Being A GM Is Easy As ABC: Always Be Closing

2012 Playoffs, one year ago: Roberto Luongo sits on the bench in favour of Cory Schneider. It wasn’t enough to save the Canucks from a 1st round exit from the playoffs. Since then, the Luongo trade talk has been ever present.

It’s easy to be an armchair GM. The view is good even from the cheap seats at Rogers Arena – there’s not a bad seat in the house. We’re not paid big dollars like these guys are to manage a team’s direction. But make no mistake, and Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis knows this better than anyone, the fans ultimately sign the paychecks with our dollars – tickets, jerseys, posters, pencils, it’s all hockey related revenue. We do all of this for the love of the team, and the love of the game. So with that in mind:

If You Want To Work Here, Close.

The line comes from the movie Glengarry Glenn Ross. In the scene, Alec Baldwin is the boss barking at his lazy team of real estate agents. “Only one thing counts in this life – get them to sign on the line which is dotted.”

 

Gillis was unable to deal Roberto Luongo at the deadline, despite having the better part of a year to make it happen. After all the rumours and rhetoric, the trade deadline came and went and nothing happened. Besides Derek Roy, Gillis was also unable to land any other player. Not many players moved, but among those that did: Ryane Clowe, Marion Gaborik, Martin Erat, Raffi Torres and Jason Pominville. And despite the “weak” market, numerous goaltenders were moved at the deadline: Ben Bishop, Matt Hackett, Steve Mason, and Michael Leighton were all traded.

At the deadline last year, Gillis traded away Cody Hodgson for Zack Kassian. It was said that Hodgson’s issues cost the management team time and effort to deal with. Looking at the team now, they’ve had troubles at center all season long, and Kassian is now in the minors. Hodgson has flourished in Buffalo and is scoring at a point per game clip. And where is Gillis spending his time? Trying to find a center.

This year, Gillis was able to trade for Roy by sending Kevin Connauton to Dallas, along with a 2nd round pick in the 2013 entry draft. This trade was alright – I like the deal because Roy can help the team here and now. Connauton is a prospect at least 1 or 2 years away from playing meaningful minutes. But make no mistake – this was a deal to fill a hole at center, which Gillis created by trading away Hodgson.

Gillis, if you want to work here, close. Close the deal, get players to sign on the dotted line. Players were moved – forwards, centers, and goaltenders. The opportunities were there. Get it done!

What deals do you think Gillis should have made? What could we have received in return for Luongo? Let us know in the comments!

Help if you can! Canucks For Kids Fund Telethon Goes Tomorrow.

cfkf-570
The trade deadline has come and gone and Roberto Luongo is still a Vancouver Canuck. But before we watch the season unfold down the stretch and into head into the playoffs, there is one more important day coming up tomorrow, April 4th, as the Canucks hold their annual Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon during tomorrow’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

CFKF Telethon raised more than $1.3 million during the 2011/12 NHL season, through phone/online donations and fundraising events throughout the year. The fund dedicates resources to assist charities which support children’s health and wellness, foster the development of grassroots hockey, and facilitate and encourage education in British Columbia. Over its 27 year history, the Fund has raised more than $41 million for the children and families of our province.

This year we are excited that our own Bruce Ng will be representing CanucksCorner.com and taking pregame phone pledges during the telethon. If you get to speak with Bruce, we’re sure his kind, enthusiastic voice will convince you to make a big donation!

In addition to possibly getting to talk to Bruce there are other great incentives if you make a donation to the cause:

  • Enter by Midnight April 4th, 2013 and you could win a 2013 Chevrolet Trax LTZ.
  • Donate $150 or more and receive both “Century of Hockey” and “Milestone Memory” photographs.
  • Donate $100 and receive an exclusive 8″ x 10″ photograph of a “Century of Hockey”.

You can make an online donation by clicking here, or call in your donation tomorrow night during the game at Toll Free at 1.85.KIDSFUND (1-855-437-3863).

Help the kids if you can, it’s a really great cause!


 

Coho returns home from the Pacific Ocean

And I’m not talking about the spawning habits of BC salmon.

Although that does make a great metaphor – Coho heads off to the Pacific Ocean, then has to struggle, swimming upstream to return to the place of his birth… Ontario?

Cody Hodgson was definitely not Untouchable at today's trade deadline.

Buffalo is close enough to Toronto, right?

Mike Gillis traded his first draft pick as the General Manager of the Canucks, sending Cody Hodgson to their expansion cousins, the Buffalo Sabres. In return, the Canucks receive Zack Kassian – a former first round pick himself.

It is no secret that this writer loves him some Coho, and I was saddened to hear the news of Hodgson being traded at the deadline today. I’m certain that I will write a future post praising Zack Kassian for his play in the future, but in the meantime, I’d like to take a little time to remember Coho as a Canuck.

Alright, he got off to a rocky start with a misdiagnosed back problem. But once the back problems were behind him (pun intended), he started showing us flashes of his skill last season. And throughout this season, more of the same flashes of skill. I wrote earlier this season:

#Coho4Calder – You heard it here first

It’s clear that Cody Hodgson is feeling better after misdiagnosed back problems, and he seems to be going at full speed. He was the First Star at Rogers Arena last night, and was excellent in all phases of the game for a center. I was lucky enough to meet Cody with my kids at Rogers Arena earlier this season, and he seems like a great guy. It’s nice to see him take advantage of some real ice time this season, and even nicer to see him enjoying himself out there. Sure, he might not be as sexy of a Calder vote as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but the kid has skills. Hodgson happens to play on the Canucks, who are loaded with top end depth, and he wasn’t drafted first overall, so he doesn’t see as much of the rookie hype as The Nuge. There is no denying that Cody has great hands, and excellent hockey sense. To be continued!

