Spitballin’ on Arniel hiring, departing free agents, and hipster Sedins

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass ITBulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

Canucks re-hire Scott Arniel as farm team coach

With Craig MacTavish returning to the Edmonton Oilers to stare over Steve Tambellini’s shoulder and make disappointed  sighs every time Tambellini makes a decision, the Canucks needed a new head coach for the Chicago Wolves. They chose to go with a familiar face, hiring former Manitoba Moose coach Scott Arniel, whose brief stint as an NHL head coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets ended disastrously.

Considering the team that he had in Columbus, it’s hard to properly judge his time in the NHL. He was, however, a superb AHL coach with the Moose, who didn’t miss the playoffs during his 4 seasons with the team and made it to the Calder Cup Final in 2008-09. Arniel had a 181-106-33 record with the Moose, which will be encouraging for Wolves fans, but most importantly for the Canucks is that he has a solid track record with player development and coaches a similar style to Alain Vigneault.

Under Arniel, players had a much easier time transitioning into the Canucks roster as fewer adjustments to playing style were necessary. MacTavish, on the other hand, coached his own style, which didn’t quite mesh with the Canucks’ systems.

Canucks bid farewell to Rome, Ebbett, Gragnani, Duco, Oreskovich, and Parent

July 1st is known to most Canadians as Canada Day, the day that Canada became a country by the signing of the Constitution Act. To hardcore NHL fans, however, July 1st is known as Free Agent Frenzy, the day that unsigned players hit the open market as unrestricted free agents. It is now being reported that Aaron Rome, Andrew Ebbett, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Mike Duco, Victor Oreskovich, and Ryan Parent will be among them.

I, for one, am shocked that a collection of 4th liners, AHLers, and 7th defencemen are not being retained by the Canucks. Wait, that’s not right. What’s the opposite of shocked? I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

While I thought that Rome might stick around, as he’s a fairly reliable depth option with the occasional ability to move up the lineup, all of these players are completely replaceable. I’m mostly disappointed with Gragnani, whose offence at the AHL level was superb, but couldn’t do enough offensively in the NHL to justify his terrifying defensive coverage. I expected more out of him in his time with the Canucks; apparently, so did Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault, who arranged to have him play enough games to qualify as a Restricted Free Agent.

Andrew Ebbett was somewhat effective as a versatile role player, but injuries conspired to prevent him from contributing more, while Duco and Oreskovich didn’t quite show enough in their few NHL games to justify keeping them. As for Parent, I suspect most Canucks fans had already forgotten his existence. Fortunately, he’s not a fairy, and doesn’t need people to believe in him to continue existing, but just in case, maybe clap a few times today and say, “I do believe in Ryan Parent, I do, I do.”

How excited should I be about Justin Schultz?

So, uh, you hear about this Justin Schultz guy? Apparently, he’s pretty good.

In case you haven’t heard, Schultz is a defenceman from Kelowna who was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks, but through a loophole that is sure to be sealed up in this summer’s CBA negotiations, he will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. He put up better than a point-per-game in his last two seasons for the University of Wisconsin, leading the team in points in 2010-11. That would be impressive for a forward, but to do it as a defenceman is astounding.

He’s good enough that many think he could step directly into an NHL lineup and contribute in a team’s top-four. Also, he’s a right-handed shot. And did I mention he’s from Kelowna?

Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman are reportedly in Toronto right now to negotiate with Schultz and everyone and their mother (and Bob McKenzie) consider the Canucks to be frontrunners. Until a deal is signed, however, those reports are just rumours. Every team in the NHL at this point can offer him a maximum entry-level contract laden with as many bonuses as the CBA allows, so each team is on a level playing field. As much as it makes sense that the BC boy would want to play for the Canucks, he may decide that he’d rather play for an Original Six franchise or sign with a team where he’s guaranteed to be in the NHL immediately.

I won’t pretend to be able to read his mind: I’ll get Eric Dittelman to do it instead.

Court of public opinion determines that minor hockey coach is a terrible person, is actually right for once

If you haven’t seen this video, prepare to be enraged:

You may be asking yourself, “Was that a full-grown man tripping a 13-year-old?” You may be asking yourself, “Was that a minor hockey league coach setting the worst kind of example possible for his team?” You may be asking yourself, “How did I get here?

The answer to the first two questions is yes. The answer to the third question is “water flowing underground.”

After his team won the championship game in the UBC spring hockey league, UBC Hornets coach Martin Tremblay made a beeline through the handshake line and deliberately tripped a 13-year-old player, who broke his wrist on impact with the ice. Tremblay claims the player slipped.

