Alain Vigneault

Lockout (kind of) pushed Canucks coach Vigneault into parents’ basement

Alain Vigneault has taken the Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup finals and, lately, he’s lived in his parents’ basement at the age of 51.

He has the lockout to blame for that — but it’s not because his financial situation has gotten so bad that he had no where else to turn.

“A lot of people were saying: ‘Boy, the lockout must really be affecting you money-wise if you have to go back and live with your parents,'” Vigneault said in a Vancouver Sun report. “For a while, it was a running joke. I was doing some renovations on my home and I had to move back in with my parents.

“I wasn’t supposed to be here. Training camp was going to start and I would be in Vancouver and the renovations would get done while I was away. Then the lockout appeared and I was here and had to move back in with my parents.”

Vigneault said his parents seemed pretty happy about it, although he’s not use to being back home in Gatineau, Quebec during the hockey season.

Compared to some of the other lockout stories we covered, this one might be viewed as a little more lighthearted. However, it’s worth adding that, beyond the players, owners, and coaches, there are others who have been financially hurt by the lockout, some of which didn’t have a lot to start with.

As sports business commentator Tom Mayenknecht put it back in September, “It is the part-time employees, those who are relying on a little bit of an extra bump to meet ends on their a car payments or on their mortgages.

“We’re talking about waitresses, bartenders in pubs that have a big spike when there is NHL hockey being played.”

For Vigneault’s part, like so many others, he hopes this lockout ends soon.

“I swear to God, I miss you guys,” he told the Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre, while referring to the media. “I’m looking so forward to getting back and having one of those special pre-game press conferences with you guys. I can’t wait to do that again.”

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    Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

    Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) scores a goal against Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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    Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

    The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

    You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

    At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

    Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

    (Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

    As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

    Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

    Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

    Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring on a penalty shot during the overtime period of the Boston Bruins 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres in an NHL hockey game in Boston Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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    Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

    Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

    Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

    That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

    Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

    Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

    Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

    Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

    Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

    Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

    Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

    The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.

    Video: Mika Zibanejad’s check to Tyler Bozak’s head

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    Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).

    The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.

    You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.

    It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.

    Update: It didn’t get much better going forward; the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 6-1.