New Uniform #’s = New Attitude?
The Vancouver Canucks have some detractors this offseason, as a few pessimistic fans and journalists out there believe that (a) the team hasn’t recovered from the heartbreak of losing Game 7 of the Cup Final last spring and (b) injuries to key pieces like Ryan Kesler could start the team on the wrong foot.
But a key to bringing a fresh perspective to a team is new blood. Two Vancouver rookies are shaping up to be impact players as the season opener versus Pittsburgh approaches this week: Cody Hodgson and Chris Tanev.
Hodgson’s name shouldn’t come as a surprise. He’s a former first-round pick, a World Juniors standout and we’ve discussed him on this blog already.
He’ll get more ice time than ever, the Canucks will lean on him in Kesler’s absence and he even has a new lease on life after being awarded No. 9, last worn on the team by Taylor Pyatt.
The more surprising story out of camp has been defenseman Chris Tanev. The 6’2” defender has boosted his physical game, adding muscle and filling out to 190 pounds.
His coaches and teammates have raved about his poise and confidence with the puck.
Kevin Bieksa said Tanev could play “with a cigarette in his mouth,” referring to the rookie’s cool demeanor.
Unlike Hodgson, Tanev doesn’t have that elite prospect pedigree. He was never drafted and, heck, never even played major junior hockey.
The Canucks found him playing college hockey at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
He’s considered a “sure thing” to make the team and will likely suit up in the third pairing on Thursday night.
Two different positions, two very different paths to the pros – but Hodgson and Tanev are both set to make serious contributions to the Canucks this season.
Notes: Hodgson will be switching from #39 to #9 (Used the number when he was younger). Tanev switches to jersey #8 from #18.