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  1. Why are all the threads criticizing Aquilini and Canucks ownership being locked? Including ones with reliable sources reporting that ownership nixed the Kesler trade?
  2. http://mobile.philly...s/&id=248318911 Flyers pursuing Canucks center Ryan Kesler? Frank Seravalli Last week, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said he didn't envision making any major moves before Wednesday's trade deadline. His stance apparently changed over the weekend, once word leaked that center Ryan Kesler may be on his way out of Vancouver. Two league sources told the Daily News that the Flyers have tabled a "substantial offer" to try and pry Kesler from the Canucks. They have also asked about acquiring Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler, who is reportedly on the market, as part of a larger trade - though that combined price is steep. At this point, a little more than 24 hours shy of Wednesday's 3 o'clock finish line, any deal of this magnitude seems rather unlikely. There are numerous obstacles in the way. For one, any trade involving Kesler would be a team-altering hockey trade, and not your standard "rental"-type deal often consummated around the deadline. This blockbuster would also require serious salary moving both ways for each team to remain cap compliant - and they usually take time to put together. Plus, the Flyers clearly are not the only player pursuing Kesler. Numerous teams, including Pittsburgh, Toronto, Chicago, Boston and even Columbus have inquired with Canucks general manager Mike Gillis about Kesler. According to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Penguins view the Flyers as their chief competition for Kesler. The report says the Penguins have offered Brandon Sutter, Simon Despres, and their first round pick. In such hot pursuit of Kesler, Penguins general manager Ray Shero has even softened his stance on letting go top defensive prospect Derrick Pouliot, a first round pick in 2012 - perhaps with knowledge of the Flyers' most-recent offer. "Shero is said to be as aggressive in this pursuit of Kesler as he has any player at seven previous deadline periods," the Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi reported. When Shero wants something, he usually find a way to get it. Last year, Calgary forward Jarome Iginla chose to be traded to Pittsburgh instead of Boston at the last minute. It is important to keep in mind here that Kesler did not request a trade. He has lucrative, off-ice sponsorships in Vancouver that earn him well above his $5 million salary. This would also signifiy the Canucks are willing to pull the chute on their injury-plagued season with 19 games left despite being only two points out of a playoff spot. As we saw last season with Roberto Luongo in Vancouver, Gillis is surely in a position of leverage. However, a source says former Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was actually among those who became close to Kesler with Team USA at the Olympics and passed on word that he might not be entirely happy in Vancouver. Kesler, 29, holds the keys in this negotiation with a full no-trade clause. The Penguins are reportedly his first choice destination, with Philadelphia serving as his backup plan. Numerous reports stated Kesler - a Michigan native - is not interested in a trade to another Canadian market. The price for Kesler, who has two full seasons left at a cap-certain number of $5 million, remains high heading into Wednesday. It is very possible Kesler remains in Vancouver. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported on Monday night that the Canucks are seeking an established NHL center between the ages of 20-25, preferably a forward prospect, and a first round pick in exchange. For the Flyers, that would likely mean parting ways with a center like Brayden Schenn. Though Holmgren does not have a burning desire to trade anyone on his roster, reiterating Monday he likes his team as assembled, the Flyers would much rather move Schenn than Sean Couturier. It is unclear what Gillis would require to part with both Kesler and Edler in the same deal. Edler, 27, is in the first year of a 6-year, $30 million deal which also provides a cap-certain hit of $5 million, while the cap is rising significantly next season. He, too, holds a no-trade clause. Edler was a true bright spot for Sweden at the Olympics, often playing ahead of Coyotes star Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He is the puck-moving defenseman the Flyers truly need to add. As for Kesler, a one-time 40-goal scorer, the Flyers' need for him is less pressing. Sure, he is a consummate, two-way forward with a slew of intangibles and legitimate scoring prowess. But they also already have one big-name player, Vinny Lecavalier, playing out of position on the wing because of a logjam down the middle. Plus, Schenn - set to become a much cheaper restricted free agent this summer - has similar points this season as Kesler, despite being 7 years younger. With the 5th-most wins in the NHL since Nov. 7 (28-14-5), the Flyers are seemingly just as content staying put at the deadline. Yet, they are involved - again. They love Kesler's competitiveness at both ends of the ice. In 2006, Flyers general manager Bob Clarke signed Kesler to an offer sheet, stunning the market with a hostile offer for relatively unknown player at the time. The Flyers' next general manager has watched Kesler blossom into one of the NHL's most well-rounded players. Perhaps, the Flyers could be on the scent simply to make sure rival Pittsburgh doesn't become a deeper team overnight without significant cost. We'll see who's bluffing. For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers
