Gallagher: Canucks have got money — now fans want sizzle

 

 
 
 
 
Jonas Hiller, left, and Ryan Miller, right, are two goalies the Canucks have reportedly contacted. It makes perfect sense, when you consider that they just dumped a huge goaltender contract, right?
 
 

Jonas Hiller, left, and Ryan Miller, right, are two goalies the Canucks have reportedly contacted. It makes perfect sense, when you consider that they just dumped a huge goaltender contract, right?

Photograph by: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

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If you believe the reports the Vancouver Canucks have contacted the agents for Dave Bolland and goalies Jonas Hiller and Ryan Miller, you have to wonder what the green brain trust of the Vancouver Canucks is thinking these days.

Not sure whether it escaped their notice, but only the Buffalo Sabres scored fewer goals than their team last year — and if the goal is to produce uptempo, entertaining hockey, perhaps looking at goaltenders and an overpriced checking centre with a concussion history might not be the highest priority.

Perhaps marshalling the forces toward producing some offence by way of getting some top-six talent and leaving the coach to rehab the lame performance of the back end last year might be a more efficient way to go.

Sure Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom may not be the biggest names in the game. But look at what the Habs got from a kid like Dustin Tokarski, whom they pulled out of their duffs and threw into the fire. Their goaltending was fine even though the kid looked to be something of a technical nightmare.

Lack and Markstrom have far more likelihood of success than this kid and at present both are drinking the cool-aid of goalie coach Rollie Melanson with every possibility they are going to give you just as good a body of work as either Miller or Hiller, who will almost certainly cost one whole helluva lot more.

Consider they just got out from under a big contract goalie when they moved Roberto Luongo to where he wanted to go, to Florida where the demand to compete for anything significant likely won’t be an issue for years to come.

Having been left with $15 million US cap space with the Luongo deal and the buyout of David Booth, the Canucks are now going to spend it on another expensive goalie and a checking centre? This doesn’t seem to indicate uptempo, exciting hockey to the fellow who is wondering whether or not to renew his or her season ticket package.

Sure, we get that they might have been unnerved by the goals the team was giving up down the stretch as the fire drill brought about by John Tortorella was reaching its zenith and the players had given up hope.

We get that — but if Willie Desjardins can’t get this back end playing one whole lot better than it did almost all of last season, he has been wildly oversold as a coaching candidate.

Now, perhaps, given that everyone is saying it’s a buyers market for goalies, they might steal one of these characters for peanuts. Then fine, ease your conscience, knock yourself out, although you’ll be stuck temporarily at least with three NHL one-way goalie contracts.

But the Vertigo kid who watched first Frederik Andersen and then John Gibson climb over his twitching body to claim the top job in Anaheim? Hell, why don’t you just get Lui back?

And while we get that trading Ryan Kesler is going to mean you need a right-handed centre to take draws on one side of the ice in the defensive zone, couldn’t you pursue someone with a little more offensive flair than this character?

What Benning, Desjardins and perhaps even Trevor Linden don’t seem to be fully grasping here, if this is in fact the direction they intend to take this team, is how genuinely boring the games were last year.

It wasn’t the losing that bothered people, it was the fact nothing happened. Going to games was tough for us freeloading slugs in the media, let alone for those who actually paid for the privilege of dragging themselves to the arena.

Attending them was an act of utter irrationality. Large swaths of play would go by and the noise wouldn’t have awoken an insomniac. The eyes recoiled, looking for something that wasn’t static, any kind of movement would suffice. Yet we’re to have more defensive players?

Perhaps the Canuck types were just calling the agents to say hello or to ask about another client. Because if they plan on putting the fans back into a decent mood to start the season, they’d better have at least some sizzle to sell so as to get fans filling seats without having to bring along their anti-depressants.

 
 
 
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Jonas Hiller, left, and Ryan Miller, right, are two goalies the Canucks have reportedly contacted. It makes perfect sense, when you consider that they just dumped a huge goaltender contract, right?
 

Jonas Hiller, left, and Ryan Miller, right, are two goalies the Canucks have reportedly contacted. It makes perfect sense, when you consider that they just dumped a huge goaltender contract, right?

Photograph by: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

 
Jonas Hiller, left, and Ryan Miller, right, are two goalies the Canucks have reportedly contacted. It makes perfect sense, when you consider that they just dumped a huge goaltender contract, right?
Reports suggest Dave Bolland, who played last season in Toronto, could be headed to the Canucks — but can a checking centre with a concussion history really provide the kind of sizzle Canucks fans crave?
 
 
 
 
 
 
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