June 13 2012 02:34PM
In nine short days the NHL draft will begin in Pittsburgh, and it promises to be a very interesting day or two for the Canucks and their General Manager Mike Gillis. As usual, the Canucks don't have any high picks (they select 26th and 57th) and the 2011-12 draft class is not seen as particularly deep, but that hardly matters to Canucks fans, who are more interested to see what Gillis does on the trade market anyway!
Over the next week we'll take some looks at the Canucks' drafting record since Gillis took over the reigns (June 22nd will mark his fifth time at the draft table) and see if we can ferret out any trends in his approach to selecting players. Today's topic concerns Gillis' favorite draft prospect "Fishing Holes." This is a concept that was introduced to me by Scott Reynolds, but was originally coined by our pal Kent Wilson, who explained it as such:
Clubs [may] develop what I call "fishing holes", by which I mean they concentrate their scouting in certain amateur/developmental leagues (for the Flames, it's the WHL/CHL) - they can become familiar with the relative degree and value of the competition and therefore can more capably gauge a prospects level of performance.
Read past the jump for more.
June 12 2012 03:19PM
Late last week Harrison Mooney of Pass it to Bulis coyly interviewed Roberto Luongo's irreverent, "anonymous" Twitter account "@strombone1" using Twitter's direct messaging feature. Generally speaking, the hockey blogosphere and the media reacted by chuckling. Now there's nothing wrong with that, it was a light-hearted interview, bursting with tongue-in-cheek half-reveals, but no one seemed to realize just how subversive the whole thing was.
The Canucks are not the Nashville Predators, and there is no "bloggers row" in the media box in Vancouver. With a few exceptions here and there (every rule was made to be broken on occasion), the Canucks like most Canadian NHL teams, have a strict "no blogger access" policy and enforce it stringently.
Yet here was Roberto Luongo, maybe the most famous individual player on the Canucks (at least for the moment), granting an interview to a blogger. In the process, Mooney and Luongo completely circumvented team PR, and set up the interview through a series of direct messages between the @passittobulis account and the @strombone1 account. That Harrison chose to take screen shots of the "direct message" conversation, rather than writing out the interview in text, added an extra layer of "taboo" to the exchange. Luongo's account which, made its name by gleefully playing off of convention, ran roughshod over the usual processes last week, then backed up and did it again.
June 12 2012 10:59AM
NHL buyout window starts as soon as Cup final ends and runs to July 1. #Canucks will not be buying out final year of Malhotra's contract.— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) June 11, 2012
Amidst the hubbub caused by Craig MacTavish's departure from Chicago, his quick turnaround (his new position in Edmonton was announced literally minutes later) and the romancing of Scott Arniel; Brad Ziemer broke the news that defensive centre Manny Malhotra will be back next year to play out the final year of his deal.
Realistically, no one expected Manny Malhotra - a character guy who rushed back to re-join the team for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, despite nearly losing one of his eyes in a freak hockey accident only three months earlier - to be bought out. But, when you look at the numbers, it certainly would have made a lot of sense.
Read past the jump!
June 12 2012 08:13AM
It was announced several months ago that Vancouver centre Ryan Kesler would represent the Canucks for the You Can Play Project, and record a PSA in support of ending casual homophobia in sports. We've been eagerly anticipating it ever since.
The video, embedded above, dropped today and it delivers. Also, with a cast that includes old nemesis Dustin Byfuglien, and Tanner "scrabble champion" Glass it's actually somewhat Canucks centric.
Read past the jump!
June 11 2012 02:24PM
You Can Play President Patrick Burke (left) and his father Brian from a YCP PSA from earlier this year.
Stick-tap to Puck Daddy for the screen grab.
Editors note: Patrick Burke is a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers and the President of the You Can Play Project, an organization that was founded in honour of Patrick's openly gay brother Brendan, who perished in a tragic car accident on February 5th, 2010. Over the past several months, Patrick and You Can Play have been producing a series of public service announcements starring some of the biggest names in the hockey world. These PSAs have one simple message: an athlete's sexual orientation shouldn't and doesn't matter: if you can perform on the ice (or on the field, or on the mound, or on the hardwood) you belong there: "if you can play, you can play."
It's an apolitical message, a message of tolerance and respect. The goal is to combat homophobia in the locker room, and to create an environment where gay athletes, at the professional or amateur level, can feel safe to come out to their teammates and to the public.
Tomorrow, You Can Play will roll out another PSA, starring Canucks centre and Selke winner Ryan Kesler. Earlier today, we caught up with Patrick and chatted about how Kesler is a perfect fit for the campaign, about gendered insults in sports, about the importance of You Can Play remaining an apolitical movement, and about how you're not going to accomplish your goals, if you're constantly getting outraged.