Canucks Hockey – It’s BAAAACK
…..And we’re back. With the longest shortest off-season in the books, the Vancouver Canucks have returned to find new and creative ways to break our hearts this year while we discover new ways to find fault in a President’s Trophy and 15 playoff wins.
Yet, like running into an ex on the street, while the vital pieces are still there, something’s not quite right. Did the Vancouver Canucks change their hair? Well, no, but they have made some other changes to your line-up that might give you pause if you saw them waiting for a bus.
Consider this your cheatsheet if you run into them, except this one wasn’t gleaned by Facebook stalking at 2 am.
What We Lost and Can Never Get Back:
Lee Sweatt took off to Ottawa, took a look around the locker room and promptly retired. Smart move.
Jeff Tambellini’s discovering himself in Europe and gaining new perspectives on life.
Raffi Torres signed in Phoenix where those of Mexican descent are absolutely welcome right now, though he did take Bolduc as backup.
Tanner Glass is off to Winnipeg and of course was to be joined by Rypien.
I’ve Met Some New Men In My Life:
Marco Sturm was a bit of a July 1 headscratcher for Gillis, investing $2.25 mill for a player coming off major knee surgery and being waived the season prior.
The Canucks are gambling that Sturm can regain his speed thanks to his healthy knees and in turn regain the form that has seen him hit 20 goals seven times in his career, also known as just about every healthy season he’s played since breaking into the league.
He looked good against Calgary in the first pre-season game so maybe the NHL exec of the year knows what he’s doing.
Speaking of headscratchers, Owen Nolan tops the tryout list that includes Steve Begin, Manny Legace, Todd Fedoruk, and Anders Eriksson as the one most likely to stick with the Canucks. He’s 39 and been out of hockey for a year, but the Canucks are willing to let him prove he can be their Mark Recchi, even if every returning member of the Canucks has gone further in the playoffs than he has.
With Kesler and Raymond out to start the year, Nolan will get his chances to show he can be a big effective body for the Canucks, lack of footspeed notwithstanding.
Mike Duco continued the proud tradition of paying his dues with the Florida Panthers before being called up the Vancouver Canucks when he was traded for prospect Sergei Shirokov in the offseason and promises to bring grit and nastiness to the fourth line if he can stick with the main club.
His shorthanded winner against Edmonton last night might help his cause and at the least will help people forget about his twitter comments regarding the Stanley Cup Final.
Also auditioning for a fourth-line spot is Steve Pinizzotto, an AHL veteran with no NHL experience but a willingness to drop the gloves always.
Pinizzotto is saying all the right things this week about what he would have done to Marchand back in June, he’ll be in tough to beat out the group of forwards in contention for duty on the fourth line, but considering Vigneault’s love of experimenting with the fourth line combined with his love of experimenting in October, it stands to reason Pinizzotto will get his shot.
Mark Mancari joins the team via Buffalo and brings an impressive AHL resume to the club where’s a career point per gamer.
Mancari, again, was brought in to attempt some grit to that fourth line, and between Mancari, Pinizzotto, Duco, and Volpatti, owner Francesco Aquilini obviously wants to keep that line within the family.