Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks can start talking contract extension July 1, and it would be in their best interests to start kicking those tires now and then lock up the restricted free agent long-term. Allowing Kesler to build on this career season when the final year of his deal plays out in 2009-10 would only up the ante because he will also have arbitration rights.
If Kesler is willing to agree to a sensible salary—he’s earning a paltry $1.75 million annually—coupled with long-term security, it will be music to the ears of Canucks GM Mike Gillis. Maybe not so much for Kesler’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.
“It’s important that I don’t talk contracts and important that I fly under the radar,” Overhardt said Wednesday. “Ryan has always had the skill and fortitude. It’s about opportunity and maturing.”
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
After a team gets up two or three goals in this league, there is always a parade to the penalty box on marginal calls in favour of the trailing team. In this case, it was the Colorado Avalanche who were the benefactors.
As soon as the second period began, suddenly the Canucks, who didn’t need to take any penalties, found themselves down and then down two men and the Avalanche were back in the game on a power-play goal.
The Avs were the same struggling team a step behind the play as they were in the first period, but the officiating kept the game close until Vancouver had to play so much defence and worry so much about taking a penalty that they got tentative and Colorado got their legs.
“What I take with me from what happened last year is the fear — I never want to go through something like that again. I use it to motivate. I remember the feelings I had once last season was over. I was devastated. It took me a long, long time to get over it.
“We can’t ever sit back and think it’s over, that we’re in. There’s still 15 games left and a lot can happen. Things change fast. You lose a few games in a row and, before you know it, you’re battling just for that last spot.”
-Roberto Luongo via Jason Botchord of The White Towel at the Vancouver Province.
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Six months after a dinner summit meeting when each side pledged its devotion to the other, Daniel and Henrik Sedin and the Vancouver Canucks seem no closer to agreeing on contract extensions as negotiations are about to be adjourned.
The National Hockey League franchise and its top scorers — or at least their representatives — appear to be inhabiting different worlds economically, and player agent J.P. Barry said Tuesday he’ll soon shut down talks so neither the players nor their team are distracted during the stretch drive and playoffs.
If this happens,the Canucks will have only weeks after the end of the season to re-sign the Sedins or risk losing their best forwards to unrestricted free agency on July 1.
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.
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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