I missed not having training camp!
Hey everyone, it’s been a while, but what’s a month between Canucks blogs, right?
Especially when we’re 18 days into a lockout. But, today I’ve got a little something for you. No, I’m not going to break the news that Gary Bettman was struck by a bus and that at least one of the Fehr brothers was seen dancing on or around his flattened corpse.
My little something is a little more disappointing and something I wish we all didn’t have to write and read about.
But here it is, the five things I was really looking forward to seeing at the Canucks 2012 training camp.
As the Canucks figurative window to a championship closes, it seems like it’s the perfect time to start bringing in some of the younger players who have been with the organization for a while.
This year there was, for me at least, a level of excitement I haven’t had going into camp in a very long time.
I was looking forward to seeing what young players were going to push for starting jobs, which players were going to make the biggest strides at camp, and while that may not happen, at least we can still watch what some of these players are going to do this season with the Chicago Wolves.
If there were a player poised to make the jump it would have been Schroeder. Things sort of worked out perfectly. He had a great second professional season; he not only increased his numbers but he also became an all around hockey player, one who can be relied upon in all three zones.
A bad break for one is a lucky bounce for another. With Ryan Kesler expected to miss time up until January, it would have been nice to see what Schroeder could do in that second line centre position.
Though, I should say that there’s still a chance, however small it maybe that we still see Schroeder in that role.
It all depends when this annoying labor dispute is resolved.
You won’t have to go far to find the pairing of Connauton and Tanev, just tune in to a few Wolves games this year. But like many others, I had looked forward to the potential of these two being the 5-6 pairing for the Canucks this season.
Yes, I know Keith Ballard is still a part of the team and no matter how I try to block him out he’ll always be there.
Connauton is an offensive defenseman with a helluva shot and a great stride. He’s come along way since his days as a Vancouver Giant. I was really excited to see what he brought to main camp this season.
I know we all caught a glimpse of Zack Kassian last season, but what would it have been like had there been a main camp this year?
It would have been interesting to see how he changed his game or worked on it over the summer, especially with all the hoopla surrounding his off-season training and overall transformation.
While playing in the American league won’t be a bad thing for him, it sure would have been nice to see him push for a top six role and maybe push that filthy little milt Mason Raymond into the bottom six.
Now that Sami Salo is no longer a Canuck it interests me to see how the team plays without him.
We all know that when Salo was in the lineup it not only made the defense better, but a lot of the time it made the entire team better.
This year the Canucks won’t have (not even close to physically) reliable Sami around.
Instead the Canucks will have to trust Alex Edler to take that next step in showing he can be a legit top-six defenseman in this league without Salo around.
That means showing up every night, physically dominating the opposition and manning the power play.
The Canucks big off-season acquisition was signing Jason Garrison. While no one was happier to join the Canucks this year than Garrison, it will be interesting to see how he’s used.
Can he jump in and replace Sami Salo?
Probably not in the effective and calming way that Salo himself stepped into the line up.
But Garrison at least brings the offense that Salo provided, he just needs to show he’s as dependable and reliable in his own end as he is in the offensive zone.
While it feels like a kick in the face that there is no training camp this year for the Canucks, it’s not the end of the world. We can still watch at least three of these players develop their skills in the American Hockey League.
We can hope that Edler has trained his ass off this off-season and that Garrison is ready for the added responsibility of being a legit top four defenseman in a rabid NHL market.