Mar 3, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT
No longer just a great song you hear at Joe Louis Arena, “Don’t Stop Believing” has apparently become the mantra of the Vancouver Canucks.
To wit, here’s coach John Tortorella after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Ottawa in the Heritage Classic: “The only thing you can do from (general manager) Mike Gillis right on down to our team, we need to keep believing as an organization and take each and every day.”
And here’s winger Alex Burrows, still without a goal this season: “We’ve got to rely on our system, and keep believing that we’re doing a lot of good things. You’ve got to keep believing that your structure and your system is strong.”
It’s funny, because that’s the exact same message I heard from countless members of Team Canada in Sochi. When the goals weren’t going in, they said the only thing they could fall back on was the system, and they had to believe that it would eventually pay off.
You know how that ended. Mike Babcock’s puck-possession system was ultimately celebrated, along with the gold medal.
But — and this is the thing when it comes to the Canucks — what if the system is, you know, completely and utterly wrong?
We only ask, because, not long ago, Vancouver was one of most dynamic offensive teams in the NHL. Today, with largely the same core players, its offense ranks 27th, averaging a paltry 2.33 goals per game.
And back when the Canucks were piling up the points in the standings, Burrows and the Sedin twins formed one of the best, most entertaining lines in hockey. Today, that line is a shadow of itself, no disrespect to the shadow.
I asked Burrows if Tortorella’s system made it harder to do the things his line used to do so well.
“It’s a little different, that’s for sure,” Burrows said. “But we’ve got to make more plays.”
I asked him how the system was different.
“Well, I’m not going to comment, go down into it,” he said. “But we have to be better.”
I didn’t expect to hear a detailed breakdown of the system, or for Burrows to bash his coach’s game plan. Besides, the players do “have to be better,” regardless of the system.
But let’s face it, Tortorella was fired as coach of the Rangers for a reason. Actually, it was a few reasons, but the “style of play” he dictated was a big one, according to the guy who fired him.
“If you look at these playoff games (like the Stanley Cup Finals matchup) you’re gonna see tonight, the style that they play, I mean there’s not a hell of a lot of dump-ins,” Glen Sather said in June. “I mean, (if) you have to dump the puck in, you have to dump it. But there’s a lot of puck control and hanging onto the puck and moving the puck out, and there’s not stopping behind the net to gain control. There’s a lot of things that are done differently than what we were doing. So you have to look at the style of play. That had a lot to do with (the decision to fire Tortorella), too.”
And when the Canucks’ last coach, Alain Vigneault, was hired by the Rangers, it wasn’t a commitment to shot-blocking and collapsing in front of the goalie that Sather was trumpeting.
Tortorella said before the Heritage Classic that he was hoping the quasi-outdoor experience might help jump-start his “big guys” (translation: Sedins and Burrows) offensively.
“I think some of our guys need to offensively allow themselves to play some shinny hockey,” he said. “Just let them play. Maybe this will help us. I don’t know.”
Of course, he also said his “biggest concern” was “staying with our structure.” Which doesn’t exactly translate to, “Just let them play.”
But hey, don’t stop believing.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT
He played with four different NHL teams last season.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:31 PM EDT
It’s not all about the Zac Rinaldo trade, although that certainly didn’t help.
Jun 29, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT
He establish himself with the team after years of work primarily in the AHL.
Jun 29, 2015, 8:26 PM EDT
San Jose still has an opening on its blueline.
Jun 29, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT
He’ll start the season as Vancouver’s backup goaltender.
Jun 29, 2015, 7:40 PM EDT
They are now set to become unrestricted free agents.
Jun 29, 2015, 6:43 PM EDT
He’ll reportedly earn $1 million next season.
Jun 29, 2015, 6:40 PM EDT
Toronto, Calgary and Pittsburgh are amongst the teams, which have reached out.
Jun 29, 2015, 5:54 PM EDT
The payment will be made on Wednesday.
Jun 29, 2015, 5:13 PM EDT
Bill Hay and Peter Karmanos Jr. are also going in as builders.
Jun 29, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT
Also inside is information about the potential cap recapture situation the Kings might be stuck with.
Jun 29, 2015, 3:53 PM EDT
Jun 29, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT
Processing Monday’s surprising termination.
Jun 29, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT
Could make about a $15 million difference …
Jun 29, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT
The 24-year-old’s three-year, $2.7 million deal is set to expire on Wednesday.
Jun 29, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
If accurate, that’s $10.4M between Niemi and Kari Lehtonen.
Jun 29, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
The 24-year-old was a pending restricted free agent.
Jun 29, 2015, 1:27 PM EDT
Get your dog puns ready.
Jun 29, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT
He should draw plenty of free agent interest.
Jun 29, 2015, 12:40 PM EDT
Both players can be bought out on Tuesday, if they clear.
- Agent: Franson has spoken with ‘half a dozen’ teams (Updated) 7
- Your 2015 HHOF Class: Fedorov, Housley, Lidstrom, Pronger, Ruggiero 31
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder 94
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ 82
- Sens’ Chiasson headed for arbitration 1
- Pricey Platoon? Stars reportedly sign Niemi for three years, $13.5M 18
- Hodgson, Stalberg placed on unconditional waivers 24
- Buyouts loom as Richards, Parenteau and Fistric clear unconditional waivers 4
- UFA of the Day: Chris Stewart 18
- Penguins sign Ian Cole to a three-year, $6.3 million deal 11
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (96)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (83)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)
- Consensus reached: 5 minutes of 3-on-3 OT could be in place for 2015-16 (60)