Changes in the works for Canucks, says GM
The Vancouver Canucks management team is conducting a post-mortem after the NHL team lost six of their last seven games, leaving them out of the playoffs.
Fans will likely see some changes in the makeup of the team, but there will be no immediate shakeup, general manager Dave Nonis said.
"We're going to spend some time as we did two years ago … going over our organization and then we'll start working on next season," Nonis said at a news conference Monday morning at GM Place.
Nonis said he will meet with the Canucks' owners this week to talk about specific changes.
After the Canucks failed to make the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, there are rumours that at least three of the team's stars might not return next year.
Top forwards Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund are eligible to become unrestricted free agents July 1, while veteran centre Trevor Linden could soon announce his retirement after 19 NHL seasons, 16 in Vancouver.
Both the coaching staff and management will also be under scrutiny as owner Francesco Aquilini decides whether to rebuild from the top.
The Canucks locker room was a sombre place Sunday as players cleared out their equipment after ending the season with a humiliating 7-1 loss to the Calgary Flames Saturday night.
Naslund refuses to rule out retirement
On Sunday, when team captain Naslund arrived to pick up his gear, he was not willing to comment on his future.
"I'm going to take some time and reflect on everything and then try to make the right decision," Naslund said.
The forward refused to rule out any options for next year, including retiring, signing with another team or returning to play for the Canucks.
Fan favourite Linden was also unwilling to comment on his future. Linden turns 38 on Friday, and did not see much ice time this season.
"It's been a hard week with a roller-coaster of emotions. I just need to take some time and make sure I make the right decision."
During the third period on Saturday, Linden received several standing ovations, with fans chanting, "One more year." As a symbolic gesture, he was also named the first star of the game.
One of the most disappointed players on Sunday was star goalie Roberto Luongo, who was heartbroken not to be in the playoffs.
"We all knew we were capable of more.… It's still tough to swallow. It will be good to be away from Vancouver to get over the disappointing ending," Luongo said.