Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
As they enter their, yikes, ninth season with the Canucks, Daniel and Henrik also appear to be entering the third phase of their careers. Their first, from their rookie campaign in 2000-01 to the lockout, were characterized by high hopes followed by middling production and a certain dissatisfaction with their level of play. In their second, which started in the post-lockout year and ended in 2008-09, the twins established themselves as under-rated, under-valued NHL frontliners who produced at a point-a-game clip.
Now, the question becomes, can they take the next step? Can they move into that rarefied place occupied by the NHL’s elite and which is reflected in their new deals. They took their first steps towards that club last year but to gain full membership they’re going to have to improve from the point-a-game pace to somewhere in the 90- to 100-point range.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
With the clock having struck midnight on GM Mike Gillis’s Mats Sundin deadline, and given word he’s not even skating, the Canucks are moving on.
With the Swede quickly disappearing from their radar, the Canucks are focusing instead on the forwards who will actually be at UBC this week for training camp. And there are plenty of them. Lots has been made about the defensive logjam, but the more interesting story lines are up front.
There are 12 forwards with one-way deals, and that doesn’t include Cody Hodgson, Jannik Hansen, Michael Grabner or Sergei Shirokov, the Russian pro who got a couple gushing reviews in Alberta for tallying a few assists in two prospects games against university kids and amateurs. Though he’ll have to do a lot more than that, he is seen, by some, as one of the players on the outside who can push for a job.
With a push from below, two veterans who are expected to at least feel a pinch are Kyle Wellwood and Mason Raymond, a pair known for offensive skill and unrealized potential who both had frustrating seasons last year before finding salvation through the defensive part of their games.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Word is that any day now the Vancouver Canucks are going to give head coach Alain Vigneault a three-year extension on his contract on top of the year he has left.
Now Vigneault is a good NHL coach and has done some fine work here in his three years, but why would general manager Mike Gillis be so generous when there appears to be absolutely no pressing reason why a coach needs what is essentially a four-year deal?
Isn’t that what Brian Burke did with Marc Crawford? He gave his coach a three-year extension and the club ended up dining on a year of that salary. And clearly by the way the Crawford era ended here, that decision should have been made a year earlier, meaning they would have eaten two years of that deal.
via the Twitter of Ben Hankinson,
Mark Parrish has agreed to NHL tryout with the Vancouver Canucks. He has played in 700+ NHL games and scored 20+ goals 6 different times.
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
The 38-year-old Swede is said to be in negotiations with the Canucks and could sign a contract valued in the neighborhood of $2 million to be the team’s second-line centre. Vancouver may be prepared to make a trade if it is necessary to fit Sundin under the salary cap, if necessary.
“Mats enjoyed his time in Vancouver last season and is looking forward to playing with the team this year,” a source told Sportsnet.ca.
added 9:55am, from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Well, here’s a news flash, the odds of Sundin playing at all are very slim.
Retirement is a safer bet than Sundin resigning with the Vancouver Canucks, or any other NHL team.
JP Barry, Sundin’s agent responded to a report Sundin is in negotiation with the Canucks with a strong denial.
“There have been zero negotiations with Vancouver or any team for that matter,” Barry told TSN.
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
Roberto Luongo got himself a 12-year $64 million deal from the Canucks and more power to him and his agent. But, let’s not forget that this is the same allegedly “best” NHL goalie who choked in the series-ending playoff loss to the Blackhawks last spring. Roberto the Great allowed seven goals in a game that was there for the Canucks taking, and look what he gets for it.
more from Stan…
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
After his team’s playoff demise last May, Vancouver Canuck general manager Mike Gillis expressed his intent to extend the contract of head coach Alain Vigneault.
It’s now September, main training camp opens this weekend and no extension has been announced. But, like Christmas, it’s coming, says Gillis.
“There are a few things left to do but we expect to have a deal done before the season,” the GM said Monday as he watched his prospects skate at UBC before a full house. “Not necessarily before training camp starts [Saturday] but before the season.”
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Every time Luongo would have a game in which he wasn’t miraculous, out would come the usual charges that he’s never won anything, never committed to any organization, didn’t or might not like the city, wants to be dealt to Montreal or isn’t good enough.
Further, there is the Ken Holland strategy always lurking in the background whereby because Detroit has had the mainstay of their resources tied up in defenceman Nick Lidstrom, who is utterly dominant at his position, that a team might not be able to win with a goaltender being highly paid and the dominant player on a roster.
We’ll see how the Wings and this view of the world make out when Lidstrom retires.
And every time one of these skeletons would come out, it had to bother Luongo, who is sufficiently passionate about playing the game that he was named captain of the Canucks even though it was somewhat inconvenient for the team to do it.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province via the National Post,
The first comes five years into the extension. If Luongo isn’t pleased with where the team is at, or where it’s heading, he can then trigger a trade. The out clause is timed for what should be an organizational crossroads - one year after the Sedins’ current long-term deal is up. The Canucks have agreed to accommodate the request by moving Luongo at that point.
It’s likely Luongo would be a valuable commodity, coveted by NHL teams even at age 36. If it were to happen, the team which traded for him would owe him US$27.2-million for the final seven years of his deal.
Two years later, after the contract extension’s seventh year, the Canucks have a reciprocal clause. If they want to go in another direction, they will have an opportunity to move Luongo despite his no-trade clause.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province via Faceoff.com,
Well, as much as the contract represents a home run for the Canucks, it’s still yet to be proven that you can win in the new-world NHL with a goalie as your best player. That’s been the case since the lockout. It was certainly the case again last season. And if it’s the case going forward, what does it say about the Canucks’ chances?
Last season, for example, five of the top-10 goalies in save percentage played for teams which failed to make the playoffs and the only one who appeared in the final four was Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin. The results were a lot more encouraging in goals-against average where eight of the top-10 goalies made the playoffs. But, again, Khabibulin was the only goalie to appear in a conference final.
Now look at the goalies who made the conference semifinals. Luongo was the biggest name there followed by Khabibulin. The others were a mixed bag which included Chris Osgood, Jonas Hiller, Tim Thomas, Marc-Andre Fleury, Simeon Varlamov and Ward.
We’re not saying goaltending isn’t important in the NHL. Far from it. We are saying, however, there are a number of ways to fill that position.
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.
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