Vancouver GM Mike Gillis to bring news straight to fans via Twitter

mikegillis1.jpgWhile some hockey players are struggling with Twitter as a medium to connect with their fans, one NHL team general manager is going to join up to help bring direct contact and open communication to the forefront. Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail tells us about how Vancouver GM Mike Gillis looks to break down the fourth wall.

Gillis, whose club enters the 2010-11 NHL campaign with Stanley Cup expectations raging across British Columbia, said Canuck Nation wants to be engaged via Twitter, and that social media can be used to cultivate young fans. He also acknowledged that Twitter means he can communicate directly with the public, minus the traditional media filter that has occasionally frustrated him during two years atop the franchise.

“Social media is not something that is going to go away, and I think it’s a way to get a little bit of a different perspective out there,” Gillis said. “We’ll test it out and see if it works.”

Twitter might become an important resource over the next fortnight when a couple of thorny issues – Roberto Luongo’s captaincy, and Cody Hodgson’s back – arise for Canucks management.

This makes for a strange twist on the fan/media/organization love triangle that exists in modern sport. Gillis opting to take his message directly to fans via Twitter is a fascinating one because trying to side-step your hometown writers in a way doesn’t generally go over too well. If you’re expecting juicy tidbits of information and brash sounding off, however, you’re better off looking elsewhere to get unfiltered chatter on Twitter. I’d expect that Gillis will be very company man-esque and PR friendly in his tweets about what’s going on with the Canucks.

Of course, if he opts to come out swinging and get tough on say… Roberto Luongo after Luongo throws his defensemen under the bus after a bad game, then we’ll have something. Nonetheless, it’s still a fascinating move for both Gillis and the Canucks to want to take their news right to the fans, I just hope that it pays off in getting access that we would never get before.

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    Stanley Cup Final to begin May 30

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    We don’t know who’s in or where it will begin, but we do know this — the 2016 Stanley Cup Final will begin next Monday.

    From the league:

    The National Hockey League today announced the schedule of dates for the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin on Monday, May 30. Additionally, Stanley Cup Final Media Day will be Sunday, May 29, in the host city for Game 1.

    The Stanley Cup Final will match the winner of the Eastern Conference Final, either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Tampa Bay Lightning, against the winner of the Western Conference Final, either the St. Louis Blues or San Jose Sharks.

    The club which earned the greater number of points in the 2015-16 regular season standings will have home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final and will host Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, Games 5 and 7. The other club will host Games 3 and 4 and, if necessary, Game 6. The Blues collected 107 points during the regular season, most among the remaining teams, followed by the Penguins (104), Sharks (98) and Lightning (97).

    The start time for all Stanley Cup Final games will be 8 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Group has exclusive coverage of the Final in the U.S., while CBC and TVA Sports have exclusive coverage throughout Canada.

    2016 STANLEY CUP FINAL SCHEDULE
    (all start times 8 p.m., ET)

    Game 1 Monday, May 30
    Game 2 Wednesday, June 1
    Game 3 Saturday, June 4
    Game 4 Monday, June 6
    Game 5* Thursday, June 9
    Game 6* Sunday, June 12
    Game 7* Wednesday, June 15

    This marks the first time the Stanley Cup Final will begin in May since 2012, when the Kings took on the Devils in New Jersey (on the 30th).

    L.A. went on to capture that series in five games, wrapping things up on June 11.

    After two years in Switzerland, Tom Pyatt signs with Sens

    PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 22:  Tom Pyatt #11 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Simon Despres #47 of the Pittsburgh Penguins battle for a loose puck during the game at Consol Energy Center on March 22, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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    Tom Pyatt is back in the NHL.

    Or, at least, back with an NHL organization.

    After spending the last two seasons with Swiss club Geneve Servette, the 29-year-old forward has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators.

    “We’re very pleased that Tom has committed to our organization for next season,” said GM Pierre Dorion in a release. “He has already accumulated a significant amount of experience at both the American and National Hockey League levels and provides us with solid depth at forward. Having spent his last two seasons playing professionally in Switzerland, members of our coaching staff are familiar with his versatility. We’re looking forward to seeing him in training camp.”

    The Sens, of course, just hired a head coach in Guy Boucher who’s spent the last few years in Switzerland. (Also, an assistant coach.)

    Pyatt’s deal is worth $800,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the AHL.

    Before leaving for Switzerland in August of 2014, Pyatt played 245 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning, scoring 27 goals and 27 assists.

    Report: Star Swedish goalie Lassinantti garnering NHL interest

    LULEA, SWEDEN - FEBRUARY 03: Max Gortz of Frolunda Gothenburg looks to score past Joel Lassinantti of Lulea Hockey during the Champions Hockey League Final match between Lulea Hockey and Frolunda Gothenburg at Coop Norrbotten Arena on February 3, 2015 in Lulea, Sweden.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
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    Joel Lassinantti, the 23-year-old that captured the 2014-15 SHL Goalie of the Year, is reportedly on the radar of some NHL teams.

    Per Swedish nets outlet NSD, Lassinantti’s agent confirmed there is interest in his client, who’s coming off a solid ’15-16 campaign with Lulea. He went 22-11-0 with a 1.95 GAA and .921 save percentage.

    If he signs in North America, Lassinantti will definitely be one to watch.

    Why? Well, he’d be majorly bucking the current trend of skyscraper goalies. He’s listed at just 5-foot-9, but hat diminutive frame hasn’t kept him from excelling at nearly every stage.

    Prior to his success with Lulea, Lassinantti captured silver with Sweden’s entry at the 2013 World Juniors. At that tourney, he split time with Oilers prospect Niklas Lundstrom, finishing with a .915 save percentage and 2.42 GAA.

    And as mentioned above, he captured last season’s Honken Trophy as Sweden’s top goalie — which is a real feather in his cap.

    The winner prior to Lassinantti, Linus Ullmark, is coming off a pretty solid campaign in Buffalo and this year’s winner, Lars Johansson, just signed with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    On the brink of elimination, Blues turn back to Elliott

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    The St. Louis Blues are going back to the guy who got them this far.

    Brian Elliott will start in goal tomorrow in San Jose.

    Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock made the announcement Tuesday, the day after Jake Allen allowed four goals on just 25 shots in a 6-3 loss that put St. Louis on the brink of elimination.

    Allen also started Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. The Blues won that contest, 6-3, with Allen stopping 31 of 34 shots.

    But those were the only two games that Allen has started this postseason. That’s because Elliott had been mostly excellent before getting yanked in Game 3. His save percentage in these playoffs is .925, compared to Allen’s .897.

    Hitchcock said he hopes the break has allowed Elliott to “reset” after the “mental drain” of starting the first 17 games of the playoff.

    “We needed the jolt from Jake, we got it to get back into the series,” Hitchcock told reporters, per the Post-Dispatch. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win yesterday but this has been Brian’s playoffs and we’d like him to finish the job.”

    Related: A ‘no-brainer’ — Elliott will start Game 7 for Blues