Wednesday, May 22, 2013
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Acquilini family, Mike Gillis, Lorne Henning, Laurence Gillman, Victor Debonis, Stan Smyl and the entire, coaching, training and front office staff of the Vancouver Canucks.
The past 7 years have been an honour for me to coach and work for a great franchise in a wonderful Canadian city. To work in a city with such passionate and loyal fans is a privilege – I enjoyed every moment of it. I’d like to thank Dave Nonis and Steve Tambellini for the opportunity they provided me 8 years ago. Over the past 7 years I have made many good friends in Vancouver, and had the chance to coach quality players who care deeply about their commitment to winning. I am grateful to the players and their families for the sacrifice and dedication they showed to be the best they could be. I saw many of the players start families, become fathers, and grew as men on and off the ice was equally rewarding.
To Rick Bowness and Newell Brown, Rollie Melanson and Darrell Williams I thank you for your tireless effort every day and am grateful for your friendship and dedication, you should all be very proud of your achievements. I am proud of the many things we accomplished as a group in my seven seasons in Vancouver, and only wish we were able to win the Canucks first Stanley Cup. I am a career coach, it is what I love to do, I hope to coach again in this league and I will always have good memories of my time and the fans of Vancouver."
- Alain Vigneault
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Here are some not-so-bold predictions of what will be said in just a few hours time.
1) No Immediate Decision on Alain Vigneault
Fans hoping or expecting for Gillis to fire longtime head coach Alain Vigneault will be sorely disappointed. If nothing else, Gillis has proven to be exceptionally patient and stubborn. He will not make a knee-jerk reaction and fire Alain Vigneault. Gillis will take "a couple of weeks" to digest the loss and analyze where things went wrong.
2) Not Trading Roberto Luongo was intentional and paid off
Gillis will most likely say that the team did not receive an offer of fair value for Roberto and decided to hang onto him. Gillis will say that the goaltending controversy did not hang over the team, and in fact, Roberto's availability came in handy when Schneider succumbed to injury late in the season.
3) Gillis will not blame the loss on officiating
Sorry folks, for those of you expecting Gillis to rip the league for its poor and inconsistent officiating, good luck. Too many people that work with the NHL have grown to just accept the sub-standard officiating and Gillis and the Canucks will be advised to do nothing other than take their medicine.
Of course, the real question that Mike Gillis must ask himself is whether the team's performance stems from poor coaching decisions from AV, or if Gillis himself inadequately addressed the teams needs. While criticisms of Alain Vigneault stem from his preference of certain players (Andrew Ebbett, Andrew Alberts, Mason Raymond) over others (Keith Ballard, Jordan Schroeder, Cody Hodgson, etc), it could be argued that Gillis failed to provide Vigneault with a third line center, failed to resolve the goaltending issue, and failed to acquire suitable depth forwards and defencemen.
Ultimately, there is a disconnect between Vigneault and Gillis. Players such as Keith Ballard - that Gillis paid an arm and a leg for - were not utilized by Vigneault to their fullest extent. That likely means that changes will be coming to the Canucks coaching staff, as the head coach is usually the first to go. The only real question for right now is, does Gillis feel that he equipped Vigneault properly to ice a cup calibre team, or that Vigneault dropped the ball?
We will learn that answer soon enough, but do not expect any decisions to be made today.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
When Roberto unexpectedly began the season with Vancouver, his torrid start earned him plenty of starts while Cory Schneider took some time to find his game. Obviously, this story has garnered plenty of attention over the past few months, yet as of mid-March, both goaltenders boast pretty good statistics overall:
Roberto Luongo 2.47 0.904
Cory Schneider 2.63 0.910
However, since January's abnormaly strong performances from Luongo, the Canucks' current/former #1 goaltender has been pretty average. In fact, his numbers are actually below an acceptable level for any starting NHL goaltender since January. Take a look at his numbers month over month this season:
Roberto Luongo GAA SP%
January 1.61 0.938
February 2.40 0.902
March 3.18 0.881
From February on, his save percentage is well below .900. Sure, the Canucks were off to an 8-2-2 start and have struggled mightily of late with five wins in 16 games, so perhaps that influences Roberto's numbers. What about Cory Schneider's numbers over the same time period?
Cory Schneider GAA SP%
January 3.13 0.897
February 2.49 0.914
March 2.43 0.916
Hmmm... so despite the team's struggles, Schneider's number continue to improve, while Luongo's are getting worse. Neither goaltender is winning very often these days thanks to the lack of offence, but Roberto has had third period meltdowns against Detroit twice, Minnesota, and nearly blew a huge lead to Nashville before the Canucks rebounded to win 7-4.
Luongo is a notorious slow-starter who hits his groove later in the year, so what gives? Perhaps his patience is wearing thin while he waits for a deal out of Vancouver? There have been crazier theories out there...
For now, it appears as if Cory Schneider may be the goaltender to take the reins for the majority of the starts here on out. Of course, banishing Luongo to the bench hardly showcases his value to potential suitors. Then again, neither do third period collapses and a sub .900 SP%.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Hossa lay on the ice for a few moments before being helped to the locker room - he did not return to the game.
There was no penalty on the play at the time, but as Hossa continued to lay on the ice, Hansen was whistled for a 2-minute minor penalty after the play had stopped.
Marian Hossa was having a terrific game, but it appears to be an accident. Hossa's injury history (and Hansen's lack of supplemental discipline) suggest that Hansen may receive a call of inquiry from the league, but likely no supplemental discipline in the form of suspension.
Of course, the Hawks broadcasters are complete homers and felt that Hansen "made no intention for the puck"... which begs the question, why would he reach outwards with one hand in the first place.
Judge for yourself:
Of course, the Blackhawks local broadcasters probably saw nothing wrong with this from the first period of tonight's game.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
That's right... Luongo cited a couple of inside jokes, including the terms 'shap' and 'milt', and decided to call Scott Oake Milt. Oake perhaps thought it's similar to Milf, but, guess again. Here's a definition. Taking things one step further (as if that were possible, all of British COlumbia must've googled what the term refers to, including Radio "personality" Dan Russell, as evidenced through his own twitter feed.
Luongo frequently joked about being a back-up goalie, not being included on 'experts' picks for the 2014 Olympic team, and on his past for being too brash and not politically correct with the media.
There will be no shortage of twitter buzz over his segments this evening on CBC.