Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Two nights after the high point of their season, the Canucks played the first three minutes like they were serious about sending a message to the Kings, watched in horror as Roberto Luongo fanned on a balloon from noted goal scorer Denis Gauthier, then spent the next 37 minutes or so looking worse than Mickey Rourke slow dancing with RuPaul.
True, they managed to make things interesting in the third period but if they think what they offered was good enough, they’re delusional. They can talk about brave comebacks and Daniel Sedin’s goalpost until they’re blue in the face.
The real story of this game was their 12 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes. It was the four icings in about a five-minute span in the first period. It was Mats Sundin turning two odd-man rushes for the Canucks into odd-man rushes for the Kings on the same shift. And it was Sundin taking a ridiculous minor in the offensive zone which led to Jarrett Stoll’s game-winning goal.
Forward Alexandre Burrows has agreed to an $8-million, four-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks, a source told ESPN.com Tuesday.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
The longer Ryan Smyth remains a Colorado Avalanche before Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline, the more plausible a case you can make for a trade to Vancouver. (Smyth has a no-trade clause, but hands up if you think “Captain Canada” would reject a back north).
Facing empty seats and a recession, Avalanche GM Francois Giguere needs to slash payroll, and Smyth is a huge ticket over the next three years: $16.5-million (all currency U.S.) with an annual cap hit of $6.25-million (read more on the Denver Post’s excellent Avs blog.
If Giguere requires pure return value for Smyth the Player, than there is no fit with the Canucks. But if Giguere just has to rid himself of Smyth the Contract, than Vancouver becomes a believable destination. (Smyth was traded from Edmonton exactly two years ago Wednesday. Since that deadline deal, the grass has not been greener.)
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Sundin was tapped on the shoulder to take the third and final shot of the shootout and didn’t disappoint his teammates. He lifted a backhand over the right shoulder of Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala to ice a 3-2 victory for the Canucks, their eighth in their past nine games.
It was a nice ending for the former Leafs captain, who tussled with his emotions in his first game in Toronto since he decided to continue his NHL career with the Canucks two months ago.
A few hours before his game-winning heroics, Sundin was feted with video tribute on his days with the Leafs that was shown on the scoreboard during the first television timeout. As the capacity crowd of 19,504 rose to their feet to applaud Sundin for at least 90 seconds, it became evident his eyes were watering as his emotions rose to the surface.
read on and below is an interview Elliotte Friedman of HNIC did with Sundin after the game.
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
“It feels like coming home,’’ the big Swede admitted last night, after pulling into his house, where he hadn’t been since last fall. “Toronto still feels like home to me.’‘
He admits to an escalating sense of the “jitters,” as curious as anyone else how the crowd will respond this evening, insisting that it won’t make a difference. “I don’t know if there will be jeers or cheers, probably both.”
But for those who do boo, Sundin wants to make one thing absolutely clear: “I was never a traitor to the Leaf franchise. I was proud of being a Leaf. There are so many memories that I will treasure forever – all the ups and downs, the friends I made, the fans who always treated me well.’‘
No regrets, he says, although there is a hint of poignancy in that declaration.
from Canucks Nation at the Vancouver Province,
According a to a published report, the twins are seeking identical five-year deals that average $6.5 million US a year. Meanwhile the Canucks have offered $5.5 million US over three or four years. These numbers shouldn’t shock anyone especially given some context. For starters it’s a negotiation so each side is seeking a deal that best suits its interests. Given that, there is still room to meet somewhere in the middle, which is about what everyone expected, to get a deal done.
“There’s still several months before July so I’m not terribly concerned,” Barry said. “Based on our discussions, they want them to stay and they want to stay. We’ll just have to keep working.”
Barry would not confirm or deny the figures but said: “As far as I can see from those numbers, that’s about a million apart and any other way to take is funny math as far as I’m concerned.”
from Canucks Nation at the Vancouver Province,
Alain Vigneault told the rest of the world how he felt about Kyle Wellwood after Tuesday’s game.
So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he let Wellwood in on this Thursday morning at practice — he’s not happy.
“I’m not here to be liked. I’m here to get the most out of him,and that’s what I’m trying to do.” Vigneault said. “As a coach you have to push the right buttons. Some guys need to be pushed a little harder, some guys need to be handled differently. Kyle needs to be pushed and that’s what I’m doing.”
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Ultimately, I expect any initial round of boos Sundin will hear Saturday night quickly will be drowned out by cheers of fans who are well within their right to appreciate the 13 years of loyal, classy service he provided to the team.
But I don’t fault any Leafs fan for tossing raspberries and profanity-riddled verbal bon mots Sundin’s way. They’ve got the right to do anything they want to do, just as Sundin, the great libertarian, did less than a year ago.
And if they choose to jeer him, they’ll be looking out for their own interests first – precisely what Sundin’s last lesson taught them.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Canucks’ schedule will likely protect Sundin from the worst of the media hordes anyway. At the moment, they are supposed to stay over in Ottawa to practise Friday, and not travelling to Toronto until much later in the day. Hockey Night in Canada will do its obligatory interview with him there. Sundin will likely not appear in public until Saturday morning’s day-of-game skate at the Air Canada Centre.
“I might be more excited to play the game than he is,” said Canucks’ goaltender Roberto Luongo. “I’m looking forward to that. It’s going to be a great atmosphere in the building. Everybody will be really pumped up. I enjoy playing in those cities to begin with. With all that added hype, it’ll be fun.”
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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