Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Nancy MacDonald of MACLEANS,
Miller, in some ways, is an anti-athlete: complex, loquacious, cerebral. He’s an amateur photographer. He reads. He loves playing the guitar. He drives a hybrid. But he also makes pains to establish that he’s no hermit, conscious, perhaps, of his position’s stereotypes: “I’m trying to be a little more social, to be around friends and not be the weird goalie who sits in his house all day and wears the cushions out on his couch,” he’s said.
His loyalties lie with his family, his “pit crew” of core pals, and his wife, television actress Noureen DeWulf.
He spent the summer training and clearing his head. Conscious of the strain that travel exacts on players in the Western Conference, Miller put together an off-season regimen carefully designed to ramp up as the season approached. “Every year, you have to prove yourself,” he says. “You’re not handed a job.”
Although a popular narrative says Miller is fading with age, his numbers tell a different story. He hasn’t posted a save percentage under .915 in six seasons, while topping the league in shots against for the past two. He’s done this almost exclusively while propping up a basement dweller. The truth is, Miller is a difference-maker. And he’s hungrier than ever.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
So that’s it, then.
It appears, with goalie Jacob Markstrom going on waivers today, that there will indeed be no big upside for the Vancouver Canucks from trading Roberto Luongo, once the team’s captain and franchise goalie, to the Florida Panthers last March.
It was one of Mike Gillis’s last acts as Canucks GM, and it’s probably good for him that he’s no longer around to answer questions on this particular subject.
Like, how’d you get it so bloody wrong, Mike?
The Vancouver Canucks have placed goaltender Jacob Markstrom on waivers.
The 24-year-old netminder was acquired from the Florida in March as part of the trade that sent Roberto Luongo back to the Panthers.
Markstrom appeared in four games with the Canucks last season, posting a 1-2-0 record with a 3.00 goals-against average and a .868 save percentage.
Originally selected in the second round (31st overall) by the Panthers, Markstrom has appeared in 47 career NHL games, posting a 12-27-0-5 record with an .896 save percentage and a 3.19 goals-against.
The Swedish netminder has one year remaining on his current contract worth an average annual value of $1.2 million. he is slated to become a restricted free agent at season's end.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Trevor Linden and his crew made a lot of interesting moves in the off-season in hopes of helping the Vancouver Canucks’ fortunes, but one of the best — which may have slipped under the radar — was bringing in physiotherapist Rick Celebrini as a consultant.
Celebrini is tremendously well known already in this city for his work with Steve Nash for many years and more recently with Kevin Bieksa, and of course as a consultant to the Vancouver Whitecaps as well as co-founding Fortius Sports, and his best work often comes without anyone really knowing it’s happening.
While everyone knows that he works with individuals after they’ve been injured or are looking to better overcome an injury, one of the mainstays of his work with the Canucks is expected to be injury prevention, something he feels can be tackled with some success.
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
... how Miller plays in this marketplace as the starter and another key face of the franchise will become a daily obsession. However, strong beliefs in how he should attack the position and the attention that’s going to afford are nothing new.
“That’s anywhere, honestly,” Miller said Monday.
“A lot has been made of it here and that’s because there are passionate fans. When you go to any NHL city and you talk about goaltending, it’s all the same. I was compared to Dominik Hasek my entire career and there was always that shadow in the background because he was one of the greatest goalies ever, and you have to live up to that.
“People constantly compare you and they want to see you play to that level. And when you don’t, it’s: ‘Dom was better.’ You just do the best you can. It’s the same in any NHL city and you guys don’t have a monopoly on that here — sorry. You’re under the microscope everywhere.”
Despite going 2-4 with the St. Louis Blues in the postseason with a 2.70 goals-against average and .897 saves percentage after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres,
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
What happens in a hockey-crazed market when a hot start quickly dissipates into a dramatic downward spiral, highlighting a questionable coaching hire in the polarizing John Tortorella?
You have yourself an offseason rife with upheaval, just like the summer of 2014 for the Vancouver Canucks.
The brash and fiery Tortorella was axed after just one season. Longtime general Mike Gillis was dismissed, as well. Star center Ryan Kesler was shipped out of town in a trade to Anaheim.
None of it is surprising, according to former Vancouver Canucks player Geoff Courtnall, who spent five seasons playing for the club from 1990-95.
