Roberto Luongo

Ex-agent: Luongo ‘treated like a piece of paper, a fourth-line player’ by Vancouver

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Yet another chapter has been written in the Canucks-Roberto Luongo saga, this time by Luongo’s recently fired agent.

On Thursday, Gilles Lupien blasted Canucks management — including GM Mike Gillis — saying he’s never seen a player of Luongo’s caliber treated in such fashion.

“I played on a team [Montreal] with nine Hockey Hall of Famers,” Lupien told the Globe and Mail’s Roy MacGregor. “I’ve never seen a star treated like that. I think personally he’s been treated like a piece of paper, a fourth-line player.”

To try and list all the drama Luongo’s experienced during his time in Vancouver would literally take up bandwidth, so let’s just focus on the most recent events.

After months of shopping Luongo, Vancouver flipped the script at the NHL Entry Draft and dealt Cory Schneider — who’d taken Luongo’s No. 1 gig — to New Jersey for the ninth overall pick (Bo Horvat).

Luongo, reportedly “shocked” by the turn of events (he’d listed his Vancouver condo shortly after the Canucks’ playoff elimination), has been silent ever since.

He’s yet to speak publicly about what transpired — or what his mindset is — and his only major move so far was to fire Lupien and replace him with two powerhouses in the player representation game, CAA’s Pat Brisson and JP Barry.

Lupien said he was stunned by the dismissal, but saved his biggest critiques for the Canucks organization — specifically Gillis, who he lambasted for drawing out the trade process and doing little to minimize the drama.

“It’s okay to say you’re going to trade someone,” he explained. “But then trade him. If I want to sell my car, and I want to get a good price for it, I don’t say my car is always in the garage. There’s something wrong with it. No one will want to buy it.

“You either say your car is the best car you ever had – or you say nothing.”

In Gillis’ defense, he never publicly criticized the Luongo contract, often saying the deal was “very friendly.”

“I know some people like to make a big deal of that, but it’s a very friendly contract for a lot of reasons,” Gillis said back in January. “One of the reasons is the new collective agreement. You can’t sign these types of (front-loaded) contracts (anymore) because they are favourable.

“So the contract’s not an issue.”

Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.

For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.

They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.

Columbus is now at 16-5-4, giving them 36 standings points. They’re once again in breathing distance of leading the Metro Division when you consider games in hand. Here’s how things look as of this writing, keeping in mind that the New York Rangers are currently in action against the Chicago Blackhawks:

1. Penguins – 37 points in 27 games played
2. Rangers – 37 points in 28 GP (currently 29th vs. Chicago)
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

That’s a stout division, and the Blue Jackets remain shockingly effective. Then again, with results like these over and over again, it might be time to merely expect such impressive work.

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For Detroit, it was a rough night. Jonathan Ericsson couldn’t play, Mike Green was a little banged up and Petr Mrazek was pulled for Jimmy Howard. This goal summarized some of their struggles:

Blues blaze through Devils, even in New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Brad Hunt #77, Robby Fabbri #15 and Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate Fabri's first period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.

On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.

It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.

This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.

That’s impressive stuff.

This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:

The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Video: Kuznetsov sets table for Vrana’s first NHL goal

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Jakub Vrana of the Washington Capitals poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).

Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.

See it for yourself:

Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.

He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.

Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.

Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season: