Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Ebner of the Globe and Mail,
The team is, two games in, revived, and the score sheet on Saturday complimented new general manager Jim Benning’s off-season. Three of the four scorers are new players, just as Linden had hoped new faces would drum up fun. Then there’s the Sedins. They had their worst season in a decade under Tortorella and now have eight points between them, four points apiece.
What’s particularly interesting about the early offensive burst from the Sedins is they’re doing it without the favourable deployment they enjoyed under Alain Vigneault, and also Tortorella. The Sedins are taking more defensive zone faceoffs than offensive, a major change compared with the past five seasons, and also are putting in penalty-kill minutes.
The Sedins had a strong October last year, but this feels different. For now, it looks like the Sedins are back.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
... it can reasonably be said the Canucks have changed the atmosphere around the team and improved the bottom half of their lineup. As for their frontliners, it just doesn’t seem possible that Henrik and Daniel Sedin will be as unproductive as they were last season, just as it seems possible that one of Nick Bonino, Zack Kassian or Linden Vey will enjoy a breakout year.
So the Canucks will be better than they were last season. But so will every team that finished ahead of them in the West with the possible exception of San Jose, and the Sharks were pretty damn good to begin with.
That’s the real challenge facing the Orcans this season. Anaheim, which finished first in the West last season, added Kesler. Colorado has a stacked young team and now has Jarome Iginla. St. Louis made the biggest splash in the off-season, signing Paul Stastny. The Blackhawks and Kings have been the two best teams in the NHL for the last four seasons. Minnesota, who was on the uptick anyway, added Thomas Vanek. Dallas you ask? They added Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.
And those, with the exception of the Sharks, are just the teams that made the playoffs in the West last season. The Canucks also have to climb over Phoenix, Nashville and Winnipeg before they can think about a post-season berth.
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.
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