Ryan Kesler and the trouble with Insiders: Weekend Watchability Index


I’ve never seen the British version of House of Cards, but you’d better believe I’m going to go burn through all of those in a weekend while awaiting the third season of the American Netflix version. People offering up comparisons between the two shows rather than actually discussing them in depth sort of grinds my gears; no matter how the American version holds up to the British, it’s still an excellent show.

What I like the most is the show’s treatment of the journalists. Most are hard-working and, just like the politicians the show is focused on, manipulative and scheming to get what they want. In the first episode, a young, female reporter with a daily broadsheet offers to be Kevin Spacey’s mouthpiece in the press. It’s a good arrangement – she gets stories, he gets to manipulate political discourse.

This is related to hockey, I swear.

A lot of digital ink is spilled criticizing the Eklund and HockeyyInsiderr types around the trade deadline and free agency, but I don’t think that enough people stop to think about where the information offered up to reputable people such as Louis Jean, John Shannon and Darren Dreger comes from.

Not to say that these reporters aren’t very hard working. They all probably sift through a lot of crap in their inboxs on a daily basis to bring fans the substantial information that they do. The problem is that, until a hypothetical player (we’ll call him Ryan Kesler) is traded, it doesn’t really matter that Louis Jean was the first to report this hypothetical player (Kesler) wanted out.

This is from Louis Jean’s Twitter account:

Of course, Kesler’s agent and the man himself did exactly what they were supposed to do in this charade: offer a denial. But it’s more than a little hollow at this point. Jean has a big-enough following and is a reputable-enough human that these rumours will follow Kesler in Vancouver for the rest of his career, which is unfortunate, especially if actually he does want to be here. I don’t think that trade rumours would really affect how a player plays on the ice, however—but it becomes a boring sideshow as the team slips from a perennial contender to being a bubble team.

But the key here is that Louis Jean only has this information because somebody wanted him to have this information. Perhaps it’s a rival general manager wanting to lubricate the wheels on forcing a deal through, or even somebody inside the Canucks front office who, upset that negotiations stalled with Pittsburgh, wants to pick up other interested suitors.

And yes, there’s a reason Rob Rossi has information like this:

It may not be anything substantial. I heard that Simon Despres was involved in a potential trade, not Derrick Pouliot, and part of the problem is that when you read tweets like these or small bits of information without context, it allows viewers to immediately judge managers based on trades that didn’t happen; without knowing the full package, why talks stalled, or who said no. 

(Why would the Kris Letang situation affect Derrick Pouliot’s situation in the slightest, anyway? It will probably be another year before Pouliot is ready to see any NHL action, and Letang will be back way before then.)

It’s hyper-connectivity, and yes, while fans love to discuss their teams and what their managers can do to improve them, about 99% of what you hear from day-to-day, on the radio, reading the newspaper, reading blogs, is just noise. If Kesler is traded, you’ll know about it soon enough.

The question on the table, “should the Canucks trade Ryan Kesler”, is one that ought to be asked regardless of rumours or possibly existent trade demands. My initial gut feeling is “yeah”. For the longest time I’ve been hammering the drum that while this Vancouver team is good, the current core isn’t going to get any better and it’s difficult to find good, young, forward talent if you don’t have a high draft pick. If Detroit’s interested, it makes a lot of sense since they have some excellent minor league forwards yet to break into the NHL (I was a huge fan of Tomas Jurco’s when he was in Major Junior).

The untouchable Canucks are Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and only because seeing Henrik reach 1000 points in a Canucks uniform will mean more for the team in the future than a playoff appearance (and subsequent first or second round exit). Anybody else? Fair game, if you can get a decent return that includes youth or a high pick in the draft.

 jimmy lock of the week


A new feature Canucks Army where we try to tell you what games to watch in the unlikely scenario you think the current Canucks have gone a bit stale. Games are ranked out of five stars on three watchability components: quality of teams involved, potential for a high-scoring game, as well as bonus points for the teams actually being within playoff striking distance.



Pittsburgh @ Chicago – Saturday @ 5:00 p.m.

The hook: Hey, it’s outdoors, there’s a 30% chance of precipitation and the high is barely above freezing, so this could be a pretty game to watch from an aesthetic component. Sidney Crosby has played in two outdoor games and has earned a career-threatening concussion in one of them, which means there’s a 50% chance Crosby won’t play in the playoffs.

