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The Morning After The Night Before, 17 November 2016

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When the injury fairies struck the NHL great and good, and the 2018 Olympics were back on the menu...

I can assure you that it is pure co-incidence that yesterday’s daily links were missing. It was nothing to do with the previous night’s blowout loss to the Rangers. Honest. I wasn’t in a bar drinking rum. At least, I don’t think anyone saw me.

Plenty happened around the NHL yesterday, including some pretty important Canucks news which has pretty much confirmed, in my mind, that Willie Desjardins is the wrong coach for this franchise.

Let’s take a look.

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CANUCKS DEMOTE VIRTANEN

  • So the thing we feared most has happened. Willie Desjardins has taken our prized 6th overall pick, given him a taste of the good life, then shat on him from a great height, blamed him for the team’s issues, then sent him and his ‘stuff’ packing to Utica. Coaches like Mike Babcock and Coach Q can pull this stuff because they’ve won Cups; Willie D has won nothing, and likely never will. Benning should be canning Willie this week and working with Trevor Linden to bring about real change. Rant over. [Province]
  • Even Sportsnet picked up on the ‘stuff’. If I were Virtanen’s agent, I’d be advising two things: one, play like a demon in Utica, because Travis Green is the next Canucks coach and when he’s in charge in a month’s time, you’ll get a recall, and two, don’t sign any of your UFA years away with this team. [Sportsnet]
  • I find Ray Ferraro a mixed bag, but can I disagree with anything here? Nope.
  • More of the same:
  • And finally in MiseryLand, this is really, really worrying:

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INJURIES GALORE

  • Steven Stamkos tore his meniscus, and misses an ‘indefinite’ amount of time, possibly 5-6 weeks. Not many teams could withstand the loss of a 50-goal scorer, but the Bolts definitely can. [Lightning]
  • Same injury, quicker recovery time: Taylor Hall misses 3-4 weeks for the Devils. That’s one team that cannot swallow the loss of a 30-goal scorer.
  • Johnny Gaudreau misses 4-6 weeks after finger surgery. I blame his contract holdout, he was so used to gripping a pen 24/7 awaiting his new deal that holding a hockey stick has damaged him. That, or the three slashes he took in the Flames’ last game. [The Score]
  • Sticking with the stars, Darren Helm will miss 6-8 weeks as well. He was playing with Gustav Nyqvist, if you can believe that. [Detroit Free Press]

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OLYMPIC PARTICIPATION, AND OTHER NEWS

  • Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts, including on the NHL’s potential participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics. I think it’ll happen, always did. [Sportsnet]
  • This is the main point when it comes to considering whether or not the NHL takes part: the players want to. Olympics hockey is like no other, it’s practically a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and some stars, particularly the Russian ones, will defy the league and play anyway. Even Mr Midget himself is looking forward to it. [Calgary Herald]
  • Which is why the NHL can get away with a CBA extension. Players want it, and I can’t see this not happening. The league gets to keep its CBA for another couple of years, and the players get to jet off to the far east for a few games of hockey. Win-win. [Puck Daddy]
  • But not everyone is happy. Why? Because extending the CBA is bad for player agents and their huge bonus payments in free agency. Case in point:
  • In random news, the Ducks and Panthers traded depth forwards yesterday - Michael Sgarbossa heads off to pastures new with Bobby Lu, while Logan Shaw will team up with the likes of Ryan Garbutt and Andrew Cogliano in the Ducks’ bottom six. If he even makes it. [Panthers]

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Question of the day: Do you bring Jake Virtanen back this season, even if he plays well in Utica? Or do you give him the season there?