Big meeting in Vancouver — Vigneault’s fate on the agenda

6 Comments

Sometime today in Vancouver, the future of Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, and perhaps even general manager Mike Gillis, could be decided.

The GM and the club’s owners, chairman Francesco Aquilini and his two brothers (Roberto and Paolo), will reportedly meet to discuss what to do about a team that won its second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy then fell in five games to the Kings in the first round.

In his season-ending press conference, Gillis said he has “every bit of confidence” in Vigneault, so we can assume the GM wants his coach back.

Among the scenarios that could play out:

—- Gillis convinces ownership that Vigneault is worth keeping, and both are back.

—- Ownership demands that Vigneault is fired, so Gillis fires him.

—- Ownership demands that Vigneault is fired, so Gillis quits.

Both GM and coach have a year remaining on their contracts, and neither will want to go into the season without an extension.

An interesting side story involves the two local newspapers, one (the Vancouver Sun) that’s been calling for the coach to be kept, the other (The Province) to be fired.

That in itself isn’t interesting, but Province columnist Tony Gallagher was instrumental in convincing Aquilini to hire Gillis after Dave Nonis was fired in 2008, and Gallagher has been calling for Vigneault’s head since long before the Canucks flamed out in the first round.

As Vancouver Sun columnist Iain MacIntyre notes, “if the Aquilinis can be successfully lobbied once, it can happen again.”

Related: Could Alain Vigneault become the next coach of the Canadiens?

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

Getty
Leave a comment

Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

Getty
Leave a comment

The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.

MacArthur, Senators end Bruins’ season in OT after controversial calls

16 Comments

It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.

Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.

Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.

People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.

Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.

The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.

Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.

Bergeron takes advantage of slow Sens change, sends Game 6 to OT (Video)

Leave a comment

Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?

Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.

Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.