Hump Day Hockey: Tanev no longer Vancouver's secret

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After a one week hiatus, we’re back with another edition of everyone’s somebody’s favourite weekly feature, Hump Day Hockey!

The world knows about Tanev now

Chris Tanev is no longer Vancouver’s best kept secret.

The perpetually underrated d-man starred on Canada’s top pairing with Morgan Rielly at the World Hockey Championships. Canada won gold, relying heavily on Tanev throughout the tourney.

Tanev wasn’t on for a single even strength goal against in the tournament and was a key member of the top penalty killing team, killing 27 of 29 man-advantage opportunities.

Somehow his Canadian teammate and third-pairing d-man Mike Matheson was named the tournament’s top defenceman while Tanev wasn’t – I assume they looked at the plus-minus stat – but anyone paying attention now knows Tanev’s value.

Tanev is underrated because his play doesn’t always translate to conventional statistics…

…Which he’s working on, by the way.

Gully interviewing with Calgary

The Calgary Flames have reportedly asked for permission to interview Canucks assistant Glen Gulutzan for their vacant head coaching job.

This seemed to catch a few people off-guard in Vancouver, as Utica Comets head coach Travis Green appeared to be the flavour of the month.

Gulutzan, who was head coach of the Dallas Stars for two seasons prior to joining Vancouver, was once the flavour of the month too. Gulutzan was hired to coach Dallas at the tender age of 40, after two years with the Texas Stars and a 87-57-17 regular season record. Gulutzan’s team nearly won the Calder Cup, eventually losing to Hershey in the Finals in six games.

I’m not sure if Gulutzan or Green will have decorated careers as NHL bench bosses, and quite frankly many people rely on a lot of hearsay to make coaching projections like this. Remember when Dallas Eakins was a genius who could develop young players?

The fact is that a good coach makes his team better, but a bad coach can still look good with good players.

Green has been heralded as the progressive, young coach that’s poised for good things. Gulutzan accomplished essentially the same thing as Green at the AHL, and has NHL experience to rely on. Sometimes it’s better to give a coach with experience a second chance than give someone like Green his first chance. And sometimes it’s the opposite.

We’ll see what becomes of both of them.

Game 7 in Pittsburgh

The Penguins/Lightning series might be the best series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Thank goodness they’re getting a seventh game.

The goals, the comebacks, the overtime games, the goaltending changes – it’s been great to watch.

Heading into Game 7, you get the feeling that the pressure is on Pittsburgh. If the Pens lose, the leadership of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be questioned, as will the decision to play (or bench) Marc-Andre Fleury in this series.

The Lightning on the other hand, are playing with house money. Sure, they’ve got a great opportunity to win a Stanley Cup, but they’re playing without Steven Stamkos and their best players have been very good. They’re also largely led by a group of good, young players who fly under the radar.

I mean, did anyone know Nikita Kucherov was this good? Tyler Johnson had his coming out party last year, but what about the Alex Killorns and Ondrej Palats of the world? These guys were in the Stanley Cup Final last year, yet they’re still criminally underrated.

San Jose’s time

I’m calling it: this is San Jose’s last chance.

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will turn 37-years-old before next season. Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns are each 31. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Logan Couture are in the prime of their careers. They’re getting good goaltending from Martin Jones.

The table is set for San Jose. They won’t get a chance as good as this again for a long time.

It’s now or never. They’d better make it count.

Stanley Cup Final schedule

Finally, let’s look ahead to the Stanley Cup Final, which starts on Monday.

If you’re counting at home, that’s potentially four two-day breaks between games. Yikes.

Three words for the traveling hockey media if we get a Tampa Bay-San Jose Final: extra beach time.

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Rob Williams Sports Editor at Vancity Buzz covering all sports in Vancouver.
@robthehockeyguy

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