  3. Ray Shero always gets his guy at the trade deadline: Shero's late-season trades Here's a look at the work done by Shero and his supporting team in the last months of the regular season since he came to Pittsburgh. The sports cable nets can hype "deadline day," but for these purposes it's a look at deals made after January of each season. We pick up the narrative in 2007-08, as Shero and the Pens made no major moves the previous season, which ended with a first round loss to Ottawa. 2007-08 Result: Penguins lose in Stanley Cup final to Detroit. Trades Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a first-round pick in 2008 to Atlanta for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis. Considering how much the Penguins gave up in volume, this couldn't have gone much better. Sure, Hossa spurned the Pens for an offer from Detroit as a free agent in the summer, but he racked up 12 goals and 14 assists for Pittsburgh as they made it to the Stanley Cup final. More importantly, Dupuis is still around, having scored 89 regular-season goals with Pittsburgh while providing speed and solid defensive play. The other side of the ledger: Armstrong was decent for a couple of years with Atlanta but Christensen lasted only 57 games with the Thrashers before moving on. Esposito couldn't escape serious injury, and the first-round pick, Daultan Leveille, is just starting his minor pro career after tearing knee ligaments while at Michigan State. 2008-09 Result: Penguins beat Detroit in Stanley Cup final. Fires Michel Therrien, promotes AHL coach Dan Bylsma. The popular Bylsma is still coaching the team. Trades Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi. Whitney held great promise but was made expendable with the return of Sergei Gonchar from a serious injury and the continued development of Kris Letang. Whitney was gone to Edmonton after just 95 games spread over two seasons with the Ducks. The trade just keeps on giving. Kunitz was a good secondary scorer to begin with, but has taken his game into overdrive this season thanks to linemate Sidney Crosby, compiling 19 goals and 23 assists in 34 games. Trades a conditional pick to the New York Islanders for Bill Guerin. Guerin got another Cup after a solid spring (7 goals, 8 assists) and played an additional season with Pittsburgh while the Isles repackaged the pick and it ended up with Phoenix (the player is goalie Mike Lee, currently in the AHL). Picks up Craig Adams off waivers. Adams played every game in the Stanley Cup run and has missed less than a handful of games since, providing the Pens with energy and penalty-kiling skill. 2009-10 Result: Penguins beat Senators 4-2 in first round, lose to Canadiens 4-3 in second round. Trades with Toronto for forward Alex Ponikarovsky, giving up Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula. Ponikarovsky averaged 20 goals with the Leafs but managed just three in 27 games before signing a contract with Los Angeles. But the cost ended up being negligible, as prospect Caputi didn't pan out. Trades second-round pick to Florida for defenceman Jordan Leopold. Leopold, like Ponikarovsky, moved on after fewer than 30 games, to a contract with Buffalo. The Panthers with the pick selected Connor Brickley, still playing NCAA hockey this season. 2010-11 Result: Penguins lose to Lightning 4-3 in first round. Trades to Ottawa for Alex Kovalev for a seventh-round pick. The move costed a song, and the results reflect that fact. Kovalev had three goals and six assists in 27 games before moving on. Trades Alex Goligoski to Dallas for forward James Neal, defenceman Matt Niskanen. Neal could not get it going in the year that he was acquired — just two goals in 27 games, although one was an OT winner — but he's forged chemistry with Evgeni Malkin since last season. Neal has 57 goals in his last 114 regular-season games and was given a contract extension. Niskanen has been a depth defenceman for Pittsburgh, while Goligoski has not taken his game to another level in Dallas. Just a complete win for the Penguins. 2011-12 Result: Penguins lose to Flyers 4-2 in first round. No major moves made by Shero. 2012-13 Despite an impressive win streak — 13 games as of March 28 — Shero shakes things up by acquiring forward Brenden Morrow (Dallas), defenceman Doug Murray (San Jose) and career-long Calgary Flame Jarome Iginla. The cost: prospects Joseph Morrow, Ben Hanowski, Kenneth Agostino, three draft picks in this June's draft (first, third and fifth rounds), and a second-round pick in 2014. In previous weeks, Pittsburgh gained a seventh rounder in 2013 and a fifth rounder in 2014 by sending Tangradi to Winnipeg and Ben Lovejoy to Anaheim. It may look one-sided on paper, but it's important to point out that the trio of veterans Pittsburgh acquired are all unrestricted free agents this summer. It remains to be seen if we will look back at these deals as another coup for Shero. We will know as early as June as the Penguins gun for a fourth Stanley Cup for the franchise.
