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doubts disappeared after the coach
#1
While the results of this season are obviously disappointing for the Vancouver Canucks -- disappointing enough to cost GM Mike Gillis his job -- this isnt necessarily a team in a terrible position. Rob Gronkowski Patriots Jersey . In fact, with a few improvements, this could very well be a decent team over the next few seasons. I will go into more detail when digging into the Canucks Off-Season Game Plan, which will be coming earlier this year since they are part of the non-playoff contingent, there are some reasons to think this is a favourable situation for President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden and whomever he selects to be the new general manager. This isnt to say everything is just fine, but there are teams in far worse situations than the Canucks. A look at some of the positives: Despite this season going off the rails, the Canucks ranked ninth in Fenwick Close, a measure of puck possession. Among the top dozen teams in that metric, only the Canucks and New Jersey Devils (who are an impossibly terrible 0-11 in shootouts) are not in playoff position. So why is that a positive? The Canucks arent going to the postseason, in large part, because theyve been terribly unlucky around the net. Their 7.2% even-strength shooting percentage is ranked 25th in the league this year after it was middle of the pack -- 15th (8.0%) and 14th (7.8%) -- in the previous two seasons. Its very difficult for a team to stray too far from the average over a longer period of time and while this doesnt mean the Canucks can just assume that they will score more next season, its pretty easy to forecast better luck for this group. As low as the team shooting percentage is at 5-on-5, having the likes of Alexandre Burrows, Chris Higgins, Ryan Kesler and both Sedins, their big minute forwards, all under 8.0% makes it likely that there will be some recovery towards more typical production, particularly because the Canucks top forwards still had strong seasons in terms of puck possession and as long as they are controlling play, the odds are in their favour that more pucks will end up in the oppositions net. Add a bona fide scorer to the mix and the odds of recovery would be even better. The Canucks have a solid group of defencemen. The top four of Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa, Alexander Edler and Jason Garrison is more than capable of anchoring a playoff team. Garrisons possession numbers took a dive this year but, on the whole, this group isnt a primary issue. Even better, they have relatively economical options Chris Tanev and Ryan Stanton to round out the top six. Tanev is also a viable candidate to move into the top four if one of those named above is convinced to waive a no-trade clause in order to upgrade elsewhere. There was a lot of talk around the trade deadline about Edler being available and, while it must be with the understanding that Edler was the unluckiest of Canucks blueliners this past season in terms of percentages going awry, he would be a top pair defenceman for quite a few teams and, since those arent made available often, he ought to bring a significant return. Also, as I noted on Twitter, the Canucks were on a 106-point pace through the first half of the season, but as January rolled around, they had some overlapping injuries. At some point, it was either Edler, Burrows, Roberto Luongo and/or Henrik Sedin missing time and they didnt have the depth to make up for those absences. That lack of depth brings us to some of the concerns that the new management will need to address. One, their core is older. Among the top six forwards in average ice time, 28-year-old Mike Santorelli, an unrestricted free agent coming off shoulder surgery, is the only one that wont be 30 by the time next season starts. On defence, Edler (27) and Tanev (24) are younger, but Garrison turns 30 in November and Bieksa and Hamhuis are already beyond. This doesnt mean that the moment a player hits 30, that they cease to have value, but age makes professional athletes a declining asset at a certain point and, by age 30, the vast majority are declining assets and most of Vancouvers core is in that neighbourhood now. Their goaltending situation, not-so-long-ago enviably deep, is decidedly suspect. 26-year-old Eddie Lack has had an okay rookie season, though if he had played well in January (1-5-2, 2.95 GAA, .908 SV%), that might have prevented, or at least slowed, the teams fade from contention and then his first couple weeks following the Luongo trade (.882 SV% in 8 GP) were a little rough as well but, on the whole, Lack has given the Canucks more than they had any right to expect from him coming into the season. Lack has played well enough to have a shot at competing for the starting job next year, with a veteran added to the mix to provide stability. There are free agents ranging in experience (Ryan Miller, Jaroslav Halak, Jonas Hiller, Brian Elliott, Ray Emery, Thomas Greiss) or a trade option like James Reimer that could upgrade the position from its suddenly subpar standing and an above-average possession team with stable goaltending is most of the way towards the playoffs. There is also the matter of Ryan Kesler reportedly asking out of Vancouver prior to the trade deadline. If that holds true, then there would be at least one blockbuster move to take care of this summer, but Kesler recently indicated that he intends to return to Vancouver next season. Even if they are capable of returning to the playoffs in short order, and thats possible, the Canucks need to beef up their young talent throughout the organization so that, even if the Canucks arent necessarily Cup-bound in the next couple years, that they have enough to be competitive as the core moves on. Young roster wingers Nicklas Jensen and Zack Kassian still have some potential to explore but may not ultimately be top-six performers. Bo Horvat and Brendan Gaunce, first rounders the past two seasons, could provide solid two-way play when they are deemed ready to play, but the Canucks need more. These are the challenges that come with the job for anyone running a hockey team and, given the Canucks above-average core, they have some easier issues to deal with than some other non-playoff clubs that dont have that foundation in place. Scott Cullen can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Rob Gronkowski Youth Jersey . Johnson shared an update after his surgery Tuesday on Twitter. He also wrote, "now lets get on the grind." The running back told The Tennessean he was having surgery in Pensacola, Fla. Andre Tippett Womens Jersey . Consider it received. Attacking on offence early and often, the Penguins topped the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 on Saturday night as Jussi Jokinen scored the go-ahead goal in the third period to help give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference playoff series. http://www.shoptheofficialpatriots.com/E...ts-Jersey/ . Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points, Shawn Marion had 22 and the Mavericks beat undermanned Philadelphia 124-112 Friday night, handing the 76ers their 10th straight loss. LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Looking back, Bobby Petrino said the first of his many mistakes in recent years was leaving Louisville, which provided the first of several head coaching opportunities on the college and professional levels. Upon returning Thursday to the Cardinals after seven years, Petrino promised his second stint would be permanent because this was always his destination -- even with collegiate stops at Arkansas and Western Kentucky and a 13-game foray with the NFLs Atlanta Falcons. Petrino returns to a Louisville program that has changed a lot since he left, one thats gearing up to join the Atlantic Coast Conference next season with a home game against newly-crowned champion Florida State. The coach insisted that hes a changed person as well as he enters the next -- and hopefully final -- stop in his career. "Its great to be back home," Petrino said during a sometimes-emotional news conference. "Its really unbelievable to get the opportunity to come back here. For (wife) Becky, and (children) Nick and Bobby and Katie, this is our home and were excited to be able to come back." Petrino coached Western Kentucky to an 8-4 record last season in his only year with the team. He led the Cardinals to a 41-9 mark from 2003-06 including a BCS Orange Bowl victory his final season. He succeeds Charlie Strong, who left last weekend after four years to accept the Texas job. Petrino inherits a team coming off a 12-1 finish and is 23-3 the past two seasons with two bowl wins. Petrino received a seven-year contract with a base annual salary of $3.5 million. It includes a $10 million buyout for leaving that decreases after four years. But the well-travelled coach said that will not be necessary because this is his "destination job." Petrino is 83-30 as a college coach. His record includes a 34-17 mark at Arkansas that ended amid scandal in April 2012. He came to the Razorbacks after a 3-10 season in 2007 with the Falcons that ended with the coach announcing his departure by letters left at the players lockers. "I made mistakes, both professionally and personally, and thats something Im not going to do again," Petrino said. "The first mistake was leaving Louisville, and Im hoping that the fans and everybody will forgive me. Im more energized, more excited than Ive ever been." Petrino had been mentioned for the Louisville job almost from the moment Strong left for the Longhorns, but the coach said he became aware of the opening only after Cardinals athletic director Tom Jurich approached WKU athletic director Todd Stewart for permission to interview him. Jurich said he was angry at Petrino early in the Tuesday interview because of the coachs behaviour in his previous Louiisville stint, one that included player disciplinary issues. Irving Fryar Womens Jersey. The AD also said he was mad at Petrino for leaving after the Orange Bowl win for the pros, though he acknowledged the coach was honest about his interest in the job. On Sunday, Jurich said he and Petrino had previously resolved their differences. But he wanted to see if the coach had truly changed as he has professed since Arkansas fired him for "a pattern of misleading behaviour" following a motorcycle accident in which he revealed his mistress was a passenger. Jurich came away convinced he was getting a different man from the one who left, reinforcing his belief that Petrino was the right fit for the Cardinals. "If it was the same Bobby that was here 10 years ago, I wasnt interested," said Jurich, adding that he kept coming back to Petrino as he went through a list of seven finalists. "He is definitely a changed person." While Petrinos critics have been skeptical about his commitment, public sentiment for his hiring has been mostly favourable on sports talk radio, online polls and social media. Petrino has been contrite since the embarrassing matter and reiterated Thursday he has been humbled by his experiences. Asked how he would quell skepticism, the coach said, "the thing you do is just show (it). I have a sign in the locker room that says its a show-me world." Petrino is already off and running on his staff. A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that UAB coach Garrick McGee is stepping down and has agreed to become Petrinos offensive co-ordinator. The new Cardinals coach added that he will retain defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, penalized in October by the NCAA for violations committed as a Miami (Fla.) assistant. Louisvilles hiring of the offence-minded Petrino excited Cardinals players, such as leading rusher Dominique Brown, because of the potential of maintaining a high-powered unit Strong left behind. He acknowledged there were questions about his commitment but said those doubts disappeared after the coach met with players. "There were a couple of on the fence, but now all the players are convinced," Brown said. "We knew what we had while he was here, a top-10 offence. He had a good track record while he was here. I knew he liked to use big backs like Michael Bush. I was kind of worried, but now we are all convinced." Petrino said he was excited to get started with his second go-round with Louisville. "Its certainly a privilege to see how everything has moved, and now were going into the ACC," he said. "Its a great challenge to see the schedule we have coming up, and I cant wait to play that schedule." ' ' '
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#2
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