by Tyler Rowe
It would appear that I was too optimistic about the Vancouver Canucks playoff chances for the second year in a row. In case you haven’t heard, the Canucks were unable to win one game against the San Jose Sharks, not even for the Gipper. And over the next week, I’m going to try to figure out why that happened and what needs fixing. If Vancouver is talented but unable to win a single game against a good but beatable opponent, then either something is broken in the coaching staff, or in the team’s player personnel and the culture they engender as a whole. *Spoiler Alert*: It might be both. Continue reading
by Tyler Rowe
He was injured, obviiiii. We knew that Kesler had a history of not fessing-up to the media about being hurt until the battle is over, as when last year when we found out that he would need surgery after The Finals That Musn’t Be Named, Part III, and it would seem things were no different this time around. Reports are out that Kesler played the final third of the season with a torn labrum (“a lip-like projection of cartilage on the human scapula surrounding the joint between the humerus and the shoulder blade”. Thanks Wiki); you can call Ryan Kesler a vain, pizza-eating show-stealer, but you can’t call him an excuse-maker. Also like last year, Kesler can look forward to a long summer without being able to fully train, if at all. The doctors have his recovery at six months, which would bring him back around the beginning of December, a full six weeks later than his return in 2011-12. The Canucks looked dismal last autumn in awaiting Kesler’s return and subsequent readjustment to full-time hockey this season, and if he returns on December 8th next season, it will be with at least 25 games in Vancouver’s rear-view on the schedule, good for nearly a third of the next movement.
Of course, after an unceremonious ousting by the good-as-they-should-have-been-from-the-get-go 2011-12 L.A. Kings, plus all the Luongo/Schneider talk, and the uncertain futures of Manny Malhotra, Mason Raymond, Keith Ballard and even coach Alain Vigneault, Vancouver is bound for at least some changes. Calls to blow up the roster of the consecutive President’s Trophy winner are reactionary, childish drivel of course, but I think we can agree that there will be at least some changes. What Vancouver Canucks team that Ryan Kesler comes back to could have a lot to do with their chances to right the ship in the 2012-13 campaign. But what is the correct course of action for #17 himself? Kesler beat his return date from his 2011 hip surgery by weeks, but perhaps never fully healed. His 2010-11 campaign saw him record 41 goals and 32 assists in 82 games, but in 2011-12 Kesler only managed 22 goals and 27 assists over 77 games.
Ryan Kesler has shown he’s the kind of guy who is willing to play the game he loves at all costs. Lets hope the Vancouver Canuck medical staff can help him see the long view. I for one would rather have a fully healthy RK17 for 50 games than an 80% healthy one for 82. For whatever Mike Gillis gets done this summer, let’s have Kesler come back when he’s good and ready, huh?
by Tyler Rowe
Yesterday was a very interesting day for the Vancouver Canucks and the Vancouver press. People are making a lot out of what Mike Gillis didn’t say about Alain Vigneault and Manny Malhotra. That’s as close as you can get to making something out of a mute not saying anything, as GMMG has a long history of being non-committal when put to questions like that. But people are also making a lot of Roberto Luongo’s comments today, and that is a lot more interesting to speculate on because something rather than nothing was said about the elephant in the room: Will the Vancouver Canucks and Roberto Luongo have to go their separate ways?
by Tyler Rowe
From the Post-Season news conference. All quotes paraphrased since I don’t have a PVR yet, and gaps exist even more than they should because there is construction outside my apartment so I couldn’t hear everything. Still, you’re welcome. This is more or less how it went:
Mike Gillis has only one job: to make a good team better. He doesn’t have to rebuild a bad team, because the Canucks are already good. He doesn’t have to worry about selling tickets for a struggling franchise by signing players with flashy skill-sets, because attendance is not an issue (even when a night in the cheap seats with a few oat sodas is going to run you a hundy). He doesn’t have to spend to an internal cap, worry about the coaching staff or talk to any petulant superstars about their attitude. For crying out loud, the Canucks only have one or two bad contracts on the whole roster, and neither of them are even a 5 on the Redden-scale. But this doesn’t mean that his job is easy—he works in one of the NHL’s most rabid media markets, his stars aren’t shining that brightly these days, and fan expectations could not be much higher. Gillis’ job is not easy, it’s just not quite as multi-faceted as it is for some other GMs.