Alain Vigneault

Canucks Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault not happy with Rich Peverley slash on Kevin Bieksa


While the Canucks were getting into Boston this afternoon, their arrival led to some rather interesting reactions from GM Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault. While many would be curious about what their mindset is coming to Boston with a 2-0 lead, they had other things on their mind like standing up for one of their players.

During last night’s Game 2, defenseman Kevin Bieksa was felled with a slash to the back of his leg from Bruins forward Rich Peverley. The chop dropped Bieksa to the ice and left him hobbled for the remainder of the game and leaving him a step or two slow, the Canucks certainly took notice of who did it and they’re unhappy that there was no call made on the play.

During today’s press conference Vigneault made it known that they’re not happy. Commence the politicking.

Q. Alain, you knew what the Bruins were about before this series, one of the more physical teams in this league. Bieksa and Kesler were hobbled a little bit last night. Do you sense them playing that card in this series?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I think if you look at the stat sheet at the end of the day, we’re hitting as hard as they are. If you look at the stat sheets throughout the playoffs, we’re the team that’s got the most hits. That’s part of our game.

Kevin didn’t get hit by Peverley, he got a cheap shot in the back of the knee, so that’s totally different. He went down because of something that obviously you don’t want to see in the game.

But at the end of the day, we know that they’re a big, physical team. We can play a speed game, but we can also play a physical-type game, which I think we’ve shown throughout the playoffs.

Gillis was asked later on if he approached the NHL about the Peverley infraction in question and Gillis was quick to the point saying, “I didn’t talk to them.”

What’s fascinating here is that we’re just a day removed from seeing Alex Burrows being the man of the match in Game 2 scoring two goals and an assist in a game he likely shouldn’t have been playing in after biting Patrice Bergeron. Of course, all that is out of sight and out of mind for the Canucks staff when it comes to their own players.

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If you’re a Bruins fan and you’re reading all of this we apologize for the rage you’re feeling about all this but it’s all part of how things go off the ice in the game. The Canucks have shown a masterful ability to get after the officials in their own subtle ways and the bristling that was evident out of both Gillis and Vigneault shows how deadly serious they are in getting that little edge. It may not come off sound fair nor right to Boston fans and it probably makes you hate the Canucks all the more but it’s these sorts of things that teams feel give them an edge.

While they didn’t look to the NHL to take any action on Peverley, them saying what they did this evening wasn’t intended for their ears. They’re hoping that tomorrow night’s officials heard everything loud and clear.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).