“Well, I think the owners have high expectations and want to win. They weren’t satisfied with how last season went, so they made some pretty drastic moves," Courtnall told ESPN.com in a recent phone conversation.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When the Toronto Maple Leafs make their way out West in March and play the Vancouver Canucks, the game is scheduled for 4 p.m. locally as usual, but that should change.
And for very good reason. While the following is a small, perhaps even niggling thing to some degree, it’s important.
Over the past few years, that game has always been at that time, but now things are different. Before this season, those Saturday television rights were owned by CBC, and as an independent party to the game and contractor with the league, the network was given the right to ask Vancouver to move the game from the traditional 7 p.m. start on a Saturday night to 4 p.m. to increase the audience in the East.
Why the Canucks ever agreed to it in the first place is a mystery, but it’s almost certainly been put into in the contract at some point.
But now Rogers owns those rights, and for those who may not have noticed, Rogers is also part-owner of the Leafs. If the game were allowed to go ahead at 4 p.m., which always takes the home-team Canucks out of their usual routine and is certainly an advantage for the visiting team, it would mean that the owners of the Leafs were able to demand that Vancouver change the start time to the advantage of their team. It gives them an unfair competitive advantage.
This is a clear conflict of interest which the league should not let stand.
The legal case for the loss of my NHL career is over. I have accepted a settlement agreement which has now been finalized and signed by all the parties.
This day comes with mixed emotions. I am extremely thankful for the compassion and encouragement of so many people over the past decade. These years have been very difficult for me and my family. The injuries I sustained in my rookie year, the years I spent trying to return to my NHL career, and dealing with the loss of my career and the ensuing legal case, have been long and trying experiences. While nothing replaces the loss of one’s dream, I am happy my family will no longer be burdened by an unresolved legal case, and I am grateful to be able to move forward.
I thank the fans and the public who have supported me so passionately and tirelessly, not just across Canada, and the U.S., but around the world – your support has meant more than you can imagine. I thank the people who supported me in this legal case; your courage, and integrity are an inspiration. I thank former Chief Justice of Ontario Warren Winkler for helping with this settlement. Finally, I thank my friends, and especially my family, for your unwavering love and devotion which kept me going over these last ten years.
I look forward to continuing to bring more attention and resources to the prevention and treatment of concussions and other head and neck injuries in sport, through The Steve Moore Foundation.
While my own hockey career was cut short, my love for the game has never diminished.
Mark Spector of Sportsnet answered a few Twitter questions today regarding the Vancouver Canucks and this one is about the playoff chances for the Canucks.
Vancouver missed the playoffs last spring for the first time in six seasons. They finished a miserable 12th in the West and 25th overall—down from third and eighth, respectively, the year before. Pick any team in any league that declined that much in one season, and tell me if you would pick them to rebound and make the playoffs the following season.
Exactly. We don’t see the Canucks as heading into a full blown Edmonton- or Calgary-type rebuild, but they do share some traits with teams that have been forced to go that route. Poor drafting. Bad trades. Sketchy free-agent signings. All of those have left Benning with the task of filling in a huge gap in the Canucks pipeline between the ages of 20 and about 28.
The draft-and-develop route takes much time, while changing the NHL roster via trades and free agency is also slow. But those two jobs are the priority in Vancouver, and that means an NHL linesman won’t drop a playoff puck in British Columbia come April. I’ve got the Canucks at 11th in the West.
more question answered...
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
One of the many things that have taken place over the summer with the Vancouver Canucks has come about quietly, but once again it shows how much the ownership wants to bring a Stanley Cup to this town.
They have definitely gotten in their own way at times, but if you ever needed a more graphic demonstration of how much the Aquilini family wishes to succeed on the ice, you only have to look at the front office to see how they’re trying to push every advantage they might have as a high-revenue team.
Hamstrung in what they can spend by the salary cap, like the Toronto Maple Leafs and a few of the other high-revenue teams are doing, they have expanded the number of people in the front office looking for all the additional help they can find in unearthing ideas and players that one day might be the difference in winning it all.
Consider that former president and general manger Mike Gillis has essentially been replaced by four people. Trevor Linden and his hire Jim Benning have combined to become what will hopefully act as a two-headed president and general manager, although Gillis and Laurence Gilman essentially did that under the old regime.
But Gilman, Lorne Henning and Stan Smyl have all been wisely retained from that regime and two more guys have been added in the hockey-management department in VP of administration TC Carling and VP of player personnel John Weisbrod.
Add any more and the VP meetings, which include all the people from the other departments, will have to be held in the lower bowl of Rogers Arena.
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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