Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jason Botchford of The White Towel at the Vancouver Province,
With three weeks to go before the Sedin twins are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, there’s one thing you can be sure of: Mike Gillis is willing to walk away.
It’s not ideal for the Canucks. Reloading without the Sedins is rife with land mines. There’s the unknown factors of free agency (who will be available and at what cost?). And the trade market is littered with bloated contracts and question marks. Yet, Gillis is willing to take a calculated risk he can quickly rebuild this team without the twins.
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
The Vancouver Canucks plan to start contract talks with twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin in the next week or two, assistant GM Laurence Gilman said Wednesday.
“We have a few weeks remaining between now and July 1 and we anticipate that we’ll be speaking with them shortly,” Gilman said from Winnipeg after he scouted the Manitoba Moose playoff game Tuesday night. “I would say we’re going to begin negotiations with them in the next week to two weeks.”
Asked if the team intended to wrap things up prior to the June 26-27 entry draft, Gilman could not offer any guarantees.
“Ideally we would,” he replied. “If we’re going to get them done, we’d like to get them done sooner rather than later. But it is conceivable that we’ll get to the draft and they’re not done — and it could go down to the wire.”
from Yvonne Zacharias of the Vancouver Sun,
Crooner Michael Buble is in Los Angeles these days recording a new album set to be released Oct. 15.
But don’t think he hasn’t made time for hockey. The Vancouver native, who is a part owner of the Vancouver Giants, is a huge hockey fan. He watched the Vancouver Canucks in the playoffs, including their 7-5 loss to Chicago in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal, at his home in the City of Angels.
Q: What did you think?
A: I was disgusted. I have to take you back to Game 4 with a period left where [Alain] Vigneault stopped sending in two guys and started playing the trap. All year, when everyone kept saying, “Fire the coach!”, I kept saying No, he is a good coach. But every time the Canucks were up by one, he started to employ the trap. We should have won this series. I think the Canucks should have gone home up 3-1 and that would have been that. Instead, I think [Vigneault] tried to play a chess match. I don’t think we were beat by a better team ... I think we were out-coached.
A few months ago I was introduced to Michael’s music and was very impressed, glad to know he is a hockey fan too.
“Last summer, obviously, I didn’t know whether I was going to play or not and I definitely am going to take my time to make a good decision this summer. Right now, I wouldn’t know what my future is going to be, whether I will play or not.”
-Mats Sundin. More from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
...The irony, then, is that the Canucks will have to trade Luongo in order to build a team that would be good enough to win with Luongo.
Think about it for a minute. It’s now apparent the Canucks have more holes in their lineup than Luongo can fill. Their defence was exposed against the Blackhawks as too slow and too conservative. They need scoring. They could also use more size. And speed.
Trading Luongo would not only bring in some prized assets for the organization, it could free up the capital to make a run at a Jay Bouwmeester and make it easier to sign the Sedins.
Granted, this means turning the goaltending over to young Cory Schneider and a veteran of some description, and that means you won’t get what Luongo gives you on a night-in, night-out basis.
Then again, if the rest of your team is good enough, you won’t need lights-out goaltending every night.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It is difficult, in today’s NHL, to effect immediate and massive changes in a short period of time, which is why Gillis’s moves were restricted to a handful of changes on the periphery. He signed Pavol Demitra as a free agent, away from the Minnesota Wild. He wooed and eventually coaxed Mats Sundin to sign with his team mid-season. He claimed Kyle Wellwood off waivers. The rest of the improvements – from out of the playoffs to the third seed in the Western Conference standings and the fourth best record overall and putting the receipts for five home playoff dates into the coffers of owner Francesco Aquilini - came mostly from the holdovers, including coach Alain Vigneault, who he inherited and ultimately retained.
From now on, however, Gillis’s managing skills will be put to the test, with the Sedin twins poised for unrestricted free agency, the same as Sundin and the same as Mattias Ohlund.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo blamed himself for the demise of Canada’s last club in the Stanley Cup playoffs last night.
The Canucks’ captain, considered one of the game’s premier goalies, couldn’t stop enough pucks to force a deciding seventh game against the young and restless Chicago Blackhawks, a team that battled back to overcome two separate one-goal disadvantages to take the six-game series with a madcap but entertaining 7-5 victory.
“I let my teammates down,” said a choked-up Luongo, who cut short his postgame interview because his emotions were getting the best of him.
“It was pretty wide open, but I had to make the saves.”
added 8:14am, Video of Luongo with the media after the game…
from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star,
ll the negative stories in the world - the corporate brawl over the Phoenix Coyotes, the absurd non-suspension of Carolina’s Scott Walker - couldn’t obscure the fact that two games Monday night, the Canucks-Hawks thriller and the OT contest between Washington and Pittsburgh, delivered as much of everything as a hockey fan could want.
You can take your 1-0 and 2-1 games if you want them. Me, the 5-4 Caps win and the 7-5 Chicago triumph represented hockey at its best, a terrific combination of skill, hitting and passion that produced an entertainment package that no other sport could match if the NHL could ever find a way to deliver it on a consistent basis.
It’s the greatest game on earth, particularly when it’s allowed to be.
We’ll leave the Caps and Pens for now since there’s another game in that series to be played. Chicago, meanwhile, roared back from a 4-3 third period deficit and in so doing obliterated the myth of Roberto Luongo for now, if not for good.
Lead by the youngsters Patrick Kane (3 goals) and Jonathan Toews (2 goals), the Blackhawks defeat the Vancouver Canucks 7-5.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Hours before his Vancouver Canucks enter the pressure cooker of an elimination game in the Stanley Cup playoffs, head coach Alain Vigneault continued to place the burden on his top players like goalie Roberto Luongo, forwards Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows to perform better against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight.
Vigneault remarked on Sunday before his team flew to Chicago for game six of the second-round series, in which the Blackhawks lead 3-2 after a 4-2 victory in Vancouver on Saturday evening, that Burrows is “not himself” and “he’s got nothing.”
Burrows stated today that Vigneault hasn’t conveyed those sentiments face-to-face, but Vigneault wasn’t backing down before the critical game.
“He’s one of them obviously,” said Vigneault, when queried as to whether Burrows needs to step up his play. “I haven’t put the list in order. There still is time for them to find another level.”
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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