McKenzie: Kassian to get a Look Playing with the Twins?

Thomas Drance
January 08 2013 08:47AM

It's not too often that TSN's Bob McKenzie, who is pretty much the godfather of reliable professional hockey reporting, pens a full post focussed on the Canucks. But on Monday night he covered some of the team's "big questions" headed into training camp, and dropped a handful of curious nuggets that I simply haven't seen suggested previously by Vancouver sports media.

One of the most fascinating bits of info? A suggestion that second-line power-forward Zack Kassian could get a look on the first line, moonlighting as the trigger-man for the Sedin twins.

Read past the jump.

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A (Cam) Barking Mad Roster Move

Thomas Drance
January 07 2013 11:01PM

You have got to be shitting me.

This move is a headshaker. First of all, Cam Barker isn't very good. This is evidenced by the fact that he was one of the worst defenseman on last season's Edmonton Oilers and was recently released from an AHL tryout by the Texas Stars. He's not good enough for the Texas Stars, but the Canucks think he can add to their blueline depth?

I'm not going to make too much fun of a training camp invite - much less one that only "may" happen - since it probably doesn't mean all that much. But I'm not even convinced that Barker is an upgrade over Derek Joslin (who wasn't even invited to training camp and remains in Chicago) or Marc-Andre Gragnani (who the Canucks allowed to walk, unqualified, this past summer). I mean, at least Marc-Andre Gragnani can stick in the AHL...

Read past the jump.

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Strombabble: The Luongo Rule

Thomas Drance
January 07 2013 10:26PM

When the NHL leaked a CBA proposal on their website in October, their offer to the NHLPA included a clause designed to punish teams who had taken advantage of loops-holes in the previous CBA, and signed players to life-time deals (like Luongo's) with back-diving contracts that served to pay these players a salary well above their cap-hit, and in doing so circumvent the salary cap. 

This punitive clause was initially dubbed the "Kovy Klause" because Twitter has ample appreciation for alliteration, and it stipulated that: should a player with a back-diving contract retire early, that player's cap-hit would revert back to the team that signed that player originally, even if that player had long since been traded. We thought that the provision - if adopted in the final CBA - could conceivably boost Luongo's trade-value by mitigating the long-term risk of acquiring Luongo's contract to any potential Luongo-trade partners. We again mentioned this possible clause as a bit of uncertainty when looking at trade possibilities on Monday morning. 

On Monday evening however we learned from Pierre LeBrun and Elliotte Freidman, that the Canucks will catch a tough break on this one.

The clause in the proposed NHL CBA has been revamped, and is now renamed "the Luongo rule" in LeBrun's ESPN take. Rather than simply punishing the team that signed the original salary cap circumventing deal should that player retire before the expiry of their contract, the clause will now have a punitory impact on the salary cap of both the team that originally signed the deal (the Canucks, in Luongo's case) and whichever team acquires that contract through trade should the player retire.

The revamped clause is significantly less punitive for the Canucks over the long-term than the one proposed in October would have been. However, by punishing the team that acquires the longterm contract as well as the team that originally signed the player, this clause will presumably have a somewhat deleterious impact on Luongo's trade value.

Read on past the jump for more.

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Mid-Afternoon Headshots January 7th

Thomas Drance
January 07 2013 02:11PM


Look whose back practicing in Canucks jerseys?
Via @VanCanucks on Instagram.

Headshots are a Canucks Army feature where we link to the day's freshest news, and other assorted Canucks web-goodies. If you've written a blogpost, produced a tribute video or birthed a clever .gif into existence - please e-mail Thom at thom.drance@gmail.com.

Must read bit from Jason Botchford, who chimes in on the Luongo trade saga and quotes @strombone1 in the headline (demonstrating the elite bloggy instincts that we all know and admire). That Botch thinks that Mike Gillis and the Canucks' "we might bring Schneider and Luongo back this season" company line isn't just misdirection strikes me as particularly interesting.

More on Luongo from the Toronto Star's Rob Longley, who caught up with the star netminder in Coral Springs. Luongo told Longley, among other things, that he's given Mike Gillis the "green light" to trade him if it will improve the team.

Buried in his weekly 30 Thoughts Column, Elliotte Friedman drops a nugget about how the Canucks have signed an "NHL-exclusive" deal with Sleep Science. The Canucks have clearly focussed a lot of their R&D efforts on understanding how fatigue impacts performance and with several players likely to report to training camp with lockout beer guts - one suspects that their "human performance plan" will be given a serious workout his season.

More links and snide annotations after the jump!

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On the "Luxury of Experimentation," and how much more conventional will the Canucks be this season?

Thomas Drance
January 07 2013 12:28PM


Not pictured: test tubes and lab coats.

In a conference call with the media on Sunday Afternoon, Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis gave an intriguing answer to a question regarding the impact a shortened season will have on his team:

"It's different in that you don't have the luxury of a full season to experiment.

You know, we were planning on introducing a number of young players, now I'm not sure how that's going to work out with a shortened schedule. We'll have to see what the conditioning level is of our players, we're confident it's going to be high because of the standards that are set here. And injuries.

Obviously with a 48 game schedule you don't have any room for experimentation or introduction unless a player is ready to play and ready to contribute. That's going to change the dynamic not only for us, but for every team in the league.

We're going to have to go with our best players every night no matter what to make sure we get into the playoffs."

In the context of the way Cody Hodgson's deployment changed over the course of his time with Vancouver last season, how the Canucks manipulated their understanding of matchups and territorial deployment to inflate his stats and trade value, and bragged over the summer about their ability to "design success" for young players; I figure this quote deserves a bit of rumination. 

Click past the jump for more.

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