Pavol Demitra frustrates Canucks fans

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demitra.jpgEvery now and then, Pro Hockey Talk will ask for insight from some of the best team bloggers out there. For this feature, we asked a simple question: “Who is your team’s most frustrating player?” Just for fun, I also provided my guess as to whom that player may be.

First, here is my guess for Vancouver.

Pavol Demitra – It makes sense that he’s good friends with Marian Gaborik (I imagine the two players really bonded over ice packs and such). The guy can’t stay healthy and his skills are clearly on the decline.

For the Canucks perspective, I asked my pal Vancity Canuck at The Benched Whale to give her perspective on the situation. Make sure to follow her great stuff on the Canucks and her Tampa Bay Lightning blog to boot.

Vancouver’s most frustrating player may not have even made it to my radar if the Olympics had not occurred this year. Even worse off for him, because the Olympics were played in Vancouver, the whole city got even more of a showcase of his talent.

The Canucks’ most frustrating player must be Pavol Demitra. There are other sources of frustration, like the majority of our defense currently, or our hot and cold goaltender, but those seem to vary game by game.

Read more about the frustrating Demitra after the jump.


Demitra on the other hand was injured most of the season and when he returned to the lineup in January, he was underwhelming to say the least. I attributed that to him not playing for the majority of the season and trying to find chemistry on the third line.

Then came the Olympics and he lit it up. I was shocked. Where did this Pavol Demitra come from? I thought if Demitra could play as well as he did in the Olympics, our team would be in good shape.

Yet he only has 1 goal and 6 assists since he returned from the Olympics. This is a guy getting big minutes on the 2nd line and who is being paid $4 million dollars a season. The man is the master of the disappearing act. Last year he would have a good game then fade away for 5 games. This year, he has a great Olympics, then just resumes to being his normal mediocre underachieving self.

At 35 years old there are only so many more years that he can play hockey. He was a former Mike Gillis client and was one of the big name acquisitions in Gillis’ first year as GM. But after 2 years of seeing Demitra and his $4 million dollar contract, I think we could do without him and his disappearing act.

I’m hoping that he’ll still be able to bring some of that offense I saw in the Olympics to the playoffs this year but more than likely that was just a one time show for the Olympics. Maybe Vigneault might want to consider giving him a Team Slovakia jersey to put under his Canuck one during the playoffs.

Video: Flames goalie makes incredible behind-the-back glove save

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A save of the year candidate in September? It’s possible.

Jon Gillies of the Calgary Flames made an incredible stop during Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Vancouver Canucks.

The camera angle from directly above the net is the best, as it clearly shows how Gillies appeared to bump the puck back toward the goal line, then suddenly reach back with a no-look, behind-the-back glove save to prevent a Canucks goal and stop play.

That is one incredible save.

Drouin shows ‘commitment’ to community with donation to Montreal hospital

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Jonathan Drouin has yet to play a regular season game for his new team, the Montreal Canadiens.

But after getting traded to the Habs in the summer, Drouin has already made a sizable contribution in the community, donating $500,000 over 10 years to the University of Montreal Hospital Centre and planning to help in the fundraising activities to raise an additional $5 million, according to The Canadian Press.

From Sportsnet:

“I think all of that had some impact on his overall decision making,” Drouin’s agent Allan Walsh told Sportsnet. “One day when he’s retired and 50 years old, that hospital [which will begin serving patients for the first time this coming October] will still be here and he’ll have played a role in its development. That means something to him.

“But I think more than anything else he wants to help people. If he can help people—the hospital is going to be the largest hospital in North America and there’s a tremendous need for it in the city—and if he can use the fact that he plays for the Montreal Canadiens to do that, I wish more players felt that kind of responsibility to their communities.”

As noted in the Sportsnet piece above, Drouin is following in the footsteps of Saku Koivu and P.K. Subban, who made generous donations in the community during their time in Montreal.

The Habs acquired Drouin from the Lightning in June, sending prospect defenseman Mikhail Sergachev to Tampa Bay. They then signed the 22-year-old forward — who was born in nearby Ste-Agathe, Que. — to a six-year, $33 million contract.

It won’t be long before the pressure falls on Drouin’s on-ice ability, especially playing as a potential No. 1 center in Montreal and essentially being a hometown player for the Habs. But without even playing a meaningful game for his new team, he’s already giving back to an important cause in the city.

“And when you look at that, if you make $6 million and you give $50,000 a year, it’s not a big deal and you get tax receipts,” he said, per the Montreal Gazette. “But it’s a commitment, and being involved in the community and doing something for your community I think it’s something that you have to do.”

Lupul apologizes, takes ‘full responsibility’ after calling out Maple Leafs on Instagram

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Joffrey Lupul made headlines earlier this week after appearing to make accusations against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Instagram.

The comments — which have since been deleted but caught on a screen grab — came after the Maple Leafs announced Lupul failed his physical prior to training camp for the second year in a row.

“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per the screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”

On Wednesday, the 33-year-old forward, who hasn’t played since the 2015-16 season, posted a statement on his verified Twitter account, saying his Instagram comments were an “inappropriate response.”

Here is his entire statement:

What’s also significant is that he stated he will not seek a second medical opinion regarding this failed physical. As previously noted, that option was available to him, although, per reports, the deadline for this was 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Lupul is in the final year of his five-year, $26.25 million contract.

Erik Cole retires as a member of the Hurricanes

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Erik Cole has officially retired.

The Carolina Hurricanes made the announcement on Wednesday, stating that Cole signed a ceremonial contract with the NHL team and retired as a member of the Hurricanes.

Now 38 years old, Cole played 892 regular season games in the NHL, scoring 265 goals and 532 points. A number of his best seasons occurred while he was with the Hurricanes, reaching 30 goals with the 2005-06 Stanley Cup winning team.

His best season came with the Montreal Canadiens in 2011-12, as he scored 35 goals and 61 points.

His last season was in 2014-15. He began the year in Dallas and was moved to Detroit at the trade deadline, but a spinal cord contusion essentially meant an end to his playing career.

From the Detroit Free Press in April, 2015:

Cole revealed Wednesday that he has a spinal cord contusion severe enough doctors have cautioned him not to play again this spring.

“It stems back from my neck injury in 2006,” Cole said. “When I ran into the player in the Arizona game, I bruised my spinal cord. A spinal contusion is something that you have to let heal and obviously, it’s a pretty serious occurrence. Doctors feel I need to look out for my well-being as a person, not just as a hockey player.”

Cole is now a team ambassador for the Hurricanes.