  4. https://mobile.twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenzie/status/439924467616063488 @TSNBobMckenzie I don't believe for a moment this decision to start Lack is related to any imminent Luongo trade possibility.
  5. Not on the list: The Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets are interested in both Kesler and Edler, while the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins are eyeing Kesler, and the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning have discussed Edler. They also have the least amount of available cap space to make a Kesler trade.
  6. http://www.thefourthperiod.com/news/van140301.html The Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets are interested in both Kesler and Edler, while the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins are eyeing Kesler, and the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning have discussed Edler.
  7. http://www.thefourthperiod.com/news/van140210.html ...Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler has been dangled as trade bait since the off-season, when Gillis tried to move him around the NHL Draft. Edler, however, now has a no-trade clause and must approve any deal the team tries to make. With a $5 million annual salary cap hit, Edler isn't a major financial burden and several teams have expressed an interest in acquiring him. The Detroit Red Wings have been long linked to Edler, and whispers around the NHL suggest the two teams continue to discuss a deal that could also involved Wings veteran Johan Franzen. Franzen, 34, is in year five or an 11-year, $43.5 million contract, and carries a $3.954 cap hit. While he's making $5 million in actual salary this season through the 2015-16 campaign, his salary drops to $3.5 million in 2016-17, $2 million in 2017-18 and $1 million in the last two years of his contract. Gillis has been in the market for a top-line winger, and has been linked to the likes of New York Islanders left wing Thomas Vanek, Columbus Blue Jackets sniper Marian Gaborik and Buffalo Sabres left wing Matt Moulson, among others. With some room under the salary cap, the Canucks' options may be limited and swapping one player with a long-term contract for another is something the team is considering. Canucks ownership continues to state that they have full support of Gillis, though help is needed. The Canucks have also received calls for forward Ryan Kesler, who also owns a no-trade clause, though such a bold move is considered to be very unlikely, especially during the season.
  8. http://www.theprovince.com/touch/story.html?id=9486580 TORONTO — When it was presented to Brad Richardson that the Olympic break is coming at just the right time for the Vancouver Canucks, he vehemently disagreed. “We could have used it two weeks ago,” an astute Richardson pointed out. What has happened since has been disastrous, and will rank among the most crushing stretches in Canucks history. Over the course of a seven-game losing streak, the Canucks failed to earn a point, lost their coach for six games and lost their ironman and captain, who played three games in three weeks, and none of them well. They lost their best free-agent signing, Mike Santorelli, for the season. They lost defencemen — several of them — to injuries, including three of their best: Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa and Chris Tanev. They lost the confidence their most-devoted fans had in them. They have not, however, lost the faith of their general manager. “We’re going to be all right,” Mike Gillis valiantly predicted. His message was a simple one. Don’t expect this team to base any decisions on what has happened in the first six weeks of 2014, no matter who miserable they were. He has the backing of owner Francesco Aquilini, who visited his team here, and is as upbeat as he’s ever been. He is as convinced as his general manager that these Canucks, the ones who would make death row look good, are not real the Canucks. They do have a case. The Canucks have been, at times, without five of their best players. Six if you want to include Alex Burrows, who has been hopeless with that shield protecting his jaw. There are not many NHL teams who could have sustained success missing those kind of pieces. “Quite honestly, I’ve never been through so many injuries at one time in all the years I’ve coached,” John Tortorella said. “You certainly have to get through it.” But the Canucks only got through it because the Olympic break has appeared like a mercy hook. Who knows how many more losses they would have strung together in the next two weeks if there were games. “We have to realize where we are,” Daniel Sedin said. “There are only 22 games left. We have to take care of business after the break. It’s going to be a fresh start for everyone. “I think we’ve started to turn the corner during the last few games, and that’s the good sign.” That’s some corner. What is not a good sign is the Canucks have scored just 41 third period goals this season. Only one team has scored fewer and that’s the lowly Buffalo Sabres who have 40. By comparison, the Boston Bruins lead the league with 71 and the Toronto Maple Leafs have 58. No one in the Canucks organization has an answer for what has happened this season in the third periods. The convenient rationale is that Tortorella wore out his top players during the first 40 games of the season. Up until now, the Canucks have dismissed that, but they would be wise to take a long, hard look at it during the break. Because on Saturday, yet again, Vancouver was pathetic when the game mattered most. “It shouldn’t happen,” Daniel said. “We have to do a better job defending leads. It’s happened before this season. “That’s going to have to stop if we’re going to make the playoffs.” jbotchford@theprovince.com twitter.com/@botchford
