Canadian Corner – July 20, 2011.

Should the Canucks consider signing Chris Drury? Were the Canadiens considering Peter DeBoer as an assistant coach? What’s the latest on John-Michael Liles and Blake Wheeler? Read on to find out!


VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Brough of Orland Kurtenblog wondered if the Canucks should consider signing former NY Rangers center Chris Drury. While admitting Drury signing with the Canucks would be a long shot and acknowledged Drury’s recent injury history, Brough suggested Drury – if healthy – would be a versatile, penalty-killing forward who could move up to the top six if needed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen where Drury ends up, and we don’t even know if Canucks GM Mike Gillis would be interested in him. Still, it’s an interesting theory, and I’d be interested in the opinions of Canucks fans about it as we kill time in the dog days of summer.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey speculated over the possibility of the Canadiens perhaps having interest in hiring Peter DeBoer as an assistant coach prior to his joining the New Jersey Devils as their new head coach.

“(Jacques) Martin gave DeBoer his first National Hockey League job in 2008 when he hired him to be the head coach of the Florida Panthers. His defensive philosophy fits in with Martin’s way of thinking but, unfortunately for the Canadiens, it was that commitment to defence that also made him attractive to Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello.”

Hickey reports the Canadiens will have to shift their focus, and while Randy Cunneyworth would appear a prime candidate, he’s done such a good job with the Habs AHL affiliate in Hamilton that it might be best to leave him there.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure the Canadiens could find a suitable replacement for the departed Kirk Muller without having to turn to Cunneyworth, though he would make a terrific addition to the Canadiens coaching staff.


TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports new Maple Leafs defenseman John-Michael Liles has made a positive first impression with Leafs fans.

“The 30-year-old defenceman, acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in June, made his initial public appearance in Toronto on Tuesday afternoon, chatting with patients at the Hospital for Sick Children and signing autographs for the young Leafs fans.

“It’s fantastic,” Liles said of his meet-and-greet with the kids. “I tried to be as much a part of the community (in Denver) as possible, and to come here, and to be my first appearance, it’s definitely a special feeling.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL players are considered among the most giving pro athletes of their time and effort to supporting charities. Liles is yet another example of that.


WINNIPEG SUN: Kirk Penton reports Jets forward Blake Wheeler, who recently avoided salary arbitration by re-signing a two-year extension with the Jets, is ready to become the power forward everyone thought he would become.

“I’m developing more into the power forward that I was projected to be when I was younger,” the Winnipeg Jets forward said Tuesday from Palm Beach, Fla. “I’m starting to learn how to use my size to my advantage a little bit more.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler had a strong finish to last season after getting dealt to the then-Thrashers, netting 17 points in 23 games. That could be an indicator the 24-year-old is ready to break out.



  1. I doubt the Canucks GM is going to spend money on a guy like Drury whilst passing on a 50 point PP QB is Ehrhoff. I would think that cap space is earmarked for a legit 2nd liner to play on the Kesler line, be it sooner or later that they get one.

  2. I have actually been hoping that we would sign Drury since rumors started popping up that he would be bought out. I think he would be great on our 3rd/4th lines as a grinder/ penalty killer with the ability to chip in a cpl goals. Drury is great defensively and he has a good work ethic and atittude. Only problem was his expectations in NY and a role that he could not live up to. WIth lowered expectations in Vancouver due to our overall depth, I believe that he would contribute a lot to our team.

    Obviously, this only works if he is willing to take a huge discount, but considering he got paid so much in NY along with the extra money he got from his buy out, he might be willing to sign for cheap. The problem is how low is that cheap, since Vancouver is right up against the cap.

  3. That money is better spent on size and skill to help Kesler. Also doesnt Drury have a degenerative problem with his left knee which may be part of or all of the reason NY is buying him out?

  4. Personally I’d rather see Gillis try to get either Callahan or Dubinsky out of New York. Both would be beneficial playing alongside Kesler.

  5. well said spector on giving credit where credit is due in regards to Liles. Good to see we are filling this leaf team with players who actually give a damn.

  6. The Canucks have a very glaring need, and it was abundantly clear during the series against Chicago, Nashville and most truely against Boston. SIZE… Not a bunch of AHL standouts that have never panned out in the NHL. Brad Winchester is 6’5 and physical as well as available and can outthe odd puck in the net. Drury could play on any line, leadership is important, but at 36? He would need to take a reduced contract of 1.5 to 2 million to show he is healthy and not in decline as his years in New York have shown. Size is what they need, not more small Euro players.

  7. For anyone that listened to Gillis’ season wrap-up press conference, we had virtually half a team filled with injuries by the end of the playoffs (most of which were to players renown for their physical resiliency). Similar to my thoughts on Marco Sturm, why would the Canucks now seek to bolster their line-up and take up cap space with players who’s dubious injury histories have already been well documented? It would be a stretch of expectations to believe that either Sturm or Drury would play anywhere close to 60 games next year in the regular season, let alone hold up during the bang-up nature of the playoffs.