Tag: Mark Mancari

Canucks Oilers Hockey

Owen Nolan faces long odds as he tries to find a spot on the Canucks

It’s tough enough for a 39-year-old veteran to make it in the NHL—let alone one coming off of a season in Switzerland that is forced to make an NHL team on a tryout. That’s exactly the challenge Owen Nolan is facing during training camp this season. After playing in 1200 NHL regular season games and netting 422 career goals, Nolan is being asked to prove his worth before the Canucks are willing to make any commitment.

Alain Vigneault has been happy with Nolan’s play throughout training camp and pleased once again during the Canucks 4-3 loss to the Sharks on Sunday night. The first overall pick in the 1990 draft could hypothetically bring an element to the defending Western Conference champs that they could use—a gritty, talented body to put in front of the net.

Of course, there’s a reason that he’s been out of the league for a season. In a league where players can’t lose a step—he’s lost two. Throughout his two decade long NHL career, he’s never been able to play a full 82 game season. It’s hard to believe that a body that has been through so many wars would magically find health as he approaches his 40th birthday. Playing Nolan’s style of game for twenty years is much different than a guy like Mark Recchi playing twenty years of his particular style. Endurance and durability are questions that Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault have thought about:

“Can the body hold up the pace and can his body sustain it on a consistent basis? You have to be able to practise and play to maintain a high tempo. He’s playing today. Is he going to be able to practise tomorrow? That’s part of the body being able to hold up at that age. He’s been able to follow the pace and has brought the skill he might still have — those hands are still there — and he goes to the net hard.

“That power forward type of player, if we could add it to our group, we would.”

The former Sharks captain understands the questions surround his worth, but he’s not ready to hand ‘em up quite yet. Most successful veterans acknowledge that the passion to play the game is almost as important as skill they near retirement. Nolan explains that the fire burns just as bright as ever:

“I know I’m not 20, but the willingness to compete and still do that is there and playing physical has been part of my career and I’m not going to stop. Sometimes you lose a step, but the longer you play the smarter you get. You learn to read certain situations and how to react to them so you don’t get caught out of position.”

Nolan has played for six NHL organizations throughout his lengthy NHL career. If he wants to add the Vancouver Canucks to the list that already includes the Nordiques/Avalanche, Sharks, Maple Leafs, Coyotes, Flames, and Wild, he’ll need the Vancouver organization to value his experience and leadership as much as his play on the ice. There are younger players signed who are itching for an opportunity to play energy roles on the Canucks this season. Players like Cody Hodgson, Mark Mancari, Marco Sturm, and Victor Oreskovich who are all battling to solidify their roles on the team.

Would the Canucks be willing to look past players who are younger, faster, or more physically imposing for a man in the twilight of his career? Thus far in training camp, he certainly hasn’t embarrassed himself throughout his try-out. But has he done enough to make the team?

Update: Minutes after we posted this article, reports surfaced that the Canucks have released Owen Nolan from his professional tryout. Impeccable timing as usual…

NHL free agency Friday one-stop shop


Today’s free agency kickoff in the NHL will keep things busy all afternoon. While some names and players are going to be more than well worth the attention, some guys might not quite be worth a ton of attention. Since it’s free agent day and everyone deserves a little bit of ink, we’ll keep track of all of today’s signings here for you to keep score at home.

Like we said, they all won’t be big time winners, but they’ll all be here. Refresh the page as you wish to or just check back in throughout the day.

Minnesota re-signs goalie Josh Harding: One year, $750,000 (Source)

Detroit re-signs forward Patrick Eaves: Three years, $3.6 million (Source)

Columbus signs defenseman James Wisniewski to six-year, $33 million deal.

Vancouver re-signs defenseman Sami Salo to one year deal worth $2 million.

Vancouver re-signs forward Chris Higgins: Two years, $3.8 million (Source)

Detroit re-signs forward Drew Miller: Two years, $1.65 million (Source)

Pittsburgh re-signs forward Tyler Kennedy for two years, $4 million.

