Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Mike Halford at Orland Kurtenblog,
After a surprisingly strong start to the season, the Vancouver Canucks have lost eight in a row and are falling further and further down the standings. As you’ve no doubt read in this very publication, the Canucks’ struggles have left many passionate supporters in a state of crisis.
We went to our preferred mode of communication—internet messenger—to discuss the fallout….
Mike says: look at the red wings last year…they lost 10 of 11 in february and went on to win the stanley cup
Jason says: ya, we’re just like the red wings!
Mike says: no, we’re even better, because we have mats sundin!
Jason says: wow, denial is easy
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Mats Sundin and the Canucks have done the impossible—transforming what seemed a no-lose situation into a torpedo to the hull of the team. And that spectacular achievement perfectly encapsulates the 39-year history of a futile franchise that lost the coin flip for Gilbert Perreault and never recovered.
The Canucks got Dale Tallon instead of Perreault.
They recruited all-world players Igor Larionov and Vladimir Krutov, who combined for 63 goals in three seasons here.
They drafted Dan Woodley over Brian Leetch, Brad Ference over Marian Hossa.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis has denied claims by defenceman Shane O’Brien that he was asked to fight more often.
Gillis, head coach Alain Vigneault and two other Canucks executives met with all of the team’s players last week to address a prolonged losing string — now eight consecutive games and nine in a row on home ice.
O’Brien, fresh off a benching during a 4-3 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild last Saturday, said that in his meeting, the GM instructed him to fight.
“In no uncertain terms was he told he had to fight,” Gillis said last night. “How he ever got that message is unbeknownst to me. He clearly misinterpreted the message that we were trying to send, that each player has to be accountable and work hard individually.”
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Maybe it was unrealistic to expect him to make an immediate impact. Maybe it was unrealistic to expect him to step in and be the player we last saw in Toronto.
But, by any reasonable standard, he’s been here long enough to acclimatize himself to the NHL grind and bring his conditioning and timing up to an NHL standard. And not only has he failed there, he’s actually hindered the Canucks’ attempts to get on track.
Against the Wild, the final line told you all you needed to know—just over 17 minutes of ice time, minus-one, no points, three shots on goal, none of which resembled a scoring chance, and two more minors to his rapidly increasing PIM total.
But what that ledger doesn’t reveal is the number of times he was put in a position to make a difference; to change the momentum of the game or to sustain momentum in the Canucks’ favour. Alain Vigneault gave Sundin every chance to succeed, every chance to leave his imprint on this game. And each time he failed.
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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