That’s how stats work, right?



St. Louis @ Anaheim – Friday @ 7:00 p.m.

The hook: Points deducted for St. Louis’ crippling defence, but given how shaky Jaroslav Halak has been this season, a date with Anaheim doesn’t exactly have us Halak fantasy owners at ease.

St. Louis @ Phoenix – Sunday @ 5:00 p.m.

The hook: Not exactly a date we’d have circled any other year, but the Coyotes developed an offence this year and are somewhat scarier than before.

Boston @ NY Rangers – Sunday @ 4:00 p.m.

The hook: Given everything I wrote above, this will be Martin St. Louis’ first game as a Ranger, yes?

Washington @ Boston – Saturday @ 10:00 a.m.

The hook: You’re hungover, and it will funny to see Tuukka Rask shut down Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals powerplay simply by dangling his bronze medal hypnotically.

Winnipeg @ Nashville – Saturday @ 12:00 p.m.

The hook: A matinee between two teams who have momentum’d their way into playoff contention. The colour of Nashville’s home jerseys are the same colour as Pavelectricity.

Tampa Bay @ Dallas – Saturday @ 12:00 p.m.

The hook: A noon start for those of you that don’t care for inter-Conference III battles. This may be my pick for breakout game of the week. Both teams are quality and don’t exactly have a reputation as being the Jacques Lemaire-coached Minnesota Wild.

Phoenix @ Colorado – Friday @ 6:00 p.m.

The hook: Burgundy. You’re a big fan of burgundy. Also, watching the Avalanche offence carve up Thomas Greiss should be something to behold.

NY Rangers @ Philadelphia – Saturday @ 10:00 a.m.

The hook: I bumped this one up in the rankings, because it’s necessary to keep an eye on Glen Sather’s teams every year during trade deadline season.

Tampa Bay @ Colorado – Sunday @ 5:00 p.m.

The hook: Both the Avs games this weekend come at home against teams on the second half of a road back-to-back. Anxiously awaiting Anders Lindback to sprain his ankle in practice meaning the Bolts need to call up Kristers Gudlevskis… and subsequently watch him get dismantled by the Avalanche.


Calgary @ Edmonton – Saturday @ 7:00 p.m.

Why it’ll suck: The worst game of the week, unsurprisingly, is between the two teams in the Western Conference with no reasonable hope at the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s such a bad game that Canada’s national broadcaster decided to air it in its entirety. About the only saving grace is the possibility of watching Joni Ortio and his .926 AHL save percentage this season face off against another AHL-calibre offence.


Minnesota @ Vancouver – Friday @ 7:00 p.m.

Why it’ll suck: Despite the fact that the Minnesota Wild are actually a (relatively) successful hockey team this year, and that these two teams could be theoretically jockeying for the final two wild card spots out West, there’s still a high probability that they’ll continue their long-lasting trend of slowly wading through mind-numbingly boring games against each other. 

PlayNow has the Over/Under at 5 total goals? My advice: take the under.

But since we haven’t ran a preview for it today, here are the underlying numbers that you’ve come to expect from us on gamedays:

Minnesota Wild Vancouver Canucks
5v5 Corsi Close % 48.6 (23rd) 51.7 (10th)
5v5 GF/60 1.99 (25th) 2.20 (19th)
5v5 GA/60 1.82 (3rd) 2.16 (12th)
5v5 PDO 100.8 (8th) 100.0 (T-15th)
5v4 GF/60 6.11 (15th) 4.25 (27th)
5v4 SF/60 49.3 (22nd) 57.7 (4th)
4v5 GA/60 6.20 (16th) 4.25 (2nd)
4v5 GA/60 48.9 (12th) 40.0 (1st)

Eddie Lack gets the start again following his shutout last time out, which begs the question: if he puts together another strong performance in this one, will John Tortorella go back to him for the Heritage Classic game on Sunday? Or will he give the crease back to Roberto Luongo, who has just one start under in his belt over the past 3 weeks. Food for thought.

Oh, and expect to see Ryan Kesler and Chris Tanev back in the lineup

  • “The untouchable Canucks are Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and only because seeing Henrik reach 1000 points in a Canucks uniform will mean more for the team in the future than a playoff appearance (and subsequent first or second round exit).”

