The Olympic Men's Hockey Team roster has been announced and both Todd Bertuzzi and Ed Jovanovski have made the team.
More to come...
According to Dan Murphy the start time of tonight's game is being pushed back by half an hour due to a snow storm in Philadelphia. Catch the game on Sportsnet, and the replay at 7:30(assuming the delay doesn't change their plans.)
Yesterdays news was a definite blow to the franchise and of course Dan Cloutier's career. The potentially season ending injury leaves Vancouver in a serious dilemma and may mark the end of Cloutier's tenure in Vancouver.
This season was supposed to be the one in which Vancouver was to make another run at the Stanley Cup with a core of players who have been together for many years. Dave Nonis had two options in the off-season: 1) Stick with the core that has been one of the best teams in the NHL. 2) Use the opportunity of an unprecedented free agent crop to move in another direction. Nonis could have gambled and took the team in a new direction, but when Markus Naslund re-signed, he made the decision to stick with the core group. With Naslund in the fold there was little salary cap room. New deals for Matt Cooke, Brendan Morrison and Dan Cloutier along with the signings of Anson Carter and Richard Park, put Vancouver near the $39m. By going in this direction Nonis knew that the team that took the ice in September would very likely be the same team going into March. That all changed yesterday.
With the remaining portion of Dan Cloutier's $2.45m off the books, Vancouver now has roughly $2.5 in cap space.
Where to go from here?
There are many options for Dave Nonis. Currently, Alex Auld is playing well enough for the team to win. The Canucks are saying all the right things, they don't have to make an immmediate move. However, don't buy into this too far. Vancouver will need to get another goaltender sooner rather than later. While Alex Auld has been solid, the more he plays the more his shortcomings will be exposed. Teams have already picked up on some of those weaknesses, most noticeably his poor rebound control. As Auld plays more, and teams develop scouting reports, things are going to be more difficult. Like a rookie baseball player going through the league for the second time, there his a huge difference between being successful playing 1-2 times a week and playing every game. That's what separates the good goaltenders from the average ones. I'm not saying Auld can't be the guy, but the odds of him taking the reigns and leading this team through the playoffs aren't great.
Of course, while he has been forced to play every game, Auld has for the most part gotten the job done. His teammates feel comfortable playing in front of him, Crawford has confidence in him(unlike Skudra and Hedberg) and Vancouver's December schedule does not contain any back to back games. These factors give Vancouver some leeway, but not much. The combination of Alex Auld and Maxime Ouellet is not going to cut it for long. So, Dave Nonis has a few options to consider...
This team is built for a Stanley Cup run this season. The window of opportunity is small, can you gamble on Alex Auld?
Currently Nonis is doing the smart thing, he doesn't have to make a move right now, he can wait for the right deal. As long as Auld continues to play well Nonis can be patient and more importantly, not look desperate.
This is Nonis' first real test as General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks. What he does will likely define this season and potentially his tenure in Vancouver.
Personally if I was in charge there is one guy I would be going after, Dwayne Roloson. The Wild are slipping out of the playoff race and one of their goalies will not be returning next season. Acquiring Roloson would give Vancouver an excellent goalie who is cheap, meaning they would have money to shore up the blueline and add some depth up front. That's what I would like to see.
A few quick notes on tonights game...
TV: RSN 4:00, also you can catch the replay at 7:30
So, the best team in the NHL is in town tonight and the Canucks are finally back in action after a long layoff. Tonight's game is probably the most anticipated of the season and has been hyped ad nauseum by the Vancouver media.
Since their six game winning streak in late October, the Canucks have had a long run of inconsistency and, at times, mediocrity. Vancouver is 9-8-1 since that winning streak. One game above .500 over six weeks is simply not good enough for this hockey club.
There are several contributing factors to the inconsistency, but there is one recurring theme and that is a lack of work ethic. I hate to harp on this fact, but it's unavoidable. The Vancouver Canucks do not work hard enough.
Tonight they'll have to bring their work boots or it will be a very long night. The Ottawa Senators have been dominant, routinely embarrassing teams. They are a powerhouse and Vancouver will have to be at the top of their game, somewhere they have rarely been this season.
This is a big test for Vancouver. They need to play a 60 minute game and they need some goaltending out of Alex Auld. Tonight we find out how they measure up against the league's best.
TV: SNET 7:00
Time to catch up on a few things...
The Vancouver Canucks have acquired goaltender Maxime Ouellet from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 5th round pick(2006).
Ouellet was drafted 22nd overall by the Flyers in 1999 and was involved in the Adam Oates deadline deal back in 2002. Ouellet has obviously not lived up to his potential, as demonstrated by the 5th rounder going the other way.
Here's the Canucks Press Release
One interesting note is that the draft pick heading the other way is likely the one included in the Fedor Fedorov trade. Fedorov for Ouellet and Balej doesn't sound too bad. I'll have more thoughts later.
The Vancouver Canucks got the monkey off their back. After losing four straight to the Avalanche, including a couple ugly first period blowouts, the Canucks got their act together and responded.
It didn't look good early as Joe Sakic scored quickly while the Avalanche also generated several early chances off the rush. But unlike past first periods, Vancouver responded right away and in the span of 90 seconds they had the lead. There was a small bump in the road when Colorado tied the game at 2, but Brendan Morrison's breakaway goal would give the Canucks the lead for good as they went on to a 5-2 victory.
Vancouver is now 16-8-2, 3 points ahead of Calgary for the division lead. They head into Edmonton(who they have a 5 point lead on) tonight. Edmonton is coming off a loss to the Avalanche on Tuesday. Catch the game on Sportsnet at 6:00 pm.
Finally for today, the November report card is in the works, hopefully it does not take me as long as the October Report Card.
While waiting for the Canuck game I was half asleep listening to the Leaf/Lightning game when I hear a breaking "major" news update... Joe Thornton traded to the San Jose Sharks for Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau.
First thought: "That's like Morrison, Allen and Ruutu." Second thought: "WTF is Boston thinking."
The Boston Bruins traded their best player, the face of the franchise and one of the best young talents in the NHL without getting an impact player or top prospect back in return. Quite frankly this is a terrible trade.
There is simply no way to defend this move.
I'm sure a lot Canuck fans thought, "hey we could have matched that deal!" Vancouver certainly could have matched the talent quite easily, but that talent comes with large dollars attached.
Any deal for Thornton would require the equivalent of Thornton's $6.6m going back to Boston, something which Boston would not be interested in. But for arguments sake let's see who could have gone the other way:
I could demonstrate other combinations, but it would be redundent. Simply put, any move for Thornton would require us moving the equivalent of Thornton's salary and one of our top defensemen. Since Boston is not likely to be interested in salary and the Canucks cannot afford to lose one of their top 4 defenseman(and would have no cap room for a replacement) there isn't a deal to be done.
Thornton would look great in a Canuck jersey, but in the salary cap world Vancouver was not a viable trading partner.