Tag:Alain Vigneault
Posted on: October 21, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 5:57 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Will Trotz lose it? Wings-Caps

By Brian Stubits

The Barry Trotz tour of tantrums continues with a stop in Calgary on Saturday to conclude the Predators' first Western Canada swing of the season.

If you haven't been paying attention to the Predators for the past week, you've been missing out. Not so much with their play -- Nashville enters Calgary on a four-game losing streak and a minus-7 on the season -- but from Trotz, the well-renowned head coach for the Preds. He has been less-than pleased about his team's recent performance and hasn't been afraid to tell everybody.

After the Predators lost to the Oilers 3-1, Trotz was clearly upset, saying the team had to "start from scratch." But the majority of the sound bite came from Jarred Smithson, who undoubtedly echoed Trotz's frustration.

"It’s not one guy, it’s not two guys, it’s the whole group. Pekka [Rinne] is the exception. He’s the only guy playing his balls off right now and if it wasn’t for him, we don’t have any points. I don’t know what to say about tonight, it was terrible.”

Oh, but the fun was only just beginning. Because Thursday night brought about a 5-1 loss to the Canucks in Vancouver and more Trotz frustration. A lot more. (Quotes courtesy of Twitter feed from Joshua Cooper of the Tennessean)

His assessment of rookie Mattias Ekholm? "I thought he was horrible, just horrible." Ouch.

How about his feelings on his younger players having to go up against the likes of the Sedin twins, Ryan Kesler and the rest of the Canucks? “You’re going to have to line up against the best in the league, if you’re scared of that, get a dog.”

Finally, he took the time to thank Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. Seriously. "“I want to thank Alain Vigneault for not playing his top two lines the last 10 minutes.”

Making matters worse before they face Calgary, it looks like they will be without star defenseman and Norris candidate Shea Weber after the hit he laid on Jannik Hansen of the Canucks. That won't help the struggling offense get any better.

The Predators better hope they show up with a better effort in Calgary or it might be a lot of bag skates coming their way.

Somebody's got to lose

There are only two remaining unbeaten teams in the NHL, and they will meet on Saturday. Hopefully they will both be perfect as that makes for one delicious matchup.

The Capitals are sitting at 6-0-0 for the first time in franchise history of their 5-2 win over the Flyers on Thursday. So they enter the battle against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in Washington unblemished.

The Red Wings will have to go through the winless Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night first, but considering the struggling Jackets will be without Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski, you have to like Detroit's chances.

One thing to keep an eye on, Detroit is the only team in the league not to have played five games entering Friday. They're last game came a week ago Saturday against the Wild. So the legs are as fresh as they can get.

Brotherly love

The Carolina Hurricanes have a pretty famous hockey brother on their team. Captain Eric Staal gets chances to reunite with siblings whenever he plays against the Penguins (Jordan) and Rangers (Marc) while his youngest brother (Jared) is in the Hurricanes farm system.

But Friday night will bring about another sibling rivalry for the 'Canes. When they take on the Blues in St. Louis, Anthony Stewart will go up against his brother Chris Stewart. It marks the first time the brothers will play in an NHL game against each other.

"I'm excited," Chris said. "I felt like it's been a long time and a long time overdue. We went for dinner [Wednesday] night, and I'm sure we'll go for dinner again tonight. I look forward to tomorrow."

"It's a big day for our family. They're going to be watching," Anthony said. "They're not going to make it in, but they're definitely excited and the buddies back home are texting us asking if we're going to fight. We'll be fighting on the score sheet. That's probably about it."

Here's their shot

Let's just assume the Red Wings take care of the Blue Jackets on Friday night. Seems like a pretty safe bet. So they will be 0-6-1 headed into Saturday, their final game without Wisniewski. They will have a very winnable game in Ottawa against the Senators.

Ottawa is a league-worst minus-11 on the season, tied with Winnipeg at the bottom of the league. The Sens have given up 31 goals in seven games, that's more than four per game.

If they can't get the win in Ottawa, then you really have to wonder how long it will be. After playing the Senators, Columbus will play Detroit (4-0-0) at home, go to Buffalo (5-1-0) and Chicago (4-1-1), play the Ducks (4-1-0) and Maple Leafs (4-1-1), visit Philadelphia (4-1-1) then host Chicago again. Finally, they'll get a reprieve and face the Jets at home.

Columbus could sure use one or both of the games this weekend.

Mile(stone) marker

San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton will play in his 1,000th career game this weekend when his team plays the Devils Friday night in New Jersey. Then on Saturday he'll play No. 1,001 in Boston, the city where he began his career.

Thornton was a member of the Bruins from 1997 until the 2005-06 season when he was sent to the Sharks for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart.

To show how good he's been throughout his career, here's a stat courtesy of fellow Eye On Hockey blogger Adam Gretz (@agretz on Twitter): Only five players have at least two 90-assists seasons: Joe Thornton is one of them. The others: [Wayne] Gretzky, [Mario] Lemieux, [Bobby] Orr, and Adam Oates.

"It goes by incredibly fast," Thornton said. "As a young guy everybody says enjoy it because it goes by very quickly. It sure does. Now I'm the older guy telling the younger guys."

