Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
Teams have called but the trade value of Kassian is sliding like the price of oil. And unless general manager Jim Benning can acquire a player of similar stature in return — a big body for a big body — then the Canucks would become an even smaller club trying to rub shoulders with the big boys in California. If not for an ankle injury to Brad Richardson, Kassian wouldn’t have play Monday because the only motivational card coach Willie Desjardins can play is the healthy-scratch card. That’s because the wide-eyed boyish enthusiasm that Kassian exuded and cut him some slack has gone away and those dozen points in 19 games to close out last season seem like a mirage. Even advanced statistics don’t help Kassian’s cause because the opposition is scoring at will against him at even strength.
The fear has always been that giving up on Kassian may only see him catch fire with another club. That’s understandable. He has the tools but in his fourth season, he has 27 goals in 187 career NHL games. Kassian did miss five games with a knee injury this season and a Nov. 25 finger fracture kept him out until Jan. 3, so there’s something to be said for being out of sight and out of sync.
As a physical force and potential 20-goal scorer, who has another year left at $2 million US, he’s a good fit. As an unproductive and inconsistent enigma, the bigger fear may be hanging on to a project who has become a problem. It’s up to Kassian to change that conversation.
more plus other topics regarding the Vancouver Canucks...
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
The Vancouver Canucks dropped a 1-0 decision to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night, their first loss to an Alberta-based team this season after six straight wins, and that, coupled with a general downturn in performance, has created a sense of unease in this province.
This after all, is about the point the Canucks lost their way last season on their way to a dumpster-fire of a campaign which engendered a full house-cleaning of the hockey department. As for this season, the loss finished off a five-game homestead in which the locals went 2-3 with losses to Florida and old friend Roberto Luongo and Los Angeles. They're still holding down a playoff spot in the West and their record is still respectable but they're also trending in the wrong direction and with the nightmare images from last season's disaster still fresh in the faithful's minds, that's not a healthy place to be.
But the Flames also represent a problem for the Canucks which goes a lot deeper than the results of one game and to really understand the dilemma facing this team, take a look at the makeup of the Calgary team, then look at the rest of the Western Conference.
First up is the tribute video for Roberto Luongo by the Vancouver Canucks...
Luongo was also name the first star of the game and the Vancouver fans react accordingly...
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
“I think it’s going to be emotional,” Luongo said on Wednesday shortly after the Florida Panthers practice. “I’m flattered they’d do that. I told (the organization) it wasn’t necessary but I’m happy there’s some sort of recognition. I think it’s good for both sides.”
Especially if it’s shorter than Ben Hur.
As Luongo suggests, the Canucks-Panthers encounter will be emotionally charged for all parties involved, and it’s fitting the organization has chosen to recognize his importance to the franchise and this province. But, really, how do you sum up Luongo’s Canucks career with one short video? How do you capture all the twists and turns, the high drama and low comedy, that took place here? Obviously, whoever put the tribute together will have to paint with some very broad strokes or the fans will be in their seats until 1 a.m.
But whatever they come up with, you know it won’t tell the whole story of Luongo’s career with the Canucks because, well, we’re just not sure if that’s possible.
It’s been 10 months since the former face of the franchise was dealt to the Panthers, and this week he returned, bringing with him all those delicious storylines for one final review.
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
Following Florida’s 4-3 loss to the host Capitals on Sunday afternoon, Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo faced a media contingent he could count on one hand.
He won’t have such a quaint gathering Tuesday in Vancouver.
Luongo is expected to get the royal treatment when the Panthers practice at Rogers Arena – the arena the Florida goalie called home for eight years.
“We’ll probably do a press conference,” Luongo said with a grin. “Do it up big.”
NEW YORK -- Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for an illegal check to the head of San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels during NHL Game No. 544 in San Jose on Tuesday, Dec. 30, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 0:59 of the second period. Hansen was assessed a minor penalty for illegal check to the head.
added 4:29pm, Watch the hit below, scroll to the 1:05 mark.
In fact, were you looking for a positive spin, one could promote it as a superb display of playing the game standing still, which is what many of the Vancouver forwards did most of the night.
-Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province on the 2-1 OT loss by Vancouver to Anaheim last night. More from Gallagher on the game.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Before Johnny Hockey did his thing in L.A., enraging Jonathan Quick and stunning the Kings Monday night, the Calgary Flames had lost eight games in a row.
Before the Canucks handed Calgary that eighth straight defeat and then received the largesse extended by Arizona goalie Mike Smith who was dressed as Santa Claus, the Canucks had lost five straight.
And the Oilers? Well that is a tale of woe still running strong.
That dream squad has one win in its last 20 games, and despite the fact the Oil scored five goals against Dallas Sunday in blowing a third-period lead and three goals in their previous loss to San Jose, the team with all the high-end forwards making a ton of money early in their lives still has just 27 goals in its last 16 games.
The point here is that unless these past couple of somewhat questionable wins for the Canucks and Monday night’s miracle finish for the Flames signal a significant turnaround, Western Canada is quickly becoming a place where you want to play. It’s been a patsy place in December.
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
For three games over a 10-day span, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith sat at the end of the bench as a spectator to the action.
And in his first start since Dec. 11, it didn't take long before Smith was back in what's becoming his regular perch.
Smith's return Monday barely lasted a period as he was beaten for four goals on 11 shots by the Canucks and chased after 21:41 en route to a 7-1 loss in front of 18,794 at Rogers Arena....
It was the second time in his last three starts Smith's been unable to finish the game. After being on the hook for five against the Predators in his previous appearance, Smith has now given up 17 goals in his past five games. Since back-to-back wins in early November, Smith has gone 1-9-2.
The natural order of the Western Conference begins to reassert itself, after the unlikeliness of Vancouver and Calgary in the early going. The likes of Chicago and San Jose surge, and Vancouver and Calgary regress to what consensus figured them for in the early autumn: the Canucks a fringe playoff team, and the Flames a Connor McDavid contender.
There remains, of course, a lot of hockey to play. But it does not look good for Western Canada’s hockey teams, the Oilers obviously, the Canucks on the edge and the Flames cratering. Like an errant pass, bouncing all the way back into your own empty net. Wideman was frank Saturday night: “It’s kind of the way things are going right now.”
-David Ebner of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on the Canucks and Flames.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org