Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Grant Kerr of the Globe and Mail,
...He can’t recall offhand, though, a season when the Canucks lost five of their first six home games, which Vancouver did last month at GM Place.
“It’s a place where you can go in the right direction or the wrong direction, and we’ve gone in the wrong direction,’ Linden said yesterday after a practice in which the Canucks worked on defensive assignments.
“You don’t want to let it snowball,” he added. “You want to fix things and get comfortable. The longer you struggle, you kind of build up that mental side of things. You want to break that down as soon as you can.”
from the Vancouver Province,
What the Vancouver Canucks tried to do this offseason was stand still.
Because he had virtually no other choice, GM Dave Nonis essentially did nothing in the offseason—at least nothing that could possibly have had any significant impact on the existing roster.
With $38 million of last year’s payroll already committed to this season and needing to sign 10 players to fill out the roster, he was left shopping the bargain basement for free agents like Byron Ritchie and Brad Isbister and making trades that involved such luminaries as Jason King and Ryan Shannon.
From the CP via the Globe & Mail,
Defenceman Willie Mitchell chose his words carefully but it was clear Monday he was annoyed by the public criticism directed at him by coach Alain Vigneault following the Vancouver Canucks’ loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Some things should stay in the dressing room, Mitchell said.
“If people are unhappy with things, (as a) player you’d like to have that addressed,” he said. “You don’t like to hear about it through the media most of the time. That’s his way of motivating I guess.”
From Iain Macintyre at the Vancouver Sun,
Eleven years ago, when the Vancouver Canucks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime, Trevor Linden got into Chris Chelios’s face after the winning goal and the pair tussled.
Chelios threw the first punch and, after the players were separated, accused Linden of covering up and refusing to fight. And that was the high point of their relationship. It has devolved the last two years as Chelios leads his crusade for justice within a National Hockey League Players’ Association that Linden, as the union’s former president, led through a labour war that scuttled the 2004-05 season.
Sunday, Linden seemed ready for the fight.
“It’s easy to pile on,” Linden said before facing Chelios and the Detroit Red Wings Sunday night at GM Place. “I will say this: I’m extremely proud of the decisions the [NHLPA] executive committee made. I think we made, in very difficult times, good decisions for the players.”
from the Vancouver Sun,
Vigneault suggested nothing figures to change until the team gets more production from its top forwards.
“Those are the guys who have been able to do it for us in the past and I firmly believe they want to do well,” Vigneault said. ” For some reason, just look at Daniel and Henrik tonight, they weren’t skating well at all and Mo and Nassie weren’t much better. We need those guys to pick their game up and be the front-runners of this team as far as offence and right now we’re not getting that.”
from the Columbus Dispatch,
The puck drops for the Blue Jackets against the Canucks today in Nationwide Arena.
But will it ever get past Luongo?
“I’ve played against him a lot of nights when it’s … well, it’s never impossible, but it seems like it,” said Blue Jackets left winger Fredrik Modin, who saw a lot of Luongo—too much, he might say—when Modin played for Tampa Bay and Luongo played for Florida two seasons ago.
“Guys get frustrated. What would be goals against other goalies, Luongo saves. So you feel like you have to be perfect to beat him, and it gets into your head.”
from the Vancouver Province,
During his weekly segment on a Vancouver morning radio show, Nonis took his players to task for their effort in the 8-2 fright night against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.
“Last year, we prided ourselves on being an incredibly hard-working and intelligent team,” Nonis said on the show. “And I thought (Wednesday) night, and for much of the first game as well, we were neither. “We were lazy and stupid. That’s something you can’t put up with.”
“As a player, you have that responsibility to get yourself prepared to play,” Vigneault said. “There were a lot of guys who mentioned they didn’t work hard enough and they didn’t prepare properly. It’s their responsibility.
“It was a total team collapse.”
From the AP via MSNBC,
Philadelphia Flyers forward Jesse Boulerice said he expects to be suspended for cross-checking Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler across the face late in an 8-2 rout on Wednesday night.
The hit occurred with 5:41 left and the Flyers leading 7-2. After some pushing and shoving back and forth, Boulerice caught an unsuspecting Ryan Kesler across the face with his stick, leaving the Canucks forward lying motionless on the ice. He eventually got up and skated to the bench on his own.
Boulerice’s coach agreed that a suspension is probably forthcoming.
*Video footage is here
from the Vancouver Sun,
Less than 48 hours after avoiding a serious knee injury, Vancouver Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo was back on the ice and practising with his teammates….
“I was able to get through the practice so that’s a good sign,” Luongo said. “This morning it felt much better than yesterday and I was able to walk on it fine. Obviously if it was going to bother me on the ice, I was going to get off. Once it was warmed up, I was fine.”
From Ed Willes at The Province,
Alain Vigneault concluded another press conference Thursday in which he appeared relaxed and confident while serving up a couple of bon mots for the media’s consumption.
He joked about his commitment to rookie Mason Raymond and second-year pro Ryan Shannon which could last “a period or two.”
He delivered a similar message to the rest of the team, saying: “It’s safe to say after the first game it’s what are you doing for me now.”
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