Riot Breaks Out After Game In Vancouver

Cup Final riot investigation conclusion: “there were too many people and they were too drunk”

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Remember the aftermath of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final? No, not Zdeno Chara’s primal scream; nor Mark Recchi’s last game as an NHLer. We’re talking about the night that a segment of Vancouverites decided to loot and light their city on fire (insert Montreal joke here). In the wake of the disaster, the powers that be thought it would be a good idea to order an independent review of the night’s events. Everyone knew it was a horrible incident that was an embarrassment for one of the most beautiful cities in North America—but why? What caused the night to go horribly wrong? Aside from the Canucks winning the Cup, what could have been changed on June15th to avoid the humiliating riot that filled the streets of Vancouver?

NHL.com is reporting that the independent review’s findings have been released today in the form of a 396-page report. The findings are predictable to say the least:

“Keefe and Furlong offered two major problems from that day — there were too many people and they were too drunk — while offering 53 recommendations for future preparation and prevention with similar events.

According to the report, there were 155,000 people in downtown Vancouver when the Boston Bruins defeated the Canucks in Game 7. There were 446 police officers on duty in the area early in the day, and that number swelled to 928 by the end of the night — more than four times the number on duty when there was a riot during the 1994 Stanley Cup Final and two-and-a-half times the number for the gold-medal game at Rogers Arena during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Keefe said part of the problem was deployment of the police officers was slow in the afternoon and the transition to tactical gear took as long as 40 minutes for some units after the order to do was given. He also noted, however, that a smoother deployment would not have prevented a riot from happening.”

Let’s make sure we have this straight: too many drunken people in too close of a proximity to each other, in an emotionally charged environment, without enough police supervision will lead to problems. Glad to hear it only took two months to come up with that kind of hard hitting analysis.

One of the authors of “The Night The City Became A Stadium,” Douglas Keefe and John Furlong, went onto say that the crowd of 155,000 people was “unpredictable.” To say that the crowds were unpredictable is naïve at best—but more likely disingenuous. Everyone around the hockey world knew there was going to be a huge crowd in the streets that night—common sense told us the crowd would be bigger for Game 7 than they were for Game 5 and Game 6. People knew that if the Canucks lost, there was a high likelihood for civic misconduct. None of this is second guessing: people were talking about the consequences before the game even started.

The report states that the city and police learned valuable lessons from the 1994 riot that followed the New York Rangers Stanley Cup victory over the Canucks. Unfortunately, even though the city was equipped with the lessons of the past, the independent review still had 53 recommendations for the city in the event of a similar circumstance in the future.

Good to know that if the Canucks lose in the Finals again, rioters will have to be more creative than getting drunk and looting with 1,000 of their closest friends.

Sounds like Blues will be more aggressive

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 06:  Head coach Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues watches from the bench during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 6, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Blues defeated the Coyotes 6-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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With their former captain now a member of the Boston Bruins and their coach on year-to-year deals, it’s appropriate to say that the St. Louis Blues are in a period of transitions.

It’s also a convenient choice of words, as it sounds like the Blues are going to change the way they transition on the ice.

That’s the indication given by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and players like Chris Porter approve.

“The play in the neutral zone will fit this team great with the speed and the size that they already have in place,” Porter said. “I don’t think it’s a huge adjustment for the guys, I think it’s just a little tweak here or there.”

Perhaps hiring Mike Yeo had something to do with taking a more modern approach?

Either way, getting more aggressive makes a lot of sense for the Blues, at least on paper.

With David Backes and Troy Brouwer out of town, younger and speedier players get to take more of a role. Some Blues fans will probably view this tweak – big or small – as a long time coming.

Of course, there’s a give-and-take when it comes to situations like these, and becoming more attack-minded sure makes retaining Kevin Shattenkirk that much more important. The underrated blueliner still expects to be moved despite being named an alternate captain, yet you wonder if these changes might prompt GM Doug Armstrong to try to pull some strings to keep him around.

(Giving Alexander Steen a contract extension means that much less room for the likes of Shattenkirk.)