New Jersey re-signs defenseman Andy Greene to a four year deal.

Tampa Bay signs goalie Mathieu Garon: Two years, $2.6 million (Source)

Buffalo re-signs forward Cody McCormick: Three years, $3.6 million (Source)

Edmonton signs forward Ben Eager: Three years, $3.3 million (Source)

Chicago signs forward Jamal Mayers: One year, $550,000 (Source)

Florida signs goalie Jose Theodore: Two years, $3 million (Source)

Chicago signs forward Brett McLean: One year, two-way deal worth $525,000 (Source)

Dallas signs defenseman Adam Pardy: Two years, $4 million (Source)

Chicago signs defenseman Sean O’Donnell: One year, $850,000 (Source)

Florida signs forward Scottie Upshall: Four years, $14 million (Source)

Washington signs forward Jeff Halpern: One year, $825,000 (Source)

Phoenix signs forward Raffi Torres: Two years, $3.5 million (Source)

Phoenix signs goalie Mike Smith: Two years, $4 million (Source)

Philadelphia signs forward Jaromir Jagr to a one year deal worth $3.3 million.

Calgary signs defenseman Chris Butler (RFA): Two years, $2.5 million (Source)

Phoenix signs forward Boyd Gordon: Two years, $2.65 million (Source)

Vancouver signs forward Mark Mancari: One year, $525,000 (Source)

Dallas signs forward Radek Dvorak: One year, $1.5 million (Source)

Florida signs defenseman Ed Jovanovski: Four years, $16.5 million (Source)

Dallas signs forward Vernon Fiddler: Three years, $5.4 million (Source)

Philadelphia signs forward Jakub Voracek (RFA): One year, $2.25 million (Source)

Colorado signs defenseman Jan Hejda: Four years, $13 million (Source)

Chicago signs forward Andrew Brunette: One year, $2 million (Source)

St. Louis re-signs forward Matt D’Agostini: Two years, $3.3 million (Source)

Florida signs forward Marcel Goc: Three years, $5.1 million (Source)

Philadelphia signs defenseman Andreas Lilja (Source)

New Jersey re-signs goalie Johan Hedberg: One year deal (Source)

Phoenix re-signs Radim Vrbata: Three years, $9 million (Source)

Philadelphia signs forward Maxime Talbot: Five years, $9 million (Source)

Colorado acquires goalie Semyon Varlamov from Washington, signs him to two year, $5.5 million deal.

Winnipeg signs defenseman Derek Meech: One year, two-way deal worth $700,000 (Source)

Carolina signs goalie Brian Boucher: Two years, $1.9 million (Source)

Montreal signs goalie Peter Budaj: Two years, $2.3 million (Source)

New York Rangers sign Mike Rupp: Three years, $4.5 million (Source)

Detroit signs defenseman Mike Commodore: One year, $1 million (Source)

Pittsburgh signs forward Steve Sullivan: One year, $1.5 million (Source)

Washington signs forward Joel Ward: Four years, $12 million (Source)

New York Islanders sign forward Marty Reasoner: Two years, @2.7 million (Source)

Phoenix signs forward Alexandre Bolduc: One year, two-way deal $575,000 (Source)

Washington signs defenseman Roman Hamrlik: Two years, $7 million (Source)

Montreal signs forward Erik Cole: Four years, $18 million (Source)

Edmonton signs forward Darcy Hordichuk: One year, $825,000 (Source)

Edmonton signs defenseman Cam Barker: One year, $2.25 million (Source)

Ottawa signs goalie Alex Auld: One year, $1 million (Source)

Dallas signs forward Michael Ryder: Two years, $7 million (Source)

Dallas signs forward Jake Dowell: One year, $800,000 (Source)

Boston signs forward Benoit Pouliot: One year, $1.1 million (Source)

Buffalo signs forward Ville Leino: Six years, $27 million (Source)

Vancouver signs forward Marco Sturm: One year, $2.25 million (Source)

Carolina signs forward Alexei Ponikarovsky: One year, $1.5 million (Source)

Washington signs forward Ryan Potulny: Two years, $1.05 million (Source)

Dallas signs defenseman Sheldon Souray: One year, $1.65 million (Source)

San Jose signs defenseman Jim Vandermeer: One year, $1 million (Source, Source 2)

Florida signs forward Tomas Fleischmann: Four years, $18 million (Source)

Philadelphia trades Kris Versteeg to Florida for two draft picks.

