Can the Canucks win without Kesler?

With their win over the St. Louis Blues Wednesday night, the Vancouver Canucks leapt back into the playoff picture, leapfrogging multiple teams to snag the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. Sure, there’s not one, but two teams just one point behind them with three games in hand, but for this brief moment, things are looking mildly rosy in Vancouver.

That’s what complicates the current situation with Ryan Kesler. For those still catching up, news broke Wednesday that Kesler had requested a trade at the beginning of the season. Sure, Mike Gillis, Kesler’s agent, and now Kesler himself have all denied it, but the report came from Louis Jean, one of the most reliable insiders around, and it’s in the Canucks’ best interests to deny the report. It’s hard to know who to believe.

Either way, as of right now, however, the Canucks are still in the playoff hunt and Kesler is still an integral part of the team. As much as it has now become clear that the Canucks are no longer a cup contender (though non-”contenders” have won the Stanley Cup before), it would be extremely surprising to see Gillis blow up the team, trading veterans for picks and prospects en route to a rebuild. Teams this close to making the playoffs are far more likely to stand pat at the trade deadline, making minor moves around the fringes to improve depth in key areas, such as the Dale Weise for Raphael Diaz trade.

With that said, there is an awful lot of smoke out there for the Kesler rumours to involve no fire whatsoever. So, if the Canucks do trade Kesler, what does that mean for this season? Can the Canucks win without Kesler?

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‘Robert’ Luongo could get traded ‘to’ Vancouver, according to Sports Illustrated

For a few brief, merciful days, all the talk of a Roberto Luongo trade in the media had been replaced by talk of a goalie controversy in Vancouver. We complained about the hype, questioned what would actually constitute a goalie controversy, and scoffed at how Alain Vigneault giving a world-class goaltender consecutive starts while he’s on a hot streak could even be called controversial.

But really, it was a relief.

For once, we could stop the endless speculation about potential Luongo trade destinations, returns, and whether he would even get traded at all. Instead, we could focus on a rather pleasant problem: which of the Canucks’ two fantastic goaltenders should start each game?

Unfortunately, it couldn’t last. Eventually the rumour mill would start up again; this time around, it was kicked into gear by a visit by Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman to the Verizon Center for a game between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. This, of course, immediately led to speculation from every corner of the media landscape that the Canucks were working on a trade with the Capitals, with Luongo the centrepiece. That included Sports Illustrated, who need to pay closer attention to their photo captions.

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Talking heads stop making sense in Roberto Luongo trade speculation

If you’ve been easing yourself back into Canucks coverage, there’s a good possibility you’ve missed something amidst the batcrap insanity that this Roberto Luongo storyline has managed to become. Yes, we’ve only been back since Sunday, but there have already been so many developments in this Snakes-and-Ladders saga that keeping track of everything is next to impossible.

It began the moment the new CBA was announced. Immediately, hockey fans and media washed their hands of that unfortunate diversion and picked right back up where we left off: speculating tirelessly on Roberto Luongo’s next destination. And I do mean tirelessly. We’ve heard a lot about the soon-to-be-announced compressed schedule, but the real story of this week has been the compressed baseless speculation. In what can only be interpreted as a collective bid by the hockey world to make up for lost wasted time, these last five days have been like an episode of American Horror Story: flashbacks; flash forwards; nuns possessed by Satan; Nazi doctors; a murderer that wears a mask made of human skin; Adam Levine; aliens; zombies; a psychotic Santa; a woman that thinks she’s Anne Frank.

All of these things and Tyler Bozak have been rumoured to be part of a package for Luongo.

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Reports and rumours: really, what’s the difference?

After the NHL Draft came and went without a Roberto Luongo trade, the waters were temporarily calm on that front. Then came Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch to create some waves Monday morning by claiming that Luongo had invoked his No Trade Clause to avoid being traded to the Blackhawks or the Leafs and that his preferred location was a return to the Florida Panthers.

Needles to say, this caused what is known in technical terms as a kerfuffle.

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How to fabricate a successful Canucks trade rumour

With only a month to go until the 2012 NHL trade deadline, you can expect to come across a ton of absurd Canuck-related trade rumours in the next 30 days. Anywhere from most to all of these rumours will not come true. This is because the majority are fabricated by people with no more inside information than you have. They have absolutely no source, and they derive their rumours from either sheer fabrication, simple logic, or an uneasy marriage of both. The best of these rumours are then disseminated as possibilities. Fabricating a Canucks’ trade rumour only takes a few minutes, and if done correctly, can provide untold amusement.

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