  9. http://www.theprovince.com/touch/story.html?id=8561137 Canucks' hiring of John Tortorella feels an awful lot like Mike Keenan 2.0 When John Tortorella's name first surfaced in connection with the Vancouver Canucks, the response was essentially, "This is a joke, right?" Tortorella, after all, was the complete antithesis of everything Mike Gillis's administration supposedly represented. Gillis was a man of reason and intellect. He was a new-age thinker who based organizational decisions on cool logic, metrics and analytics. The Canucks under Gillis were many things. But they were always rational and thoughtful. Until today. Tortorella is the kind of knee-jerk decision that other organizations make, not the Canucks. Yes, he represents a personality type diametrically opposed from his predecessor, Alain Vigneault. But he also represents a personality type diametrically opposed to Gillis's core values. He is loud and profane; narcissistic and temperamental. He is emotional to the point of irrationality. Tortorella, in fact, is so far removed from Gillis and his methods that this hire had to come from somewhere else; somewhere, and we're just spitballing here, like Canucks ownership. And when ownership gets involved in decisions of this magnitude, it's a sure sign the organization is in a state of dysfunction. The Canucks have built their brand on touchy-feely sentiments like "We Are All Canucks" and "Our Team Our Way." True, those slogans had a Hallmark feel to them but, in good times, they sent the message that the city and the province were all invested in the Canucks, that the team cared about its fans. Tortorella, without putting too fine an edge on things, basically extends the middle finger to those fans. That he is obnoxious is a given. And I hope when he lands here, we get the full Tortorella, the vainglorious, I'm-smarter-and-more-imporant-than-everyone-here guy we saw in New York. That way, at least he'd be true to himself. I'm just not sure he can be any other way, which is going to make things very interesting. Francesco Aquilini, the man presumably behind this decision, is labouring under the misapprehension that the team needs a butt-kicker, a motivator to shake it out of its lethargy. That would be fine if this were 1964. But you don't reach players with the drill-sergeant approach anymore. Today's player has to be self-motivated and maniacally driven or he never reaches the NHL. The thought that players like the Sedins, Alex Burrows and Kevin Bieksa grew fat and lazy under Vigneault's watch is insulting to them and their years of service to the Canucks. But, in much the way exasperated parents think military school would benefit their wayward teenager, Aquilini thinks Tortorella is just the man to set the Canucks straight. That's fine in theory. But in reality, Tortorella's personality is simply an impossible fit for this organization. If the Canucks were about egos and stars, then maybe this might work. But under Gillis's watch they've been about something else. They've been about the collective. They've policed themselves. Most of those players have also taken substantially less to play in this environment. How is Tortorella going to go over with them? If there was a country-club atmosphere with the Canucks, it started with Gillis's vision for the team. He was the GM who was going to make Vancouver a destination franchise for other players. He was the one who was going to provide every conceivable edge -- meals, sleep doctors, mind rooms, sports psychologists -- to the players. The real problem with the Canucks in 2013, of course, had nothing to do with that and everything to do with miscalculations on a number of fronts by Gillis. The ongoing Roberto Luongo soap opera not only cost the team prime assets, it was a distraction throughout the season. Gillis acquisitions like Keith Ballard and David Booth contributed very little. Organizational depth was eradicated by five years of bad drafting. The deadline acquisition of Derek Roy was a bust. if Aquilini thinks Tortorella is going to fix all that, good luck. But what this feels like is the start of another Mike Keenan era in Vancouver. If you need reminding, that was two years of chaos in the late 1990's, in which the organization completely alienated its fan base; two years in which the Canucks became irrelevant. They came out of that turmoil largely unscathed, mostly because Brian Burke was able to rebuild the team in two short years. Who knows? Maybe they'll get lucky again. But look at it this way. They're going to need it.
