November 28 2012 08:29AM
Earlier in the week it was announced that the NHL and the NHLPA would bring in a Federal Mediator, a neutral third-party who might help lubricate the acrimonious negotiations between the two sides. Bringing in a mediator seems especially pertinent in light of Wednesday morning's announcement that Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider has reached an agreement to play with Swiss team HC Ambrì-Piotta, a hockey team that plays in a nation famous for its perpetual neutrality.
Cory Schneider is a big get for Ambrì-Piotta. Not only does he boast the best short-handed save percentage in the NHL, but Schneider has a Swiss passport which, allows him to get around some red tape that usually applies to foreign born players in the Swiss League. The Ambrì-Piotta club represents two small towns (Ambrì and Piotta) and is located in the scenic Levintina valley. In addition to Schneider, Ambrì was employing Habs sniper Max Pacioretty (but 'Patches' has now returned to North America) and currently employ former Red Wings forward Jason Williams, and a familiar face in former Canucks winger Richard Park.
Read on past the jump.
November 27 2012 06:03PM
Just a little KHL Update today, but sometimes the best gifts come in small packages!... OK, I think all this early Christmas music is starting to take its toll.
November 27 2012 12:12PM
Going into this AHL season, it was presumed that a major strength for the Canucks' AHL affilliate the Chicago Wolves would be between the pipes. So far that strength hasn't materialized, as goaltenders Eddie Lack and Matt Climie have struggled through the first twenty games and both are sporting sub-.900 save percentages.
Today the Wolves announced that they've recalled highly regarded first year pro Joe Cannata (eh?) from the Kalamazoo Red Wings of the ECHL. Cannata was impressive in a late season AHL apperance last spring, but has had a sluggish start to his ECHL career posting a 2-3 record and a .892 save percentage in five games.
Read on past the jump.
November 27 2012 12:08PM
Jeremy Roenick scored 513 goals and 1216 points in 1363 games. In his first 15 seasons he was a point-a-game player scoring 1,124 points in 1,120 games, but then the lockout hit. He'd already played 15 years and it's likely he was going to slow down, but a full season off, where he admittedly didn't train that hard, combined with a serious concussion from a Boris Mironov slapshot to the face saw Roenick's career stats wind down quicker than other elite scorers.
He scored 96 points in his final four seasons, 239 games, so some younger fans never got to see a true reflection of Roenicks' skill. He was a dynamic player. He scored 50 twice, had three 100-point seasons, and he played with an edge.
He had 38 regular season fights, and two preseason fights in his career, and he fought guys like Marty McSorley, Craig Berube, Jeff Odgers, Scott Walker and Matthew Barnaby. He didn't just fight scorers, and the league was different when he broke in. If you were going to run around and hit guys, even if you were a star, you'd have to fight your own battles. Sadly, that isn't the case today.
November 27 2012 10:17AM
During the 2010-11 season, the Vancouver Canucks' third line benefitted from some stellar play from Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider in 2011, sure, but the steady, reliable play of Manny Malhotra, Jannik Hansen and Raffi Torres was also important in establishing not just the best defensive team in hockey, but also the most explosive offensive group.
If you bury a player on the Canucks' third line, it's not a benefit unless the player is good enough to tread water, i.e.: old their own against top-competition, soak up defensive zone-starts and maintain a close-to-even possession rate. Taking a defensive zone face-off, winning it, and chipping the puck out, or what Manny Malhotra was doing in the 2012 season just isn't good enough to allow the offensive players room to move.
When zone-start deployment is as extreme as Alain Vigneault's was in 2012, you're entering unexplored territory. You try to find a player who has filled a similar role in the past to what Malhotra's did in Vancouver this past season and it's quite obvious the player just flat-out doesn't exist. The Behind the Net era only goes back so far, and I find it hard to believe any coach prior to 2007 would knowingly put a defensive centreman out on the ice for virtually every possible defensive zone face-off he could.