Let’s catch up on a few of the items that took a backseat to the Vancouver Canucks conversations revolving around head coach Bruce Boudreau’s future and forward Vasily Podkolzin’s effort in the Calder Cup playoffs. But before we do that …
First of all, ‘Gabby’ is out east in Pennsylvania decompressing from the season and reviewing his option with the Vancouver Canucks. Although the job in BC appears to remain the most enticing, viable, and of course available, we painted realistic scenarios of his NHL options. Based on what he has said to this point, it doesn’t seem like he plans to take more than a week to finalize a re-commitment to Vancouver, but he has until June 1st should one of those alternative scenarios materialize.
We brought up Vancouver, Philadelphia and also a Toronto dream sequence. It would not appear that any other potential NHL gigs factor in whatsoever, including the opening with the Detroit Red Wings. Joel Quenneville’s name has been brought up there among others.
As for Podkolzin, his AHL playoff experience lasted a grand total of two games. He finished with a goal and an assist in the brief series against the Bakersfield Condors, a team that used late-game heroics to sweep the first-round and move on in the Calder Cup playoffs.
I’m sure the Vancouver Canucks players were excited to hear it and I’m pretty sure the local media contingent was as well, when on Tuesday the club’s President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford announced serious upgrades to the downstairs working areas of Rogers Arena.
“This will be the last time you have a press gathering in this room,” Rutherford announced. “You’re going to get a new room, a nice new room. This whole area from here all the way to gate-9 is going to renovated, the lockerroom’s totally going to be done, it’s going to be changed in a more workable way for the medical staff and coaching staff and where the players work out and all that.”
From a coverage stand-point they could build us the media Taj Mahal, but if we’re not allowed to talk to the players one-on-one with pre-Covid dressing room access, it all matters not. We’re not sure if that will be an NHL decision, a team-by-team decision, or dictated by whatever the public health scenario appears to be when the time comes.
It’s an expensive proposition, particularly depending on what piece of real estate is chosen, but great in a lot of ways, including delighting free agents hockey players that may come for a visit, and that would be the development of a convenient, modern, and potentially beautiful Vancouver Canucks practice rink preferably not far from Rogers Arena.
“The other priority, and we’re gaining momentum on it, is the practice rink,” Rutherford declared. “And Micheal (Doyle – President of Canucks Sports and Entertainment), it’s one of his priorities, he’s working on it all the time, he comes to me to update me. (We’re) Getting down to two, maybe three different sites, and very close to making a decision on the a site … we’re gonna keep pressing to keep the momentum going.”
Rutherford says Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini is fully on board with the developments and the potential expenditures.
One practice rink location tossed around is on the water along False Creek at the Plaza of Nations. Just a rumour at this point.