Canucks general manager Mike Gillis addressed reporters Thursday in Vancouver, two days after his team was swept out of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks.
After making it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2011, it was Vancouver’s second straight first-round exit.
As a result, Gillis says the organization needs a reset, as occurred five years ago when he was hired.
— If there was one theme from today’s press conference, it’s that Gillis believes the game has changed, and not for the better. Skill, he believes, is out. Dump-and-chase-and-battle-in-the-corners, he believes, is back. Hence, he thinks the Canucks need to “recognize the way the game’s going to be played” and “make the changes and adjustments necessary to compete for the Stanley Cup.”
— Gillis says to expect “a couple of significant changes,” though he wouldn’t say for sure if one of them would be a new coach. Alain Vigneault will be part of an upcoming “thorough review” of every element of the organization.
— Will Roberto Luongo be back with the Canucks next season? “I think it’s unlikely,” said Gillis.
— Gillis thinks the Sedins, 32, can still be major contributors despite their advancing age. However, “We have to support them better…we are going to have to get younger.”
— Gillis called 2013 “the most challenging season in my tenure here, for sure.”
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.
As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?
If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.
Jarret Stoll: "our penalty kill let us down tonight." #mnwild
Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.
Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.
The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.
Pominville: "It's been a while since we showed that much fight. As long as we keep fighting…we'll find our way out of this."
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.
Niklas Hjalmarsson: "Yeah, that was a big win for us. Corey was unbelievable, as usual." #Blackhawks
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
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.