October 24, 2011
Canucks pluck sniper to aid run for Cup
By Eric Francis, QMI Agency
That’s why the Vancouver Canucks are positioned to challenge for the Stanley Cup once again while so many other teams get left behind.
Mike Gillis found an asset the Florida Panthers no longer valued, packaged up two broken down players and took on a little salary to be buried in the minors to land what may be the perfect linemate for Ryan Kesler.
Any other team in the league could have had David Booth for very little, but it was Gillis who took the chance and pulled the trigger on a player with 30-goal potential.
Not only that, but by grabbing former Flame Steve Reinprecht, Gillis also picked up a third round pick in the deal.
Kesler and Booth played minor hockey and the World Juniors together, giving the Canucks’ second line a massive upgrade from perennially injured Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm.
The Panthers are happy as they will have none of these players on their books next year, and the Canucks just took another step towards a repeat as Western Conference champs.
Now for more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering when the NHL saw a stat so pathetic as the one that has the Columbus Blue Jackets with just one regulation win in their last 30 games dating back to last season.
AROUND THE HORN
Salient advice from Bill Guerin directed at locked out NBA players. “People say it’s okay for ownership to make money because they worked hard to make money and afford to buy a sports franchise, but the athlete is dumb and good at his sport and fortunate to play sports and make millions,” he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s not about what’s right or wrong, it’s (the owners’) league, and you are going to play when they want. Get a deal done… it’s not a partnership.” … There indeed shouldn’t be any doubt Henry Burris will be a Toronto Argonaut next season. While John Hufnagel made the harsh but proper call by sitting the suddenly struggling Burris for Drew Tate, the damage it has done to the already strained relationship between Burris and Huff is irreparable. As great an ambassador as Burris has been for the team, and the city, there’s no way Burris will accept a backup role next year that would only come with the 36-year-old accepting a massive haircut on his $400,000 salary. Not happening. He’s too proud and too good. The league’s reigning M.O.P. needs a fresh canvas, and the perpetually quarterback-challenged Argos will provide that, especially given the team is headed up — for now, anyway — by Jim Barker, who covets and knows Burris well. Burris would bring instant credibility, hope and excitement to the Argos, and if anyone could help sell the game in Toronto, it’s the outgoing Burris, who spends more time in the community than any other Calgary athlete. No matter how the Stamps’ season ends, Burris is Hogtown-bound and deserves as much.
The Panthers’ trade Saturday will likely put an end to the feel-good story of the week, Bracken Kearns. Kearns, who played for the University of Calgary from 2001 to 2005, was called up to make his NHL debut at age 30. The son of former Canucks defenceman Dennis Kearns, Bracken played over 300 games in the AHL and almost 100 in the East Coast League before getting his first taste of the dream. He played less than 10 minutes in both games but will likely be the odd man out now … You know how former Flames first rounder Kris Chucko (24th overall in 2004) knew it was time to retire last week? His post-concussion issues are so bad, he can’t lift a heavy bag of groceries ... For those who figure Shea Weber got star treatment by not being suspended for his dangerous hit on Jannik Hansen, consider the fact Weber was not a repeat offender, and Hansen can be seen turning to look over at the ref while he embellished his impact on the glass. That said, another transgression by Weber, and he’ll sit ... Distracted or annoyed (like Mike Milbury) by the virtual ads now being shown on the glass behind each goal on regional Flames broadcasts? Well, get used to them, as it won’t be long until broadcasts like the ones in Philadelphia start featuring stats and public service announcements, as well.