In terms of scoring touch, it seemed that Hodgson was not only blessed with good hands, but with ample amounts of clutch. I’m still working on the scientific formula for clutch, but it seemed to me that Hodgson scored in some big games this season. How about this beauty, in possibly the most anticipated game this season? This goal turned out to be the eventual game winner.

Zack Kassian has some scoring ability, and actually won a Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires in 2010. What Canucks fans will take issue with is his spotty behaviour in the past. In 2010, he was suspended for 20 games for a hit to the head of another junior level player. And after the Memorial Cup win, in June of 2010, Kassian was arrested and charged after being in a bar fight.

Maybe I’ve lived a bit of a sheltered life, but who in this day and age gets into a bar fight? Is Zack Kassian the next Patrick Kane cabbie joke waiting to happen? Or will he leave it all in the past and live up to his first round pedigree?

I will tell you this much:
Cody Hodgson got 12 minutes of ice time each game, relegated to 3rd and 4th line duty, with 2nd unit power play time. Zack Kassian will probably get 10 minutes of ice each game. Even if he does have some talent left in those heavy hands, I don’t think we’ll see much of those skills with the ice time that Coach Vigneault gives to rookies.

One more thing.
It is no secret that the Canucks got beat up in the Stanley Cup Finals last season. What was lost in that series with all of the Seidenberg crosschecks to the back, and the Marchand sucker punches (I still don’t know how he is able to reach other player’s faces), was that the Canucks couldn’t score. The vaunted Canucks offence scored 8 times in 7 games. With that type of offensive output, it is surprising that the Canucks made it to Game 7, where they were shut out. In the 3 games that they did win, Luongo pitched 2 shutouts to secure those victories. The Canucks are a bigger team this year than last year. So if the Canucks need to be able to score and weather some physical play, was trading secondary scoring skill for raw toughness a good idea?

Time will tell.

Through the Plexi-Glass: Shoot the Puck, Hank

Shoot the puck, Hank!

Dear Henrik:

It’s Art, remember me? You and I first hooked up a couple of years ago. I just wanted to write and tell you I’ve missed you. I miss your 29 goal season and your 112 point year.  I missed your tenacity to shoot the puck.  You shot the puck a lot when your brother, Daniel, went out with an injury. You shouldered the burden of the lack of scoring goals and took it upon yourself to get some of those for your team. You were on a tear!

Last season, you scored 10 less goals and didn’t shoot as much as you had to when Daniel was injured. I understand you’re the set-up man and he’s the finisher. At least, that’s what you guys were billed when you were drafted back in 1999. Thing is, I’ve seen, and the rest of the NHL has seen differently. You can score when you want but instead you choose to pass it to Daniel. Don’t get me wrong, I love the way you and Daniel work on the ice. You two have that twin thing and that in itself is something special and great to watch. However,  at times, there were open nets that you could have potted the goal, Henrik.  They were pretty much guaranteed goals, but you decided to pass the puck to Danny. Some of them could have made the difference in the game, Hank.

You’re the Captain, you’re an amazing team player and on top of that, you’re one of the classiest people in the NHL. It’s true. I don’t see too many others giving up three quarters of a million dollars of their salary to the BC Children’s Hospital Fund. That amplifies how much of a class act you really are. You’re also a fierce competitor on the ice, but sometimes I think you’re not selfish enough. I know you like to spread the points to your teammates but Hank, I gotta tell ya, you must shoot the puck more.  I think if you just potted those gimme’s that were presented to you, the team would probably have a better record and you’d being in the running to get your name on that trophy with my name on it again.

I hooked up with your brother last season, and I am hoping to have the name Sedin etched on my body yet again, but that will only happen if you start being a little more selfish, take it upon yourself to score more instead of always passing the puck. It’s okay to shoot, Hank, no one will think that you’re  selfish. In fact, I think it will just show that the captain is doing his part to help his team win.  Most of all, I miss you Hank. I missed our time together. We can have that again. Shoot the puck, see what happens.
Your pal,

Art Ross.
PS, There’s never been a Toronto Maple Leaf to win me and take me home for the year. Let’s not start this year, so please, and for the love of the Hockey Gods, shoot the puck, Hank.

 

(written by Justine Galo ) twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

Western Conference Final schedule scenarios.

Here from NHL.com are the schedules for each scenario of the Western Conference Finals. Regardless, they begin Sunday in Vancouver. All times PT.

2011 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS – IF SAN JOSE ADVANCES

Sunday, May 15 at Vancouver, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, May 18 at Vancouver, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Friday, May 20 at San Jose, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Sunday, May 22 at San Jose, 12:00 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Tuesday, May 24 at Vancouver, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Thursday, May 26 at San Jose, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Saturday, May 28 at Vancouver, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS

2011 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS – IF DETROIT ADVANCES

Sunday, May 15 at Vancouver, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, May 18 at Vancouver, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Friday, May 20 at Detroit, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Sunday, May 22 at Detroit, 12:00 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Tuesday, May 24 at Vancouver, 6:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Thursday, May 26 at Detroit, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Saturday, May 28 at Vancouver, 5:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS