C-Mac’s Report Card
They have played listlessly for much of the time, coping with both the equivalent of a Stanley Cup hangover and the infusion of new personnel.
However, the long term veteran core that remains has not allowed those factors to serve as excuses to settle for a mid-pack placement, and the team has resumed their customary surge up the standings.
There are lots of issues that still irritate, but the team looks to be emerging from an early hibernation.
Top 3 Things to love about the Canucks
- The fact that they are never out of games, even when they have played about as boneheaded as possible in a first and/or second period.
- That the players retain an excellent sense of humour at all times, even when the going is tough: Bieksa’s endlessly inventive quotes, Lappy’s ‘waving’ finger, Keslurking in the back of other player’s media interviews.
- The burgeoning support of Canuck Nation which becomes more evident every year as the team’s road games see large contingents of Vancouver supporters coming out to cheer on the west coast boys.
Top 3 Things to hate about the Canucks
- The lack of humility among certain players that incites other teams to find extra motivation to inspire their efforts against Vancouver.
- The fact that the ownership is pricing many long suffering fans out of games, leaving the arena filled on many nights by socialites that are there to be seen, and not for the love of the game or the team.
- The inability or meek nature of some players who still refuse to stand up at times when the team’s stars are being pushed around. It is understandable that they have been instructed to avoid unnecessary penalties, but when that ref’s whistle inevitably gets pocketed in the playoff run, this team needs to put a bit of fear and apprehension into the opposition, whoever that may be. (Hopefully Chicago at one point!)
Top Goalie: This award for the first time in many years has been competitive, but Cory Schneider has clearly been the netminder at the top of his game, with three shutouts to his name.
Ginger Jesus could be a starter for just about any team in the league now, outside of Tim Thomas and the hated Bruins
Top Defenceman: Sami Salo and Alex Edler have played well to start the year, but Dan Hamhuis logs the high minutes, plays his typically sound positional defence, has confidently taken on the power play time left vacant by Ehrhoff’s departure, and is on pace for a career best points total.
Hammer is the best Canuck signing of the past few years.
Top Left Winger: Daniel Sedin currently leads the team in points with 33 in 27 games. He also sports a +10 rating and is playing the best defensive hockey of his career.
He is the Canucks MVP at this point.
He is second in scoring with 30 points, and is on pace to finish with a solid 24 goals and his typical high assists total. He is also playing well checking back.
Top Right Winger: Jannik Hansen has been a tremendously versatile RW on the first through third lines this year as injuries and poor play have necessitated a great deal of line shuffling.
The Great Dane has looked good at times playing up with the Sedins when Burrows has been hurt, and continues to excel as a checker.
His hands appear to be softening up with an excellent 9 goals to date.
The early season struggles of the team, including this integration of new players and the injury bug have hampered the team, but the line juggling I believe is refuelling the thirst of the team to return to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Players such as Chris Higgins , Hansen, Hodgson and Schneider have stepped up wonderfully to expand their roles with the Canucks. David Booth and Dale Weise have also brought new energy and are rounding into form as they adjust to their place with the team.
Luongo is the biggest concern as he tries to regain his mechanics and confidence, but with last year’s disappointment evaporating and the experience gained from that long run in reserve, this team is starting to pick things up as needed.