May 24 2012 12:29PM
We were ecstatic yesterday when consistently successful and innovative head coach Alain Vigneault received a two year extension from the Canucks. He's not without his flaws as a bench boss, but generally speaking, he's among the league's best and the Canucks have morphed from an over-matched defensive squad into a perennial contender under his stewardship. His record as a hockey coach is unassailable for the most part, the fact that he hasn't won a championship during his tenure being the only blemish. His persistent foot-in-mouth disease, however, is another story.
Read past the jump.
May 24 2012 10:52AM
For a couple of years now, the Canucks have enjoyed the luxury of trotting out two blue-chip goalies in Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo to guard their net. While it's widely assumed that Roberto Luongo will be traded over the course of this summer, and Coach Vigneault reiterated Luongo's desire to get a fresh start elsewhere just yesterday; late last week, General Manager Mike Gillis told the Team 1040's afternoon show that the Canucks would be very happy to deploy that same platoon again next season.
And why not? The Canucks were in the top-5 in terms of fewest goals allowed this past season, and Luongo and Schneider combined to stop .930% of all shots against at even-strength. While the team in front of them was occasionally listless, the two Canucks goaltenders were spectacular. By Gillis' own admission they carried the rest of the club through long stretches of the regular season, and were unquestionably the team's two most valuable players.
That said, if Canucks training camp opens this fall and both Luongo and Schneider report for duty, it will represent a major failure of asset management on the part of the organization.
Read past the jump for more.
May 24 2012 09:36AM
Should Gillis target Leafs winger Nikolai Kulemin this summer?
When Brian Burke came to Toronto in late 2008, he promised a philosophical shift to bring in “proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence.” The results have been mixed, but Burke has made it a priority to add those things to Toronto’s roster (Phil Kessel notwithstanding). The jury is still out whether or not that you need those elements to ice a winning team (the flavor of the month Los Angeles Kings definitely fit the bill), but at the very least Burke introduced truculence to our vocabularies.
At his recent season-ending press conference, Mike Gillis outlined his general plan for the future.
“I think we need to get younger, [and] I think we need to get bigger and stronger.”
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May 23 2012 02:25PM
Tyler Dellow has an excellent post over on his blog at mc79hockey.com wherein he compares hockey to soccer and decries the defense first style that gets so much media attention in today's NHL. At least the playoff edition.
But while I agree that it would be nice to have teams play a more entertaining brand of hockey, I just don't think it's realistic.
May 23 2012 01:01PM
The Lozenge Laughs Last
Alain Vigneault's offseason has been interesting thus far, to say the least. Criticized for months by a vocal segment of the Vancouver sports media, many expected Alain Vigneault to lose his job following the Canucks first round flame out at the hands of the Western Conference Championship Kings in April. The speculation reached a fever pitch when Vigneault didn't appear at Mike Gillis' season ending press conference (as he customarily does), and then left town without facing the music from the press.
While Vigneault spent the past month playing poker in an undisclosed location with Dick Cheney, however, it became increasingly apparent that General Manager Mike Gillis - who inherited Alain Vigneault when he was given the keys to the club in the Spring of 2008 - was committed to sticking with his innovative, spread-sheet loving head-coach.
Today, after a long delay and much speculation, the Canucks have made it official: Alain Vigneault has been given a contract extension and will be back behind the bench next season. Here's the official Press Release from Canucks.nhl.com.
Read past the jump for more.