  10. http://www.winnipegf...l?device=mobile ...The word from sources within the Canucks organization is that Aquilini wants Phoenix Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. Tippett is regarded as one of the best coaches in the NHL but his track record doesn't equal that of Vigneault. http://www.vancouver...html?id=8423353 DAVE TIPPETT: Still employed by the Phoenix Coyotes, many feel he will be on the job market soon. Known for his stifling defensive systems, the 51-yearold Tippett was once a power-play guru with the Los Angeles Kings. The style he coached in Dallas and Phoenix may have been more out of necessity than choice. (Then again, Mike Modano might debate that.) Tippett spent three years in the NHL as an assistant and has been a head coach for the past 10. All 13 of his seasons have been in the Western Conference so he certainly wouldn't need any kind of tutorial on what's needed to win the West. http://www.theprovin...html?id=8421769 Tony Gallagher is not a Dave Tippett fan: Please, can we back off the name of Dave Tippett just a little too? For starters, he may stay in Phoenix. He does a great job with teams without talent other than goaltending, and two years down the road he might be the perfect man in Vancouver if this team is unable to make a San Jose Sharks-like transition and they don't have the kind of group that can make the playoffs in their sleep. But that's not this team next season when the same roster will largely be in place, a roster with a great deal of talent still kicking around. They need somebody who can get this group thinking attack, somebody capable of using and encouraging a big push from the back where you have the huge shots of Jason Garrison and Alex Edler and bright guys like Dan Hamhuis, Chris Tanev and Kevin Bieksa who can augment the assault. You can't forget defence, but the emphasis with this roster has to be adjusted to focus on the forecheck. Maybe Tippett is the kind of guy who can shift gears the way Vigneault did so well at times here, maybe even better than AV was able to do. Tippett is a great guy with charisma but whether he can actually change his stripes a long-shot. We've seen that movie here already.
  11. Bump
  12. The Vancouver Canucks have now lost 6 consecutive home playoff games. This is a more than just a disturbing trend as Vancouver has fared better on the road since GM Place/Rogers Arena opened than they have at home. Here's a breakdown of Vancouver's home playoff record since GM Place/Rogers Arena opened in 1995: 1996 vs Colorado: 1-2 2001 vs Colorado: 0-2 2002 vs Detroit: 0-3 2003 vs St. Louis: 3-1 2003 vs Minnesota: 1-3 2004 vs Calgary: 1-3 2007 vs Dallas: 2-2 2007 vs Anaheim: 0-2 2009 vs St. Louis: 2-0 2009 vs Chicago: 1-2 2010 vs Los Angeles: 2-1 2010 vs Chicago: 0-3 2011 vs Chicago: 3-1 2011 vs Nashville: 1-2 2011 vs San Jose: 3-0 2011 vs Boston: 3-1 2012 vs Los Angeles: 0-3 2013 vs San Jose: 0-2 In comparison here's Vancouver's road playoff record during the same stretch: 1996 vs Colorado: 1-2 2001 vs Colorado: 0-2 2002 vs Detroit: 2-1 2003 vs St. Louis: 1-2 2003 vs Minnesota: 2-1 2004 vs Calgary: 2-1 2007 vs Dallas: 2-1 2007 vs Anaheim: 1-2 2009 vs St. Louis: 2-0 2009 vs Chicago: 1-2 2010 vs Los Angeles: 2-1 2010 vs Chicago: 2-1 2011 vs Chicago: 1-2 2011 vs Nashville: 3-0 2011 vs San Jose: 1-1 2011 vs Boston: 0-3 2012 vs Los Angeles: 1-1 Clearly, there is some disconnect as NO OTHER NHL TEAM HAS AS POOR A HOME PLAYOFF RECORD during the same stretch. There appears to be NO home ice advantage as far as Vancouver is concerned. Any thoughts on why this is the case? Also, which of those home playoff losses is the most memorable/disappointing?