Vigneault not done shaking things up for the Canucks


Vigneault not done shaking things up for the Canucks

By Mary Paoletti

Alain Vigneault tried to shake up some good luck for his Vancouver Canucks this weekend.

Vancouver surrendered a 3-0 series lead to Chicago, letting the Blackhawks claw back to 3-2 before Game 6 rolled around. This is when Vigneault made his changes.

1. Team warmed up with tennis balls instead of pucks during Saturday practice.

2. Vigneault wore jeans to his presser and shorts to a media meet on Sunday morning.

3. Vancouver went helmetless in pre-game warmups.

4. Cory Schneider started intend of Vezina Trophy finalist Roberto Luongo.

The results weren't quite what Vigneault wanted. In fact, his Opposite Day approach actually produced the exact opposite of what he wanted (WEIRD!!!!!): the Canucks lost again.

Game 7 is scheduled for Tuesday, 10 p.m. Think Vigneault is going to give up that tactic, so his team doesn't do something grotesquely horrifying like blow a three-game series lead?

No way! WGS has the inside info on what the Canucks coach has planned for the Final Countdown.

1. Team will warm up with kittens instead of tennis balls. Vigneault's theory is that the little buggers will hone his Canucks' skills even better because they're wily and will try to escape being hit with hockey sticks. Reportedly, Chris Neil is going to provide the kittens. (You know, because he's not busy right now.)

(Days of Y'Orr photo)

2. Vigneault is going to dress in a cheerleader uniform during Tuesday morning media scrums. What better way to get the Canucks pumped up than to show he believes that they can get the job done.

And he's going to bring some cheerleader friends!

They might want to practice a little more.

3. Vancouver will not wear any pads during the game on Tuesday. This is the plan anyway. I assume there will be some push back.

4. Dan Ellis will start in goal instead of Roberto Luongo.

The Twitter account is fake and so was the deal, but somehow Vigneault got it extended for Game 7. Ellis is quoted as saying "Whatevs, I was bored anyway." The Ducks sometimes-netminder is considering having eyeholes punched into this gold Incan mask so he can have it attached to his helmet.

Why? Why not.

"It was a problem for me," says Ellis. "I've got all these precious antiquities laying around and no use for them. The mask will make my helmet heavy, but whatevs. Gold is super shiny and I like that."

Will all of these tricks work? Sad Bear hopes not.

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.