Fans uniting + More CBA meetings still to come + Philly honours Jessica Redfield

In light of a lockout looming…fans around the world are taking action or threatening to take drastic measures. Do we want a lockout? NO! Some have started initiatives to start boycotting all things related the NHL…including no longer purchasing any merchandise for a particular team & un-following any social media outlet for a particular team. There are groups popping up all over social media [facebook, tumblr, & twitter] inviting all fans to un-follow the NHL groups & any associated with the NHL. They want to show Bettman & company that the fans will not accept a lockout quietly and willingly. I like that the fans want to have a voice and do not want to be silenced by Bettman & company. Will I boycott my Canucks…probably not, but I do understand that fans want to express their absolute distaste of a lockout. I absolutely HATE the impending threat of a lockout and would like nothing more than there to be an official agreement that both the NHL & NHLPA are satisfied with so that the season can start on time [not delayed or canceled!]. I cannot think of any real hockey fan that wants to see another lockout…04/05 was brutal…please do not let there be a repeat, Bettman, PLEASE.

On that note, Director of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr has stated that the “players are unified” in face of an NHL lockout essentially, united they stand]. Fehr has also been quoted saying that NO ONE on the players side is talking about stopping the season and that he would like to speak with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman before the next CBA meeting [Wednesday, August 22].The NHL would like an official response to their initial proposal[not the alternative view!] whereas the NHLPA feel that their proposal[alternative view] was proactive & addressed existing problems. There is A LOT of work to be done before both sides will come to an agreement and both will have to make compromises before meeting somewhere in the middle.

In other news defenseman Scott Hannan[played for Calgary last year] has signed a one-year deal with Nashvile. Rumor has it that Dany Heatley has filed an $11 million lawsuit against his former agent for withdrawing $4 million from his bank account & not receiving financial returns that he was promised from a real estate deal. No news yet on Doan as he continues to await the Phoenix ownership saga before any official decision is made, although none will be surprised to see him stay with the Coyotes. The Vancouver Canucks continue to work with re-signing my favourite #14 to an extension [get on with MG …lets get this deal signed & sealed!]. Philadelphia may becoming decimated on the blue-line, but they gained a ton of respect in creating the “Jessica Redfield Internship” in memory of Jessica who lost her life in the Aurora movie theater shooting. The internship will be for female college students with ambitions of getting into the field of sports journalism, just as Jessica was pursuing the same dream. She was working as an intern with the “You Can Play” project and had gained many followers on twitter and her blog. This is an amazing way to honour her memory and help other achieve the same dream that she aspired to become.
The jury is still out on the lockout and all moves made and yet to made during this off-season. All will become more clear as the CBA situation eventually comes to a close. Keep your fingers crossed that both sides can come to an agreement by the 15th or atleast before the Winter Classic…I’d rather a shorter season than NO season. I say if Bettman leads the NHL to another lockout…there will be a need for a NEW Commissioner[but that’s just my opinion!…but seriously a potential 3rd lock out in less than 20 years with Bettman at the helm? anyone else with me?]
As always, until next time, nuck said.
Sarah E.L.
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BURROWS…do the Canucks need him? YES…get it done MG! & a few other tidbits

