What a weekend! The Canucks beat the Leafs, Nucks Misconduct got some national exposure, there was a coach fired, a coach hired, one trade, another head injury, and one dead dictator. But most importantly, my beer league men's hockey team won the league championship last night, beating Team Blue 4-2. We'll be partying hard through the holidays, so "Morning Buzz" is going to take on a whole new meaning for me.
Lots of news and notes from the weekend, so lets not waste any more time!
Maybe the biggest news from Saturday for us here at NM was the exposure we received during Ron McLean's "apology". Check the 1:29 mark. As misguided ("Embrace the Hate" isn't really about you, Ron) and awkward as it was, I don't doubt his sincerity, and I've mostly always been a McLean fan. My favourite part of this video is at the 1:00 mark where he looks up and asks "is that you Grapes?", as if there is a spirit in the room.
Vancouver Canucks news + notes:
- I thought the Canucks played a letter-perfect 3rd period against the Leafs to close out the win. The stats guys can correct me if I'm wrong, but I only remember them allowing one good scoring chance, and it was the Kessel goal. What a release that guy has. The Burrows and Hansen goals were both gorgeous.
- This is a big week for the Canucks, as they play two of the West's top teams in Minnesota and Detroit, and then Calgary before Christmas. Minny has lost their last 2 games in OT but were 7-1-0 in their last 8 before that. Detroit is always a good test for Vancouver.
- Has Mark Mancari secured that 4th line wing spot for the time being? Looks like it based on this tweet from The Sun's Ian MacIntyre. He's been solid these last couple games, at least, as solid as an Aaron Volpatti replacement needs to be. [Twitter]
- Chris Higgins has gone from 4th line winger to a fixture in the top 6 in less than a full season with the Canucks. He brings the goods night in and night out. A nice write-up from Jason Botchford. [The Province]
- Can you name the entire Vancouver Canucks 2010-11 roster? PITB put together a quiz. I scored a disappointing 29/39, mainly because I couldn't recall the entire stable of 4th line plugs the team employed last year. [Pass it to Bulis]
- Also from PITB, Thomas Drance does a great job of breaking down whether or not Dave Bolland really is "Sedin poison". [Pass it to Bulis]
- With the recent news that Mark Messier thinks the Canucks still owe him money, Cam Charron takes a look at the disaster that was the 1997-98 Vancouver team. [Canucks Army]
NHL news + notes:
- Jacques Martin was fired as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday morning. This is the third — and so far the biggest — shakeup to the team this season, with the firing of assistant coach Perry Pearn early in the year and the recent trade for Thomas Kaberle. Frantic times for the game's most storied franchise. [The Hockey Writers]
- On the flipside, Darryl Sutter has been hired to coach the Kings, as was expected. [SB Nation]
- A nice breakdown of the KyleTurris/David Rundblad trade. The Senators were very high on Rundblad when they traded for him, but I guess they think the ceiling is higher for Turris, though he hasn't shown anything up to now to suggest he is the Sakic/Yzerman-type many expected him to be. In my personal opinion, Turris missed a major development step by forgoing Major Junior in favour of college hockey. [National Post]
- Sean Couturier left Saturday's game against the Bruins with what could be a concussion. I swear HBO is writing this stuff. Couturier was Claude Giroux's replacement on the top line. The worst part about the injuries to Couturier and Giroux are they were caused by their own teammates — Giroux's from Wade Simmonds' knee and Couturier's from a Kimmo Timmonen shot. [Philly.com]
- Mike Milbury tells his side of the story after allegedly assaulting a 12-year-old. "I love the game, I'm passionate about it, but I don't smack kids around. I grabbed the other kid by the sweater to stop a fight and, yeah, I swore at him. That's it. That's what I did." [Boston Globe]
- Mostly lost amongst his concussion issues is that Sidney Crosby's contract expires in the summer of 2013. As if it's a surprise to anyone, Ray Shero is going to do everything in his power to re-sign Sid as soon as possible. "The only thing on my mind is signing Sidney Crosby." [TribLIVE]
- While Crosby remains out, Evgeni Malkin is putting on a show. He had 5 points in Saturday's 8-3 pillaging of the Sabres, including a hat-trick. He's suddenly 3 points back of Kessel for the scoring lead, and the only player with a higher PPG is Claude Giroux. [NHL.com]
- From Dustin Brown, after the Kings had their asses handed to them by Detroit on Saturday night: "We got our asses kicked. And there's really no excuse. It's time for everyone in this room to wake up. Guys have got to take responsibility in here because it doesn't matter whether Stevens is our coach or whoever they're bringing in. It doesn't make a difference who the coach is. It's going to be the players that play the games and it's going to be the players that need to take responsibility." [Dobber Hockey]
And what better way to cap off the weekend than with a monkey riding a dog?