The Utica Comets: a long-term fit or a short-term solution?

Thomas Drance
June 17 2013 12:47PM


Image via Canucks.nhl.com

Last week the Canucks finalized an agreement with Utica, New York to place an American Hockey League team in the Mohawk Valley. On Friday the deal and the team's logo and jersey was officially unveiled at a Press Conference in Utica.

Geographically speaking, Utica is far from an ideal spot for Vancouver's top farm team. But in agreeing to a deal with Utica the Canucks come out net winners on balance. First of all, the club avoided having their AHL affiliate franchise go dormant and dodged a player development nightmare in doing so. Secondly, the club will be in a better position next year - even in Utica - then they were this past season when they reportedly clashed with their Chicago Wolves affiliate over a variety of issues.

Still as more details about the deal emerge, we're interested in looking forward. What does the affiliation deal between Utica, New York and the Vancouver Canucks tell us about the teams future plans and the future of professional hockey in the Mohawk Valley? We'll get into it after the jump.

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Canucks Team Needs: Third Line Centre

Thomas Drance
June 17 2013 11:17AM


In looking for a depth centre this summer, Mike Gillis has to do better than Samme Pahlsson.

That the Canucks have struggled mightily to replace Manny Malhotra over the past couple of seasons is, or at least should be, obvious to anyone who has followed the Canucks closely the past few years. General Manager Mike Gillis even admitted as much in a Team1040 appearance earlier this month, describing the loss of Manny Malhotra as "devastating" and adding that "I know some people think you just go out and replace those kind of guys but you don’t."

Whether replacing your ideal third-line centreman Manny Malhotra is easy or not, it's something this Canucks club requires this summer. Malhotra's eye-injury left a lacuna in the middle of the club's third-line, a breach that the club has sought to address at consecutive trade deadlines with the acquisitions of Samme Pahlsson and Derek Roy respectively. Needless to say, neither Pahlsson nor Roy proved up to the task.

With Henrik Sedin turning thirty-three this offseason and Ryan Kesler beginning to earn a reputation as "injury prone" the club's lack of top-nine centre depth has taken on an increased degree of urgency this summer. It is, without doubt, the team's greatest area of need, which is why the third-line centre position will kick off our "Canucks Team Needs" series this week. Read past the jump.

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"Seattle Coyotes" getting hotter, KING 5 TV reports

Patrick Johnston
June 16 2013 04:56PM


Key Arena would seat 11,000 for hockey (wikimedia commons)

Reports from Seattle TV station KING 5 suggest that Chris Hansen's efforts to bring more big league sports teams to the Emerald City are very real.

Quoting a statement by Seattle's mayor, Mike McGinn, Hansen introduced a pair of potential investors to Seattle city council. McGinn said to KING TV, "As recent news reports indicate, it appears the NHL is taking the new ownership proposal seriously."

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The Price of Punches

Blake Murphy
June 16 2013 09:51AM


Screencap via hockeyfights.com,

Tom Sestito can punch a face. You could even say he's good at face-punching (though Hockeyfights.com voters appear to disagree). People seem to like that and I like a good tilt, too, and some even think it's a necessary skill required by Natioanl Hockey League hockey teams.

So some people are probably happy with the Canucks re-upping Sestito for two years at $750,000 per season. Because Tom Sestito can punch a face.

Unfortunately, Tom Sestito isn't particularly good at hockey.

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Some Thoughts on Vigneault's New Job

Thomas Drance
June 15 2013 03:52PM


Screencap via Sharks.nhl.com

If you've missed it, Alain Vigneault is in the process of finalizing a deal to begin coaching the New York Rangers. Vigneault reportedly turned down an exceedingly lucrative offer from Jim Nill to coach the Dallas Stars in order to meet with Rangers owner Jimmy Dolan and work out the final details on his new contract. Meanwhile rumours circulate that Mark Messier may yet join Vigneault staff as an assistant, and also that the Canucks might hire the man Vigneault is suceeding.

Amidst the hubub, I have a few spare thoughts on Vigneault's new position in New York. Click past the jump to read them.

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