Rumor has it that the Vancouver Canucks are in the midst of signing one Mr. Alexandre “Clutch” Burrows to an extension [his current contract ends in 2013]. Can I just say that love this rumor?…No one has more heart that Burr when that puck drops & no one has ever had the chemistry that he has with the Sedins…he completes the #triplets! He has scored some of the biggest goals in recent #Canucks history: February 2009 scored the goal that broke the Canucks longest losing streak, 2009 series sweeping goal vs. St.Louis, the series clinching goal in OT vs. the Blackhawks and the whole city cheered in unison[BLACKHAWK down..favourite goal ever]…need I really say more?!..yes? okay there was the goal that ended Detroit’s ridiculous home winning streak[23 games!]. After the way this guy has played the last 3 1/2 years…he is indeed insured a raise…..prior to his current contract[ signed in 2009 pays him $2 million] he was only making $550,000 per season[through the 08/09 season]. Over the last 4 years Burrows has scored 28, 35, 26, and 28 goals respectively(that’s 29.25 goals per season!). He deserves a raise…he might not take a large one because for Burrows it is not about the money…it never has been, he loves this game. This is the guy that was never supposed to play in the big time….never drafted….was an amazing ball hockey player before moving to ECHL and getting a chance in the AHL that would change his life. The dream was to play hockey…but would it happen. A team in Manitoba needed a gritty player and their coach at the time was one Alain Vigneault…[also on that Manitoba team were one Ryan Kesler and one Kevin Bieksa these guys have played together since 2005 first with the Manitoba Moose & now my Canucks!!!]. As luck would have it he did well in Manitoba and earned a call up to the big club…the Canucks…where he spent most of the remainder of the year. He joined the Canucks in 2006 and never looked back. In 2006 Vigneault was named as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks and in 2006/2007 Burrow was a permanent part of the team. This guy has been my favourite since that first call up…him and Kesler developed as 2 of the best penalty killers[still are when paired together..my favourite short-handed goals are from those 2!]. It was not until the 2008/2009 season that his potential to be a 1st liner goal scorer playing with the Sedins was revealed…it was an idea of desperate need to spark the team…and it paid off…big time. Burrows has been playing with the Sedins since that fateful February day in 2009 and the fans have been treated to see many acts of #sedinery+burrows. Burrows story is so incredible..its a wonder that it hasn’t been made into a movie…[if the Canucks win a cup in the near future…you never know! *fingers crossed*]. I think Mike Gillis must get this deal done and knowing Burrows…he will not ask for a lot of money and his loyalty goes deep. Let Burrows finish his career as a Canuck not just because it would kill me to see him wearing a different uniform..but because this guy is the HEART & SOUL of the team. Your move Gillis…but not signing him would be the wrong move! #14 will always be a Canuck…I have a feeling one day it might join #12, #16, & #19 in the rafters….so too will #22 & #33.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmoqnNkUbAk&hd=1

In other hockey news the deadline of September 15th is looming ever closer and both sides need to come closer together before any deal can made. The NHL & NHLPA will meet again next week to continue talks…both sides are growing uneasy with the gap that separates both sides. They will both have to compromise to make a deal a reality.

Philadelphia signed forward Wayne Simmonds to a 6-year extension(annual cap of $4 million…Burrows could easily ask for that or more if he wanted to…get BURR signed, MG!). Also making headlines yesterday…Alexei Kovalev is aiming to return to NHL once more. Of course I also must mention that Doan is still holding everyone at bay with no decision yet made…what’s it going to take for him to just tell us YES he’s signing in Phoenix or NO.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

NHL & NHLPA continue meetings + HABS go to the MAX + still waiting on Doan

Today marks day 3/4 of the meetings between the NHL and the NHLPA in Toronto. The NHLPA took their time in diligently putting together their perspective and yesterday Donald Fehr and the NHLPA presented their alternative view to the NHL’s original proposal. Fehr brought out the big guns(Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin & Steven Stamkos) for his presentation in push to make it known that the NHLPA wants to get a deal done. Other players were also present including: Jason Spezza, Mike Camalleri, John Tavares, & P.K. Subban. Bettman was very quiet following yesterday’s meeting only stating that the NHL is going to evaluate the proposal and hopefully respond in today’s meeting(at 12PM Eastern). Meetings go through Thursday. Rumor has it that this round of meetings have taken on a sense of urgency with both sides wanting to avoid a lockout. Let’s hope that the positives keep on coming & that we get that official announcement we are all waiting for(that the season will continue as planned) in the next 4 weeks! Bettman will have to deal with fans around the world should he even utter the word lockout as a reality. Here’s hoping he makes the right decision!

The hits just keep on coming. The Philadelphia Flyers have taken yet ANOTHER hit to the blueline. Defenseman Andreas Lilja is out until November(optimistically) due to recovering from hip surgery. The Flyers have already lost Carle(to free agency), Meszaros with his torn achillles tendon(out indefinitely), Pronger(to concussion…still no official word on when/if he will be able to to play), and Weber(thanks to Nashville’s matching of their outrageous offer sheet)

In other news the Montreal Canadiens have signed Max Pacioretty to a 6-year extension worth $27 million(or $4.5 million annual cap hit). He led the team last year with 65 points. The fact that he played at all last season(let alone led the team in scoring) is impressive following the controversial hit by Chara late in the 2010-2011 season. Despite offer sheet rumors, restricted free agent P.K. Subban is hoping to have his own contract with the #Habs signed as soon as possible…he believes that he will have a long career in Montreal. It is where is he is from, it is the team he grew up cheering for, the team that drafted him & the team he desires to stay a part of. The Edmonton Oilers are looking to be ‘taylor-made’ and  have resumed talks to extend Taylor Hall beyond next season. The Calgary Flames have invited veteran forward Steve Begin to their training camp on a professional tryout. Begin missed all of last season recovering from hip surgery. Best of luck to him on his comeback!

