Commentary, opinion and news on the world of hockey.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Something Cooke-ing in Vancouver?

Canucks GM Dave Nonis and veteran forward Matt Cooke are apparently quite a ways apart on a new contract - and the fight is getting messy. Nonis and Cooke's agent, Pat Morris, have excahnged verbal shots through the media in the last few days. According to Nonis, the Cooke camp is looking to be #4 or #5 on the pay-scale for forwards - adding that "If he [Cooke] was looking for Sedin money ($1.25 million per), he would be signed already."

On the other side of the coin, Cooke's agent steadfastly disputes the claim that he is looking to be paid excessively, but refuses to say what Cooke's asking price is.

My question is, what is Matt Cooke doing? Yes, he is a popular player, but in no way is he irreplacable. Does he deserve to make more than the Sedins? I don't think that's the case at all. I may take some heat for that, but truly, Cooke is a 3rd line player - a very gritty and hard working one at that, but he is not indispensable.

If his gamble does not pay off, that leaves Cooke with limited options. If he is not signed by December 01, he won't collect a paycheque for the second straight year. How attractive is that? Considering that Nonis has publically stated that he would have signed Cooke for the Sedins salary, why would he risk that guarantee over an extra couple of hundred thousand dollars?

Sounds petty to me.

The ball is firmly in the Canuck's court here, and Nonis has options. The most likely is to trade Cooke for a decent defenseman. Will that happen? Who knows.

Today Nonis signed goaltender Brent Johnson, and I sort of scratch my head. When will Alex Auld get his shot? He's been waiting in the wings for quite some time and to get pushed back to Manitoba for Johnson this year can't inflate the ego much. If Auld isn't in the Canuck's plans, why keep him around at all?

Personally, I think he deserves a shot at the full-time backup (oxymoron extraordinaire!) spot, regardless of his minor league struggles.

Given the fact that the Canucks are on the verge of passing the cap limit, something has to be brewing here in Canuckville. What that is, we shall see.


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