Of course with all his accomplishments, including the Art Ross and Hart trophies in 2005-06, he's missing the biggest one, the Stanley Cup. That's the goal this season, but the Sharks are slow out of the gate.

"We're obviously 1-3 in the standings but I feel we've played pretty well," he said. "Just stay positive and start getting some points."

Quick start

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has himself quite a little streak going. He has recorded back-to-back shutouts, one against the Blues, the other vs. the Coyotes on Thursday night.

Assuming he gets the start on Saturday back home in Los Angeles, he'll get a stern test from the Dallas Stars, who are off to a quick start themselves.

They come into the weekend in Tinsel town with a 5-1-0 record and will not only face Quick's Kings, but first must go through the 4-1-0 Ducks on Friday. Throw in the Sharks' potential and the Pacific Division might be on its way to being a monster this season.

There will be some good hockey in Southern California this weekend, so enjoy.

Southeast Winnipeg

The most awkward divisional alignment begins this weekend when the Jets will host the Hurricanes. It is Winnipeg's first taste as a member of the Southeast Division, an arrangement that is just a touch unnatural, something that will be remedied before next season.

Hockey night indeed

It's always worthwhile when the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens do battle. They played the first game of the season (get the honor thanks to Boston's pregame Cup ceremony) and will have Part II on Saturday in Montreal.

Let's play two

We'll also have a pair of division leaders doing battle for the second time in three days. The surprising Colorado Avalanche, a perfect 5-0 on the road this season, will be in Chicago to face the Blackhawks on Saturday night. Chicago won the opening game of the home-and-home series, beating the Avs 3-1 on Thursday.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 18, 2011 3:29 pm
 

Canucks' Bieksa opens up on Rypien before tribute

By Brian Stubits

Tuesday night will be a very emotional one in Vancouver as the Canucks will pay tribute to Rick Rypien in their game against the Rangers. A pregame ceremony, "Heart of a Canuck," will be held and will be streamed live on the team's website.

It will be tough on everybody, all the players, but maybe none more than Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa. For him, Rypien was a brother, the two growing a very close bond going back to their days with the Manitoba Moose.

Bieksa opened up about his relationship with the late Rypien to the Vancouver Sun. This is one of those stories where, as long as you have a heart, tugs at the old heart strings. I'd suggest you read the entire story.

Bieksa was one of the few that knew about Rypien's issues with depression. He kept that a secret, though, never even telling his teammates when asked how Rick was doing.

Bieksa never betrayed Rypien’s trust, even to caring teammates who inquired about Rypien’s well-being. The Canucks organization knew about Rypien’s depression since that 2008 camp and coordinated the player’s treatment.

Bieksa and his wife, Katie, helped as much as anyone.

While sitting out the rest of the 2008-09 regular season, Rypien stayed with the Bieksas.

“My wife stayed up to five in the morning talking to him every night,” Kevin said. “We did what we could. . . just tried to get him through this. He loved hockey, loved coming to the rink. I remember him saying he just missed sitting in the dressing room and listening to guys chirping Hordy (ex-Canuck Darcy Hordichuk). Things like that. Those were the things he enjoyed, the camaraderie. He didn’t like to be alone.”

Bieksa said Rypien was with him when Kevin asked Wes Jr. to be his best man, and even knew before Kevin did that he was going to be a new dad again because the Canucks were on the road when Rick finally asked Katie why she kept throwing up.

“He knew before I did,” Kevin smiled. Cole Bieksa is nearly four, and his little sister Reese is two.

Bieksa continued to say Rypien loved what he did and his depression went way beyond anything to do with fighting.

Bieksa is emphatic that Rypien loved his role in hockey and fighting had nothing to do with his mental challenges. He said Rypien’s illness was too complicated to be explained by one event or circumstance, such as the car-accident death nearly a decade ago of Rypien’s girlfriend or the constant stream of injuries that slowed his NHL career.

“There were a lot of things going on,” Bieksa said. “I felt he was as much my responsibility as anybody’s. Looking back now, I wished I’d talked to him a little more in the summer. I thought he was getting better. I knew the severity of it [but] I don’t think anyone really thought this would happen.”

It will undoubtedly be a tough night for the Canucks. Playing with heavy hearts is never easy to do. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who coached Rypien in Manitoba as well as Vancouver, said the powerful tribute video will make for "a challenging" night as the tragedy is "still tough to deal with."

The remembrances have already begun for the former Canucks player who committed suicide this summer after signing with the Winnipeg Jets. There are memorials to Rypien on the Canucks website like this.

The Canucks have also made a $50,000 donation to jumpstart a a partnership with B.C. Children's Hospital in its foundation to build mental health awareness.

“Rick Rypien was dedicated to helping young people and those in need," said T.C. Carling, Executive Director, Canucks for Kids Fund. "Through this partnership with BCCHF, BCMHAS and the support of the Vancouver Canucks we can work together to ensure Rick’s passion to help those in need is well served.”

Here is an example of some of the tributes the Canucks have already made. Here Trevor Linden talks about Rypien as a friend and a player.

H/t to Puck Daddy

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com