Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willis of the Vancouver Province,
ED WILLES: It’s been an interesting four months. Have you had a chance to reflect on everything that’s happened?
TREVOR LINDEN: You know, I hear a lot of people saying, ‘You’ve accomplished a lot and you’ve changed things.’ I guess I’m happy with some of the things we’ve been able to do. But I know the rubber meets the road in October and that’s what really matters. I don’t really reflect too much. I’ve got my eye on when it counts.
EW: That brings up the question of Ryan Kesler. Was it a body blow to the organization to have a player of that stature say he doesn’t want to be a part of the team anymore?
TL: Every player has different reasons for making different decisions and I don’t really know the history of Ryan’s decision. But we want people who want to be here. I can’t tell you how nice it is to talk to Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, Ryan Miller, Derek Dorsett, guys who are so excited to come to Vancouver. When you talk to those guys, you don’t think about the guys who don’t want to be here.
from Thomas Drance at The Score,
On Tuesday afternoon, Linden co-hosted the mid-day show on Team 1040 sports talk radio in Vancouver for two hours alongside regular host Matt Sekeres. During the show, Linden was asked about his stance on fighting in hockey and responded thoughtfully and at length. Here's are his comments via Dimitri Filipovic of canucksarmy.com (full disclosure, I am a contributor at canucksarmy.com):
I think that our game is such a great one. It's built around speed, and skill, and hard-hitting, not unlike the NFL.
Can you imagine an NFL game where a linebacker puts a good lick on a running back and the linemen get in there and drop their helmets and start bareknuckle punching each other in the face. It seems rather odd. And you can see why there are some fans in the States that have a tough time with that. They say 'I watch the NFL on Sundays and they hit hard, play hard, and pop up after hits and run back in the huddle'. That's part of the game.
Hockey has a different culture, of course. I think there are a lot of fans that don't care for the needless fighting. The staged "I'm supposed to fight, you're supposed to fight, so let's fight. We're not really mad at each other, but that's our job" type of thing. I tend to agree with (that).
I think the NHL (is) moving forward - whether it be a Steve Yzerman or various others - have come out and had significant stances (against fighting).
from Joshua Clipperton of the CP at the Surrey Leader,
Kate Gillis says it was difficult to block out the noise.
The energetic 24-year-old is the captain and inspirational leader of Canada's women's field hockey team at the Commonwealth Games. She's also the daughter of former Vancouver Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis, who was fired in April after the team missed the playoffs for the first time in six years....
Having your feet held to the fire is part of being an executive in professional sports, but that doesn't make it any easier for the families. It's something the younger Gillis learned first-hand this spring.
"I think it's always hard for people to say those things about your father. With the Internet these days, you can just have a free-for-all," she said this week. "It's tough to kind of differentiate between the truth and the fiction, but I just keep my head down. He definitely doesn't let us get affected, but in the long run it's hard.
"It's your dad."
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks are the Sedins’ team. They have the richest contracts, the most influence, the biggest names and the letters “C” and “A” emblazoned on their chests.
Yet, during their most miserably disappointing season in a decade, there weren’t a lot of scathing attacks directed toward the twins as they plummeted from 80-point players to 50-point players, taking the team down with them. It could be the other way around too, depending on your view.
Generally, the fans and the media laid off. Often, their right winger gets more heat than they do. Even when the Sedins kept saying they don’t need to score, people shrugged and said “They’re right.”
This is either a reflection of a sophisticated market where people realized the coach, injuries and bad luck all viciously conspired to work like lightning, striking down their point totals in an anomaly season. And that the underlying statistics show the season wasn’t nearly as catastrophic for the Sedins as it looked.
Or, and I think this is more likely, there is some survivor’s guilt going on.
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
“It’s totally changed now because of the money involved,” said Benning. “Back when I played, in terms of just training, there were a few guys like Darryl Sittler who used to do off-ice conditioning and stuff but, for the most part, training camp in September was the time to get in shape and get ready for the season.
