The Vancouver Canucks intend to stay the course. Their goals for next season remain making the playoffs while developing their prospects in a “winning environment.”
That’s not to say the Canucks don’t recognize the need to get younger, because they do. There will be opportunities in 2015-16 for the likes of Jake Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, Frank Corrado, and Adam Clendening.
Just don’t expect a massive roster overhaul this offseason — even after the Canucks lost their fourth straight playoff series, this time to a younger, faster Calgary squad.
“We are committed to our plan,” president of hockey ops Trevor Linden said today. “We started that last year. We’ll have difficult decisions to make this year, as every team does.”
Some of those “difficult decisions” may include approaching veterans with no-trade clauses and asking them to accept a move. GM Jim Benning reiterated his willingness to do that, which won’t do anything to quell speculation about Kevin Bieksa, Chris Higgins, and a handful of others.
But Benning also provided a caveat there: “It’s tough. When you go to a player and you approach him to do that, they have all the leverage and they decide which teams they want to go to. You have to try and figure out a deal with those teams.”
Moreover, Vancouver management has no interest in developing its prized prospects in a losing environment.
“You end up with a team full of real good players that never wins anything,” said Benning. “We want to draft and develop well, but we want our young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment, so they learn the right way to play.”
Who would have thought that the Tampa Bay Lightning would rally back from a 4-1 deficit tonight? Then again, who expected them to be so close to a playoff spot mere weeks ago, when they were sellers at the trade deadline?
The Lightning continue to show that they won’t just roll over and die, scoring four unanswered goals to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime on Monday.
Really, it might have been fitting. Things looked glum when Tomas Jurco scored his first goal of the season against the Lightning, then the mood was totally flipped when Gourde’s second tally of 2016-17 grabbed a huge win.
With the Islanders losing to the Predators, the Hurricanes only managing a “loser point” against the Red Wings and the Bruins idle, Tampa Bay is a breath away from a playoff berth:
Final wild card: Bruins – 84 points in 75 games played
Lightning – 83 points in 75 GP
Islanders – 82 points in 75 GP
Hurricanes – 80 points in 74 GP
Yes, all of a sudden, a long-shot postseason run seems quite attainable.
Maybe the Lightning would prefer it if we kept counting them out, though?
Hurricanes’ Lack taken off on stretcher after collision on Red Wings’ OT goal
The Carolina Hurricanes fell short of a win on Monday, but their thoughts likely revolve around the health of goalie Eddie Lack instead.
Lack was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a collision during Andreas Athanasiou‘s game-winning goal in overtime. Officials reviewed that the goal counted, giving the Red Wings a 4-3 overtime victory against Carolina.
While it’s been a tough overall season for Hurricanes goalie, Lack has been an integral part of Carolina’s push for a postseason spot. PHT will keep an eye out for updates regarding his condition after this scary collision.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers as Eddie Lack is taken off the ice on a stretcher following tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/aOyMaTukF1
Just when you think it’s time to count the Tampa Bay Lightning out, they rally back.
It’s been happening overall in 2016-17, and that pattern carried over into Monday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Lightning decided to put Andrei Vasilevskiy back in the net in the second period after he gave up three goals on eight shots in the opening frame … and at first, that looked like a mistake that would do them in. Chicago went up 4-1 and things looked dire.
But, again, the Bolts followed the script when it comes to flipping the script, with Jonathan Drouin triggering a resounding rally in the second.
Droun’s first goal came 11:45 into the second period, followed about a minute later by an Anton Stralman tally. Less than four minutes later, Drouin hit the 20-goal mark with the 4-4 marker on the power play.
First, check out Drouin’s first goal, which began the rally:
Next, witness the 4-4 goal, also by Drouin:
And … just like that, the Lightning tied things up. Wow.
Apparently Drouin created more offense than just his two goals, too:
Drouin hits crossbar, for like the 10th time in the past week #tblightning