Mike Gillis

Gillis won’t “succumb” to media pressure to trade Luongo


Canucks general manager Mike Gillis would like the Toronto Maple Leafs — and any other team, for that matter — to know that he won’t be pressured by the media into trading Roberto Luongo.

Per CanucksArmy.com, Gillis was on TEAM 1040 radio this morning in Vancouver to reject the idea that his expectations are too high when it comes to the price for Luongo.

“The notion that we were asking for too much was floated in the Toronto media by a team that was extremely interested in acquiring Roberto and were using every means possible to try and force us to do something that we didn’t think was right,” said Gillis.

“That’s nothing new in this business and it’s not the kind of pressure that I’m going to succumb to.”

Gillis has said repeatedly that he’s willing to wait for the right deal for Luongo to come along, and he reiterated that stance today.

“There’s a lot of stuff that’s going to happen in the first two weeks of this season, and if you start giving all-star players away you’ll be at the bottom of this league in a real hurry,” he said.

The Canucks open the season Saturday at home to Anaheim, then host Edmonton on Sunday.

It’s believed Cory Schneider will be Vancouver’s starting goalie against the Ducks, but Luongo could get the call versus the Oilers.

If you believe Gillis, the Canucks could have the same goaltending tandem all season.

“As it sits today, we need to get something in return that is going to help our team and we’re not in the business of just helping other teams, so I’m comfortable with both these guys starting the season here, I’ll be comfortable if we finish the season with them.

“If something happens and comes our way that allows us to improve, we’re going to do it. And it’s all subject to Roberto wanting to go to that city. So, it is a little bit more complicated than people like to think but we feel very comfortable with where we sit today with our goalies.”

The Canucks had reportedly offered the Leafs Luongo for Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri and a second-round draft pick.

Of course, that was what they offered when Brian Burke was still the GM in Toronto. It’s not clear if Burke was seriously considering the deal, but with Dave Nonis now in charge, it appears the Leafs are committed to giving Kadri a chance to prove himself.

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”

Sutter: Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

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Lost in the various controversies (see here and here) of last night’s game in Los Angeles was a pretty dismal performance by the Kings, a team that should’ve been especially motivated to start the season after missing the playoffs last year.

The Kings were hammered, 5-1, by the visiting Sharks. They were outshot, 32-20.

“If you don’t check, you don’t have the puck enough,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. “If you don’t have the puck enough, you can’t score.”

“We were pretty sloppy. Sloppy on our rushes, sloppy in our D-zone,” said forward Dustin Brown. “That’s probably most of it, but the other part is compete – in the corners and making hard plays coming out of our zone, going in. We didn’t play very well.”

Obviously, much credit has to go to the Sharks. Like the Kings, they missed the playoffs last year and came into 2015-16 looking for redemption. But the Sharks haven’t won two Stanley Cups in the last four years, and they weren’t the home team.

“Gotta check,” said Sutter. “You don’t check, you can’t score. We had a lot of guys, especially top guys that weren’t interested in that part of the game.”

The Kings get a visit from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. If they don’t dominate that team…