The Vancouver Canucks’ unwillingness to move center Ryan Kesler by last week’s trade deadline generated almost as much attention as the deals involving other notable stars.
It was rumored Canucks’ owner Francesco Aquilini refused to allow GM Mike Gillis to trade Kesler. Gillis quickly denied it, claiming he didn’t receive sufficient offers for the 29-year-old center. The asking price was a young center, an elite prospect and a first-round draft pick.
Tony Gallagher of The Vancouver Province reported there was six clubs Kesler would waive his no-trade clause for, but three were out of the bidding or had no interest. Gallagher also claimed the Canucks weren’t interested in an offer of Brayden Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers. CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio cited sources claiming the Flyers were simply trying to drive up the asking price for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were also pursuing Kesler.
Penguins GM Ray Shero admitted to making enquiries, but he didn’t think there was a deal to be made. Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported the Penguins offered up center Brandon Sutter, first- and third-round picks, plus the Canucks’ choice of any defense prospect other than highly touted Derrick Pouliot. Refusing to part with Pouliot was the deal breaker.
If it’s true time really only flies when you’re having fun, this past decade must have seemed like a long nightmare for Steve Moore, one from which he will almost certainly never awaken. That’s because March 8 marked 10 years since Todd Bertuzzi hunted him down, attacked him from behind and brutally ended his career.
Let’s take stock of what we’ve learned since then. First thing is that the wheels of justice, in civil court at least, grind very slowly. The long awaited trial stemming from Moore’s $60-million lawsuit against Bertuzzi is scheduled to begin Sept. 8, exactly 10 years and six months after the on-ice attack.
We’ve also learned not much has changed since that night in Vancouver when Bertuzzi, seeking revenge for a previous dirty hit from Moore on Markus Naslund, jumped Moore from behind, punched him and drove him face first into the ice. Moore sustained three broken vertebrae, a concussion and lasting brain damage that still hampers his ability to live a normal life today. In the intervening 10 years, Bertuzzi did his 80 hours of community service, resumed his NHL career and after this season will have earned $27,819,454 in the nine seasons since the attack.
We also know that as much as Gary Bettman respects and emulates David Stern, he is no David Stern when it comes to turning moments like this one into an opportunity to shift course. Read more
With a wild trade deadline in the books and playoffs on the horizon, now begins the season of hope for many NHL teams. Deadline buyers hope they’ve strengthened themselves enough for the final push. Teams that stood pat believe they already have the right mix to finish strong. And teams on the bubble are already playing desperate hockey, hoping one last hard charge is all it takes to get in.
It’s been done before, and it can happen again. Here are the best post-trade deadline surges of the last four seasons.
As if the debacle in Dallas wasn’t bad enough for Vancouver, the Canucks found out today that they’ll be without Zack Kassian for three games after he was suspended by the NHL for this hit on Brenden Dillon of the Stars last night.
Kassian received a major penalty and a game misconduct for the check from behind. The Stars scored once on the five-minute power play.
Factoring into the decision was that Kassian is a repeat offender this season. He was suspended in September for the three pre-season and five regular season games after recklessly high sticking Sam Gagner.
Saturday marks the 10th anniversary of one of the most infamous events in NHL history: the Todd Bertuzzi/Steve Moore incident. The pall of that night still hangs over the league to this day, primarily because Moore’s subsequent lawsuit against Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks has yet to be resolved.
But we now know it won’t be much longer until the case is finally heard. Six months to the day, as a matter of fact – Sept. 8, in a Toronto courtroom. And unless Moore does something dramatically out-of-character between now and then – by which, I mean accept an out-of-court settlement – there’s no stopping hockey from being put on trial to a degree we’ve not seen before.
While there have been a number of attempts to get Moore to settle prior to a trial, they all have been unsuccessful. This won’t come as a surprise to those close to the Moore family. They’re an intelligent, driven, principled clan that didn’t wait this long simply to soak Bertuzzi and the Canucks for as much money as they can get. On a basic level, they believe the culture of hockey deserves to go under the microscope and be held accountable for what takes place within its rules. Read more
Chick-chick. Chick-chick. Chick-chick.
That’s the sound of the Vancouver Canucks reaching the top of the metaphorical rollercoaster as their window of contention closes. Next comes the “AHHHHH!” as the team plummets toward a rebuild.
If there was any doubt as to what phase the Canucks are entering now, Thursday night erased it.
The Dallas Stars laid an absolute beating on John Tortorella’s hapless team, winning 6-1 on the strength of a five-point night from Tyler Seguin. Zack Kassian got himself ejected and likely suspended with this hit from behind on Stars blueliner Brenden Dillon:
But, uh, hey, at least newly anointed starting goalie Eddie Lack was kind enough to allow five goals through two periods, letting Jacob Markstrom make an earlier-than-expected Canucks debut.
This was a Canucks team coached by Tortorella, not Alain Vigneault, a team missing Daniel Sedin, a team no longer boasting Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider as its goaltending tandem. Quite a far cry from Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final. In fact, tonight’s sorry effort and the events of the past week may signify the franchise’s lowest point since the Todd Bertuzzi/Steve Moore scandal 10 years ago.
Even the departed Luongo sprayed gasoline on the fire with, surprise surprise, a beautifully timed tweet:
The trade deadline and the day before the trade deadline ended up being much busier and way more full of big names than it has been in years. This year, finally, was not a let down as far as entertainment goes.
Martin St-Louis, Roberto Luongo, Thomas Vanek and Matt Moulson were just some of the front-line players moved before 3:00 p.m. on March 5. Some teams made significant upgrades, others not to much. So what does it mean heading down the stretch towards the playoffs?
Here are our five winners and five losers of the 2014 NHL trade deadline. Read more
The NHL trade deadline is nearly upon us. Here’s the latest on the notable names in the rumor mill.
Ryan Kesler: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports Kesler gave the Canucks a short list of preferred trade destinations. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers are believed among them. Kypreos notes the Canucks are reluctant to move the 29-year-old center to a Western Conference team.
Various reports claim the Canucks seek a 20- to 25-year-old center to replace Kesler, along with a first-round pick and a top prospect. The Vancouver Province’s Ben Kuzma reports the Penguins, Flyers and Detroit Red Wings are among the front-runners. Kesler apparently won’t waive his no-trade clause for the Columbus Blue Jackets, possibly because of an old feud with former college teammate R.J. Umberger. Kuzma believes the Flyers can address the Canucks’ need for a young center by offering either Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier.
The Penguins and Flyers have reportedly made offers for Kesler. It’s also believed the Flyers have interest in Canucks defenseman Alex Edler. Given the limited cap space of the Flyers and Canucks, salaried players would have to be exchanged to make the dollars fit. One wonders what effect the Canucks shipping Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers will have on the Kesler trade talks.