Canucks extend Vigneault

Alain Vigneault has a new deal.

Alain Vigneault has a new deal.

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that Head Coach Alain Vigneault has agreed to terms on a new contract that extends through the 2012.2013 season.

“This is a significant announcement for our hockey club,” said Mike Gillis. “Alain and his staff have done an excellent job leading our team to two Division titles in three years. I believe strongly in the partnership between management, coaches and players and we are all committed to building a championship team here in Vancouver.”

“This is an exciting day for me and my coaching staff,” said Alain Vigneault. “Having the opportunity to work with the Aquilini family, Mike and his staff and our players has been very rewarding. I love working and coaching in this tremendous hockey city and look forward to continuing to build on our previous success.”

Calm, Cool & Collected – Gillis leads by example

As training camp gets set to open officially tomorrow morning at UBC when players report for their physicals, we’re starting another year of Canucks hockey here at Canucks Corner. 13 years have gone by and we’re still kicking, entering our14th year of Canucks hockey on the internet. I’m pretty excited about the coming year not only for the site, but the team on the ice. There is a real buzz in Vancouver, and it’s a little different than it has been in the past.

Fans are starting to buy into the Canucks regime that is lead by the calm cool and patient Mike Gillis. With a summer full of big hurdles to overcome, Gillis handled them all with the quiet confidence that has become his trademark as the leader of the organization. Signing the Sedin’s and getting Roberto Luongo signed long term were no easy tasks for any GM to face going into the off-season. Then he goes out and dips into the thre free agent market adding Andrew Raycroft for depth in goal, Mikael Samuelsson up front and adding Mathieu Schneider, Christian Erhoff and Brad Lukowich to an already deep blue line corp.

He has youngsters Sergei Shirokov, Michael Grabner and of course Cody Hodgson among others vying to crack the roster, and a young blue chip goaltender in Cory Schneider to use anyway he sees fit and then there is the continued maturation of players like Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows.

And if that weren’t enough Gillis is about to extend the contract of coach Alain Vigneault to add even more stability to the club.Vigneault has his fans and his detractors but he and Gillis seem to be on the same page when it comes to building this hockey club, and that’s half the battle.

Yes, heading into camp the Canucks and their fans have a lot of reasons to be excited about. But that’s not to say there still isn’t work to be done. The Canucks will need to whittle their salary structure down by October 1st to get under the salar cap, something Gillis says will be done through competition at camp. Gillis feels this camp is different than the last due to the fact he was new last year and no one knew what to expect from him. Now with his retooling and stabilizing project nearing completion, all players should be entering camp ready to be at the top of their game, or they may not make the team.

With the Northwest division taking a drop off in quality according to many, the Canucks should be in a position to contend for the division and perhaps even the conference. So sit back and get ready for another wild ride. Just try and take it day by day…like our calm cool and collected GM.

Quick Hits:

  • This from Hosea Cheung on Twitter: (@hosea24hours) The Canucks have cut Matthew Ford, Mitch McColm, Bobby Nadeau, and Joe Plekaitis, James Reid, Justin Taylor, and Michael Ward following prospects camp. prior to the start of the main camp.
  • TSN says no Sundin is not negotiating, Sportsnet claims he’ and the Canucks are talking. Here we go again? God I hope not. Either Mats shows up for his physical tomorrow or move on.
  • As I said in the intro I am really excited about the direction this site could be heading this year and the things we have in store working with the Canucks on the Fan Zone at Canucks.com. We have a great group of creative people who are really going to try and do some cool things this season. You’ll have to stay tuned for more, but safe to say if you follow these folks on Twitter you’ll never be out of the loop: @CanucksHockey @mozy19, @Hgiraffe, @vancanucks, @miss604
    @canucksoutsider
    , @johnbollwitt, @crazycanucks and of course follow us at @CanucksCorner.

The day after the world ended…for some

Breaking News: Roberto Luongo is human.

The day after the Canucks were eliminated from the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs by the Chicago Blackhawks, the knives of Canucks fans have come out and most of them are looking to slash the throat of their goaltender, who apparently isn’t allowed to be human. It’s all his fault and it’s inexcusable that in the biggest game of the year he fell short of spectacular. Never mind a goal off a skate and some sick skills displayed by Patrick Kane. Never mind the defense who collapsed in front of him, or the player who took the bad penalty, or that turnover. Oh, and we’ll just forget how he held the Canucks in the game in the first half of the first period.

Nope, it’s all Roberto Luongos’ fault! Where is that tombstone? Cory Schneider, you’re up! [Read more...]

Well Played, Wellwood!

The Canucks came out blazing in the first two periods of last night’s game.  Although they did stumble for most of the third, allowing the Chicago Blackhawks to tie the game at three on thirteen shots on Roberto Luongo.  It was definitely something the Canucks need to be mindful of next game and prepare for better than Game 1.

Wellwood pays the price in Game 1 versus the Chicago Blackhawks

Wellwood pays the price in Game 1 versus the Chicago Blackhawks

Kyle Wellwood’s play last night was outstanding.  To me, he was the unsung hero of the game.  He drew three penalties last night including two double minors. His face paid the price, but he didn’t care.  He got stitched up and he was back on the ice like it did not even happen.  He did his job and he did it well.

All throughout the regular season stretch and the Round 1 series against St. Louis, we have seen a different side of Kyle Wellwood.  We see a guy that has re-invented himself into a very good two way hockey player.   We have seen a guy who has been in Alain Vigneault’s doghouse and was called out publicly, to someone who has become a very effective third line shut down centre.

Perhaps seeing that he cleared waivers twice, and seeing his NHL career on the brink woke something up in Kyle Wellwood and he made a choice to be the player he knows he could be.  We are seeing that on the ice presently. During these playoffs, Wellwood has scored once, had three assists and playing good defensive hockey.

What really sticks out in my mind is his face-off percentage in the playoffs. All the Canucks regular centres are doing very well, but his 56.4% winning percentage is behind that of Mats Sundin (57.5%) and Ryan Johnson (62.5%). This is an area that the whole team has improved on this season but Kyle winning key face-offs on the third line has been a big factor in his success.

His contributions on the second unit power play have been noticed. His pass on Demitra’s goal last night was brilliant and to mention the beauty to Kesler for the Canucks’ third goal of the evening.

There was something in Kyle Wellwood that Mike Gillis saw to take a $1million dollar chance on at the beginning of the season, and it’s paying off.  Whatever it is,  let’s hope it continues in this series.
High sticks and tape may break his face, but the fatty names never broke his spirit. Good job Kyle.  Glad to have you aboard, in my mind, a magical team.
Go Canucks Go.
Musings from the mud.

Lotus Blossom,Canucks Corner

Alex Burrows:Working Class Hero

If there was ever a lunch bucket story in a Vancouver Canucks Uniform, it would be Alexandre Burrows.  His humble beginnings of his professional hockey career to the type of player he has developed into is truly amazing.   Gathered from current and former teammates of Burrows, he’s a great guy to have in the dressing and his work ethic on the ice is inspiring to all. [Read more...]