Francesco Aquilini

Canucks owner vented frustration at losing Stanley Cup to reporters following Game 7


Vancouver’s loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals managed to bring out a lot of the worst in everyone. While the lasting memory will be of Canucks fans and local hoodlums who decided that burning the city down and rioting was the right way to grieve after a loss, the ugliness wasn’t just just kept on the outside of Rogers Arena as it turns out.

Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini was in attendance at Game 7 and while that’s a home game for him and not all too surprising, he apparently wasn’t in the greatest of moods following Vancouver’s 4-0 loss to Boston in Game 7. While that much would be understandable, about the last people you’d want to lash out at or near would be the hordes of media who descended upon Vancouver to see the Stanley Cup handed out.

As it turns out, Aquilini missed that day in PR class according to legendary Edmonton Sun writer Terry Jones. Jones’ scathing column dressing down Vancouver for their fans’ antics both in burning the city down and being perhaps some of the least friendly fans on the Internet also took Aquilini to task for being less than cordial.

Like the Canucks, who told us again and again that they’d learned their lessons, Vancouver claimed they’d learned theirs from 1994. Neither learned a thing.

It wasn’t just the idiots who rioted. Reaction from the exceedingly large lunatic fringe of fans from the other side of the mountains was unbelievable via Twitter, email, etc. throughout the playoffs. Rude. Obnoxious. Begging to be blocked. These are the same people who harbour conspiracy theories, who reportedly threw projectiles at Gary Bettman on the ice during the Stanley Cup presentation and one who shouted out while rioting that “this is all Bettman’s fault!”

It ended with Vancouver owner Francesco Aquilini telling multiple members of the media in the Canucks dressing room to go fornicate elsewhere.

Well isn’t that just lovely.

There are many very cool and wonderful Canucks fans to be found out on the Internet and real life. Heck, most of you post here for comments (note: we’re shameless) there’s an obvious disgusting underbelly of fans who bring shame to the rest of the lot. From those who decided to torch downtown Vancouver to those who verbally harangued former Calgary Flames star Theo Fleury via Twitter who had the audacity to say that he didn’t think Roberto Luongo could win them the Stanley Cup this year, the ugly side of fandom was out in force in Vancouver.

With all the disgusting comments thrown Fleury’s way it would ultimately be Fleury who got the last laugh as the Canucks came up short of winning their first Stanley Cup and Luongo would be front and center of the discussion. Life has a funny way of working out that way. Sometimes when you see a fan base take a loss as hard as a Stanley Cup Game 7 can be you feel sympathy for them for being so close to coming out on top only to fall short.

That brand of emotional outpouring was hard to come by in this case because there’s been so many ugly things surrounding this Canucks team and it starts from the top on down with Aquilini being unable to conduct himself as a professional. All of these reactions are inexcusable and it helps make life more miserable for those great fans in Vancouver and around the world who bleed blue and green. For them we feel sorry for for more than just losing their shot at the Stanley Cup. After all, when you’re saddled with such sad individuals as compatriots it makes being a fan that much more difficult.

The Panthers are healthy scratching Bolland, and he is their highest-paid forward, but they insist they’re not sending a message

Dave Bolland, Derek Nansen
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It feels like there’s a story brewing in Florida, where Dave Bolland — the team’s most-expensive forward, at $5.5 million a season — has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games.

But according to head coach Gerard Gallant, there’s nothing to see here. Move along.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said, per the Miami Herald. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

Bolland had just one goal and five points in 18 games prior to getting parked in the press box. Well, technically he got dropped to the fourth line before hitting the press box, but you get the idea. He’s not exactly in Gallant’s good graces.

Not helping Bolland’s case is the fact that, as Gallant pointed out, the club is playing pretty well without him. The Panthers have rebounded from a rough start to November by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Red Wings, which set them up nicely for the remainder of this current five-game road swing.

Florida has games still to play in St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus and New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see when — or, if — he draws back into the lineup.

In closing, a reminder that Bolland’s in the second of a five-year, $27.5 million deal.

Canucks rookie Virtanen exits with upper-body injury, won’t return


After sitting out Friday’s game in Dallas, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had to be excited at drawing back in for tonight’s game against the Ducks.

Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long.

Virtanen suffered an upper-body injury after playing just 1:45 in the opening frame, and was ruled out of the contest during the intermission. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but it looks like Virtanen was injured on a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

Virtanen didn’t take another shift following the incident, and Getzlaf was given a minor penalty on the play.

While we don’t know what the injury is or it’s severity, losing Virtanen for any length of time would have ramifications for the Canucks and this year’s Canadian entry at the World Juniors. There has been talk of Virtanen possibly being released by the Canucks to participate in the tournament; last year, he was part of the team that captured gold in Montreal and Toronto.

Virtanen has played in 18 games for the Canucks this year, scoring one goal and four points while averaging 10:17 TOI per night.

McLellan sounds off on Oilers after shutout loss in Toronto

Todd McLellan

Edmonton lost for the fourth time in five games on Monday, a 3-0 defeat in Toronto that marked the second time in a week the Oilers have been shut out.

Needless to say, the head coach wasn’t happy.

In a fairly blunt and harsh assessment aimed at a variety of players, Todd McLellan had some choice words for what he called a “disappointing” effort.

Some of the more choice quotes:

“I didn’t think we were a very hard team. I didn’t think we stood over a lot of pucks. I didn’t think we won a lot of battles along the boards. I didn’t think we were competitive enough in a lot of areas.”

“When I look at the trip as a whole, we had some key, key people really under-perform on the trip. Significant minus numbers, not hitting the score sheet. It can’t always be the [Leon DraisaitlTaylor Hall line] that provides that.”

It’s fair to suggest that last one was directed at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

Nugent-Hopkins has just two points and zero goals in his last five games, with a minus-8 rating. Eberle is pointless entirely, and also at minus-8 over the same stretch.

They’re hardly the only Oilers not pulling their weight at the moment, however. Edmonton has lost 15 times in its first 25 games, a figure that suggests there are more problems that just a couple of underachieving forwards.

Just ask McLellan, who all but admitted his team has issues matching up.

“We’re not where we need to be,” he said. “We’ve got work to do as a team, work to do as an organization to get bigger, stronger, harder, and physically win more battles than we lose.”

Roy: Avs ‘need, expect more’ from Varlamov


The tough times continue for Semyon Varlamov.

After another unsuccessful outing on Monday — allowing four goals on 27 shots in a loss to the Islanders — Varlamov was subjected to a familiar refrain: Patrick Roy saying the Avs need more from their No. 1 netminder.


You can hear all of the head coach’s comments in the video above but, for brevity’s sake, here’s the Varlamov stuff:

“It’s not easy for him. Obviously we need that extra save and we didn’t get it on the road. It’s hard to win if you’re giving four goals on the road.

“We just need more from him. He’s our No. 1 guy and we’re behind him, but we need, we expect more from him.”

There has to be serious concern about Varlamov right now, if there wasn’t already.

His save percentage through seven games in November (.891) is marginally better than it was through seven games in October (.889), and that’s not the only alarming stat. Varlamov’s yet to record a shutout this year, yet to record back-to-back victories and has given up at least three goals in six of his last seven starts.

Not good.

Compounding things for Colorado are the standings. The Avs are now 9-14-1 and mired in the Central Division basement, meaning that — if they have any hope of going on a tear and getting back into playoff content — they’ll need to do it soon.

Which means they might not have the time, or the patience, for Varlamov to find his game.