Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Canucks place Curtis Sanford on waivers

Although Jason Labarbera struggled in last night's loss to the Devils, the Canucks see something in Barbie that Sanford lacks. Size could be part of it. His record prior with the Canucks prior to his flaws last night wasn't all that bad. Ian Clark will continually work with Labarbera to improve his composure, stance, style and speed. In the meantime if Luongo stays healthy he will play almost all of the remaining games give or take a few.
Sanford seemed well-liked by his teammates and fans alike. He held a competition in the pre-season for an artist to design his mask. All the best in the future, Sandman.

“It was a very challenging decision for us,” said head coach Alain Vigneault. “Curtis is not only really respected and liked by his teammates but the whole coaching staff and management feel exactly the same way.”
Vigneault did not say why the Canucks chose Labarbera over Sanford except to say that he told Sandman this morning and that if he clears waivers he'll play in Manitoba.

The good news out of all this is that Roberto Luongo will make his debut on Thursday against the Coyotes.

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At January 14, 2009 at 12:44 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hiya Sean -

As someone who grew up in Los Angeles, whose professional teams in all leagues had a definite habit of buying aging super-stars off the shelf for instant results, I have been very leery of the Sundin acquisition to date.

I've just seen this many times. The most obvious case was the old LA Kings getting Gretzky, but that was far from the only incident.

The teams were usually middle-of-the-road, seeking to get over the top by the addition of a Gretzky, a Reggie Jackson, a Gary Sheffield, etc.

It never works out. Instead, what happens is that the other players stop playing with heart because: one, the entire premise of the acquisition argument is that they are a bunch of losers and, two, why try so hard when Super-Star is coming to save the day?

Now, that's not to say that's what we're seeing here. Sundin may work out and end up fitting in with team chemistry. It's rare, but I have seen such things work. Could happen.

When I watch the Canucks play right now I see a deflated, demoralized bunch of players who have received a giant vote of "no confidence" from the management.

That needs to change. I think a change in coach may be a good idea. I like AV but it looks like we've reached the Crawford zone here: he's yelling and no one's listening.

One thing is for sure: This team right now will not get it done.

At January 14, 2009 at 1:07 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sean - Looks like the guys at the Globe & Mail are thinking along the same lines as you, as follows:

Matthew Sekeres, today at 2:05 AM EST

A couple of things after a 5-3 Vancouver loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, a game that was signed and sealed with a 3-0 Jersey lead after one period.

1) The Canucks looked like a team that wanted to get its coach fired. And Alain Vigneault sounded like he did at the end of last season, when his job was on the line following seven losses in the last eight games, which kept Vancouver out of the playoffs.

So far this year, Vigneault has been quite willing to share his thoughts on what is plaguing the team, and where it can improve. When it was suggested to him that defensive coverage was an area of concern – as noted by assistant captain Ryan Kesler – Vigneault balked and said the team was giving up less than 12 chances a game on home ice, which should be good enough.

Vigneault chalked up Vancouver's ghastly first period against the Devils to “unfortunate decisions” and did not provide a direct response when asked how his team could be so flat after a message-sending practice on Monday. The coach ended his media session with an inspirational ‘I believe in my guys' dissertation.

All of it amounted to: Don't blame me.

2) The Canucks are in a stretch that may get general manager Mike Gillis looking to make a move earlier than the trade deadline. (Gillis might do that anyway because he is not in the least a conventional guy who is going to be bound by an arbitrary date of March 4.)

Two names to watch: Atlanta defenceman Mathieu Schneider and Islanders forward Doug Weight.

Schneider is 39 and in the final year of his contract. He counts as a $5.6-million (all currency U.S.) cap hit and plays for a terrible team. Vancouver may well be the only contender with the necessary cap space to trade for Schneider, and the price should be cheap because of that. Atlanta just needs to unload him for something.

Weight counts as a $4.3-million cap hit – another prohibitive blow for cap-tight contenders – but is making just $1.75-million this season for the last-place Islanders. The 37-year-old is also a free agent this summer and if he really is enjoying playing with kids on the Island – as he claimed recently – he can always re-sign there in July.

At January 14, 2009 at 3:15 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

OK, a few things on what you've said and quoted. For one, Alain Vigneault already had a good system in place over the past couple of years. He won the jack Adams Trophy 2 years ago. He liked to trap like the Devils do/did. When Gillis came on board and acquired the likes of Demitra, he said the team would play a more wide-open exciting style. Talks of AV not necessarily being Gillis' type of guy emerged. AV is playing a system right now that his superiors want him to play. And look at how well that is working.
See how many times guys like Willie Mitchell pinch in now? Not smart. Mitchell needs to stick at what he's good at: a stay at home defenceman.
The Canucks ARE playing lousy defensively as a team AND the backup goalies are not getting the job done consistently. If Luongo goes back in net and the team hangs him out to dry then AV will be gone by Sunday. But I anticipate Luongo to instill confidence in this group and save their asses when they defensively fuck up. That's what he's good at.
As far as the Sundin theory goes: Gillis has made it clear since July that he wanted to sign him. This wasn't a surprise to the players. And it shouldn't have been. Naslund and Morrison were let go in the summer and replaced by Demitra and basically in the long run..Sundin. That should make the guys excited more than anything else.
To me this is a distracted bunch that is in a mini funk. Once they string together 2 wins in a row I don't see them falling off into oblivion.
As far as relating Sundin to the Gretzky scenario goes: when Gretz got traded to L.A., he improved them dramatically, to a 2nd place finish in the Conference and a 1st round upset of the Oilers. What's so bad about that?

It's too early to hang Viggy. Let's just see how the next 2 games go.

Do we need another center in Doug Weight? No. We have enough centers already.

At January 14, 2009 at 8:28 p.m. , Blogger Marja said...

"To me this is a distracted bunch that is in a mini funk. Once they string together 2 wins in a row I don't see them falling off into oblivion."

Couldnt agree more. Vancouver is a good team with a balanced offense, deep defence and a GREAT goalie. We will sail into the playoffs this year, and I for one expect a round or two at least.
Its not even the all-star break yet, theres almost 40 games left to tweak and turn things around. We have peaked usually to early, this year I want to see a gradual progression culminating in the team firin on all cylinders come the 2nd season.

Ps. No weight, no schneider. PLEASE Gillis, i'm beggin you...
Pps. Vermette though, YES SIR.

At January 14, 2009 at 8:45 p.m. , Blogger Temujin said...

Too bad about Sanford, I really like him, but he is sort of the odd man out. It's too bad we couldn't trade him and get something in return, but if he clear waivers and then we have to call him up (god forbid, that means Luongo is injured again), I hope he gets picked up by a team that will give him more than 5 games a season.

At January 14, 2009 at 9:52 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Or we call up Sanford if Barbie gets injured in his doll house.

At January 14, 2009 at 9:53 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Billy: you betcha. So much time left. But the clock will be ticking on AV if we start losing with Luongo I think.


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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.