Even if the Blues eventually need to part ways with Shattenkirk, there are some other nice assets who can use this change as a catalyst to push this team up another level.

In an ideal scenario, the Blues would enjoy those improvements and keep Shattenkirk to reap those rewards.

Update: Clarke MacArthur suffers concussion

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 8: Clarke MacArthur #16 of the Ottawa Senators skates with the puck during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center on October 8, 2015 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Brenner/ Getty Images)
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Update: As many feared, Clarke MacArthur suffered a concussion. The Ottawa Senators announced that he will be “evaluated daily.”

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Rough news for the Ottawa Senators on Sunday: forward Clarke MacArthur needed help off the ice following a big hit during a team scrimmage.

The hit was delivered by Patrick Sieloff, prompting an immediate response from Bobby Ryan, according to The Hockey News’ Murray Pam.

MacArthur has been hoping to return to NHL action after some serious concussion issues, so this is a troubling situation. More than a few people wonder if this might end his career.

Update: Here’s a GIF of the hit.

Robin Lehner certainly has swagger

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 24:  Robin Lehner #40 of the Buffalo Sabres stretches during the first period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on February 24, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Robin Lehner is a big goalie, and barring possible language barrier issues, sure seems to have a pretty big personality.

That at least seems to be the case with the Buffalo Sabres’ top guy, who provided the Buffalo News’ John Vogl with a great quote:

“There’s a lot of pressure on me, and that’s fine. … I know I’m a good goaltender,” Lehner said.

Hey now.

As much as the Sabres feel like a work in progress, acquiring Lehner was one of GM Tim Murray’s boldest moves. Murray was able to observe Lehner in Ottawa, and despite some struggles, the big Swede (6-foot-5, 240 lbs.) was sneaky-good in 2015-16.

Twenty-one games serves as a limited sample size, yet a .924 save percentage seems quite promising. His 107 career regular season games are spread over six seasons, so to some extent, the 25-year-old is still something of an unknown entity.

If nothing else, it looks like he could provide some Bryzgalovian entertainment.

Back in March, Ben Scrivens admitted he was happy to avoid a fight with a guy he called a “bit of a psycho.”

Sounds like a guy to watch.

Team Europe is happy to play underdog role

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TORONTO (AP) When the World Cup of Hockey started, Team Europe was not picked as a team to beat.

In fact, the unique team made up of eight nations outside of the continent’s traditional hockey powers was expected to be out of the best-on-best tournament.

Team Europe had other plans.

The blended group of players opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over the U.S. and then beat the Czech Republic in overtime to seal a spot in the semifinals before losing to Canada.

“I know nobody really expected us to be here right now,” Danish and Detroit Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen said Saturday. “But when you look in the room and go over the team, there’s not a lot of players better than (Anze) Kopitar in this tournament. We got (Marian) Hossa. We got some good guys on the backend and good goaltending.”

The Europeans will face Sweden on Sunday for a spot in the best-of-three finals against the winner of Saturday night’s Canada-Russia game.

When Team Europe players have faced Sweden for their countries – Switzerland, Denmark, Slovakia, France, Germany, Slovenia, Austria and Norway – in previous, they didn’t have a legitimate chance to win.

They do now.

A veteran group of skaters and a star in Kopitar along with Slovak and New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak give them a shot on any sheet of ice.

“He’s the kind of goalie that almost every night, he gives you a chance to win,” said Nielsen, who played with Halak in New York. “And, he’ll make that save when you need it.”

Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger said he’ll likely save his rah-rah speeches for another team because this one simply doesn’t need it.

Krueger began to sense something special was in store for Team Europe nearly a year ago when several candidates to be on the team met when Boston and the New York Islanders played. When the entire group gathered nearly three weeks ago in Quebec, Krueger got even more excited about the natural chemistry the team already had from their shared experiences.

“We didn’t have to do a lot of extra team-building,” Krueger said. “It just happened with a combination of leadership and personalities and character and will – of pure will – of these eight nations that are forever underdogs, forever going home when the final four is staged, forever watching other teams play in finals of best of best. That opportunity has fueled the fire that taken us here.”

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