May 21 2013 01:30PM
Should he stay or should he go now?
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
In the Vancouver sports market, Canucks fans have been waiting impatiently for several weeks to hear more about the fate of controversial head coach Alain Vigneault. Since the club's inglorious first round ouster earlier this month, Vigneault hasn't addressed the media - the second year in a row in which he's ducked the press following a first round exit - and General manager Mike Gillis has been quiet as well, aside from an e-mail promising change that he sent to season ticket holders late last week.
For what it's worth, TSN analyst and the godfather of hockey coverage Bob McKenzie appeared on the Scotty and Company morning show on the Team 1040 today. McKenzie quite plainly said that he "expects the Vancouver Canucks to make a coaching change," and then added that he "can't imagine [Vigneault's situation] dragging on much longer than it has."
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May 21 2013 11:45AM
Is Daniel Sedin declining faster than his brother?
Photo via wikimedia commons.
Way back before this season began Dimitri, Cam and myself engaged in a spirited debate about whether or not the Sedins had "lost a step". Dimitri and Cam argued that they had while I posited that they hadn't - at least not yet. Looking over those old posts, I think I was the closest to being correct, even though the Sedins didn't produce at a point-per-game rate this past season (which I'd thought they would).
While the Sedin twins's offensive production took a step back this past lockout shortened season, they had a greater defensive burden to carry and significantly less support from the rest of Vancouver's forward group than they've enjoyed in the past. Despite more more difficult roles and circumstances, the twins probably turned in the best two-way season of their respective careers.
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May 19 2013 03:54PM
Henrik Sedin gives a post game interview after scoring two goals in a championship victory.
Image courtesy RadioSporten.
The Sedins were widely criticized for "no showing" in the NHL playoffs earlier this month, as the Vancouver Canucks were eliminated in short order at the hands of the San Jose Sharks. The criticism was a bit much, considering the failure of Vancouver's penalty-kill and the fact that the twins had a couple of really good games (games two and three) despite limited support from the rest of the Canucks lineup...
Following the inglorious playoff ouster, the Sedins joined team Sweden at the World Hockey Championships which were hosted in both Sweden and Finland this year (and last year too for that matter). In four games in the tournament the twins and linemate Loui Eriksson carried team Sweden offensively, giving the Tre Kronor a vicious, explosive power-play that powered the Swedes past Canada, Finland and Switzerland in the elimination rounds, and all the way to a gold medal victory on home soil. I suppose it's a nice way to cap off a disappointing - albeit quietly impressive season - on a winning note.
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May 18 2013 06:51PM
Alex Edler was functionally kicked out of the World Championship tournament for a brutal knee-on-knee hit on Canadian centre Eric Staal in the quarterfinal match between the Canadian team and the Tre Kronor on Thursday. Sweden won the game three-to-two in a shootout, and then defeated Finland's mens team on Saturday to advance to the finals.
On Saturday Eric Staal got some good medical news in that he won't require surgery, and is expected to be ready for the start of next season. Alex Edler, however, and perhaps deservedly, got some tough news on Saturday. The latest reports surfacing from Swedish media outlet Aftonbladet on Saturday afternoon suggest that Alex Edler's suspension may extend into the 2014 Olympic tournament in Sochi. National team manager Tommy Boutsedt even described Edler's punishment (via Google Translate) as "basically a lifetime ban."
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May 18 2013 01:01PM
There isn't one single way to win in the NHL.
NHL teams often look to the recent Stanley Cup Champion(s) for some insight into how to construct a winning roster. The Washington Capitals went away from their successful run-and-gun strategy because a defensive Montreal team stymied them back in 2010. Washington finally found success again this season, largely because of a return to a more offensive brand of hockey.
After watching the Bruins and Kings steamroll their way to the Cup in 2011 and 2012, respectively, many teams (including the Canucks) have placed a mandate on getting bigger. With fewer infractions called in the postseason, bigger players are at more of an advantage. They can use their size to wear down smaller opposing players, and the speed factor isn’t as pronounced with an increase in obstruction.