We lead off today with my favorite hockey player not named Patrick Roy having his jersey retired by the Vancouver Canucks. Despite an acrimonious end to their initial relationship, Pavel Bure and the Canucks will reunite to send Bure's famed number 10 to the rafters.
It's a huge honor, and as a player the biggest achievement you can get as a personal achievement," Bure, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, said before thanking management, ownership and the fans. "Thank you, guys. I love you."
Staying in Vancouver with hockey's most maligned relationship, Canucks GM Mike Gillis continues to put a most impressive spin on the Roberto Lyongo saga as he boldly predicts Luongo will report to training camp and win the starting job for both Team Canada and the Canucks in their respective upcoming endeavors.
"It wasn't strained or adversarial at all," Gillis said. "Roberto is still working his way through how everything occurred and what happened and I think he’s going to be fine. I think he’s the consummate professional, I think he'll be the starting goalie for Canada’s Olympic team and he’ll be our starting goalie. I feel very optimistic about it."
Moving from a previous division rival to a new one, let's switch gears and head to the South, where new Stars GM Jim Nill continues to overhaul an aging and awkward lineup by promising recently drafted Valeri Nichushkin will get a legitimate opportunity to make the team out of camp. Dallas hopes newly acquired Sergei Gonchar can provide the same mentorship to Nichushkin he did to Evgeni Malkin when Malkin was breaking into the league in Pittsburgh.
"We're excited. We think he's very close, but I don't want to put expectations on him either. I want to be careful," Nill said. "He's going to get every opportunity in the world to be on the team. We want to keep him around for a while."
Going from the humid South to the wintery North, we head to Winnipeg to check on another new division rival as the Jets continue to look for ways to round their this year's upcoming roster. Like in Dallas and so many other cities that haven't seen playoff hockey in a while, a youth movement is underway and Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff might decide to stick with his brightest young stars, star F Mark Scheifele and D Jacob Trouba. Both guys could learn on the fly while seeing regular NHL ice as complementary players to proven stars already in place with Scheifele playing Robin to Evander Kane's Batman and Trouba filling the same role under Dustin Byfuglien's sizable wing.
"It's truly a development camp for us," Cheveldayoff said of a group that added 10 draft picks in June. "It's development in all aspects of the organization, both on the ice, off the ice, culturally, and even individually from the player standpoint. We're trying to develop good, young men that are going to continue to grow and be future Jets."