Canucks news comes fast and furious, and sometimes we find ourselves playing catchup. Thankfully, the Dreaded Two Goal Lead–often called “the worst lead in hockey”–is super easy to come back from. Everybody knows it’s a guaranteed death sentence for those that hold it. Well, much like an ice hockey team coming from two goals down, PITB will now effortlessly catch up.
For some inexplicable reason, the coach of the Presidents’ Trophy winning team was nominated for coach of the year yesterday. Isn’t that silly? (Also, isn’t that sully?) AV’s going to be hard-pressed to win, though; his team is too talented, although his commitment to using Aaron Rome will likely help refute that argument. Vigneault shares the ballot with Nashville coach Barry Trotz and Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma. Trotz is the prototypical Jack Adams winner–the guy lucky enough to have a team so terrible, nobody but the coach could possibly get credit if they do well. But, the early advantage goes to Bylsma, whose four-hour consideration tape was produced by HBO.
Vigneault isn’t the only member of the Canucks’ brass to be hailed as one of the best in the business, as Mike Gillis has been named one of three finalists for GM of the year, alongside Tampa’s Steve Yzerman and Nashville’s David Poile. Gillis has accomplished a lot during his tenure as the Canucks’ general manager, building a Presidents’ Trophy winner with shrewd player moves, brilliant cap management, and a full-scale revamp of the culture of Canucks hockey. That said, his most impressive accomplishment has been the way he made Brian Burke look like he was good at drafting. Couple this with a successful postseason press conference where he managed to distract NHL officials while Laurence Gilman to steal Paul Devorski’s whistle (and throw it into the abyss of Pekka Rinne’s glove), and you have a strong candidate.
The day after being pulled for the second consecutive game, Roberto Luongo was nominated for the Vezina trophy, along with Boston’s Tim Thomas and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne. While there are many that still doubt Luongo’s abilities, his stats, his Jennings trophy, and his third Vezina nomination support the idea that he might know how to stop a puck or two. Still, Luongo likely won’t win; Tim Thomas has this category sewn up like a human centipede.
We totally called this in the preseason. A year after his brother won both the Art Ross and the Hart trophy while Daniel was helping Santa build Tonka trucks, Daniel Sedin appears poised to match the feat. He’s been so trophy-driven this season, I half-expected him to push his brother over and touch the Presidents’ Trophy. Daniel’s competition for the Hart are Anaheim’s Corey Perry and Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis. Perry came on strong at the end of the season, and could potentially walk away with the award. St. Louis is a long shot, as he plays in the East, and will have to overcome the West Coast “East Coast Bias” Bias that dominates the annual Hart conversation.
As they say, you can’t spell “Kesler” (or make Vichyssoise) without “Leeks”. And, just like vichyssoise can be served hot or cold, so too is Kesler a bona fide two-way threat. In one of the biggest ironies of his career, Ryan Kesler is likely to win the Selke in the season he least deserves it. After several seasons of fantastic work as a shutdown centre, Kesler was relieved of those duties with the signing of Manny Malhotra. Malhotra’s work as arguably the best defensive forward in the NHL this season enabled Kesler to focus on the offensive side of his game, where he thrived. None of this matters, of course, as the Selke is awarded almost entirely on reputation and Kesler has a good reputation as a defensive forward. Combine that with eye-catching offensive statistics and Kesler’s the Selke favorite.
You’d be forgiven for missing this one. A week and a half ago, the Canucks announced that they had signed defenseman Sebastien Erixon out of the Swedish Elite league. Erixon is 5’10″ and 183 lbs, which might not sound impressive, but that’s because it isn’t. However, considering Gillis is a GM of the year candidate, we can probably trust his decision. Still, the timing of the announcement has to raise red flags: it was sandwiched between games 4 and 5 of the Chicago series, when there were bigger issues at hand. Probably a shrewd move, Imagine if they had waited until after the series, and the Canucks had lost. Gillis, to an unruly mob: People, people, calm down! The future looks bright. We have committed to making our blueline smaller, and more European.
And finally, in a sign of support for the Vancouver Canucks, Okanagan’s famed Predator Ridge Resort has responded to a Kelowna radio station petition and taken on the temporary name “Canucks” ridge. This same thing happened in Quebec, where a number of Boston Pizza locations were temporarily renamed “Montreal” Pizza. Nashville, too, is playing the name game, sending a similar petition to Chris Hansen at Dateline NBC. Word is that they were successful, so check your local listings for syndicated episodes of To Catch a Canuck.Tags: Daniel, Hart, Jack Adams, Luongo, Mike Gillis, The Dreaded Two-Goal Lead, vezina, Vigneault