Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
With Willie Desjardins poised to become the Canucks next head coach, it’s time to step back and look at the first two and a half months of Trevor Linden’s administration.
Linden now has his coach and GM in place and both men are the polar opposites of their predecessors.
Desjardins is a no-BS career coach. Unlike John Tortorella, his press conferences won’t be appointment viewing.
New GM Jim Benning is a career scout who spent 20 years learning his craft. Like Desjardins, he is low-key and hard-working. Like Desjardins, he isn’t exactly a quote machine.
But this is what you like about the Canucks’ new hockey department. The men involved aren’t interested in reinventing the wheel. They are, however, interested in building an organization that encompasses the game’s core principles.
All three are from Western Canada. All view the game the same way. And the Canucks will reflect their philosophy.
There might have been sexier hires out there than Benning and Desjardins, but we’ve seen where sexy got the Canucks.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
If it’s true that Ryan Kesler will only agree to play for two teams in the NHL next year – the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins – then new Vancouver Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning will have his work cut out for him, trying to make that deal work.
Because of his skill, versatility and reasonably cheap salary cap number ($5-million per season for two more years), Kesler would be a good fit on any number of teams willing to gamble on his health.
Chicago has long needed a No. 2 centre to play behind Jonathan Toews and last week, told one of the players who’ve been trying to fill the void, Michal Handzus, he wouldn’t be back. Pittsburgh doesn’t have an obvious need for a centre, not with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brenden Sutter there, but Malkin can play the wing, as can Kesler.
It would be interesting to see if Kesler could develop chemistry with one or the other, or if the new Penguins coach – whomever that may eventually be – would just keep Crosby and Malkin together, which has worked well in the past.
No, the issue is that both the Blackhawks and Penguins are usually maxed out at the cap, and Chicago needs to be mindful of the raises that both Toews and Patrick Kane are going to get in their next deals.
continued plus more hockey topics...
As stated, Kesler is a tremendous player and could end the Blackhawks’ nonstop carousel at No. 2 center. He would have an instant chemistry with Kane, given their international play together in past Olympics. That’s all good. But there are always prices to pay. It just seems, for the Blackhawks, the move is not worth what the prices could be.
-Tracey Myers of CSNChicago on the report (Garrioch) stating Kesler wants to play for Chicago or Pittsburgh. Read more on this topic.
from Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province,
That the Canucks management team of President Trevor Linden and GM Jim Benning are talking to Bylsma, the former Stanley Cup winner (2009) and NHL coach of the year (2011) with Pittsburgh, should be no surprise. The surprise may be that Bylsma, recently fired by the Penguins, appears not to be the frontrunner in what is shaping up as a comprehensive search that will include as many as eight candidates.
Linden said this week that the coaching search may not conclude until after the NHL Entry Draft, June 27-28 in Philadelphia. That likely means Bylsma won’t be their man, as he reportedly had an excellent interview with Florida GM Dale Tallon last week and is believed to be the frontrunner there.
continue for more on the Canucks' coaching search...
While we wait for the NHL talk to pick up, I would like to ask you two questions.
Where will Jason Spezza end up?
The same question on Ryan Kesler, what team will trade for Kesler or will he remain in Vancouver?
Regarding Spezza, supposedly he has listed some teams he will not accept a trade to. They include teams located in Canada, the Panthers, Blue Jackets and maybe a few more.
Kesler also has a list of teams he doesn't want to be traded to.
Since both players can somewhat control their destiny, it does make it more difficult to trade but I believe both will be moved.
How about you?
Elementary school children sent letters to Trevor Linden...
from Daniel Wagner of Pass It To Bulis at the Vancouver Sun,
“Practice more,” says Quintin, 11, and so does Isaac, who adds that the players should “count to ten or inhale and exhale 4 times when mad.” That’s got nothing to do with practicing, but it’s sound advice.
I like the advice given by Alvina, 11, who suggests that one practice a month should just be handed over to the players: “just let the team talk and get to know each other.”
Everett, 12, gets specific and suggests they “practice more give and go.” Leon, 6, wants the Canucks to “practice shooting” and “practice skating.” Apple, 6, agrees with the latter: “practice skating more.”
Bruce, 11, just wants “more practices to make it to the playoffs” and Chloe, 7, suggests the Canucks need to “work harder and practice.” Josh says, “have more practices…to get better.” Doris, 11, says “try to practice more.” Again and again, the advice from the kids is “practice more.”
from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly,
Just what the Flyers need: another $5 million center whose best years are behind him and who turns 30 in August.
This figures to be a very challenging summer for newly-installed general manager Ron Hextall, who has about $6.5 million in salary cap space and is desperately seeking to fill one, if not two, spots on defense, while having to re-sign a half-dozen or so players, including Emery, the backup to goalie Steve Mason.
The Kesler deal, which was wildly speculated without substantiation during the trade deadline, made no sense in March and makes even less sense right now.
Yeah, Bob Clarke tendered Kesler an offer sheet for $1.9 million back in 2006. Vancouver matched. Been there, done that.
We’ve already seen the mess the Flyers got themselves into last July by diving foolishly into free agency to sign center Vinny Lecavalier when the position they absolutely need to upgrade was wing.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The latest scuttlebutt on who's going where and why as another big season of free agency approaches:
It has the potential to be quite the offseason when it comes to high-profile centers changing teams.
We always say top centers don’t grow on trees and are hard to come by, well, there are at least two on the market in Ryan Kesler and Jason Spezza and it remains to be seen how it plays out on the Joe Thornton front.
First, in Vancouver, where the Canucks went fairly down the road in trade talks involving Kesler before the March 5 trade deadline, in particular with the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins, before deciding the offers weren’t good enough and pulling him back.
The question is, what’s the deal with him now given the new management in place in Vancouver?
Sources said new Canucks GM Jim Benning has already taken calls from teams on Kesler, if for no other reason than they’re wondering if he’s still available or not....
Spezza, with a year left on his deal, indicated to Senators management that he would welcome a change if a deal that makes sense comes Ottawa’s way. I suspect talks will heat up on that front closer to the draft later this month.
And, in San Jose, the Sharks have indicated they are entering a rebuilding mode. What does that mean for Joe Thornton, who signed a three-year extension earlier this season? Does he want to be around for a rebuild? Either way, Thornton holds all the cards with a no-movement clause. Same goes for Patrick Marleau, for that matter.
more on Kesler and other topic too...
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
If Canucks general manager Jim Benning likes the core of this team as much as he claims to, it would appear there should now be a clear frontrunner for the club’s vacant head coaching job.
That would be Dan Bylsma, the recently deposed coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won a Stanley Cup in 2009 after he took over from Michel Therrien in the middle of the season; a man who is said to be a clone of Alain Vigneault. He’s also a man who was none too thrilled to be kept hanging around as long as he was by the Pens, only to be dumped on Friday, but there was nothing he could do about it.
But we digress. Who better to follow AV here in Vancouver than the same guy who had great success following his body double, Therrien, in Pittsburgh — the one thorny year of John Tortorella perhaps the only thorny issue spoiling what could be the perfect succession plan.
Since that wonderful first year in Pittsburgh, obviously things haven’t gone as well for Bylsma, but there is a pretty good explanation for just about every failing the team had under his watch.
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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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