Mike Gillis

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

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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.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.