Zack Kassian no longer grounded; should Canucks have sent him down?

Lost in the excitement of the Canucks’ compelling, dizzying lack of action on trade deadline day was the one roster move they did make, recalling Zack Kassian from their AHL affiliate in Chicago and sending down Bill “The Jet” Sweatt in his place.

The move brought to a close what appears to have been some sort of punishment for off-ice shenanigans, something that Kassian corroborated upon his return, saying that management had stressed “being a professional away from the rink.”

Granted, this somewhat contradicted Alain Vigneault’s earlier explanation that Kassian “went to Chicago basically to play hockey,” but only somewhat. After all, Kassian did go to Chicago to play hockey. That’s what he did while he was there. He evens scored a goal. Of course, the reason he had to go to Chicago to play hockey is because whatever he was up to in Vancouver was enough for him to be grounded from playing hockey here.

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Unraveling the seeming contradictions in Luongo and Gillis’s post-deadline press conferences

Roberto Luongo’s press conference on Wednesday was fascinating, yielding the delightful, and sure to be misinterpreted, soundbite “My contract sucks.” But the more interesting aspect for me came later in the press conference, when he was asked whether he could have made it easier for the Canucks to trade him.

Luongo flatly denied that he was ever asked to waive his no trade clause and never vetoed any trades, contradicting rumours and reports that have been floating around since the 2012 draft that the Canucks had a deal in place with the Maple Leafs, only to have it scuttled by Luongo exercising his contractual right to scuttle it.

It also seemed to contradict what Mike Gillis had to say about 20 minutes later. A closer look at what the two of them actually said and in what context, however, should clear up the contradictions.

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Examining the Canuck winners and losers of the 2013 trade deadline

It wasn’t a terrible NHL trade deadline for the Canucks. After all, they acquired Derek Roy, a skilled player that adds a very important element to their attack: a centre. They really haven’t had one of those all season.

Still, the 2013 trade deadline won’t be remembered in this city for what Mike Gillis did — it will be remembered for what he didn’t do. A big part of that is because he acquired Roy the day before the deadline, which is like giving a child a present on Christmas Eve. It’s exciting, but there had damn well better be something else under the tree on Christmas. But a bigger part is because Roberto Luongo wasn’t traded, leading to the the most indelible moment of the deadline, when Luongo told the world he had a sucky contract. That’ll stay with us, just like Luongo will.

All of this in mind, let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the deadline from a Vancouver perspective.

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