Five Canucks That Need to Step Up In 2011

2011 Vancouver Canucks – Players Who Must Improve!

C-Mac weighs in with his Top 5 Canucks who need to step up and make a MASSIVE difference for the 2012 run to the Stanley Cup…

Cody Hodgson

With Ryan Kesler likely out for at least the first month of the season, Hodgson has a considerable window of opportunity to establish his credentials as a key part of the team at present and for the future.

He comes with an impressive major junior and Team Canada background as a gifted offensive force. In limited playoff appearances and ice time, he also demonstrated a knack for sensible play on the 4th line, including a better-than-expected feel for defensive tendencies.

Whether Hodgson can stand up to the daily wear and tear of the league as a somewhat undersized skater on a higher line will bear watching.

Five Canucks That Need to Step Up In 2011

Marco Sturm

Sturm has made clear in past stints with San Jose and Boston that he has good offensive instincts with consistent statistical numbers, and now needs to back up his new contract with continued production.

His recent injury history notwithstanding, Sturm’s ability to help take pressure off the top line and Kesler, could provide more balance overall and end up allowing Mason Raymond more time to recuperate (and perhaps even strengthen the third line).

On the other hand, a return to his injury woes could aggravate the poor health status of the forwards at large, requiring the Sedins to shoulder an even heavier regular season burden.

Keith Ballard

Ballard has terrific physical gifts, featuring speed, strength and durability.

However, the poor decision making that hampered his regular season was magnified tenfold in the playoffs when his infrequent appearances were accompanied by awful choices that appeared to lead to opposition goals at every turn. With the loss of Ehrhoff to Buffalo, Ballard likely has his last opportunity to become a nightly member of the top six defensive rotation.

The Canucks need him to regain the confidence that saw him become such a vital member of the Florida Panthers lineup.

Alex Edler

It is time for the gifted Edler to start dominating games like he can in the manner of Weber, Chara and Keith. The physical tools are clearly there, but what needs to come is the consistent mental edge and ferocity that the very best defensemen bring to their roles.

Edler has hinted over the past few years at his vast potential, with some nice goals and heavy hitting.

Now is the time he needs to put it all out there every night on the ice.

Roberto Luongo

Much has already been written in media circles and on fan websites about the inconsistency of Luongo’s net displays and the supposed fragility of his mind.

However, less attention has been paid to one particular aspect of his personality. Roberto is a proud and hardworking player with unreal natural talent, but unfortunately he frequently lets his ego overrule common sense. A heavy dose of humility would go a long way toward allowing him to recover from the inevitable lapses that all goalies will have from time to time.

A look at the responses of Luongo in comparison to his understudy Schneider following poor performances in the recent Stanley Cup playoff.

Roberto’s comments about Thomas not ‘pumping his tires’ and his refusal to come out of a game in the final round shellacking by Boston compounded the vanity of his drive to continue battling.

Roberto clearly struggles to admit when he iswrong.

However, when Schneider had allowed the two bad goals against Chicago in Game 6 of the first round series, the first thing he did in front of the cameras was apologize for the two mistakes he made by overplaying the puck.

Roberto needs to realize that a more contrite display of humility would help alleviate the burden he often puts upon himself, and in turn would aid in re-energizing him for those pressure packed games.


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About C-Mac

Born in Northern Ireland. Lived in Japan. Resides in BC. Followed the Canucks through thick and thin his entire life, while also trying to grow his Dave Babych moustache. He's a Seahawks 12th man, and since he's played the 'Beautiful Game' for 30+ years he's a Vancouver Whitecaps diehard as well. Connect with C-Mac today!
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