Columbus signs goalie Curtis Sanford: One year, two-way deal; $600,000 (Source)

Edmonton signs forward Eric Belanger: Three years, $5.25 million (Source)

Anaheim trades defenseman Andy Sutton to Edmonton for defenseman Kurtis Foster

Columbus signs goalie Mark Dekanich: One year, $575,000 (Source)

Boston signs forward Trent Whitfield (Source)

Boston signs goalie Anton Khudobin (Source)

Columbus signs defenseman Aaron Johnson (Source)

Colorado signs forward Chuck Kobasew: Two years, $2.5 million (Source)

St. Louis signs goalie Brian Elliott: One year, two-way deal worth $600,00 (Source, Source 2)

Carolina signs forward Tim Brent: Two years, $1.5 million (Source)

Carolina signs forward Jiri Tlusty: One year, $525,000 (Source)

Colorado signs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere: Two years, $2.5 million (Source)

Tampa Bay signs forward J.T. Wyman: One year, two-way contract (Source)

Edmonton signs defenseman Corey Potter: One year, two-way contract (Source)

Ottawa signs forward Francis Lessard: One year, two-way contract (Source)

Chicago signs forward Dan Carcillo: One year, $775,000 (Source, Source 2)

Winnipeg signs forward Tanner Glass: One year, $750,000 (Source)

Vancouver signs forward Andrew Ebbett: One year, $525,000 (Source)

San Jose signs forward Michal Handzus: Two years, $5 million (Source)

Florida signs forward Sean Bergenheim: Four years, $11 million  (Source)

New York Rangers re-sign Ruslan Fedotenko: One year, $1.4 million (Source)

Buffalo Sabres bombard Atlanta Thrashers during 8-2 win

Mark Mancari

After other Eastern Conference playoff teams earned some impressive wins the last two nights, the Buffalo Sabres made a resounding statement by blowing out the Atlanta Thrashers 8-2.

Buffalo 8, Atlanta 2

The Thrashers cannot point to a single moment or lapse in this lopsided game, as Buffalo “won” each period (3-1 in the first; 2-1 during the second and 3-0 in the third). The Sabres finished especially strong, scoring the game’s final five goals after Alex Burmistrov brought Atlanta to within one goal at 3-2 in the second. Buffalo jumped out to a quick lead when Jason Pominville scored 24 seconds in and rarely looked back.

Rob Niedemayer had two goals, Tyler Myers provided three assists and Mark Mancari had a goal and two assists in a game in which Buffalo received goals from various sources. The Sabres’ power play was strong in general, providing three of their goals.

While Ondrej Pavelec allowed five goals and Chris Mason let three more in, Ryan Miller stopped 28 out of 30 shots to earn his 30th win of the season. Miller is the eighth goalie in NHL history to put together six consecutive 30-win seasons. It makes sense that Miller accomplished such a feat tonight, since he’s the best Buffalo goalie since the days of Dominik Hasek. “The Dominator” ended up dropping a ceremonial puck before the game.

This win strengthens Buffalo’s hold on the eighth spot in the East with 78 points in 71 games played. They are two points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes (72 games played) and four ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs (73 games played).

Atlanta really needed to win this game to close the gap a bit, as they’re now stuck at 72 points in 72 games played. They would need to close that six-point gap in 10 games and the Sabres have an extra game remaining to boot.

It’s too early to say that the Sabres and Rangers have control over the bottom two spots in the East, but both teams improved their chances so far this weekend. We’ll see if the Rangers can add to their lead in NBC’s Game of the Week against the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday afternoon.