Canucks and Beyond
From Larry Lage via the Vancouver Sun:
“It’s just time,” he said in a phone interview from Dallas, taking a break between playing 36 holes of golf. “I didn’t get any calls after July 1 and I figured that was it.”
Only it wasn’t. Modano said Vancouver assistant general manager Lorne Henning offered him a chance last week to continue his career with the Canucks.
“I told him I had to pass because I hadn’t touched a weight or unzipped my bag since we lost in San Jose,” he said.
Sigh. As a Canucks fan, all I hear is that phrase, “It’s not you, it’s me!” Like a guy trying to gently turn discourage a plain girl’s advances.
The Vancouver Province’s Tony Gallagher takes issue with Canucks coach Alain Vigneault today, with an aggressive column questioning AV’s decision to ship Hodgson to Calgary yesterday for the opening pre-season set.
In a year when second-line centre Ryan Kesler is hurt and there is finally an opportunity to get the gifted prospect a bona fide look in a top six spot in his right position, the first signal the player gets from his coach is yet another shot across the bow.
After eating all that humble pie by publicly stating that he wasn’t going to worry about how he was used and that he was going to concentrate on making sure he had the right attitude and worry about his own game, the first thing his coach does is send him to Calgary on the day of the game and start him with a couple of stiffs in Victor Oreskovich and Mike Duco.
What can possibly be achieved by this other than annoy Hodgson?
The Canucks are gradually reducing their roster, and players who have been released thus far read like a who’s who of the hockey world… gone so far are defencemen Sawyer Hannay and Marc Anthony Zanetti, and goalie David Honzik. Shocking stuff.
So, who remains?
Flames facing a Canucks team with Steve Begin, Anders Eriksson, Todd Fedoruk and Manny Legace. Is it 2001?
—Randy Sportak, Calgary Sun, via Twitter
Definitely peculiar when you put it like that. Though in a world where the likes of Russ Courtnall, Brad May, Boyd Devereaux and others are going to be competitive ice dancing in the coming weeks, is it really that odd?
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
“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.
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.
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]