January 10 2013 11:22AM
In what was already an absurd, speculation filled week of hockey news, things really went off the deep end last night. Three separate reporters - Enrico Ciccone, James Duthie and Adrian Dater - all passed along some startling information: that the Philadelphia Flyers were interested in acquiring Roberto Luongo.
The Flyers have the quality young assets that opposing fans drool about (Coutourier! Brayden Schenn!) and a reputation as one of the league's boldest (or most reckless, as you prefer) organizations - from the Mike Richards and Jeff Carter trades, to the Bryzgalov deal, to the Shea Weber offer sheet. Basically the Flyers represent something of a "perfect storm" for rumours and speculation; they might just be the league's preeminent click-baitable club.
Of course, Paul Holmgren spoke with Frank Seravalli, and laughed off the reports as Broad Street bull-shit, though really that doesn't mean much. Meanwhile, the Luongo speculation in my timeline has turned my Twitter feed into something increasingly indistinguishable from HFBoards (what's the latest this morning? Oh wow, a three way trade!).
We'll look into whether or not any of this passes a basic, common sense smell-test after the jump.
January 10 2013 09:06AM
Who will Andrew Ebbett be looking for once the NHL season gets underway?
We spent most of the fall scratching and clawing for topics to discuss. There was a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo being tossed around, but the void left by actual hockey to analyze was abundantly clear. It got so bad that some of us - I'm not one to name names - began dissecting charity games, picking on poor souls like Jim Vandermeer.
But now, the NHL is back, and we've been left with the task of jamming months worth of story-lines and strategy into a few weeks. Not that anyone is complaining, though, because it's so much better than the alternative.
As could have been expected, the main storyline that has grabbed the headlines has been 'Strombabble'; a term Thomas Drance affectionately came up with for anything and everything to do with the animal that is Roberto Luongo trade talk. Is he going to Toronto, now that Dave Nonis is in charge? Is Philly really interested? Who knows.
Something that we do know however is that there is a gap that needs filling in the middle of the second line, with Ryan Kesler a ways away from recovering from his offseason surgery. Unless the Canucks acquire a center in return for Luongo, that role will be filled in-house.
Options that have been bandied about but make me uneasy include either Alex Burrows (with Zack Kassian hopping along for a ride with the Sedins) or Chris Higgins (departing the right wing, on which he thrives). Jordan Schroeder is an option, but having watched a ton of Chicago Wolves hockey this year, there were far too many times where he left me feeling lukewarm.
There's one final option that isn't quite as sexy as the others, but may have some merit, and it's Andrew Ebbett. Can he fill in for Kesler, and solve the riddle down the middle?
Read Past the Jump for More.
January 09 2013 07:31PM
The Canucks and the Ducks: historic, bitter rivals set to do battle in upcoming season opener!
While we wait patiently for the Canucks 48 game regular season schedule to be released, details are beginning to trickle out. Per Dan Murphy it looks like the Canucks will open the season on January 19th against Anaheim, probably at home since the Honda Centre in Orange County is booked solid with the "How to Train Your Dragon Spectacular" on that date. Needless to say the Ducks aren't exactly a regional or traditional "rival", which set off rounds of complaining because, you know, Canucks fans. How dare the NHL give the Canucks a second tier opponent for their opening game, they've competely ruined the purity of a mid-January season opener!
Speaking of Canucks fans, Pass it to Bulis notices that a bar in Surrey has thrown "Trade Luongo" in big letters on the marquee of their establishment. I'd have recommended something like: "Thanks for everything best goaltender in franchise history," but that's just me.
In "news that sounds familiar to us," Former Canucks General Manager Brian Burke was fired today and will be replaced by former Canucks General Manager Dave Nonis, which you probably knew about already. That is, unless you spent the day in solitary confinement, or in the 1920s, or outside, or I don't know, somewhere else that sucks.
So did Burke's reported unwillingness to trade for Roberto Luongo cost him his job in Toronto? Marc Spector says so, and Pierre LeBrun is buying that too. It could make a certain amount of sense, and at the very least the beat writers in both cities - from Botch, to Mirtle, to Cox - think a Luongo trade is more likely now than it was yesterday (when it was still pretty damn likely). That said, Bob McKenzie doesn't quite buy it and I tend to trust his reporting above all:
McKenzie, Dreger both flatly state they don't believe a Luongo trade was the reason for Burke's departure.— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) January 9, 2013
And neither does Dan Murphy:
If Burke was at such odds with MLSE brass about Luongo then how could he be completely shocked about the firing. Not sure i buy the Lu angle— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) January 9, 2013
So like the CIA at the end of Burn After Reading, we've really learned nothing here.
One more embedded tweet from Craig Custance, who quotes Mike Gillis on the subject of Burke's dismissal.
Mike Gillis on Burke news: "I think it's terribly unfortunate. I know I was shocked when I heard the news. I wish Brian the best."— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) January 9, 2013
Finally, Jim Jamieson catches up with the Sedin twins, who you might remember were only able to stay together as NHL teammates as a result of Brain Burke's hurculean efforts at the 1999 NHL entry draft. Understandably, they seem to like the guy.
More links, Canucks news and clunky humour after the jump.
January 09 2013 03:48PM
Welly. Welly. Welly. If our old friends at Bodog didn't release the odds of winning the Stanley Cup now that the lockout has ended - a mere 145 months after it began. Good news in these parts up here in Edmonton, because it confirms something we already knew - The Oilers are awesome.
On Dave Nonis' Canucks Tenure, and Whether or not the Brian Burke Firing Could Impact a Luongo Trade
January 09 2013 11:28AM
A younger, employed Brian Burke admires his fine handiwork as Canucks General Manager.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, Brian Burke has been fired as General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Burke's Leafs teams were pretty much consistently awful, and didn't show any improvement over the course of his tenure (though their prospect pool is somewhat better now than it was when Burke took over), so the move by MLSE to kick him to the curb isn't much of a surprise.
The timing of the firing, on the other hand, most certainly is.