The playoffs are just a couple games away, which means it’s time for teams to get vague about injuries. While NHL teams are maddeningly non-specific about injuries at the best of times, the playoffs bring out the slimy politician in every coach, as no one wants to give the opposition any clue as to what injury a player has suffered, lest they target that injury in subsequent games.
A player could blatantly break his leg, with the bone sticking out through his hockey pants, and his coach would describe it as a “lower body injury.” A player with a literal hole punched out of his chest wouldz have an “upper body injury.” At one point, after Rick DiPietro suffered a clear head injury, his coach diagnosed him with “general body soreness.” Seriously.
But Alain Vigneault took the next big step in ambiguity on Wednesday: when asked about Cory Schneider’s injury that will see Luongo start Thursday, backed up by Joe Cannata callup, he refused to even say if the injury was to the lower or upper-body. It was just… to the body.Continue Reading —›
For much of this season, the primary talking point about the Vancouver Canucks has been the soap opera in their crease, where they have the champagne problem of two number one goalies, and the actual problem of only being allowed to start one at a time.
As a result, it’s been a rough year for Roberto Luongo. The whole thing reached a zenith at the NHL trade deadline when nothing happened, which was, in and of itself, a pretty big happening. You’ll recall an emotional Luongo saying some fairly quotable things about his pernicious contract before taking a deep breath and resigning himself to spending the rest of the season as the backup.
And that’s where Season 1 of The Young Goalie and the Restless Goalie ended, with Season 2 scheduled for the instant the postseason comes to a close, because there couldn’t possibly be another twist in this saga until — hold on, what’s that now?Continue Reading —›
Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: 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 topics that deserve mention.Continue Reading —›
Mike Gillis raised a few eyebrows last month when he told Matt Sekeres at Team 1040 that Ryan Kesler, who underwent surgery following the season for the second straight year, might be ready by October. As unbelievable as it was that Kesler could somehow will himself back to health two months earlier than orginally projected, it was plenty believable that he’d return early anyway, without having done so. That is, after all, what he did last season. Thus, surprising as Gillis’s report was, it seemed eerily plausible.
But it wasn’t accurate, as Kesler’s agent Kurt Overhardt immediately made clea the following day. “It’s not happening,” Overhardt told Ben Kuzma at the Province. “[Kesler's] not ahead of schedule and there’s no rushing him back. He’s on course to return in December and he’s not returning until he’s 100 per cent. Don’t expect him until December.”
It was downright strange to see Overhardt refute the report so quickly and vehemently, but most simply chalked it up to what appeared to be a growing rift between Overhardt and Canucks management. It was, after all, the second time Overhardt had objected to a statement about Kesler this offseason: He stood up for his client back in May after Alain Vigneault suggested Kesler’s shoulder injury wasn’t an excuse for his step back last year. Perhaps Overhardt just couldn’t help but seize another opportunity to correct the Canucks’ front office?
We here at PITB, home of the Daniel Wagner effect, know that agents can be petty. But a recent memo circulated by the NHLPA makes me wonder if there isn’t more to it than that.Continue Reading —›
Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: 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.Continue Reading —›
One of the most amusing moments of this week’s two-game set between the Abbotsford Heat and the Canucks’ affiliate Chicago Wolves came Wednesday night, during the announcement of Jordan Schroeder’s 3-0 goal. As soon as Schroeder’s name came over the loud speakers, the crowd popped like he was a wrestler preening at the turnbuckle. It was a cheer that far exceeded the one Wolves’ forward Steven Reinprecht received on any the four goals he scored during the visit.
It’s not surprising. Safe to say nobody — except, perhaps, any family he has in the area — came to the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre to see Reinprecht. But he was impossible to miss this week.
Again, Reinprecht scored four goals during the visit: two in the first period Tuesday, and another two in the second period Wednesday, doubling his goal total on the season. (When told he might have established himself as a scorer, Reinprecht joked, “That doesn’t bode very well for what I had going.”) While the Canucks’ brass made the short jaunt East to see what their future looked like, Reinprecht seemed determined to remind them that he was a viable option right now.Continue Reading —›
It was an extremely frightening sight: Cody Hodgson, while attempting to cut into the middle of the ice to avoid a Nick Foligno hit, toe-picked and tripped right into the oncoming Foligno, taking the full force of the hit directly to the head. Hodgson attempted to get to his feet, but seemed to skate like the ice wasn’t quite where he thought it should be, all with a giant smile on his face.
Though he was not knocked unconscious on the play, everything else about it screamed concussion. Hodgson had to be helped off the ice and didn’t return to the game, causing fans to fear the worst.
After the game, however, Alain Vigneault claimed that the young forward was “fine” and that “he wanted to play.” But he continued, “Our medical staff wanted to be extra careful.”Continue Reading —›
Halfway through the first period of Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche, David Booth made a power move off the boards around Shane O’Brien towards the slot. Avalanche forward Kevin Porter moved into the middle of the ice to help his teammate, but couldn’t reach Booth with his shoulder to deliver a legal hit.
Instead, he stuck out his leg and caught Booth knee-on-knee. Booth immediately crumpled to the ice in obvious distress. Porter received a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct.
After the game, Avalanche coach Joe Sacco complained about the penalty calling it a “marginal call.”Continue Reading —›
A little over two weeks ago, when Steven Pinizzotto’s season-ending shoulder surgery was announced, we posited the following theory: to be the thirteenth forward in Vancouver was to be cursed.
All the signs pointed to a curse. Pinizzotto wasn’t the only depth forward to go down: Andrew Ebbett and Byron Bitz had also fallen prey to injury troubles that would keep them out indefinitely. Additionally, the forwards for the Canucks’ farm team in Chicago were all playing miserably to start the year. The Canucks found themselves with no options but to carry only 12 forwards, just as the curse wanted.
And for two weeks, that’s exactly what they did, and — shock of shocks — there were absolutely no problems. But then Mason Raymond declared himself ready to play, Vancouver found themselves in possession of 13 healthy guys, and the curse once again reared its ugly head: the Canucks announced Saturday that Aaron Volpatti is done for the season after tearing his shoulder labrum late in Thursday’s game versus Nashville. There goes another one.Continue Reading —›
Two players were injured in the Canucks’ preseason game against the San Jose Sharks on September 25, 2011. One has returned to the lineup with gusto, scoring 5 points in 4 games; the other is done for the season. Alain Vigneault confirmed today that Steve Pinizzotto’s season is over before it even began — the rugged winger has undergone shoulder surgery.Continue Reading —›
There was a momentary thrill of excitement when Dan Hamhuis flipped Milan Lucic with a textbook hipcheck. It bore a strong similarity to his midseason decimation of the Sharks’ Douglas Murray and had the potential to take Lucic off his game and focus the Bruins’ attentions on abstract concepts like “revenge” rather than the more concrete goal of, well, scoring goals.
That momentary thrill was immediately replaced by concern when Hamhuis dropped to all fours and disappeared inside a scrum. After watering Hamhuis with Gatorade (it’s got what plants crave), the Bruins likely felt like complete tools when he limped to the bench, headed straight down the tunnel, and didn’t return for the rest of the game. This has raised some concerns as Hamhuis likely will not return to the Canucks lineup for Saturday’s Game 2 and is questionable for the rest of the series.Continue Reading —›
Major League Soccer has a lot going for it at the moment; a Pacific Northwest rivalry that has energised the league, two marquee franchises (LA and NY) that are sitting at the top of their respective Conferences, and the general feeling that the game as a whole is gradually creeping into the consciousness of the sporting public.Continue Reading —›