Hear Roberto Luongo zing Damien Cox: ‘Are you here scouting for the Leafs?’

Throughout the Roberto Luongo trade saga — which appears to have no end in sight, with Luongo starting his third straight game Friday versus the Blackhawks — Mike Gillis has remained impressively stoic. But during a January 18th interview on the Team 1040, Jason Botchford did manage to get the Canucks’ GM’s ire up with a question about whether the Canucks were asking too much for the goalie.

“The notion that we were asking for too much,” Gillis responded, “was floated in the Toronto media by a team that was extremely interested in acquiring Roberto and were using every means possible to try and force us to do something that we didn’t think was right. That’s nothing new in this business and it’s not the type of pressure that I’m going to succumb to.”

So which Toronto media members were aiding the Leafs’ public negotiations? Well, we can’t know for sure, but if you follow Damien Cox on Twitter, tweets like this one or this one certainly seem to point to the Toronto Star columnist pitching in. I’d suspect that Gillis had Cox in mind when he made the statement.

I’d also suspect that Gillis isn’t the only member of the Canucks’ organization that thinks this, especially after Roberto Luongo’s little zinger Wednesday night. Upon encountering Cox in the postgame scrum following his 3-0 shutout of the Avalanche, Luongo interrupted Cox’s question to ask one of his own: “Are you here scouting for the Leafs or what?”

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Zack Kassian isn’t fully benefiting from playing with the Sedins yet

Not long ago, the Canucks’ acquisition of a big power forward with a right-handed shot would have resulted in one reaction from fans: finally, someone to play with the Sedins.

It’s a testament to how well Alex Burrows has played with the Sedins that Canucks fans did not have that reaction when the Canucks traded for Zack Kassian. Instead, Kassian was projected as, at best, a second-line winger on the Canucks, someone to play alongside Ryan Kesler and David Booth. At worst, he could be a physical presence on the fourth line.

But now Kassian has been promoted to play on the top line and the early returns are impressive. Kassian leads the Canucks in goals with 5 in 7 games and is, in fact, tied for second in the NHL in goal-scoring. The thing is, most of that goal-scoring hasn’t exactly come as a result of playing with the Sedins, but there’s reason to believe that he will have success with them in the future.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Colorado Avalanche, January 30, 2013

Alain Vigneault shocked the city of Vancouver Wednesday morning when he announced that Roberto Luongo would get the start versus the Colorado Avalanche. The controversial decision led to a boatload of speculation on what it meant. Was Vigneault simply riding the hot hand? Had Luongo reclaimed the starter’s job? Or maybe the Canucks were playing him against an inferior opponents in the Avalanche in order to showcase him to potential trade partners?

Nevermind that the showcase theory makes no sense whatsoever. Roberto Luongo has been in the NHL for more than a decade. He’s played 730 NHL games — 789 if you count the playoffs. Speaking of the playoffs, he’s gone to the Stanley Cup Final. He’s played in the Olympics. If you’re in charge of making roster moves for an NHL team and you aren’t sure who Roberto Luongo is and what he’s about in 2013, then you shouldn’t be in charge of making roster moves for an NHL team.

But if there really is a General Manager out there so braindead and incompetent that he needs to be reminded Roberto Luongo plays goal and does so fairly effectively, I’m sure he was pleased with what he saw when he, just as I, watched this game.

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