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.

It’s Toronto Maple Leafs day at PHT

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Auston Matthews poses for a portrait after being selected first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)
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In a lot of ways, the 2015-16 season represented more of the same for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The results were nearly identical to 2014-15, right down to finishing in the basement of the East (69 points last season, 68 the one the year before).

Indeed, Brendan Shanahan is probably correct in saying that the Maple Leafs earned the No. 1 pick “the hard way,” or at least “earned” the higher draft lottery odds that helped them land Auston Matthews.

The big question, really, is how long will fans be patient with the Maple Leafs taking baby steps in the right direction?

Off-season

Naturally, the team tried to make more a leap forward in seeking Steven Stamkos and, to a less dramatic extent, Jimmy Vesey.

They fell short in those regards, but that doesn’t mean that management merely idled while hoping for improvements from in-house development.

The Maple Leafs made bold changes in net, ending the Jonathan Bernier era while betting big on Frederik Andersen and also bringing in a promising backup in Jhonas Enroth.

Beyond those big moves in net, the Maple Leafs made some minor adjustments. They handed surprising money and term to Matt Martin while taking short-term fliers on veterans Milan Michalek and Roman Polak.

On paper, this team still looks quite a few steps away from being a playoff contender, but perhaps we’ll start to see things come together?

A lot of that rides on the work of Matthews, Morgan Rielly and other young players (William Nylander, Mitch Marner) who may or may not make a lasting impact on the regular season roster.

Will the rebuilding plan start to pay dividends? PHT explores the iconic franchise on Tuesday.

Keep your head up: Hurricanes reportedly hand Raffi Torres a PTO

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 3:  Raffi Torres #13 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks for a 3-2 victory in overtime in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, May 03, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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From opting against fighting the NHL’s 41-game suspension to seeing his season derailed by knee issues, there was the feeling that the league had seen the last of controversial forward Raffi Torres.

Perhaps not.

The Carolina Hurricanes reportedly handed the 34-year-old a PTO, according to former Hurricanes defenseman Aaron Ward.

It’s something the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander also mentioned on Monday.

With Bryan Bickell added to the mix during this off-season, the Hurricanes seem interesting in adding some beef. It’s unclear if Torres is really in the sort of condition to make a mark, but Carolina’s going to at least take a look at him.

Beware, pre-season opponents and training camp teammates.

Capitals bump Todd Reirden up to associate coach

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 10:  Assistant coach Todd Reirden of the Washington Capitals talks to the power play unit during a time-out against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 10, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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The Washington Capitals announced that Todd Reirden (pictured) was promoted from assistant to associate coach on Monday.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, most directly, the team shared word that he’ll run Capitals training camp while Barry Trotz works with Team Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Giving Reirden a promotion makes sense, as he’s been linked to some head coaching searches. The Washington Post compiled some of his opportunities:

In the past two years, Reirden has been a serious candidate for two NHL head-coaching gigs. According to the Calgary Sun, Reirden was a finalist to coach the Flames before they settled on Glen Gulutzan, and he was considered for the New Jersey Devils’ vacancy last summer, too. Lane Lambert, another Capitals assistant, was a finalist for the Colorado Avalanche head-coaching job earlier this month, according to the Denver Post.

The Capitals have a pretty well-regarded coaching group, as many credit goaltending coach Mitch Korn with some of Braden Holtby‘s improvement since Trotz took over.

Maybe we’ll see Reirden and Lambert get head coaching gigs at some point, but for now, Trotz’s “coaching tree” stays intact.

Penguins believe Kessel, others can heal up by start of next season

SAN JOSE, CA - JUNE 12:  Phil Kessel #81 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after their 3-1 victory to win the Stanley Cup against the San Jose Sharks in Game Six of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center on June 12, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Going deep enough into the playoffs to win the Stanley Cup often comes with the cost of stacking up injuries, and the Pittsburgh Penguins paid the price.

As the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and others report, Phil Kessel (wrist) and others aren’t guaranteed to be healthy to start the 2016-17 regular season.

“All the injured guys are tracking in the right direction,” GM Jim Rutherford said. “Until they all get here, we won’t know 100 percent where they’re at, but it sounds like all the guys should be ready for camp.”

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review runs down a significant list of players who likely accrued bumps and bruises that may carry over:

Defenseman Trevor Daley, for instance, suffered a broken ankle on May 20. Kris Letang (foot), Nick Bonino (elbow infection), Bryan Rust (hand), Patric Hornqvist (hand) and Evgeni Malkin (elbow), among others, dealt with physical problems of varying severity at times.

If recent history is any indication, Kessel will probably fight hard not to miss time.

For all the weird criticisms he receives, he’s been remarkably durable, playing in every game during the past six seasons.

That’s impressive stuff, but the Penguins would be wise to keep an eye on the big picture. If it comes down to making Kessel and others swallow a little pride to limit the odds of aggravating injuries, they need to do it.

Even if it means a bumpy start to their title defense.