Gillis rips Maple Leafs, Toronto media for propagating the notion that the Canucks have "asked for too much" in a Luongo trade

Thomas Drance
January 18 2013 11:48AM

Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis appears poised to enter this season with star goaltender Roberto Luongo - the subject of endless trade rumours for the past seven months or so - still on the roster. In an appearance on the Team 1040 morning show hosted by Scott Rintoul and Vancouver Province beat-writer Jason Botchford, Mike Gillis was asked by Botchford to directly address whether or not the team was in fact "asking for too much" in return for the league's second best goaltender and his monster life-time contract.

Not one to mince words or dance around the issue, Gillis responded with guns blazing and took a shot at the Maple Leafs and what he obviously sees as their manipulation of the sports media in the Toronto market:

"Fair value is different for every team that you speak to because they have different players, they have different concerns and different contractual issues that play into what they have available that you might want. The notion that we were asking for too much was floated in the Toronto media by a team that was extremely interested in acquiring Roberto and were using every means possible to try and force us to do something that we didn't think was right. That's nothing new in this business and it's' not the type of pressure that I'm going to succumb too."

Thems fighting words! Read on past the jump.

Read Article | 32 Comments

Evening Headshots January 17th

Thomas Drance
January 17 2013 08:06PM

Vancity Buzz thinks Zack Kassian is a dead ringer for Richard Simmons.
I triple doggy dare them to say that to his face.

In lieu of any preseason matches this year, the Canucks held a scrimmage on Wednesday night. Here's a round up of observations from Brad ZeimerCam Cole, Patrick Johnston and Ben Kuzma.

Our pal Jeff Angus, who is moving on up, made his debut at with a two part fantasy hockey primer. Congrats to Jeff and the good folks at for making a smart, smart hire.

Cam Charron lambasts the notion that the so called "Luongo rule" will have a negative impact on the star goaltender's trade value. The crux of Cam's argument is that there are no guarantee that Luongo will retire early and that the cap-hit would most likely be manageable anyway. Also that the penalty is so far off that, well, who really cares? So basically the "Luongo rule" is exactly like the budget deficit.

Jordan Bowman put together a Canucks scavanger hunt that you can keep with you during the season, and cross things like "John Garrett mentions cheese on the broadcast" or "John Garrett mentions a show he likes on the broadcast" off the list as they happen! In real time! Funny stuff.

Jason Botchford chats with Cory Schneider about critical moments in his evolution as a player, and the anxiety attack that caused him to cramp up in game six of the first round series against Chicago in 2011. 

In "best things that happened on the internet today" DownGoesBrown and Blogge Salming dropped a parody trailer "Luongo Unchained." Featuring Brian Burke lines like, "Davey [Nonis] you had my attention, but now you have my job" this is just excellent, excellent stuff. Nice write up from Pass it to Bulis too.

More Canucks news and links after the jump.

Read Article | 2 Comments

Strombabble: Tick Tock

Thomas Drance
January 17 2013 03:52PM

Eight months after you started this stupid series, and you're still writing these huh Drance?

The closer we get to the opening of the lockout shortened 2013 NHL season, set to begin for the Canucks in something like 52 hours (as of the time of this writing), the more likely it seems that Roberto Luongo will remain with the team to start the season. If that's the case, Alain Vigneault appears likely to start Roberto Luongo in one of the team's two games this weekend (against Edmonton or Anaheim):

To add to the mounting evidence that Luongo could remain in Vancouver: the Toronto Maple Leafs, long thought to be the most likely Luongo trade destination have recently gutted their centre depth by trading Matt Lombardi to Phoenix, losing Keith Aucoin on waivers to the Islanders, and waiving fragile offensive centreman Tim Connolly on Thursday. It's beginning to look an awful lot like Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri - the two most oft-rumoured Maple Leafs who might be sent to the Canucks in a Luongo package - will play key roles on the Maple Leafs this season.

So what are some of the advantages to keeping Luongo, and what's the potential downside? Could this really hapen or is Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis simply working to a particularly excruciating deadline as is his usual modus operandi?

Read Article | 2 Comments

Cory Schneider says his Game Six Cramp in Chicago in 2011 was the result of "Anxiety"

Thomas Drance
January 17 2013 11:35AM

Back in 2011, the Canucks dressed Cory Schneider over incumbent netminder Roberto Luongo for a critical game six in the Mad-House. You might remember it, since it remains the biggest single story in Vancouver sports history.

We all know what came next: the Canucks dominated the Blackhawks throughout the game, and Cory Schneider made some excellent saves but also some really bad decisions handling the puck. Ultimately he left the game when he cramped up following a converted Michael Frolik penalty-shot goal that tied the game. Vancouver went on to lose in overtime, before "slaying the dragon" in game seven.  

In talking about that contest with Cory Schneider on Wednesday, Jason Botchford got Vancouver's presumptive number one goaltender this season to make a scintilating admission. According to Cory Schneider, when he cramped up in Chicago in game six it wasn't dehydration, it wasn't anything physical at all in fact - rather he was dealing with anxiety that forced him from the game. 

Read on past the jump.

Read Article | 5 Comments

Headshots January 16th

Thomas Drance
January 16 2013 03:08PM

A fake screenshot of Luongo's gmail inbox via The Whistle.
Click here to enlarge.

I got some good chuckles out of the above "Luongo's (fake) gmail inbox" graphic from, so I thought I'd link to them again and urge you to give them some traffic. I particularly like the Eklund joke, and the Sedin twins' g-chat status.

Harrison Mooney makes an interesting point over at Pass it to Bulis, namely that David Booth's injury might do more to determine whether or not diminutive pivot Jordan Schroeder can make the Canucks this season than his performance at this week's accelerated training camp. Tough break!

In the wake of David Booth's injury, Jason Botchford writes about Vancouver's secondary scoring issues. Botch drops an Luongo nugget (though not exactly a surprising one), namely that the Canucks won't rush into a Luongo trade simply because David Booth got hurt. He also points out two things about Vancouver's Booth-less forward lineup that are almost surely dead on. First, he points out a seeming inevitability: that the third-line of Chris Higgins, Maxim Lapierre and Jannik Hansen are likely to play more minutes than the ostensible second line of Andrew Ebbett (or Jordan Schroeder), Zack Kassian and Mason Raymond. You can pretty much take that one to the bank. Secondly he mentions that Vigneault will need to work hard to manage the match-ups and deployment of that "second line". Luckily for Canucks fans - whatever else you think of Alain Vigneault - we can count on him to do that much at least. 

I'm going to take a second and plug my own stuff because I spent a boatload of time building a model to try and predict Vancouver's goal totals this season. I'll be rolling it out over at the Play Now Blog all week, but here's the first installment wherein I use math and stuff to forecast the number of goals Henrik and Daniel Sedin will score in the lockout shortened 2013 NHL season.

This is must read stuff from Cam Cole on Roberto Luongo, @strombone1 as a creative outlet, and how social media can impact the public's perception of professional athletes. Not only is it an excellent take, but Cole gets Luongo to break the fourth wall and talk about Twitter and @Strombone1 (albeit vaguely) as his actual tangible self! That's pretty cool, and the first time we've seen it. Cam Cole isn't always my cup of tea, but the versatility and intelligence on display in this column is spell-binding.

Read past the jump for more links and caustic comments and such.

Read Article | 11 Comments