Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Vancouver is a good team when goalie Roberto Luongo and his defencemen are healthy. But to win anything, they need more. And if it isn’t Sundin, it will have to be somebody else.
“The only problem is the idea that these things can be perfectly planned … that’s false,” Gillis said Monday from NHL meetings in Florida. “You can have theories about where you want to go and what you want to do, but things change daily. Something that isn’t available today might be available in January.
“Every team wants a big, dominant centre-ice man. Other than goalie, it’s probably the most coveted position in our league. In the event that Mats doesn’t end up here, we’ll be looking at other things.”
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
The Vancouver Canucks expect to speak with free-agent forward Mats Sundin this weekend, and they expect the former Toronto Maple Leafs captain will reach a decision on his NHL playing future in the next week….
...the biggest knock on Sundin joining the Canucks has been Vancouver’s extensive travel schedule. There was also the question whether the Canucks would be competitive in the Western Conference, as Sundin was expected only to consider teams that have a chance of winning the Stanley Cup.
But after next Saturday’s game against the Oilers, the Canucks will have played 19 of their 41 road games and have just two long trips remaining.
From Jason Botchford at The Province:
“A week ago we were talking about how great the room was, how great the leadership was, how great everything was,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “Same players, same game on the ice.”
But much different results.
“When we were on that roll, we were finding ways to win at key moments. At 2-1 [Monday], we should have been able to shut it down and we didn’t. Is that making a defensive play? Is that making a save? I think it’s a combination of everything. Right now, we have to find a way to win.”
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
But if the Canucks are truly into outside-the-box thinking, as the new regime purports, than Roberto Luongo’s groin injury should be viewed as an opportunity for Vancouver’s head coach to break with convention and make an organizational statement.
That statement: “Cory Schneider is our No. 1 goaltender.”
While Luongo’s injury realized Vancouver’s worst fear, and while backup Curtis Sanford has played well in relief, this window provides a rare chance for the Canucks to either build up Schneider as a valuable trade asset or groom him as Luongo’s eventual replacement.
That means playing Schneider, a 22-year-old rookie and former first-round draft pick who has yet to log a single minute in an NHL crease, while Luongo mends his wounds. It means giving the kid a string of games to show he belongs in the NHL right now.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
You know the story—they’re too soft.
But these “soft” Swedes have had their most success during the past three seasons against the Calgary Flames, one of the West’s toughest teams who don’t actually swing battle maces, but some nights they can leave opponents feeling like they did.
In the past 18 games against Calgary, the Sedins have combined for 49 points (23 for Henrik and 26 for Daniel). They say bring it on. “We don’t get scared if people try to play us hard; we actually like it,” Henrik Sedin said. “The Flames try to hit us as much as they can, and that actually opens up room behind the defence. “We like that, we like it when teams play that way, because it seems to get us to play our best games. There’s always a lot of hitting, and they are always physical games.”
from Bruce Constantineau of the Vancouver Sun,
Starting next season, the Vancouver Canucks will stop spewing miniscule amounts of greenhouse gas emissions inside GM Place.
They’ll replace their $90,000 propane ice-cleaning machines with $170,000 battery-powered electric models with zero emissions—a common sight on European ice surfaces but relatively new to North American rinks.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks have prepared an in-depth, scientific study of the NHL schedule and how it affects many of the western teams—not the least of which is themselves—with a view to getting policy changes made at the league level when the schedule is drawn up.
“We’ve had this on-going, detailed scientific study of the schedule prepared by [manager of scouting and player information] Jonathan Wall which we feel is salient, topical and not in any way prejudicial and we presented it to the commissioner,” said Gillis in undertaking an effort to level the playing field to some degree at least for the clubs furthest away from the mainstay of the league’s cities.
from Jeff Vinnick of VancouverCanucks.com, Tonight,
Tuesday evening, a few guys opted for a 5-star dinner, a couple other hit Broadway and a few more went to the live Letterman taping.
I’d like to think I topped the list: I got tickets to the Daily Show. Seeing Jon Stewart in person was something special. Now that I have my gloating out of the way, I can talk about our practice day in the big apple.
We started off with a trip to the NHL head offices on the Avenue of the Americas (at 47th Street). Both Mason Raymond and Roberto Luongo got up extra early so they could do interviews for the NHL Hockey Show. We then got a tour of the offices and met with NHL executive Bill Daly.
more with pictures…
from Stan Fischler at Game On,
The curious thing about the Canucks is that their beat writers believe they are a better team than they showed on the ice in Uniondale. On Game Day, both Vancouver papers treated the Islanders game as a virtual exhibition in preparation for the real test at MSG. And for a short while, they appeared to know something that The Maven didn’t know. But Scott Gordon’s Isles, if nothing else, compete. They overcame an early (MacDonald’s fault) goal, scraped together a tying counter and extended the Canucks to the shootout where Luongo faltered and MacDonald did not.
Playing once again without Scott Gomez – it’s futile to guess how long he’ll be sidelined, so why not figure another week and get it over with? – the Renney-gades still should be able to handle Vancouver, Sedin Twins or not.
from Matt Higgins of the New York Times,
One wears No. 22, the other No. 33. One has 394 career points, the other 393. The similarities can seem endless between the identical twins and Vancouver Canucks linemates Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
Even their contracts have been the same during their eight-year N.H.L. careers, a trend that Vancouver’s first-year general manager, Mike Gillis, would like to continue by re-signing them before they become unrestricted free agents in July.
“That is clearly a completely different dynamic than an individual player,” Gillis said about dealing with hockey’s most enduring one-two combination as a single entity. “However, because they are so highly thought of, it does not present any issue whatsoever.”
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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