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.
There’s not much left for Winnipeg to play for — just five regular-season games left, and no playoffs on the horizon — so today’s news that Tobias Enstrom has undergone season-ending knee surgery isn’t a crippling development.
Can’t be good, though.
Enstrom’s had a difficult year health-wise and, at the time of surgery, was dealing with a concussion suffered on a Tom Sestito hit back in early March. Prior to that, he missed time while attending to a family matter in his native Sweden and, prior to that, was shut down late last season to undergo knee surgery.
It’s unclear if today’s procedure was related to the one Enstrom had last March.
It is worth noting that, at the time of last year’s surgery, head coach Paul Maurice noted the 32-year-old had been dealing with the injury for months.
“He’s been able to get through it because of blocks of days off. If he can get a two day block, he’d get a little better and it’s just getting worse,” Maurice said, per Global News. “It got to the point that he’s not recovering and he hasn’t been. He hasn’t been for almost a month now. He’s not recovering enough on his days off for the pain ever to subside.”
All told, Enstrom appeared in 60 games this year, scoring 14 points while averaging just under 22 minutes per night. Next season will be the last of a five-year, $28.75 million deal that carries a $5.75 million cap hit.
Henrik Lundqvist has had two tough starts since returning from injury.
The 35-year-old allowed five goals in his first game back, a 6-3 loss to Anaheim Sunday, and five more in his second game, a 5-4 OT loss to San Jose Tuesday.
But Lundqvist is still the No. 1 in New York, and for that reason he’s scheduled to start four of the Rangers’ five remaining regular-season games, with the hope he’ll be able to play his way back into form in time for the postseason.
Lundqvist was not happy after Tuesday’s loss to the Sharks, even though the point the Rangers gained earned them a playoff berth.
“I’m extremely disappointed right now,” he told reporters. “I’m glad we’re in, but I want to get the job done. I want the win. We found a way to lose this one at the end.”
With the loss, Lundqvist’s save percentage fell to .911 on the season. If it finishes at that number, it would be the lowest save percentage of his NHL career.
Antti Raanta‘s save percentage, meanwhile, sits at .922. In his last start, he shut out the Kings in Los Angeles.
The Rangers host Pittsburgh tomorrow and Philadelphia Sunday. Next week, they’re in Washington Wednesday, Ottawa Saturday, and then they close out their schedule at home to Pittsburgh Sunday.
Raanta will start one of the final two games.
The Rangers are likely to face Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs.
Two days after Sam Reinhart was bolted to the pine for the entirety of Buffalo’s 3-1 loss to Columbus — his punishment for showing up late to a team stretch — Reinhart discussed the incident, and didn’t sound overly thrilled about how it played out.
“It’s a coach’s decision. It’s a management decision,” Reinhart said, per the Buffalo News. “From my perspective, I would have rather battled it out with my teammates.
“I don’t think five minutes in the morning is going to influence my preparation for a game, but it was a team stretch and I should have been there on time.”
Reinhart also had this to say:
Discipline of this nature is pretty common, though the way Reinhart’s played out was a bit more dramatic. Rather than park him in the press box as a healthy scratch, the Sabres — who didn’t have an extra forward, as Kyle Okposo was out sick — dressed the 21-year-old, then sat him for the entire 60 minutes.
The Buffalo News said the move “would seem to send a deeper message than merely being scratch,” adding that “there has been friction between players and [Sabres head coach Dan] Bylsma throughout the season.”
In the club’s defense, Reinhart is hardly the first young player to be punished for lateness. Nikita Zadorov had repeated issues with punctuality and, after being suspended, was eventually traded to Colorado. Evander Kane was parked for a game last season after sleeping in and missing a practice.
Of course, each situation is unique and some will argue showing up five minutes late for a stretch isn’t on par with what Zadorov and Kane did. Which is fair. That could be why Bylsma said the club might consider a policy change.
And that could by why Reinhart’s teammate, Jack Eichel, tried to put things in perspective.
“We’re obviously not going to hold it over his head here,” Eichel said, per the News. “He didn’t really do too much wrong.”
Another day, another North Dakota departure.
Having already lost freshman Tyson Jost (signed with Colorado) and sophomore Brock Boeser (signed with Vancouver), the school has now learned that junior blueliner Tucker Poolman has signed an entry-level deal with the Jets.
Poolman, 23, was taken by Winnipeg in the fifth round (127th overall) at the ’13 draft. From the Free Press:
UND’s top defenceman was playing between 25 and 30 minutes per game and was the fourth-highest scoring blue-liner in the NCHC. He finished the season with seven goals, 30 points, 14 penalty minutes and a plus-18 rating in 38 games.
Poolman’s final campaign ended on a sour note. He suffered a shoulder injury during the NCHC championship game and was unable to play in North Dakota’s season-ending loss to Boston University in the NCAA championships.