The Vancouver Canucks have had some legendary problems dealing with the Chicago Blackhawks over the past few seasons. While they were able to sneak past the Blackhawks in seven games in the first round of the playoffs this year, they’ve had nothing but a recent history of nightmares dealing with Chicago. That’s why today’s announcement that the Canucks will be using the Chicago Wolves of the AHL as their minor league farm team for at least the next two seasons is a true test of how awkward things can get.
The Canucks were calling the Manitoba Moose their affiliate for years until the Moose were moved to St. John’s and became the affiliate for the Winnipeg Jets. Without a home to send their prospects, Vancouver was on the prowl and oddly enough with the Thrashers moving to Winnipeg, their affiliation with Chicago in the AHL was over with. Enter the Canucks and enter a mind-boggling scenario.
With how the Blackhawks and Canucks have gotten along in recent years, a healthy dislike has developed in Chicago for the Canucks. With their prospects and other organizational players now calling their city home, going to Wolves games might get a lot more interesting.
Fortunately for the Canucks, Wolves fans and Blackhawks fans are a bit of a different breed. Since the Wolves never had ties to the Blackhawks and actively marketed to hockey fans while Bill Wirtz owned the Blackhawks and kept them shrouded under media blackouts locally, Wolves fans do things on their own accord. Of course, Blackhawks fans will now want to go see the local AHL team now to see what their rivals have coming up through the system and get them warmed up on the heckling. Here’s to hoping that Roberto Luongo never gets sent down to the minor leagues even for a rehab assignment, things could get really ugly.
On the positive side of things for Vancouver, perhaps now Canucks players will be able to feel more at home when playing in Chicago and not get jittery and nervous at United Center. Of course, the awkwardness works both ways in this deal as Vancouver fans will now be actively rooting for a team from Chicago to do well. It won’t be the Blackhawks, of course, but it’s a bit of fun to see them squirm a bit nonetheless.
Honestly, it’s tough to blame people for making Edmonton Oilers jokes in regards to the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery.
Really it’s only human nature to drop one-liners about the perennial cellar-dweller that (seemingly) always lands the No. 1 pick.
Will it happen again this time around? We’ll find out soon enough, more precisely sometime around 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
As you can see, the Oilers do not have the best odds to land the top pick … but they’re close:
A reminder: this time around the lottery will determine the top three picks. The NHL discusses that tweak and other changes here:
For the first time, the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery will assign the top three slots in the first round of the NHL Draft – a change from prior years, when the Draft Lottery was used to determine the winner of the first overall selection exclusively.
Want the full lowdown on the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery? PHT has you covered here.
The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Saturday. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
NY Islanders at Tampa Bay (3:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 2 will be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.
Pittsburgh at Washington (8:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 2 will also be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.
Some reading to get you pumped up:
– The Penguins are keeping chatty Marc-Andre Fleury from speaking to the media (reportedly).
– Tom Wilson received a fine, not a suspension, for that knee-to-knee hit.
– T.J. Oshie was the difference-maker for Washington in Game 1.
– Don’t expect Steven Stamkos to face red-hot John Tavares anytime soon (or at all, maybe).
– Read about the Isles’ Game 1 win.
For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.
Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.
But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.
Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.
When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.
Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.
The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.
Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.
This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.
Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.
Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.
Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.