“These summer development camps kind of started about 15 years ago because of the collective bargaining agreement and the fact you don’t have the players as long. You don’t own their rights until they’re 30, like in the old days, so it’s really important that you try to develop them as fast as you can and get them to play for you right away. Teams want to teach their young guys about proper weight training, about nutrition, about all the different things to get them up to speed to where they have to be.
“What these camps do is give the players an understanding of what is needed to become an NHL player,” Benning emphasized. “Then it’s up to them to do the work.”
“I’m really excited because it’s a fresh start for everyone and you want a team where everybody pushes each other to be better and compete for jobs. It’s going to be interesting. I want to show what I can do and log some good minutes and start having some good games.
“For me at this point of my career, it’s about winning games and getting to the playoffs. We’re in a tough division and a tough conference, but if we can stay healthy and have 20 guys buying into Willie’s game plan and get good goaltending, you can compete with the best teams in the West.”
-Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks. More on Burrows from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province.
“Winning a Stanley Cup is everything. If you don’t want to win the Stanley Cup, you shouldn’t own a team. I’m learning about the ups and downs of the business and realize the success of the hockey team is not in my control.”
-Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini. A bit more by Greg Douglas at the Vancouver Sun.
from David Ebner of the Globe and Mail,
When Trevor Linden was hired as the new boss of the Vancouver Canucks, a returned hero whose chief job was a swift rehabilitation of the hockey team, he faced a three-month sprint through an obstacle course crowded with moving objects.
The holes to fill were numerous – coach, general manager, and throughout the roster – and the challenges were significant – Ryan Kesler and his microscopic trade list. Linden, a rookie NHL executive, has managed well, conjuring a rapid remake that cuts ties with the Mike Gillis era and establishes reasonable foundations for his tenure.
“It’s been intense,” said Linden in an interview Thursday. “I’m extremely pleased with how things have worked out.”
The Canucks promised change, wanting to excise all memories of the season of John Tortorella. In April, facing waning demand for season tickets, the team offered a money-back guarantee until July 11 so buyers could see what Linden deliver. Time is almost up, and most of the work is done – but it’s not certain skeptics have been converted into believers.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
There are simply too many assets in Vancouver for the Canucks to drop to the bottom of the league the way an Edmonton or Buffalo has. But if they don’t use those assets to get younger — the way Benning turned Kesler into Bonino (26), Luca Sbisa (24), Dorsett (27) and centre Jared McCann at the draft — they’ll hit the same cliff Edmonton and Calgary have fallen off.
This Canucks team will legitimately push for the playoffs, but if we know Benning — and we’ve been, ahem, right about him thus far — he may forego another first-round exit to maximize a couple of veteran assets at the trade deadline.
When you have a blueline that includes Edler (28), Kevin Bieksa (33), and Dan Hamhuis (32 in December), you’ve got options. One of those defencemen may be worth a first-round pick and a legit prospect at the trade deadline, a time when a guy as smart as Benning with a defenceman as valuable as Bieksa can be a lethal combination.
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
Dollar signs and a starting role sold Ryan Miller on plunging head first into the Vancouver fishbowl.
A suitable contract with sufficient term, style of play and projected linemates would determine whether unrestricted free agent Radim Vrbata would choose the Canucks or other serious suitors like the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes, who made an effort to re-sign the winger.
He chose Vancouver.
Vrbata received a two-year, $10-million-US deal from the Canucks on Wednesday night — $4 million and a $1-million bonus annually plus a limited no-trade clause — and it’s a win-win situation. The player gets a boost from his expiring $3-million deal and the Canucks get the bridge contract they needed so younger wingers like Hunter Shinkaruk and Jake Virtanen can develop and eventually transition into the lineup. Vrbata’s agent, Rich Evans of Surrey, said he had another offer for longer term, but too much added up to the right fit here.
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 email@example.com