In my opinion, the Vancouver Canucks should look at the 2009-10 season as a considerable success.
Yes, I know that the images that stick out in most hockey fans’ minds involve the team floundering against a clearly superior Chicago Blackhawks club. They certainly didn’t seem like they were “all there” and that probably strikes many as a sign of organizational (and roster) weakness. There is no denying the fact that their season ended on a sour note.
Yet, I’ll also point out that this team overachieved to win their division and earn some individual accolades. Let’s not forget that the Canucks faced a historic road trip, playing a staggering amount of games on the road before and after the Olympic Games. Instead of falling apart, the team banded together. Henrik Sedin won the Hart Trophy and a few other players made resounding breakthroughs in their respective games. In the big picture, the team has a lot to be proud of.
Still, it’s clear that the Canucks decided to make significant changes. The Vancouver Sun details some of the front office shuffling going on (the article expands on the higher-level moves), but the most important on-ice decisions will involve their coaching staff. Here is a little more information regarding who might back up head coach Alain Vigneault next season.
The changes come the same week the Canucks rebranded their arena, and the week after free agency allowed the hockey team to boost its lineup.
But the makeup of the coaching staff is an unresolved issue.
General manager Mike Gillis confirmed this week that former Anaheim Ducks’ assistant coach Newell Brown had been interviewed but did not specify for what position. The Sun has learned that Walter, hired two years ago, may not remain with the team.
Head coach Alain Vigneault’s assistants were offered contract extensions in April, but the Canucks’ failure to announce their hockey staff for next season led to speculation that changes were coming. The first one, three weeks ago, saw Dallas-based goaltending consultant Ian Clarke replaced by Rollie Melanson.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.
After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.
Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.
Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.
Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.
Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.
Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:
From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.
Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?
The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.
That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.
If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.