Stick in Link: Tortorella returns with a vengeance; Eddie Lack, best rookie goalie?

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Tuesday and Thursday. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)


• How John Tortorella spent his suspension. “Day 6 – Utilizing his free time, Tortorella finally gets around to watching “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Even he is surprised by the amount of F-bombs.” [Legion of Blog]

• Where does Eddie Lack stack up among rookie goaltenders? [Bure's Triple Deke]

• The Canucks/Red Wings game according to Twitter, and featuring gems like, “More like SOUR play, amirite?” Justin, you are rite indeed. [Canucks Hockey Blog]

• Super depressing: Jonas Gustavsson left Monday’s game versus the Red Wings due to dizziness, so Jimmy Howard took over. The resulting shutout was Detroit’s first combined shutout since 2001. [Associated Press]

• Tortorella torched his team after the loss to the Red Wings. Even David Booth, who played well, was not spared. “I thought our best forward was David Booth, which is good for him,” Tortorella said. “That’s not good for our team, to have him as our best forward.” Sick burn. Here’s video of it:

• Tortorella also torched the team before the loss. And probably during. Jason Botchford rounds up all the nasty things he said about his own club on Monday. [The Province]

• Want to feel good about the Diaz for Weise trade? Read a Canadiens blog’s reaction to it. “Every single statistic that can be found will tell you that for the last two years, Raphael Diaz has been the 4th best defenseman the Canadiens have had at their disposal. Better than Alexei Emelin, and so much better than Murray that they belong in different leagues.” [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

• Is the Weise trade the warning shot before a team-wide obliteration? [Canucks Australia]

• Jeff Vinnick, who works for Getty Images and also closely with the Canucks, is in Sochi for the Olympics, which means some incredible photos are on the way. Even better: he’s going to attempt to blog his experiences every day, which means more photos. This may only be tangentially Canucks-related, but if you’re a fan of Vinnick, and you really should be, this is exciting news. [Jeff Vinnick]

• I was on Boston radio yesterday. I said Canucks fans hate Brad Marchand, but that we’d take him on our team. Am I out of my gourd? Or am I safely within my gourd? Tell me where I stand, in relation to my gourd. [CBS Boston]

• Speaking of Marchand, apparently his little “kiss the Cup” routine versus the Canucks the last time around was the turning point in his season. So the story goes, his whole team was embarrassed by it, and it forced him to mature or something. My guess is he just stopped getting unlucky. [CSNNE]

• Finally, be sure to read Iain MacIntyre’s column on Milan Lucic’s complicated relationship with Vancouver, which begins with this absurdly sentimental setup:  ”Milan Lucic is having relationship problems. See, there’s this girl. Gorgeous girl. Lucic has known her his entire life. She’s sophisticated and enchanting, but grounded. Sure, her disposition turns grey and bleak at times, and she’s expensive to be around. But when she smiles, it’s like all the diamonds in the world are in one place, sparkling for you. Her name is Vancouver. And lately, she has been breaking Milan Lucic’s heart.” [Vancouver Sun]


  1. iain
    February 4, 2014

    1, Marchand is like a better, younger version of Alex Burrows. Would totally want him on the Canucks if he were available. NB. back when he was RFA in 2011, i kept saying to anyone who would listen that the Canucks should have offer-sheeted him, if only to annoy the Bruins.

    2, hopefully the Weise-Diaz deal foreshadows something more major. the team simply cannot carry on the way it is right now – if it does it will spiral down the same sinkhole the flames have already gone down and it will take years to rebuild. they need to shed a major part or two for some top-rank young prospects (hint: who know how to score goals). and yeah i want a deal that brings us stamkos too :-)

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  2. ikillchicken
    February 4, 2014

    “Is the Weise trade the warning shot before a team-wide obliteration?”

    How can it be? The Sedins, Burrows, Kesler, Higgins, Edler, Garrison, Hamhuis, and Bieksa all have NTCs. And it would be sheer madness to move Tanev or Kassian (aka the only guys on the team playing well this year and with potential for further development) or to bleed any more prospects or picks. And nobody wants Booth. Hansen maybe? Although given his failure to emerge as a top 6 forward despite starting a new, 2.5M/4yr contract next year, I don’t see him bringing in a great return at the moment. Nothing that turns this team into a contender or that you build a future team around anyway.

    The reality is, there will be no team-wide obliteration. Nobody will be going anywhere if they don’t want to. And sure, you could approach someone about waiving their NTC. But its going to be a logistical nightmare getting a deal done in that scenario. I mean, its not impossible. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a D man (probably Edler) traded for young talent. But a big blow up isn’t happening. And you know, I think that’s fine. I don’t believe we need to “blow up” this team. That fails way more often than it actually works. Rather, we need to try and look to what teams like San Jose are doing. Keep our old guard of veterans but supplement them with a second wave of young, exceptional talent. We can still win with the Sedins so long as we surround them with better secondary talent.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      February 4, 2014

      To tack onto that, let’s see here: we’re not trading the Sedin twins, that much is clear. I don’t see Kesler being moved either, and he’s still young enough to be part of a rebuild (plus I think he’s the type of guy you hang on to). Higgins just got re-signed for 3 more years after this one, so the only way to trade him is a salary dump (not what the team needs), same thing for Hansen. Burrows and his 0 goals and decent sized contract aren’t going to fetch you a whole lot right now, ditto for Booth, and all of those defencemen are getting paid pretty well with multiple years left meaning their trade values aren’t great either. Tanev, Stanton and Corrado have trade value but are all important for future success, same with Kassian and to a lesser extent Schroeder up front. Trading junior level prospects is counterproductive (and ultimately part of the reason we’re in this situation to begin with). Edler could be moved but he’s underachieving on a long term deal, so that’s also really a salary dump if you can find a partner. Santorelli had trade value but that’s gone now. Richardson, Weber and Alberts might get you something on the trade market but likely not more than a middle round draft pick.

