Mid-Afternoon Headshots January 7th

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!

Wyatt Arndt doesn’t want Gary Bettman to sully the Stanley Cup with his greasy mitts ever again. As you probably know if you follow us on Twitter, Wyatt is a way kinder and gentler fellow than I am. Which is why I’m fine with Gary Bettman awarding the cup in 2013, because Tyler Dellow has convinced me that having the winning captain cut-off Bettman’s self-serving speech, push the commish out of the way, and just start celebrating would be bad-ass. 

Timo Seppa uses VUKOTA (a projection system put together by Tom Awad, one of the smartest hockey analysts you’ll ever read) to project team performance for the upcoming shortened season (Insider only). By this metric the Canucks project to have the fourth best record in the NHL (58 pounds in 48 games), which is five points more than the next closest Northwestern Division team (Colorado, who VUKOTA projectrs to finish with 53 points). 

Brad Ziemer predicts that Luongo will be moved before the season begins, handicaps Jordan Schroeder’s chances of making the team, and reports that 2011 1st round pick Nicklas Jensen will remain and Sweden and won’t attend the team’s abbreviated training camp. 

Ben "Mr. Blonde" Kuzma gets Ryan Kesler on the record talking about his injury. There’s still no timeline for a return, and Kesler may even miss the majority of the shortened regular season. While the Canucks will be hard-pressed to replace Kesler’s contributions – considering Kesler is one of the best two-way forwards in the league, adequately replacing him is probably impossible – I’m intrigued by the prospect of Kesler pulling a "Peter Forsberg in 2002", taking the season off and returning fresh in the playoffs to school up opponents. 

Union man Manny Malhotra is proud of his fellow players, and says the Union is as unified as its been since he became a member:

Malhotra in particular carried himself very well during the course of labour negotiations in my view. And I still think the NHLPA did pretty well to limit the bleeding on their end. So Manny should be patting himself and his fellow players on the back (even though, holy cow, was the lockout annoying).

Pass it to Bulis’ Daniel Wagner points out that the universe seems to be unduly committed to preventing likable grinder Steve Pinnozotto from ever making his NHL debut. PiTB also has a bunch of stuff about how the Dutch like Dale Weise more than they like clogs. I mean, if Dale Weise put up as many points in the NHL as he did during his stint in the Eredivisie I’d be pretty excited about him – wooden shoe?

In Stanley Cup  riot news, a former Miss Congeniality who was charged with messing up the London Drugs at Granville and Georgia during the June 15th 2011 downtown riot, is planning on entering a guilty plea. So, at least she’s still congenial to sucking it up and accepting responsibility for her actions.