It's awfully quiet in Canucksville lately ever since Alain Vigneault and his two assistant coaches were let go on May 22. In the span of almost a month Mike Gillis has re-signed Tom Sestito to a 2-year deal worth $750,000 per year, and the team moved their affiliate AHL team to Utica, New York.
Image from news.sportslogos.net
Sweet jerseys. Love the logo.
That's a long, long way for players to travel when they get called up or sent down. You almost couldn't go any farther away than that. I was reading a while back that this affiliate location will not be long-term, as perhaps the Canucks are waiting to strike a deal to move it to Abbotsford. That is a far from certain thing.
Anyway, the people in the Utica area love it. They have already sold over 1000 season tickets.
The biggest efforts from management since May 22 was to find a new coaching staff, and they are taking their time in doing so. John Tortorella is getting a second interview this week, if he hasn't already. Reports out there are that the Canucks want Torts to chill out in front of the media if he is to get the job here. I find that amusing. Can you really teach an old dog new tricks? Can you really see Tortorella biting his tongue for a long period of time with this crazy media in Vancouver? That's like telling Kim Kardashian to keep her legs closed, or Justin Bieber to write a good song. As far as Tortorella as a coach goes, I am more and more open to him coaching this team. These Canucks players have had it too good for too long. It worked in recent years, but not anymore. Bring in the Hitler.
It would be a blast:
The Canucks are rumored to be interviewing John Stevens for a second time as well. So I guess it's down to those two.
The coaching search seems to be all that Canucks brass is focusing on lately. The clock is ticking. So much to do in so little time. The NHL Entry Draft is on June 30th. 11 days away. The deadline to sign pending free agents is July 5. Tick tock. It's gonna be a crazy ride over the next while.
Speaking of the free agents...
According to Sportsnet, Manny Malhotra is not calling it a career, even though the Canucks retired him early this season. His agent, Paul Krepelka, says Manny is excited about hitting the free agent market this summer. That is all that needs to be said about how Malhotra must have felt when Gillis told him he was not to play anymore because of his eye problem. It sure freed up some cap space though, didn't it? Ahem!
Recently, Maxim Lapierre told TVA Sports that he has not heard from the Canucks either. He told the station that the Canucks are first to address the coaching and goaltending situation before they talk contract with him. Lappy also told TVA that at his current age he would like a little more security with his next contract in regards to duration. He is looking for at least a 3-4 year deal. We'll see what happens there. A lot of gossip going around the internet today that Lapierre could follow Alain Vigneault to the Rangers, because, you know, he was a fave of Vigneault. I would like him to play here again, but only if he gets more yappy amd comes at an affordable price for a guy playing bottom 6 minutes with what appears to be limited scoring ability.
Keith Ballard's agent told the Vancouver Sun today that a compliance buy-out for Keith would be the best thing for him so that he can get a fresh start elsewhere. If Alexander Edler is not traded, and the Canucks keep their current top 4 defencemen in Edler-Garrison-Bieksa-Hamhuis, then I 100% agree with Ballard's agent. Kudos to Ballard for being such a class act in his dire times in Vancouver. An interesting quote from Ballard's agent in that article:
"My guess is they are going to push the trade front as hard as they can, probably up to the (June 30) draft, and see where that takes them."
If the Canucks are pushing for deals behind the scenes right now, I am impressed with their discretion, because all we can see is a coach hunt. Maybe that's all it is right now. Who cares. Like I said earlier: it's gonna get real interesting around here real quick.
Hold on to your butts!