1. So, uh. Luongo. There's obviously a million analysis pieces on the trade, but how do you feel about him now? Happy for him? Pissed off?
Oh, obscenely happy for him. Whether you love or loathe Vancouver, I think most fans understood it was a poorly managed situation and he deserved a better environment. He gets to go back to a place he loves, a team that needs his stability in net (though I wish Thomas had stuck around just for fun) and he's out of a hockey-mad market and can just focus on the game. It's a black eye for us but a happy ending for him. If I'm pissed at anything, it's that it got that ugly to begin with. The best goalie we've ever had should have left with a better story.
2. Is this the beginning of a long decline for Vancouver in the style of CGY and EDM?
I don't think it's that bad yet (sorry). The core is aging but still capable of production, I think the defense - when healthy - is where the team is strongest and Lack has the tools to develop into a quality netminder. There's also some strong prospects on the bubble of cracking through - Gaunce, Jensen, Horvat, Corrado, Shinkaruk - so, at the moment, I think it's just an infusion of youth in a bad season. Gillis will have ample cap space and a long summer to address the problems and get this train back on track. However, a poor trade here or losing a bidding war there and next season could get ugly.
3. How do you feel about Seattle possibly getting a NHL team and being geographic rivals for Vancouver?
I'm cool with it. They'll have a new stadium, hockey has a strong following in the area and it'll be a cheaper alternative for Canadians living near the border. Vancouver's never had a rival that geographically close, so since I grew up around the free flowing hate between the Rangers / Islanders / Devils it would be cool to see that vibe for Seattle and Vancouver.
4. Will the Kesler trade ever happen, or will it just eventually blow over?
Just as with the Luongo ordeal, I think the cat's out of the bag. Maybe Gillis has a trick up his sleeve to keep Kesler happy, but the fact he had a "for sale" sign slapped on his chest for a few weeks presumably means he'll be gone at the draft or via this summer. It'll be another tough pill to swallow since Vancouver doesn't have anyone who can replace his skills on the ice. Personally I don't want to see another jersey on him, but if he does leave Gillis simply has to receive core talent in return. If he botches a Kesler deal then I'll most certainly have a different answer for question #2 next season.
Never say never right? I doubt it would happen, but if it got to a point where Vancouver is tanking and another team would take both contracts on (and is a Cup contender to boot) and the return could help us, I'd be for it. Just like Iginla, they deserve a shot at the Cup in the twilight of their Hall of Fame careers. Though, on that note, I'm afraid I can't cheer for Iginla in that Bruins jersey. I can only hate myself so much.
Thanks again, Yankee Canuck- you have great taste in home countries, terrible taste in NHL teams. I wish your team the worst of luck!