Canuck Musings

For all talk about initial chemistry with Smolinski and Naslund, it sure has ended up with very little to show for it.  I like the Smolinski/Naslund combo, which is why I like Vigneault’s latest lineup change.  He’s inserting the strong Jeff Cowan on the line, replacing the here and there Bulis.  It should open up a bit of ice for Naslund to make some nice moves and get some points on the board.

He’s had a lot of adversity to overcome this year.  After years of playing with Mo and Bert, he’s had anything but a consistent linemate this year.  He loved the consistency he got with those guys before.  And that’s been a very hard adjustment for him to make.  Add to that, his desire to lead this team the direction that Vigneault wants to bring it, and it’s almost double up the scoring issues.

And for the record, Naslund is probably one of the most consistent backcheckers the team has had this season.  isn’t that the centers job?  Why is it Naslund always hustling back.  Ignore the last game, ever forward not named Sedin had a tough time with that.  Naslund has been leading the team in this regard since day one of the season.

Tommi Santala is another player that’s had a rough time this season.  But I saw something in the recent game against Anaheim that I liked.  He got absolutely drilled into the end boards and was writhing with pain for a while on the ice.  The play was more well known for the 2-5-10 penalty that Bieksa then took in retaliation to the hit. 

But what I liked was that Santala woke up after that.  He was on fire, hitting everything, making plays, and eventually set-up the next goal by Burrows.  We need that player to show up more often.  I was thinking that someone should drill him in the pre-game skate and see if that can kick-start him.

That’s the player Nonis thought he was going to get all year. 

Vancouver has climbed up to 21st in the league in scoring with an average of 2.64 goals per game.  30th on the list….the Edmonton Oilers.  I did not see that one coming. 

There’s been some talk of where Green and Kesler will fit in when they are ready to come back.  I think it’s great they will likely be ready for the playoffs, it gives the team another dimesion to work with on their Stanley Cup run. 

Vigneault has proved himself capable of knowing who’s hot, and more importantly, who’s not.  Expect these guys to draw in when others falter.  The only players exempt from sitting out a game or two in the playoffs would include Naslund, H. Sedin, D. Sedin, Cooke, Morrison.  All the others have had more than a night or two off here and there and will draw in based on their play.

Jack Johnson signed with the L.A. Kings today.  He should be in the lineup when the Canucks play them on Thursday night in Los Angeles.  No matter what people tell me about that trade, I still think that Carlolina got the bad end of that deal.  It made no sense, and left the Hurricanes with 10 healthy defensemen.  It’s not like they had an injury depleted lineup at the trade deadline and needed ten guys for the home stretch like the Canucks did last year, they were all healthy by then. 

But what really bugs me is that everytime I think of L.A., I keep thinking that we could have had Anze Kopitar in our lineup (picked 11th overall, immediately after the Canucks 10th pick).  Instead, we’ve got the mournful Luc Bourdon.  He’s got a big pair of boots to fill with Kopitar playing in 66games and tallying 18G, 39A, 57 total points.  That would be good enough for 3rd in Canuck team scoring.

A win tonight clinches a playoff berth, even one in OT.  This should be a much better game.

The Chief Canuck

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