Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
from Scott Cruickshank at Flames Insider,
After stunning saves on RW Steve Bernier (left pad) and C Mats Sundin (glove), Kiprusoff had needed to lunge to his right when puck squirted over to Wellwood. The shot, seemingly into an empty net, was batted away by the back of the Flames netminder’s paddle.
Great save, right?
“Kyle got what he deserves,” said Vigneault. “I mean, he is not bearing down and had an open net. He’s shooting the puck two miles an hour. You have to bear down, you have to put your full weight into it, you have to shoot it. He might have been standing there a little bit. Obviously, it looked like the goalie made a big save, but the player didn’t have a great attempt there.”
read on and watch the save below…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
When the Flames’ coach was asked about matching up Robyn Regehr against the suddenly red-hot Mats Sundin, he turned the conversation around and suggested he was more concerned about the Canucks’ defensive match-up against Jarome Iginla.
Specifically, Keenan charged that defenceman Willie Mitchell used an illegal stick – too long – to defend against Iginla.
Keenan was coy about whether he’d ask for a measurement against Mitchell tonight (“I would never say”), but it was clear that he was trying to ramp up the rhetoric for the game, and maybe take some pressure off the slumping Iginla.
Mitchell, for his part, laughed off the charge.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Ready or not, Toronto, here comes Mats.
In just five days, Mats Sundin returns to the Air Canada Centre, this time wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey, not the familiar blue-and-white of the Maple Leafs.
And as the Saturday night tilt creeps closer, expect the type of pre-game hype usually reserved for a Super Bowl.
Know this: Sundin certainly won’t be sneaking into town—he comes back on Hockey Day in Canada.
from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun,
Given the struggles they endured in January, you would expect the Vancouver Canucks to be downright giddy over the three-game winning streak they carry into tonight’s game here against the Phoenix Coyotes.
But they’re not. Three wins can’t mask the fact that the team is still struggling in some key areas. The Canuck penalty-kill has been abysmal and goalie Roberto Luongo clearly hasn’t regained his form since returning from injury.
Last night, Kelly Hrudey during the Coast to Coast segment on HNIC talked goaltending. I watched it live and thought Kelly had some great insight on the goaltending position and was left wanting more from Kelly.
Price, Luongo and Osgood were discussed but if you are interested in the goaltending position, I recommend watching it.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Canucks, we are told, have yet to officially make a contract offer to veteran defenseman Mattias Ohlund. So, unless something drastic changes soon, it appears Ohlund is headed to unrestricted free agency. While we’re sure the Canucks would love to be able to move him March 4 if they fall out of the playoff race, the fact is Ohlund controls his fate with a no-trade clause.
In the meantime, talks have also stalled with the Sedin twins, also pending UFAs. There was a meeting this past Wednesday between Canucks GM Mike Gillis and the Sedins’ agent, J.P. Barry, but no progress was made.
Vancouver, meanwhile, is believed to be among a list of teams that has at least inquired about veteran blueliner Mathieu Schneider, a UFA on July 1.
read on for more NHL topics. It is basically a recap of HNIC Hot Stove talk from last night but there is additional topics discussed.
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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