February 28 2014 04:13PM
I've never seen the British version of House of Cards, but you'd better believe I'm going to go burn through all of those in a weekend while awaiting the third season of the American Netflix version. People offering up comparisons between the two shows rather than actually discussing them in depth sort of grinds my gears; no matter how the American version holds up to the British, it's still an excellent show.
What I like the most is the show's treatment of the journalists. Most are hard-working and, just like the politicians the show is focused on, manipulative and scheming to get what they want. In the first episode, a young, female reporter with a daily broadsheet offers to be Kevin Spacey's mouthpiece in the press. It's a good arrangement - she gets stories, he gets to manipulate political discourse.
This is related to hockey, I swear.
A lot of digital ink is spilled criticizing the Eklund and HockeyyInsiderr types around the trade deadline and free agency, but I don't think that enough people stop to think about where the information offered up to reputable people such as Louis Jean, John Shannon and Darren Dreger comes from.
Not to say that these reporters aren't very hard working. They all probably sift through a lot of crap in their inboxs on a daily basis to bring fans the substantial information that they do. The problem is that, until a hypothetical player (we'll call him Ryan Kesler) is traded, it doesn't really matter that Louis Jean was the first to report this hypothetical player (Kesler) wanted out.
This is from Louis Jean's Twitter account:
Sources say Ryan Kesler requested a trade some time ago & wants out of Vcr. Told #Canucks don't want to trade him but may not have a choice.— Louis Jean (@LouisJean_TVA) February 27, 2014
May be tough to move Kesler before the deadline. Draft may be more likely. Vancouver would be looking for a hockey trade not picks.— Louis Jean (@LouisJean_TVA) February 27, 2014
Of course, Kesler's agent and the man himself did exactly what they were supposed to do in this charade: offer a denial. But it's more than a little hollow at this point. Jean has a big-enough following and is a reputable-enough human that these rumours will follow Kesler in Vancouver for the rest of his career, which is unfortunate, especially if actually he does want to be here. I don't think that trade rumours would really affect how a player plays on the ice, however—but it becomes a boring sideshow as the team slips from a perennial contender to being a bubble team.
But the key here is that Louis Jean only has this information because somebody wanted him to have this information. Perhaps it's a rival general manager wanting to lubricate the wheels on forcing a deal through, or even somebody inside the Canucks front office who, upset that negotiations stalled with Pittsburgh, wants to pick up other interested suitors.
And yes, there's a reason Rob Rossi has information like this:
It may not be anything substantial. I heard that Simon Despres was involved in a potential trade, not Derrick Pouliot, and part of the problem is that when you read tweets like these or small bits of information without context, it allows viewers to immediately judge managers based on trades that didn't happen; without knowing the full package, why talks stalled, or who said no.
(Why would the Kris Letang situation affect Derrick Pouliot's situation in the slightest, anyway? It will probably be another year before Pouliot is ready to see any NHL action, and Letang will be back way before then.)
It's hyper-connectivity, and yes, while fans love to discuss their teams and what their managers can do to improve them, about 99% of what you hear from day-to-day, on the radio, reading the newspaper, reading blogs, is just noise. If Kesler is traded, you'll know about it soon enough.
The question on the table, "should the Canucks trade Ryan Kesler", is one that ought to be asked regardless of rumours or possibly existent trade demands. My initial gut feeling is "yeah". For the longest time I've been hammering the drum that while this Vancouver team is good, the current core isn't going to get any better and it's difficult to find good, young, forward talent if you don't have a high draft pick. If Detroit's interested, it makes a lot of sense since they have some excellent minor league forwards yet to break into the NHL (I was a huge fan of Tomas Jurco's when he was in Major Junior).
The untouchable Canucks are Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and only because seeing Henrik reach 1000 points in a Canucks uniform will mean more for the team in the future than a playoff appearance (and subsequent first or second round exit). Anybody else? Fair game, if you can get a decent return that includes youth or a high pick in the draft.
WEEKEND WATCHABILITY INDEX
A new feature Canucks Army where we try to tell you what games to watch in the unlikely scenario you think the current Canucks have gone a bit stale. Games are ranked out of five stars on three watchability components: quality of teams involved, potential for a high-scoring game, as well as bonus points for the teams actually being within playoff striking distance.
Pittsburgh @ Chicago - Saturday @ 5:00 p.m.
