Canucks GM Mike Gillis to talk with Roberto Luongo about captaincy today

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for grinningluongo.jpgIf you’re a Canucks fan that’s been sitting on the edge of your seat hoping to find some news about whether or not Roberto Luongo will be the team’s captain again next season, first of all, relax. Secondly, we’ve got an update for you. 

Canucks GM Mike Gillis is finding his hands full of drama and training camp hasn’t even begun in earnest. First he’s dealing with the injury situation surrounding the team’s top prospect Cody Hodgson and now he’ll be sitting down for a pow-wow with Luongo to discuss the team’s captaincy.

“I think that the expectations that go with that position, with that title, in a Canadian city can be a distraction,” Gillis admitted. “I will discuss that with him (Monday), and I will find out whether he feels the same way, and get his thoughts on the process.”

Apart from the fact the captain of an NHL team is expected to speak to the media at nearly every practice, morning skate and after every game — a serious task with the growing media horde surrounding these Canucks — the bigger problem came in the playoffs when the Canucks’ play lacked, particularly in the shot-blocking department.

It is at times like that when the captain needs to step up and publicly state where the team needs to improve. But when a goalie chastises his team in the media for failing to block enough shots, it comes across as the goalie pointing the finger at teammates.

It’s a good bet the captaincy goes to Henrik Sedin when the season starts in October.

“I know (Luongo) desperately wants to win a Stanley Cup, and he’s going to do everything in his power to do that. If he feels it’s a distraction or hinders his play in any way I’m sure he’ll make the best decision for the team first and for him second,” Gillis said.

Given how much talk there is about whether or not Luongo should even be the team captain should be indicative of how much of an issue this is to everyone concerned with the team. The fact that this is such a public discussion shows that the Canucks might need training camp to start sooner than most teams to escape such crazy talk.

Perhaps I’m a bit too old school when it comes to matters of team captaincy, but apparently we’re past the days when the guys on the ice would elect a team captain. I realize that being an NHL captain calls for more demands for your time off the ice as well as responsibilities on it. That said, goaltending is a position that demands mental focus at all times and having your goalie have to face the media after each game and handle the community tie-ins as well seems like more of a burden for a player shoulder than necessary.

Moving the “C” to Henrik Sedin or Ryan Kesler would likely be more of a benefit to the Canucks than they realize. Once they weather the initial storm of taking it from Luongo, they’ll be better off for it.

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    Kings put Gaborik on IR because of lower-body injury

    Los Angeles Kings' Marian Gaborik celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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    By Marian Gaborik‘s often-fragile standards, he’s been relatively sturdy as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

    Still, few should be shocked when they hear of a lower-body injury for the veteran winger. In this case, it’s serious enough to land him on injured reserve, as the team announced on Saturday.

    Gaborik had a bumpy time with zero points from Jan. 9-23, but he’s been more productive lately, scoring five points in his past seven contests.

    And, again, it was an unusually healthy run for Gaborik:

    LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen indicates that Gaborik was placed on IR in part so that the Kings could make room for Peter Budaj.

    Minnesota Wild fire Mike Yeo

    Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo talks to Jason Zucker (16) in the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    Update: The Minnesota Wild made it official. Still no word yet on a replacement.

    ***

    It looks like the Minnesota Wild have no love left for Mike Yeo on Valentine’s Day weekend.

    Apparently an eighth consecutive loss (falling to the Boston Bruins) was the final straw, as Yeo has been fired, according to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

    Yeo confirmed as much via text (pauses for comment about this being a strange time for us all) to Russo:

    The Wild haven’t made an official announcement yet. The writing certainly seemed to be on the wall with Graff reporting that there were especially long meetings between Minnesota management and Yeo after today’s loss to Boston.

    Yeo mentioned that he wouldn’t quit following the game.

    One big question remains: is GM Chuck Fletcher safe to work the trade deadline or will there be sweeping changes for the struggling Wild?

    Also: who coaches them going forward? Will an assistant be bumped up to interim head coach or will the franchise go to someone looking for a gig? Perhaps this option …

    Who knows, really. PHT will keep you up to date either way.

    /paging Jacques Lemaire …

    Cold for Clutterbuck? Illness sidelines Isles’ heavy-hitter

    New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) goes flying after tripping over Edmonton Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson (88) in the third period of an NHL hockey game in New York, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. The Islanders defeated the Oilers 8-1. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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    The Carolina Hurricanes probably can save a few ice buckets tonight, as the New York Islanders will be without winger Cal Clutterbuck.

    The Isles announced that Clutterbuck won’t play on Saturday because of an illness. Their next game is against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, and then they don’t suit up again until Thursday, so Clutterbuck’s sickness may not be too much of a nuisance.

    According to Yahoo’s numbers, the amusingly named forward has delivered 55 hits in 14 career games against the Canes (not to mention a solid five points).

    Matt Martin‘s among the most frequent hitters in the league, too, so it’s not like the Hurricanes will leave tonight’s game totally unscathed.

    Here are the Islanders’ tweaked forward lines:

    If Wild want Yeo out, they’ll probably need to fire him

    Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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    If the Minnesota Wild want to make a coaching change, it sounds like Mike Yeo won’t make it easy for them by stepping down.

    “I’m not freaking quitting here,” Yeo said to reporters including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

    It also sounds like Yeo realizes that Minnesota’s morbid losing streak – now at a worrisome eight games – may very well cost him his job.

    The scene sounded pretty somber after today’s loss to the Boston Bruins, and not in your usual way.

    https://twitter.com/ChadGraff/status/698629021232455680

    Yikes.

    Firing Yeo would be a big step for the Wild, even more than usual, as he began his coaching stint in 2011. GM Chuck Fletcher was hired in 2009, so the two have been attached at the hip since then.

    (And they got to know each other well in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.)

    Will one or both be gone, possibly in the near future? Even Yeo admits big changes can happen.

    Wild players, meanwhile, just seem beaten down … and maybe ambivalent about Yeo?