Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
So having the Panthers take Luongo on Tuesday in exchange for what might be a little something or a lot of nothing was at best a mixed blessing.
On the one hand, the albatross of a contract is gone, or all but $800,000 or so a year. The public relations nightmare that Luongo was becoming, through no fault of his own, is gone. And the ever-present doubt about what would become of the Canucks, with Luongo in net again once the playoffs started, is gone.
On the other hand, though, the playoffs might be gone, too, and not just this year.
That is the upshot of one of the most grievously mishandled talent surpluses hockey has ever seen: it is now rebuilding time in Vancouver. The days of contending for championships are in the past, and whether they’ll return in the middle-to-distant future depends on whether this organization has the savvy to assemble the right pieces to forestall a steep decline.
It has not shown anything like that ability since the nucleus players from previous administrations began to tumble down the far side of the hill.
So if Ryan Kesler does get moved, he doesn't want to play for a team in Canada.
What do you think, will Vancouver move him and if so, where?
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
“Of course, of course, I know what goes around this,” John Tortorella said after the Canucks dropped a 4-2 decision to the Ottawa Senators. “I get that. And we as a coaching staff talked a lot about it.
“But we’re at such short strokes here. Before this game, the way Eddie was playing, I thought it was our best chance to get these two points. But I also understand all the stuff going around it.”
And that’s what made the decision to start Lack all the more incomprehensible.
Sunday, when the attention of the faithful should have been occupied elsewhere, the long-dormant Canucks’ goaltending soap opera sprang back to life, which was a neat trick by itself. But this time it also took on hideous new dimensions. This time it felt even weirder.
From the moment Lack was introduced as the starting goalie — with choruses of “Lou” rattling around the Dome — to the final horn, Tortorella’s decision to start the rookie over the decorated veteran completely took over the game.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Way back in the day, the Philadelphia Flyers thought enough of Ryan Kesler’s upside that they signed him to an offer sheet – a rare provocative move in the NHL – in the hopes of poaching him from the Vancouver Canucks long before he ever broke through as a front-line NHL player. So Philadelphia’s interest in Kesler is long-standing and the question that the Flyers need to ask internally is, would they give up one of their two talented kids, either Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier, as the centrepiece of a possible deal with the Canucks?
Sure, Detroit is interested too, and the Kesler-Michigan connection makes it a plausible scenario, but the Flyers have the better assets to offer. Vancouver would likely insist on Schenn and Philadelphia would likely say no – too much upside there. But for Couturier, maybe that’s the bones of a possible deal.
From Philly’s perspective, Kesler as a No. 2, with Claude Giroux, Schenn and Vinnie Lecavalier as your other options down the middle makes for an impressive group (although Lecavalier has played a lot of wing for the Flyers this season).
The Flyers took a lot of criticism for flipping Mike Richards and Jeff Carter for Schenn and a pick that turned out to be Couturier (they also landed Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds in those deals). Richards has had a tough time of it in L.A. this season; to get Kesler’s experience might help mitigate some of that loss experience, and gird them for a run in this year’s playoffs.
more topics including Ryan Miller, The New York Islander and the Buffalo Sabres...
VANCOUVER (March 2, 2014) – National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks at BC Place:
“We thank the Canucks and Senators for contributing to the terrific atmosphere at BC Place today and for providing such an entertaining conclusion to two historic months for the National Hockey League. While the weather outside prevented us from opening the roof at this outstanding stadium, the energy indoors from the more than 54,000 fans made for a memorable afternoon.
“Through the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and the
2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic, our teams and our players displayed the very best qualities of our sport to over 375,000 fans in-person and an international viewing audience of millions more. We thank our fans, our Clubs and our players for this “season like no other” and we look forward to an exciting run to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.”
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
The troubling news for the faithful is Gillis seems intent on hitting a home run with Kesler. That means the proverbial roster player, prospect, first-round draft pick package which the team was seeking for Luongo, and we all know how that turned out. It doesn’t take a leap in logic to imagine the same script — as the noble Lui suggested — playing out with Kesler, and another botched trade would be a massive blow to this organization’s credibility.
But there’s also a slightly different feel about the market conditions this time around. Because the Eastern Conference is a study in mediocrity, virtually every team in a playoff spot can entertain visions of a long playoff run. Kesler, no matter what else he is, could be a difference-maker to those teams and, unlike Luongo, his contract isn’t a deal-breaker.
Of the suitors, Pittsburgh has the look of a potential match. They have the young centre the Canucks would need coming back in Brandon Sutter. They have prospects — hello, Derrick Pouliot. It’s also believed GM Ray Shero is seeking a return to the three-centre configuration (Sidney Crosby, Geno Malkin, Jordan Staal) they employed in their Stanley Cup years.
Via numerous reports, Kesler also says his hand feels better and hopes to play tomorrow, but not sure.
added 5:54pm, Kesler talking with the media after pracitce today can be watched below...
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.
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