Justin Schultz Withdraws from Wisconsin

Thomas Drance
May 25 2012 10:04AM

For months now, it has looked likely that highly regarded prospect defenseman Justin Schultz would take advantage of a rarely used CBA loop-hole, withdraw from school, spurn the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, and become a free-agent on July 1st. According to Bob Mckenzie, that's exactly what has happened today:

So the process has begun by which Justin Schultz will become a free-agent on July 1st, however, there is one more wrinkle.

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Vigneault Catches Flack over a Couple of Clumsy Statements

Thomas Drance
May 24 2012 12:29PM

We were ecstatic yesterday when consistently successful and innovative head coach Alain Vigneault received a two year extension from the Canucks. He's not without his flaws as a bench boss, but generally speaking, he's among the league's best and the Canucks have morphed from an over-matched defensive squad into a perennial contender under his stewardship. His record as a hockey coach is unassailable for the most part, the fact that he hasn't won a championship during his tenure being the only blemish. His persistent foot-in-mouth disease, however, is another story.

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Juggling the Rebound: is Gillis Losing the Plot Between the Pipes?

Thomas Drance
May 24 2012 10:52AM

For a couple of years now, the Canucks have enjoyed the luxury of trotting out two blue-chip goalies in Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo to guard their net. While it's widely assumed that Roberto Luongo will be traded over the course of this summer, and Coach Vigneault reiterated Luongo's desire to get a fresh start elsewhere just yesterday; late last week, General Manager Mike Gillis told the Team 1040's afternoon show that the Canucks would be very happy to deploy that same platoon again next season.

And why not? The Canucks were in the top-5 in terms of fewest goals allowed this past season, and Luongo and Schneider combined to stop .930% of all shots against at even-strength. While the team in front of them was occasionally listless, the two Canucks goaltenders were spectacular. By Gillis' own admission they carried the rest of the club through long stretches of the regular season, and were unquestionably the team's two most valuable players. 

That said, if Canucks training camp opens this fall and both Luongo and Schneider report for duty, it will represent a major failure of asset management on the part of the organization. 

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Oft Embattled Head Coach Extended

Thomas Drance
May 23 2012 01:01PM


The Lozenge Laughs Last

Alain Vigneault's offseason has been interesting thus far, to say the least. Criticized for months by a vocal segment of the Vancouver sports media, many expected Alain Vigneault to lose his job following the Canucks first round flame out at the hands of the Western Conference Championship Kings in April. The speculation reached a fever pitch when Vigneault didn't appear at Mike Gillis' season ending press conference (as he customarily does), and then left town without facing the music from the press. 

While Vigneault spent the past month playing poker in an undisclosed location with Dick Cheney, however, it became increasingly apparent that General Manager Mike Gillis - who inherited Alain Vigneault when he was given the keys to the club in the Spring of 2008 - was committed to sticking with his innovative, spread-sheet loving head-coach.

Today, after a long delay and much speculation, the Canucks have made it official: Alain Vigneault has been given a contract extension and will be back behind the bench next season. Here's the official Press Release from Canucks.nhl.com.

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Jason Garrison tells Vancouver Radio Station that joining the Canucks would be "a thrill"

Thomas Drance
May 16 2012 02:22PM

White Rock native, BCHL veteran and pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Jason Garrison was interviewed on Vancouver's local news radio station "News 1130," today. According to the @News1130Sports Twitter account, he expressed a frank interest in joining the Canucks this offseason, if he can't close a deal with the Panthers. News 1130 hasn't uploaded a podcast of the interview yet, but I caught an audio snippet on live radio and I'll update this post when they do.

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