So much to talk about today, with yet another rant in store. No-one is safe. First it was Thomas Vanek, then Ryan Kesler, next? The NHL's Department of Player Safety, who appear to think that suspending players for dangerous hits will somehow send a message to all predators out there - especially if you only suspend the culprit for pre-season games. It's a joke.
But let's start with some great news!
TEAM CANADA STRIKES GOLD AGAIN
- Team Canada won the World Cup of Hockey last night with a close-fought 2-1 win over plucky Team Europe. Europe led 1-0 after two periods, and outshot Canada in each, but ultimately lost thanks to goals from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. That's right, Brad Marchand scored the tournament-clinching goal - shorthanded no less. Recap here. [WCoH]
- Sidney Crosby was OF COURSE voted MVP; he led all players with 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) as well as in +/- (+8). He joins Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky as the only three players in history to win the Hart trophy, Conn Smythe trophy, and MVP in the Canada Cup/WCoH. That's some company Sid the Kid is keeping. I should also point out that since winning the 2014 gold in Sochim he's won gold at the World Championships AND WCoH, as well as a Stanley Cup. He's padding his Hall of Fame CV nicely.[Sportsnet]
- Forgotten in all of that is Carey Price, who has not lost a game for Canada since 2005 and currently sits on a 16-game winning streak. For Montreal's sake, he has to stay healthy. [WCoH]
- Panic over people: Jake Virtanen appears to be okay:
Virtanen (shoulder bruise) skated on his own today, expected to practise soon. "I'm good to go," said the winger. #Canucks— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) 29 September 2016
- Three demotions yesterday: Michael Carcone (I'm gutted), Alexis D'Aoust (obvious), and Michael Garteig. One wonders if that's the last we see of Garteig in a Canucks jersey. I hope not, as the guy is very talented. [Canucks: Carcone cut / Garteig cut]
- That leaves us with 41 players on the training camp roster. 26 down, 18 to go. Really it comes down to two questions: which forwards comprise the fourth line / scratches, and which D form the third pairing / scratches? My predictions are here in the Nucks Misconduct seaosn preview of the Utica Comets. [Nucks Misconduct]
- LEAGUE BIAS ALERT: Here are four players the statistics say are poised for a breakout. None of them are Canucks. Did they not see the second half of Bo Horvat's season? [NHL]
NHL PRE-SEASON UPDATE
- Last night's action saw the following results: Nashville 2-3 Columbus (Yannick Weber scored for Nashville...); NJ 1-3 Rangers (Pirri with 3pts); Buffalo 1-0 Toronto (shootout winner, what a snoozefest); Ottawa 4-3 Montreal; Florida 0-2 Tampa; Minnesota 1-4 Winnipeg. [NHL.com scores]
- Right, here we go. Andrew Shaw is a good depth scorer. He's chippy. He's a pest. He also cannot control his temper, as his boarding hit - straight into the numbers - on youngster Connor Hobbs clearly demonstrated. He was unhappy with a trip, fine. So instead of throwing down the gloves, as a grown man would do, Shaw clearly lines up this kid and takes a good long run at him, drilling him face first into the glass. A three-game pre-season suspension is apparently going to deter others from doing the same. I call horse****. The Department of Player Safety, while never perfect under Brendan Shanahan, has been a laughing stock since Shanahan left. What the hell are Stephane Quintal and Chris Pronger playing at? They are headed for a season of lawless head-hunting if they allow plays like this to carry no meaningful consequence. A full pre-season ban, 6 games to start the year, plus hosting three kids training sessions in locations of the league's choice - that is the bare minimum Shaw should have received. [NHL]
OFFER SHEETS AT THE READY, RFAs ARE STAYING HOME
- Prime RFA #1, Nikita Kucherov, will not report to the Bolts without a contract. Why oh why has no-one offer-sheeted him? Daniel-Henrik-Loui, Kucherov-Horvat-Virtanen, Baertschi-Sutter-Rodin. That's a killer top 9 all of a sudden. [Tampa Bay Times]
- But not all RFAs are holding out and sulking at home. Rasmus Ristolainen clearly wants to play:
Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) 29 September 2016
BEST OF THE REST
- Clarke MacArthur is NOT planning to retire, which is 100% a good thing. I hope he makes a full recovery, and that Patrick Sieloff finds himself a new home. He's surely not going to be welcomed in that locker room now. [Sportsnet]
- Apparently Aaron Ekblad had 'whiplash' and not concussion. I worry that he's been coached into saying that in public to deflect from concerns. [Miami Herald]
Question of the day: Why has Jim Benning not sent a massive offer sheet to one of Kucherov or Lindholm?