Look, I’m all for reserving judgement until hearing all sides of the story, but a grown man just attacked a 13-year-old kid in one of the moments in hockey that is meant to be all about sportsmanship. The court of public opinion has already declared this man to be scum and I’m having a hard time disagreeing. Tremblay shook just one players hand, the opposing goaltender’s, then ignored all of the other players until he got to his intended target, who had apparently slashed the coach’s son at some point, though that is just scuttlebutt.

Speaking of scuttling butts, someone should have kicked that guy’s ass.

So Jordan and Eric Staal are playing on the same team now? Pfft, so last decade.

In happier news, a humorous photoshop from Tumblr user kineticfriction42:

 

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15 comments

  1. rvtBC
    June 27, 2012

    Re: that coach – you know, I can understand wanting to smack some punk kid who really, really just deserves a good kick in the butt. But even as much as you really, really want to do that, as (a) an adult and (b) a coach, you CANNOT do it. You must control the id and let the superego take control. That’s part of being an adult and a coach of kids in a team sport.

    Here’s my disclaimer – to be clear, I’m not saying that the player is a punk or in any way incited or “deserved” what that coach did, as I have no idea; I wasn’t there and don’t know anyone involved or any of the scuttlebutt. I’m only ruminating that this coach must have been riled up about something and, assuming that he was, I then go on to say, in effect, “tough nuts, coach. You’re an adult and a coach; you have to act appropriately and control your emotions”.

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  2. the real bob
    June 27, 2012

    If Rome’s gone, who will AV bench Ballard in favor for?

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    • Locky
      June 27, 2012

      Somewhere in deepest Minnesota, far from the summer sun, there is a man by the name of Andrew Alberts. News of the Rome non-signing reaches him, as he sits in his dank, darkened cave. Maniacal laughter echoes discordantly through the choking mist. “YES! YES!” he cries through blackened teeth. His blood-ritual has worked. Soon, it will be he who enjoys the coaches’ favour. Voodoo dolls line the mouldy wooden shelves. They paint a horrifying picture, distorted forms of a fellow Minnesotan. The icy wind carries with it a name… ‘Ballard. Ballard…’

      Keith Ballard awakes with a start. Sweat-drenched for a fitful sleep. He blinks out the sleep in his eyes as he quells the nameless terror rising in his stomach. “Oh well, it was just a dream”. Just a dream indeed…

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      • the real bob
        June 28, 2012

        But the wind will carry the name of a legend, through the hallowed halls of the 30 NHL teams. In hushed tones and whispers, the Legend of Rome lives on.

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    • Shand
      June 28, 2012

      Schultz !!!!!!!!!!

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  3. bearspaw
    June 27, 2012

    As an extremely proud Canadian I was very pleased for the Staal brothers but, really, how could anyone forget about Henrik and Daniel…as close to being Canadians as if they had been born in Burnaby, BC! Can’t wait for October…Go Canucks Go!!

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      June 28, 2012

      The hell does nationality have to do with anything?

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      • J21 (@Jyrki21)
        June 28, 2012

        Didn’t mean or that to come off as aggressive, sorry, was just really puzzled…

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  4. iceman
    June 28, 2012

    I saw the video but I still don’t want to believe my eyes. I had to watch it several times to be sure I wasn’t seeing things. For god’s sake, who is this knucklehead? Shouldn’t be a coach a responsible ‘adult’ before everything else, especially the ones who teach kids?

    This just adds to my already pessimistic view on the state of world we live in…

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  5. Phileo99
    June 28, 2012

    Only in a world where We are all canucks can we witness the possibility of Schultz partnering with Edler, Ballard benched in favour of AA, and a Kassian is worth Hodgson + Sulzer.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      June 28, 2012

      I mean this in the most curmudgeonly way possible, SO true.

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  6. Frank N.
    June 28, 2012

    I hope the respective league bans this bozo for the rest of his life from coaching or any other hockey related function. And hopefully they can set-up a registry nationwide where they can black list him for other leagues as well.

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    • Kenji
      June 28, 2012

      ..and where men will tear up and look away, women will glare in him at outrage, little children reach for each others hands and back away slowly, and dogs approach slowly with their hackles vertical and muzzles bared to the gums in hatred

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  7. Chris the Curmudgeon
    June 28, 2012

    Oh come on, that kid just slipped. Oh, and I just happened to extend my arms to balance myself at that exact second by coincidence.

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  8. Keithanator
    July 6, 2012

    Might I say that the Ryan Parent comment is spot on. I was at Canucks vs. Leafs December 2010 and the team was giving away jerseys to lucky fans.

    At the end, it came down to two fans, and two Canucks: Roberto Luongo and Ryan Parent. Needless to say, a certain fan was somewhat disappointed not to get the Luu jersey and was not ashamed in showing it. Can’t say I remember what his playing style was like – but I DO BELIEVE IN RYAN PARENT. So does the poor sucker who thought he was getting a Lu jersey.

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