Canucks may need both Luongo and Schneider for compressed schedule

After the NHL faced the PR disaster of their market research focus group documents going public on Monday, they needed to do something quick to fix their image among hockey fans. The announcement of a new, seemingly reasonable CBA proposal with the aim of saving full 82-game season? That ought to do it.

While there is still a lot of work to be done in negotiations and time will tell how truly reasonable the offer is, the fact remains that this is the first real glimmer of hope that a deal could get done in time to save the 2012-13 season. The key for the owners, however, is that this offer is contingent on a deal being reached within the next 9-10 days, as they want a full 82-game season and all the revenue that entails.

In order to cram all those games in, the NHL schedule would need to get a lot more compressed, meaning more back-to-back games, more fatigue, and more risk of injuries.

Which means Mike Gillis might not want to trade Roberto Luongo after all.

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Apparently, Mike Gillis hates Manny Malhotra

Manny Malhotra has been much-maligned for his play this season. The defensively-minded centre is on pace for his lowest point total since 2002-03 and has been relegated to a fourth line role, drawing criticism over what some feel is a deserved demotion. Personally, I feel that the criticism ignores the unique role that Malhotra plays in the Canucks lineup. As Thomas Drance suggested, Manny Malhotra is the Penny to the Sedins’ Inspector Gadget: he plays the tough minutes so other Canucks don’t have to.

What everyone can agree on, however, is that Malhotra remains a faceoff wizard. Now, it seems, Mike Gillis wants to take even that away from him.

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The Vancouver Canucks forwards present an interesting conundrum. Despite leading the league in goals scored, employing two Art Ross trophy winners, a Selke winner, and should-win-the-Selke-but-won’t-because-the-criteria-are-ill-defined player, the Canucks were let down in the playoffs by a fourth line that couldn’t hold their own and a lack of scoring from their second line. Losing Mikael Samuelsson, their fourth-leading scorer in the regular season, and Manny Malhotra, who would have allowed Maxim Lapierre centre the fourth line instead of the third, to injury heading into the playoffs can, perhaps, be blamed for these two areas, but there is certainly a sense that some improvement is necessary.

So what should Mike Gillis do with his forwards that are heading into unrestricted free agency? PITB is here to tell him. And you.

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You have to feel a little bit for Mike Gillis: while the players were clearing out their lockers and conducting final interviews with the press, Gillis was already back at work. The NHL Entry Draft is this Friday and free agency opens up on July 1st. Before then, Gillis will need to figure out what [...]

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