Vancouver GM: Keep running the Canucks, pay the price on the scoreboard


Canucks general manager Mike Gillis kept banging the “we don’t need a tough guy” drum yesterday, telling the Vancouver Province that the team’s recent success is proof his philosophy is working.

The Canucks are 9-1-0 in their last 10, a stretch that’s seen their opponents try to rough them up Boston Bruins style.

“You can’t argue with the results,” he said. “We had very good results last season and we’re starting to do it again.

“There are some players who want to run around and hit guys from behind and that’s a league issue and it’s something the league is getting out of the game. If officials do their jobs, we will win games.”

But as the article’s author, Jason Botchford, points out, it’s hard to keep winning games when your players keep getting hurt. David Booth is out for an extended period after taking a knee-on-knee hit. Cody Hodgson is day-to-day after being run over Saturday.

Gillis seems to relish the fact that teams are running around against the Canucks, because it means more opportunities for the league’s best power play.

Unfortunately, a referee can’t do anything to bring Booth back.

It begs the question, is Vancouver at risk of winning a bunch of little battles at the cost of losing the war? After all, referees only have so much power. Ditto for the league. Say a marginal player takes out Henrik Sedin in Game 1 of a playoff series. Even if he gets a major penalty and receives a lengthy suspension, who wins that trade off?

But would that marginal player take out Henrik Sedin in the first place if he knew it would mean his team’s best player would be visiting the hospital next?

It may sound barbaric, but in hockey, the good guy doesn’t always win. Canada’s greatest international hockey victory was predicated on a brutal attack on its opponent’s best player. The game might’ve changed since 1972, but it’s not figure skating quite yet.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.

Fabbri primed to make Blues in significant role

Jason Demers, Robby Fabbri
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With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.

During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.

“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.

“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”

The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.

Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.