Secondary Scoring 2008/09 Season

The 2006/07 marked a dramatic shift for the Vancouver Canucks.  Gone was the West Coast Express and the puck moving Jovo Cop.  In came Marc Chouinard and Willie Mitchell, defensive hounds from the defense factory Minnesota Wild.  And a coach with a goal of playing defense first hockey.

Plus one Mr. Roberto Luongo.  All the hopes had been pinned on him and he came through.  While the scoring was down, few questioned the program because they suddenly started winning near Xmas that year.  Goals were tough to come by, but secondary scoring was coming through from an extremely strong back end.

Forward to 2007/08, and it’s the back end that failed the team.  Not from a performance perspective, but as a whole, they lost significant number of man games to injury, and a defence that had potted 45 goals and a total 145 points only a year before, got in only 34 goals and 116 points total this year.

That’s a significant difference.  11 goals doesn’t sound like a lot, but consider this.  The Canucks score 217 goals the year they made it to the playoffs with Luongo, and 207 goals the year they didn’t. 

The margin of error is that small.

So, welcome back Defense in 2008/09, if Salo & Bieksa can stay healthy, and Edler continue his development, we’ll get those 11 goals back and more.

And while most consider Demitra & Berneir a wash for Naslund & Morrison, it’s true from a purely statistical and one dimensional way of looking at it.  I would suggest that the overall team chemistry, plus the competitiveness of the team has improved with the new captain being instilled, we could find that the defense doesn’t need to be that secondary scoring after all.  Maybe, just maybe, we’ll actually have a second line this year.

The Chief Canuck

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