Against the Grain

In the apparent dead-puck era, the Vancouver Canucks were known for icing a free-wheeling, high scoring team. 

Vancouver fans were treated to 82 games a year of highlights and spectacular plays that made for on the edge of your seat games and extreme excitement.  This compared to the sludgefest put on by the New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild, two of the best dead puck teams.  Frequently on the radio play by play, you’d hear the opposing team management state how exciting it was when the Canucks came to town and that they loved to watch this team play.

Expectations were hightened for the Canucks last fall with the announcement of many rule changes intended to increase the excitement, speed, and scoring chances in the NHL. 

This team was built for exactly this type of hockey.  Fire-wagon Hockey was back!

The Canucks had strung together four successful regular seasons, but had struggled in the playoffs where defence always rose to the fore.  Now, with the new rules expected to be called throughout the year, even into the playoffs, success should have been theirs.

But after an unsuccessful season, where are they now heading?  DEFENCE FIRST.

What?

Yes, the Canucks appear to again be going against the grain.  Instead of going after high flying defenceman, or shifty wingers, they have brought in two players from the defence first Minnesota Wild, Willie Mitchell and Marc Chouinard, the latter of which signed a 2 year deal today.

We’ll have to wait a year to know if this is a step backwards for the organization, or if Nonis’ promise of high-tempo hockey is one he planned to keep.

With the signing of Mitchell, it was apparent that the team had a void on committment and physical play that needed to be filled.

With the signing of Chouinard today, it’s apparent that the team is now heading towards a defence first mindset.

The Chief Canuck

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