The hook: Hey, it's outdoors, there's a 30% chance of precipitation and the high is barely above freezing, so this could be a pretty game to watch from an aesthetic component. Sidney Crosby has played in two outdoor games and has earned a career-threatening concussion in one of them, which means there's a 50% chance Crosby won't play in the playoffs.
That's how stats work, right?
St. Louis @ Anaheim - Friday @ 7:00 p.m.
The hook: Points deducted for St. Louis' crippling defence, but given how shaky Jaroslav Halak has been this season, a date with Anaheim doesn't exactly have us Halak fantasy owners at ease.
St. Louis @ Phoenix - Sunday @ 5:00 p.m.
The hook: Not exactly a date we'd have circled any other year, but the Coyotes developed an offence this year and are somewhat scarier than before.
Boston @ NY Rangers - Sunday @ 4:00 p.m.
The hook: Given everything I wrote above, this will be Martin St. Louis' first game as a Ranger, yes?
Washington @ Boston - Saturday @ 10:00 a.m.
The hook: You're hungover, and it will funny to see Tuukka Rask shut down Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals powerplay simply by dangling his bronze medal hypnotically.
Winnipeg @ Nashville - Saturday @ 12:00 p.m.
The hook: A matinee between two teams who have momentum'd their way into playoff contention. The colour of Nashville's home jerseys are the same colour as Pavelectricity.
Tampa Bay @ Dallas - Saturday @ 12:00 p.m.
The hook: A noon start for those of you that don't care for inter-Conference III battles. This may be my pick for breakout game of the week. Both teams are quality and don't exactly have a reputation as being the Jacques Lemaire-coached Minnesota Wild.
Phoenix @ Colorado - Friday @ 6:00 p.m.
The hook: Burgundy. You're a big fan of burgundy. Also, watching the Avalanche offence carve up Thomas Greiss should be something to behold.
NY Rangers @ Philadelphia - Saturday @ 10:00 a.m.
The hook: I bumped this one up in the rankings, because it's necessary to keep an eye on Glen Sather's teams every year during trade deadline season.
Tampa Bay @ Colorado - Sunday @ 5:00 p.m.
The hook: Both the Avs games this weekend come at home against teams on the second half of a road back-to-back. Anxiously awaiting Anders Lindback to sprain his ankle in practice meaning the Bolts need to call up Kristers Gudlevskis… and subsequently watch him get dismantled by the Avalanche.
AVOID AT ALL COSTS
Calgary @ Edmonton - Saturday @ 7:00 p.m.
Why it'll suck: The worst game of the week, unsurprisingly, is between the two teams in the Western Conference with no reasonable hope at the Stanley Cup playoffs. It's such a bad game that Canada's national broadcaster decided to air it in its entirety. About the only saving grace is the possibility of watching Joni Ortio and his .926 AHL save percentage this season face off against another AHL-calibre offence.
Minnesota @ Vancouver - Friday @ 7:00 p.m.
Why it'll suck: Despite the fact that the Minnesota Wild are actually a (relatively) successful hockey team this year, and that these two teams could be theoretically jockeying for the final two wild card spots out West, there's still a high probability that they'll continue their long-lasting trend of slowly wading through mind-numbingly boring games against each other.
PlayNow has the Over/Under at 5 total goals? My advice: take the under.
But since we haven't ran a preview for it today, here are the underlying numbers that you've come to expect from us on gamedays:
|Minnesota Wild||Vancouver Canucks|
|5v5 Corsi Close %||48.6 (23rd)||51.7 (10th)|
|5v5 GF/60||1.99 (25th)||2.20 (19th)|
|5v5 GA/60||1.82 (3rd)||2.16 (12th)|
|5v5 PDO||100.8 (8th)||100.0 (T-15th)|
|5v4 GF/60||6.11 (15th)||4.25 (27th)|
|5v4 SF/60||49.3 (22nd)||57.7 (4th)|
|4v5 GA/60||6.20 (16th)||4.25 (2nd)|
|4v5 GA/60||48.9 (12th)||40.0 (1st)|
Eddie Lack gets the start again following his shutout last time out, which begs the question: if he puts together another strong performance in this one, will John Tortorella go back to him for the Heritage Classic game on Sunday? Or will he give the crease back to Roberto Luongo, who has just one start under in his belt over the past 3 weeks. Food for thought.
Oh, and expect to see Ryan Kesler and Chris Tanev back in the lineup.