Roberto Luongo did what a lot of people anticipated on Monday and relinquished captaincy for the Vancouver Canucks. I think this is a positive move and it was done in such a way that everyone saves face. Gillis hinted that he wouldn’t mind Luongo giving up the C, but ultimately allowed Luongo to make the decision.
Getting rid of the C should help Luongo focus on stopping the puck, although pressure on him will still be high. But by giving the C to someone else, that will deflect some of the pressure.
Ten years ago the Vancouver Canucks celebrated their 30th anniversary season and unveiled the “30 greatest Canucks”. Sounded like a good idea right? In 30 years you ought to be able to unveil a pretty impressive list of 30 players. Well, it wasn’t. The first 30 years were not kind to the Canucks franchise and aside from a fluke run to the finals in 1982, it wasn’t until the 90s that they had any real semblance of success.
In 2010, the Canucks official website has decided instead to countdown the top 40 moments (which embarrassingly includes Chris Levesque sitting on the bench and a long road trip but I digress). If it were a true list 20 of the top 40 moments would have occurred in 1994.
The Hockey News has sparked a lot of talk in the hockey world lately by picking the Canucks to win the Western Conference last Wednesday. The Hockey News has also picked the boys from the West Coast to win the Stanley Cup this season. This is significant because to the best of my knowledge, no well respected publication has ever picked the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of a season. This, of course, terrifies me.
After weeks of rumours, Willie Mitchell finally ended the suspense on Wednesday, signing a two-year deal worth $3.5 million per season. According to most, including yours truly, he hit a home run. While still a very effective defenseman, I thought that he would have to give up a little bit more money and/or term given his age and concussion history. Quite simply, he was out of the Canucks price range. The Canucks are very deep on defense and already have an injury riddled d-man they’re holding their breathe on with Sami Salo.
All signs are pointing to the Willie Mitchell making a decision on where to play this week. Mitchell has worked out for the Canucks, Sharks, Kings and Capitals this week. One would assume that he is undergoing physicals to prove his health to these teams before they tender him an offer. He has reportedly already been offered a two-year deal by the Los Angeles Kings, but the price is not yet known. Cap-wise, the Kings are by far in the best position. The Sharks could also fit-in Mitchell with relative ease, that is if they stick with Niittymaki and Greiss in net. The Capitals and Canucks are both in tight against the cap as it is, and would probably need to get creative.
The rumour mill is heating up with regards to Willie Mitchell and shockingly it appears the Canucks may still be in the race. It looks like the free agent d-man is now symptom free and will be ready to start the season. He has also reportedly narrowed his search to four teams: Washington, Detroit, San Jose and Vancouver. Mike Gillis didn’t do anything to curtail rumours, admitting to talking to Mitchell.
Perhaps it was the media hoopla on the Team 1040 that made me overlook this, but upon further review it turns out that Tom Larscheid did not decide to retire, rather the Team 1040 decided for him. Team 1040 program director Rob Gray stated that the Team 1040 wanted to “look to the future”.
Very disappointing news today, as it has been learned that longtime beloved Canucks colour commentator Tom Larscheid will retire from the broadcast booth after this year’s home opener versus the Los Angeles Kings. When I heard about this news this morning I was devastated! Larscheid is truly one of a kind. The Team 1040 has announced that Dave Tomlinson will be the new radio colour commentator.
The Canucks announced on Monday that they have re-signed Mason Raymond. The restricted free agent re-signed just minutes before his arbitration case was to be heard. But that’s not the surprising part, the surprising part is that Mike Gillis was able to get Raymond to sign a two year deal, worth $2.55 per season. There’s no doubt in my mind that Raymond would have been awarded more in arbitration, perhaps well more. In fact, most pundits (including myself)were predicting $3 million or more.
Reports out of Finland are saying that Sami Salo has injured his achilles tendon in a game of floor hockey and could be gone 3-5 months. The report has not been confirmed as of yet.