Francesco Aquilini

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

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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.

Report: Leafs win arbitration case with Cowen

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 21: Jared Cowen #2 of the Ottawa Senators prepares for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Canadian Tire Centre on January 21, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have won their arbitration case with Jared Cowen, who will remain bought out.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported the news today. It is a significant loss for Cowen, the 25-year-old defenseman who came to the Leafs in February as part of the Dion Phaneuf trade.

From Sportsnet’s story before the ruling:

At issue is whether Cowen was healthy enough to have the final year of his contract bought out by the Leafs last summer. A lengthy section of the CBA is devoted to “procedures for determining fitness to play,” and they include a player’s right to pursue a second medical opinion beyond what is provided by the team.

That information, plus witness testimony and other evidence, will be taken into account by the arbitrator while rendering a decision.

For Cowen, there is $3-million in salary at stake. That represents somewhere in the neighbourhood of 25 per cent of his career NHL earnings to date – a huge amount given his injury history and diminished future earning potential.

For the Leafs, it’s significant win. They’ll actually get a $650,000 cap credit this season. Next season, they’ll take a $750,000 hit, and after that their obligations are over.

If they’d lost, they would’ve lost the credit and assumed a $3.1-million cap hit this season, the final year of Cowen’s contract.

Sportsnet explains why the Leafs didn’t want to lose:

That’s a $3.75-million cap swing in total and would almost certainly result in the Leafs invoking long-term injury relief on one of three players – Nathan Horton, Stephane Robidas or Joffrey Lupul – to remain compliant.

Even though the LTI maneuver would offer immediate relief, it’s something the Leafs hope to avoid since it would increase the size of the cap overage penalty they’ll carry into next season because of performance bonuses expected to be earned by as many as five rookies in their current lineup.

Cowen had hip surgery after he was bought out. It’s been reported he may not be ready to play until February, assuming he can find a team. He played 37 games for the Senators last season, registering no goals and four assists.

Related: Lupul to start season on injured reserve, still aims to play again

No hearing for Taylor Hall after Larsen hit

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 06:  Taylor Hall #9 of the New Jersey Devils hits Philip Larsen #63 of the Vancouver Canucks in the second period on December 6, 2016 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Devils forward Taylor Hall will avoid supplemental discipline for his big hit on Vancouver’s Philip Larsen, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.

Midway through New Jersey’s eventual 3-2 win over the Canucks, Hall caught Larsen behind the Vancouver goal with a massive bodycheck, knocking Larsen unconscious. The Danish blueliner was prone on the ice for several seconds before receiving medical attention, and was eventually stretchered off.

Hall wasn’t penalized on the play.

Larsen spent the night in a New Jersey-area hospital, per Sportsnet, and is flying to Vancouver today to meet with team doctors.

Hall said he didn’t regret throwing the hit, but felt awful about the result. He and Larsen do have a history, having briefly played together in Edmonton.

“I’m looking to make contact there, but I never want to see a guy laying on the ice there like that,” Hall said, per NJ.com. “I only know how to play the game one way, and you’ve got to play it hard. But like I said, I feel terrible.

“When you see him laying on the ice like that, he’s a former teammate of mine, and I just would have loved to make a hit there and continue the play. I hope he’s OK.”

Related: The Devils are hanging around, thanks to a great home record

The Devils are hanging around, thanks to a great home record

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 9: Cory Schneider #35 of the New Jersey Devils and teammates salute their fans after defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Prudential Center on April 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Maple Leafs 5-1. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
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Last night’s game in Newark was mostly notable for the scary situation involving Vancouver’s Philip Larsen, who had to be stretchered off the ice following a devastating hit by Taylor Hall.

But the players played on, and the Devils eventually defeated the Canucks, 3-2.

The victory improved New Jersey’s record at Prudential Center to 8-0-2. The Devils are the only team in the NHL that has yet to lose in regulation at home. They’ve struggled on the road, going 4-7-4.

A quarter of the way through the season, the jury remains out on New Jersey as a legitimate playoff contender. The Devils have just six regulation wins, with four of their victories coming in overtime and two more in the shootout. Only the Panthers (5), Coyotes (4), and Canucks (4) have won fewer games in regulation.

But keeping games close has served the Devils well. Twelve times they’ve been tied after 60 minutes, guaranteeing them at least a point. Heading into tonight’s action, they sit just one point back of Washington for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re in a playoff race,” Capitals head coach Barry Trotz told reporters this morning ahead of his team’s game with the Bruins (on NBCSN).

The Devils don’t play again until Thursday in Montreal, where a tough stretch starts for John Hynes’ crew. New Jersey returns home to face St. Louis Friday, then it’s back on the road for games at the Rangers, Blues, Senators, and Rangers again.

Wings activate Howard off IR following six-game absence

MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 12:  Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings looks on during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on November 12, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-0.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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The Red Wings have played pretty well lately — 5-1-2 in their last eight — and got some good news on Wednesday, as veteran netminder Jimmy Howard was activated off injured reserve.

Howard has been out since Nov. 25 with a groin injury, suffered early in a game against the Devils. He’s missed the last six games as a result, but will — per NHL.com — take part in Thursday’s practice and presumably be ready to dress in time for Friday’s game against the Blue Jackets.

Howard was playing very well prior to getting hurt, posting a 1.82 GAA and .940 save percentage in 12 appearances, 11 of those being starts.

His return means it’s back to AHL Grand Rapids for Jared Coreau, who was recalled a couple weeks ago and made his NHL debut against the Penguins last Saturday, stopping 32 shots in a 5-3 loss. That game was the only one in the last eight in which Detroit failed to secure at least a point.

A big reason for that run was the play of Petr Mrazek. With Howard out, the Czech ‘tender has performed admirably, especially over his last five games — Mrazek has stopped 147 of 158 shots for a .930 save percentage, posting a record of 3-0-2.