Author: Cam Tucker

Changes continue for Canucks after reportedly letting go of their head trainer


Eddie Lack was traded. Kevin Bieksa was traded. So, too, was Zack Kassian.

Assistant general managers Laurence Gilman and Lorne Henning, and director of player personnel Eric Crawford were all let go this week, following the NHL Draft and first day of free agency.

The Vancouver Canucks, under the regime of general manager Jim Benning and president Trevor Linden, have undergone numerous changes in player personnel and hockey operations in the last week, as the management group, entering its second full year, continues to put its stamp on the organization.

On Friday, there was another change, this time to the training staff, according to a report from Jason Botchford of The Province.

From The Province newspaper:

Along with gutting their front office, the Canucks have also let go Mike Burnstein, their 20-year head trainer, the team has confirmed.

This one is going to gut many players who have bonded strongly with “Burnie” over the years.

Among the non-players, there are not many people the Canucks work with more closely than Burnstein.

Report: Contract negotiations between Blackhawks, Kruger ‘progressing OK’


Marcus Kruger was tendered a qualifying offer from the Chicago Blackhawks, but as of Saturday, there was no new deal in place for the 25-year-old center.

From ESPN Chicago:

The Chicago Blackhawks and restricted free agent forward Marcus Kruger are continuing to negotiate a new contract, a source said on Saturday.

“Things are progressing OK,” the source said. “Nothing really to report, but nothing to worry about either.”

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman described negotiations with Kruger and his agent as going “very well” on Tuesday and thought they were getting closer to a deal.

Kruger’s offensive totals were down in 2014-15. He had only seven goals and 17 points in 81 regular season games, but was relied heavily upon on the penalty kill. The previous season, Kruger recorded a career high 28 points in 81 games.

With the trade of Ben Smith to San Jose this season, Kruger emerged as the leader among Chicago forwards in ice time on the penalty kill per game.

Blue Jackets’ 2014 first-round pick Milano puts emphasis on getting stronger

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It’s a common theme for just about every young player graduating from junior hockey to the professional ranks: The need to get stronger.

Sonny Milano, selected 16th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2014, went from the Ontario Hockey League, where he recorded 68 points in 50 games for the Plymouth Whalers, to getting a little taste of professional hockey earlier this spring.

He appeared in 10 games for the Springfield Falcons and registered five assists.

Having just attended Blue Jackets development camp this week, it appears the 19-year-old winger, who suffered a facial fracture in a rookie tournament last September, is putting emphasis on strength. The Blue Jackets already like his skill.

“I really needed to focus on gaining muscle and gaining weight. I worked hard on heavy weights,” Milano told

“I’m maturing too, getting older. I need to keep gaining strength. I need to make harder plays on the ice. That’s something they really stress; harder plays and harder passes and get better defensively like I’ve been doing.”