Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Canucks Nation Blog at the Vancouver Province,
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault didn’t say Kyle Wellwood is a lost cause but he did leave some tread marks on the waiver-wire pickup after he drove the bus over him.
AV took direct aim at Wellwood’s fitness level after the two-day training camp in Whislter.
“His commitment to conditioning and being a professional athlete probably wasn’t where it needed to be for him to have success,” said Vigneault. “His test results showed from early July [to training camp] significant improvements. That being said, it’s still not NHL calibre.”
Ouch. And that wasn’t the only shot that Wellwood absorbed.
added 9:17pm, More on this from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun…
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Defencemen Willie Mitchell and Mattias Ohlund, as well as centres Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler, were frequently alternates towards the end of a non-playoff season. All are candidates to ascend to captain this year.
Mitchell previously wore a ‘C’ with the Minnesota Wild, a team that rotated its captain every month or so. But both Mitchell and forward Pavol Demitra, a free-agent addition from the Wild, said a permanent captain was preferred.
“I wasn’t a big fan of it,” Mitchell said. “You have your group of leaders and, it’s just my personal opinion, but I don’t think it gives the letter [the] respect that it deserves if too many people wear it.”
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
“It reminds a bit of two years ago when I got here,” Luongo said Monday following his first informal skate with teammates at Burnaby 8-Rinks.
“There were a lot of new faces and a lot of people didn’t know what to expect and we ended up having a great season. I get that same feeling a bit this year.
“I think guys are going to be excited to play and once we all get together and play as a team, I think we’re capable of great things.”
via Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Nonis told Canucks’ ownership he would add three forwards and let Markus Naslund go through free agency. Swedish free agent Fabian Brunnstrom was committed to signing with the Canucks. Nonis was also going to trade the Canucks’ first-round draft pick this summer, which probably would have landed the Kings’ Mike Cammalleri. And he was going to move a defenceman, likely Kevin Bieksa, and/or prospects for another proven scorer. Hello, Olli Jokinen.
Gillis, for his part, has improved the Canucks’ fourth line and added Pavol Demitra and Steve Bernier while losing Naslund and Brendan Morrison.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Since pronouncing his mission statement at his now-famous opening press conference, Gillis hasn’t exactly dazzled this market with his offseason moves. Anyone who saw the Canucks play for more than a period last season was painfully aware the team needed to add two or three top-nine forwards to ease the burden on the twins.
His response? He exchanged Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison for Pavol Demitra and Steve Bernier, while virtually every team in the Western Conference improved themselves.
As a result, the twins are now as important to the Canucks as Roberto Luongo and, if you doubt that, consider what their lineup would look like without the Sedins.
Gillis might have had more ambitious plans this summer but, as the new season dawns, he’s left with one option.
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
The slick Slovak was rookie GM Mike Gillis’s highest profile free-agent signing in July and inked a two-year deal worth $8 million.
He will be expected to fill the offensive void created by captain Markus Naslund’s departure.
Demitra is not coming off a stellar season himself. He had only 15 goals in Jacques Lemaire’s suffocating Minnesota Wild system. It was one of the reasons he opted to move on.
The Canucks, of course, have not been an offensive juggernaut since head coach Alain Vigneault’s arrival in 2006 but Demitra has put his faith in Gillis, his former agent.
“Obviously I was working with Mike Gillis for many years and I know what he’s like,” said the 33-year-old forward. “I’m hoping they’re going to try and change it here and play a little more offence.”
from the Vancouver Canucks,
“Retiring a player’s sweater is one of the highest honours a club can pay to its most elite players and ambassadors,” said Chris Zimmerman, President and CEO, Canucks Sports & Entertainment. “Trevor embodies the qualities we strive for as an organization; character, hard working, commitment, generous and loyal. We are proud that his sweater will hang beside Stan Smyl’s at General Motors Place.”
“This is a tremendous honour and I am very grateful to the club,” said Linden. “To be drafted by the Canucks organization 20 years ago as an 18 year old and to now have my sweater retired is very humbling and rewarding.”
Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray announced today the club has acquired right-winger Ryan Shannon from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenceman Lawrence Nycholat.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
In a wide-ranging telephone interview from Montreal, Luongo talked like someone who expects to be in Vancouver longer than the two years remaining on his current deal.
“The great thing is we’re on the same page and we both want to win,” Luongo said of Gillis. “We’re here to win and we want to build a winning team that can contend for the Cup every year.
“When I spoke to him, it was very reassuring for me because that’s why I’m playing in Vancouver—to have a chance to win it all. When you hear something like that from your GM—that he’s as committed to winning as Mike is—it gives you a comfort zone that the organization is all about putting the best team on the ice.”
read on including Luongo hitting the ice with white pads…
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Nudged by coach Alain Vigneault, (Willie) Mitchell is committed to setting an example this offseason, trying to take a step forward into the leadership void created by the departure of Canuck mainstays Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison and Trevor Linden….
Mitchell hasn’t had much time for leisure this summer. He said he took just one fishing trip. He started skating regularly in July in Minnesota, his earliest ever start, and already has ramped up his off-ice training to five days a week.
“It’s not easy and it’s not fun,” Mitchell said. “This isn’t exactly the most enjoyable time of year for hockey players—you’re running stairs and doing things where you’re almost passing out. That’s not fun.
“But No. 1 for me is to get ready to have a great season and if I do that it’s really going to help this team. I’m not happy with how last season turned out. No one can be.”
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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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