    On what basis are you making this claim?

    Do you have insider information that Louis Jean does not?

    Unless you accidentally typed “untouchable” in place of “immovable”.

    In which case the list would expand to, at minimum, Sedin, Sedin, Luongo, Burrows & Booth.

    The Canucks are not the Yankees and the Sedins are not Derek Jeter.

    The realities of the salary cap (as well as the history of the franchise) should preclude keeping players on legacy contracts in the name of the empire…

  • I don’t think Kesler is going anywhere because he would give MG about 5 teams to trade him to and that would limit the players back. Players have to know that when they sign a no trade clause, then want to be traded it makes it more difficult for a responsible GM. Kess is to good a player to get Drek back.

    The most interesting news is Lack starting again. I believe lack has played great this year and deserves to start. I know, Lu hasn’t been the reason for losing but Lack has played better. I believe that Lu will be bought out at the end of the season and he can go back to Fla and lose in the shade of a palm tree.

    Interesting turn of events for a very good goaltender. Schnieds, Price and now maybe Lack. I was at the Ducks playoff game where Lu stopped around 70 shots and looked at the ref when he thought the puck was offsides. I remember thinking “What just happened?” Lu hasn’t been the same since and has be asking himself the same question “what happened?”

  • The part about the Kesler rumor you’ve left out is Gillis’ reaction. While Kesler and his agent have given point blank denials, Gillis’ usual awkward non-denial in the media act is getting tired. I don’t know how it benefits the Canucks unless it actually is designed to drive up the price or somehow put pressure on Kesler — if any of this is even true. I would prefer it if he would learn how to simply say no comment.

    • asdf

      If Luongo & Kesler are eventually traded (or possibly bought out in Lou’s case), at least some portion of the truth might come out.

      Although we may have to wait until Hodgson, Luongo, Schneider, Kesler, Samuelsson, Malhotra and others retire before getting the full story…

        • andyg

          Well the goalie controversy stuff might be playing out again.

          I may have to cheer for a Lack shutout (and incidentally a Canuck win) tonight.

          Imagine if he gets the heritage classic start.

          Although it sucks that St Louis no longer needs Lou…

      • andyg

        The fact that CA has three posts devoted to dissecting the Kesler rumor, that it makes all the rounds in Vancouver and much of Canadian sports media would seem to suggest that *someone* cares…

        And I would think if you really didn’t want to fan the flames you might do a better job than Gillis. I really did think he was a welcome break from the showboating idiocy of Burke (well I still think he is) but I do have to wonder at the “professionalism” on display here. If I’m Kesler and I really didn’t ask to be traded wouldn’t I be a bit pissed? Maybe it’s not just that Lu and Hodgson and whoever the hell else are prima donnas…

        • I might have to remind you that “Team Grownups” won the Luongo discussion. These are professionals. They aren’t children. This post isn’t about dissecting the Kesler rumours, it’s about the fact that this information is only being consumed by the public because it was in somebody’s interest to leak this incomplete story. It tells us nothing.

  • andyg

    I think the trades will be done in the off season. You would think that the idea was to give Torts one year to see what he could get out of the core.

    But if the price is right!

  • Sports blogging, reporting and news in General is always shot through a prism. The Province and Sun will have a different take than NY or Philly papers would.

    The fact is that in the new NHL every reporter, blogger insider and over consumed fan will be looking for any scrap of a shred of a story. So the guy that tweeted was right about AV being fired last year… woooo….Hoooo?? I could have told you that after the last game in SJ. Tsn, Sportsnet, and every local paper are circling around the Canucks and other marginal playoff teams like buzzards waiting to feed off a rotting hide. That is their job and they will continue to press Edler Tanev Kessler et all just like they did Lu last year.

    Since TSN started their 12 hr trade deadline coverage it has been a complete bust because too many teams are still in the race. Buffalo is the star of the show on every cover because they are having an auction. Take all these rumors at face value because most of them will not be true. MG for all his warts will not give Kessler away and with his narrow scope of teams….l he will be a Canuck until at least the draft when a 1st pick and player will be involved. No team like Philly would send a Schenn for Kess because who knows how long the chemistry would take.

    It’s all a game and the game will be over blown until next Weds.