Report: Islanders looking to deal Travis Hamonic to Western Canadian club

Thomas Drance
November 18 2015 03:58PM

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Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports

Travis Hamonic is a very good hockey player, and by all accounts an excellent guy.

For family reasons, the New York Islanders are trying to trade Hamonic, a very good defenseman, to a Western Canadian club, according to an original report from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman with TSN's Darren Dreger filling in some crucial blanks. Before we proceed, let's say that we hope for a favourable resolution for Hamonic and his family and wish them all the best, whatever the issue may be. 

While we won't speculate on the situation itself, we will delve into what sort of player Hamonic is, and whether the Vancouver Canucks might be a team that makes sense as a trading partner for the Islanders. 

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Luca Sbisa will return to lineup Wednesday vs. Jets

Thomas Drance
November 18 2015 03:00PM

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks will get their most physical defenseman back in the lineup on Wednesday night.

Luca Sbisa, 25, is due to return to the lineup to play his first game in the month of November, the club announced. Though the stay-at-home defender's performance is often ridiculed in the Vancouver market, some of it is fair and more of it isn't, the club has performed poorly in his absence.

Sbisa's return to the lineup will send his countryman Yannick Weber to the press box, and will scramble up Vancouver's power-play combinations, which may be a good thing at this point.

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Canucks' Vrbata misses game-day skate in Winnipeg; Grenier called up

Thomas Drance
November 18 2015 10:04AM

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Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

The hockey gods just won't lay off of Vancouver Canucks forward Radim Vrbata.

Vrbata, 34, has been one of the most effective volume shooters in hockey this year, but he just can't buy a goal. And now it seems that the veteran forward may be a bit banged up, as he missed the club's game-day skate at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, MB on Wednesday morning, the club announced.

On its own, a player missing a game-day skate isn't much of anything to worry about. Usually the coach says it's maintenance, and we go on with our merry lives. That Vrbata's absence coincides with a roster move - the club reassigned AHL leading scorer Hunter Shinkaruk to the American Hockey League and recalled Alexandre Grenier on Wednesday - would suggest that there may be more than just maintenance going on in this case.

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How closely should the Canucks be monitoring Tyson Barrie's situation?

Thomas Drance
November 17 2015 10:25AM

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Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche are a tire fire, and it isn't just their defensive performance this season.

A budget team in a soft marketplace, the Avalanche have struggled to retain top talent in recent years; losing Paul Stastny to unrestricted free agency and Ryan O'Reilly in a lopsided trade with the Buffalo Sabres following a protracted and contentious series of contract negotiations. 

Now Matt Duchene, a top-line point producer and one of the best pure skaters in the game, is the subject of trade speculation. And defenseman Tyson Barrie's name is beginning to come up as well. Barrie is a Victoria-born defenseman and a right-handed shooter, who excels in transition. He's signed through this year and will be a restricted free agent for several seasons thereafter. If Barrie begins to shake loose though, how interested should the Canucks be?

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Canucks GM Benning doesn't expect phone call between Burrows, NHL to result in suspension

Thomas Drance
November 12 2015 04:43PM

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Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

There may not be enough soap in the Lush warehouse to successfully clean out the mouth of Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows. 

Burrows is one of the NHL's most relentless motormouths, and his jabs have been creative and extreme over the years - just ask Mike Richards or Phil Kessel. Recently though, the Canucks agitator's habit of trash talking opponents has generated headlines and controversy rather than the usual guffaws. 

In a game this past weekend, New Jersey Devils tough guy Jordin Tootoo publicly accused Burrows of crossing the line. It was reported this week that Burrows will have a meeting with the league on Friday to discuss the incident.

On Thursday, Canucks general manager Jim Benning addressed the issue during an appearance on TSN 1200 radio in Ottawa. In addition to disputing the idea that Burrows is facing some sort of formal disciplinary tribunal, Benning suggested that he expects the conversation between the league offices and the Canucks' sharp-tongued two-way winger to result in nothing more than a reminder.

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