Matters are becoming clear

After watching the Canucks over the past few weeks, a number of thoughts I have about the team and its composition have become more clear.

  • Willie Mitchell needs to be the captain of the team next season. This guy never takes a shift off, he leaves everything he has on the ice, is a vocal leader on and off the ice, and is a born-and-bred British Columbian.
  • Following from the last point, I don’t think Markus Naslund is coming back to play next year, at least not for the Canucks. Nor, for that matter, do I think he should. Despite my earlier admiration for his contributions this season (after a couple of dismal seasons in the two years previous), his play seems to have tailed off once again. Naslund is simply (and sadly) no longer the potent offensive force he once was, and he has neither the capabilties of a leader nor a two-way forward to reinvent himself as anything else.
  • Brendan Morrison, frustrating as he may be at times, is more important to the Canucks than most fans (myself included) are prepared to admit. He is never going to be a consistent 70-point player, but he should, when healthy, score around 50-60 points as a second line centre. He is also a leader and seems to be well liked by his teammates.
  • Kevin Bieksa may not ever be the next Ed Jovanovski, but his game is certainly modelled according to a similar template. Dangerous going forward, a decent passer of the puck in offensive situations, a good shot from the point, and tough in his own end; yet, at the same time, prone to egregious giveaways in the defensive zone, boneheaded plays in general (read: unfortunate lack of that great intangible, ‘hockey sense’), and is strangely impelled to take stupid penalties on a regular basis.
  • Alex Edler is playing much more like the obscure prospect many originally identified him for than the player who was whetting Canucks fans’ collective appetities earlier this season.
  • Roberto Luongo remains outstanding. He still can’t play the puck and has an unfortunate habit of embellishing any contact from opposition forwards but, hey, Jesus wasn’t perfect either, right? Just ask Pontius Pilate.
  • Taylor Pyatt looks a player who should score 40 goals per season in this league but tends to play like one who deserves everything he gets, i.e. around 20 goals per season.
  • The Sedin twins are disturbingly ineffective without open ice and ample room to cycle the puck. To be sure, this has become almost an axiomatic statement for anyone who watches the Canucks regularly, but it remains disconcerting as the prospect of another flaccid playoff performance from our beloved Super Twins looms large on the horizon.
  • I like Matt Pettinger. I like Matt Pettinger a lot more than I ever liked Matt Cooke. Nice move, Dave.
  • Sami Salo, a much maligned figure for me due to his seeming inability to even drink a glass of milk without sustaining frostbite to his lips (or some other bizarre injury), is playing the way all of us perpetually frustrated fans know he can without his injury problems.
  • Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler have established themselves as first-rate rat bastards (Theo Fleury style) in this league, with the goal scoring acumen to prove it. Okay, perhaps the Fleury comparison is an exaggeration (both in terms of rat-like looks and offensive prowess) but it does suggest the value of both and their respective contributions to this team and its identiy.
  • Trevor Linden, when he draws into the lineup, should stop trying to pass the puck across the middle of the ice.

Any thoughts, comments, or disagreements?


3 Responses to “Matters are becoming clear”

  1. 1 H March 18, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    So you are finally seeing Bieksa for what he is worth. I think his energy and suprise start last year has made him seem a better player than he is. In truth, he makes poor offensive pinches (I think they weren’t noticed since Mitchell would always save the day if caught up ice last year), takes lazy penalties and, although tough, is a defensive liability. I think he had a season similar to Edler’s (minus the last 8 games) where the upside was too good not to get on board with.

    Speaking of Edler, I think he is either tired or playing injured. Being a young defenseman playing above expectations for a sustained time, I think it has finally caught up to him.

    Your point on Morisson is spot on. Good but not great, won’t be star but ain’t a slouch.

    I think Sedins are playing poorly as well. However, I think refs are prepping for ‘playoff hockey’ and are not calling the one to two penalties a game the sedins would draw. As such they aren’t getting the same space they enjoyed earlier in the season.

    What is with the man love for Kesler and Burrows? I admit I like them, but I think you are looking for the relationship you once had with Maltby and Draper with these two…

    Why the hate for Trevor Linden? This is ridiculous. This is akin to being an Evangelical Christian but just not that into Jesus.

  2. 2 Emmett March 18, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Mason Raymond’s future still looks bright too. Well, aside from just getting injured. But, you know…

  3. 3 Simon March 19, 2008 at 7:21 am

    For the first time this year, I actually care about the outcome of an Oilers game. It should be a good game tomorrow. Goilers!

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