Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Spring and summer can seem like forever for the players and management of teams that don’t make the playoffs in the NHL, but the clock is ticking on the Vancouver Canucks.
It’s getting down to cases for them, as the next five short weeks will define the team they’ll ice next season.
There are a ton of decisions to be made, and if you really want to be effective, there’s no time to put them off. For instance, if you want to keep Ryan Kesler — as some signals from Jim Benning and Trevor Linden have indicated — then when they meet this week, they must give him some indication of whom the head coach will be.
There’s no way he’s committing to withdrawing the trade request he’s still denying making if he doesn’t know who the coach is going to be after his head-butting with the last two. And if after said meeting you want to trade him, the best time is just before the draft. Any suggestion you’ll make a better deal later in the summer is an exercise in self-delusion. By the time September rolls around, everyone likes the look of their own young players, no matter how lame they may be. It’s a time when optimism reigns, leading every team to overvalue its assets.
If landing a high-profile free agent to play with Kesler is part of the discussion and is to be acted upon, it’s likely to come in the first few days, maybe even the first few hours after July 1. That means preparation.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
... it comes as little surprise that the Canucks new general manager, Jim Benning, is open to making an upgrade between the posts.
“We’re going to look at every avenue we have to make our team competitive. Vancouver is a big-market city, we’ve got a passionate fan base, [and] our owners want to win,” Benning told Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Brady & Walker when asked directly about signing a free-agent goaltender. “I know they have a lot of confidence in Eddie Lack. For a first-year goalie last year, he had a good season, and we hope that he can take it to the next step this year.”...
Should the first-time GM decide to give fans a “We’re going for it!” signal, some compelling proven goalies will be available on the open market come July 1.
Ryan Miller, whom Benning scouted and drafted to the Buffalo Sabres, will not be re-signing with the St. Louis Blues. Jonas Hiller believes he has played his last game in an Anaheim Ducks uniform. And veteran wild cards Ilya Bryzgalov and Tim Thomas (imagine!) are out there as well.
Toss in a handful of UFA goaltenders whose best years could still be ahead of them — Alex Stalock, Carter Hutton, Justin Peters, Thomas Greiss — and backups/mentors like Martin Brodeur and Ray Emery, and Benning has some interesting routes he could choose to pursue.
more plus the latest on Ryan Kesler...
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Jim Benning has been part of plenty of these days, when a new general manager gets announced and everyone in the organization immediately gets nervous for their jobs. So he would not promise front-office changes on his first day as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, because he knows how that would play. He purposely avoided the image of a guy looking to remake an entire organization in his own image.
In fact, Benning promised very little except for this: “We’re going to be about hard work … to get this thing going back in the right direction.”
There was a lot more “us” and “we” on Friday than there was “me” or “I.” The son of a fireman and a nurse, raised in the blue-collar north end of Edmonton, you could likely Google-image “meat-and-potatoes guy” and get a picture of Benning, side part and all.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org