Still waiting…yes its true Doan has still YET to make an official decision. The guy cannot be called hasty as he really takes everything into consideration for this decision. It feels like the longer this saga takes, the more likely it is that he stays in Phoenix but then again who knows, maybe he will shock us all. Once again, we will have to wait until any official announcement is made.

I’m sure there will be drama before this day is done…all eyes will remain on the NHL/NHLPA meetings in Toronto.

Rick “the ripper” Rypien. Gone but never forgotten. #HeartOfACanuck***Today Canucks fans around the world will remember Rick Rypien for his tenacity to never back down. Forever a Canuck. We miss you #37

As always,until next time,  nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Skinner determines his future w/ Carolina & 3+1=4 for Doan

Future consideration. That is what Carolina inked today in the re-signing of forward Jeff Skinner to a six year contract extension worth $34.35 million (that’s $4.35 million for the 2013-2014 season, and $6 million for the next 5 years). This kid has so much upside and playing in Carolina’s upgraded lineup next season(& the 6 season that will follow!) is only going to make him a better player. This signing comes after a line great signings by Carolina’s GM Rutherford (Staal, Semin to name a few) as he prepares his team for the upcoming season,hoping that this new lineup will break the playoff drought of the last 3 years(I think there’s a good chance with the Staal’s united and the group of forwards that make a solid top 6 overall).

Philadelphia re-signed defense-man Marc-Andre Bourdon to a multi-year contract today, hoping he can help fill in the void on their patchy defensive blue-line. Bourdon made his NHL debut with Philly last year, playing 45 games and accumulating 7 points(4 G, 3 A). With the right defensive partner this kid will do well. Philly will need to acquire a blue-line veteran before their defense ends up hemmed in their own zone. Philly’s going to have to do something to address the absence of Pronger. Rumor has it that Philadelphia’s GM Holmgren is looking to make another defensive offer sheet, to the #Canadiens RFA, P.K. Subban(which of course Montreal would have to match, leaving Philly once again in the lurch!).

Rumor has it that Nashville’s coach Barry Trotz has stated that Nashville is also in the #DoanLimboLottery which means potentially that, that list is now 4 NOT 3.Rumor has that one of the 4 teams(Nashville, Vancouver, or Philly, but apparently it was NOT New York) have offered him that elusive 4 year term & $7 million per season. However if Doan were to choose Nashville and they were to pay that price tag….that would mean that they would have tied up $21 million of their cap space[just about 1/3 of the total cap space] for the next for years on just TWO players( Doan at $7 million & Weber at $14 million) which lets be realistic, that is, say it with me now: RIDICULOUS! 1/3 of your salary cap tied up into two players is just absurd when you need to get 22-23 guys under the cap….kind hard to get the other 20 guys tied up in what remains.

Rumor also has it that Tuukka Rask is raring to take the reigns that Tim Thomas so willingly left behind when he fled Boston to put his focus back on his life away from hockey. Rask has surprised many by stating that he is absolutely confident that following his play in the upcoming season he will rewarded with a long-term contract by the Bruins as it looks like Thomas will not be returning to Boston after his self-imposed exile. Time shall see how that unravels.

The NHLPA is still preparing their counter-proposal to be presented to the NHL & hopefully soon both sides will agree to a new CBA that will benefit both parties.

As the off-season draws nearer to an end, the winds are shifting signaling more change is yet to come. After August comes hopefully a brand spanking new CBA (& the no more thoughts of a dreaded lockout), followed by training camps for all teams, followed by pre-season(a preview of what to look forward to & a chance to see how prospects have improved their game), and then FINALLY the 11th of October will be here!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Philadelphia takes another hit on the blueline! + other NHL tidbits

Philadelphia has suffered yet another loss on the blueline, the team announced Andrej Meszaros is out indefinitely after tearing one of his achilles tendons. As Canucks fans will remember…such an injury is not an easy road back…just ask Sami Salo.Sami Salo was sidelined by the very same injury in the summer of 2010…it was thought he might not come back and if he did would, he play the same? The answer is that YES he did make a comeback and NO he didn’t play the same, he played even BETTER(just look at game 4 against San Jose in the 2011 conference final and all of last season!). It was a long road back for Salo, he only played 27 regular season games in the 2010-2011 season, but he made his presence known in those games and during the 2011 playoffs he played amazing and last year was his best season in years. I wish the best for Meszaros as he works his way back from this injury, it will not be an easy or a quick path but as all Canuck fans know, it is definitely possible. The loss of Meszaros on the blueline adds to the already decimated blueline that is the Philadelphia Flyers. They lost Carle to free agency, they lost Weber due to Nashville matching their lunacy, and all camps are quiet on the Pronger situation. The lack of any news on the Pronger situation suggest that it will not be good news when an announcement does get made. The loss of Pronger(at least in the short term) and the indefinite loss of Meszaros leaves a HUGE void for the Flyers on the blueline come October. They will have to address the matter before the season begins.

