The Best in Blue / Jan. 27-Feb.3
The Vancouver Canucks season is in full swing now, no more trailing off conversations regarding the lockout or what transpired in months past. It’s full on hockey time, and Bobby Lu looks more ready than ever.
The Canucks started last week in disappointing shootout loss fashion.
But after that heartbreaking loss to the Kings, Vancouver got some positive momentum going in wins against Colorado and those pesky Blackhawks. Earning points in all three games of the week is certainly something to build upon after a typically slow start to the season.
Here are three players who made huge impacts last week en route to the Canucks getting back into their groove.
Third Star- Alexander Edler
I was going to go with one of the new faces for this, Jordan Schroeder or Jason Garrison. They both had great weeks and helped round out the deeper lines for Vancouver. But Alex Edler has really stepped up to earn that large contract he was dished up this year.
Edler was always a solid defender, rarely getting burnt, and contributing when he could offensively. But this year the Swede has stepped up the physical side of things, something previously only handled by Kevin Bieksa. He’s been making his presence felt when guys are trying to crowd the net or come in quick down the boards.
He’s not afraid to throw his six foot three frame around anymore, and that can spell trouble for opponents entering our zone.
This week he notched three points, while keeping his time in the penalty box to a minimum.
Second Star- Zack Kassian
The kid continues to impress me, and I’m sure a few of you. He is proving his worth in town by being that physical force Vancouver so desperately lacked in years past. And to add icing to the cake, he’s been our top offensive producer!
Not many people expected this ‘scrapper’ to be lighting up the scoreboard and scoring finesse goals this season.
I didn’t think it was part of his game, but he is certainly making it clear that he’s more than a hard head and pair of fists. Last week Kassian added three more points to his season total and played solid minutes in each of the games.
He threw his weight around like he’s paid to do, but he also managed to stay out of the box.
First Star- Roberto Luongo
Chants of ‘Luuuu’ are creeping their way back into the rafters at Rogers Arena. Bittersweet for Roberto Luongo, who was once adored by his fans, then scorned and blasted in the media as some sort of black sheep across the whole province. All anyone wanted was for him to be traded and for Cory Schneider to be the starter.
Well, they sort of got what they wanted. Schneider is the starter, technically.
Lu started all three games last week, and in impressive fashion. He shut the fans up with a solid performance, although in a losing effort, against the Kings. Then he shut out the Avalanche and held a very talented Chicago team to just one goal on 28 shots.
The ‘fans’ calling so vocally for him to be traded away are now very quiet bystanders as he dominates between the pipes and has the Canucks back on the winning track.
I hope for Roberto’s sake that he keeps up this success and gets the respect he deserves. The NHL must agree with me because he was named one of their stars of the week.
Here is the best goal of the week scored by Alex Edler, a beauty against the Blackhawks :