980, any player who is between the ages of 18 and 20 is eligible to be drafted. In addition, any non-North American player over the age of 20 can be selected. From 1987 through 1991, 18 and 19-year-old players could only be drafted in the first three rounds unless they met another criterion of experience which required them to have played in major junior, U.S. college and high school, or European hockey.
Here in Vancouver Canucks land, we have a stalker and it’s starting to get out of hand.
But then a few months ago the Canucks finally had enough and roundly dumped her.
But ever since, the girl—let’s call her Chi-Chi—just cannot seem to get over it.
Anatomy of a press release.
First, we have the “look who’s using our product!” video. Just to bring you all up to speed, here’s a news broadcast demonstrating this thing (the HTH Clapper), showing footage from Sioux Falls Stampede Hockey:
But it’s the press release that’s following this video clip around that has got to be the most unintentionally-tragic thing I’ve read in ages:
About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]