      Nope, Gillis has pushed all of his chips to the middle with basically this core and this coach for the foreseeable future. You want to get mad at anyone, make it him. The rise in the cap next year might offer a modicum of relief, but knowing Gillis there’s probably already a bag of magic beans that he’s got his eye on.

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      • ikillchicken
        February 4, 2014

        You phrase that in an awfully pessimistic way but its actually very true. I’m not worried about our salary structure long term. The cap may well go up by more than 50% over the next few years. 7M is the new 4.5M or it will be soon. Even if the Sedins transition into 1b type players, there’s no reason we can’t afford some 1a guys to work with them at that price. Of course, getting those new players is the tricky part. But from a cap perspective I’m not worried. You can question the NTCs but locking people up long term now makes a ton of sense. Also, incidentally, Gillis has never been one to make bad free agent signings. Trades? Sure. Sometimes. But he has always shown himself to be a cautious and pretty shrewd customer when it comes to free-agency. I wouldn’t worry at all about him chasing some overpaid free agent. He never has in the past.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        February 4, 2014

        “Gillis is a terrible GM who is responsible for acquiring three young defencemen in Tanev, Stanton, and Corrado who are important for future success.”

        You make me smile, Chris.

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        • Chris the Curmudgeon
          February 4, 2014

          That’s not how quotes work Daniel, I didn’t say that as you’ve quoted it. But to address your point, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” It is possible for some of Gillis’ moves to be good ones and for him to still be a lousy GM. Signing Tanev and a few other decent players does not make up for the Booth trade, Ballard trade, Kassian trade, Luongo contract, NTC’s to a bunch of guys who should be trade assets, and a list of other moves that have contributed to the current moribund state of the team.

          While those three are young, only time will tell if they’re actually good (short of Tanev, who is), but it’s only because there’s so little talent in the pipeline that they are not expendable. So if anything, the quote is as much a damnation of Gillis as anything because we talk about guys with youth and some glimpses of potential as blue chip top-of-the-lineup talent and hope they can live up to it because we can’t do anything else considering the thin prospect pool. Sure, it’s a little better at forward (partly because they parlayed an excellent goaltender that Gillis was forced into trading into a top 10 pick, though they should definitely have gotten more), but we’re not exactly swimming in future superstars up front either.

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    • Iceman
      February 4, 2014

      The shiniest example of “keep the core, replace supporting casts” would be Chicago. Just take a look at how Stan Bowman cleaned the house after the team’s each championship run. He let the team’s key contributors such as Byfuglin, Ladd, Burish, Kopecky, Bolland, Frolik, Versteeg (now returned) all walk as soon as the parade ended. Replaced them were young talents in the pipeline — Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell, Brandon Saad, Ben Smith, Marcus Kruger. They all fit into the puzzle nicely, performing their support roles very well. Their cost? A small fraction of the salary which those role players of the past championship team would have commended, had the management decided to keep them.

      You may argue that Chicago still would have won another Cup with the original “bad guys” anyway and I won’t disagree. But the point is, teams like Chicago or SJ rarely handcuff themselves with such generous, rewarding and NTC-ridden contracts like our GM did with half of our roster players. And that 2011 Vancouver team was, no matter how good they were, still only a runner-up. The biggest reason of why we are stuck in a deep hole now and for the next foreseeable future, is the deadweight of the long term contracts and inability to move them. That’s a fault of none other than MG’s overvaluation of current players and handing out contracts as reward, not as motivation.

      It will be a hard pill to swallow, but Chicago might as well win a back-to-back championship this year. And when that happens I bet there will be yet another wave of supporting cast replacements in the Chi town.

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    • Myles
      February 5, 2014

      The piece (which I wrote) granted has an exaggerated title. However, the point remains that something major has to change. So what is that change? It’s not going to be shuffling the 3rd and 4th lines around. The change has to be core.

      If the core is not really the problem, who do we need to support our core so they can be brilliant again?

      In my view a few (and we all know who) major players are not performing. We know with Luongo, that trades despite NTC’s can be explored. If a player is open to waiving that NTC, then it will happen.

      If Kesler has a great olympics, we will be wondering what is up at the Canucks internally. Could Acqualini “blow up” management?

      A major change, in my view, is required. I think Torts is pleading for it too.

      If the season doesn’t improve, I hope major changes are at the very least explored. My worry, is that Torts will leave. I think he is the best fit for Vancouver in ages. As emotional as the fans, and for me anyway, is talking and doing what we want him to do.

      Either way, I’m glad it’s got the debate going.

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  3. Mr Lewis
    February 4, 2014

    Next year.
    Burrows-Sedens- If Danial doesn’t retire.
    Higgens-Schroder-Santorelie (if signed)
    4th so much fun, with Horvat, Guance and Fox.
    +Loads of defense. Even with the trades.

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