In other NHL news Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul skated for the first time today since separating his shoulder in early March. The Leafs will need him in tip top form for camp next month, when he combines with Phil Kessel and both are healthy, they make a lethal duo. All eyes are still on Doan as his fate is still yet to be decided(big surprise!), the list sits at three until otherwise announced. I know, tell me something we don’t already know. In other news we already know but are anxiously awaiting, there is yet to be a formal agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA regarding a new CBA(must be reached by mid-September to avoid a shortened season or a lockout year). The Canucks would love to have a Doan-/Arnott-type player signed to help fill the void of Kesler’s absence until he returns. The dust has yet to settle on this off-season and there is bound to be more dramatics before all is said and done.

#isitOCTOBERyet??????

Come #Canuck fans…tell me you don’t want to see this happen often next season as soon as Kes is healthy & 100% ready to return?! Are you kidding me?! Picture this…his first game back…Booth & Higgins on his wings…down the middle, KESLER SCORES!!!!!!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

4 year deal breaker for Doan? other thoughts on this & that in the NHL

Today is yet another deadline set by Shane Doan to getting closer determining where he will play next year. Rumor has it that he is seeking a 4 year contract worth $30 million(or $7.5 million cap hit per year) before he will leave Phoenix. There has been no official statement yet as to where Doan will sign if indeed he decides to join a team other than Phoenix, but it will interesting to see which teams are willing to pay. I’m not sure why Doan keeps “setting deadlines” which is simply a way of saying “I still need more time to consider all my options”. It just makes the media go crazy until his next “setting a new deadline” announcement is made.

Philadelphia has yet to address their major issues on the blueline having lost Matt Carle to free agency, and  losing Weber to Nashville since they matched that lofty offer sheet. Still refusing to make any statements on Pronger’s status, it has many people questioning whether he will be able to play at all and what will the Flyers do to fill the holes in their defense. Philly did  however re-sign forward Jakub Voracek to a 4 year $17 million deal…a far cry from the $14 million they offered to Weber, but still a pretty good pay cheque.

Scotty Bowman and Pat Quinn are confirmed to coach the alumni game at next season’s Winter Classic between Detroit & Toronto. Anyone else wish that the Canucks would take part in one of these Winter Classic games?! How exciting would it be too see them play in an outdoor arena?! I’m not sure it ever will happen that the Canucks take part in this event, but I will say that I for one WOULD LOVE it, if they did!!

Rumor has Darryl Sutter(yes the one who led those pesky but determined Kings to Stanley cup victory in June) has stated to various media outlets that he believes that the Calgary Flames could have WON the cup every year during his time there, perhaps in 2004 that may have been true, but an interesting statement considering the franchise has missed the post-season the last 3 years(and 2 of them he was part of their coaching staff).

Questions are arising in Toronto regarding their goal-tending situation as to whether or not James Reimer will able to handle to pressure of becoming the bonafide starter, or after last year’s injuries & inconsistent performances should they look elsewhere (*******I would HATE seeing Lou in a Maple Leaf jersey or back in a Panther one with Florida!…like I have said previously I can understand the situation and Lou possibly wanting to leave the city. BUT I really don’t like the idea of him not a Canuck anymore, in fact I HATE the idea…part of me secretly hopes that he stays & steals back the reigns of starter. I really have nothing against Schneider, he’s a great athlete an impeccable goal-tender, and he deserves his own opportunities too. I’m just not sold on him as the #Canucks #1 just yet. Whatever does happen, to ME,  LOUIE will always be Canuck.

In other news Carolina has landed Alexander Semin by signing him to a one-year deal worth $7 million. It looks like Carolina is building a competitive team that aims to make the playoffs next year. They acquired Jordan Staal who is one of the best penalty killers in the league, spent the 1st six years of his career playing with the likes of Crosby, Malkin, & Geurin. Needless to say playing with his also talented brother Eric Staal next season will be yet another great opportunity for him. Carolina has also signed or re-signed the following players: Jay Harrison, Drayson Bowman, Zach Boychuk, Marc-Andre Gragnani, & Justin Peters.

Well as the day dwindles it appears the public is no closer to knowing where Doan will sign just yet…perhaps next week if what I hear is true, we will know his destination. Until next time, we wait for the drama to continue! nuck said.

Sarah E.L.