January 22 2013 09:35AM
Roberto Luongo is sick of this shit (probably).
Image uncredited via UpMagazine.
This week Mike Gillis sat down with Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun, who has been producing some extremely interesting and unique sports writing over the past couple of weeks, for an extended conversation, "that was set up before the Canucks’ two opening-weekend losses." Cole pulled some really interesting context out of Gillis on a wide variety of subjects: the Canucks' scouting apparatus, the impact of injuries, the club's lack of high-end prospects in the pipe-line, tanking and of course the Luongo trade.
Amidst the candid din, alas, it's this sexy quote that's getting all of the attention this morning and it's not hard to see why:
We have a potential deal in place with one team that has to do something with another player that they have — and it’s not who anybody thinks it is — and so we have to wait. (But) we’ve been offered packages that don’t fit what our plan is, what we need.”
Potential deal in place! Mystery team! Why, that reads like HockeyyInsiderr's "trade market" slash fiction Twitter account in early July!
Let's get into it briefly on the other side of the jump.
January 21 2013 02:49PM
Vancouver's goaltending controversy: in comic book form!
Slick stuff from theyslayedthedragon.tumblr.com.
On the "walking wounded" front, Ben Kuzma has some good news all around. Looks like David Booth is feeling better, isn't limping and might be ahead of schedule. Meanwhile Ryan Kesler is only "seven to ten" days away from rejoining the team in practice skates, while prized goaltending prospect Eddie Lack looks to return to the ice on Monday (hey that's today!). [The Province]
In his weekly "30 Thoughts" column, CBC's Elliotte Friedman drops some interesting Canucks-related nuggets about the impact of Kesler and Booth's injuries on Vancouver's Luongo-trade leverage. He also notes that the New Jersey Devils kicked the tires on Luongo during that fleeting moment in June and July when Brodeur hired an agent and seemed intent on testing the market. [CBC]
Tyler Dellow points out that Zack Kassian's fight against Ben Eager - though objectively awesome - was tactically misguided and cost the Canucks a late-third period shift in which the Sedin twins would've been matched up against Edmonton's fourth line. [Mc79Hockey]
Ill-advised fight aside, Tony Gallagher was - like the rest of Vancouver - impressed by what Zack Kassian brought to the table in Sunday night's contest and hopes to see him play like that with some consistency going forward. [The Province]
Here's a spot of common sense from Iain Macintyre, who points out that one game either way shouldn't change Vancouver's long-term plans in net and that going forward the Canucks need to play the guy they've annointed as their starter. [Vancouver Sun]
The Canucks waived ninth defenseman Jim Vandermeer on Monday, and the depth swingman will report to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL assuming he makes it through waivers (which he probably will). This will clear up a space on the 23-man roster, and many are speculating that Jordan Schroeder could get the call. I mean, with what Andrew Ebbett has provided through two games so far (not bloody much), this seems like a no-brainer to me. Might as well give Jordan Schroeder two quality wingers (say Alex Burrows and Chris Higgins), favorable zone-starts and thirteen even-strength minutes a night and see if he help out in Kesler's absence. If it works then it will help fatten up the forward lines, at least. [Nucksmisconduct]
Speaking of which, the forward lines need fattening writes Cam Charron over at his other Canucks blog. In Ryan Kesler's absence, even relatively shallow forward groups like Anaheim's and Edmonton's are able to take advantage of a plethora of favourable matchups. [Legion of Blog]
Read past the jump for more shots to the cranium/links to Canucks news.
January 21 2013 01:33PM
Edler checks rookie forward Nail Yakupov in Vancouver's January 20th loss against the Oilers.
Photo credit: Jeff Vinnick via NHL.com.
How's this for a spot of "hard-hitting analysis": Alex Edler is going to struggle occassionally while adjusting to playing the right-side point full-time. Of course, I could've told you that before the season started (actually, I did), but Edler's recent six-year extension and his spotty defensive play in the team's first two games of the season have added some urgency to the issue.
Read on past the jump.
January 21 2013 11:16AM
Because of the result of one game it's now clear that the Canucks "championship window" has closed. The ascendant Oilers, who have improved enough as a team to play a good club, still finding their sea-legs and missing their two best forwards at five-on-five to a functional draw, are obviously the new heavyweights in the Northwest division.
It's going to be an adjustment period for Canucks fans now, and we would be well served to start focussing and taking pride on pettier things than, say, "winning games" or "making the playoffs" and turn our attention instead to "team toughness" and "prospect wealth" like the fans of crappy teams do.
Unfortunately "Canucks" and "prospect wealth" have an oxymoronic relationship, so "team toughnesss" is going to have to do. On that front 21-year old power-forward Zack Kassian, one of only seven Canucks roster players who have played regular competitive games over the past four lockedout months, answered the bell in a big way for the Canucks during Sunday night's shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
So let's take a minute to revel in that shining moment, and conveniently ignore Edler's defensive struggles on the right-side and the team's inability to control proceedings at even-strength. Luckily for us, official Canucks photographer Jeff Vinnick took some fantastic shots of the fight (via NHL.com). Click past the jump for more.
January 20 2013 12:02AM
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images
After a four month lockout nullified the 2012 portion of the "2012-13 NHL season," tonight's Canucks home and season opener against the Anaheim "don't call us Mighty" Ducks was eagerly anticipated. While there was no pre-game ceremony or banner raising to celebrate the team's second straight President's Trophy; team President and General Manager Mike Gillis and captain Henrik Sedin did address the faithful. Gillis and Henrik Sedin thanked the fans for their patience and loyalty. It was the right tone to strike - personal, apologetic and direct, as opposed to celebratory - but it was just about the only thing Vancouver got right on this evening.
The Canucks were up momentarily in the first period, but Cory Schneider was ventilated and pulled within the first seven minutes of the second period with the Canucks down 5-2. The crowd cheered and Luuuu'd as Roberto Luongo, the center of never ending trade rumours all summer long, entered the game and made a few routine saves.
It was frankly, an embarrassing performance. But it did set up a fun day of endless speculation for tomorrow. Who will get the nod against Edmonton? Will the Canucks go back to Cory Schneider, or will they stick with the plan to play Luongo against the Oilers young guns (and in doing so set off the hockey media's shrill catcalls of "goalie controversy" continent wide)? Whatever happens, you can rest assured that it will be all fucked up.
Read past the jump.